[Original] The Mysterious Key

The Mysterious Key

Alice tried to remember who had given her the key.  It was an old key, covered in years of dust and full of what felt like neglect.  The young girl stood in front of an ornately decorated door with an equally neglected lock closing it off from the very world it lived in.  It was a massive door carved with ancient beasts of olden times.  It was located in the centre of a forest, lovingly embraced by tendrils of the greenest ivy Alice had ever laid eyes upon.

She placed her hand upon the door and felt a strange power.   A vision of unknown creatures that left her wondering how such fantastic beasts could be forgotten so early.  How could they be?  Was it the flight and fancy of her people that had desired to lock them away behind this oversized door?   A thousand questions burned in her mind as she traced the carvings upon their gate.

She could feel their tale forming in her mind.

It was a thousand years ago, maybe more.  Alice wasn’t a strong scholar when it came to history so she could only guess at the date.  At any rate, a great battle was being waged by the humans of her village and the beasts who lived within the forest that blanketed the countryside in shades of green and gold.  The furies with their snake-like hair and misshapen faces desired to live off the land as they had always done.  The humans of the tiny village needed to expand and it became necessary to clear the land.

In the beginning, the furies and humans lived in harmony by taking only what they needed.  However, as time went on and a new generation took over, they became a village full of greed and deceit.  They would take whatever they pleased and left nothing for the poor furies.  Tales were spun that scare small children and keep them out of the forest.  These tales worked for many more generations after they were first told.

Eventually, these kindly creatures grew tired of the human’s greed and began taking action.  One by one, children would disappear from the village.  The furies would lure the bored children into the forest, promising to tell them stories of the trees or play the most fantastic of games with them.  Little did the parents know that their children were so enthralled with the furies that they would follow them back to their home and never return.

The land of the furies was a happy one, full of joy and love.  The village the missing children came from grew fearful and ridiculous tales of the furies having the faces of dogs and hair made of living snakes spread far and wide.  The hysteria in the town itself inspired the men to take action.  They marched into the forest after the last child who was following a furie back to their home and that was where they came upon the ancient door.

The very door that young Alice with her golden curls and shining blue eyes was standing in front of at that very moment.

The grabbed what they perceived to be a bewitched child before they could enter the land of the furies and slammed the doors shut.  The elder of the village wrapped his hand around the large iron key shaped like the ivy that draped the door and twist it shut.  The child who had been spared from the supposed horrors of their land cried for days before they wandered into the forest in search of the door only to be taken away from their village of greed by a thief who pitied the small child.

That small child had been a younger Alice who now at the age of sixteen had come into possession of the ivy-shaped key upon returning to find her village had been ruined by famine.  After searching for hours, a mysterious visitor with snake-like hair and a misshapen face had thrown the key at her and scurried away.

She remembered the door she’d almost entered and desired with every fibre of her being to finally be able to enter that magical place where she would finally gain her true happiness.  Alice desired for nothing more than to leave a cruel world behind and be with the people who would spin lovely tales for her and teach her of the world’s beauty.

For the world is a beautiful place and the mysterious key that she held in her hand would give her the chance to do just that.  She placed the key into the lock and twisted it to be enveloped in a warm light that beckoned her into a gentle place.

And so, Alice was at peace.

——————–

Prompt: Begin a story with this line: Alice tried to remember who had given her the key.

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