Cael found the key lying in the middle of the path as he trekked through the forest. His eyes were drawn to it even when he tried to dismiss it. Leaving it was impossible but reluctance stayed his hand as he stopped and stared at it.
There was something familiar about the key. Had he seen it before? It was large and ornate, not something one normally discarded or lost. When he realized he was going to pick it up, he tore his gaze away. Why was he hesitant?
His life would change if he touched it. Cael didn’t know why, but he was convinced. It called to him, which was never a good sign in this forest. He debated with himself, finally deciding he was being silly and reached for the key.
As he wrapped his hand around it…nothing. He laughed. It was just a key. Cael put it in his pocket and went on his way.
Before long he reached a small hut just off the side of the trail. Funny, he didn’t remember it being there any of the other times he’d taken this path. His hand moved to his pocket. Confused, he took the key and walked to the door of the house. Trembling he put the key in the lock.
Cael’s mind screamed at him to stop and he listened. He turned on his heel and ran as fast as he could, back home, never taking that forest path again.
Inside the hut, a beautiful maiden, Cael’s perfect mate, cried. He’d almost saved her, but the evil key had stopped him, again. The key swore someday the man would rescue her, but it was a liar, always driving him away. Besides, they were going to run out of paths for him to find her on soon.
This is a flash fiction piece I wrote for a small contest. The prize is an advanced reader’s copy of The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence. The rules were that it couldn’t be longer than three hundred word and it had to contain the words: liar and key. I have no idea who won as they have not announced that yet. It’s not my best work but I think with some polishing and perhaps upping the word count by a few hundred it could be good. I am proud of it for one reason though. Most of the people who entered used the word key in two ways. Either there was a liar who needed/had/stole/etc a key or they used ‘key to’ phrases, such as – the key to happiness. I did neither of these things. Also, I went for silly rather than serious. The important thing for me is I set out to do something, which was enter a contest and I did it. At some point I’ll revise and post whatever I come up with.