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Annie Part 1

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For years I searched the house top, to bottom, to top again, trying to find a small key. The locked box was simply too beautiful to pry open, and yet I was too intrigued the rattling inside to let it be. My grandmother had never told anyone where the key was, but it had to be in this house.

My grandmother had entered the house when she was nineteen and was locked inside of it for the rest of her life. She died here, sending her three year old daughter and four year old son - my mother and uncle - out of a broken window, at which time her abductor - my grandfather - killed her with his own hands. She had been twenty five. The locked box was under her blankets in her dirty bed, but no matching key was ever found. I was always reminded of the horror she lived through whenever I walked through the house - the barred windows on the basement level, the heavy lock on the basement door, and the ancient oak bed where she had been raped countless times. Nothing had been changed since the day my evil grandfather was arrested - no one moved in and nothing moved out. The house was left abandoned, and it was fifty years before anyone returned to it - me. I was given peculiar looks when I said that I wanted to go into the house and look around, but they gave me the front door key and told me I could take what I wanted. Ten years ago, I pushed the front door in and stepped into the musty prison. The first time I entered my grandmother's basement I found the small, intricate box discarded on its side, and I went looking that first day to find the key. I thought of everything: backs of drawers, sewn into clothes, left in bedsheets, but to no avail. The key was nowhere, and yet it had to be somewhere.

An entire decade later, I knew where the key was. There was a tiny space in between two baseboards on the floor underneath my grandmother's bed, and she had crammed the key there. I rented a wood cutter, carefully cut the section out, and withdrew it delicately. Then, I sat on the dusty carpet and broke the wood apart, and the key fell out with a small bounce. For a second, I wondered if this was "the" key, and then I tried it in the wooden box. It slipped in perfectly, embraced welcomingly, like a prodigal son. I turned the key and the lid popped, opening after over fifty years. I lifted the lid and the hinges creaked.

Inside was a small, silver ring on a chain. The ring had one single sapphire, carved and dull with age. There was a faded slip of paper, on which I could barely make out the words. It read: "I will never marry the man I love like I promised I would. He doesn't know where I am. I will die before he ever does. I think I will die in this house. I feel like there is no hope for me. But I have a tiny, tiny hope: this ring. My sapphire is my hope."
I laid down on the dusty floor and cried.
My name is Sapphire.





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