Excerpt from Book of Worlds
I have only ever had to close one door in all my years of travelling, and in my opinion it was one door too many. In that case, a beast of the other world managed (and to this day I still don’t know how) to follow me back to Earth. Luckily, the thing was essentially benign, a pack animal by nature and so only dangerous to small children by itself. Alas, a child was fatally mauled, and I will live with that knowledge ever on my conscience.
As soon as I saw the poor child’s body, I knew what had done it, and I searched the literature for a way to close the door permanently in case any other things found a way through. Once a door is closed, you see, it is closed forever. I was sad – the world itself was a wonderous place, but it wasn’t worth the risk.
It was a painstaking search. The book which I had to use (the same one that contained the method to open the doors) was badly burned on account of the previous owner attempting to destroy it, and in addition the whole thing was written in Latin. The section detailing the closing of doors was so badly scorched that it took me a day to make out what I needed, and even then half a page was lost to me completely. Fortunately, whatever was written there must not have mattered, because when I broke the key in half and spoke: ‘Claudo’ the door shut.
I tracked the beast, hoping to exterminate it before it could claim another victim, but as it happened, there was no need of haste. When I found it three days later, the thing was already dead. Well, it was as good as dead, at least. Allow me to explain.
I stumbled upon fresh tracks in the nature reserve near my residence, and followed them to a dense clump of bushes. The thing – a white furred four legged monstrosity not unlike a jackal or a ferret, was sitting in a hole beside a half eaten dead cat. It was still breathing, but otherwise completely motionless.
I watched it for some time, but it didn’t move, and when I finally gathered the courage to touch it there was no reaction. I picked it up, its body limp in my arms, and took it home, wondering if it couldn’t be tamed.
It wasn’t long before I gave up that hopeless endeavour. For whatever reason, the thing had lost its mind completely. Perhaps it was sick, or perhaps it had been too long separated from its herd? Both plausible explanations, but I believe neither one. The truth as I see it, is that when I closed the door the beast lost its soul.
I’m not clear on the nature of this, but I think it must be one of two things. One: perhaps only one’s body travels to other worlds, and that the soul must always remain in one’s home world. With the connection broken, the beast’s soul would then have been forced to return to its home world, leaving its body. Two: the soul needs a connection with the home world, and when this connection was broken, the beast’s soul simply died.
Whatever it was, I am certain that it was the absence of a soul that caused the thing to die. Fortunately, I never had cause to close a door again, and I am glad. Closing a door, besides the death it may cause, destroys a bridge that may never be rebuilt, and that to me is a tragedy. I think the rest of the burned page probably contained a way to reopen a closed door, and if only I could find the method somewhere I should be grateful. As of this writing, unfortunately, I never have.