Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/06/18

I studied the group of eight keys. “Antiques?”

Darien shook his head. “Nope.”

I picked up one of the keys. “What are these for?”

Darien smiled, “Those are the keys to souls.” He could tell by the way I fell silent and stared at the keys, I didn’t know what that meant. “You’re not in the physical world now. Stop thinking like you are.”

I put the key back, carefully. “The keys to souls?”

“Surprised?”

All I could do was nod.

“We all have them.” He reached in his pocket. “Here’s mine.” He pulled out a silver key. It looked like it belonged to the same set as the eight on the table. “Eventually, you’ll find yours.”

“There’s a key to my soul?”

Darien nodded. “There’s only one who doesn’t have a key.” I had a good idea who that could be. Darien could tell. He only smiled, and nodded.

“I have to ask, you know.”

“Go ahead. Ask. It’s the same question I asked millennia ago.” He nodded again.

“Why do we all have keys?”

Darien rested his hand on my shoulder. “Well. Now. There are some questions, it seems. For which there are no answers.”

He pulled me away from the table, and we continued walking through the garden. He’d called it, “The Garden of Eden.” I remembered his words, “It’s all true. All of it. Heaven. Hell. God, Satan. Jesus. The Resurrection.”

“So, the Christians had it right?”

I thought he’d been going to fall over from laughter when I said that. “I said it’s ALL true. ALL of it. That includes Mohamed, The Pope. The Imams.”

I’d kind of stood there, confused. “See. He,” Darien waved his arm in a big sweeping arch, “made it all. So, it’s all true.”

“So the Christians, and the Muslims?” I was still stuck on that concept.

“And the Pagans, and the Atheists, and the Jews…” Darien had listed more religions than I’d ever heard of. “… And all the others. All true.”

“But… “ I had been exceedingly confused.

“I know. Some of them are opposites. That’s because He changed His mind.”

As I thought of the words Darien had said that day, I found myself thinking out loud, “Perhaps He made the keys so he could turn off mistakes? You know. If He changes His mind.”

Darien paused. “You never really know, with Him.”

“Is that why Him and Satan went to war? Fighting over who controls the keys?”

Darien laughed again, “See? You’re still thinking like you’re in the physical world. Throw out the entire concept of good and evil, just and unjust, right and wrong. All of it.”

“How can I do that? There’s always good and evil, darkness and light.”

“If that’s true, tell me how many days and nights you’ve been here.”

I couldn’t.

“Tell me how long a day is.”

I couldn’t.

“Tell me which way is up, and which way is down.” Just for emphasis, he started walking upward, and instinctively, so did I. “And what is hot, and what is cold.”

“I get it, I get it.”

“No. You don’t get it. You understand the words, but it doesn’t make sense to you yet.” He grinned. “Give it time, and it will.”

“How long?”

“You ask me that here?”

Since then, I’ve learned more about the keys to souls. And while I haven’t found my key yet, I have encountered a few who have found theirs. And twice, I’ve seen a key used.

Have you ever seen an unlocked soul?

Until you have, you will never understand anything.

#AtoZ2016 : K Is For Keys

It started on 13 July 2010, and I will never forget the experience. That was the first day I walked out of work, got in my car, and left. The first day I reached in my pocket, and felt the presence of my keys.

I can never explain what I felt that day. Most would call it panic, others would call it anxiety. I don’t really know what the people I worked with at that time called it, although my memories of how they treated certain people I’d worked with suggests they called it deliberate bad behavior.

I’m not certain many of them believed in mental illness then, and I doubt they have changed.

That day was the first uncontrolled panic attack I had as I spiraled into Major Depressive Disorder. I had no ability to think, no ability to question, no ability to pause. I knew of one thing, and one thing only. I had keys in my pocket. Keys to my car. Keys to my escape.

And I desperately needed to escape. I didn’t need to walk on the beach. I didn’t need to hide in the secured lab. I didn’t need to talk to someone.

I needed to escape. To run. To flee. To save my life. My sanity. My soul.

The moment my fingers found the keys in my pocket, I stood, I walked, I left. I unlocked my car, got in, and drove.

I remember I stopped in the parking lot of the closest Walmart store to the base. I don’t know how long I was there. It may have been a couple of minutes. It may have been half an hour. I don’t know. Time didn’t exist.

I listened to my music, the doors shut, the windows rolled up, the volume turned up. I listened until I couldn’t think, couldn’t feel. Until the only thing left in life was the music I loved.

And that’s when I found myself. That’s when I realized I was in the car, in the parking lot at Walmart. That’s when I remembered I’d fled work, the office, the people, the environment.

I’d escaped.

And in doing so, I’d found a way to breathe.

I called the office I’d fled, and let someone know where I was, and I didn’t know when I’d get back. I called my boss, at the home office, and told him I needed to talk.

You know. I don’t even remember that talk. Not one word of it.

I went home, ate something, and when I could breathe, I went back to work. I knew I wouldn’t get anything done that day. By that point, I’m fairly certain everyone knew I wouldn’t get anything done.

I spoke with her. One of the three voices in that place, in that office, that environment, I could breathe around. One of the three voices I didn’t need to run from, didn’t need to escape, didn’t need to fear.

I can’t explain that. In the months that followed I learned, in the presence of any of those three voices, my hands didn’t shake. In the presence of anyone else in that place, my hands shook.

I spoke with her about the trip I was making to the doctor’s office a few days later, to discuss my depression, and start getting the help I knew I needed, but didn’t know how to get. Then, I went home. It was a lost day at work. The first of many in 2010.

That day when I touched the keys in my pocket, and all I could do was run.

I can’t explain it. I won’t try. I know this simple truth. As an individual, you either understand what I’ve written here, the story of the keys in my pocket, and how I ran. Or you don’t.

For some things, there are no words.

 

Mark.


It’s April 15th, and I’m a two days behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 15 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#ThursThreads : But It’s Not Enough…

“Have I told you what an idiot you are?” James let his beer bottle thunk down on the bar.

“Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.” I answered. Letting my own bottle thunk down. “Only about a zillion times.”

“Then how come you never listen to me?” James shook his head. He had a valid point. Sometimes, I was just flat stupid. “Turning off your brain cells, listening to your pecker again.” He took a big chug of his beer. “You know that’s always trouble.”

Yeah. I knew. I stared at my beer. Michelle. She was absolutely stunning. Any guy I knew would be happy to call her their own. And she’d been mine. Until I saw Stacy. Sexy, hot Stacy. With those hips that swayed as she walked. Those perfect knockers. It was like my brain cells just quit working.

We had an affair. Me and Stacy. Damn, but she was fun. But, she was trouble too. And I knew if Michelle ever found out.  And she did find out. And I went home one day, and my keys didn’t work. And I couldn’t call her on the phone. And her lawyer walked up and handed me the papers. Divorce. Just like that.

“You had the perfect girl, bean-dip,” James took another chug of beer. “But it’s not enough for you, is it.” He chuckled. “Was Stacy worth it?”

I laughed. Paused. Grinned. “Yeah. She sure as hell was.”

—–

I wrote this flash fiction piece with the intention of posting it to the #ThursThreads challenge today. But, that was not to be. Sigh. So, I’m putting it here, on my blog. All 243 words of it.