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The Doors in the Castle

Liam Hogan is an award winning short story writer, with stories in Best of British Science Fiction 2016 & 2019, and Best of British Fantasy 2018 (NewCon Press). He's been published by Analog, Daily Science Fiction, and Flame Tree Press, among others. He helps host Liars' League London, volunteers at the creative writing charity Ministry of Stories, and lives and avoids work in London. More details at happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk

All the doors in the castle were tired of being opened and closed, without so much as a by-your-leave, without even a thank you. From the grand portcullis to the lowliest privy door, they were tired of being taken for granted.
They were tired, they were fed up, and they were bored.
The doors in the castle went on strike. They refused to do their allotted task, unless those bustling through told them a story, to enliven the tedium of their day and reward them for their long centuries of duty. A story about other castles, and other doors. The doors in the castle weren't much interested in kings and queens, princes and princesses, not unless they were passing through a door at the time and even then only fleetingly.
The doors in the castle were steadfast in their demands, though there were a few who worried that the people who lived in the castle--their castle--might not understand them. The inhabitants, from nobility to scullery maid, certainly understood the doors' protest, attacking them with knives and even swords to get them to open. But the doors were built for such punishment and not so easily swayed; planks of heavy wood, both seasoned and green, allowed them to flex and absorb all but the worst damage.
Perhaps, if the people had axes? But who has an axe to hand, on the off-chance that the doors in the castle refuse to open?
The doors in the castle were glad when the attacks on them grew weaker and weaker, hoping that maybe now their entirely reasonable request might be met. But alas, no; the rooms and the corridors they guarded grew silent, grew still.
The doors in the castle were patient.
The doors in the castle waited, and waited, and waited.
The doors in the castle were lonely.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021


Author Comments

It's hard to work out how this story came about. I don't think it was from a single seed. It has elements of the self-satisfied doors in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, though they weren't at the forefront of my mind when I wrote it. I suspect it has more to do with things that outlast their creators and users, and the difficulties of communication between such disparate consciousness. And the vandalism of cutting down mature trees to make way for a road or building that won't last beyond my lifetime, let alone a tree's!

- Liam Hogan
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