The doors we open and close each
day decide the lives we live
Here lies the legend of Death’s Door, the grand and ageless cave where
many a tale has been told of the lost souls of dead men haunting its
inner core. The raging waters surrounding Death’s Door, so powerful
with its rogue waves and ferocious typhoons, could easily pull passing
ships onto its rocky edges, mercilessly destroying them and sending them
to their watery graves.
But despite the tall tales, over the ages, many a man has dared to tempt
Death’s Door, sailing their ships near the cave’s grasp or diving
into its inner sanctum in search of obtaining great honor for their
bravery, only to feed its insatiable appetite for the flesh of man.
It is said the cave is cursed, passed on by the stories the old men tell
to their grandchildren while sitting around the fire on a cold wintery
night, frightening enough to raise the hairs on the back of their necks.
Stories of their ancestors, brave Viking warriors who lived to tell the
tales, spoke of Kraken, the raging and brutal monster of the Viking seas
who is believed to have made Death’s Door its lair.
It is said Kraken was so enormous that he could rise a hundred feet from
the waters, wrapping his eight gigantic arms around the biggest of
ships, tossing them as if they were a child’s toy and killing every
man upon it.
Many a man, be it a brave and bawdy Viking or a humble and peaceful
fisherman, feared the devil’s beast. Many believe it is here where the
caves accomplice lays in wait, hiding menacingly beneath the shield of
Hell’s Gate just beyond the entrance of Death’s Door.
Hell’s Gate was given its sinister name because it is here where the
Norwegian and North Seas meet and the joining of these seas created a
violent tempest.1The surging whirlwinds create an undertow so powerful
that no man can wrestle its hold once it has wrapped itself around him,
its current tossing its catch like a rag doll through the cave’s
gaping door, where it hungrily devours its next victim.
Over the years as time passed, those who seek the ultimate adventure
come to Death’s Door, attempting to dispel its superstitions and
folklore, most to die in vain.
It is now the belief the only way that it can be conquered is by not
passing too close to it’s infamous boundaries by boat but by
approaching it underwater, diving deep below its torrential currents,
sneaking and maneuvering with great caution and superior technique
around Hell’s Gate to enter Death’s Door.
There are only two men in all of time who have outwitted the beast and
mastered Death’s Door, and this is where our story begins.
In a remote Norwegian village along the rugged and pristine coastline,
if you listen very closely, you can hear the tap tap tapping as children
play above its dangerous and rocky cliffs. From crudely made wooden
swords, brothers Anniken and Britt played atop a grassy knoll and
recounted the Viking days. “To Valhalla,”2 bellowed one as he fell
awkwardly to the ground, ”where will I gather with my comrades and
avenge my death!” With that, he let go a heavy sigh, closed his eyes,
and rolled his head to one side.
“Bravo!” chimed a little girls voice. “You have beat him on again,
Baron Britt. You are worthy of my hand, “ she said eloquently and with
a drawl reminiscent of olden days. She rose from where she sat among the
tall grass and straightened the skirt of her pale-blue dress. Smiling
brightly, she held out an ivory hand toward her victor, tipping it ever
so slightly as if she were a royal princess.
With one full swoop, Britt turned to her and gallantly slipped his toy
sword into the belt loop of his trousers. He graciously took her hand
and tipped his head to her in satisfaction of a deed well done. The
little girl giggled and threw back her head, her golden locks dancing in
the warm coastal wind.
Anniken, the befallen one, rose from the “dead” and rested his hand
on one bent knee. “Hey, Eva!” he shouted. The young girl turned her
head, smiled at her friend, and playfully said, “Hus, Anniken. You are
supposed to be dead.”
Britt then dropped to one knee, Eva's soft hand still in his, and bowed
his head. “For you, Princess Eva, I have killed the rogue,” he said
in his best Viking warrior voice.
Just as the words left his mouth, his brother, in one swift move,
tackled him to the ground and sent the two of them rolling down the
hill, finally coming to rest in a hedge of billowing sea oats. The wind
picked up their childish laughter and carried it out to sea, and pretty
little Eva skipped down the slope to join them.
Excerpted from "Death's Door" by Kelly Johnson PhD. Copyright © 2016 by Kelly Johnson PhD. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.