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  • K. Lucas

The Key

I screamed, demanding freedom, but it made no difference. I knew it wouldn't but how could I not try? He'd been so arrogant, laughing at my fear. "Sure, I'll let you out. Right after you find the key." He left then, depositing me into nothingness.


I opened my eyes to the darkness surrounding me. My breath came in short gasps as I tried to control the panic. "I can do this," I whispered, eyes wide, seeing nothing through the black. I knew that in order to escape, I had no choice but to find the key. There was no smell that I could detect and no sounds other than my own. I was left to feel my way out. The problem was, I was tightly bound, wrists and ankles all behind me. How was I supposed to move, let alone feel for a key? Unless he didn't mean a physical key. Maybe there was a trick of some kind, a secret lever or password. Hope flared in my chest. I attempted to scoot across the floor, pulling at the rope that was wrapped around me. As I moved, it got tighter, until my fingers began to tingle. Tears of frustration sprang to my eyes as I continued to struggle.


Finally I stopped to take a steadying breath. Laying on my side, I tried to move my knees forward slowly, then my shoulders. It was a slow process but somehow I was moving. I didn't know if I was going in circles or not, but the movement kept that small ember of hope alive. Beads of sweat were dripping off my forehead, down into my eyes. I'd been moving for what seemed like an eternity and I was exhausted. Then, I began to smell something.


I was so surprised that I jerked back like someone had slapped me. I sat motionless, trying to identify the scent. Immediately I knew it was not pleasant. Then I began to realize it smelled like something rotting. A cold dread flooded my blood. I was more terrified now, if that was even possible. Did I dare continue trying to make my way to the source of the smell? I quaked at the idea of what I might find but what else was there to do?


I resumed my movements. The smell became so strong that I had to fight from gagging, but I continued on until I bumped into something. I hit it hard and when I did, I heard a tinkling noise. A key! Hope surged again as I imagine the small key hanging off of a nail, just waiting to fall onto me. I pounded my body against the thing again, as hard as I could.


There was no key that gently fell, waiting to release me from my hell. Instead, I heard the tinking of a chain moving through a large gear. I had triggered the opening of a gate. I was about to move forward again, when I heard the growling.

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