Three Word Wednesday, "The Key"

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are figure, juicy and stress. Short piece this week, as I’m working on a longer piece, and sending out two others to literary magazines.


The Key
A cheery jangle of silver precedes my mother’s entry into the kitchen.

She pushes my hair back from the scalp and tiny charms tickle my flesh as she plants a sloppy mom kiss on my forehead. She angles for the coffeemaker, her wrist a clicky soundtrack of happiness.

Most of my friend’s moms, they wear a string of pearls or maybe a big, fat diamond necklace.

My mother wouldn’t be caught dead without that charm bracelet, a chunky band of silver with all sorts of little silver charms hooked to it. A dog, to represent our golden, Murray; a house, which actually looks like the place we live in; a little silver boy. You know, stuff important to her life.

But what confuses me is a single tiny key near the clasp. It’s not silver, but brass and looks like one of those old-fashioned skeleton keys you need to get into our attic, just a lot smaller.

The brass is shiny, but looks totally out of place, especially next to all that silver. She polishes the whole thing weekly, always taking special care with the key. You can tell it’s really old, and she fingers it lovingly between her thumb and index finger when she’s all stressed out.

The only thing I can figure is that it has something to do with the polished mahogany box that’s sorta hidden in the drawer where she keeps her bras and underwear and stuff. I asked my dad about it once, but he just gave me this weird smile and asked if I’d finished my homework.

Curiosity finally gets the best of me. I wait until mom takes the bracelet off to shower and rush to the drawer and try the key on the box.

The lid pops open with a slight turn.

Inside is a juicy, beating human heart. Its beat cadence rises to a electric thump as I hear my mother’s footsteps on the bathroom tile, heading this way.

“It’s your father’s,” she says quietly from the door frame, so as not to startle me. “He gave it to me on the night we met. He’s sentimental like that.”

26 comments:

Evelyn Morris said...

That last line is so good, I remember it from the last time you published this piece.

VL Sheridan said...

How romantic, in a sick and twisted way. I was afraid it would be something horrible in the box.

Kim Nelson said...

Oh My Heck, Thom! You made me dry aloud. Terrific write!

oldegg said...

An intriguing tale heading for the sentimental become both peculiar and touching at the same time. Well written.

Fear Not the Darkness but What lies Within said...

Sheilagh Lee said: oooh the last bit surprised me. Wonderful story!

Donna Hole said...

A well built drama. Romance can be brutal though. Sheesh ..

.......dhole

Ramesh Sood said...

Lovley...you have a way to create..and develop.. leaving the reader thinking..

And thanks for th eprompts this time.. I loved writing some truth based on them.. God bless, ThomG..

Old Altonian said...

Whoa back there! This one ended as a surprise, but romantically so, in a weird way. You're not related to David Lynch, are you?
I like this a lot!

shail said...

Whoa! That was unexpected. Wel done as always.

Jay Thurston said...

Sentimental and twisted all in one. The reader was taken in to his curiosity.

Maybe she should have opted for entire bronze jewelry so that it would not stick out. Accessorizing. Ha ha.

Nico said...

Well done--very unique way to portray a marriage!

jaerose said...

A little more than just a heart-shaped box..as always you transported me fully into the scene and left me with a jangling feeling of curiosity..Jae

Nanka said...

The sting was at the end of the tale!!
Weird twisted tale!!
Enjoyed reading as it was coasting along.

sharplittlepencil said...

Thom, you are one I can always count on to surprise me. Creeeeeepy as hell ending, and excellent take on the prompt.

Do expand and submit!! Peace, Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/finally-fit-3ww-abc/

Grandma's Goulash said...

Romantic and creepy - what a combo - and so well done. I won't forget this one anytime soon.

My 3WW: The Good Life

Christine said...

I think Tim Burton could make something out of this story.

ms pie said...

oh so very deceptively charming and so subtle... with that beating heart i can't help but to think of poe's story... or the adams family.. natasha and gomez romance..

Tony Noland said...

Terrific build up, Thom. I too was reminded of the Poe story.

LeiffyV said...

Oh dear... Now this I didn't see coming. Makes me wonder what the other charms on the bracelet are meant for or if there's another bracelet with keys on it... hmmmm.

Great work, looks like you caught a lot of people off guard too!

groundtoground.org said...

Great writing mate. Don't find it that good too often.

trisha said...

this was a shocker thom. i did not expected the ending!

trisha
http://sharmishthabasu.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/stress/

Elizabeth said...

As a mother, I have to say, that's what you get for peeking in Mom's personal stuff. I loved the ending,

Elizabeth

Dee Martin said...

that would deter any little boy from misbehavior!

I get shivers thinking about him standing there looking at the jewelry box and then hearing his mom's voice from behind...much worse than getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar...

lightverse said...

Totally ewwww but totally aaaaah - all at the same time. (It's kind of sick but kind of sweet,) I have to say, I was waiting for a surprise ending - and you sure provided it! A terrific read!

Ren Thompson said...

My perverted mind thought of something else entirely LOL

I love the twist at the end :)

rmpWritings said...

i had the feeling it was the key to someones heart, just didn't expect it to be so literal.