Luke’s mother has always avoided talking about the brown traveling case that is under the bed. Whenever she cleans up under the bed, Luke always asks her what is inside the case but she just changes the subject and moves on. She always keeps the little golden key that opens the case around her neck and never takes it off unless when she showers. Luke has made many attempts to get the key but he never gets it.
Today, his aunt, Mary, and cousin, Laura, are visiting them. Laura is thirteen just like Luke is. She is a little taller than and she has always made fun of how short he is. “Hey, you still the short one,” Laura says putting her hand on top of Luke’s head and showing him that he just reaches where her nose is.
“You know that guys grow a little slower and someday I will be taller than you!” he says and runs off to the living room. Her aunt and mom stay in the kitchen getting ready to go out and shop for the presents for Christmas. Luke’s mother goes to the living room and says farewell to Luke and Laura. She tells them to be good and that they are going to be back soon. Luke sees as her mother puts the golden key on the key tray where her mother has all the keys on.
“Quickly come!” he yells to Laura that is watching T.V.
“What is it?”
“I think I see the key that opens the case!”
Laura runs to where Luke is and looks down into the key tray; among all the brown keys he sees the little golden key. She looks into Luke’s bright brown eyes and in a smile that reminds her when they were little and they used to sneak into their grandmother’s bedroom and play with her sewing machine. But, one hot summer afternoon Luke was pedaling the old sewing machine as usual when they heard something break and the pedal just stopped moving. That afternoon during dinner they did not say a word to their grandmother or anyone. But that night their grandmother found out and called them into her room. Laura remembers clearly how her grandmother spoke to them in a serious and firm tone. She felt like many swords were pitching her skin to every word her grandmother said. “Leave the key where it is or we might get in trouble.”
“Since, when are you afraid to get in trouble?” Luke asks and grabs the key from the tray. Laura sighs and follows him up to her aunt’s room. The room is bright with the sun shining into the blue mosaic floor, and it smells like roses. She sees as Luke emerges from under the bed with the big brown case.
Luke puts the case on top of the neatly made bed and takes the key out of his pants. Laura’s heart beats fast and her hands begin to sweat and she tries to listen to every sound that might indicate that her aunt and mom came back. She closes her eyes when Luke inserts the key to open the case. When she hears the click of the case opening she opens her eyes.
In front of them, the big brown case is opened and inside it, there are neatly made rows of VHS tapes and some BETA tapes as well. To the right, there is a pair of folded bed sheets stained in what seems like dried blood. The smell that is coming from the case is that of dried rose petals and humid clothes. Laura and Luke quickly try to close the case but it is not closing, no matter what they try they are not able to close it. They hear a car parking into the garage and they quickly put the case under the bed and they feel their hearts almost coming out of their chest. Laura runs to the door and Luke gets under the bed trying to put the case where it was. They quickly run to the living room and turn on the T.V. and pretend to be watching the Shopping channel when Laura’s mom and aunt enter the house.