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Rated: E · Fiction · Mystery · #2320932
Flash Fiction competition entry.

The Golden Key (299 Words)

“I’m calling the police,” she said.

My heart was thumping. The old fool was right. When he told me his golden key opens any door, I laughed at him, but there I was, sure enough, standing in a stranger’s living room.

I met the old man at a bar. It was last orders on a weeknight. I’d lost my job, my wife, my house, and a good deal of my money. I remember it was raining outside, really hard. When times were tough, I’d look for answers at the bottom of a bottle. But that night, they came from an old man with a wispy beard.

“I can tell you’re in a bad way,” he said.

I stared at my drink.

“Look,” he said. “I can spot the good ones from the bad ones.”

I forced a smile, hoping it would get him to leave me alone.

He said, “Yes, I’ve seen it all. But I’m old now. And tired. And before my time is up, I’d like to do one last good deed.”

He handed me a golden key. It was heavier than it looked. It felt like real gold — not that I knew what real gold felt like — but it felt real and smooth, and it glimmered in the light from behind the bar.

“This key,” he said, “will open any door.” He put his hand on my shoulder. “Use it to do good. Somehow, I know you will.”

‘Here Comes the Sun’ by The Beatles was playing over the bar’s speaker system.

“Yeah, right,” I laughed.

I looked down at the key and weighed it in my hand, and when I looked up again, the old man was gone.

Of course I didn’t believe him. Who would?

But against all sense and reason… he was right.

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