The House of the Twelve Keys
Part 1. Trapped!
The sky turned inky gray. Rain began spattering down on the street.
“Oh no!” Pat said, “We’ll never make it to the library!”
“It was supposed to be sunny!” Raj said, trying to keep his backpack dry. “My copy of Sixty Ways to Tickle a Snake is going to get ruined!”
Pat and Raj were on their way to play their favourite library game, Random Knowledge. (They made it up themselves!) Pat and Raj would close their eyes and pick a book from the shelves. They’d spend the day reading it, then surprise each other with the weirdest thing they’d learned. The weird stuff they’d learned already could fill, well, a library.
Lightning flashed. A hulking mass of a house seemed to appear out of nowhere.
“Over there!” Raj yelled. Pat followed as a giant thunderclap split the air. They huddled against the faded wood of the front door.
“This is no good,” Pat said, wiping rainwater from her hair. “This old porch roof has too many holes.”
Raj tried the handle of the door. “It’s locked.”
Another bolt of lightning struck the lawn just metres away.
“Look! A key!” Pat said. A rusty key stuck out from the lock under the handle. She was sure that it hadn’t been there before. But it was their only chance. The storm was now right overhead.
Raj clutched the key and turned it. The door opened so quickly they tumbled inside, landing with a thump on a thick red carpet. “Ack!” Raj coughed, waving away a cloud of dust.
The door slammed shut.
“Must have been the wind?” Pat suggested.
Pat and Raj looked around. Everything was covered in dust. The faded wallpaper looked as if it had been scratched by a giant animal. The far end of the hallway was covered in deep, dark shadow.
“Charming,” Pat said, not meaning it one bit.
Raj nodded slowly, wiping the dust off his shirt. “At least we’re dry.”
In fact, they were completely dry. Like they’d never been caught in a storm at all. And instead of lightning and thunder, they could hear birds singing outside. Sunlight streamed from a crack under the door.
“Okay, that’s weird,” Raj said.
The word “weird” echoed off the walls and down the hall. Suddenly, the chandeliers began to sway. A cold breeze, colder than ice, whooshed around them.
“Let’s get out of here!” Pat said, jumping to her feet. She tried the door, but now it was locked from the inside.
A low moan came from the shadows. Then a raspy whisper, “You are now trapped in the house of the twelve keys. Only with the twelve keys can you escape.”
Heavy footsteps sounded on the floor, moving slowly. The shadow stretched toward them with each step.
“AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!” they yelled, slamming and punching at the door, which refused to budge.
The footsteps drew closer…closer…closer.
Raj looked down. He was still holding the rusty key! “Move!” he said. Pat stepped aside and Raj put the key back in the lock and turned.
There was a loud “click.” Pat and Raj threw open the door and rushed outside.
Except, they weren’t outside.
Do you think it was a good idea to enter this house?