#writephoto microfiction: Gateway

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt


As far as I can remember, the gate has always stood open. Not held open by a tangle of brambles, old car tyres or other urban rubbish, nor rusted open, hinges refusing to swing the other way. It is simply open. The grassy ride beyond is short and inviting. Not mown short or worn by passing vehicles, just short as if rabbits or sheep have been busy on it. It is a gate nobody uses in a wall nobody notices around a domain without a big house. The high wall, in perfect repair, encloses trees, tall and stately, and the rabbit or sheep-cropped turf. Nothing else. No ruins show where a once proud house once stood, no charred remains the evidence of a devastating fire. The grass rolls unhindered to the far walls and back again, unchanging, day after day.

At night, the gate stands open still, and the grassy sward is silver beneath the moonlight and the starlight. At night, the tree-lined ride leads to a house of silvery stone, with a graceful perron and tall, airy windows. From the open windows come the faint sounds of music and laughter, and your heart will yearn to join the happy crowd. But you must not enter through the gateway, nor walk the grassy silver sward, for the ghosts will take your hands and lead you in their never-ending dance of forgetfulness, and from the inside, the gate is always closed.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

49 thoughts on “#writephoto microfiction: Gateway”

  1. BRILLIANTLY DONE! This is a ghost-gothic for the ages! The metaphor of the gate, the ghosts and the life/death elements, are perfectly done here! Wow who would imagine from a prompt this little bristle of unease prickling our bones! I love it!

      1. Definitely! I’m a big fan of gothic fiction, I heard that it was revived in Nova Scotia of all places (actually quite apropos if you think of the climate). The ability to convey unease in a short story isn’t easy, makes me think of Tales of the Unexpected. Brava!

      2. One of my favorite books, how I wish he had written more, what makes someone write one TERRIFIC book and then never again?

  2. This is excellent Jane loved the imagery you created and that wonderful notion of the gate being closed from the inside is both exciting and slightly creepy…..you achieved all this in so few words, loved it…

  3. Masterful spin on a a gate that calls you in and once you cross over you may never return. Your imagination is boundless Jane, I really truly was lost in the story, felt I was behind that gate, dancing and forgotten myself!….Gina

  4. Wondered where that was going… should have known! The transition between paras was astonishing by the way. Lovely piece! Really captured my imagination.

  5. LOL. I was drifting along with the beautiful description of the gate and what lies beyond, and then you hit me with the ending. I should have known, but I was lulled into a blissful state and didn’t see it coming.

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