In search of Inspiration·Inkling Inspirations

The keys in the bookcase – Chapter 1

Where a group of 4 find an old oak box and search for the keys

The odd group stood around the table, staring at the oak box on the table. Three college roommates from different majors, Conner, Ben, and Alex, and their high school neighbor, Sara, found the box cleaning out an old shed that sat right on the property line. It was locked. They went through the whole shed but no keys. 

Conner broke their contemplative sighlance. “Why don’t we just try cutting off the lock?” 

“We don’t have any tools,” Alex pointed out.

“My dad does, but there’s no way he’s lending us any of the tools that will do us any good,” Sara added.

“Come on! We can find the keys,” Ben insisted. 

“Yeah, maybe the caverings will give us clues,” Conner said sarcastically. 

“Well, we could. The carvings on the box are very specific flowers and people have been using flowers to communicate for ages,” Ben said. Sara leaned to the side to get a better look at the carvings on the side Ben looked at.

“We should try lock picking. You do realize we have the perfect reason to learn lock picking right in front of us right?” Alex asked.

“My freshman roommate has a metal detector. He’d probably let me borrow it. I could check the grounds,” Conner said. 

“Sounds like we each have our own ideas.” Alex said. 

“So, divide and conquer?” Ben asked.

“Who gets Sara?” Conner jerked a thumb at the teen.

“Actually,” Sara tilted her head as if that would reveal something more about the carvings, “I have something I want to check out.”

Ben pulled a book on identifying flowers from the shelf. He brought it back to the table he had claimed earlier. The library boasted a surprising lack of students. Being the only person there under 50 made Ben feel self conscious. He did his best to ignore it. Instead he opened the book to compare it against the picture he took of the carvings.

Alex started his quest to learn lock picking to locks by heading to the pharmacy, a.k.a. the nearest place that sold bobby pins. He rode his skateboard there because he could. A car nearly hit him on his way. Of course that was the easy part. Standing in front of the hair products Alex couldn’t make heads or tails. Eventually he just grabbed the bobby pins that looked right.

Conner had no problems getting the metal detector. His old roommate gladly loaned it to him for the weekend. The problems started when he tried to put it in his car. It didn’t fit in the trunk. He looked between the metal department and the car. 


Ben could find most of the flowers in the book. The largest flower was not. Ben tried another book. And a book on European botany after that one. He still couldn’t find the flower. Given that it was so prominently featured he needed to find it. 

The bobby pins had little things on the tips. Alex didn’t know that until he got back home. He glared at the little plastic drop. 

Conner finally got the metal detector home. Time to get started.

The group gathered around the table, just like they had the same time yesterday. Alex tucked his hand into his pockets. Conner shifted in his spot. Sara didn’t meet anyone’s eye.

“So, any luck?” Ben finally asked.

“The detectiving didn’t turn up anything?” Conner asked.

“Couldn’t figure out what that big flower was.”

“Well, the lock picking clearly didn’t work,” Conner said.

“You didn’t bring in any keys.” Alex pointed accusingly at Conner.

“Hey, no fighting,” Ben said.

“We’re not fighting,” they said at the same time. Sara silently took out a ball of paper. She uncrumpled it. Two keys sat in the middle of a sea of old fashioned cursive.

“I found the keys, hidden behind a stack of books in the old oak bookcase in my grandmother’s house.”

“You think they’re the right keys?”  Conner asked.

“The book shelf has the same carvings, made of the same wood.”

“And your parents didn’t put the box in the shed?” Alex asked.

“They always thought it belonged to this property so they never touched it.” 

“So we going to try the key or what?” Conner asked.

Ben picked up one of the keys. “No time like the present.” The key slid into the lock. With a twist it clicked.

This is a chapter in a story that originated with a post on Tumblr. I wrote a post about how this story began and how it developed into a ongoing adventure, where Writerdragon4 and myself take turns in writing the story. If you want to stay updated on more stories, subscribe to my blog.

Here is the next chapter

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