Short Story: The Oak Door

ShortbreadGeorgina SimpsonShort Stories › The Oak Door

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About this Short Story

Narrated by
Posy Brewer


Lilly use to love running in to her mother's bedroom to play, but these days the room has changed and so has her mum.


  • 2240 Words
  • 58 Comments
  • 80% Community Rating
  • 14814 Views

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Lilly stands staring at the great oak door. She loved this old wooden door. She loved the coolness of the oak against her fingertips, the smoothness of the dark varnish, and the deep swirls which decorated its surface. She would sit and stare, wondering what magic lay beneath its old beautiful carvings. But today she isn’t staring at its beauty. No, she is trying to stare right through it. She hopes if she stares hard enough, long enough, she’ll be able to see past the solid oak to the other side. Except Lilly is older now, she’s almost seven, and so she knows that this will never happen. She prays all the time that the room beyond the door will be the way it used to be. But she knows deep down that it can’t be. She knows the room will be as dark and as musty as the day before. She takes a deep breath, places both hands on…

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Samantha Bruce-Benjamin said "A beautifully observed, poignant and heart-rending account of loss, as experienced by a mother and child. Shades of C.S. Lewis distinguish this emotionally intense meditation on life, death and the power of memory."
7 years ago

Leiny Deedee said "Lovely stories :)"
2 years ago
Qasim Muhammed said "DAMN! REally deep and nice."
3 years ago
Kaleem Abbas said "Goode"
3 years ago
Apple De Asis said "Two thumbs up"
3 years ago
Nelson Mandela said "10/10 would bang"
3 years ago
Richard Ardus said "I enjoyed this piece of writing and I know I'll never forget it."
4 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor said "A beautiful piece - made me stop and think about those who are dear to me and reflect on happy times and memories. Thank you for such an excellently written and evocative story. Best regards, Nik"
4 years ago
Terence Dillon said "Your story was sad but excellent. It leads me to appreciate the wonderful people and things in my own life. As a new writer, I can only hope that my stories can be as good as yours! Take care... Terence Dillon"
4 years ago
Linda Mapeley said "As I read this I thought of my mother, who died when I was three years old, and my grandmother, who died when I was 10 years old. I was taken (in my mind) to my grandmother's home and saw us all together. This story is so good. I only hope that other people have been able to 'see' happy things too."
4 years ago
Peter Heppo said "Nice - a beautifully written and beautiful story. Bravo Georgina"
4 years ago
Tani Madencioglu said "My face is wet..am so glad that it was the perfect length ..took me full circle and though death is difficult it is made a bittersweet experience..I enjoyed and will definately read again.."
4 years ago
Kerry Clarke said "Beautifully heartbreaking. You capture a daughter's love, a mother's comfort and the ancestral gift of a visual santuary. I felt that you were depicting how things were, will and could be through the idea of the grandmother passing information to her daughter, and how that daughter (now the mother) passing the same information to her child to pass on to the next. Once again thank you for an enjoyable read, take care - Kerry :)"
4 years ago
Georgina Simpson replied saying "Thanks Kerry, it's always surprising to get a lovely message left on my stories after all this time, so glad it still gets read! I loved the idea of this house full of grandmothers, and mothers and daughters all sharing in those roles and passing down love from one and another. Glad you enjoyed it! Gina :-)"
4 years ago
Sherehan Al Taweel said "I love this story. I really enjoyed listerning to this story. Thank you very much"
5 years ago
Paul Ingram said "Wonderful story. Well written. Thank you"
6 years ago
Steve Douglas said "A lot has been said already about this excellent story, but as a newcomer to Shortbread I have to add my own praises. The craft that has gone into this shows, and it is a vivid piece of writing, emotional without being sentimental. If I have a criticism at all it's the occasional switching of tenses - there are moments when it drifts to past tense, when the immediacy of present tense is what makes it so powerful. And being very picky, I thought 'tippy toes' a bit twee. But excellent all the same."
6 years ago
Chiew Macbeth said "It was only when the oak door opened that I realised there was a lot going on in the room and I wanted to go in to find out. Beautifully written -you succeeded in drawing the reader in, almost effortlessly. Thank you for this. C. M."
6 years ago
Georgina Simpson said "Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave such lovely comments on The Oak Door. It's greatly appreciated and so very encouraging! And of course a massive thank you to Shortbread for making my Friday, and my whole year. Can't wait to read this Friday's story I'm sure it'll be a cracker."
6 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "I read this many moons ago but can't see my comment. There is not much more to add to the very well deserved praise except to say congratulations on being the Friday Story - Diane."
6 years ago
Andy Bottomley Guest Editor said "That was excellent, there were so many wonderfully crafted phrases that carried the reader on. The description of the door its self drew one closer, the increasing number of tablets that took over the dressing table where once flowers stood spoke volumes..... I could go on.... Clearly you took the time and effort to make every word count and it was most definately to our benefit that you did, so thank you."
6 years ago
Georgina Simpson replied saying "Thank you Andy for your kind words. The Oak Door has to be the most edited piece I've ever written- there are about 14 different versions saved on my hard drive! I first wrote it when I was 17, and like the real oak door I have continued to polish every now and again to make it shine a little brighter. I'd like to think the number of rewrites have been worth it, and that it's a relatively polished piece of work by now. I really appreciate that you've noticed the time, and effort spent on this piece, something I think only another fellow writer would spot! Thanks again..."
6 years ago
Michelle Gullick said "Poignant, powerful. I felt the child's fear and was comforted by the mother's words. Wish my writing was as good."
6 years ago
Georgina Simpson replied saying "Hi Michelle, thank you for your comments- I'm a bit overwhelmed by the response to this over the last few days. You should submit something to Shortbread I'd love to read it!"
6 years ago
Kate Grogan said "That is without doubt the best story I've ever read on Shortbread. I'd love to read more of Georgina's writing and will look out for her work. Fantastic"
6 years ago
Georgina Simpson replied saying "Wow very high praise indeed! Thank you Kate. I think the Oak Door is probably my best piece of writing, so if you go searching out for more I hope you won't be disappointed! Many other pieces up here, are first drafts, whereas Oak Door has had many rewrites, and I think it shows. Thanks again for the kind words."
6 years ago
Kathleen Lawrence said "What a beautiful story. Bravo to the author."
6 years ago
Charlotte Wemyss said "I thought this was incredibly sad but also rather wonderful. My writing ability such as it was, seems to have totally dried up, so keep going as you write beautifully! CW"
6 years ago
Carol Broadworth said "A story filled with wisdom and beauty- a message for all of us, going forward or looking back!"
6 years ago
Meg Malpass said "Lovely story. Thank you"
6 years ago
Sheila O'hara said "Really lovely story, very moving and also very real as the child tries to do everything she can to please, while knowing her Mum will soon leave her. Best of all, despite the sadness and loss, the story never loses sight of thefact that the child is only 7 years old and has her whole life ahead of her - and so the story also holds out the promise of a happier future. The lift at the end, the sense of continuity from her mother, through Lilly and then onto her assumption that she too will have children and know love in her life. Very good story, well written, and thank you for making it the Friday short story."
6 years ago
Sheila O'hara replied saying "Hi Georgina - you are most welcome. I know how much work it takes to write stories, and having had such enjoyment, the very least that readers can do is read them carefully. The joy of the forums is getting the chance to actually discuss the work, rather that just say nice (or not) without having to think out 'why did this story work for me? What kept me reading?' Thanks again."
6 years ago
Georgina Simpson replied saying "Thanks Sheila! It really makes me smile to read all these comments particularly when a reader such as yourself has really taken the time to explain why they enjoyed it, and has quite clearly got everything I tried to weave through the story. Thank you!"
6 years ago
Tony Peake said "A wonderfully written story, but so, so sad."
6 years ago
Patsy R Liles said "An excellent choice for the Friday Story! Patsy"
6 years ago
Bill Haddow-allen said "A beautiful story. Thank you for writing it."
6 years ago
Barbara H. Horter said "this was one of the first stories I picked out as one of my favorites when I joined Shortbread at its inception few years ago. Still am very impressed with this writing."
6 years ago
Georgina Simpson replied saying "Thank you Barbara! Your support on Shortbread has been wonderful. And it has really encouraged me to pick up that pen and start writing again- I wrote this when I was 17, then life happened and I haven't really written since! I'm always moaning about finding the time to write, but after all the lovely things posted on Shortbread it's no more excuses- my pen is at the ready!"
6 years ago
Ezna Lane said "Lovely well written story. Very poignant. Only little thing that I wondered about was a small 7year old being able to lift a large mahogany trunk up onto the what seems a large bed. Just a little niggle in an otherwise beautifully executed story"
6 years ago
Georgina Simpson replied saying "Hi Ezna, Thank you for the kind words! The mahogany trunk has been mentioned to me before, which is why I added that Lilly struggled to get it on the bed, and that the action was an effort- but perhaps for even the strongest of 7 year olds it would be near impossible? Hmm I might have to "borrow" a niece or nephew and a mahogany box... :-) I suppose she could place the trunk on the floor and scoop up a pile of photos, but I liked the image of the mother, Lilly and this grand box on the massive bed. Then again I never have Lilly removing the trunk from the bed, which would imply the box is on the bed for the last scene, and that certainly wouldn't be comfortable for a dreaming Lilly... Anyway definitely food for thought!"
6 years ago
Juliet Platt said "So powerful and beautifully written. Had me in floods."
6 years ago
Peter Domican said "In bits. Gorgeous writing!"
6 years ago
Brenda Daggers said "Captures emotions of love, loss, fear and loneliness. The child's feelings are beautifully observed. Very moving and well written too,"
6 years ago
Alexandra Gray said "Tissues at the ready! Lovely story."
6 years ago
Ginny Swart Guest Editor said "Beautiful story, well told."
6 years ago
Fiona Johnston said "This is a charming poignant story with a well proportioned level of suspense"
6 years ago
Gege Ahmed said "This story is fantastic ""I think everyone should give it a try"" and it has alot of feelings"
7 years ago
Patsy R Liles said "Hearing a story leaves deep feelings. This beautiful tale of life and death is one of lasting grace. Patsy"
7 years ago
Christine Human said "I closed my eyes an immersed myself in this little girls life. The images were vivid and so sad. Well written , imaginative ."
7 years ago
Jeannette Ayton said "What a sweet and gentle story holding such a tragedy. The author seems to get inside the mind of the child and shows us that small world through her eyes. Very moving."
7 years ago
Barry O'Leary said "This story built a vivid picture in my mind and I really felt for Lilly as she helped her mother. I've listened to it several times and still feel gripped all the way through. Great writing."
7 years ago
Barbara H. Horter said "I agree wholeheartedly with the editor's review. I just returned to Shortbread and realized that Samantah Bruce-Benjamin had chosen THE OAK DOOR as one of her favorites from all the stories on Shortbread. It is not surprising to me because I read it two years ago when I first joined and the story stood out for me in every way. Excellent writer and I will search for more of the authors work."
7 years ago
Terry Collett said "Engaging story."
7 years ago
Xander Cooper said "I will simply echo the comments below- beautiful and touching. Gorgeous imagery throughout, particularly in the first and last paragraphs. If anything perhaps a little to sentimental for more hardened readers- but still a well written story with emotive language."
8 years ago
Sam Noble said "Touching story - This made me cry. Looking forward to hearing the audio on this. Great touching story."
8 years ago
Stephen Buss said "Simply beautiful - I loved the way you managed to infuse such a childish lightness into such a sombre subject. The simplicity of your structure is well crafted as is your use of metaphorical language. I enjoyed reading this Georgina."
9 years ago
Kate Smart Guest Editor said "lovely story - really enjoyed this - beautiful"
9 years ago
Kris Wallace Guest Editor said "A Beautiful Sadness - Written with brush strokes of beautiful imagery ‘The Oak Door’ is a captivating view of death through the eyes of a child. You feel young again reading it, and at the same time filled with a deep sadness for the immediate future of Lilly. An emotional work."
9 years ago

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