This story was published in Fireside magazine. It currently has 12 recommendations on the Nebula Recommended Reading List.

Ellie is six years old. She writes a letter to the Gatekeeper because suddenly she can’t get through the wardrobe door to play with her friend Zera. She continues to write, year after year. During this time, she finds her letters to the Gatekeeper in her mother’s closet. She accuses her mom of taking them, but finds her mother has been shut out of the magic land, too. In high school, Ellie meets a girl named LaShawna and starts dating her. She writes one last time to the Gatekeeper, wishing that everyone could go through doorways unhindered and promising she will build a door that will always stay open.

On the other side of the wardrobe door, Zera has found all the doors locked. She seeks help from the Falcon Queen, who helps her look for the Forgotten Book. She travels through a trashed landscape and finds the Book has blacked out all the doors because everyone grows old and forgets about them. She persuades the Book to let her see into Ellie’s world, where Ellie is delighted to see her. Because Ellie remembers, the Book opens the doors and allows everyone free access again. Zera and Ellie promise to fix the doors and wake all the sleepers.

This is a sweet fantasy story with a pretty much undisguised message about diversity and open doors. However, it doesn’t hang together very well without the message, and I’m left with a string of questions. What does a forgotten book have to do with open doors? Is it the Gatekeeper? How is it a powerful entity that can black out all the doors and curse the land? Why doesn’t it devour Zera as its warnings promise? There isn’t much in the way of character development, world building or imagery here. It has a nice, sentimental message, but not much else going for it.

Three stars.