www.whyville.net Feb 5, 2012 Weekly Issue

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The Key

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The beeping of my alarm rattled my nerves, thrusting me out of a rather pleasant dream. My eyes fluttered open and I found myself at the other end of the bed, entangled in a mass of sheets. "Oh dear," I muttered, shaking my pillow off of my ankle. With a little effort, I slid off of the bed and wandered into the bathroom to brush my teeth. It was a routine, tedious practice, but it was engraved into my waking schedule.

I slipped on some fuzzy slippers, headed downstairs,and nearly tripped on my pajamas. I skirted through the hall until I reached the kitchen. I was expecting to see Mom standing there, brewing some scrumptious black coffee or setting sizzling bacon on a warm skillet, but she was nowhere to be found. "Mom?" I called, stepping into the small room and peering past the island into the dining area, but it was completely vacant.

"That's odd," I murmured to myself. I strolled back into the kitchen and sat on the odd, embroidered chair that was placed in the corner, not sure what to do now. It was extremely unusual for the house to be so quiet, especially on a Saturday morning. My parents always made it a point to eat breakfast together at least once a week, preferably on such a day when no one was in a rush to get somewhere.

My eyes drifted to the out-of-place calendar that was firmly planted on the cabinet next to the stove. I then realized it was, quite honestly, a queer place for it, but that cabinet had been the designated spot for it ever since I was a child, so I previously paid it no mind. However, I could not help but notice something different today. I stood up and walked towards the calendar, furrowing my brows together as I observed it. A blood red circle surrounded today's date: Saturday, May 19th, 2012. As I recognized it, I nearly felt as if someone punched me in the chest. "It's my thirteenth birthday?!" I exclaimed, stepping back. "I can't believe I forgot!"

I looked down and chuckled for a few moments, shocked at myself. 'Maybe that's why my family isn't here,' I thought. 'But still, that's not quite right. There's often a huge celebration in the morning. Perhaps they're planning a surprise party or something?'

Just then, I heard a door slam. I dashed through the dining room, into the living room, and right to the front of the house where my father was facing the floor, a sour expression on his face. I skidded to a halt, frowning. Something was wrong - seriously wrong. Dad usually arrived with a beaming smile and bright eyes, especially on one of his kids' birthdays. "Uh, Dad? Are you okay?" I asked. I couldn't help but notice a shining piece of metal in his hand. "What's that?"

His head shot up in surprise. My heart nearly skipped a beat, as he looked as if he had just noticed I was there. His gaze was wild and confused, and when he saw me staring at the item he was holding, he shoved it into his pocket and wandered to the living room where he collapsed on our tan couch. I quickly followed him and dropped to my knees on the white carpet, trying to look into my father's eyes. I began to ask another question when he growled, "Amber, just stop it!"

My eyes widened. I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. "Dad . . ." I whispered. "I'm serious. What the heck is wrong? You're never like this!"

Dad seemed to relax after a minute or so. His shoulders sagged as he heaved himself off the couch. "Amber, today is your thirteenth birthday. Charis and I had agreed to never tell you this, but now that the day has come, I've changed my mind. Your mother is still incredibly hesitant, but it was our duty to tell you the truth from when you were a small child." He turned back to me, looking straight into my eyes. "You see, Amber, you're different from any other human being. You were given something when you were born." During this interval, he slipped his hand back into his pocket and pulled out the shiny metal thing I had seen before. I took a closer look at it and saw that it was a key.

Curiosity began filling up my spirit. "What in the world is that? I mean, yeah, it's a key, but what does it open?"

He reached out his hand to stroke my mid-length auburn hair. Under normal circumstances, I'd probably shrink away, but I did not dare do anything to brush my dad off. I was far too knowledge hungry. I couldn't help but wonder what that key opened. I listened intently when he spoke again.

"Before I tell you what this key is, Amber, you must promise to me that you won't let this change you. It's heavy stuff to comprehend."

Now I was really psyched. I nodded vigorously, but that wasn't enough for him. "Promise me - verbally!" he ordered.

"I promise," I said, a little confused. Seeming satisfied, he placed the key in my hands. I admired its beauty; it appeared to be made out of pure silver, and polished to the very molecule. It seemed to be one of those more old-fashioned keys, with a round, fancy bottom and a neck that had two bars on the upper part.

There was a long pause before his next words were spoken. Taking a deep breath, Dad knelt down so we were seeing eye to eye. "Your mother won't want me telling this to you, but . . . you have the key to destroying the world."


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