You don’t know how long you’ve been seeing it, but after a while it appeared almost every night: The Door. It vanishes when you look at it, and yet you sense clearly, dripping and roiling with impossible power. Something vast and eldritch is lurking beyond that Door, and it’s coming closer.

The dream collapses and you wake to your gilded cage once more. You suppress a shiver at the chill along with the longing for the sun on your wings, but it’s not until you stretch, yawning, that you see the unreal shape out of the corner of your eye.

Your owner will be there soon, you always hate that part. The apparition and the knowledge of your imminent visitation has you pacing nervously around the luxuriously apportioned prison cell. Your eyes fall on the standing mirror in the corner, there again, in the reflection, is The Door.

You whirl in place, catching a glimpse of it behind you for a moment. Fractals and distortions boil off it like heat shimmer, infecting the air with mathematically infinite wrongness. Even without being able to look at it, you can sense its dread influence looming larger and larger within the small room.

You’re so preoccupied with the unreal door that you don’t notice the real door to your cell unlocking until your owner backhands you across the side of the face to get your attention. You lose your balance and topple onto the carpet. He kicks you into the wall.

You’re used to his cruelty, his is the only face you ever see, so how could you not grow to love it? He spits on you before trying to grab your arm. You involuntarily curl into yourself in a futile attempt to shield your body from him, but as soon as he touches you he’s falling backwards, eyes wide.

You look up at him as he looks at you and at his hand in befuddlement and shock. Smoke curls from his fingertips and a smell of burnt flesh fills the room. You see it behind him again then, just for a moment: The Door.

“T-they told me this couldn’t happen!” Your owner says seemingly more to himself than to you. He’s stumbling to his feet, scrambling backwards away from you. The smoke curling off his hand radiates outward in spiraling fractals.

You can sense it without looking at it now, churning like the darkness between atoms. Something is happening to you. Fractals dance across your skin as inkblot stains spread through your feathers. You look at your owner as he tries to escape and his keys explode in his hands.

You feel a power rising within you, but it’s not the light of a halo, they stole that from you long ago. This is something else. Something darker. Something new. The mirror shatters. Fractals bubble off you like heat shimmer, your eyes burn with darkness. You smile, a real smile, your first in a long time.

Your soon to be former owner is pounding on the real door, clawing at the wood with his nails. You know how pointless that is firsthand. The hand he burnt barely looks human anymore, it’s grown black and warped into a branchlike shape, still radiating fractals into the air around it.

He’s pleading with you, but you’re barely paying attention. You can see The Door plainly now, and that seems much more interesting than a soon to be dead human. The room is melting into impossible geometry, vertices opening up into new infinities. Your fingers reach out and brush the cold metal of the doorknob.

You sense the vast and unknown power within, and the invitation it offers. Freedom, escape, the wind on your wings. The furniture is melting, so is the body of the man who once claimed to own you. The walls breathe and stare, waiting for your decision. You open The Door.

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