The Thing About Doors
by Kerry Schafer
You never know what’s behind a closed door. You might think you do. You might think that because you’ve opened the door into your bedroom hundreds of times you know exactly what lies behind it. The bed, the dresser, the stack of books to be read on the bedside table – everything as you left it.
That’s what you think you’re going to find. But I’m here to tell you that you can’t ever know for sure.
Years ago we lived in a housing complex where all of the houses looked a lot alike. One day, lost in some oblivion-inducing thought process (obviously over a matter of cosmic importance) I bypassed my own driveway and pulled into the neighbor’s. I parked, walked up to the house, and opened the door. For a full minute I stood there asking myself questions.
“Who switched out the linoleum? Is somebody cooking? Why do we have a cat?”
And then I realized what I’d done and ever so quietly eased the door closed and got the hell out of there and into my own house before anybody noticed my cluelessness.
In this case, the surprise was due to my own idiocy. But what if there’s more behind that door than your neighbor’s unexpected kitchen? What if there’s an escaped prisoner waiting with a gun? Captain Jack Sparrow? A stray kitten who found its way in through the window? A raven who will only say nevermore? Maybe you’ll find a long lost love, an abandoned baby, or a gift from somebody who knows exactly what you like.
If you’re exceptionally lucky, maybe you’ll find Narnia.
I’m old enough now to realize that this probably isn’t going to happen. I don’t own a wardrobe and my closets are disappointingly boring and lacking in secret doors. My mirrors reflect my own image and my own room back to me, and the most surprising thing I’m likely to find behind a closed door is an errant dust bunny or a spider. I have yet to live in a house with any sort of secret passage, although I still live in hope of that one.
When I write, though, all of these things become possible. I love writing fantasy because it allows me to play with ideas in a way that realistic fiction prevents. When a character in Between opens a door, nine times out of ten she’s good and surprised by what waits on the other side – a warrior, a penguin, a dragon – the possibilities are limited only by my imagination.
Vivian’s life is finally on track. She has a job she loves as an ER doctor and has just met – literally – the man of her dreams. But when her eccentric grandfather is murdered and designates her as his next of kin, she discovers that she is the last of a race of beings known as dreamshifters. It is her task to guard the doorways between waking and dreaming, which have already begun to unravel, spilling dangerous creatures from dream into the waking world. When she sets out to close the open doors and protect her town and the people she loves, Vivian confronts dragons, intrigue, and the dark secrets of her own family history. In the end, she comes face to face with a sorceress seeking eternal life and ultimate power. Vivian must find a way to stop her, or reality will be forever altered.