Laura walks down the illuminated path which should lead her to room 103. She strolls in solo, her sister lingering a few rooms behind her. Must have been waiting for their cousin. She listens to the pitch of gravel granules crumbling as her faded white Converse grind them up. An orchestra of crickets, ribbits, and strange croaks seep with intention to overflow her ears. Vast brown eyes gaze into the distance beyond God’s great stones to find lightning cracks. Laura awaits the boom!, but silence. So marvelous, yet delicate. Effulgent shocks light up the night sky. Blink and you’ll miss it.
A right turn and she is met with puddle infested steps. One foot after the other, she heads to the familial meeting destination: her grandparents balcony. All around her, the soaring vegetation keeps a watchful eye. The engulfing jungle 3 glows in the gleams of the moon. Vines contort around objects to create magnificent arches; hanging leaves and fruits bulge as if on steroids.
Laura could already hear the chitter chatter as she approached the lean wooden door. The sound of her aunt cackling, the melody of the fire hacking, and the voice of her Grandmother coughing. With the room keys in one hand and the other reaching for the door handle, she begins to catch on to the faint distinct sound of footsteps on gravel. She dismisses the noise assuming it’s just her slow-paced sibling.
Just as she was about to unlock the door, her wrist could not complete a full 90 degree turn holding onto the key. The metal didn’t budge any further. Thinking she turned it the wrong way, Laura then tried turning the keys in the lock towards the opposite direction. This did not work either. As this was not Laura’s first time struggling to unlock a door with keys, determined, she continued to try other methods. Twist to the right, push then pull; twist to the left, push then pull.
Growing increasingly frustrated, she aggressively jabs the key into the slim iron hole, resulting in the cementation of the jagged item and the lock. Taking a moment to realize the additional stress Laura caused for herself by virtue of her impatience, she notices an unfamiliar silence. Where did my family’s voices disappear to? All but the noise of now forceful footsteps and the no-longer-soothing sound of nature had somehow drifted off into the delusive night during Laura’s escapade with her resort room keys.
She formulates all the possible conclusions as to why she could no longer make out the words of her loved ones behind the grandiose door, and why the key wasn’t working. Her train of thought was interrupted by the unrecognizable and quickening steps formerly belonging to her sister. Laura believed she was now being followed by a stranger and her mind was soon barraged with a stream of questions: Why are they walking so fast? Where are they going? Could they be dangerous? Will they hurt me?
With an accelerated heartbeat, she briskly began attempting to wiggle the clearly jammed key out from its current state, and into one which provided clearance from the possible threat. As the footsteps grew louder, her grip around the key grew tighter and her jerks stronger. Eventually, Laura’s hand turning morphed into a fist used to knock on the door. When her knocks were met with no reply, she couldn’t help but consider that she was at the wrong room all along.
Seeking a safe haven from the impending danger, she disregarded the idea that this door may not open to reveal her family, yet instead another’s. Laura’s knocks were vociferous and accompanied by speechless answers and what seemed to be nothingness on the other side of the door. Where is everyone?!
As the unknown steps approached the outdoor staircase which she had been waiting atop, Laura closed her eyes and braced herself for the worst.
“Why are you knocking so loudly?!”
She opened her eyes to the sight of her older brother. His slender figure was apparent in the moonlight and lunged forward to the door. With a free hand, he effortlessly removes the headstrong key and replaces it with another one held within his other hand. Laura scoffs. Her fear seamlessly fell into relief within his presence. She now thinks back to how she had grabbed the wrong set of keys on the way out of her room.
Leading the way onto the balcony, her brother makes way to reveal the rest of the family was nowhere to be found. Before she could ask any questions, he opens the double doors to the right into her grandparents actual room. Her eyes are are met with a feast of smiles and the pouring of hot drinks. The family had simply moved from the terrace into the room. Laura thought to herself, must’ve been the mosquitos.
This is a screenshot of the Flash Fiction grading rubric.