a Key from the Past

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
a personal favorite...written and self-edited over a course of 2 years! started when i was given an old key from a teacher and told to write a story.

Submitted: July 09, 2010

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Submitted: July 09, 2010

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a Key from the Past
 
It was the year 1988. The famous and much-loved toy-maker Jeffrey Cole stood at the top of the stairs inside his factory, surveying the damage with grim defeat.
The trembling voice of Cole’s attendant jarred his cloud of despair. “…they ran away with all the toys, sir, and—“
Cole looked up, resignation showing in the eyes that were once filled with laughter.
“—that’s all," the attendant concluded lamely.
“Is there anything left? Anything at all?” Cole’s voice was bitter.
“I believe so. That one door at the end there, it was locked, sir, and they skipped it.”
Cole sighed. The joy and happiness he derived from watching kids play with his creations was gone now. “It doesn’t matter anyways. I’m done. Done with everything. Done with making toys.” The startled attendant dropped his notes.
On the way home, Cole remembered the key. He took it out of his pocket. It was the key that opened the door at the end of the hallway. There was no duplicate. Cole silently studied it for a moment, its green metal shining in the afternoon sun. Then he tossed it on the sidewalk behind him. It clattered into the gutter and disappeared in the darkness.
“Done,” Jeffrey Cole said with finality, and walked on.
 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 
--Friday, June 19, 2123
Dear Diary,
Twelve o’clock today marked the start of summer break. On the way home from school, I made a grand discovery. I was riding along in my eduTransitBot® when I saw something on the sidewalk next to me. It was a key! It looks like something from a long time ago. I wonder if it opens something…
Nine-year-old Cloey put down her stylus and tuned off her holographic diary. The key that she had found earlier that day was lying on the table next to her. Cloey picked up the key and studied it carefully in the palm of her hand. The key was a metallic green and shone in the light. There were some areas were the paint had worn off, revealing silver metal underneath. The key was definitely from the past. Besides, they didn’t even use keys any more. Everyone had their own authorization card. Cloey thought it was much more efficient that way.
The key felt funny in her hand. The rough, jagged edges reminded her of teeth. When she looked closer she saw words written on the metallic surface.
“Cole National U.S.A.,” Cloey read out loud. The words seemed familiar, but she couldn’t quite grasp why.
Cloey decided to go get some brain power snacks for thinking. Her AidBot® rolled her into the kitchen. There, she pressed a few button on the eZFridge, inserted her authorization card, and received a BrainBlast soft drink and two ThoughtBoost cookies in return. While eating, Cloey turned the key over and over in the palm of her hand. It had been worn smooth over the ages.
“BLEEP. BLEEP.” Her AidBot® beeped and showed a holographic image of Cloey’s father.
“Daddy!” Cloey rolled to the transparent entrance panel, where she was lifted up and swept into a hug by her father.
“Hello, my minibot,” her father smiled. “What mini-surprise do you have for me today?”
In one breath, Cloey described her discovery of the key.
“Well, all I know is that Cole National U.S.A was a toy company. Now it’s called Cosmic Toys. That’s where you get your RoboDolls,” her father explained.
“Oh, I remember now. But this key is from a long time ago!” Cloey protested.
Cloey’s father took her hand. “Cole National U.S.A. is a very old toy company. All the way back into the 1900’s. I think they still have tours of the factory. I could take you there on Monday since you don’t have school.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
--Monday, June 22, 2123
Dear Diary,
Wow! Daddy just got admission cards of us to go to the Cosmic Toys factory with Mommy this afternoon! I can’t wait to see the toys being made. Especially if I can find something about this key I have. It’s funny how slow time seems to be passing…
 
Later that afternoon, Cloey found herself staring at the vast production room of Cosmic Toys. As their robot tour guide showed them around the processing platforms, Cloey’s wide eyes took in every detail of the machines and the robots that operated them.
“Now, feel free to explore by yourselves. Just don’t get in the way of the robots,” the guide announced.
This was Cloey’s chance. After she made sure her parents were busy looking at new designs, Cloey searched the room until she found the perfect place to start: an old-looking staircase in the corner. When she crept closer, she a sign that said ENTRANCE PROHIBITED. Cloey didn’t know what prohibited meant, and, besides, she had a strong feeling about these stairs, so she crawled under the chain. The dusty stairs didn’t move at all, and it seemed to Cloey that nobody had been here in a long time.
She decided that this was the section of Cole National that had been left in place. Cloey was excited to see all of the old toys and climbed faster, but at the top, she was disappointed. To her left and right were rows of wooden doors, nothing else. Cloey strode over to the nearest door and grasped the doorknob. The knob felt strange and cold in her hand, and the door’s wooden finish was alien to her. She slowly turned the knob; it wasn’t locked! With her breath held tight, Cloey opened the door and saw…nothing. The room was bare.
Cloey walked along the hallway, opening doors. None of them were locked, and yet all of them were empty. It was as if the place had been stripped of all the toys that had made it so special.
Cloey was getting to the end of the row when she saw a piece of paper on the floor. The paper itself was strange, because everyone used holographic tablets and a stylus to write with. There were a few notes on the paper: All gone…stolen…except for last door…locked…inside is—
And then the words stopped. Cloey desperately wanted to know what was in the last door. She ran to the end and reached for the knob. It was locked. She was about to give up when she remembered that keys could open doors. Cloey quickly reached in her pouch and fumbled with the key. She hesitated. Was it true? Was there really still something behind the locked door? What if it was empty? What if it wasn’t the right key? She decided to take a chance. Cloey took a deep breath and inserted the key. It fit perfectly! She turned the key, and the lock clicked open. Cloey pulled open the door and was met by an astonishing sight. Her eyes grew wide and her mouth hung past her chin.
All around the dazzling room were piles of toys. Not toys like Cloey’s RoboDolls and DigiPuzzles, but footballs and cloth dolls and building blocks. There was a stack of real paper books and a bock full of old board games, like Monopoly®. A heap of stuffed animals lay in the corner. Cloey picked up a fuzzy orange kitten and held it against her cheek. It was much softer than her robots, and she liked it.
She continued to walk around, first trying the puzzle board that was so different from her digital ones, then testing the play kitchen and the plastic dollhouse. They were all so different, but Cloey was happy. She was so busy playing that she didn’t realize the time going by. Her parents were probably worried by now. She stood up, looked around, and picked up the little stuffed kitten she had first seen. Cloey wanted something to remind her of this room, because she knew, somehow, that she wasn’t going to ever come back. After locking the door, Cloey snuck downstairs to find her parents.
“Momma! Daddy!” Cloey called. “I’m back!”
Her parents turned and frowned. “Cloey, what are you yelling for? Back from what? It’s only been a minute or so since we split up.”
“Oh. I’m sorry,” Cloey was thoroughly bewildered. Hadn’t she spent hours playing with the toys?
Later, as the left Cosmic Toys, no one noticed when Cloey’s key slid out of her pouch and onto the sidewalk. Cloey wasn’t surprised to find it missing the next day.
 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 
Time after time after that, the green Cole key was passed from hand to hand, from one child to another, yet always disappearing and ending up on the sidewalk for someone else to discover. And in that way, the forgotten legacy of Jeffrey Cole’s compassion and kindness would live on in the hearts of children.
And as for Cloey, her grandchildren became accustomed to seeing the stuffed orange kitten that always accompanied her, and if they were lucky, she would gather them all around her. Wide-eyed, they would stroke the comforting softness of her kitten and listen intently as Cloey would tell them the story of Cole National and the key from the past.


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