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 Ellee Cooper 

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I Open the Book…

 

I close my eyes. I take a deep breath, slowly steadying my heart hammering vigorously against my ribcage. I inhale a sharp intake of breath, the musty, yet not unwelcome, the scent of books and ageing wood shooting up my nostrils.

 

Subconsciously, the tip of my nimble finger runs along the length of the gathered pages, my nail caressing the smooth yet cutting surface of their edges. Until I feel a gap. A dent in the neat pile held together securely, firmly at the spine. I’ve found it.

 

I take another deep breath before I finally bury the tip of my nail in the gap. Hooking the tip of my finger underneath, with a flick, I open the book. The pages flip open all at once and my palm darts beneath to support the other half of the book. There it is. An old grey key covered in rust. Although ugly of colour, as most would think, though I believe it’s beautiful and unique, the handle takes a sleek, yet old-fashioned, antique shape. The handle curves three times at the arc like it was shaped with a shell inside it. Embedded into each curve is several delicate, thin lines to add detail. Engraved on the shaft of the key is a collection of tiny scribbles which form a sentence that’s hard to make out.

My brow furrows in concentration as I slide one hand along the book’s cover to hold the spine whilst the other moves up from underneath, scooping up the key. I move the key further from the book and closer to my line of vision. Slowly but surely, the words grow bigger, become clearer. Finally, the sentence is clear enough to read.

 

I open what no man can unlock.

 

It looks like I’ve got what I’ve been searching for.

 

For almost a decade, I have been searching for the answer. Now I hold in my hand not only the answer but the solution. I can finally retrieve what I thought was lost forever to me.

 

Who knew such a small, antique, less-than-picturesque key kept so much power locked away?