Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.
The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the crows.
I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.
Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.
It appeared on his porch during her third month of employment.
Katya Slichenko, grateful, enjoying her job as an assistant to a writer, had paused, studying the tiny door, the shingles, the steps, the doorknob which had appeared overnight.
He, hair unbrushed, clothes crinkled and soft, didn’t answer Katya’s question about the door. He was working, writing in a fresh blank notepad, from the back, sideways across the smooth white pages as he always did.
H. H. Holloway, that’s how his named appeared on his published collections of short stories, mostly tales of faery, sprites, nymphs, dryads, and their homelands. He wrote about encounters with these magical creatures, and those souls seeking for the doorways, the paths, the gates into that other realm which they inhabited.
Katya typed the stories onto the computer, printed them out for him, made the notated corrections.
She also made tea, collected the mail, paid the bills, spoke with the cleaning woman, Mrs. Johnson, and with George, who mows the lawn, cares for the flower beds.
As she typed up the most recent stories, Katya noticed a recurring element, a small wooden door appearing again and again, with more detail, more life in each of the tales, opening, closing.
And then the door appeared, just as H. H. had described it in his stories.
Now handwritten pages, beginning at the back of a notepad, moving sideways across the page, appear on Katya’s desk every Thursday morning.
Missing the quiet rumpled H. H., Katya still makes tea, for one, talks with Mrs. Johnson and with George, pays the bills and types up stories, darker encounters between one man and those magical creatures beyond the little door.