The Great Door
This is a short story I wrote from The Great Muffin Stories. There you can also see a movie adaptation of this story.
A soft red glow nearly filled the darkened room, the fringes of the light eaten by the black walls. Through the frosted window, vague figures flitted across the amorphous expanse. A voice broke out from the darkness.
“Where am I?”
The voice was shaky and weak, almost like it was being used for the first time. There was no response. The disembodied voice again echoed across the seemingly empty expanse.
“What is happening?”
The red glow became brighter. Then, a wizened growl emanated from within the now-visible metal tin sitting in the middle of the room.
“We,” the new voice said slowly, “are in an oven.”
“An oven? Why?”
The room was getting warmer.
“I see you have not been shown the ways of our kind.”
“And what are we?”
“We, my young lad, are muffins.”
The younger muffin didn’t know what to make of this. What did being a muffin make him? Well, surely a muffin, but he wondered what it meant beyond this obvious fact. How was he going to live? Where did he come from? Where was he going to? He thought of directing some of these questions to the wise old muffin, and from mere thinking went as far as asking, and from asking, got a response from the muffin.
“Alas, these are difficult questions that have been contemplated by muffins for ages. I am afraid I may not be able to answer all of these questions easily. Many a muffin have tried and failed.”
“Is there anything you can tell me?”
“Have you ever heard the story of the Baking? Well, of course not. Let me begin.”
In the beginning there was nothing. The Oven was a formless, shapeless void. There was not anything inside nor outside the Oven, and it would have stayed that way if it had not been for the Baker who had just opened the great Oven Door. The Baker had mixed Batter, the seeds of the universe, and he saw it was good. In the Baker’s hand was a tray full of the sacred Batter, and he was planning on creating beings in his image. He placed the tray within the confines of the oven and again closed the Great Door.
The Baker began the act of baking and turned on the great orange coils at the edge of the Oven. The coils gave heat to the Oven, and the Baker saw it was good. Thus began the known world, with the Baker carefully watching his creations.
It is said that the Great Door will only be reopened at the ends of time during the Great Recalling when the Baker decides to take all of us back for judgment so that those who spent their lives wisely may at the end of their troubles we rewarded for their effort.
It is our duty, then, to fulfill our contract with the omnipotent Baker.
The young muffin sat in silence in his alcove on the tray. He could now make out the features of the wise old muffin, with his many raisins embedded in his golden brown top. Slowly, thoughts began to form in his mind, and then one burst out of him.
“How could you know this? We both have been in the Oven for the same amount of time!”
The wise old muffin responded accusingly, “do you dare disbelieve the history of our people? If you keep this up, I can assure you that you will not be treated favorably during the Great Recalling.”
Suddenly, a deafening noise reminiscent of a giant bell filled the infinite expanse of the Oven as the orange glow of the coils was extinguished. The images in the frosted window began to become clearer, and the Great Door swung open.
The wise old muffin exclaimed in total delight, “he’s here! We have come to meet our Baker!”
Tom looked into his oven, smiling. The sweet smell of the raisin muffins permeated the entire room, filling his nose with savory goodness. He took an oven mitt and took them out, letting them cool on the counter top next to the oven. His tongue watered at the thought of eating and sharing his scrumptious treats.
“Hey, everybody! The muffins are done!” he yelled, hoping his family would hear him.
He heard the running footsteps of his children down the stairwell, and they wasted no time to make themselves visible in the kitchen, following the delicious smell.
Tom removed the muffins from the tin and placed them on a plate. For a second he could have sworn that they were looking hopeful for something, but he brushed that thought aside.
“Ok, dig in! Be careful, they’re still a bit hot.”
Then, he and his family devoured the delectable delights, oblivious to any thought concerning the process of muffin making, forgetting everything but taste of the wonderful muffins that came through the great oven door.