The Locked Door

Submitted into Contest #130 in response to: Write a story titled ‘The Locked Door.’... view prompt

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Adventure Crime Horror

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

The Locked Door

“No!” Kelly screamed as she kicked her attacker in the face, bloodying his mouth. He had been lying in wait for her and attacked her from the backseat of her car as she got in the driver’s seat. He has jammed a syringe full of something into her neck before she had opened the door and stumbled out of the car. 

Stay awake, even if you have to crawl. Keep fighting. She kept telling herself. You know what is happening, but why? Is this him? Is it the stalker or this the key killer you have been chasing for months or is some random crazy guy you pissed off? All likely options. The longer things go on, the more the meds overtake me and the harder it is to fight back. 

He is very strong and knocks me to ground my head is bleeding, pounding. That is not helping me focus. “No, not yet my pet. I do have plans for you oh so many plans, but we have so many others to entertain first. It’s not your turn, but I did need to let both of you know that I can get to you and if you don’t back off the Key Killer Case it will cost you dearly. I am leaving here for him to find in this pitiful, helpless state. Back off or you will both get much worse.” The muscular man jabs another syringe into her thigh and then caresses her face, neck and chest with his hand. As his hand reaches down my body, she has just enough strength to reach up and scratch him.  He brings his hand across her face violently and the meds completely overtake her. Kelly loses consciousness completely and he has ultimate control of her body.

The mysterious phone call from the Key Killer brought me out to the parking lot of our office. Nothing could have prepared me for the sight before my eyes. I took a deep breath a tried to focus, knowing this is how Kelly must have felt last week seeing him.  The Key Killer had attacked him in his car, leaving him unconscious and handcuffed to the steering wheel. He beaten Jason severely and given him a warning similar to the one he had just given Kelly.  Backing off was not an option for either of them.  They never quit and never stopped until they solved the case and they were not about to start with this one.

A few months ago, they had started noticing a very uptick in the number of murders in the city, but none of them seemed related. All different methods of abduction, killing, and disposal.  Jason and Kelly couldn’t help but feel like they were somehow connected. The local police and FBI, whom they had always had a good working relationship with in the past, even they were PI’s, weren’t sold on this and didn’t want to see the rise in crime before the summer tourist season. That would be bad for business and since Covid had hit last year, they needed this summer to be a good one.  The city was hurting, people were losing their businesses, and the last thing they needed was more panic. 

A month later, they could no later ignore the evidence, the murder was climbing and whether the deaths were related or not, they needed them solved and stopped immediately so they began working with Jason and Kelly.

A young man’s scream brought Jason back to the present and the sight of his partner. Kelly was unconscious, bleeding, badly beaten, laying out on a bed of black roses. She was laid out like she was in a coffin. She had keys around her with one extra special thing attached. There was a bomb attached to her with a note. Let the timer run out and no harm will come to her or anyone else. Try to disarm it or touch her before time is up and she dies and so does everyone around her. I told you both to back off of this case and you refused. She is paying the price. Quit now while you still can.

The Key Killer 

“Are you kidding me? If you think that I am going to….”

“Jason, look he hooked her up to a monitor. We can see her heartbeat and pulse ox. Neither are what I would like for them to be, but do you think he’s kidding…. He did blow up your car last week and she barely got you out, remember?” 

Jason stopped for a minute and looked at Sean, who they also called “Doc.” They had hired him part time when the attacks became more frequent and needing medical care became a more normal thing. 

“One more piece of advice, coming from your doctor and friend, will you please tell Kelly that you are still in love with her? I have seen the longing and lusty way you look at her when you think no one watching. I will give you hint.  She loves you, too.  She is just scared of getting her heart broken again. Kelly is strong and tough, but she loves you, she is just afraid to show it. Both of you have been in horrible shape, half dead on my table in these last two weeks. I pray that nothing happens to either of you, but if it did, wouldn’t you want to know you gave her everything?” Sean asked seriously.

“You’re right. As soon as I know she’s all right and she wakes up from whatever he dosed her with, I will tell her. It’s just always been kind of hard to have a relationship in between finding=g missing people, catching cheating spouses, and locking up killers.  It doesn’t exactly set the mood you know. “

The chime of timer interrupted both of their thoughts and they rushed to Kelly.  Jason touched her head, felt her neck, and then leaned over whispering,” love you, Kel” in her ear. 

Then he put on gloves and started individually bagging the keys that had been laid around her as Doc began getting her ready for transport. 

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Once they were inside the trauma room, Doc drew blood, put oxygen on, scanned her body for internal injuries, and then put in the IV.  The bad news is he broke two of her ribs, the good news she has no internal bleeding. Kelly has a concussion, a score of other bruises, and she will be in a great deal of pain for weeks, but she will live. I will want to keep her for twenty-four hours for observation after she wakes up depending on the shape she is in. Sean turned around and picked up a sheet of paper off of the machine, bloodwork is back.  “Wow. It is a miracle she is alive. She was hit with Ketamine, doses large enough for an elephant. She must have kept struggling, so he kept dosing her not realizing this stuff takes a little to take its full effect sometimes. I would guess she is not going to be waking up for a while.” Sean said with concern. 

Sean kept checking on her, every fifteen minutes or so, but nothing changed. She was completely unresponsive.  Jason was growing increasingly worried. “Can you give her something to wake her up?” he quizzed.

“I can, but would rather not mix anything with all that he already gave her. It is dangerous and best if I don’t.  I will give her twenty-four hours. If there is no change, I will try the meds. I know you are worried. Honestly, so I am I.  I thought she would at least be stirring by now. But she did take quite a hit. And neither of you has been sleeping well. Those bunks at the office aren’t very comfy so it is not totally surprising.” 

Jason and Sean took turns holding Kelly’s hand and stroking her hair. Jason was in with her when she started to stir for the first time. She woke up trying feebly to swing at him and screaming,” No, get off of me!!!”

“Kelly, Kel, look at me, listen to my voice. I know it’s hard, but try and focus. It’s Jason.  You are safe.”

It took her a few minutes for his words to register, but as soon they did. Kelly calmed down and her eyes fluttered open.  Speaking was hard at first, but she kept trying. Kelly was desperately trying to relay the message the Key Killer had given her.  

“Sean, need Sean. I scratched him. The Key Killer, I scratched him. Scrape my nails and run and the DNA. “

Sean had heard the commotion from my waking up and was already in their checking on me. When he heard what, I said he left the room and came back. He was holding a rape kit. 

“Wait, I don’t need that, do I? Tears started rolling down her cheeks. When I was knocked did he….

“No, oh No, it’s the only thing I have collects nail scraping right now. I am so sorry I scared you. No. Let me have your hand.” Sean said reassuringly. 

I handed him my left hand and then my right, both of which had multiple scrapes and cuts from the fight. Sean scraped from my nails and then Jason came in with the latest keys. One had a small saw on it and the other had a small bucket on it. 

“What could they mean? The other keys he sent were all different. These are the exact same type of key, but not completely identical and then they all have a different charm on them. It has to mean something. It always does with freaks like this.” Kelly said struggling to focus, speak and sit up. 

 Jason helped her sit up and lean against him and then he said,” In the beginning, he would send a key and an address. He rotated sending them to us, the police and FBI. Whoever got the key would go to the address, use the key to unlock the door and find his victim.  Then we all began getting more and more anonymous tips, finding bodies in all kinds of places, murdered in all different ways crossing gender and age boundaries. None of it made sense. The number of murder victims has continued to increase with no apparent pattern. What do have a secret murder convention in town?”

“Any other theories as what could be going on?” Sean asked

Kelly had fallen back asleep and it was several more hours before she woke up again.  When she did she told them what the Key Killer had told her about they had others to entertain first, but they were coming for them. 

“So we are looking for more than one killer, honestly based on the sheer number of victims and differential ways of killing, I would guess ten or more killers, but I know the odds of that are about a hundred million to one. All of the keys that are similar, but with different charms on them, what if they each go to a different door, all in the one building? Like an office park or something?” Kelly suggested. 

“What so the serial killers all got together and rented an office building for their group killing parties? Do you know how crazy that sounds?”

“Ok, I will give it is a far-fetched theory. Anybody have a better one? Have we gotten any trace off of any of the keys to give us any ideas where they might have come from or more importantly where they might lead to?”

“I did find trace amounts of iron and copper on a few of them.  Didn’t they an old copper mine by the edge of town near Hudson Park?”

“Yeah and for a while after it was an iron refinery. That place is definitely not your place though.  It burned down a few years ago.” Jason reminded them.

Kelly got dressed with Jason’s help after a final checkup from Sean. “You need to take it easy for a while, even though I know you won’t.”

 “Last month we found all of the victims within two to four days of the fifteenth of the month.  What about the month before that?” Jason asked 

“Yeah, thank you so much for everything Sean, but these guys don’t get to win. Not now, not ever. Same thing. Okay, There’s our pattern, at least the start of one. It’s the thirteen the so now so we have two days to try and find these creeps if the pattern holds. We have all of these keys and what else?” Kelly 

“We found that odd on-line Open House website that a few of the victims has printed flyers for on their pockets when they died. What if that wasn’t an Open House in the traditional sense, but an open invitation to the other killers in the areas that the Key Killer’s place was going to be open for them to use that night?” Jason theorized. 

“Now, who sounds crazy?” Kelly asked. “Speaking of crazy, do you all smell that? “ 

It was too late though. The office was flooded with gas. Jason, Kelly and Sean began to choke as they struggled to breathe. They tried crawling on the floor towards the outside door, but all of them collapsed before they made it. 

Kelly and Sean awoke hours later to alone, to find Jason gone and this note left behind. 

This game has been fun, but now it must end. Catch me if you can and might be able to save him. Come my pet, it is your turn now. Hurry Kelly or you will be too late to love him or save him. 

There was a larger key attached to the note. 

“Sean we have to go and get him.  This is his end game. We have to take the keys and figure which room he has Jason in. Grab the keys. I’m getting my gun.” Kelly said as she tried to stand up. Sean was climbing up and getting the keys. The fresh air outside helped to push the gas out of their bodies and clear their heads so they could drive.

When they got there, Kelly called for backup. She looked around puzzled as there was not building that replaced the one that had burnt down all those years ago. Nothing. There was nothing here, until we found the locked door to the bunker. The key fit the locked door perfectly. 

Nothing could have prepared us for we were about to encounter below inside the locked door.  The first door we came to had the medical symbol on it.  We quickly found the key with the matching charm and unlocked the door. Inside were every type of medical device you could imagine and many you didn’t want to imagine being used in the torture and murder of people. The pictures of the walls depicted despicable and unspeakable acts.  I suddenly felt sick as I understood what was going on. Sean’s look said he understood as well. 

These keys unlocked different rooms were different killers, murdered their victims in their preferred method. We unlocked a few more and confirmed our theory. Jason was afraid of water so we went to the room with the water on it. We used the key, slowly opened the door and found him being repeatedly drowned in a tank of water. I threw my knife, cutting the rope that was holding him up. Sean Jumped into the tank to help him out, while Kelly took aim at the Key Killer. She took aim and hit him twice in his chest. He toppled to the ground with blood spilling everywhere. 

Sean had gotten Jason out of the tank as the Key Killer was sputtering his last words, “I am so glad you both finally got to see the place.” Then he drew his last breath.  

Kelly wrapped Jason up, loading him onto the gurney. Before he left she said, “I have been waiting for the perfect moment, but as this is as perfect as it gets for us. I love you.” Kelly said kissing him boldly on the lips.

“I love you, too.” Jason replied returning her kiss.

“It’s about time. Now does anyone know which key opens that last locked door?” 

Kelly looked at the lock, pulled out the key she had used to open the bunker door. It fit. she unlocked the door and they were all taken to a new level of horror as they saw all of the killers very first kills posed as if they were at a macabre party. No one could say anything. We just walked out in shock and terror. 

When she got back to her car, she saw a box and when she opened there was a key like to the others, but with no charm on it, just a note that read. This is your key for you to explore your own room. I regret that I did not get to take you in there and make use of it. I stared at the key, but then curiosity got the better of me and I went back in that den of horror alone to the room number on the key. 

Kelly put the key in the locked door and turned it ever so slowly unsure she was really ready to face what was in there. When the door released and revealed what The Key Killer had planned for her, she gasped and fell to the floor. That room had everything she feared the most in this world, in it. True to his word, every type of torture was what he had planned.  Kelly would never be able to un-see or forget the images of that room.  That was her locked door. She wished now that she had never turned the key. 

January 24, 2022 19:53

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3 comments

Tiffany Morse
12:13 Feb 01, 2022

Thank you so much, Kate. That is very helpful and I will make it more clear next time. Your comments were clear and very helpful. I am very thankful for you and what you said. I try to to keep you guessing. Yes, I was thinking what would be behind a locked door and what would be something horrid for a detective to find. The last part is kind for you to think about and just let your imagination run wild, just for a moment. Thank you again, Kate.

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Kate Winchester
19:31 Feb 03, 2022

You’re welcome ☺️ I’m glad my comments were helpful! Ok cool, I will fill in my own blanks for Kelly.

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Kate Winchester
03:43 Feb 01, 2022

I really liked the excitement and the idea behind your story. The beginning had me hooked. I got a little confused at first as to who’s who and what was happening. I reread it some and that helped. Just be careful because you switch from first person to third and sometimes first is Kelly and sometimes it’s Jason. Anyway, I hope this critique is helpful because I really did like your story. I like the way you revealed that Kelly wasn’t raped because when we last see her, the antagonist has his hands on her. When I read rape kit, I had an “oh...

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