I went searching for some fiction writing I did a few years ago. I think I was doing a prompt a day, or some such. Anyway, here's one of my attempts. I might have to think about this one, as in, I might need to keep writing and see where it goes. Also, if memory serves, the writing prompt made you use a certain word; in this case, it was "escutcheon," which you can look up yourself.
Alice tried to remember who had given her the key. It was an ordinary key, a modern key for an ancient lock. A key that looked too sleek next to the escutcheon. She turned the key in her hand, puzzled that she could not recall who had first laid it in her hand. Behind the door it opened lay a trove of information: maps, logbooks, trinkets, and other wondrous objects.
Perhaps the fanciful room behind the door led one slowly to madness. Alice had been entering the room for just a month or two, or maybe it was just a matter of days. She was unable to remember when she had been given the key, too.
Alice turned the key in the lock and pushed the heavy door open. It groaned against the pressure from her arms, as if it didn’t want her to pass its threshold. Alice steeled her arms and shoved through. The door slammed in response.
The dust motes swirled in the sunshine. The skylight was dingy, but the sun’s rays still managed to pass, illuminating different parts of the room as the day passed. Alice looked around. Each visit to the room felt like a new discovery of the place. She laid her eyes on an atlas, open to an unfamiliar map.
She walked toward the atlas on her tiptoes. She liked the quiet of the room, and wanted to keep it that way. The atlas seemed to hear her anyway; the pages flipped in the air, as if an unseen hand was searching for the right page. Alice stopped short and the atlas settled.
She stood in front of the atlas. The pages were still until Alice reached her hand out to trace the border of the unknown country on the map. The borders squirmed under her fingers, and Alice jerked her hand back. She tried again. The map danced to life, changing shape before her eyes.
The words on the map did not change. The country was called Conundra, Alice noticed. She placed her hand in the center of the country, and the molecules of the ancient paper shifted to let her hand pass. Alice removed her hand, and again placed it on the map. There was no resistance; her palm went through the paper as it would water.
The room didn’t want to let her in, but once she was in, it let her manipulate the objects inside.
Alice could never remember what she did in the room from visit to visit. Just as it made her forget who gave her the key and how long she’d had it, it made her forget just what she did inside it.
She pulled a rickety stool to the atlas and stood on it. The map of Conundra had settled, and Alice assumed a diver’s position. She plunged toward the map, the paper opening for her again, and this time swallowing her whole.