Disclaimer: a small piece that occurred to me when I realised there are many doors in Lewis's works, and few that stay open. Under those circumstances, the story could hardly be mine, could it?
Beta'd by trustingHim17.
Of course there is a doorkeeper. How could there not be? Someone has to make sure the doors open—and close, of course—at the proper time.
What? A footman's job? Don't be ridiculous! Not all doors are made of something simple, like wood or plastic. I'd like to see a footman try to shut the door between Char and its sister world. He wouldn't know where to begin.
There's just one of me, I'll have you know. And there are so many, many doors. Well, what of it? It must be done.
So yes, I'm the Doorkeeper. Not all the doors need my attention—there's a Wood Between Worlds where the doors stay open all the time, thank all goodness and mercy. I needn't go there.
Just a moment! Let me check the time.
I've five more minutes.
Why yes, it is a beautiful watch. A gift, actually, from the Creator of time. And of craftsmen. That's why the watch is beautiful as well. He likes to make things beautiful, you know. You should see some of the doors. Built to allow mere mortals to step from one space on one world into a space—not even corresponding points, you know—on a different world, and to step through time as well, from one stream to another, without feeling the slightest ripple of the currents. No ill effects. Glorious things of beauty, they are.
Only you probably couldn't see them. I've never known a mortal yet who was able to tell when they were open or shut by looking at the actual door. Humans and giants usually just look at their frames.
Let me check the time again. Time, time, time to open a door! Be back in half a moment.
What's that? Gone for half an hour? You must be joking! Here, let me get out my watch—by Jove, it looks like you're right! I must have slipped through the door when it was half-open—that can change the time ripples, you see. My apologies.
Eh? Where did I go? Well, you see, there was a door that needed to be opened. Why? Because a white rabbit needed to get through! And do you know, he happens to have a watch of his own. Mine keeps better time, though. And I'm never late.
Well, almost never. No, actually, I wasn't late. I got there early enough I didn't end up being late. But that one time-
Well, I needn't dwell on it. Every being makes mistakes now and again, and I'd just forgotten-
But I'm always on time or early, and it came to nothing. Done with.
You still want to hear what happened? Oh, very well, fine, if you absolutely must.
Well, you needn't look all hopeful like that. I am telling you the story.
I open all kinds of doors. Your world doesn't call for that many. Most of you funny creatures stay right here, on Earth. But there's a few doors here, very few, you understand, that open between here and other places. Some of those doors lead to a world called Narnia.
Most of them are collapsed now. One—oh, it was a thing of beauty! Set in the back of a cave, and open all the time. But some pirates found it, and, well, nasty people they were. Rough, too. They broke that beautiful door, though they didn't mean to.
And most of the rest are shut a good deal of the time. But sometimes, the Creator of the doors calls some of you funny creatures to Narnia, to help save it. Sometimes He makes an entirely new door, just to let those people through. He did that—a small door, about the size of one of your wooden ones, and He made it just outside a truly awful school. Then He told me the time to open it. Because if I opened it at the wrong time, see, why, anyone could have wandered through! And that would not have been a good thing.
And so I popped in and opened it, just before a rather dirty-face girl and a chubbyish boy were supposed to come out from clambering under the bushes—He does call the strangest people sometimes, I would never have expected those two to be heroes—and then I climbed over the wall to wait on the other side, till they were through, you understand. Well, I'd need to close the door again after they came through it, wouldn't I? I open and shut the doors. And this one was leading to a very, very special place. Aslan's Country.
What's it like? Well I don't know, I'm waiting to get there myself! I can open doors to it, but I'm not allowed through them yet.
Yes, yes, yes, I'm getting back to the story! No, of course I wasn't late! There I was, safely hidden on the other side of the wall, waiting and waiting for the bushes to rustle and them to talk about whatever they were going to talk about—I can tell once they go through because they make sounds of surprise, funny sounds, too, your lot make, and then they either go through or they run away—and I wasn't late.
But, you see, I might have forgotten a door. Me, the Doorkeeper, forgetting a door! But I'd opened the one to Aslan's Country, and quite forgotten about the wooden one the Humans had made! Just a silly door they'd put in place to keep people in, but I'd been so busy admiring the Creator's door I forgot all about His creatures' door. And, well, one must be practical or all the open doors may come to nothing. And I hadn't time to open it, not before they saw me, so I got out my little silver tools and went to work on the lock.
Why the tools? Well, I hadn't a key, of course! I'm a Locksmith as well as a Doorkeeper.
Now look here, it isn't illegal if I'm following the Creator of all Laws! All right, all right, I accept your apology. But the very idea. I am not a Lawbreaker.
I got it unlocked all right, and just in the time, because I could hear the children on the other side talking in panting voices about whether or not it would be open. And I stepped behind the wall, and shunted the Creator's door to the side when the wood swung through that space, and pulled the door back once the wood passed.
And I timed it exactly, too. To the children's eyes I'm sure it looked like the wooden door opened on an entirely different world.
And the boy—you know, he showed more courage than I expected. He stepped right through, after that first shock. And he took the girl with him. Well done by him!
And then I closed the Creator's door, and swung the wooden door shut, and locked it again.
And then I stepped through another door that took me back to my nice, quiet cave, where there aren't any doors but the one, and absolutely no visitors.
And that, that right there, was the only time I was almost late. And I learned a lesson from it too!
Why am I here? To open a door, of course! I'm early, I know, but I heard you might want some fair warning. Now, the door I'm opening is to a very peculiar island, and on it is a certain king, one who disappeared hundreds of years ago. He's been waiting to come back, the once and future king. And part of the reason he was waiting to come back was because you had to find your way back as well; you're his wife, you see...now there's no need for hysterics, it's just the beginning of the tale! That's it, that's it, calm down. You'll have to go find him on the isle, you see, and wake him up. You can even use a kiss if you like. Now, are you ready for me to open the door?
Well, thank goodness that's over. I think I'll pop by the old Professor Kirke's study, enjoy some calm company for a bit. That's a door that's always open...