The Bunch of Keys

I was taking my dog Bess for her usual walk along the beach under the cliffs. It was warm
and without a cloud in the sky, a blanket of blue above us.

Bess scampered along the waters edge, leaping over the gentle waves lapping against the shore. Then I noticed ger pawing at something shinney amongst the pebbles

"What have you found"? I called

I tugged the object out of the ground, it was a bunch of keys, but no ordinary keys. There was an enormous black key with a skull carved on the top of it, then several more significant keys and the most remarkable golden key with an astonshing blue oval shaped jewel on the top of it, the size of a walnut. As I held it to the light it sparkeled like a thousand stars in the midnight sky

Clutching the keys tightly in my fist, I looked around for Bess but she had disappeared. Then I felt a tingling sensation in my hand and as I open my hand the skull on the large black key was glowing red. It felt quite warm. I stared in wonder as it grew redder and redder, hotter and hotter. Suddenly I dropped the keys when the skull began to burn my hand.

Spellbound, I watched the keys as they began to spin, slowly at first, then faster and faster until I could not see the shapes of the keys anymore. They whirrede like the disc of an electric saw. Suddenly, it stopped dead, all the keys pointed towards the cliff. Gingerly I picked up the keys, they were cold as ice now and the skull had turned black again. they seemed to point to a crack in the cliff though.

The crack was big enough for me to squeeze through. Bess was already there, sitting looking up at a large wooden door. There was no handle on the door, just an enormous rusty keyhole.

I tried the large key with the skull on it. My hand was shaking with excitement and fear all at the same time. I grappled with the key and eventually I fitted it into the lock. Incredibly it turned by itself and the door creaked slowly open, as if someome was pulling it from behind. Nervously, I peered around the door but there was no one there. Tentatively, I stepped inside, Bess was still sitting outside.

"Come On Bess" I called.

She would not move, she just sat whimpering. I took another step inside and the door slammed shut behind me with an almighty crash. Frantically, I pushed at the door but there no door, only a wall of stone. I could hear the faint barking of Bess on the other side.

"Bess", I shouted, "Go home".

I was in complete darkness when I felt the skull key begin to tingle again. I quickly moved my hand from the skull and held the bunch of  another key so I would not drop them again. When the skull glowed bright I held the key in front of me to light the way forward. There was a staircase spiralling upwards into the rock. I reached the top and found another door, which opened unaided. I stepped through the door again and it slammed shut behind me and once again turned to stone.

I must be dreaming, I'll wake up soon I tried to reassure myself.

I held oit the glowing key again to see where I was . I was in a circular room with walls of stones, no windows or doors, just an empty space. I stood in an eerie silence. Outside I could hear a raging storm, wind howling and rain thrashing against the walls. Then a tremendous crash of thunder and lightening lit up the whole room. I do not know how this occurred, when there was not a window to let the light in.

In the brief moment the lightening had lit up the room I remember seeing millions of spikes protruding from the walls. As I held up the glowing key again I could see the spikes growing longer and closer towards me. I froze in terror. Then from nowhere came ghostly white faces that spun around my head. They cried and screamed in anguish. Were these the tormented spirits of those that had met their doom here? Was I about to join them? Then came a mournful, old man's voice.

"Reach up, reach up", it howled.

I obeyed and stretched upwards to discover a rope swing above me. I grabbed it and pulled with all my might. Instantly the faces vanished, the spikes withdrew back into the walls. Then behind me opend up in the wall and bright sunlight came fooding in, illuminating  the room.

Now in front of me was a wooden chest, covered in chains and padlocks. I managed to find a key to fit each one. There was one more lock on the chest itself and only one key I had not used, the golden key with the beautiful jewel.

Nervously, I placed the last key into the lock and like the doors before it, it slowly lifted on its own. There in the chest was a human skull with a blue jewel perched in one of the eye sockets. It was identical to the one on the golden key. I jerked back in fright as the skull began to speak.

"My eye, my eye, give me back my eye", it groaned.

"Of course, the jewel", I gasped

I hastily unscrewed the top of the key and placed the jewel into the empty eye socket. The skull spoke again but this time in a much friendlier tone.

"Thank you", it whispered.

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