In the swamp behind my house, there was a doorway that went to nowhere. At the end of a long, moss-covered dock, it perched, always wound in fresh green vines--even in winter when the chill had driven all other green to brown. It was always open, draped in gauzy black fabric that billowed in the wind but never blew away. Mama used to take me out every blue moon, and we would sit on the dock, candles lit around us, singing and chanting while Daddy watched us uneasily from the back porch.
I asked her once what it was, this strange doorway. Mama took my small chin in one hand, her warm brown eyes piercing mine, and whispered, “It’s the end of the world, baby girl. And we have to make sure nothing ever comes through.”