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Flash Fiction for 10/17/2020

Here's this week's prompt:

And here is my offering.

Key to the World

An old key just lay there among the beach rocks, so naturally I picked it up. Finding an old key was the most interesting part of my day since Gran and Gramps—they hated it when I called them that, “Call us George and Gracie,” they always said, then laughed at some inside joke—were probably napping. It was three in the afternoon.

Mom and Dad dumped me here for the summer, way out here in the middle of nowhere, stuck here in a spooky old house—a “true, honest-to-God Victorian,” to hear Gran tell it—with its sharply-peaked roofs and an actual turret with a balcony sticking up in the air. A “Widow’s Walk,” Gramps called it. It ought to be called an “Orphan’s Walk,” ‘cause that’s the way I felt. But that wasn’t right, either, since the door to the turret’s stair was kept locked and this summer orphan couldn’t get up there. The key jingled in my pocket when I thought that.

I heard the snores as soon as I came inside. Even so, I tip-toed past the parlor and up the big wooden staircase. At the end of the long upstairs hallway stood the door to the forbidden realm. The key slid in and turned easily. The sharp snap of the bolt echoed down the hall, but the snoring continued.

Climbing the winding staircase seemed to take forever, but I finally reached an empty room with a single door leading to the Widow’s Walk. Its hinges squealed as I opened it and I stepped out into a different world. No, really, it was a different world—no rocky beach, no ocean, not even a house underneath me. I stood on the front porch of a little cottage in the woods. A piece of paper nailed to the porch railing fluttered in the breeze.

It read, “Danny, don’t try to find us. Love, Mom and Dad.”

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