#209 The Key

by T. Z. Wallace

The man seemed nice enough, she thought as she tugged at the faded sign she had posted on the crowded notice board. He was so grateful to get his key back that he had offered her a reward. Jenni refused, of course. Doing the right thing was its own reward, after all.

Jenni had lost her keys once. The locksmith cost a small fortune, she recalled with a scowl. She couldn’t afford to make a careless mistake like that. The man’s white suit looked custom made, though, and he wore a flower in his lapel. It smelled exotic and sweet and out of place. The man seemed like that, too, with his musical voice and the way he caressed her hand when he talked to her. Normally strangers made her nervous, but he didn’t—not even when he whispered her name and peeled the ancient key from her fingers, never breaking her gaze.

“Such a Good Samaritan,” he purred.

Gooseflesh raised on her arms.

She was sure he could afford a locksmith. He probably lived in a mansion—somewhere with servants.

He circled her like prey and whispered in her ear, “My home is yours now.” When she whipped around to face him, he was gone.

She shook her head, then wadded up the sign and tossed it in the trashcan at the end of the street. The rotten trash had a sickeningly sweet smell. It reminded her of the man in the white suit.

It reminded her of home.

1 comment:

Shirley Golden said...

There's some good imagery here. I assumed the man was the devil and Jenni's refusal of his reward was significant. The rotten, sweet smell made me think, even more, that he was some sort of demon. I wanted to know more!