With tears in her exuberant eyes and an unopened letter in her trembling hands, Emma Andrew strolled the street side with her magnificent silvery hair whipping her face. The cold breeze felt like needles against her clear porcelain skin. There was a raging battle inside her mind...clustered feelings. Somehow the weather excellently depicted how she felt at the moment. She was numb with a sense of loss engulfing her body, making it hectic for her to breathe. Her heart ached with pain.
After a surprisingly long stroll, she found a bench that could bear the weight of her aching heart. She slowly but clumsily gripped the wooden end of the bench. Her knuckles were ghostly white and her face, apart from the tears gradually flooding her cheeks, was as pale as a sheet. She mournfully opened the letter that was sodden with tears. The letter said, "My dearest Emma, when I first held you...I instantly fell in love with you. It was a pleasure to see you grow up into a beautiful and radiant young woman. I'm deeply saddened that our days spent together were very limited. Your passion didn't just amaze me but it filled me with inspiration. I'm leaving this key in your possession. I trust you to mend the mistake I made and forgive me". At the bottom of the page, it was
signed "Goodbye ~ grandma". Emma took the key out and after examining it for a while, she found a date engraved on it; 13-June-1930.
It was with the utmost difficulty, she had accepted that her grandmother was dead before finding this letter under her bed. Even after reading the letter over and over, she couldn't make sense of what mistake her grandmother possibly could have made that she wanted Emma to undo. Even if she found out what the mistake was, she couldn't possibly travel in time to undo it...the odd sense of loss was excruciatingly painful but at the same time, curiousness took the best of her.
Emma was clueless as to what the key was for...she stared at the key, hoping that it would speak on its own accord. Emma noticed the sun sinking on the horizon and the sky turning a shade of purple with bursts of orange and yellow. She sighed with exasperation, opened the envelope to return the key when she noticed that there was a little piece of parchment upon which "Where there is a key, there is yet hope" was ineptly scribbled.
Emma read it countless times but she couldn't make any sense of it. She stood up and slowly descended towards her home. Her mind was racing with countless questions...What mistake did her grandmother make? What did the quote mean? ...Why did her grandmother specifically want her to erase her mistake?...What was the key supposed to unlock?...Why didn't her grandmother ever mention anything about a key?Emma tightly wrapped herself in her comfortable woolen shawl and entered the oak front door leading to her gigantic yet welcoming home. A breath-taking chandelier with original crystals, gleamed in the darkness. There were numerous pricey paintings that hung low on the ceiling. The floor was composed of pure white marble. Emma's muddy footprints stained the spectacular marble flooring as she made her way towards her bedroom. She sank on her bed, hugged her pillow and instantly fell asleep.
There was a flash of white light and Emma watched two men, both in black masks, advance towards her parents' bedroom. She quickly hid in the closet and was filled with terror when she heard three gunshots. With her hands pressed to her mouth she stood crouched in her closet. Fat tears were leaking out of her eyes and her whole body was quivering with agitation.
Emma woke up with a start and realized that her shirt was sticking to her skin as she was drenched in cold sweat. Twitching uncontrollably, she got out of her bed and poured some water for herself. She remembered this incident as if it happened yesterday and even after twelve years, it haunted her...haunted her dreams.
The next day, Emma decided to unravel the mystery of the key. No matter how hard she wrecked her brain, she remained as clueless about the key as she was when she discovered it. 13-June-1930...13-June...it had to mean something after all...She sighed and looked at her parents' portrait which was brilliantly sketched and mumbled "I wish you were here with me mama", as though struck by lightning, Emma jumped and yanked open the nightstand in her bedroom. In there were a few articles carefully cut from newspapers and magazines. She searched and found an article that was dated 13-June-1930. Her worst nightmares had now come to life...the heading on the newspaper cutting read ''Two people massacred in the dark". Emma slid down the wall and her eyes were wide with fear... Was that what Emma's grandmother was talking about? The mistake...But it seemed so surreal. What was the connection between the key and the killing of her parents? Emma kicked her nightstand in annoyance. Why didn't her grandmother ever mention this when she was alive? How did she expect Emma to save them when they were already dead? Emma looked at the ceiling and bellowed "What does this key lead to?" She cupped her face and after hearing a soft voice behind her, spun around. A woman, whose whole body was transparent, smiled at her. She had silver hair and was feebly holding on to a wooden cane that was also transparent. Emma was awestruck and she whispered, “Grandma?” The old woman smiled and nodded at her. She gestured Emma to follow her. Emma stumbled and tried to assist her grandmother but when she tried gripping her waist, her hand slipped and it was
as though her hand had plunged into an icy bucket. Surely, she was dreaming...this couldn't be true...her grandmother? But she was dead...Emma followed her in silence and her grandmother led her to a door that as far as she knew...had never been opened in living memory.
Emma gradually withdrew the key from her breast pocket and fumbled with the key before carefully placing it in the lock and twisting it anti clockwise until she heard a click. As soon as she stepped inside, she felt a jerk and her body began spinning. She felt dizzy but soon regained her consciousness. The room was extremely dusty with spider webs hanging from the ceiling. It was also the biggest room in the house. Emma's mouth was hanging open and her grandmother spoke to her in a strong voice "Emma, We have traveled in time to the night your parents died and I shall explain everything in due course, please sit down" Emma sank on the nearest couch. Emma's grandmother cleared her throat and spoke in a voice full of confidence "I suppose you have many questions. I will allow you to ask all of them but before that, let me tell you a story about the biggest blunder of my life. It was the year 1923, a young man called Rhys lived in this very town. His reputation was rotten and so was his family's. They were known for cold blooded murders and everyone feared them. I never did. He was in love with your mother and I knew he wouldn't quit badgering her, hence, I arranged for her to get married to a middle class man who was our neighbor at that time. It was a happy marriage and they gave birth to you after three years. You and I were really close and spent most of our time together. Unfortunately, we could only spend five years together as a year after your parents' murder, I died from a cardiac arrest. When you were four, your parents were killed and I believe that the person responsible for Andrew and Emily's murder was the same person who was in love with Emily" There was a stunned silence...Emma's voice quivered when she spoke "What was the...mistake?" Her grandmother replied in a choked voice, "I woke up when I heard muffled footsteps and urgent whispering, with a rifle in my hand I opened my bedroom door when I saw you run to yours. I saw the masked figures kick their door down. I shot one of them but it missed his abdomen by several feet. He was swifter than me and before I knew it, your parents were dead, I want you to prevent what happened on the night of 13th-June-1930" Emma was at a loss of what to reply. She had so many unanswered questions. After a long silence she asked "When did you write that letter and how come we have traveled in time?" Her grandmother smiled weakly and said, "Our family is capable of travelling in time through this door since many generations and I wrote you that letter because I knew that I couldn't survive for a long time. Only you can save them Emma"
Her grandmother opened the door and gestured Emma to lead the way. She replied to Emma's surprised look by "in fifteen minutes your parents will lose their lives and I need you to kill the intruders before they have a chance to kill your parents, I can't do it because I'm just a memory and you can easily do it as they will not be able to see you, good luck Emma" Emma carefully positioned herself in front of a cupboard in her parents' bedroom and as soon as she heard voices, she loaded the rifle and the last thing she remembered before the door swung open was agonizing pain...Her grandmother's bullet shot twelve years ago, went straight to her chest, piercing her heart and within seconds, she was dead just like her unfortunate parents.
~You cannot change your fate