Monday, September 27, 2010

The Key

This is a little story I wrote from a writing prompt that only gave me the first line. I could have done more with the story but the goal was to remain under 1000 words. I think it turned out ok.

Alice tried to remember who had given her the key. It was a little key compared to most so she was sure it wasn’t for a house or car. There were no inscriptions, no artsy detail, nothing to clue her in on its origin. Alice decided to save the key for further inspection later. She put her hand in the small box her grandfather had built for years before to hold all her precious memories. She pulled out a blue marble. The marble she remembered.

The summer she turned thirteen was a special year in her memory. That was the year that her family went to Yellowstone National Park for a family vacation. The first and only trip they took as a family And that was the summer she met Alan McCormick. Alan moved into the house across from her grandpa Mike. Grandpa Mike lived on Elm, three streets over and Alice was allowed to ride her bike to Grandpa Mike’s but no further. Alice always thought that was a stupid rule.

Alan was the same age as she was but he was a good six inches taller. He had shaggy brown hair and was the cutest boy that Alice had ever seen in her whole life. His dad didn’t live with them and his mom worked days so Alan would spend most of his day hanging out in Grandpa Mike’s garage helping him tinker around with Grandpa Mike’s hot rod.

On one particularly hot day Alice was visiting her Grandpa Mike when Alan showed up. “Why don’t you kids go down to the store and pick me a quart of oil,” he said wiping his greasy hands on a red towel.

“I’m not allowed Grandpa,” Alice said quietly.

“Well, if I tell you to go then I think it’s alright. If your mother has issue with it she can take it up with me. And while you’re at it you can stop in that ice cream place and get you a scoop too. My treat.” Alice beamed. She loved their plain vanilla ice cream.

At the Redman Shoppe, where Alice and Alan stopped for ice cream, Alice’s least favorite person, Lisa Brown stepped up beside Alice. “That your new boyfriend?” she asked in the most annoying voice possible after Alan left to wash his hands.

“Go away, Lisa.”

“Obviously he’s not or you would’ve said so.” Lisa smirked.

“You know what, Lisa. Yes he is. Now, go away!”

“I think you’re lying.”


“Hi, I’m Lisa!” She said over Alice’s shoulder. “You’re Alice’s new boyfriend, right?” Alan walked around and sat down across from Alice.

“Yep,” he flashed Lisa a bright smile and turned back to Alice and ignoring Lisa. “Oh, I almost forgot, I got you something.” Alan dug into his pocket and produced the bright blue marble. “it’s almost the same shade of blue as your eyes.”

Lisa made a loud sound and stomped away.

“Thank you, you didn’t have to do that.”

Alan grabbed Alice’s wrist, turned her hand palm side up and dropped the marble, “I really did think of you when I saw it and I want you to have it.”

Alice closed her fingers over the marble tightly, that day Alan held Alice’s hand as they walked back to Grandpa Mike’s.

Alice smiled as she set the marble aside. Next she pulled a pressed four leaf clover that Alan had given her the day before she took her driver’s test. A spark plug from when Alan showed her how to change them in her old Camaro and the dried corsage from senior prom found their way out of the box too.

“What you doin?” a voice asked from behind her.

“Just digging in my box,” she replied.

“Find anything interesting?”

“Everything in my box is interesting. Even this key I don’t seem to remember from before.”

“Let me see,” Alan reached out for the key and studied it for a moment. “I know what this key is to,” he finally said. “Come with me.”

Alan and Alice walked over to his house waving at Grandpa Mike who was in his garage. “Hey Mom!” Alan called out as they walked past the kitchen. Together they walked into Alan’s room and over to his bookshelf where a small wooden box sat. “This is what the key goes to,” Alan told her and handed her the box.

Alice turned the box over in her hand. “Where did you get this?” Alice asked.

“Just open the box,” he whispered.

Alice stuck the key in the hole and turned it. The lid popped open and inside, nestled in a bed of black silk lay a simple diamond ring. Alice looked up into Alan’s gleaming eyes. “You have the key to my heart. Will you marry me?”

Exactly ten years from the day they met Alice Michaels and Alan McCormick were wed in a small service in Grandpa Mike’s back yard. After the ceremony Alice put the key back into her memory box with all her other precious memories.