the key to the attic

The attic window was my room before re-gentrification.


Great-Uncle Ludicis was an phenomenal tale weaver. He made me smell the sea tang, hear exotic birds calling, walk in Patagonia, see the Canadian Rockies. I felt I knew the characters he met on his journeys.

I was 19; he was probably 90 went I moved in. I had roamed the house for years as a child but never the attic. A skeleton key, on a cup hook in the kitchen, had a note attached: attic; do not remove. I’d always been curious about the key. When asked, Great-Uncle Ludicis (GUL) would say: “I have my reasons.”

When the seniors bus had picked up GUL at the mailbox, I walked, no, ran back to the house. That da**ed key was calling my name. Clutching it in my sweaty hand, I climbed the back stair case.

A rusty lock and a rusty key didn’t want to be reunited. I pleaded for reconciliation. The lock gave, the door flung open. I stumbled inside.

The detritus from over a 100 years of occupation was squeezed up against a wall that foreshortened the attic from the floors below. My eyes adjusted to thin light allowed in by two skylights. I saw another skeleton key hanging on a nail. It’s note said, the key hole is where you wish it to be.

I closed my eyes, imagining a door to the far left, behind a dresser missing drawers and a sea chest. Opening my eyes, there was a door exactly where I wished. Taking  deep yoga breathes, I calmed myself, clearing my mind. The objects hiding the door moved easily. This time the key slide smoothly into the lock. There was a gentle click, and the door opened inward.

Now I knew why GUL was such a great tale weaver; he was more than a traveler. Behind the wall was a portal spinning in rainbow circles. I resisted the urge to enter. Backing away, I closed the door and hung up the key.

I did the same in the kitchen. Noting the time, I went to meet the seniors bus. GUL looked dreamily at the horizon, as if he, in his mind, he was on one of this trips. I took his arm, as we walked slowly along the lane. Coming out of his trance, he whispered: “I can’t take trips so easily. The staircases keep getting longer. If you made a door, then I turn the keys over to you. It’s your turn for adventure.”

It took awhile; setting sun-red shone through the skylights. I supported GUL’s weight, and opened the doors for him. Together we stood in front of the portal. The rainbow spinning was calling both of us. We stepped through . . . . only I came back.

Written for Tale Weaver Prompt #8: Great-Uncle Ludicis Attic.




2 thoughts on “the key to the attic

  1. phylor April 10, 2015 / 8:45 am

    Thank you. There is a different sadness in this tale to yours.
    But, there is a happy note. I think GUL travelled his favourite place and showed “me” the wonders of it. “Me” came back to tell GUL’s story and to plan other adventures.

    As I age, I think a portal to a place I want to go, or have felt comfortable and happy in would be wonderful. Not many of us get to travel backwards.


  2. summerstommy2 April 10, 2015 / 6:34 am

    Wow what a wonderful and sad tale all wrapped up together. I did so much like the way you told this tale with just the right emphasis on discovery. Beautifully done phylor, you had me captivated.


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