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"There it is. She's a real beaut, eh?" said Chris. He was pointing at the yellowed stone door. Pictures were inscribed all over its face in brilliant reds and blacks. It was at least three times taller than him. But most importantly, it was their last obstacle.
"How do you think we get past this one?" asked Jodie. They'd already figured out the timing pattern on a hallway full of swinging weaponry and figured out the solution to a matching problem as the walls slid towards them and threatened to squish their bodies to pulp, as well as a handful of other deadly traps. Before that they had to steal the map from an adventurer, steal a boat from a tourist company, and steal a car from a taxi driver. This doorway was the last barrier between them and eternal riches. Chris ran his hand along the wall and felt a distinctive difference between the red and black paint. The red painted was raised up and it was connected as if the painter had never lifted their brush off the canvas. Chris pointed this out and Jodie rewarded him, as she always did, with a strong kiss on the lips. She was shorter than him but somewhere in that little body she had the strength to knock him over with her kisses, and he loved her for that, and many other things she did. He followed the painted line to both of its ends, each of which ended on a small square platform set into the floor. The one he stood near was bathed in red, and the one at the other side was clean and smooth. He gulped, and Jodie caught the movement.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"One of us has to die. The two platforms are switches. We need to weight them both down at the same time to open the door. But whoever stands on this one, in red, will die." said Chris. He was sure of it. The map had suggested such a thing, but he thought he'd be able to figure out a way past it.
"Can't we just put something on top of it?"
"There's nothing around that weighs enough. We'd never be able to drag something in past that hallway either."
"What if we just pressed our feet into it, and tried to move out of the way of whatever comes?"
"There's no way to know what will come. It could be a heavy weight, a swinging ax, some poison. And there's no way to know where it will come from." Chris let his body fall back against the wall. Jodie came over to him and kissed him again, all over his face and neck. She lifted his chin up with her finger, and he knew what she wanted from her eyes.
"I'll do it. I'll stand there." he said. The only thing he had ever done right in his life was love Jodie. She was the key to his happiness, not this treasure. But he knew how much it meant to her. Money could provide things for her that he never could alone.
"No!" she said, weakly, once. She needed the treasure behind that door or she was done for. She had a good time with Chris. He was a wonderful lover and a great friend, but she could find another man; this was her only chance at becoming rich. She kissed him again and did her best to sound worried, then walked towards the clean platform. Chris stood in front of the red platform. He blew a kiss to Jodie, then closed his eyes and stepped on. Nothing happened. He screamed her name in joy and opened his eyes, but she was gone. A small cloud of dust hanging above the platform was the only sign that something had happened. He tried to pull the platform up from the ground but his fingers couldn't find purchase. As he tried, the door in front of him slid open. The next room had no treasure in it, as he had expected it would, but instead there was just another door like the one that had just opened, and two switches on the ground. The switch to the left was solid gold. The switch on the other side had a drawing of a person. Without hesitation, he knew exactly where he would stand. His weight transferred onto the platform and there was the click and groan of movement from the previous room. Jodie stood there, tears streaming down her face. The platforms dropped into the ground and the door slammed shut, locking them out from the treasure for good.
"You idiot. Why didn't you go for the treasure?" she yelled at him.
"You're my treasure Jodie, not some pile of gold."
"You can be so lame sometimes." she said, though she didn't fully believe it. She collapsed into his arms and he wrapped himself around her tightly, knowing he made the right decision.
Prose Prompt 3: Write about someone discovering a key.

Done for :icontikamifirebird:'s Improve Your Writing Contest. The prompt was to write a story about someone discovering a key. As with the other stories, I wanted to take a different point of view than what first came to mind. There is a physical 'key' to this story, but the real key is the emotional one.
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Submitted on
November 18, 2011
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