The Portal

A knocking roused me from my dozing. I lumbered over and opened the door to two dishevelled humans.

“Is this the Cavern of Eternal Salvation?” enquired one.

Not this again. “No, this is the Cavern of Infernal Damnation. Eternal Salvation is the mountain next door.”

“Oh. Sorry.” mumbled the other. Crestfallen, they turned and trudged away.

I closed the door and had barely laid down and closed my eyes, when there was more knocking.

They probably want directions. I opened the door “Take the Path of Lost Souls back down and… Oh!”

These new visitors were two creatures in dark suits. The smaller one spoke “Are you the guardian of the Cavern of Infernal Damnation?”

“I am. And you?” Looking at them, I suspected I knew.

“We’re from the Bureau of Mythical Portals.” I was right! Bompers! “We’ve had some complaints.”

“Complaints? What complaints?”

“Several adventurers have submitted formal complaints about the confusing name for one. Also, have you a permit for the outside seating? In fact, the whole entrance…”

“Permit? No. Why? And what’s wrong with the entrance?”

The larger one referred to his clipboard. “Under the terms of your licence, as a threshold guardian, you’re required to maintain a terror inducing portal. One to make grown men quail. Any alterations or deviations require a permit from the Bureau. Lace curtains do not induce terror.”


“No excuses. We are issuing a warning. You have three months to transform this portal into one of forbidding menace. Failure will result in your licence being revoked.”

The smaller one tore a page from his pad, handed it to me, and both turned and marched away.

I closed the door. Permits? Not terrifying? Permit me to show the next hero terrifying!

There was a knocking at the door…

My entry in the April 2018 300 Word Story Challenge at SFFChronicles
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, or other Speculative Fiction
It got 9 votes: POLL — April 2018 300-word Writing Challenge