A Mother's Diary
The working shift had been so exhausting for Edna she went straight to bed after returning home. She would continue working on her Art homework after school, where she was currently suffering a German lesson. Missus Rosefield talked about their Faust test, which she was about to give back. But first, she would always praise those who did a good job on their tests while either telling those who did bad to do better next time, in the new school year, or she would be glaring at them. Edna let her eyes wander to the other side of the window, dreaming of the world outside these walls. Not long until she could leave for the day, then not long until she would graduate the school and then would leave forever. That was what she kept telling herself to motivate herself.
“I will now give you your tests back”, Missus Rosefield announced at last to a class that looked like it was about to doze off. She walked along the rows, handing the tests to the respective student with a little comment:
“Moritz, well done... Lisa, not bad but you can do better... Heike, you should spend more time studying... Sebastian, good work... Robert, you can do better... Daniel, you should spend less time with Heike and study more... Bianca, you did your best.”
The black haired, pale skinned girl took her test with a slightly frightened expression back. She skimmed over the paper with one hand covering her hand, not moving any other muscles. Edna watched her friend while Missus Rosefield kept handing out the tests. She wondered how Bianca had been doing since Faust was not exactly her kind of topic. Bianca removed her hand from her mouth and moved it over her face to hide it behind her hand while putting the test down. She closed her eyes and let a sigh escape.
“Pssh. Hey! Bianca! What did you get?“, Edna whispered to her friend. Bianca peered with her dark eyes between her fingers at her, whispering back:
“I got a D...”
Her disappointment was evident in her voice, her face and posture. Edna could not think of anything to comfort her. Normally she would say she could do a better job on the next test but, alas, this one was the last one in this class for the school year. In fact, the only grade they were going to get was for Art for their homework. Edna sighed and supported her head on her arms, following her teacher with her eyes but also occasionally gazing out of the window to the clear blue sky. Oh, what would she give for a pair of wings now, to be soaring up there to the limitless the sky? No borders, no restrictions, just freedom. Just why was humanity not born with wings?
“Edna, well done”, Missus Rosefield’s voice pulled her out of her short reverie. Edna turned towards her and took her test in her hand. After a quick scan, she was overjoyed to see she got a B plus. She silently thanked the Key Master for helping her with her studies and made a mental note to get him or do something special for him in her gratitude. She glanced at Bianca, who was determinedly staring at the clock. Edna looked at the chronometer too, noticing the lesson had only a few minutes left. Soon, they were free for the day. Quite a few students kept looking at the time, desiring for the bell to ring. There was not a person – except maybe one or two – who listened to their teacher essentially repeating what she said earlier before she handed out the tests. Not that it stopped her from talking at all; the only thing that made her to stop speaking was the ringing bell. Every student packed their stuff and rushed out as if they were eager to buy the newest video game console or as though Brent Spiner, Patrick Stewart, Michael Dorn and John de Lancie were giving a speech in the local town hall. Bianca was among the first to be gone.
“What’s with her?“, Sebastian wondered out loud while he left the educational establishment alongside Edna.
“Guess she’s disappointed with herself”, she replied calmly.
“But she was still better than Heike. She barely scrapped an E”, Sebastian responded. Edna looked exasperatedly at him.
“That won’t make her feel better. It’s well-known Heike has as much brain as a jellyfish”, she retorted.
“You got a point there. But it could also make her happy to know has at least some brains. And don’t forget, Bianca is among the most intelligent students in our year.”
“Can’t deny that one. And one bad grade is not as bad as only getting bottom marks, am I right?“, Edna said, now heading to another direction than Sebastian. “Anyway, see you.”
Edna found Tina drawing and simultaneously listening to music in the living room when she returned home. On the table was an unopened envelope as plain as a meteor crashing in a backyard. Tina did not seem to have noticed her yet, she was too engrossed with her drawing and humming along her music. Edna stood behind her and watched her drawing for a few minutes. Tina’s hand floated over the paper with just light pressure on the pencil, by which the lines were tender, almost invisible. From what Edna could see, based on the sketch, it was supposed to be a video game character – a beautiful, young and slender woman with long hair. The same character was drawn twice, once in a leotard, cape and boots, carrying a sword, and the other variant wore a gorgeous gown and held a rose bouquet in her hands. Edna moved to the side, so that Tina could see her from the corner of her eye, and lightly poked her. Her housemate put the pencil down and lowered the volume of the music player.
“Welcome home”, Tina greeted her. “There’s a Subway sandwich in the kitchen for you. I bought it alongside mine from yesterday.”
“Thanks. By the way, we got our test back”, Edna responded.
“And?“, Tina asked expectedly, sitting on the edge of her seat. Her eyes were shining with curiosity. Edna grinned.
“I got a B plus.”
“Oh, that’s great! Congrats!“, the older girl exclaimed ecstatically. However, her joyous face turned into a pout a moment later, when she added, in a rather whiny voice: “Now I feel twice as bad about giving you the bad news...”
“What do you mean?“, Edna asked with a frown. Tina sighed and nodded towards the envelope. Edna reached for it, noticing it was addressed at her. Hesitatingly, she opened the envelope and skimmed through the letter inside. It was a letter for a formal hearing on the Wednesday of the first week of summer vacation. Wordlessly, she handed it to Tina, who skimmed through it, too.
“Well, I could come with you for moral support”, Tina offered slowly, “but you’d have to say everything you have to say yourself.”
“Well, I’d feel better if you would come along...“, Edna trailed off. She paced around the room, she had completely forgotten about this. The little voice in her had, more commonly known as conscience, kept reproaching her for her misdeed. Silently and in a trance-like state, she headed towards her room. This would be the first time she would be confronted with the police for something she actually did – except shortly after her breakout when she ran away from them. Edna unceremoniously threw her school bag on her bed with a sigh.
“Hey Edna, is something wrong?“, Harvey concernedly asked her. Her eyes glinted at him:
“I have to go to a formal hearing because of you.”
“W-what? But why? What do I have to do with this!?”
“Well, who told me to push Heike into a pond? It was you!”
Refusing to say any more words to Harvey, Edna took her sketches and her test from her school bag, and put them in her rucksack. Then she took some pencils, a rubber and, a sharpener before leaving her room. She took some edible items from the kitchen, her Subway sandwich among them, as well as two bottles of water.
“I’m going outside”, she announced to Tina. Edna could just barely hear her wondering “Where have you been off to for a week now?”
Her destination was, of course, the Key Master’s hideout, as it had been for the past week. She found him sitting underneath the shade of a tree with his nose stuck in the fairytale book she had given to him. Edna walked straight towards him and plopped on the ground right next to him. Being outdoors, alongside one of her favorite people, significantly raised her spirits.
“Hi there”, Edna greeted the Key Master with a grin. He turned his head towards her while putting the book down on the ground.
“Hello Princess. How was your day?”
“Boring for the most part but I got good news and bad news”, she responded and opened her rucksack. “Which one would you like to hear first?”
“I think I’ll take the bad news first.”
“Very well...“, and Edna proceeded telling him about her upcoming hearing. The Key Master said nothing in response after she finished. He simply leaned against the tree trunk and stared straight to the horizon, most likely fully aware Edna was watching him since he kept glancing at her from the corners of his eyes.
“This is not easy for you, is it?“, he finally said, directly looking at her. Edna shook her head:
“No, it’s not... If only I hadn’t listened to Harvey...”
She hung her head, once again hearing her conscience reprimanding her. But it was not the hearing that made her feel miserable; it was that the incident reminded her of Alfred’s death every time she thought about it. It did not help that her respective victims had made fun of her because of Harvey, who animated her to push them. Her father took the blame the first time it happened but this time, there was no one who help her out. She would have to do this herself, with only moral support from her friends. At least it was better than nothing. Besides, she had to carry responsibilities, no matter how aggravating they were.
“It will be over before you know it”, the Key Master consoled her. He took her hand into his, adding: “And I’ll be here for you.”
The corners of Edna’s mouth turned upwards. She could hardly believe the man next to her was the same murderous madman from a few years ago. She wished she could have witnessed his change instead of just seeing the end result.
“Now tell me, what are the good news?“, the Key Master asked in an obvious attempt to steer the conversation to a pleasant area.
“Uno momento”, a grinning Edna answered and rummaged through her rucksack. She took the water bottles, the Subway sandwich and her test out, handing the latter to the Key Master. He took it and scanned it.
“Congratulations!“, he said happily after having spotted the grade. “I knew you could do it!”
“Thanks, and thanks for helping me with my studies. I don’t think I could have done it without you”, Edna beamed. She took the test back and put it back into her rucksack. Then she unwrapped her sandwich – it was turkey with cheese, tomato, cucumber and salad, topped off with chili sauce – and offered half of it to the man next to her.
“I hope you like everything on it”, she said when he gratefully took a half. He took a bite.
“Tasty”, he commented after swallowing. Edna, who was happily munching her half, was glad to hear it. Maybe she could invite the Key Master to Subways, then he could see what else they have to offer. Only trouble was the next one was an hour drive with the car away. But she could look up the timetable for the train on the Internet, this would be a good alternative and he would not have to spend almost all day in lonesome. If she thought about it, they really ought to go somewhere more often; the Key Master could not possibly get bored to death every day. Edna glanced towards him, suddenly feeling sorry for him. As long as he lived in this country, he would always feel the need to hide. He could only feel safe if he was abroad; Edna knew this and yet, she hated the thought of him going away. Whenever she thought about this, she felt a pang in her chest and like somebody put a heap of rocks on her heart. She loathed this feeling.
“How are you coming along with your Art homework?“, the Key Master asked after they finished their sandwich halves. Edna held up her hand to signal for him wait for a second and then rummaged through her rucksack. She retracted her hand from the inside with a pile of sketches in her hand.
“Here, take a look”, she told him, handing them to him. He studied the drawings, humming now and then. Edna, who was watching him intently, noticed that, while his expression did not change, he looked at some pictures for quite a long time and at others with just a quick glimpse.
“I really like your sketch for Jesus Zombie Massacre“, the Key Master commented after having looked through them. “But really, all of your designs look fantastic. I see you even chose other music than metal and rock, only I’m not quite sure what kind of music they are supposed to be.”
He held the respective Jesus Zombie Massacre sketch up. Admittedly, this one was one of the few Edna was satisfied with. It depicted a skeleton hanging on a cross, like Jesus, with a horde of zombies at his feet.
“Well, then I know what I’m going to finish drawing”, Edna grinned. “Thanks for your feedback. Hey, can I do the line art here?”
“Of course you can, just let me get you an even surface”, the Key Master stood up and was about to head to his house if Edna had not called for him to wait. She threw her rucksack at him, which he caught, and told him there were groceries for him in there. With her rucksack in his hand, the Key Master walked to his house. Alone for a moment, Edna reflected on the past hours. She got mad at Harvey once again, which seemed to happen more often than it did in the past. What could it mean? Was she slowly but surely retracting herself from her blue rabbit? She thought they would always be together... Where was a psychologist if there was a need for one? Edna went through her hair and sighed. Why was it so difficult for her to let it go? Many other people had imaginary friends when they were little, who they let go when they got older. But why was it difficult for her? It was normal for people to keep their most favorite toy in adulthood but she was probably the only person who still talked to it.
“I should just think of something that makes me happy”, Edna mumbled to herself. She thought of her friends, her favorite food and movies. Life was too short to only think of negative things, the limited time was too precious. She already wasted enough time in a cell, no need to be unhappy; she ought to feel content.
Edna saw the Key Master exiting the house with a large board under his arm. She tilted her head, pondering if this was a piece of the new closet. However, as he came closer, she noticed it was the old one. Apparently, he assembled the one he got from Gregor and Anika. She could see the difference between the two closets when the Key Master was just a short distance away – the old one was made of a slightly darker wood.
“Here’s your even surface, Princess.”
The Key Master placed the material right in front of Edna, who put her art supplies on it. She traced lightly what she drew before, now with more pressure; first the skeleton on the cross, followed by the cross itself and then the horde of zombies. She concentrated fully and completely on drawing the lines as carefully as possible, without making any mistakes. If she made one, she simply used the eraser. This went on until the line art was done.
“Now, only the colors are left. I’m gonna do them at home”, Edna said to herself with a satisfied smirk and put this drawing, alongside her other sketches, back in her rucksack.
“Say, how have you been doing since you left the apartment yesterday?“, she asked, opening a water bottle and taking a swig from it.
“You almost sound like we haven’t seen each other for years. If you hadn’t said the word ‘yesterday’, it might as well be a question you could have asked at our reunion then”, the Key Master paused for a second to drink from the other water bottle. “But to answer your question, I assembled the new closet, almost had a relapse, read two fairytales, took a little swim and went to bed.”
“Then I guess this wood’s here is from the old claustrophobia causing, dark shed of hidden secrets”, Edna commented, knocking on the old wood. A second later, she realized what the second thing in the Key Master’s list was. She frowned at him: “Wait, what was the second one again? You almost had a relapse? What happened?”
She reached out for him to take his hand or touch his shoulder, anything just as long as her hand would connect to his body. The Key Master turned his head away with a sigh, his eyes were downcast, and the corners of his mouth were down.
“I saw that man from Friday on my way home”, he replied almost inaudibly. “The sight of him made me so mad I don’t know how I was even able to stop myself from killing him...”
Edna did not know what to say or feel. It was hard for her to comprehend that the Key Master would hate the old man so much. Was it just like all the other relapses he admitted almost having or was there more to it? How often did he even get the urge to kill? Frequently? Rarely? Randomly? Was it possible for him to not feel this way again? After all, he learned holding back and not murdering someone. Edna moved closer to the Key Master and, in an attempt to make him feel better, embraced him.
“Just don’t think about this too much, okay?”
She could feel how he placed one hand on her hip while the other lightly stroked her hair. It was a pleasant feeling, one that made her feel comfortably warm inside. Why did she always feel so safe and secure whenever she was around him? Should he not scare her because he could get the urge to kill and satisfy this urge by ending her life? But it was impossible for her to; he had shown there was more to him than just the lunatic killer, who used his beautiful and hypnotizing voice to manipulate her. Edna had gotten to know him better, yet he was still as mysterious as the contents of a diary. She had never met anyone like him before and probably would never again. The Key Master was unique to her.
“Are you feeling better now?“, she whispered with her head resting against his shoulder. She felt him nod.
“Yes, thanks to you.”
He did not let go and she did not remove her arms from him. Neither of them wanted to. Unfortunately, time could not be stopped; it kept flowing and flowing until it was time for Edna to go. She packed her things, said good bye and returned home.
The following days passed quickly. There was not much to do in school since the teachers did not bother to commence any new topics shortly before vacation started. All they did were just revisions of old topics. At the moment, they had Art class, during which their teacher collected their homework. This was their final week of receiving any grades, so the teacher – Miss Moore – started grading the drawings during class while the students were supposed to draw a simple still life she had prepared for them. It was just something to keep them busy; they were free to do other artistic things as long as they were quiet. When the bell rang, Miss Moore had finished grading about three quarters of the students. She announced she would finish looking through them at home and give them all back some time during break the following day.
“Well Edna, what did you choose? It can’t possibly be jewelry, unless you were striving for an F”, Heike taunted her as soon as Miss Moore was out of sight and earshot. Edna glowered at her.
“No, I did not but only because I have more in my brains than accessories”, she hissed at Heike. Never would she have thought she would find a person she would loathe as much as Doctor Marcel. If one would tell her Heike was his daughter and Alfred was not related to him by blood, she would believe them. “There is more to life than fashion but I highly doubt your miniscule brain can even comprehend this.”
She studied Heike’s face as well as Daniel and Gabrielle’s faces. The former two had a look of confusion upon them – Edna swore she could see the wheels struggling to work so they could understand her. Only Gabrielle seemed to know what Edna was getting at, kept quiet about it nonetheless.
“Speak understandable”, Daniel demanded.
“It’s not that hard to understand”, Gabrielle voiced her thought aloud. Both Daniel and Heike glared at her, causing her to quickly say: “I mean, i-it’s impossible to understand.”
“Really Edna? You say words no one could possibly know the meanings of? Oh what a dweeb you are!“, Heike laughed maliciously, sounding like an evil mouse – only much more annoying. She walked away with Daniel; Gabrielle hesitated but followed nonetheless. Edna sighed, so much for shutting her up... She shook her head and walked the same way as the other three did. At least school was over for the day, so she did not have to bear Heike’s presence any longer.
Miranya sighed when she did the final stitch for the next rag doll rabbit. Doctor Marcel had not ordered anyone to take the next batch away in a long time. All those countless blue, eyeless rabbits were towering over her, which made the red head feel uneasy. She had no problem with talking to dead people – at least they had eyes – but those lagomorph plush animals were as unsettling as the moon and the sun coming down to Earth. Only the smallest of space was still hers. It was a miracle she managed to get out of her cells without causing an avalanche whenever she was being escorted to the bathroom facilities.
“Just what does Doctor Marcel want to do with all these dolls? And who’s sewing their eyes on?“, Miranya mumbled to herself. She needed a break; she needed a dead person just so she could have someone to talk to. She did not even know what season they had, although she assumed it was summer since it was quite hot. But the weather outside did not matter; she was not going to enjoy it anyway. Doctor Marcel would rather stick a fork in his only working eye than to let her go outside.
Miranya heard the door open and steps coming closer and closer until Anes revealed himself. He surveyed the room with such an air of superiority that he could be related to Lord Voldemort or to Draco Malfoy. His eyes, filled with disdain, fell on Miranya, who sat curled up on the floor.
“Don’t sit there, work!“, he barked. Miranya glared at him while taking the materials.
“Just what does the doctor plan to do with them?“, she questioned.
“None of your damn business! Now get to work!”
He took an armful of the rag doll rabbits and left again. Miranya shook her head and started working again.
Anes carried the rabbits down to a garage that had been revamped into a storage, where a few employees would give the toys the finishing touches. It was amazing how many they managed to manufacture, though it could be more if that stupid red head were not so slow. But soon, they would have enough special rag doll rabbits for the whole world, which would mean no more juvenile pranks, no childish games. Children would listen to adults and not disobey them. Everything would be the way it was supposed to be. This would be a world like how Doctor Marcel envisioned it and he, Anes, liked every microscopic tiny detail of it.
“Here are some more”, he said to a random person and dumped the rabbits he was carrying on a table. “More will be coming some time today.”
The man sitting at the table nodded silently and immediately started working on one. Others approached the table and took one or two, on which they started working too. Anes left them to look for a few colleagues he could send to collect the lagomorph dolls in Miranya’s cell.
As always, Edna visited the Key Master almost immediately after school. One would think she would visit him the moment classes were over if she still had her school bag with her. However, the only things she had with her were snacks, drinks, her bikini and towels, all of which were in her rucksack. She wanted to go for a swim again, as long as the Key Master did not mind it. However, she doubted he would since it was such a hot day that even he would like to take a swim. In fact, when Edna arrived at his hideout, she found him in the water.
“How’s the water?“, she grinned while taking her rucksack off her back.
“Wet”, the Key Master retorted with a smirk and splashed Edna, who was currently spreading out a beach towel.
“Hey!“, she half-exclaimed, half-laughed. “Just let me get changed –” she pointed towards the house “– then I’ll come joining you.”
Edna took her bikini out of her rucksack and headed straight for the old house. Once she was inside these four walls, she took off her clothes and discarded them on the bed, right next to the Key Master’s own clothes. She did not remain in her birthday suit for long as she quickly put her bikini on. It was only a little different than a birthday suit but this was the twenty-first century and not the earliest years of the twentieth century. Deciding everything that should be covered up was actually covered up, she left the house again and sped to the pond, jumping in with a jubilant yell.
“Hey! Careful!“, she heard the Key Master shout, although there was a hint of laughter in his voice. Edna smiled mischievously at him:
“That was for the splash a few minutes ago.”
For a short moment, she could see an impish grin on his face before he grabbed her around the waist and lifted her up in the air. A shriek of surprise escaped Edna’s lips when she found herself looking down at the Key Master who still had an impish grin on his face.
“What are you going to do now?“, she asked, half-exhilarated, half-nervously. Maybe it was her imagination but one his arms seemed to be struggling holding her up. She could not be that heavy, could she? The Key Master’s face was twisted in pain for a few short seconds. Edna would have missed this if she had looked away or blinked. Anyway, the only verbal answer she got for her question was a maniacal laugh before he suddenly dropped her in the water. She shrieked and found herself submerged. She swam up and broke through the surface and took a deep breath.
“What were you thinking?“, she asked after coughing a few times.
“Oh, I just thought you could need a little scare”, the Key Master replied in an innocent tone. Edna glared at him and then tackled him with a war cry. However, he just barely managed to dodge her, so she ended up splashing in water.
“How about a truce before you end up hurting yourself?“, he proposed with a smug grin. Edna, whose eyes were covered by her hair, wiped her hair out of her face and replied, reluctantly as if she did not want to quit:
Once the word was out of her mouth, she let herself drift on the water with her eyes set straight up to the skies above. There was not a single cloud up there, only the golden sun, the occasional bird and the endless blue sky.
“What did you do all day long?“, she asked, turning her head to the side to look at the Key Master.
“Except being bored to death, I was taking a walk through the forest, then I was attempting a clay figure before I decided to go for a swim”, he replied as if he was talking about the weather. Edna frowned at him:
“If you’re that bored when being alone, you could go to town.”
She was not sure why she even suggested it. Perhaps she was just hoping no one would recognize him as it was the case the few times they were in town together. There had not been a single person who had looked at him twice.
“You know of my aversion of going among people. I could be recognized as the escaped insane psycho from a few years ago.”
“And I could be recognized as the crazy girl with her stuffed rabbit who escaped from an asylum a few years ago but no one realized I was this girl”, Edna countered. She watched as the Key Master nodded in acknowledgement. She could basically see and hear the wheels turning in his head as he considered what she just said. At first, she had felt nervous about going out too but soon realized there was no need to worry. Unless a person was being actively searched for, no citizen would realize a person they see on the street escaped from somewhere.
“Well alright, I will go to town tomorrow”, the Key Master relented with a sigh. Edna beamed at him:
“You won’t regret it, I promise you that.”
“Ah, let me judge that on my own, okay?”
The Key Master swam to the shore and left the pond to sit on the beach towel. Edna followed him, taking a seat right next to him. She shivered and rubbed her arms as her body still had to get used to the temperature. The Key Master reached for a towel and handed it to her.
“Thanks”, Edna said while taking it and starting to dry herself off.
“Can’t risk you getting a cold now, can we?“, the Key Master replied, taking a second towel and also drying himself off. “I can imagine you would rather enjoy the summer weather instead of lying in the bed to recuperate.”
“No kidding there.”
Edna kept the towel around her shoulders and looked up to the skies with a dreamy look on her face.
“It would be great if I could spend a day at the beach with all my favorite people”, she voiced her desire out loud. However, her smile slowly turned upside down. “But I know it would not be possible...”
“Why wouldn’t that be possible?“, she could hear the concern and confusion in the Key Master’s voice.
“Because two of them are dead...“, the young woman replied, her eyes still set on the place she could only reach with a pair of wings. It was only now that she realized how much she actually liked Alfred, despite all the times she teased him. He was her only friend, aside from Harvey. At times, it even seemed like he enjoyed her company – unlike his father, who always seemed to despise her company, but could barely tolerate her father’s presence. Why did people only always realize what they had after it was gone?
“And those are...?“, the Key Master began asking, slowly trailing off.
“My father and Alfred Marcel...“, Edna finished for him.
“Doctor Marcel’s son!?”
“Yeah... I had to play with him frequently... but I never realized before I liked him instead of hated him”, Edna said in a reminiscing voice.
“And what about your mother?“, the Key Master questioned. That was a legitimate question, Edna thought. She could barely remember her mother, as if the memories of her were hidden in a safe and she lost the combination for it.
“I was very small when I lost her but... I think I would count her among my favorite people if I could remember her”, Edna replied after her short consideration.
“And who are the others?”
“Harvey, of course, but also Hoti and Moti, Aluman, Drogglejug, Lilli, my two classmates Bianca and Sebastian, Tina, my colleague Anika and her boyfriend Gregor. Perhaps the Beeman and Gerret too”, Edna counted off. A fond smile spread across her face when she named her the final person: “And you.”
The Key Master could not hide his astonishment. He probably did not expect to be among the people she liked the most, even though it should be obvious. Why else would she come visit him on a daily basis if she did not like him? It was hard for her to imagine spending her free time in the park instead of here. At least, the probability of her meeting Heike here was exceptionally low.
“I feel honored”, the Key Master admitted. “And I have to say, you’re among my favorite persons, too.”
“I’m glad”, Edna beamed.
A day passed and the Key Master currently took a nice walk in the park. He had promised to Edna he would go to town if he was bored and he was going to keep it. Actually, he felt more at ease and better after he got used to his surroundings. Before, he felt confined on the small patch of land he called his hideout but now he did not fee like a prisoner anymore. Despite his peculiar skin tone, no one paid any attention to him; perhaps they would if he was still as green as he was after the escape from the asylum. However, the Key Master still did not attempt to speak to anyone. He did not know how to approach a stranger anymore – at least if it did not involve killing them – and he would not know what to say. Not having any contact with other people for more than a decade was inconvenient for his social life.
The Key Master decided to sit on a bench, right next to a playground, and simply watched passersby walking past. At first, he feared he would be recognized by someone, an elderly man or woman perhaps. But the moment he realized he had nothing to fear, he relaxed and actually took a liking to going out. It sure was better to see different scenery than the one he saw over the last couple of weeks. If only he had a job and money, then he could perhaps enjoy some things in life he would to pay for – like an ice cream or a visit to a movie theater. He had not seen any moving picture on the big screen for over a decade. Sometimes while he was still on the run, he would see posters for the newest movies but he could not tell based on the posters alone whether it was a good film or not. Once, for example, he saw the poster for a movie about monsters attending a university or another time, he saw one depicting a man and a woman, both who threw rather peculiar shadows – the man a mouse and the woman another woman with an umbrella and a big bag. The Key Master could not remember the titles of the movies but the posters did look interesting. But it made no sense to cry over spilt milk. One day, he would be able to do all these he could not do ever since he ended up in solitary confinement.
Having sat around enough, the Key Master got back up to his feet and sauntered the path down, while enjoying the sun’s warm rays on his skin. If only he had a car, he would take it for a spin. The day was just perfect for sitting in a vehicle with opened windows and driving to nowhere in particular with putting the pedal to the metal. He would gladly accept an offer to drive a nifty vehicle if he were given one, even if it was just being the designated driver of a group attending a wild party. But the Key Master never saw the appeal in boozing one another under the table, the crappy way one felt afterwards was not worth it. He did like to drink alcoholic beverages when he had the chance to but he could do without the hangover. Besides, he would take driving over drinking any day. Oh yes driving...
It was late Friday night, or rather the early hours of Saturday morning. Edna lay wide awake in her bed, unable to sleep. The lagomorph only replied with a grunt, so Edna continued:
“I’m sorry I snapped at you the other day. I guess I was just mad...”
“Ah, it’s okay, Edna. You were mad and mad people do tend to say things they don’t mean”, Harvey chirped.
“Thank you for being so acquiescent”, the humanoid female smiled.
“Yeah, yeah, but if you don’t let me sleep, I won’t be so acquiescent.”
Edna chuckled and snuggled under her bedcovers, drifting off to sleep and to the land of dreams...
She was heading for the asylum and she was a lot younger, approximately five or six years old. Her father held one of her hands while she was clutching Harvey with her other. Mattis led her through the entrance area to the ground floor. Everything seemed so gigantic but also empty. There were no decorations, with the exception of one humongous painting and several smaller ones surrounding it. The biggest picture depicted a whale with its mouth wide open, showing its razor-sharp teeth. In front of it was a single green chair.
“You wait here”, Mattis instructed Edna. He put his hands under her armpits and heaved her on the chair. “I’ll go talk with Doctor Marcel. I’ll be right back.”
Edna watched her father going upstairs. Now all alone with only Harvey as her companion, she took in her surroundings. She felt so small, insignificant, and lonely, as if she was a tiny little mouse in a grand old castle. Every now and then, she would turn around to look at the whale that was seemingly about to devour her behind her. She shuddered. Just why did the only chair in the room have to be in front of a giant water-dwelling mammal with razor teeth?
“Come on, Edna. Let’s take a look around”, Harvey suggested.
“Okay”, the little girl simply replied. Anything to get away from this painting before it actually ate her. Besides, she was against the therapy her father wanted her to have; she did not need it. So, she jumped off the chair and ran up the stairs. The next floor was as empty as the ground floor with the exception of a single suit of armor right next to a grate separating this part of the floor with the part where the patients would spend their time outside their cells. Shapeless shadows glared at her from behind the grate, hushed whispers followed her every movement. They would be grabbing for her, she just knew it. One shadow moved, Edna jumped back. No, she would not remain on this floor any longer. She ran up to the next floor, which she gave a quick once-over. A sigh of relief escaped her when she saw no shadows and heard no whispers. But, like the previous floor, a grate posed as a barrier to another part of the room. Behind the grate were five doors leading to where Edna guessed the patients would be sleeping... or those were more rooms for them to spend their free time in. Edna was partly curious to see what was behind there, but she was also scared of the patients. Perhaps there was something on this side of the grate. After all, there were two doors here; she pondered where they led to. The first door was on the left of the grate, a simple ordinary wooden door.
“What do you think is behind there, Harv?“, she asked her blue friend.
“Explosives! Chainsaws! An army of killer robots from Venus!“, he happily exclaimed. “Come on! Open the door!”
Edna grabbed the door handle and pushed it down but the door did not open. She tried it again rapidly a few times before coming to the realization it was locked. Damn! She would have liked to see what Doctor Marcel was hiding in there. If only she had something small with her to pick the lock. Edna sighed while Harvey complained about not being able to enter the room. However, he soon spotted the other door on this side of the grate. This one was to the right of the stairs. Cables were running from this door over the ceiling to somewhere behind the grate.
“Let’s see what’s in there!“, Harvey demanded.
“Okay”, Edna agreed and walked towards the door. The stairs to the next floor, she noticed, were blocked – a sign and two pots of turquoise paint told her they were freshly painted. Edna took a good look at the door. This one had, unlike the other one, a sign, a yellow one depicting a triangle and a lightning bolt. What could this possibly mean? Whatever it was, it had to be exciting. So, once again she reached for the door handle and...
She let her hand drop to see her father and an older man, presumably Doctor Marcel, coming up the stairs. Edna was puzzled. Where exactly did they come from? She had not seen them anywhere on the previous floor. But then again, she had not really looked around since the patients made her feel uneasy. Perhaps there was room they were in she simply missed.
“Edna, what are you doing? Didn’t I tell you to wait downstairs for me?“, Mattis reprimanded his daughter.
“Yes, but I –“,she started only to be interrupted by Doctor Marcel:
“I see what you mean. I could arrange a cell for her in less than a week.”
Mattis opened his mouth for a response but Edna woke up before she could hear it...
The young woman sat up, staring at her lap with a frown. Was this another memory? She gazed at Harvey sleeping peacefully right next to her. She considered waking him and telling him about it but quickly decided against it. It was late at night and he certainly would not like to woken for any reason other than the opportunity to cause mayhem. There was always time in the morning. Edna lay back down again and went back to sleep.
Edna ate a bowl of cornflakes for breakfast while reading the newest issue of the Captain Useless comic books. Tina had already eaten and was currently shopping for groceries with a remark of how quickly they suddenly seem to be running out of them. Edna did her best to hide her guilty face, though she was not sure whether she succeeded or not. If the time was ripe for it, she would tell her housemate about the Key Master. But not yet, not until he was ready to be introduced to other people. Even then, she was going to be careful who she would introduce the Key Master to, although she would prefer if she could use his real name and not his nickname. But, alas, he either still had not remembered it or he did not want to tell her. If this was the latter, then it was probably some gruesome name that would be torture for the person to have. She hoped it was not the case and that he simply had not remembered yet. Oh well, she could simply ask him when she visited him later. But first, she had to tell Harvey – who was still sleeping when she woke up – about her dream. Only he would know if this was a memory of hers. Edna finished her breakfast and returned to her room.
“Harvey? I need to speak with you...”
“Yes, what is it, Edna?”
The blue lagomorph had a concerned look in his eyes and the worry in his voice was evident. There was also, barely noticeable, a hint of fear in his voice. Was he afraid she had something terrible to tell him? Edna cleared her throat and began talking about her dream.
“Do you think this was another memory?“, she asked after she finished telling him about her dream.
“Yes. Yes, it is”, Harvey confirmed. “Mattis wanted you to go through a therapy because you were such a wild child.”
“But I can’t remember going through any therapy, at least not until after Alfred’s death and that was when I was in the asylum”, Edna said, frowning in confusion. “Did Mattis change his mind?”
“I don’t know but I think so”, Harvey admitted. “But didn’t you find a box full of your parents’ stuff the night the Key Master found you?”
“Yeah, you’re right”, Edna nodded. Her eyes widened in realization. “Maybe I can find something in there!”
She jumped off her bed and pulled the old cardboard box, which she had stored under her bed, out and heaved it onto her bed, between herself and Harvey. She opened the box, first seeing the old photo album she briefly looked through that night. Suddenly feeling a little saddened, she stared at the album for a long time until she heard Harvey call her name. Edna shook her head to clear her mind.
“Sorry buddy”, she mumbled her apology and put the old album down. Then she peered into the box again, finding another book. She took it out, finding another one under this one, which she also reached out for. Both books were old, though the second one looked like it had been used far more often than the first one. The first book had a brown leather cover and the other one was lavender blue with dark purple and midnight blue spiral patterns. These books seemed to be diaries since they both had locks, making it impossible to open them unless one had the keys.
“Use a hammer”, Harvey suggested.
“No, Harv. I don’t wanna destroy anything that belonged to my parents”, Edna declined. She looked into the box again while Harvey mumbled, more to himself than to her: “You didn’t care when you were little.”
Edna ignored him while searching through the box under all the loose papers, most of which seemed to be her old drawings. Deciding it was hopeless to search for the keys like that, she took all the sheets of paper and took them out. She placed them next to the photo album before looking back into the box, where she found two small keys, one bronze, the other silver.
“Those have to be the right keys!“, Edna exclaimed. She took these keys and examined them, finding, to her relief, they were in a much better state than her old front door key. Otherwise, she would have needed to make two key imprints and melt enough metal to make two new keys.
“Then let’s see what’s written in those diaries”, she happily said to herself. First, she tried the silver key with the leather diary only to find it did not fit, so she tried the bronze one. A click told her it was unlocked. Smirking to herself in satisfaction, she did the same with the silver key and the lavender blue diary. She took the leather diary again and opened the first page.
Property of Mattis Konrad
“That’s my father’s diary!“, Edna called out in astonishment. Having an inkling whose diary the other one was, she made a grab for it and quickly opened its first page.
Property of Vivian Rohrbeck Konrad
“I knew it”, Edna breathed. She turned the pages of both diaries, their respective first entries were at different dates. Mattis’s entry was about two years before her birth while her mother already wrote in hers seven years prior to her birth. Her eyes shifted back and forth between the two diaries, having trouble deciding which one to read first.
“What’s the matter, Edna? If there was a reason why Mattis didn’t let you go through the therapy, you will most certainly find it in his diary”, Harvey remarked.
“I know but...“, Edna sighed, “... I would like to read everything my parents had ever written...”
She took them both, glancing back and forth before finally setting her purple eyes on Vivian’s diary. Excitement and a little bit of nervousness erupted inside of her when she took the book and started reading the first entry:
May 4th, 1983
This is my first entry in my new diary and already I have something exciting to tell! I met someone at the fair today. He wasn’t particularly good looking, he was lanky and tall but he was one of the nicest people I ever met. His name is Mattis Konrad and he was so kind to pay for cotton candy for me when I couldn’t find my money. We talked a little and he told me he just moved here for his job. We had arranged a meeting next Friday, so I can show him the village and get to know him better. I can hardly wait!
Edna smiled fondly while reading. It seemed her mother already took a liking to her father the moment they met. Oh, if only she could remember what their marriage was like. Nevertheless, Edna was sure it was a happy one, albeit one that was cut short. She continued reading about her mother’s young life, about her job – she was a teacher in a daycare center – and also about the time she spent with friends and family and, of course, how she got to know more of Mattis. With every entry, it seemed, she liked him more and more until...
October 18th, 1983
Mattis and I took a walk through the forest today. It was such a beautiful day with the sun giving a golden touch to the red and yellow leaves. He helped me collect a couple of chestnuts for the children. Then he took me out to a café, a rather cozy one at that, and he told me about his plans for the future. All my other boyfriends always wanted to become well-known sportsmen, especially in soccer, which can get really boring. I hate sports! But Mattis wasn’t like that. He just wants a job he enjoys – he mentioned he loves writing – and a wife and children. When he told me that, I realized I just did not like him – I’ve fallen in love with him! But how can I tell him? I don’t want to destroy our friendship.
Edna just finished reading this entry when she heard Tina returning from shopping. She was gone for quite a long time, almost two hours, as a quick glance at the clock told Edna. Normally, her housemate needed far less time to buy groceries, even when the store was overrun by elderly people. Edna put her mother’s diary down, stood up and left her room for the kitchen.
“Welcome back”, she greeted Tina, who just closed the refrigerator door. “You were gone for quite a long time.”
“Yeah”, the blond shrugged. “I was also at the boutique – I needed a new shirt – and had trouble deciding on one in my size that I actually liked.”
“I see. Anyway, I think I’m going out now”, Edna responded only to realize she was still in her pajamas. Thus, she added: “After I got dressed.”
She headed back to her room to get her everyday clothes and then made her way to the bathroom. After she was washed and dressed, she took Harvey, her mother’s diary, her phone, some money, something to drink and her keys with her and left the apartment, but not without saying “see you later” to Tina. Edna took the elevator down to the ground floor but, before she left the building, she made a detour to the basement and quickly got the small parts needed for assembling the drawers together. She and the Key Master would get the rest of it at night, when everyone in town was fast asleep. Every sane person would comment on the inefficiency of this method; however she did not really care about this. She had long accepted she was not the sanest person in the world but she was certainly not insane... at least not insane enough to be stuck in an asylum, even if she did kill a boy but this was an accident. Anyway, she left the building and headed for the Key Master’s place – with a little detour to a store to buy more art supplies for him.
“Key Master? Are you home?”
Edna knocked a few times on the door only to receive no answer at all. She wondered if he was perhaps outdoors, somewhere nearby. Therefore, she decided to walk around the perimeters and climbed up the hill, observing the surrounding area from the higher point. Unfortunately, she seemed to be the only living being around, with the exception of the birds flying in the sky, the plants and the insects. Where was he? She was always sure she would find him around here but now...? Then again, she did tell him he could go to town every now and then and perhaps he was there at the moment. This could be the only explanation. Oh well, she was, admittedly, too lazy to go back and look for him. The Key Master was sure to come back sooner or later and until, she was going to continue reading the old diary.
Edna descended the hill and sat down under the shade of the tree with Harvey next to her. After getting comfortable, she took out her mother’s old diary, opened the last page she read and continued reading. Vivian described in her old writings the fun she had in her job, what she did with her friends in her free time and her growing love for Mattis. It even got to the point where she wrote about naughty thoughts she had about him. Edna’s cheeks took on a light pink tint, which got darker and darker the more she read.
December 24th, 1983
Today is officially one of my favorite days! My parents invited Mattis over to our house and we all spent all morning decorating the house and the Christmas tree. Everything looked so lovely. We had a light lunch and then watched a Christmas movie. Me and Mattis built a snowman together after the movie but we couldn’t find a carrot, so it got an apple for a nose. It looked like someone punched it right in the nose, heehee. We all gathered together in the living room in the evening. Dad played the piano and we all sang Christmas carols together. Mattis had a horrible singing voice, still we all had fun. Then we exchanged Christmas presents – I got a new Elton John record from my parents, a beautiful dress from Maria and Mattis wrote a short story for me. I can’t wait to read it! Mom and Dad got a weekend in a wellness hotel from me and my sister. Maria got the bracelet she’s been wanting for weeks. She was so happy I couldn’t stop smiling. And as for Mattis, he got a painting I made for his house from me. His house is really in need of some decorations. But, after everyone went to sleep, I got a second present from him. It was such a beautiful starry night, so we went out to stargaze and under the twinkling stars, he told me he’s in love with me! Oh, I can’t describe how happy I am! I told him I feel the same. Now we are officially together!
Edna felt so happy for her mother, even if it was over thirty years ago. It was like Vivian was right next to her and told her about all this herself and Edna was so happy to learn more about her maternal family she never got to know. Before this day, Edna did not even know she had an aunt. Where was she? What was she like? Edna just had to find out. Perhaps there was hint about her whereabouts in this diary. So, she kept reading more and more about the life of her mother she could barely remember. With each entry, the affection Edna felt for Vivian intensified, even though she did feel embarrassed about the naughty parts. The worst was when Vivian described the intimate moments of her relationship in great detail. Edna, whose blush was now a dark shade of red, wondered when this became erotic literature. She wanted to skip those parts but could not and she did not even know why. It was like one was at the scene of a car crash – the person wants to look away but cannot.
“Just why wasn’t there a warning label?“, Edna questioned herself in a weak voice after she finished reading a rather intense entry of Vivian’s intimate relations with Mattis. She never expected her father being so... a love-maker or that her mother had no problem writing about all this.
The unexpected appearance of the Key Master, who just came from between the trees of the woods, made Edna jump and she let the diary fall. Still red in the face, she stared at him and chuckled nervously.
“H-hey, where did you come from?“, she asked while picking up the lavender blue diary.
“I was taking a walk through town”, the Key Master replied with a questioning look. “And what are you doing here?”
“I wanted to visit you and when I realized you weren’t here, I decided to... well... um...“, Edna bit her bottom lip and kept glancing at the diary in her hands.
“You decided to read this book”, the Key Master finished for her, nodding towards the book. “What are you so nervous about? Aren’t you supposed to read it?”
“I wouldn’t say that”, Edna mumbled, averting her eyes. She could not directly into his eyes; the naughty writings were still too fresh in her mind. She felt so embarrassed being caught reading them, even though the Key Master did not what exactly she had been reading the whole time. Admittedly, she did not want to tell him... at least not without the sudden wish to go into exile.
“Then why are you so nervous? Did you assimilate information you didn’t want to know?”
“You could say that.”
Edna grinned awkwardly while the Key Master had a baffled look on his face.
“Is it hot in here, hehehe?“, the young woman asked, fanning air to herself with her hand.
“We are outdoors”, the Key Master dryly pointed out.
“Oh yes, that’s right...”
He suddenly walked up to her stopping only a few centimeters in front of her and towering over her. He had a dangerous glint in his eyes.
“What is the matter with you? You’ve been acting weirdly the whole time! If you don’t want to tell me, you may as well leave!”
Edna flinched at his shouting. She did not know what was worse – this or the way he scared her in the church all those years ago. Maybe she was behaving ridiculously, but she could not bring herself to reveal the whole truth. She saw nothing wrong in admitting she was reading her mother’s diary, it were only certain parts she was embarrassed about.
Edna gulped; she tried to mentally encourage herself before looking up to meet his eyes.
“I... I was reading my mom’s diary”, she confessed at last. The Key Master raised an eyebrow, clearly not convinced this was all there was to it.
“Don’t tell me that’s the only reason.”
“Let’s just say, there are things about parents you really don’t wanna know. Please don’t ask me to specify”, Edna pleaded. She looked at the Key Master with big puppy eyes, something she usually preferred not to do. It always gave her the feeling she was a spoiled brat but she just could not think of another way to emphasize how much she did not want to talk about this.
“Alright, I won’t ask”, the Key Master sighed.
“Thanks”, Edna replied, smiling in relief. “Oh yes, I’ve got something for you.”
She put the diary back into her inventory and then took out the art supplies she bought earlier. With a grin, she gave those items to the man right in front of her.
“In case you ever want to express yourself artistically”, Edna explained. “And with that I mean without the need of clay and the necessary things you need to work with clay.”
“Well, it would give me a greater variety to express myself artistically”, the Key Master nodded, looking at the items he was holding. Edna had given him a sketch-pad, pencils, erasers and sharpeners. “I can store those in the closet until the drawer parts are here and assembled.”
“I got the small parts here, we could get the rest tonight. If I could find a metal that’s easy to melt, I could also make a copy of the apartment key for you to get the table and chairs during the week.”
“How about you buy jewelry? It’s usually made of gold, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, but the nearest jewelry store happens to be the favorite place of Heike’s, whenever she’s not in the park. And I don’t want to risk her seeing me.”
Edna paced back and forth, trying to think of another way to gain access to metal. Wait a minute, did Tina not store extra keys for both the building and their apartment somewhere? Perhaps Edna could get them. Why did she not think about this sooner? It did not matter now, she quickly told the Key Master about the spare keys and promised to search for them later.
“Alright. Now then, how about we bring everything you brought me to the house and then we can do something together?“, he said.
“Sounds good to me”, Edna answered with a smile. She turned around and bent down to grab Harvey and then, she walked with the Key Master to his house. Her eyes wandered around the room, noting it had not changed much. The only things that had changed were the new closet, which she eyed with apprehension, the fairytale book on the old table, the ice box between bed and closet, and the wood of the old closet next to the fireplace. Edna wondered what the Key Master planned to do with them. On the floor were several articles of clothing in one heap.
“Oh yes, do you suppose you could wash them for me?“, the Key Master asked when he noticed her looking at the heap.
“Sure, no problem”, Edna replied while the Key Master opened the closet. She noticed there were still a lot of empty spaces in there. The garments that were in this closet were all neatly folded and stored in the shelves. Edna was glad to see there was no one inside the object for storing clothing. She felt unsettled whenever she was around a closet with enough empty space to lock a person in there and she doubted she would ever get over it.
“Are you feeling well? You don’t look so good”, the Key Master remarked in worry. Apparently, the fears she felt were reflected in her eyes. Edna shook her head with a half-smile.
“I’m not feeling unwell. It’s just that...“, she trailed off, unsure how to say it. In retrospect, her fear of closets and cupboard seemed to be ludicrous, unless the origins were known. When she still did not resume speaking, the Key Master approached her and looked intently into her eyes. Edna gulped when reciprocated his gaze.
“Don’t you want to tell me?”
There was something in his voice that gave her the courage to tell him what the matter with her was:
“Closets kind of scare me.”
The Key Master gently led her to the bed and let her sit down; he took a seat next to her and put an arm comfortingly around her shoulders.
“Do you want to talk about this?”
Edna did not say anything for a while, she did not know how to begin. It all happened more than fifteen years ago, when her age was still written with a single-digit number. How would the Key Master react? It would certainly give him another reason to hate Doctor Marcel.
“The night you were at my house... did you see any more rooms than the one you found me in?”
“Um yes”, he replied perplexed. “Let me think... the hallway, the bathroom and a room that looks like a classroom.”
“Yeah, me and Alfred used to have private lessons... Doctor Marcel paid our teacher to disadvantage me and to not let me leave earlier under no circumstances, especially when the weather outside was great. Our teacher locked me into the cupboard every day and there were times when he did not let me out until the lessons for the day were over. Sometimes, he even did not let me out at all...”
She told him all this in a low voice. The memory of being locked in a dark, claustrophobic space still haunted her to this day. She could not understand why Doctor Marcel had it out for her even when his son was still alive. Well, she teased Alfred and was quite wild but was not about every child like this? There was a chance for her to mature if only given the chance...
She heard nothing from the Key Master, although he held her a little more closely. She glanced at Harvey, who she still held in her arms. He looked up at her with sad eyes; she knew he was as horrified about this injustice as she was. The Key Master placed a hand on her hand, causing her to look at him. She noticed by the looks of his eyes he felt sorry for her.
“Didn’t your father ever say anything?”
“No... he didn’t even know about this and I never told him...”
Edna was grateful the Key Master did not ask her for a reason, even she did not know why she never told Mattis. He just held in silence and that was what she needed. She leaned her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes in content. She felt how he rested his head against hers and she felt how he moved his hand from his spot on her hand over her arm to her back. The arm he had around her shoulders moved downwards, so that he ended up embracing her.
“Thanks”, Edna quietly said with a tiny smile.
“For what?“, the Key Master questioned. Edna leaned back to look into his dark green eyes.
“Just for being there for me”, she replied She snaked her arms around his middle, their upper bodies pressed against each other, although there was something soft between them. She could actually get used to this.
“Edna, you’re squashing me”, Harvey spoke up in a weak voice. Once again, Edna put a little distance between her upper body and the Key Master’s and noticed the soft object between their bodies was Harvey.
“Sorry buddy”, Edna apologized. “But you’re made of terry cloth, it wouldn’t hurt you at all.”
“Still doesn’t mean I have to like it”, the blue lagomorph mumbled. Edna sighed and shook her in exasperation before turning her attention back to the Key Master:
“How about we store the items I brought for you in the closet and then just do something together?”
“Alright with me”, the Key Master nodded, retracting his arms from her. They both stood up, he stored the art supplies and tiny parts for the drawers in the closet while she packed his clothes in need of washing and the cordless drill into her inventory. Once they were done with what they needed to do, they left the house. Leisurely, they sauntered through the forest to town. Edna wanted to discard the objects she would not need at the moment in her apartment. The Key Master would be waiting for her down the street – they agreed to meet up near the old corner store. So, he went there while she continued her way back home, where she found the apartment devoid of any life. Edna decided to use the opportunity to wash the Key Master’s clothes; she had a couple of clothes that are in need of a wash, too. Harvey did not like the idea of her washing anything and, admittedly, she did not really like it either but she knew it had to be done. There were worse things in the world – padded cells, correction of character and memory erasure coming to her mind immediately. Without complaining out loud but in silence, she put the dirty and smelly clothes into the washing machine and got everything ready for washing. The moment the garments were in the process of getting clean again, she left the bathroom, charged the cordless drill and looked for the spare keys. She knew they were somewhere in the living room but forgot where exactly. Oh well, at least she did not have to look through the whole apartment, though she did so after all. The first place Edna checked in the living room after looking everywhere else was the cupboard, to no avail. Then she went through the shelves but there were only movies and video games, so she was quick to abandon the shelves. Lastly, she looked in the drawers, where she found them.
“I should have known this”, Edna commented while taking them. “It’s always the last place one checks...”
“Do you really think it’s a good idea to give the Key Master free access to our apartment?“, Harvey questioned her... and probably her sanity. “Don’t forget, he is a psycho.”
“Oh Harv, he hasn’t shown any psychotic tendencies in a long time”, Edna disregarded the blue rabbit’s doubts. “He has changed and you know it.”
Edna received no reply from Harvey, except some incoherent grumbling. He did not like the Key Master at all, so she did not torment herself with thoughts of unexpected and dangerous visits in the middle of night that would end fatally. But, like she said, he had changed; it was unlikely he would do any of this.
The washing machine had already finished its task of cleaning the garments, so Edna hurried to hang them up for drying. A quick detour to her room to discard her mother’s diary on her bed later, Edna left the apartment and the building and strolled down the street to the corner store.
“Hello Princess”, were the two words the Key Master greeted her with. The exact same words he used the first time they ever met. She would have never thought back then he would become one of her dearest friends, especially not after a certain incident that had been mentioned in this story quite often.
“Hello to you too”, Edna responded. “But tell me, why do you keep calling me ‘Princess’? There’s nothing royal about me.”
“What would you rather be called?“, the pale green man asked while avoiding to answer her question.
“I don’t actually care as long as it’s not offending. But I would still like an answer.”
The female member of the species Homo sapiens gave the male member a penetrating look. Her mouth formed a straight thin line and she stemmed her fists on her hips. She tried to appear tall, which would perhaps work if she was wearing high heels but since she was not wearing any, the effect was lost.
“If you insist”, the Key Master relented with a shrug. “It was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw you the first time.”
Edna made a dumbfounded face. How in the world could someone think of royalty when seeing her, especially the way she looked when she escaped the asylum? There was no member of a royal family, whether real or fictional, she resembled. She was not sure if she ought to feel flattered or not.
“Um, how about we go to a café?“, she suggested, mostly to avoid commenting on his answer. The Key Master raised his eyebrows at her, like he knew why she said that. Nevertheless, he did not press this topic on.
“Sure, but you pay, Princess.”
“Fine by me.”