The key of the fate
I sneaked into the old abandoned house at the end of the street. I was surprised to find a small, padlocked treasure chest on a dresser in an upstairs bedroom. There was a note that said, “Do not open. EVER!” I also noticed a small key hanging on the wall. I tried the key in the padlock. It was a perfect fit.
The key was the correct one, I could open the chest. But I wondered if I should. There was that note which said “Do not open ever”. Impossible, that note just made me want to open it. Nothing tempts so much as a note which says that you mustn’t do it.
So I turned the key. I heard a very low click, and then I opened the chest.
I felt a little disappointed at what I saw inside. Just a photo and some papers well folded. I took the photo and I looked at it. There was a woman and a man leaning against a big tree in a park. Both were between 30 and 35 years old. He was the tallest. He had dark hair; long enough to be placed behind his ears. He had a lovely, smiling face, with a beard of two days. He was wearing blue jeans and a black coat. She had long, dark, curly hair. Her eyes were almost black, and her skin was darker than his. She was wearing jeans too, dark shoes and a long coat. And she seemed to be very happy. With her great smile she looked very beautiful. But I didn’t notice anything of that. I was just staring at her face; it reminded me of my own face. Although I was younger than her. I was 20.
I turned the picture and I noticed that there were some words:
My dear Sally Heaton
Now I was scared. Sally Heaton. That was my name. All that seemed a little odd. That woman who had a face so similar to mine had the same name too. Very weird.
I turned the picture. I stared at her face again. Now that I was paying attention to our likeness I thought that Sally was too similar to me to be another Sally. She was me. Too weird, I didn’t like it.
I left the photo back in the chest. Then I took the papers. It seemed to be a long handwritten letter.
After that picture of an older “myself” I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what the letter said. But I knew that I would regret it if I didn’t read it. So I began:
Dear Sally Heaton. Well, I don’t know if I should call dear to myself. It doesn’t matter. I know you must be a little confused because of that picture of an older you, but don’t worry, don’t try to understand why this is happening, you just have to know that I’m Sally Heaton too. Just keep reading. I’m writing to you, or to me, because I want you to avoid the great mistake of my life.
As you can see in the last picture James Williams gave me I was very happy, both were, indeed. We were together since university. I really loved him, but he is already dead, and it’s my fault, I caused his death. That’s why I feel so guilty. And before I bury myself in my own misery I have to warn you about what you MUST NOT do.
Two months ago I met a man called Jacob Monaghan. At least he told me that was his name. I won’t explain to you the whole story because it is too long and you wouldn’t understand it. You must only know I was deceived by that Monaghan. I tried to fix it, as he had advised me not to do. So he sent someone to my flat. I wasn’t there that night, only James. I arrived the next day to find a note on James’ body which said “You knew what could happen. JM”.
That’s all, Sally. Never accept anything from Jacob Monaghan. Just run away from him.
PS: Maybe you are wondering how I knew you would be the only person who would open the chest. It is simple, I was in the old house of my grandmother too when I was 20. I also found the chest and the key hanging on the wall. But the note just said “Do not open”. And there was nothing inside. I filled it for you. And I add “EVER”, too. I simply wanted to make the chest more attractive. I know the way you think, Sally!
Finally, I don’t want you to think that all is inevitable, it’s not too late for you.
I guess your life has been exactly the same as mine until now, but it won’t be any more, because I never received this warning from myself. From now on you will have another life, who knows how different things will be with this letter. Maybe the warning isn’t just necessary because you won’t meet James, or maybe you won’t fall in love, or maybe he won’t, or maybe you won’t make my mistake. But I had to leave this to you, because if I didn’t, your life would be as mine, you would be me. With this letter you will become another person: I’m giving you a new chance to make things right.
Good luck, Sally.
No words. I had no words. It was too incredible for me. I just couldn’t believe the letter in my hands had been written by an older me, it made no sense. I looked at the picture again. There was no doubt, that woman was me.
I didn’t know what to think. If it was simply a joke, then nothing was important. But what if there was something real. I was confused and scared, too much to even notice some odd things. For example, how on earth was anyone able to send messages to herself in the past? But had she really sent a message to the past? Then, if it was real, was it important how she had sent the content of the chest to me? I didn’t think so.
I had too many things in my mind at that moment. I just wanted to return home. I hesitated for a second whether I should leave there the chest or bring it home. I just knew I didn’t want anybody to see it. Finally I decided the best would be to leave the chest where it was: nobody would enter that house. But the key would be safer with me.
I left the house, trying to remember if I knew someone called James Williams or Jacob Monaghan. I was already in the street when I began to think that maybe nothing had been real. It had to be my imagination. Maybe I should go back to the house and open again the chest. I felt fear. I didn’t want to know if there really was a letter from myself. Maybe another time, but not today. I still had the key, anyway.
So I began to move away while I put the chain with the key around my neck.