Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Escape (01/02/06)
TITLE: The Treasure Key
By Shannon Redmon
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My stepmother’s face held an air of stubborn victory as she saw the tears glimmer in my eyes.
“Then maybe you should have thought about that before you decided to talk to that vagrant friend of yours. Really Lydia, we have a status in the community that does not allow us to associate with just anyone. Maybe a few nights in the darkness is just what you need.”
The heavy door closed with a thud and announced my imprisonment with the click of the lock. I stumbled my way to the tall Victorian bed and let my tears stain the satin pillow.
“Why God…why? Why did he have to die? I loved him so much…
My sobs choked my prayers as I thought of my father. He would hold me, when I was little girl, wipe away my tears and sing till I was smiling again. He knew how to take my pain away.
My lips parted as the notes escaped from my mouth easing my heartache. It seemed liked hours had passed when a stream of light from the door interrupted my melody.
“Lydia? Is that ya’ singin?
I knew from the outline of the small frame, my younger stepbrother had entered the room. Little Jay didn’t inherit the evil ways of his mother. His heart always reached out to help people including me.
“Yes Jay. Shut the door behind you.”
“Yes Mam.” His heel kicked at the door. “I brought ya’ somethin’.”
He pulled out an oil lamp from behind his back allowing its light to sooth away the darkness.
“Thank you so much Jay. What a sweet lad you are. It will make my nights here so much better.”
“Are you cryin’ for your daddy?”
“Yes Jay. I miss my father very much.”
“I miss him too. He made my mamma happy. She wasn’t this mean when he was alive. I would come visit him up here and he would read me stories out of the Bible. He kept it in that cupboard over there.”
My eyes followed Jay’s stubby finger pointing to an old washstand with cabinets in the bottom. I crossed the room and tugged at its doors.
“It’s locked. Do you know if there is a key to open it?” My heart began to beat faster at the thought of reading my father’s Bible.
“Sure. I’ll go get it for ya’.”
It didn’t take long for Jay to return with the small key.
“I can’t stay Lydia. Mamma says I have to go to bed and I would get a beatin’ if she knew I wuz here visitin’ you.”
“Its okay, Jay. Maybe you could come for a little while tomorrow and I will read you a story.”
His face broke into a smile.
“You betcha, Lydia! I’ll sneak away while mamma takes her nap.”
The door locked behind him.
“Too bad this key doesn’t fit the door, then I could escape without involving little Jay.”
I opened my fist and stared at the small instrument. It didn’t look like much but the treasure it kept would help me through this lonely time. I placed the key in the lock but the rust made it difficult to turn.
“Come on, you bloody thing!”
The sheer force of my words seemed to cause the lock to give way and I peered into the cupboard. The lamplight revealed an inch of dust but nothing else.
The emptiness puzzled me for I knew Jay would not lie. He had proved to be an honest boy in the past.
I brought the lamp closer and began to run my handkerchief across the wood. The pure, white cloth turned a dull gray from the filthiness. My final swipe exposed another small lock in the bottom of the cabinet. I pulled out the key from my pocket and inserted it into the opening. A small compartment slid aside revealing the black book.
I clutched it to my chest and settled into a chair. The light of the lamp illumined God’s Word and I knew that my imprisonment would be a blessing…for the only escape I needed now were the words of my Father.
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