Week two of our new Friday Fiction story! Here’s a link to Part 1 in case you missed it.
Dragging out the suspense as long as I could I lifted one finger at a time until the full length of a rusted old key became visible. My friends, Leilani, Imalia, and Taya oohed and aahed, then Leilani looked up at me with narrowed eyes.
“How do we know this came from the land? You could have found this anywhere.”
Imalia and Taya looked up at these words and searched my face for any hint of deception.
“It’s true Elisande,” Imalia admitted reluctantly. “That looks like it’s been sitting at the bottom of the ocean.”
“What about this?” I asked, pulling out the length of loose silver which had been hidden beneath the key.
I let the key slide from my hand but gripped the silver necklace. My treasure dangled and spun.
“That had to come from the land,” Taya said, running a finger along the length of fine silver cord. “We don’t have anything this polished.”
Three pairs of bright eyes met mine.
“What does it open Elisande?” Leilani asked.
We knew of keys, we’d found plenty on ocean floor, sometimes we even discovered the chests that they opened, full of mysterious objects that usually disintegrated in our hands.
“It opens a door, but I didn’t have time to look inside. I heard footsteps and ran.” I replied.
“Are you going back?” Imalia asked.
“You must take us with you.” Leilani insisted.
Taya smiled her shy smile.
I scanned their faces, eager, expectant; how could I say no?
“Alright,” I finally said. “But we must wait until moonrise tomorrow, and you must promise not to breathe a word of this to anyone.”
Three heads nodded in unison, sending tendrils of glowing hair rising through pockets of bubbles.
“Tomorrow night then,” I whispered.
I lifted the key and hid it back inside my closed fist. I felt a surge of hope as the metal dug into my palm.
Our grins faded as we swam across the boundary of our underwater city. The sunken eyes of hungry children watched us as we passed. Swollen bellies protruded beneath bony rib cages. A few still managed to smile and wave, but my heart ached at the sight of them.
We had to find out what was happening, and we had to find a solution fast.
This story still needs a title, any ideas?