keys at nautilus teachings

She held the skeleton key
Within the palm of her
Tiny 5 year old hand
Her arms, pink from running
Her heart beating fast
Tears streaked her cheeks
The key
The key
Quickly she inserts
It into the lock

She is still now,
No breathing
Eyes tight upon the glass doorknob
No tears
Not a sound
Bam, bam, bam
She hears their feet pounding fast
Across the wooden floor
She grabs teddy

The outside door opens
Her breathing picks up speed
Tears begin to flow
Hugging teddy close
She whispers
“God, please, please make me a fish
So I can swim far, far away…”
Her small frame trembles with fear
As she closes her eyes
And calls on wise old Mr. Hawksbill

The door hits the wall behind
She can smell them now
Their sweat
Their maleness
They are whispering
“you get her-no you get her…”
Click click click
Clack clack clack
She hears her moms shoes
“Get out and leave your sister alone…”

Come out here
You are safe…”
She is sobbing now
Her mother jiggles the knob
Sheri Lynn unlock this door
She doesn’t move
And then she hears it

Her mom had another key
How many keys were there?
Did her brothers know about them?
She must collect them fast
Before her mother knows…
Come here sweetheart…”
She comes from the darkness
Covered in fear
She falls into her mother’s arms

A tiny light goes on above her head
“sheri you cannot keep locking the door,
Now give me that key…”
She shakes her brown haired head no
And her eyes well up begging her mom
to let her keep just one key
“I’ll tell ya what, Sher,
I will put your key in my drawer for safety
That way you always know where it’s at, ok?”
She barely nods her head

The drawer closes roughly
Her mom leaves and she quickly gets the key back
She runs from room to room
Door to door
Collecting keys
8 in all
She leaves the 9th key in the door to the upstairs
Thinking no one will ever know
Her pockets full
She opens the closet door
Ding, ding, ding

The keys fall to the floor
And reflect the sadness in her eyes
She grabs teddy and says,
“Teddy, we must operate, I am so sorry.”
She opens up teddy’s tummy and takes out his squeaker
She ties the keys together with yarn
Inserts them inside his belly
Sews him up
Then falls asleep with him in her arms
In the cornered closet

Years pass
Teddy always by her side
She feels safe
Then one day
She opens him up
And inside the keys are gone
“but, what? What is this?”
Inside was a clothespin
Clasping a piece of paper
On it
In her mother’s
It said,
“Sheri Lynn-
I have the keys in my jewelry box
They are yours when you are ready
To unlock the memories
to uncage them
Fly free
Swim far
And just so you know
I am glad God never answered your prayer
To make you a fish
Because you have turned into
A beautiful mermaid
I love you dearheart