On the table lay a large key. It looked old, detailed ornamentation at one end, big blocky teeth at the other. He picked it up and studied it. Where did it come from? He didn’t remember it being there before. And what did it open?
Restoring the house had been a monumental task taking many months. But as it neared completion, this new discovery raised new questions about the place. There had been no doors they had been unable to open. And none of the locks looked like they could fit such a key. And it hadn’t been here before. Had it?
He pocketed the key and decided to investigate when he returned in the morning.
Later that night, a dream woke him from sleep. He remembered a trunk in the attic. They could never open it and had not found any clues as to what might be inside. It was still there. And the key might fit its lock.
His curiosity would not let him sleep, so he rose and got dressed, then headed back to the house. He turned on lights to help him navigate the ground floor, but the other levels had not been wired for power, yet. Grabbing a flashlight, he made his way to the attic. The trunk was the only thing up there.
He hesitated, but just for a second. Then he walked over and put the key in the lock. Or at least, he tried to. The key didn’t fit. It didn’t make any sense. What else could it be for?
Before he could consider the question further, he heard noises on the floor below. It sounded like someone, or some thing, was walking around down there. He snuck back down the stairs to find out what it was. As quietly as he could, he made his way towards the noises. Light was coming from around a mostly closed door, despite there being no electricity up here.
He peered through the crack and saw someone ruffling through some drawers. Taking a breath to calm his nerves, he opened the door. “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
The figure jumped and screamed. It turned around. He instantly recognized one of the restoration crew. “Holy crap! You scared me. I’m trying to find my house key. I think I misplaced it earlier, and it’s been bugging me. Decided to come back before work started up again to look.”
In spite of himself, he let out a chuckle.
“What’s so funny? And what are you doing here?”
He held up the key. “I was trying to figure out what this was for.”
The other laughed, then, too. “Yep. That’s my key. Where did you find it?”
“The coffee table down in the living room.”
“Huh. Well, thanks!”
They walked out together
Up in the attic, a key fell seemingly from mid-air and landed next to the trunk.