My eyes moved from Lisa’s face to the door behind her, a huge and heavy metal thing, dark paint flaking off and the surface underneath flecked with rust. Had this thing really existed in our building? Was this all part of her project, her dream? Had she found it and decided to remake it to her liking? I imagined Lisa on her knees like a penitent at an altar, chipping at the thing with a pen, scratching at it with her fingers. Its existence mocked me. I imagined how the European explorers to first discover the Moai must have felt. What unknowable intelligence had built this thing and left it here?
I glanced back at the woman who had once been my friend. Her face was dirty and scratched, her eyes sunken and dulled from the “creativity” that had consumed her. I didn’t know her, I realized. That saddened me. That frightened me.
She turned away, as if she recognized what must have been on my face. She took a deep breath, exhaled. Her shoulders rose, fell, and I closed my eyes and tried to decide what to say. Lisa, let’s get out of here. Lisa, we have to leave. Lisa, don’t open that door. Lisa, I’m your friend, but you need to stop. She’s crying, I thought, and I had to help her.
Her shoulders hitched again, and she dove forward, hands grasping at the door, clawing at it. She pulled backwards, her tiny frame struggling against its weight, feet scrabbling to find purchase, but it opened. Inch by inch, it opened wider and wider, a blast of hot air escaping from the shadows beyond. The stink of rotting meat filled the air.