Most people liked to pretend the Gate didn’t exist. They would walk past it everyday, never giving it so much as a glance. Stupid people, brave people, would glare up at the Gate. The curious would sneak quick peeks as they passed.
It didn’t matter how someone looked at the Gate that overshadowed the city, they all shared one thought. Even the stupid who acted brave and the brave who acted stupid accepted this rule. The message was drilled into children until it was engraved in their memory. One must never, under any circumstances, come near the Gate, touch the Gate, or, worst of all, open the Gate. The Gate was to be avoided. Bad things happened to those who tempted the Gate to the City of Dolls.
No one knew what lay within the stone walls that encased the City of Dolls. There were stories, of course. They spoke of what lay behind the walls. But, to the boy, they were only stories.
It was the heart of night, when it was too dark to see the stars, and the moon’s light bled through the clouds, dripping onto the town below. There was one curious little boy and one tall black Gate.
Just a peek, he reassured himself, I just want to take a look inside, then I’ll go home.
The boy wasn’t stupid and he wasn’t brave, but he wasn’t scared either. He approached the Gate very slowly, until he was right in front of it. Close enough to touch. The little boy reached out and tentatively placed a hand on its smooth surface. A feeling of giddiness ran through him. Finally, he would find out what hid inside.
It was time, the boy decided. With a decisive shove, he pushed the Gate open.
The world froze. Sound was swallowed. The air was sucked from the boy’s lungs.
The little boy’s legs were no longer his own. They moved forward against his will, heedless of his silent screams. Heavy sobs of terror staggered from his lips to drop and break unheard against the cobblestones. As he passed the threshold, the Gate silently closed behind the boy, forever stealing him away from his world.
The night resumed as if nothing had changed. As if the little boy had never been dragged into the horrors within. As if he had never left his bedroom to go open a Gate.