Flash Fiction Friday: The Key

It was just a simple necklace. A black cord from which an old bronze key hung. It couldn’t do any damage, right? It was just a beautiful trinket, which went perfectly with the dress I was wearing for the evening. So I tied it around my neck, took a glance in the mirror, and was off. Unfortunately, not everyone thought the key was the perfect addiction, my grandmother in particular.

“Take it off,” she hisses at me, her eyes wide as saucers as she points at the key.

“Grandma, it’s just a necklace,” I return, brushing off her words. I move to give her a hug as I always do, but she steps away, almost knocking over a waiter as she does so.

“No,” she hisses again, her voice lower than before. “Take it off this instant!”

I’ve never seen my grandmother quite so animated before and it’s for that reason alone I heed her warning. Though, as I reach for the knot, I find it gone. Around and around I spin the cord, but no knot appears, nothing to indicate I’d tied it. Instead, I try to lift it over my head. Yet, the cord is suddenly shorter than before, making it too small to fit over my head.

“Grandma, I can’t get it off,” I inform her, the slightest bit of anxiety working its way into my voice as I try to remain rational. It’s a necklace. I’m just being silly.

In a flash my grandmother snags a steak knife off a nearby table and returns to me, her eyes intent on the necklace. My head pulls back, trying to stay out of her way. After all, she’s at least ninety. Who knows how good her eyesight is and with that in mind I take the knife from her.

“I’ll do it.” I smile sheepishly before turning to the mirror in the entry way of the restaurant. With the blade facing out, I saw on the black cord. It doesn’t snap. It doesn’t fray. In fact, the knife quickly dulls and my panic mounts. “Grandma,” I turn back to her, my voice shaking now. “It won’t cut.”

A distressed look passes over her face. “Oh, not again,” she breathes, stumbling back to sit down heavily on a chair.

“Grandma, what is it?” I ask, crouching in front of her, trying to grab her hand, but she shies away.

My grandmother continues to mumble, “it’s happening again… all over again…”

I try to grab her attention asking, “grandma, what’s happening again?”

Her head shakes back and forth before she looks me in the eyes, a terrible sadness there. Her hand moves to my cheek, but she hovers just inches away, as if touching me might burn her. “I love you, my sweet granddaughter… Always remember that.” She pauses, a weak smile tugging at her pink lipstick-covered lips. “But I can’t save you now.”

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