Key to Another World

By Dragonfly

Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom, there lived a lonely princess. Every day she’d get up, promising herself that “TODAY will be an exciting day! TODAY something fun will happen!” But by evening, she was just as sad as she’d been the day before. Then one day, something happened that would change her life forever …

It all began as she was getting dressed that morning. She was in her huge walk-in closet, hopelessly tring to find something, when a strong breeze blew through the window and knocked something off the wall. It startled her so much that she dropped the glass bottle she was holding.

“Oh, no!” she screamed, “my favorite perfume, too.” She bent down to pick up the broken glass. Then she saw the painting lying on the wooden floor. Its frame had shattered into many pieces when it fell, and the picture itself was ripped in two.

“Oh, great,” she was really happy, now, “just what I need. I’d better trash this before anyone else sees it.”

She carried the pieces of the painting to the garbage and was going to drop them in when she noticed a little envelope glued to the back of the frame. Curiosity won as she stopped to take it off. It felt like it had something in it, too. Something heavy—like a nail or a screw? No, no way. But, she still opened it up. To her surprise, it held a … key!

“What on earth is this for?” she asked herself, holding the key closely to look at it. “It’s a really old-fashioned one—like something King George would use to lock you in his dungeon!” she laughed, forgetting for the moment what all had happened. “Now, if I could find out what this thing goes to … then, I’d have it made.”

After two whole hours of lock-searching through the entire castle, the princess still hadn’t given up. In fact, she was confident that she’d solve the mysery, yet. She went back to her room to think over everything some more.

“Let’s see,” she said as she sprawled out on her canopy bed, “if I was going to hide a key on the back of this painting before I hung it up inside THIS castle, and in MY room, and on MY wall,” she paused, trying to figure out what she’d just said, “then I would have hidden it because it went to something right here—in MY ROOM!”

“And that means there just might be something hidden in here this key goes to,” the possibility struck her as hard as a rock. “Now all I have to do is find it, but where do I start looking?”

She decided the best place would be her walk-in closet. After all, that was where this wholoe mess had started in the first place. She began digging through all her “junk” to the shelves in the back. After clearing everything off them, she firmly grabbed the lowest shelf and gave a tug. Nothing happened. Not willing to abandon her newest inspiration, she tried the other three also, but they didn’t move either.

“Oh, great,” she sighed, but then another thought struck her. “Maybe there’s not a secret door, but maybe like a . . . a vault, or something even better!”

And so she continued her search, crawling underneath and between the shelves, then pounding on her walls, listening for hollow places, and finally looking for loose boards in her floor. But all her efforts were without any results.

Grumbling, she picked herself up and walked over to the window. On her way, she had to pass by the same spot where the old painting had previously hung. Out of a sudden urge, she paused and gave the wall a few hard raps. To her surprise, it sounded hollow!

“Yes!” her shout of delight sounded more like that of a soldier when he conquers his enemy. With animal-like fierceness, the princess tore the wallpaper away, only to discover another layer. Again, she ripped, and ripped, until finally she was down to a large wooden panel—a wooden panel with a lock!

She was so excited that she could hardly hold the key steady enough to force it into the hole. It fit perfectly. She turned the key, but it wouldn’t move. She tried again, and this time it turned. Holding her breath, she opened the wooden panel . . .

It opened into what looked like a dark, empty hallway. Summing up her courage, the princess stepped through the hole and into the blackness.

“Oh, my foot!” she winced in pain, but couldn’t let a little scrape stop her—this was far too important.

The hallway turned a corner ahead of her, and she’d need a light to see up there. She carefully walked back to her room to get a lamp.

“Great.” The oil for the lamp was all used up. “Now what am I going to do? I hate candles—they always go out. Especially, when you need them most.”

But still, a candle was what she ended up using. She made sure to bring some extra matches, though. The last way she wanted to end the day was stuck inside some pitch-black tunnel with no light to keep the mice away!

And, back through the hole the princess went. She thought she felt a cold draft this time, but it was probably just her imagination. The candle flickered, forming eerie shadows upon the walls. It was enough to give anyone the goosebumps, but she kept going.

After walking for ten more minutes, she came to a large door. It looked really old, as if it hadn’t been opened for many years. She wiped the dust off the doorknob and wondered whether or not she really should open it.

“Ok,” she finally decided, “here goes nothing.”

She tried the handle, but it was locked. Feeling frustrated, the princess kicked the door—hard. A small piece of metal clanged sharply as it hit the floor. Where it had been was now a keyhole. And the shape of it was the same shape as the key she still held in her hand!

Breathless with anticipation, she inserted the key into the slot. It turned … click! The door was unlocked; she could open it! She was so excited. This was the second time today she’d used the key, but what would like behind THIS door? Once again, she opened a door . . .

Lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and torrents of rain poured from the darkened sky. The air was electric, madly swirling with the rain. The princess screamed as she felt herself slipping on the muddy ground below. Throwing out her hands to catch her fall, she dropped the key. it landed in a pool near her, where it slowly sank to the bottom.

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