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The Key

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There was once a curious little girl named Samantha Sunderland. Samantha lived in a rather secluded house just near the woods. The house was quite large with many rooms. It was only her and her mother who lived there, and she thought there was just too much empty space for comfort. Her family had come from royalty, yet Samantha didn’t see the need for all those extra rooms. Living in such seclusion left the large house open for plenty of exploration. Samantha was proud to say she knew the look and feel of every room like the back of her hand. Except for one that is.

There was one room in her house that was kept under heavy lock and key. Samantha thought this just seemed so out of space. She decided to ask her mother about this.

“Hey mom, do you know why that one room in the house is locked?” Samantha asked.

“Oh, it’s always been that way dear.”   Her mom casually replies.

“Well, do you have a key?”

“The short answer is no. That room in the house has been a mystery that has been passed on for generations. Legend has it that the key is under guard by a creature far off into the woods.”

“Really... interesting...” Samantha thought out loud.

“Now don’t you get any ideas,” warned  her mom. “You know what I told you about venturing too far off into the woods. It’s far too dangerous. And don’t you even think about going to that creature's territory. Do you hear me?”

“Yes I hear you,” Samantha replied sarcastically.
        She would head out the next day. Samantha knew very well what her mom said, but she just couldn’t go on without finding out what was behind the door. She decided she would leave late at night after her mother had gone to bed. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, her mom finally began to make her way to bed. Samantha wished her a quick goodnight, and then she was off.
        It was a crisp, clear night. There was a full moon which granted her the perfect amount of light to travel by. She would set off towards the woods and search for the castle. After all, it was the only castle in the woods so it wouldn’t be too hard to find. But as soon as Samantha set foot in the woods, she started to have second thoughts.
        Whatever light the moon gave off was almost completely engulfed by the thick forest. All Samantha had to guide her was a dim candle holder. Strange sounds began to erupt from all around her. She also had a strange feeling of being watched. Yet, despite all of this, she carried on. She tried to ignore all the ominous sounds around her, and quickened her pace.
After walking aimlessly for a while, she heard distant voices. Carefully peeking behind some thick bushes, she saw what appeared to be strange little men frantically carrying some sort of supplies to a large, elaborate building. Samantha silently praised herself for finding the creature’s castle. Upon closer inspection, the castle looked less impressive. It was covered in green moss all around along with plants that curled around the building in a snake-like manner. And of course, there were more of those little men keeping guard around it. Samantha cautiously  made her way toward the building.

Samantha was confronted by two of the guards at the front door. Something that struck her as odd was the appearance of the little guards. They had tan skin resembling a lizards, and sharp teeth that snared at her when they saw her coming. Their dress attire included long black capes which concealed most of their bodies.

“Who are you and what do you want?” One of the guards sneered.

“I’m here to see the creature that guards the key,” Samantha confidently responds.

“This way,” says one of the guards. The guards then lead Samantha down a series of long hallways until they reach a large room. The room is grand with a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling and a long striped carpet leading to what appears to be a throne. The thing that sits on the throne is far less grand. It has long, narly hair and looks like it walked right out of a swamp. The creature is covered mostly in green, and just the sight of him makes Samantha shiver.

“Who is this,” demands the creature in a raspy voice.

“Some girl who wants a key,” answers one of the guards. Samantha, finding some courage says,

“I’ve come to collect the key that belongs to my house.” The creature dismisses the guards before responding.

“Why should I, King of the forest, give you, a nobody, my most prized possession?”

“Because the key belongs to a door to my house,” replied Samantha.

“I’ll tell you what. If you can find me three blue roses with red thorns, then I might consider giving you the key.”

“Fine,” she says. Samantha quickly rushed back to the dreaded forest in search of the roses. She found the first one without much trouble. The second one she had to venture a good way into the woods, but she found it nonetheless. She needed just one more. After looking for what seemed like an eternity, she just settled for a blue rose with a black thorn. Samantha quickly rushed back to the creatures castle, luckily avoiding any confrontations with the guards. At last she reached the creatures throne and presented him with the the flowers.

“You're missing something,” rasps the creature. “I asked for red thorns not black.”

“But there were no red thorned roses left,” pleaded Samantha.

“Take her away,” demands the creature. Before Samantha could further protest she was thrown out like an unwanted animal. She was torn. How could she ever get the key now? She scornfully watched the little guards in their black capes going about their business. The capes made them almost indistinguishable. Then it hit her.

Samantha carefully carried the piece of firewood in the castle, keeping her head down. She kept adjusting the rather uncomfortable cape. When she got to the master’s throne she said she needed to do some cleaning. He looked a little hesitant but let her go about her business. She quickly set to work searching for the key. It was almost comical how easy it was to find. It was in the corner of the room on a pedestal. She then proceeded to “dusting” it.

“Since when do my servants have human hair?” Booms the creature. Samantha neerly jumped out of her skin. She just now realized her bright, blond hair hanging out of the hood in plain sight.

“Please give me a chance,” begs Samantha.

“You give me no choice but to fight you now,” the creature declares. The creature swiftly pulled a sword from behind his back. Samantha stood there in shock.

“Psst. Over here,” came a mysterious voice. Samantha looked up to see a little, innocent fairly wielding a sword she couldn’t possibly be carrying. The fairy offers her the sword and she doesn’t even hesitate before snatching it. For some weird reason the sword glows blue. The creature takes the first swipe at Samanth, but the sword acted like a forcefield and deflected it. The battle went on like this until the creature eventually wore out from exhaustion. Samantha didn’t have it in her to kill him, so she was especially grateful when the creature surrendered. Now she set her on the bright, almost glowing key. She snatched the key, thanked the little fairy, and was on her way.
The guards didn’t give her any trouble on the way back. Without their master they were rendered useless. Samantha rushed home as fast as her legs could take her. It was almost dawn. The sky was slowly being painted with hues of light pink. Samantha rushed in the door right as her mom was getting up.

“Where were you this morning, sweety?”

“Oh, um... I was just helping an old man out with some dusting around the house.”

“Well I’m very proud of you for that.”

“Thanks mom. I’ll see you later. I have some... business to take care of.” No sooner had she said those words did she race to the door. She hesitated a bit before opening it. This was a moment to be savored after all these years of not knowing. Samantha carefully turned the key in the lock until she heard a satisfying click. The door slowly came ajar. What stood behind the door... was a closet. With extra cleaning supplies.

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