Today’s Thirty in Thirty post is the start of what I hope may turn into a short story. So far in my practice of learning to write short fiction, I am creating lots of interesting beginnings. Now I just need to figure out how to go on from there.  I guess it is all part of the process.

The envelope contained a brass key worn smooth by age and use. The wrinkled tag attached to the key contained some indecipherable scribbles in faded, water smeared script. Annie turned the tag over to the other side. The number 8 was scrawled there and nothing else. Annie looked up at the bent, old man standing at her door who had delivered the key. “Why did you bring me this?” she asked.“What is it for?”

The old man shrugged, gave her a thin-lipped smile. “ You are Annie, right?”

At her nod he winked one of his bright blue eyes at her. “You’ll figure it out.” Then he turned and scampered off the porch with more energy than Annie would have credited to him. “But…” she looked back down at the key in her hand. It gave a sort of pulse and got warmer. When she looked back up the man was nowhere in sight.

Annie looked in both directions up the street but the old man was gone. What an odd ting to happen so early on a Monday morning. What could this possibly mean? She frowned and started at the key trying to decide what it might go to. It looked like a house key but it was not quite large enough. Could it be to a trunk or…

 

The whistle of the tea kettle pulled her from her musings. She shoved the key into her jeans’ pocket and dashed to the kitchen as she heard the unmistakable sound of the kettle boiling over on the stove.

 

After wiping up the sputters from the teakettle, Annie took her mug of Earl Grey to her desk in the corner of the kitchen. She retrieved the key from her pocket and placed it in front of her. It was old-fashioned looking like something from a vintage shop. A desk key perhaps? She turned the tag over and considered the number. What was the meaning of the eight?

 

She rotated the tag and gave a gasp. It wasn’t an eight at all. It was the sign for infinity. “Of course,” she said. “ It’s been a long time.”