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The Key and the Wardrobe -- FWG Flash Fiction for 5/21/2022

I missed last week, recovering from COVID. This week's entry started out as a literary piece full of angst, but quickly turned to the dark side, as they so often do. It was prompted by:

I hope you enjoy "The Key and the Wardrobe."

The Key and the Wardrobe

Since Latty left, his mind was bereft of coherent thought, living in the moment. Unable to plan for tomorrow, nor remember yesterday. He could not even remember when, or where, or why she was no longer in his life. Did they argue over a trivial matter, blown out of proportion? Or was it a fundamental betrayal of trust? If so, what was her transgression? Or did he somehow wound her psyche so badly that she had no choice but to leave?

These questions plagued him as he stared at his journal. The antique key he gave her sat alone on the empty page. It was the key to his heart, he told her, and she wore it on a chain, close to her own. He knew, as he clutched it to his chest, that his heart was so broken, the key would not fit anymore, the lock it was meant for sealed—until the ache faded, as it always did.

Compelled by the pleas it whispered in his mind, he rose and followed the key like a compass, down the creaking stairs of the old house into a dimly lit basement. A massive mahogany wardrobe stood in the corner. As tall as the ceiling would allow, and wider than any doors, he had built it in place, his craftsmanship perfect, his joinery airtight.

The key pulled his hand to its mate—the equally antique lock. When it inserted itself, the hum of a compressor, unnoticed before, shut off. When the key turned and the lock embraced its mate, the double doors swung open, releasing a hiss of desert-dry air.

His memories returned in a wave of elation at the sight of the closet’s contents. His mummified victims hung like suits of clothes, his latest, dear Latty, holding pride of place.

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