About time I got back to these posts! This one is inspired by a perpetually out of order stall in a bathroom at a nearby mall. I gotta admit, now that I’ve written this I kinda wanna turn it into a longer story… Hope you like it!
“What the fuck??”
Tina blinked slowly at the absurd sight that stretched out before her. Her knuckled whitened on the door jamb, keeping herself steady as she tried to make sense of what she was seeing. This couldn’t be real. Was she dreaming? Had she dozed off drunkenly waiting for the night bus?
The light bulb in the stall itself was off, but light flooded in from the ceiling lamps in the bathroom, casting a vaguely yellowish light on floor tiles with grimy grouting, a commode with the seat missing and, beyond, a sprawling, alien landscape of purples and greys. Lavender moss crawled along the ground underneath silver-trunked, mauve-leaved trees, dotted by bright green, blue and white flowers on charcoal stems. Bulbous burgundy mounds – rocks? oversized mushrooms? postules? – stood out against the pale undergrowth, and further away, behind the trees, there was something bright, pulsating… Leaves moved, a small blue tail disappeared behind a trunk and somehow, that wasn’t the most bizarre part.
The most bizarre part was how many times she and her friends had joked about this exact thing. This stall was always, always out of order. It had been for as long as she could remember really. A while back, maybe even years now, they’d been joking around after a night out about what was hiding behind it. A mislabeled storage unit? A secret love hotel? Or oh, I know, a portal to a magic world! Ever since then they’d called it the Narnia stall.
“This is so fucked…” Tina mumbled. Normally she wouldn’t even have tried to use it, except she’d missed the night bus and had almost an hour to wait for the next one, and she really, really had to go. There were only two stalls in this bathroom. The other one was locked, had stayed locked for over five minutes, and she’d thought she could heard someone snoring inside. Desperate times, but she hadn’t really expected the door with the Out of Order-sign to open. Come to think, she was sure she’d tried to open it at least once before. It hadn’t worked. Until now…
Seconds ticked by, maybe a minute but maybe far less. Then she tore her eyes from the view and spun around, turning her back on it. She closed her eyes, slightly dizzy from the sudden movement. She counted to three and glanced over her shoulder, holding her breath. It was still there, still just as strange. Tina swallowed. Was she fucking doing this? She had no reason to. Her life was fine. Decent job, good friends, not-quite-frequent-enough sex. All the tea she could wish for. And yet…
She stepped into the stall and suddenly she could hear strange sounds – birdsong? – from someplace in the distance. Just one more step. One more step, and she’d either collide with a wall, or step onto soft, purple moss.
Thank the gods she had worn her flats today…