Flash Fiction Friday – Keeper of the Keys

A bit of an older piece I’ve written, not sure how I feel about it to be honest

Keys by @jasondeblooisphotography of Unsplash

She was never sure if she was a finder of lost keys or the collector of lost keys. Collector at least meant that she as looking after them for someone else. Finder just meant that they were lost, and no one might even come to claim them. 

The interesting thing to her was that each key had a little, color to it? Was it color? It was more like a type of shine, something that glowed above the key. And the color to that was as if there was soap in the water, something with rainbows and patterns to it. Or at least, it was interesting to her. She didn’t know anyone else that could see it. 

So as she went about life, she found them – dropped between the cushions of couches in the furniture stores, laying on the ground near wherever she had parked for the day, disguised as jewelry when she went looking for new clothes at the thrift store. She wasn’t sure what to do with them, or even if she should do something with them. 

Her boyfriend suggested that she open a shop and sell them. She discarded that idea almost immediately. She had a feeling that she shouldn’t try to sell these. But she couldn’t keep them either, because then she’d be hoarding them, and would one day die a lonely death in her house because the keys had buried her. 

And when she took photos of them, that color didn’t show up at all, like she was the only one that could see it. That settled it though – she thought of these keys are magical, and so she really wasn’t sure what she was going to do with them. 

The keys did have one good thing about them – they introduced her to the world of antiques, to negotiations behind closed doors, fights over who got the best table at the market, and recognizing the colorful flourish of the  amount of money written on the silent auction above you, then taking great pleasure in making sure that your rival didn’t get the item that they wanted. 

And it was in her store one day that someone came in – and she saw the chain and padlock around their neck. 

She chatted with them, and the lady seemed lovely enough. She came back, came back, and came back, and it was on the fourth of fifth visit that the truth came out. She muzzled her own words to make sure that everyone around her felt good. 

The keeper understood that. But it also meant that the woman couldn’t tell the truth. And that part was hurting her relationships, ruining all of the goodwill that she had made by holding her tongue in the first place. 

She knew what she needed to do. She brought the old lady in the back, telling her about some items that could be sold as is, but just hadn’t been priced yet. She smiled when the old lady barely looked over the keys, but then fastened on one in particular. It was a tarnished gold, with a small lattice of burnt umber on top of it. When she’d found it, she’d honestly thought it looked ugly, but since it held that particular shine, she’d scooped it up, cleaned it, and put it in her collection. 

She knew it’d been the right thing to do when the old woman picked it up, and the shiny color arced into her, breaking apart the padlock around her neck as though it had never been there. She wanted to buy it, and since there was no longer anything special about it, she sold it for $3, along with a lampshade with sheep on it. 

The other problems began to trickle in, and locks appeared on many more people than she’d ever thought

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