The challenge is to respond to the prompt every day, write no more than 1000 words…well, rules are meant to be broken!

Today's prompt is simple…The Key.



My gaze skittered around the gloomy room, taking in the others chained to the walls. I don’t know why I’d been placed in the middle. Or why out of the ten of us present I alone had been clothed. Not in anything worthwhile. Not in the jeans and T-shirt I’d worn on the way to the bus stop this morning. The scrap of cloth barely covered my breasts or my most private parts. I felt incredibly exposed, but was grateful I wasn’t naked like the others.


How much time had passed I had no idea. I’d woken up some time ago to find myself tied up to this pole, but how much time I’d been out wasn’t something I could measure.


The girls chained to the wall had their necks and wrists secured with cables to the rows of rings. They had much more freedom of movement than I did; they could chose whether to stand, sit, or lie down. That choice had been taken from me.

My feet ached. My shoulders protested the positioning of my wrists. My legs trembled. And my mouth was parched. had no choice but to stand.


And wait.


For whom, I wasn’t sure. I’d tried asking the other girls. Two tried answering my questions. The first sounds spilling from their lips turned to screams. They passed out a few short seconds later from what I could only presume was an electrical shock applied to the silvery collars around their necks. The other girls clammed up after that.


I could ask all I wanted, but they weren’t allowed to answer. What did they know that I did not?


Something horrific by the hollowness in their expressions. But what?


Funny how time passes. I couldn’t have been standing more than half an hour, no more than an hour at most, yet every muscle in my body ached from the strain of holding myself upright. It was the chill in the air. Not cold, but simply not warm. The very air leeched my body heat, weakening me.


I tried asking more questions. Even framing them in a yes/no format so the girls wouldn’t receive a shock for daring to answer.


Nothing. No one would fill my curiosity with knowledge. Which had me wondering…what had happened to them to cow them so easily.


I wriggled my wrists, twisting them inside the metal bands. My stomach growled with hunger. That gave me some sense of the passage of time, but my bladder didn’t pinch with the urge to pee. I was either extraordinarily dehydrated, or it hadn’t been that long since my abduction. A collar had been fastened around my neck as well. There was no cable restraining me to the pole. With the exception of my wrists chained overhead, I was free to move. I shifted on the balls of my feet. I could walk around the pole. The top where my wrists were fastened swiveled with me, but I couldn’t sit. And all I wanted to do was to sit and rest my back against the scratchy post.


The room we’d been placed in appeared more of a hollowed out cave. The ceiling stretched overhead into darkness, giving the impression of great height, but the walls were rough hewn rock and the floor only less so. I stood on a wooden platform, and was grateful for that. The other girls huddled on the bare stone. Their lips were ringed in blue, an early sign of hypothermia—or shock. Probably a little bit of both.


My eyes ached from trying to penetrate the darkness. Where the hell was I? How did I get here? All of these were very reasonable questions and I had no answers.


Soft sobs, and the shifting of naked girls against stone, filled the silence to bursting. I stretched my senses to penetrate the inky black.


A glimmer of light drew my attention. The heavy tread of someone or something drew close. Rough voices resolved out of the dimness, deep masculine voices. More than one. More than two? I hadn’t a clue.


My stomach dropped and my heart rate spiked. Shadows resolved on a wall, very large shadows. A shiver tickled down my spine. I shifted on my feet, raising myself up on tiptoe as if that would garner me a better view. I pressed my back against the safety of the solid post. How ridiculous, but I did it anyway.


Muffled sounds of men resolved into words I could understand.


“He wants her for himself, Eli.”


A deep growly voice resolved into words. “He wants a great many things.”


“And you intend to go against his wishes?” A clink of chain echoed in the space.


“I intend no such thing.”


“He will come after you.”


“Let him come. His word-bond will hold him to honoring our agreement.”


“But you’re taking the one he’s claimed.”


“I’m taking what is mine.”


That voice had me curling in on myself. Desperate to hide, I had nowhere to go. I was completely exposed and had no choice but to face whoever spoke with such conviction. And there was no doubt in my mind they were speaking about me.


Torchlight flooded the tunnel, as if they’d suddenly stepped around the bend. The girls secured to the walls turned and curled up on themselves. I determined to meet my captor with dignity, standing tall and firming my chin. My insides might be quivering, but they wouldn’t see my fear.


I wasn’t an experienced girl, but I knew how to manipulate men. If he wanted me, I would twist that to my advantage.


The chamber flooded with light. I shifted on my feet, stiffening my spine and narrowing my eyes. I was ready to face my captors.


Two entered. The larger one stepped boldly into the room, while the other hovered at the opening of the tunnel.


“This is a bad idea,” he said.


I squinted against the low light, desperate to see my captor’s face. He held a large brass key, but that’s not why I screamed. His hand was thick with muscle, blue with iridescent scales, and tipped with claws. He stepped close, forked tongue tasting the air. The golden globes of his eyes held two vertical slits.


He stepped onto the platform and lifted the key to release my wrists. “This human is mine.”

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