This photo was taken of the building next door to Catch 27, where we ate one night in St. Augustine. When I first spotted this door to nowhere, I was struck by the incongruity of the thing, the strangeness of a door suspended in midair. It looked as if the building had been raised for some reason – maybe due to flooding or renovations.
I snapped a photo, but during dinner, kept glancing back at it and wondered, Suppose that door, when you open it from the inside and step out, leads elsewhere?
The building and the restaurant were in old town St. Augustine, where the cobbled streets are narrow and lined with old buildings, tourist shops, museums, restaurants, all the usual tourist traps. But here, the trappings seem different somehow, perhaps because the city is the oldest in the U.S. and across the street from Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest fort in the country.
San Marcos was built by the Spanish between 1672 and 1695. It was intended as a stronghold against invaders that approached the city through Matanzas Bay, is built of coquina rock, its walls six feet thick, its psychic history embedded in stone. Surrounding the plaza inside the walls are numerous rooms that were used as storage area for food and weapons, a chapel, lodging for soldiers. All the rooms are pretty depressing, small and cramped, with appropriate exhibits that illustrate some facet of its history.
In the chapel, I was intrigued by the pews ( a modern addition), a large holder for candles, an kind of altar of flames, candles lit for the dead, and poster boards that detailed the history. I wondered if that door to nowhere might be a portal to the city’s past.
Let’s say it is and there’s some way to move into it and pass through it to, well, elsewhere. But suppose, just suppose, the way through this portal involves tensegrity, a series of magical passes – positions and movements of body and breath – dreamed by men and women seers who had lived in ancient Mexico. They were taught to Carlos Castaneda and his band of female acolytes by don Juan Matus, his mentor, a Yaqui Indian from Yuma, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico.
And suppose these movements are executed by a young woman who does them in the chapel, witnessed by several dozen tourists? As she does them, the texture of the wall shifts and eddies, like a a wave, and she passes through it? At this point I’m thinking there may be an idea somewhere in here for a novel
But the big question is: if this door is a portal, where does it lead?
And now, more than two months after that trip, the logline for this door to nowhere is:
The island home of a reluctant psychic is invaded by people with terrifying powers from centuries in the future. She discovers that she is the descendant of their brilliant, misguided leader, fleeing a world devastated by climate change, and that he and his team will seize the island unless she can defeat them – by joining him.