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A young girl lives on a space station. One corridor leads nowhere; its far door is always locked. Until, one night, it isn't....

A science fiction short story by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald, the award-winning and best-selling authors of the Mageworlds series.

This story first appeared in A Starfarer's Dozen, edited by Michael Stearns, Jane Yolen Books, Harcourt Brace, 1995.

Praise for A Starfarer's Dozen: "Imaginative plots, well-realized characters, and distinctive settings appear throughout, and the consistently high quality writing helps to create a sense of cohesion despite the authors' differing styles and subjects."
-- School Library Journal

About 2,200 words.

All Madhouse Manor e-books are DRM-free.

This story is included in the collection "Looking for Futures"


Down the corridor there's a door, and the door doesn't open.

The lights behind the panels overhead are pale blue. That's different from all the other corridors in the station, where the doors open for anyone - they're just to control loss of pressure, those doors, and the lights in the panels above them are white or yellow.

The white and yellow lights in the station are supposed to be like the star Merilee has never seen. The teachers say that the lights keep people from getting sick. And they do - she's seen accidents and injuries sometimes, but no one she knows has ever been sick.

Sometimes Merilee goes down the corridor with the blue lights and presses her hand against the door. The door feels cool to her touch and the steel hums under her fingertips like it does everywhere else in the station. She waits at the door for a minute - or two - or many - and then walks on. Sometimes she goes to the store, sometimes she goes to the school, sometimes she goes to the video gallery or the park or the rec center, and sometimes she even goes home.

She has to be at home or at some authorized activity before the night comes. At night the lights get turned off and the doors stop opening and closing. Those are the rules and everyone obeys them. She wonders what it would be like to be out at night, when the doors don't work - and she imagines being stuck in the Long Corridor, ninety meters door to door, with nothing to look at and nowhere to sit for twelve straight hours.

There's only one locked door that she's ever seen, though. That's the one at the end of the blue corridor. Everyone knows that the doors don't work at night, so no one ever leaves their home or their authorized activity after the lights go out. There's a lot of paperwork involved in getting to an activity, too, so most of the time people stay at home and don't bother. Merilee wonders about the term paperwork - she's never seen a piece of paper in her life, even though the teachers talk about it all the time - but she doesn't wonder about it much. She doesn't wonder about words like steel or gravity, or ci-space either. Instead she wonders about the closed door.


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Used availability for Debra Doyle's Crossover

Kindle Editions

May 2011 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: Crossover
Author(s): Debra Doyle, James D Macdonald
Publisher: Madhouse Manor
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA