Fiction, Prompt, Writing

Thursday photo prompt: Secret #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt: Secret #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

For visually challenged writers, the image shows an old wooden door framed by ancient stone, with an ornate key inserted in a rusted, heart-shaped lock.


By Tessa Dean June 2020

Aaron followed the real estate agent, Laura,  around the large property and poked about here and there. There was a stone shed-like building set in the back corner considerably far from the house. He was interested in viewing the inside of that building. He was looking for something suitable for a place to set up his painting studio. He could see several large windows that would let in a lot of sunlight. He somehow doubted that the building had electricity, and that was one thing he would have to fix right away.

They slowly approached the front of the building only to find a large heart-shaped keyhole, but no key was in sight. Aaron walked around the building, trying to see inside of the windows, but they were filthy, and he wasn’t able to see much. “Do you have a key to this building,” he hopefully asked Laura.

“No, I am afraid that the key has been missing since the day my grandmother disappeared. It was her painting studio, and Grandfather couldn’t stand to enter the building after she disappeared. He removed the key, and no one was allowed in there again.”

“I will have to get a locksmith out here right away. I can picture this building being a painting studio, and I am sure she found it to be the same for her. I wonder if your grandfather left her paintings in there as well?”

“I don’t know as he refused to talk about her, the building or painting ever again. We were all warned to stay away from the building.”

Aaron turned around and told her that he was interested in buying the property, and they headed back to her office to start the paperwork.

A month or so later, he was finally moved in and ready to deal with the mysterious building. He brought out a locksmith who told him the keyhole was for an old skeleton type key. Larger than the ones you found inside of houses, but similar. He would either have to find the key or hope that another old key like it was somewhere inside of the house. If that didn’t happen, then the locksmith would have to tear the door apart to put in a regular lock and key. Aaron wanted it to remain as it was, and he said he would search around to see if he could locate the key.

He frantically searched every drawer and closet inside the house. Nothing! Perhaps in the cellar, he thought. He slowly went down the steps. They needed to be made stronger. They weren’t safe in their current condition, and if he planned to use the cellar, he would need stronger stairs.

The cellar was dingy and had little light from the small, dirty windows. Aaron searched around for a light switch and then looked for a string hanging down, which might turn on a light. He went upstairs for a flashlight and checked out the cellar looking for the light switch. There had to be one, he thought.

Success! Finding a string hanging down, he pulled it and found a very dim light. Needs a stronger bulb, he thought.

Taking the flashlight, he began to search the basement. He opened all the drawers and looked on the walls. Finally, on the back of one of the support beams, he found a large key. Eagerly he headed upstairs and out the door and headed towards the stone building.

Putting the key in the lock, he flung open the door to let some fresh air inside. He could see how musty it was in there, and he was glad he was still carrying the flashlight. The first thing on his list would be to wash all those windows. Next, he would set about cleaning up all of the junk that was lying around and haul it off to the dump.

He stumbled. He had tripped over a large box lying in the middle of the room. Curious, he wondered why it was there in the middle of the room since it had caused a tripping hazard. Looking for a tool that he could pry it open with, he was shocked to see a tiny skeleton, roughly the size of a small woman or large child. He wondered if the missing grandmother had been a small woman.

He called the police, and while waiting, he called his real estate agent, Laura, since the property had been in her family, and she had told him how her grandmother went missing. “I’ll be right over,” she assured him.

She arrived at about the same time as the police. They wouldn’t let her enter and told Aaron he needed to leave, but that they should both stay in the area as they would want to talk to them.

After what seemed like hours, the police came back outside and asked Laura about her grandmother’s disappearance. She didn’t know much as she had been a young child when it had happened.

The police continued to talk among themselves and then turned to Laura, and one of them said, “We had always thought that your grandfather was the one who had something to do with the whole thing. He insisted she disappeared, but there was no real indication that she had left. Her belongings were still here.”

There is nothing to be done about this now as he, too, is dead. We will mark the cased closed after verifying that it is her skeleton in there.

Laura, quietly crying, managed to tell the police, “It is her, I recognize that cloth in there as her favorite dress. The one she always painted in.”

******************************944 words****************************

Tessa – 

Advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses

New Author’s Website –

Author – Old Writing –

About my life –

Author of a book, a work in progress on the blog,

Highlighted chapters are done and ready to be read.

I am also a youtuber in the authortube section on writing. See my videos here:

9 thoughts on “Thursday photo prompt: Secret #writephoto”

  1. You led us there Teresa and even as good as told us the end but still I had my fingers crossed..I was sure you’d twist. Clever you , you didn’t . Great tale 💜


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