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The Secret Keeper

He stood in the dark wood, doubtfully looking at the moon through the trees. He shivered in the cold air. Before he had time to consider his choices and give in to his fears she stood before him.

Her hair was long and shimmered blue in the light of the moon. Ribbons were tied in it, each with a key at the end of it.

“You are the Secret Keeper?” he asks her.

She nods.

He pulls a blue silk ribbon and a key out of his pocket and shows them to her.

“Any questions before we proceed?” she says with a low, soft voice.

He thinks for a moment, “Will my secret be safe with you? A lot of lives depend on it.”

“Of course”, she replies with certainty, “I am the Secret Keeper.”

He pointedly looks at the discoloured and scarred flesh of her shoulder. “Are you sure? Even under torture?”

She smiles and a soft green glow appears in her eyes, “Yes, I am sure. Even under torture, maybe especially under torture. This”, she looks at her shoulder, “happened a long time ago, when I was a new keeper and didn’t know my power yet. Do you want to change your mind?”

He shakes his head. “What happens now?”

She holds her hand out and after a moment of confusion, he gives her the ribbon and the key.

With another of her little smiles she leans forward. He whispers the secret into her ear, breathing in the scent of her, earth, smoke and a flowers whilst he does so. It makes him feel light headed. He finishes the telling and takes a step back, watching her as she ties the ribbon into her hair and attaches the key to its end.

“That’s it?” he wants to know.

“Yes, that’s it, no more is required. Your secret will be safe with me.”

“What happens if I ever need the secret back?” he queries.

“I’ll find you.”

“How will you find me? I could be anywhere.”

She laughs, and with a mocking tone in her voice she replies, “The same way I found you today. I will know if and when you need me. There is a connection between us now anyway”, she said.

“But how will you know which secret it is?” he asks curiously.

“I am the Secret Keeper and in my presence each secret will always know it’s owner” ,she explains and pulls on one of the ribbons. A key shimmers in the moonlight. He recognises the swirls and curls at the top of the key as the one he has given her.

Her dignity and serenity surprise him. She seems very young for such a responsibility.

“Is it difficult carrying all these secrets?” he wonders.

“Sometimes”, she agrees and then, almost inaudible, “they whisper to me, late at night”, and in a normal voice she continues, “you are full of questions, aren’t you? Remember, curiosity killed the cat.”

He grins, “It’s what I do, ask questions. How did you become a keeper of secrets, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“If I told you that”, she laughs at the look on his face, “you’d have to take over. Are you ready for that?”

He shakes his head and raises his hands, “No, thank you. My job is difficult enough.” He takes a step back to make his point.

“Our business is finished then. Unless you have more questions?” she asks him with a mocking smile.

He shakes his head again. “No, no, we’re done.”

She smiles, “So be it then.”

“Take care of yourself”, he tells her.

For the first time surprise shows on her face. “I will take care of your secret, don’t worry.”

“I am sure you will, but that’s not what I meant. Take care of yourself. I wouldn’t like to see you hurt.”

“Thank you”, she smiles, but this time the smile lights up her face and he finally sees that she is beautiful, scarred shoulder notwithstanding. His fear leaves him and he smiles back at her. He is tempted to ask her something else just to keep her here with him a little longer.

“One last question?” he asks giving in to temptation.

She nods, amused by his curiosity.

“What happens if I die? What happens to the secret I mean?”

“The ribbon and key will crumble to dust and the secret will die with you.”

“Good. That’s very good.”

“Goodbye, be safe”, she says and when he looks up she is gone. There is a tinkling sound as of metal clinking against metal, but then that fades, too.

He stares for a moment at the place where she stood before him, then turns around and finds the path back to the city, his heart a lot lighter than it had been earlier.


© Sybille Sterk
Do not copy or publish this story in any way, shape, or form without my written permission.

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Tags

keys, ribbon, hair, story, secret, secret keeper, short story, sybille sterk, magpiemagic

I am a very creative person and it’s my way of dealing with the world, inside and out. I am only happy when I am making things or painting or writing. There are just not enough hours in the day…. I am into poetry and photo manipulation at the moment and also dabbling in photography. :-)

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Comments

  • TheWanderingBoo
    TheWanderingBooover 4 years ago

    an incredibly beautiful piece of writing, just beautiful!

  • Thank you so much Boo. Means such a lot! :-) xo

    – Sybille Sterk

  • Sally Omar
    Sally Omarover 4 years ago

    Oh, I just love the story and your art is amazing!!!! Would love if there were a continuation
    of this!!!! xoxoxoxo

  • Thank you so much Sally. Not sure about the continuation. I love that it stops and then leaves the reader to imagine stories around it. We’ll see… xo

    – Sybille Sterk

  • lianne
    lianneover 4 years ago

    There’s such magic in this story, Syl – it has almost a fairy tale quality and yet with mythological overtones that suggest far more depth. AND far more story yet to be told. Lovely visual images and deeply hidden truths in this. I love it.

  • Thank you so much Lianne. I had great fun writing it. :-) xo

    – Sybille Sterk

  • Arcadia Tempest
    Arcadia Tempestover 4 years ago

    Ahhh loved the imagery of myths, secrets and keepers unfolding with such a wonderful write….
    There seems more to this secret….but yes…that may be the secret that only a much longer write could tell but that cannot be….for it seems it is now a secret.
    My last read before I look for the secrets in my dreams..
    Really well composed write Sybille…a real pleasure to read…xx

  • Thank you so much KarenSue. Glad you like. :-) And yes, you’re right, it’s all a secret, unless of course you want to take over? ;-) xo

    – Sybille Sterk

  • 8upchef
    8upchefover 4 years ago

    Wow! I could sure go for more of this story! So many ways this could go.

  • Thank you so much. :-) I love to write stories that allow the readers to ‘dream on’. Glad it worked for you. :-)

    – Sybille Sterk

  • Rhonda Strickland
    Rhonda Stricklandover 4 years ago

    Very lovely words blended into an intriquing story. . . love it and the image that goes with it.

  • Thank you so much Rhonda. :-) Greatly appreciated. xo

    – Sybille Sterk

  • Vicki Ferrari
    Vicki Ferrariover 4 years ago

    I love this! That is all I will say – I read your words and wished there were more!!! :)) Magic MM!!! :))

  • :-) Thank you Vicki. Dream up the rest. That’s how I designed the story. I love stories that involve the reader where they can make up more of the story…. I hate stories where everything including the smallest detail is laid out for you and there’s no space for your own imagination to go to work. :) xo

    – Sybille Sterk

  • Vicki Ferrari
    Vicki Ferrariover 4 years ago

    I agree with you whole heartedly! That is what makes the story so intriguing!!! :)))

  • chitrali
    chitraliover 4 years ago

    loved the story Sybille…it’s brilliantly done…and of course, i wonder, what of the secret keeper as he walks away his heart a lot lighter perhaps because the burden’s now hers – how much untold weight of those secrets does she carry and for how long?…she’s the light at the end of their tunnel but what about hers?…

    (& of course on another note – what if she gets old and starts losing hair – where do all those keys go then?!…:):):)…)…beautiful piece – the art goes so well with the story, now that i’ve read it..:)…xx chitrali

  • :-) Glad you like it and I am glad it raised so many questions for you. That’s the point of my stories. I don’t want them to be fast food – once eaten, your belly is full and you never think of the meal again. :-) xo

    PS. She won’t loose her hair – this is part of the magic. :-)

    – Sybille Sterk

  • Cosimo Piro
    Cosimo Piroover 4 years ago

    a wonderful write Sybille and a most remarkable image to accompany it. A beautiful scene you have created here. xo

  • Thank you Cos. :-) Glad you like it. :-) xo

    – Sybille Sterk

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