Between Two Worlds

by Blain Ellis

Competition theme: 'Between'

Mike Reynolds sits alone on his sofa, mulling over what to do for the day. It’s a Saturday, he has no plans, he has nobody to see, he has the whole weekend all to himself. Mike lives in the West Midlands, on an ordinary street, filled with ordinary people, he saved for a long time to buy a house and live an ordinary life. The house Mike bought however is not so ordinary. He sometimes hears footsteps on a wooden floor but there’s no wooden flooring in his house. He sometimes hears the faint singing of Adele but not to any songs he recognises. He sometimes smells the aromas of food but for a dish he hasn’t cooked. However, the strangest thing about Mike’s house is the humming pantry door.

Mike sits pondering about the strangeness of his house. Could it be haunted? Did aliens build it? Maybe it was built on an Indian burial. Yes, that must be it. Built on an Indian burial ground, right in the middle of Coventry. With a lack of social plans and time to spare, he decides to take action. I’m going to google the crap out of it. He reads article after article. Ghosts, ghouls and poltergeists seem a common theme. He soon starts getting adverts from shady-looking priests offering exorcisms popping up on his screen. He spends more time than he’d like to admit. One last search, if this doesn’t work I’m ordering some sage. He types into the search bar. Humming doors. A link appears. 

PARALLEL UNIVERSES AND THE MULTIVERSE (includes Stephen Hawking’s multiverse theory) 

The page contains lots of scientific jargon; configuration of particles, string theory, phantom photons and bubble theory. He keeps scrolling down, trying to find something useful. He’s about to close the site when the last paragraph catches his eye. 

Professor Margaret Mahoney claims “There’s evidence that our own universe can be connected to a parallel universe, there seems to be pockets across the world where if two or more universes are in sync, unexplained phenomenon can occur. This can manifest as audio anomalies, steady-state oscillation and even obscure olfaction...” 

Mike stops reading and peers through his kitchen to look at the pantry door, it’s ajar. He closes his laptop and goes to inspect. Did I leave it like that? I swore I closed it. Am I losing my mind? Yes, I think am. He opens the door and checks inside, it’s full of the usual tins, jars and spices. He closes the door and sits back down on the sofa. He takes a notepad from inside the coffee table drawer and starts jotting down everything he can about the strangeness of the door. He tries to make some sense of it but he can’t. He turns his head to look back at the door, it’s standing ajar, again. “WHAT THE HELL!” he shouts. “Now I know I closed you!” He rushes into the kitchen, notepad still in hand. He wrenches the door open and sees the same old pantry. He slams it back shut. Shaking his head in disbelief, an idea springs to mind. He writes a note and bending over, slides it under the door. This is stupid, do I think this will actually do something? He waits ten seconds and slowly pulls the door open. The note is gone. 

Mary Turner sits at the kitchen counter, it’s Saturday afternoon and her weekend plans have fallen through. She wanders around the kitchen, remembering what it used to look like before the refurb six months ago, she taps the granite of the kitchen island. Good job I get paid the big bucks. The kitchen however has a very strange feature, the humming pantry door. Looking at the door, she decides to make use of this wonderful kitchen and cook a feast fit for a queen. She starts gathering ingredients from the pantry. Herbs and spices, flour and baking sheets. She pulls the door as she leaves, it doesn’t quite shut.

Kneading some dough, the feast is well on its way. A large pan filled with beef and vegetables slowly simmers away, the oven is preheating ready to cook the flatbreads she’s working on. Flatbreads in the oven, she washes her hands and notices the pantry door is shut. I didn’t shut that, did I? She pushes open the door and peers in, nothing has changed. She pulls the door back to its usual position. The lid of the pot starts rattling and she rushes over to turn the heat down. She lifts the lid to release the steam and gets hit with the lovely aroma of rich and warming stew. She can’t wait to eat it.

She adds a touch more seasoning and is about to turn her flatbreads over when There’s a loud bang. The pantry door slams shut with a massive crack, and the door shakes on its hinges. An involuntary cry escapes her lips. Her heart starts racing and she stands frozen, a half-baked flatbread still in her hand. “WHAT THE HELL!” she shouts. Her mind is racing. What on earth was that? The pan lid starts rattling again and the oven is beeping. She can’t concentrate, so she goes around the kitchen turning everything off. Finally, she musters up the courage and faces the trauma-inducing door. With her left hand she holds onto the handle, in her right she has the go-to weapon of any threatened chef, a whisk. She turns the handle and the door slowly opens. Lying on the floor is a piece of paper, she picks it up and unfolds it. 


Mike stands staring at the closed pantry door, he can’t believe the paper is gone. Where did it go? Is the pantry some sort of Doctor Who machine? Capable of sending scraps of A4 to other dimensions. He sits on the kitchen side. He sits for a long time, waiting for something to happen, anything. But nothing does. It starts getting dark outside when he eventually gives in. Guess I’ll go and watch a film. As he hops off the kitchen counter he hears a sound from within the pantry, a small pop. He swings open the door, and lying there is his piece of paper. He can see his own handwriting. Picking it up, he turns it over, seeing someone else’s. 

Who is this? 

His eyes widen, a message. A message from another world. He grabs his pen and writes another note. 

My name is Mike Reynolds, I live at 112 Stanley Road. I think, and I know this may sound crazy but I’m pretty sure that we live in parallel universes and those universes are linked by my pantry door. 

He slides the note under the door and waits. Before long he hears a little pop and he rushes to read the new note. 

Hi Mike, my name is Mary. You do sound crazy but I also live at 112 Stanley Road and I’m sending this through my pantry door! 

Months after the first note appeared Mary sits on her kitchen counter, waiting for her nightly note from Mike. They have sent each other messages every day since. They’ve gotten to know each other really well, they both like cooking, and they have similar tastes in music and films. They both work in an office, Mike at a software company and she works for a market research firm. They both like to travel and they both love seeing animals at the zoo, although they agreed they’d rather see the animals on a safari. A small pop sounds behind the door and Mary pushes it open to find her note. 

Hi Mary, I know this letter normally contains my round-up of the day's events, who said what at work, what movie I’ll be watching tonight and what I’ll be cooking for dinner. I, however, have had an idea, hopefully an amazing one. How would you like to talk in person? It may sound crazy but let’s see! The time here is 19:50. At exactly 20:00 I want you to stand in your pantry and pull the door open, at the exact same time, I will stand inside my pantry and push the door open. I’m hoping the universes will work their magic and one of us will end up next to the other. What do you think? 

P.S. If you don’t like the idea. I’m having a steak pie for dinner. 

Mary loves the idea. She replies to Mike and goes hunting for her winter coat. She finds it and shrugs to herself. I don’t know, It might be cold in the land of Mike. Checking her watch she waits a few minutes and excitedly walks into the pantry, closing the door. She looks at her watch again, 19:59. She watches as the big hand counts down. 3..2..1. She pulls on the door. 

There’s a loud pop.