Cover Art

The Key

by

Jenny Johnson

Listen closer as we hear the story of two young boys who set out on a mission to find where an old key goes to. Strap yourself in for an adventure. But is the story true?

The Key

"Pappy! Pappy!" Abby, only seven years young, cried aloud and sat upright in the creaky old bed her mummy use to sleep in when she was just a girl.  
The bedroom door swung open a minute a later and her great grandfather, whom she called Pappy, rushed over to her side.  His white hair was thinning on the top of his head, his deep green eyes were set more deeply into his face and the wrinkles started to from. Especially around his mouth which he insisted were just laugh lines put there by her mother's clumsiness as a child. "What is it, child?" He  sat down on the bed and smoothed back her long auburn hair with his large calloused hands.  
She laid back down and clutch my blanket tighter to her chest. "I had a nightmare." 
"What was this one about?" Pappy was the only person who listened to Abby's crazy dreams. Everyone else, including her mummy and daddy, told her to grow up and stop acting like a child. But she can't help it, can she?  Some of the dreams are wonderful and full of magic. However, others are dreadfully scary. Full of war, hate, death, and blood. So much pain. 
"I was drowning. I fell into a lake which only sucked me deeper and deeper. I couldn't breathe, Pappy. Oh,  Pappy, I was so scared!" She sat upright again and threw her arms around his neck. She held him as tight as her thin arms could.  
He patted her back pat reassuringly. "Now now. Let's not have any of that. No tears, my dear." He took  her by the shoulders gently and looked her lovingly in the eye. "Would it help if I told you a story?" She nodded and he grinned wildly. He tucked her back into bed and sat down next to her. "Okay, let's see. Ah! I shall tell you about the key." 

 

                                                                        ~~~~~~ 
 
1905 
 
"Griffin!" I turned around to see my school mate, Patrick, running towards me with something shiny in his hands. "Griffin, wait up!" I had already halted the first time he called my name but I wouldn't correct him this time. Only because I wanted to know what he was holding. He finally reached me but was panting from running to hard and fast. "Ah!" He finally caught his breath and patted me on the shoulder. "I wanted to show you this after class but you disappeared so quickly. Where are you off to in such a hurry, anyway?" 
"Mummy says if I am late coming home one more time this week she ground me for two entire weekends." I looked at my pocket watch. I suppose I had a couple minutes to spare without getting home late. 
"Look what I found!" He opened up his hand towards me and there laid an old key.  
"What's it for?" I quizzed him and brushed the key lightly with my fingertips, testing its durability. 
"I still got to figure that out. Want to help me?" 
"'I still HAVE to figure that out.'" I corrected. I may have only been twelve years old but poor speech is not something I could tolerate.  
"Yeah yeah. Okay. Do you want to help me or not? We can start by going to the town tomorrow since it'll be Saturday. Maybe Doc knows where it came from."  
"Okay! But I have to get home now before mummy gets cross with me and says I can't go." I started running back in the direction of home. "Bye, Patrick. I'll see you tomorrow!" I called back and watched him run in the opposite direction.  
                                                                        ~~~~~~ 
The next day I couldn't wait to meet up with Patrick at the playground in town. I was always a very curious child and I was just dying to know what that key went to. After we met up in the park, we ran straight to see Doc. He was the town's blacksmith and knew almost anything about everything. "Doc! Doc!" Patrick yelled as we ran into his little shop. We both slammed hard into Doc's large torso. I backed up and wiped the grease off of my face which rubbed off from his apron.  "Hey Doc!" Patrick held the key up high and close to Doc's face. "What's this key go to? 
"Well, lets have a look see here." His thick Irish accent rang in my ears and made me cringe. God, how I hated the Irish accent. "Hmmm." Doc let out a loan moan and examined the key in his hands. "Well, this is an old one! Looks like it is from the late 1700's or early 1800's. Where'd ya boys find it?" He asked as he handed Patrick back the key.  
"Around the old abandoned Drover's place." Patrick said as he shoved the key back into his pants pocket.  
"Boy! What were you doing hanging around thee old Drover's place? That place be in nothing but shambles. It's dangerous, boy. Stay. Away. From there, ya hear?" 
"Yes sir." Patrick hung his head and kicked the ground with toe of his shoe. He agreed that he wouldn't  go back. We left the shop and started walking down the street in town. "So what do we do now?"  
An idea popped into my head instantly. "Ya know. I never promised Doc that I wouldn't go to old Dover's place. Maybe I could go wandering around sometime and see what the key might go to." 
Patrick's face lit up and he jumped up and down. "Yes yes! Perfect! Come on. Lets go!" And with my brilliant idea and a mysterious key we ventured off to the other side of town, passed all the farms, and over to the old abandoned Drover's place. 
Apparently, ninety years ago, the richest man in town, Kyle Drover, pretty much owned the whole town. No one liked him. He was told to be a very mean, greedy, and grumpy old man.  The story goes that one day the old man just up and vanished. All of his money in the bank vanished along with him. People searched his house and no one ever found a body. Everybody said that the greedy old man must of just took all his money and left town. Since then his place wasn't touched.  
So there, Patrick and I stood in front of the ivy covered, rusty, metal gates. "Okay," I started, "I'll go check inside, since the front door is already unlocked, and see if this key opens any door or trunks or something. If I don't have any luck in there, I'll check outside. Maybe it opens a shed." Patrick handed me the key, I pushed open the gate and then ran down the long path to Drover's front door.  The door was wide open.  Besides for dusty old rooms and furniture there wasn't anything fascinating to see. I found a couple locked trunks but the key in question did not go to them.  
I was on the third floor checking the last bedroom when I heard a noise coming from below me. It sounded like some footsteps and then a crash. My heart started pounding in my chest. I went downstairs to the first floor and looked around for something that could've made the noise. Like a ghost? I was in the parlor and noticed a crystal vase was scattered on the floor. I bent down to examine it and then felt a hand grasp my shoulder firmly. I jumped and screamed. When I turned around a horrified Patrick stood before me. "What are you doing in here?" I hissed. "You nearly gave me a heart attack." 
Patrick looked truly sorry but also scared. "I'm sorry. It's just that you were taking so long in here. I got worried." 
"It's fine. C'mon. I didn't find anything in this place. Let's check the grounds." So Patrick and I went outside and found one open shed and one locked shed. However, the key was not the right one. My hope was surely deflated. The great mystery adventure I thought I was on wasn't going well. "We should just head home. We aren't going to find anything here."  
"No!" Patrick starting running around the yard, looking up and down. "No, there has to be something here. I'm going to check the other side of the place again." He ran around the back of the house and disappeared from my sight. After a five minutes I heard Patrick yell my name. I ran in the direction he went and then saw him staring at wall of the back of the locked shed. "Does this wall look weird to you?" He asks me. 
"Um," I stare at it for a minute. "No?" 
"Sure it does! Look!" He pointed out that the color was a shade darker than the rest of the walls and that the wood felt thicker or harder than the rest. There were some vines crawling along the wall so Patrick them aside and revealed a key hole! "Try it! See if it works!" 
I did and surely enough the key fit and it pushed open. "Whoa." I said quietly. It was a very dark stone staircase that lead down pretty far. I couldn't see any sign of light. "Should we?" I asked without even taking my eyes off the staircase.   
"Lead the way!" Patrick said from behind me.  
 
                                                                                   ~~~~~ 
 
"What was at the bottom of the staircase, Pappy?" Abby asked and bounced about in her bed. 
"No one knows." Pappy said and shrugged his shoulders. "Patrick says he saw the skeletons of pirates guarding their gold. Griffin says he saw the ghost of Drover alone and crying because he didn't have a family to love. Apparently whatever was down here is magic. It shows differently to some people. Depending on their personality I suppose."  
"Whatever happen to the old Drover's place?" 
"Some young bloke bought it, fixed it up and that was that."  
"And the magic staircase?" 
Pappy kissed Abby's head and tucked her into bed. He fluffed her pillow and said, "Was never opened up again since." 
The next morning Abby woke up to the sun streaming in through her blinds and to the birds singing outside her window. She groaned and stretched. When she stretched her arms over her head she accidentally knocked her pillow off her bed. "Oops!" She was about to pick it up but then she noticed it. An old, rusty key.  

 

 

 

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