mandag den 25. maj 2009

The Key

Write about a conflict. Time: c 20 minutes.
[For en dansk version af teksten se her]

Joan is scrutinizing the flat, cold piece of metal and the key ring with the horseshoe. The key to Susan´s flat. It should have been on one of the pegs in the hall, but she found it in his pocket.

She weighs it in her hand while she glances at their own door with the glass panels which are practically rattling still. She takes a deep breath and wipes her eyes with her sleeve.


“Why have you been in Susan´s flat?” The words were out of her mouth before she could keep them back, but she regretted even before she saw the look on his face.

“What do you mean?”

“Please, don’t. I know.” She struggled to keep her voice down. ”I have found the key.”

“What the heck, since when have you begun searching my pockets?” He grabbed her upper arms before she had a chance to pull away from him. He shook her viciously, but he was not as angry as she would have expected.

”Someone has to empty them before it all goes in the washing machine.” She watched his face. He was angry; a vein was throbbing in his temple and his left eye twitched, but there was also something else. Something she was not quite able to put her finger on. She could feel her bowels contracting.

”What were you doing in Susan´s flat?”

He opened his mouth in an inarticulate roar, and pushed her backwards so her back hit the coffee table, before she fell to the floor. Automatically she held her arms over her head, but he just turned round and dashed out of the flat, slamming the door so the echo rang up and down the staircase.


Joan tries to hit the key hole with her trembling hand. It can´t be true. If he is also involved with Susan … She fumbles with the stupid key while her thoughts go berserk.

Cautiously, she opens the front door . She ought to call out because what if Susan is suddenly there, but her throat is dry, and her heart flutters like a caged bird while she penetrates the dim and stuffy living room. Joan holds her hand before her mouth and nose, the sweet smell tells her she should turn back, but her feet move towards the kitchen on their own accord. She pushes the door open with her elbow and freezes on the threshold.

She gazes in front of her. There is nothing on the kitchen floor. There must not be anything. It can´t be Susan´s blue bathrobe lying there. And the belt, it is far too tight…

Susan, her best friend since their school days.
Joan crumples up on the floor, hugs herself and sobs like a little girl.

4 kommentarer:

seana graham sagde ...

I like this very much, although I must admit that I did not quite get the very end of ending. The belt being far too tight gave me several visual images, but not a definitive one. Wasn't sure if she was really there--or not, and if she was, whether she was lying on the floor, or whether she had hanged herself.

Dorte H sagde ...

Seanag, I am really glad you like it. I know it is rather ambiguous, but it is a writing course exercise, and as you can see, they give us 20 minutes to write something brilliant ;)
I imagine the text might work as a very short prologue; in that case I could answer some of the readers´ questions in the following chapter, e.g. that Susan is indeed lying dead on the floor even though Joan cannot cope with the truth yet.

Unknown sagde ...

Did you write this all yourself?! Wow! I think it's really great. And in twenty minutes? That's crazy and absolutely amazing.
Also, thank you for your kind words and that you appreciate the quotes I post. I am back on my feet, until next time :).

Dorte H sagde ...

Lilly, thank you! Yes, I wrote it, but I don´t think it is difficult to write these SHORT texts. My dream is to write the perfect crime novel, of course, and that is quite another matter :)
I am really glad to hear you are better!