Hump Day Kick Start – The Key Edition

Hump Day Kick Start – for your muse, a writing picture prompt, or just a visual treat.



Straying off the usual path. Hey, it can’t all be sexy all the time. There’s got to be some intrigue, too, now and again.

A key, a note. Who was it intended for? What does the note mean? Is it blackmail? An order to eliminate a threat? Steal something of value? Where does the key fit? A closet of skeletons? A steamer trunk filled with treasure/intel/secrets hidden away in a corner in the attic?  An old, abandoned house used for hiding another body? Is it a key to someone’s heart? Or a door to the past with instructions that will change the future?

What is your take? Tell a tale or caption the pic.


21 Responses to Hump Day Kick Start – The Key Edition

  1. Sarah Andre says:

    Oh. My. God.
    Why do you do this to me?! I’m BUSY!!!!~
    Sigh…I’ll be back. Muse is screaming ideas like a lunatic.


  2. jbrayweber says:

    Hey…I can’t be the only one who procrastinates.


  3. jeff7salter says:

    Steve: I got your note. Raced over here as soon as I could. What’s all the emergency about?
    Joan: Give me that key. quick!
    Steve: Hang on a minute. First tell me what’s so urgent. What does this key go to?
    Joan: You remember that exhibit I’ve been working on?
    Steve: Sure. It’s tied you up for weeks. Something about the middle ages I believe.
    Joan: More specifically about some of the literary and cultural myths which are purported to be based in the middle ages, but which actually arose in later centuries.
    Steve: what are you talking about? And why did I have to zoom over here with this stupid key?
    Joan: Okay, but promise you won’t laugh.
    Steve nodded but did not promise.
    Joan: Remember how I told you I was checking all the display items for authenticity?
    Steve: not really. you were yakking during the game I was watching.
    Joan slugs him. “Just give me the key.”
    Steve: not til you tell me what it’s for.
    Joan: One of the items in this exhibit is a chastity belt…


  4. jbrayweber says:

    Hahaha! That’s torture! Good one, Jeff.


  5. rekenjura says:

    Okay, here is my story- with alternate endings. there were just too many choices so here they all are

    There it was. Hanging there, so simple, so plain, so ordinary. An old-fashioned skeleton key tarnished, almost black, beckoned to her —not with light but with mystery and intrigue. Enticing her. Pleading with her. Seducing her. The note a simple command- You know what to do.
    Should she? That was the question. The answer—not so simple. What would happen when she turned the lock? Would it be heaven, or hell, or perhaps somewhere in-between. Would the door swing wide or creak slowly open.
    The temptation was great; she removed the key from the wall. Felt the weight of it in her hand. So light, she thought it would be heavier. Her hands trembled as she inserted the key into the lock. In the blink of an eye, maybe not even that long her life would change. Inhaling deeply, she turned the key as the air seeped from her lungs. She her the click of the lock, then wrapped her hand around the knob and turned…

    She walked through the door and into his waiting arms. He stood there so handsome, so tall and smiling at her. Family and friends had gathered to watch their union. Standing to the left of her were her bridesmaids and maid of honor , her daughters her six girls, all dressed ins pale yellow, flowing dresses, their blonde hair braided with white daisies placed among the strands. To her right was the man she loved, and standing for him were his six sons. All mirror images of him, all with the dark hair and blue eyes. The joining of families, of hearts and of lives yet to unfold.

    She stepped over the threshold into an alternate Universe. So different for her old world. The colors were more vibrant, perhaps because the air smelled cleaner, fresher. Buildings stood tall, sleek and glistening with diamond like brilliance. The lavender skies with pastel orange clouds served as backdrops. People zipped around in individual flying suits, darting up and down, between buildings and trees. There was a low hum that seemed to wrap around her, she could sense more than feel the vibration. As beautiful as this world seemed, she knew darkness waited. Evil existed here, more consuming, darker and far more dangerous than that in her old world.

    The door open with a creak and a moan, the rusty hinges stiff form age. Dust billowed from the road as a horse drawn wagon bounced through the holes in the dirt road. Women wore long dresses of black or gray, bonnets covered their head and shadowed their faces as they rushed along the shops. A lively tune poured out of the saloon accompanied by loud laughter of men. She could hear the clank of spurs mixed with the heavy thud of boot heels as men with guns strapped to their hips walked toward the saloon. She followed the tallest man with her eyes, he had the broadest shoulders , wore his gun belt a little lower on his hip. He was the time traveler and her target.

    She stopped, her hand still wrapped around the knob. Did she want to walk into new worlds? Change who she was? Leave everyone behind? Her heart was broken, shattered into a million pieces, how could he have betrayed her? Didn’t he know how much she loved him, needed him, wanted him? But with all the hurt, did she really want to leave this world, this place and the chance to see him again?
    Did she really have a choice? The pain that tore through her chest was unbearable; could she survive seeing him with her? The door offered a new beginning—a new life . But would it heal her heart? Would she forever be seeking his likeness, the clone of him that inhabited the new world? Tears trickled down her cheeks and still she hesitated. The voice in her head said turn the knob, her heart whispered don’t-wait-there might be a chance. She felt her hand turning the knob, saw the door open. She stood there , seeing the world before her with all its beauty and splendor.
    The door slammed shut. She stared at the weathered wood, then glanced down at the lock. The key was gone. Turning slowly, tears still wet on her face, and looked up. Looked into his beautiful gray eyes, felt his arms wrap around her as he whispered. “Forgive me”


  6. jbrayweber says:

    O.M.G. This is wonderful, Ruth. I loved every option given. There is so much that could be spun from each. Well done!


  7. Sarah Andre says:

    Jeez, Ruth, leave some ideas for us! 🙂
    Don’t you have a contest to run?


  8. rekenjura says:

    Sorry Sarah, they just poured out- the muse was lively today, But I know you can pull off a sexy one


  9. jbrayweber says:

    Haha! So true. She covered it all. But I know you’ll have something for us.


  10. Sarah Andre says:

    “She is beautiful, no?”
    Caleb cut his eyes from the fiery Italian temptress across the barroom, to the old bartender drying off a glass. He nodded, but didn’t open his mouth for fear he’d ruin the evening with his need to split hairs. He was a writer, he made a good living using precise language. Choosing the right word was critical. ‘Beautiful’ wasn’t it… Exquisite? Breathtaking? He’d seen beautiful. He’d never seen this.

    “She is a…” The bartender gestured for the word. “Her husband, he die.”
    “A widow.”
    Caleb half-turned in his seat, gazing at the lush, raven hair tumbling past her shoulder. She sat so her profile was to the room, lost in her thoughts, writing in something that looked like a diary. Besides one long, cool look when he’d first walked in, she’d been absorbed with her work this entire time. “When did he die?”
    “Oh. Eleven years. She come in every night and write like so.” The bartender gestured and shook his head, sadly. “Speak to no one.”

    Caleb blinked. “She hasn’t spoken for eleven years?”
    “No here. Maybe in village or house she lives.”
    “Where does she live?”
    “Big house on hill. Very old.”
    Awareness dawned. The Vensanti widow. In the week he’d been on this writing retreat in Tuscany he’d heard about ‘the woman in the house on the hill.’ How she’d shut herself off from basic human interaction. One little kid had whispered, ‘strega,’ -witch. Caleb could relate. He was sucked right under her spell tonight.

    How would he get her to talk? Or even look up from her writing? An idea dawned. “Give me a glass of whatever wine she’s drinking,” he requested, and picked up his own glass. While the bartender poured, Caleb tucked his manuscript under his arm, thanked the bartender and took all the items across the room. Without a word he sat opposite her, plunked down both glasses, flipped open his manuscript and began editing in the margins.

    He ignored the pause of her scratching pen. Felt the electricity of her wrath. He turned the page and kept working. A full minute of complete paralysis on the other side of the table ensued, and he began to sweat through the back of his shirt. Finally, peripherally, he caught her putting the pen down and picking up the glass of wine. Half expecting it to end up splashing in his face, he exhaled with relief when she took a sip. He turned another page.

    Together they wrote in their own silence, separate worlds only three feet apart. They never stopped for sips of wine at the same time, never made eye contact. But he felt her relaxing, and a conciliatory companionship was born.
    At midnight the bartender came over and apologized profusely, stating that the bar would close.

    Caleb stacked his pages and followed the bartender back to the bar to pay his tab. He held out a generous tip, insisting again and again after the old man refused, protested and went all theatrical about the extra money. Sure, no one tipped in Italy, but Caleb couldn’t walk out of any place without leaving one. It was as innate as breathing.

    When he turned back to the table it was empty. Or nearly so. The Vensanti widow had left her diary. Why leave something so precious? He frowned and glanced around the empty room. Maybe she’d gone to the restroom. “She leave,” the bartender said, “while we shouting. Perhaps you bring her book to her.” He winked.

    Caleb walked over to gather it up, and halted, dumbstruck at the one sentence written in perfect English for him. Wrapped around the words was the key she’d worn on a leather strip around her neck. He’d recognize it anywhere. It had nestled between her cleavage, drawing his gaze all evening like a sparkling diamond.

    He closed trembling fingers around the warm metal and her diary. In a daze of anticipation and disbelief he gathered his manuscript. When he turned back, the bartender nodded with a smile. “You go make her speak again, si?”



  11. jbrayweber says:

    This. This is the best you’ve ever done, Sarah. I adore this!


  12. pibarrington says:

    “In nobsis keyis…” if you know where that phrase is from you have my undying admiration.


  13. jbrayweber says:

    Not a clue, Patti. Especially if it came from a literary piece.


  14. pibarrington says:

    From one of my favorite but not well known old movies (b/w) entitled “Murder, He Said” no–NOT related to Murder She Wrote but a hilarious film starring Fred MacMurray (no joke) and only rarely seen on TV. Years, well decades, ago I happened to be vacuuming my living room when it came on and I looked up and stopped vacuuming until it was over. There are some outstanding jokes and scenes. I just love it. You’ll have to check it out on your own since I don’t want to give spoilers. TCM might have rights and may run it.


  15. jeff7salter says:

    I’ve watched that film. Quite nice.


  16. jbrayweber says:

    I actually like Fred MacMurray. I’ll have to check it out. I’ll check my local library first. Thanks, Patti.


  17. pibarrington says:

    Me? Literary? We don’t even orbit in the same system, lol!


  18. WOW!!! This prompt struck some creative gold!! I’ve loved reading all your entries…and now I’m off to find an old movie. 🙂 Great stuff!!!


  19. jbrayweber says:

    We have lots of talented MuseTrackers out there.


  20. Will Graham says:

    I was kicked back in my office chair, bourbon neat on the desk, a fresh pack of Luckies beside it, and nothing else to do.

    My last case had ended badly… for the bad guys, that is. After spending almost a month being grilled by the cops, I was finally told the matter was closed and no charges would be filed against me. My attorney was currently planning on sending his kid to Harvard – most likely the campus on Mars – with all the fees I’d paid him.

    Back to square one, as usual.

    What I had going for me at the moment is I was clean shaven, nicely dressed in my best suit, and breakfasted like a normal guy. The waitress at my favorite diner, Angela was her name, even threw a little extra bump my way. I liked to think it was my handsome profile that did it, but it was probably the four bits I’d left as a tip.

    There was a knock on my door. “Yeah?” I yelled. The door opened and a kid in a messenger’s uniform walked in.

    “You Farlowe?” he asked.

    “N,” I replied.


    “N for Nathaniel. Nate Farlowe. Not ‘U’.”

    The kid sighed with the toll exacted by his profession. “Package for you,” he said, handing me a large envelope. I tipped him a quarter and he left, probably failing to appreciate my rapier like wit.

    I tore the package open. A hard bound journal fell into my lap. A quick search of the envelope revealed nothing more.

    I picked up the journal and opened it to the page that had been bookmarked. There was a key attached to the bookmark, and the words YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO were written inside.

    I sighed. Yeah, I knew what to do. And I knew who was in town. And I knew what I *better* do.

    I picked up the blower and dialed my favorite bakery. When they answered one the other end, I said, “Drew? Nate Farlowe here. Need a double batch of your Black and White Cookies, and I need ’em now. Can do?”

    He answered in the affirmative. We hung up. I looked out the window and saw clouds building in the sky. I grabbed my trench coat and slid into it, then jammed my favorite fedora on my head.

    As I headed out, I sent a quick prayer that Drew could do what he said he could. I knew what to do all right… and I knew what would happen if I didn’t…..


  21. jbrayweber says:

    That. Was. Amazing, Will! Well done, sir. Well done!


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