It’s funny how you only want to leave when someone locks you in. I was free before this –no, more than that, I was eager to be here. My fist had pounded on the entrance door for a moon’s turn, until my knuckles ran raw.

This place is a salvation, a home to feed and clean and love and keep you. None of those things come easily on the outside.

There’s a saying across the ocean: nothing good comes for free. Now, I’m here, reaching for keys that months ago were a warm weight in my pocket.

“Lights out.” I used to find peace in the schedule. My mind would quiet an instinct that felt caged, because I had the keys. Freedom was a choice then.

“Nightly song begins now.” The Voice bellows.

I croak familiar lyrics with the others, they are words of hope; they are the words that brought me here. They say this is part of initiation, succumbing to the hopelessness. We are not forewarned how long this part will last.

My feet trail along the stone floor as I reach for the keys, so close but always too far. Eyes watch me try and fail, try and fail.

Written for the Flash!Friday Writing Challenge. These elements but be included:

(1) Required story element (this week: theme. If you want your story to be eligible for an award, the below theme must be central in it. Note: read the history & examples of this theme here.)


(2) Photo prompt to incorporate:

Keys. CC2.0 photo by Apionid.

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