old door with brightly coloured wall
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Hi Inkwell-dippers – how you doing?   

On a walk early this morning, down the lane near my house, I passed several farm gates. They, for some reason, took me back to those fairytales, where someone is faced with many doors, and told that they can only go through one – someone always says in an echoey manner:

“But be careful which you choose…”  and something extraordinary always happened behind those doors, didn’t it?!

Let’s play with that. This will appeal to those who love experimenting with fantasy…

Your character is walking down a lane with very high impenetrable hedges, broken at intervals by gates. But these are high, solid, and you can’t see through anywhere.

The first gate is wood, painted white. It is pristine, shining.

The second is rusted metal. Still solid, but with an uncared for appearance. 

The third is silvery, solid again, and reflects your character as they approach, like a mirror.

The fourth is made of glass. But instead of being transparent, it is dark, fathomless. 

The fifth and last seems to be just air, filled with a thick mist. But when your character approaches, the mist shimmers, emits a low sound, a single note. Like a foghorn in the distance.

They must choose one. 

The gates will open with a push. Your character can only choose one, and once they are through they can not come back. 

Go on – which. And what happens?

I’d LOVE to know…  

Find me on twitter at @vanessagebbie

Vanessa Gebbie is a novelist, short fiction writer, poet, editor and writing tutor with ten books out there somewhere – including Short Circuit, Guide to the Art of the Short Story (Salt), editions i and ii, for which she was commissioning and contributing editor. She has taught for The Arvon Foundation, The Arts Council,  London’s Spread the Word, The Word Factory, Curtis Brown Creative and New Writing South among others. She is self-isolating in Sussex.

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