Beyond the Black Door

Creator: Alexander Winter
Age rating: Everyone
Two young friends, Anne and Alex, have discovered a secret attic door to their town’s past. But when Alex becomes trapped in the past alone, Anne discovers the dangerous truth about what they’ve found. Now it’s up to her to rescue him before it’s too late.
Synopsis: This is the story of 10 year-old farmer’s daughter Anne Harlowe who, with her new friend Alex Lawson, discovers a secret door in the mansion attic of Alex’s great uncle; the deceased and infamous industrialist Charles Foster. When opened with a special key the door leads them to their town of Easter in the year 1952, where they suddenly find themselves in a position to rescue Foster’s parents from a car crash that had previously taken their lives. Upon returning to the present after a full day in the past, they discover that mere seconds have elapsed back home. With this knowledge they resolve to return again the next day after school.

But when Anne discovers that their actions didn’t seem to affect history and Foster’s parents were never saved from the crash, it leads to an altercation at school resulting in her being grounded and late to meet Alex. Returning to the attic she discovers that he has already entered the door alone hours before, leaving behind the key for her arrival. Through the door she finds that it is now 1963 and Alex has grown up waiting for her to return. She tries to tell him that this place may not be the past after all, but after having spent the past eleven years building a life there, he refuses to listen. During their altercation a fire is accidentally started, and after barely escaping the danger Alex informs Anne that he will not be leaving with her; this is his home now. Anne returns to the present alone and discovers a manufacturer’s tag on the door, which leads her to the home of the door’s creator. Speaking with his widow, Anne discovers that it is in fact an interactive virtual reality room built for Charles Foster who obsessed over the traumas of his childhood. It is a room so real that Alex is slowly wasting away while believing that he is living an entire life in this recreation of the past. Anne learns that the creator had placed the power switch for the simulation within the VR town of Easter, though the location is unknown. She resolves to get Alex out by finding the switch and shutting the simulation off. However, upon re-entering the room Anne accidentally loses the key down a sewer grate and now finds herself trapped inside as well. It is now 1977 and Anne discovers a 35-year-old Alex who is even more anchored in his life in the past. Her manic search for the mysterious power switch causes chaos and destruction within the town and within the false life that Alex had built for himself.

Faced with a looming deadline for the demolition of the mansion in the real world, with an omnipotent and ruthless avatar of Charles Foster inside the room who wants the meddling Anne gone at all costs, and with crises of her own conscience regarding the things she must do to free Alex from his false reality, Anne is up against both time and odds to help her friend. A daring and dangerous rescue attempt amongst the rubble of a demolition underway and a glitching simulation may be her last hope to rescue the boy she once knew before he is lost for good to the world Beyond the Black Door.

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