A.J. Walker


Rainy Day Play

Story for Finding Clarity Mid-Week Flash Challenge (Week 15)


The photo this week was of this collection of lovely old keys. Keep checking out the Finding Clarity website for the mid-week prompts (for stories up to 700 words).

Rainy Day Play

When we came to stay in Aulston Manor I was so excited. Mum said the house creeped her out, that she hated going back but ‘needs must’ while our house was being renovated. Mum believed in ghosts though, so that’s her own fault. To me the house was just an old house, big but nothing more. It was the gardens I loved. They went on forever. I couldn't even count all the different type of trees and there were all sorts of places to play hide and seek; if I’d had anyone to play with. I loved to climb trees and it was like having my own park. Mum called me a Tomboy. I think she thought that would put me off, but I liked that.

‘Eat your breakfast love. Then I’m going in to town with your grandma to get some things. Are you coming?’ mum said, as she finished washing her plate.

‘No it’s okay mum. I’ll stay.’

‘Are you sure? This rain doesn't look like it’ll stop any time soon and you’re not going out in it. You’ll get filthy.’

‘I’ll stay in.’

‘Are you sure? By yourself in this creepy place?’

‘Don’t worry mum. It’s great, like an adventure. Anyway I’ve got a book.’

Mum shook her head. I could tell she thought I was different- and I am of course. I hate shopping and standing around waiting.

As soon as I heard the sound of the gravel fade away I put down my book. It was time for my indoor treasure hunt; I’d found the keys the night before in a locked box on top of a wardrobe in one of the spare rooms. It was a lovely metal box with red and black embossed pictures of animals and trees. It was battered but somehow all the more beautiful for it.

Each key was metal and long, iron I guessed, not like our house keys for our house in Basildon. These were ornate and beautiful like they’d been made for art as much as locking a door. Just touching them gave me a tingle, like I was touching the past. Other people would probably think they were magical but I don't believe in magic.

I’d been in most the rooms in the house over the last week and they’d all been unlocked, but maybe grandma just didn't lock them these days. Doesn't mean they aren't for the doors though. I liked games and treasure hunts were my favourite. It was a challenge to find which one each key was for while the torrential rain outside kept me indoors. I knew I wouldn’t find one of mum’s ghosts but maybe I’d find something new and exciting; or
old and exciting.

I raced around the house looking carefully up and down at all the doors. There were twelve rooms and the basement. I could hardly believe it but it was soon apparent that none of the doors had locks on. In any case the old timber doors were clearly too big for these keys. They’d looked big to me in my little hands and compared to modern keys, but they were like toys compared to the doors, I hadn’t noticed before how big and thick the doors were, it was like they were built for a castle! The keys were for something else then. Or more precisely eight something elses!

Perhaps there were locked drawers, secret compartments or boxes; there were lots of wardrobes, cupboards, and chests of drawers in the house; this would be like a proper treasure hunt; just without a map.

But it would take a lot of time to search the entire house and I’d have to do it when mum and gran were out - it’s half the fun doing things in secret I find - and they’d be back soon. In any case the sun was now streaming through gran’s net curtains. The beech I’d been called away from last night was waiting for me. I’m an outdoor girl and I won’t let a tree defeat me. I’m the queen of the trees!

The Great Key Treasure Hunt would have to wait for another rainy day.


WC: 693
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