Carlos stands before the door, thinking. It’s a standard issue door, by all accounts: made of oak, carved with simple panels, nicked and weather-beaten in some places. The door is not covered with esoteric sigils, smears of dried blood, or vague warnings scrawled in a dead language. It is merely a door, the kind a person might expect on any number of residential American streets.
But Carlos is in the desert, the neighborhood only of small skittering lizards and distant, howling coyotes. There’s a cactus about three feet to the left of him, and a bird he can’t categorize – a vulture, maybe, but much smaller and with several more talons than usual – perches on top of it. The bird stares at Carlos with intense, expectant interest.
The doorknob isn’t anything special, either. It is exactly what anyone would imagine, were they to picture the average doorknob. It is not ornate, it is not crafted from ancient, ominously glowing metal. Carlos notes that there’s no apparent keyhole on either side of the door; that, in fact, he cannot tell which way the thing opens at all.
Numerous chains are looped around the door, placed there by the farmer, John Peters. Carlos thinks he could remove them without much trouble.
The wind unsettles the sand around his shoes (sensible boots in a drab color; appropriate for desert walks), kicks up an eddy that scatters sand grains across the lapel of his lab coat. This wind is the only sound in his ears.
Aside from the knocking, of course.