First flash fiction of February is here! The prompt was the words key and theater. Read on and share your own work!
I remember that golden key well. It used to lie in a tiny wooden box on a tiny pillow, glistening as the afternoon sun hit the shelf. Grandpa never touched it and he wasn’t pleased when my grubby hands reached for it either. But he told stories. Many, many stories that brought a spark in his eyes brighter than polished gold.
My five-year-old eyes would widen at his stories of a place where magic ruled and people wore several faces. There were knights, he said, and princesses. Singers and dancers. And in that place, that kingdom of amazement, magic was so potent that simply witnessing the many adventures could bring a tear in your eye or a smile on your face.
“You were there?” I always asked. “You saw it?”
“With my own two eyes!”
It was a land I desperately wanted to visit and Grandpa promised to take me once I was old enough to handle the exciting — and sometimes frightening — incidents. I looked forward to it.
It sounded like such an odd place. There were stories that could’ve happened anywhere, even right where we lived, and the heroes and heroines were ordinary to boot. Then there were stories with dragons and fairies, and people turning to animals. Could all this exist in the same land?
The answer was the same despite how many times I voiced my disbelief:
“With my own two eyes!”
I couldn’t wait but the right time kept eluding us. See, locking up magic with a golden key led to a lack of miracles in this land — our land — and we never had the chance to brace the dragons together.
No one even tried to tell the same stories after Grandpa. The key was forgotten in the box that eventually grew a thick coat of dust.
I got the key years later when its pair, a golden lock, had already cracked. The doors to the land of magic and wonders were closed. All I could find were old, faded posters and ticket stubs.
But I never forgot those stories. I never forgot that key.
I kept the key in my pocket for a long time, even when I walked on to the stage. It kept a piece of him with me and that piece only seemed to grow whenever I looked down at the crowd and recognized that yearning for just a dash of magic to transport them into another world, another time.
Once I saw a small child in the crowd. She seemed overwhelmed by everything around her and later on I saw her alone in the hallway, tears in her eyes. While the others searched for her parents, I told her about all the magic that surrounded her. I told her she might return another day to find everything changed.
To stall her tears, I showed her the golden key. Her eyes widened and sparkled in a way I hadn’t seen in years.
“Come and see,” I told her and her parents once they arrived. “Come and see with your own eyes.”
I never saw her in the theater again but I believe the magic lives on, somewhere. Maybe when I’m too old to recount all these stories, she’ll pass them on to someone whose eyes still burn with the same passion.
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