The Skeleton Key
Clearing out the attic of her late fathers’ house, Annie comes across a chest covered by a layer of dust, wiping it off with delicate strokes, her name becomes apparent in the brass on top. She carefully opens the lid, wondering what memories or treasures she may find inside. Peeking in she is surprised to find all it contains is a skeleton key which seems to be carved out of skeletal bone. `This is the strangest thing’ she contemplates to herself. Her name is intertwined into the bow of the key in a love spoon design, the details are very intricate. Father loved to carve in his spare time so she imagines it is possible he left it for her to find, to distract her from the immense raw grief she’s feeling from losing him. Although, she rather hopes it isn’t actual bone, just something mimicking it. On the bow is a little label like the tags you find on suitcases, usually with your name in but inside this one is a mirror. As Annie looks into the mirror, a riddle appears….
Turn this key in the lock, in the door at the dock, when the right time is on the clock and memories to your mind will flock.
`How very odd’ she thinks to herself, as the message disappears once she reads it aloud. ‘Maybe this isn’t from father after all’. She takes a moment to try and decipher the answer. The only Dock with a clock she can think of is the one next to the port her family left from on their cruise vacation together back in 1959. She cannot for the life of her remember seeing any door. She had been so full of excitement for the trip and quality time altogether as a family. She recalls it taking what seemed like forever for her parents to save up enough to go, but to a young child even a week seems like a life time. `I wonder if 7.59pm is the answer as that corresponds with the year we went 1959 in a 24hr clock. Worth a try’ she thinks `I’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain. Oh how I would give anything to be back there with my parents once again, I miss them both terribly.’ Jumping in her car, off she sets, hopeful the dock itself will remind her of happier times when she wasn’t so alone.
On approaching the dock a fog descends so she cautiously makes her way towards where she remembers the clock being. As it appears in front of her she looks up, only a few minutes to spare to find this door. She frantically turns all the way around, her head in a spin `trying to see a door in this fog how is that even going to be possible?’ she mumbles to herself. Out of the fog, three short blasts of a ship horn sound making her jump out of her skin. It reminds her of the horns on the departure of her cruise ship, as it backed away from the port, all those years before. A bright blinding light shines on to the nearby wall, like a spotlight at a show. It is highlighting a red pull curtain. She hastily makes her way towards it and pulls it across, there’s a door, as she glances back the clock strikes one minute to eight. She inserts the key and turns it, flinging the door open. She immediately gets a blast of air to her face blowing her hair back, like being on the deck of a ship moving fast across the water. She can hear seagulls and smell salty sea water. In she steps, no fog in here, she’s on the deck of the cruise ship once more.
Walking further in, all the memories come flooding back, her eyes fill with tears; happy tears. In the distance she sees a couple walking the deck with an excited little girl running rings around their legs. She recognizes that girl. `Can it be; is it me?’ she questions. As she approaches, the little girl trips grazing her knee her mother picks her up cradling her in her arms as her father kisses it better. She hears a familiar voice as the father re-assures his daughter whilst the mother dries her tears `Annie, never fear we will always be here to pick you up and care for you if you fall.’ Annie finds herself smiling, her heart flooding with the love and comfort she feels from this deep husky voice. She remembers this and how protected she felt. She recalls how her mother smelt like a field full of flowers, her father’s aftershave and how softly her mum’s fingers had felt as she brushed the tears delicately off her cheeks. When she finishes reminiscing, she realizes they’ve made their way back inside. She pauses peering in through a nearby window. She sees her parents waltzing together, gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. Out of the corner of her eye she spots herself as a young girl with ringlets, giggling watching them float across the floor. The fog appears at their feet making them look as if they’re dancing on a cloud. She imagines that’s what they’ll be doing at this very moment, high in the sky, now they’re re-united at last. This idea comforts her. She feels the warmth of their love for each other wash over her as they both turn to smile at their giggling little daughter. Their faces full of love.
She realizes now why the key is made out of skeletal bone, it clearly senses what she’s feeling right down to her very bones. It somehow knew exactly what she needed to see and hear by reminding her, that her parents will always be with her, in her heart and in her mind. She will carry a part of them with her through the rest of her days. What an amazing gift. She wonders if other riddles may appear at times in her life when she hits a low point. Instances when she cannot see the way forward and needs to search for answers. Guidance from a big shining light, highlighting the way to deep down in her heart; helping the fog clear in her mind’s eye. Aiding her to remember, to draw on the life’s lessons her parents armed her with; as they guided her to navigate her way through life’s twists and turns just like the cruise ship.
Her father had left her the key to unlocking it all.
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Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it x
Thanks so much.