The Saturn Key

Submitted for Contest #37 in response to: Write a story about a valuable object that goes missing.... view prompt


Submitted on 04/18/2020

Categories: Mystery

Malik placed the hunting knife in the dresser draw. Locked it. If someone recognized the symbol of Saturn engraving in the middle of the knife they would kill me, whether I tried to trade it to keep my life or not. There was nothing to see now that I placed it in the sturdy, lockable plain black case bought at the Armed Forces surplus store. 

Even those not familiar with the scythe and cross ♄ symbol of Saturn would want to possess it. Be wary. “It has that effect on people. Don’t let it possess you,” a friend reiterated. It has. I’m sad to say⎯effected me. It speaks to me. I have not heard the voices I have or seen the visions I have until after I came into the knife’s possession. The strange mysticism which emanates from its being has not fully possessed me. I find though that I lose a little bit more of myself to it every day. 

I have heeded my friend Dalis’s warning for she is actually my fiancée. On again, off again more for our safety than an inability to commit to one another. She would not lead me into anything she did not believe I have the strength to resist. But on this occasion, I believe she found that she was in possession of something too addictive for her and in the time she possessed it began to take a toll on her mental well-being to the point she had to be rid of it until she better understood what it is. For a simple chunk of multi-colored metal, it is not.

The Saturn symbol is bronze set against a black background set inside a circle; the circle also bronze. The knife unfolded, six inches long. The blade would cut your finger off with the flick of the wrist if intended. It’s not the black stainless steel blade that makes it valuable to the many that crave to possess it but the scythe and the cross key that is housed within the casing with the blade, I would learn later, that makes the knife so valuable.

Dalis and I were off the grid. Better separate. Easier to blend in and stay hidden for a while. Our last endeavor stirred up hornet’s nests in high places. On the day we’d come in contact again was Easter Sunday. I had been to church recently. So I didn’t feel as if I had a fall from grace. But on this Easter, I felt compelled to attend sunrise service. It wasn’t so crowded but Dalis is one of the best at blending in.

Lately, I had been having trouble keeping it quiet that I’ve heard of the Saturn Key much less that I’ve seen it and still have it. Before I attended the sunrise service, I removed the case with the key in it from my dresser and placed it in my safe. The safebox is nothing grand. Simply something I bought at the hardware store; fireproof with keylock and portable when I need to get out of town on a moment’s notice.

The sunrise service attendance grew. This is usually the case when the weather is nice enough to hold it in Stone Mountain Park. Not ten minutes into the service did Dalis sit down next to me in sweats, sneakers, and a windbreaker topped off with a skullcap. Appropriate attire since we weren’t experiencing summer early this year. And it tends to be breezy at the top of the mountain most of the time.

I didn’t recognize her. Mission accomplished since that was the point. Dalis tucked her blonde hair under the cap and the wraparound shades hid her light blue eyes. The black hooded windbreaker was zipped to the neck and the black sweats seemed to blend seamlessly into the jacket. The sun was peeking over the horizon. Groups of clouds glided by moving away from the rising sun. And seemed to stretch on forever. Dalis blended in well for all had the same idea; Scattered showers were not out of the question.

She sat nearly on top of me. I thought: It’s crowded, but it’s not that crowded. We both said: “Hello” at the same time. “I need for you to do something for me,” she said. I didn’t recognize her voice. Her whereabouts for the last twelve months were undisclosed to even me. We agreed only to search for one another through a number of contacts. “Dire circumstances,” she stated, “dictated that she locate me immediately. Even close contacts could not be trusted with the knowledge of what she had in her possession.”

When she spoke the accent she used to blend in from where she had been was still in play. She had arrived in the states, yet still maintained the guise of the foreign national she created so as not to be recognized by those who seek to execute us. 

“Excuse me,” I replied.

“I need you to do something for me⎯keep this for a while until I find you again.”

The position of her head remained straight ahead as if she was studying the horizon. We shook hands the small black tie string bag was changed from her possession to mine. I made many exchanges in this manner, but I had no idea who this person was⎯until.

“Malik. I don’t ask for a whole lot. I just need this favor...for now.”

I perked up. “Who told you…?”

“Dalis,” she said. 

“We agreed to at least four or five third party meetings before we met. Why break protocol?”

“I can’t go into detail,” Dalis explained. “Take this, study it, hide it, protect it. It’s no ordinary artifact.”

“Which is true of everything in our circle.”

“Exactly,” she stated. “So you know how to handle this.”

“I’m not sure,” I told her. “You’ve never sounded so...afraid.”

“I’m leaving the states again,” Dalis said.

“I love you, too,” I told her.

“You too,” she said. She got up, walked away and brushed my back with her hand. Our sign that she knew I was always looking out for her. And she for me.

I couldn’t focus on the sunrise service anymore. I wasn’t lost on of Christ walking from the tomb after three days dead. But now the Saturn Key called for my attention. What has caused Dalis who is usually so levelheaded to become so spooked? Which has caused me to become spooked. What occurred to make her break protocol? We’ve dealt with many a strange thing before but what makes this so different?

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