The fire had been no accident.
The entire town knew that, but they also knew the fire department would class it as one. Not to do so meant an investigation, turning up questions better left unanswered. It was far simpler to say that with all the books kept inside, it had reached the temperatures of a kiln in there, all those beautiful words being used to roast the very life out of the little house. Now all that remained were ruins that stood like an unholy skeleton in the pale morning light.

Sarah didn’t know what drew her there again, perhaps a compulsion to face her most dreaded demon, perhaps the necessity for closure, or perhaps the need to assure herself that it was truly over.

“It’s not your fault,” the councilor had repeatedly assured. Then why did she feel so dirty? Why did the sound of a piano fill her up with dread? Why could she not step into church until the choir stopped singing? And why did it not make a damn difference knowing that she was not the only one?

She honestly did not know what she expected. After years of having come for practice, her labored feet automatically led her into the room where the lessons were held. The piano stood in the same corner, keys broken and covered in soot. What had been the stool lay in a broken heap on the floor. She hit a key and a crystal clear note rang out. Startled she looked around, terrified that the sound of heavy footsteps would follow. But the house was as silent and lifeless as her heart. With unexplainable urgency she started whipping away the dirt with her shirtsleeve. Somewhere in that mess was her life, and if she could clear away the soot, maybe she would finally find the person she had been.


Written for Michelle’s Photo-Fiction #87


2 thoughts on “Keys

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