She found the key while running down her frontage road, sitting straight at a curve and shining against the morning sun.
She saw many different kinds of things one her runs. Swans, bat houses, old tires, full bags of uneaten Oreos, dead leaves, rusty beer cans, and even the occasional caterpillar making it's way to the other side of the street. Cars were infrequent.
The woman often passed these objects and animals with indifference, noticing they were there, then moving on to keep her pace. But the key blinded her for a moment, and her legs hesitated, reminding her to take a quick breather.
She slowed to a stop. There wasn't much flourish to the key. Unlike a skeleton key, this key could have been used for anything, such as the key used to get into the box to tell a utility man how much water a house was using. She bent down to pick it up. It wasn't much bigger than her thumb. The fact the brass key had even entered her attention was almost a miracle. There was a hole punch sized gap at the top of the key, meant to be placed on a ring.
She slipped the key into her pocket.
The woman took a long shower after she came back from her run. She made time for her showers, as, despite living alone, these quiet moments didn't need any extra thought on her part. A run allowed her to clear her mind, to find solutions to problems she wasn't aware of. A shower relaxed every muscle in her body, even her brain.
After dressing, she pressed her hair, applied her make up, then collected the items for her purse. She locked the door on her way out, double checking by applying pressure as she turned the handle.
Her first stop was to gather the mail at work. The woman worked at a desk job, the kind that had her doing the kinds of tasks you can't place on a resume, such as getting the morning coffee for your boss, or picking up the pant suit from the laundromat. These menial things are looked down upon, and, yet, no one really wants to do any of these tasks themselves.
This woman was not looked down upon for her work. She had been working there for quite some time and was slowly making herself known. She had reworked a few reports for her boss that impressed the colleagues. Her knowledge of the business, having worked there for five years, had operators transferring customers over so she could answer any questions they didn't feel like looking up.
She kept busy.
People smiled at her, and she smiled back.
Lunch had her eating a small salad, and she listened to her coworkers talk about their rude boyfriends, and their prince charming boyfriends, and how their husbands were lazy or funny. She laughed at a story whereupon a grandchild had asked her pregnant mother why she was hiding a watermelon underneath her shirt.
When paying for her meal, she noticed a small key next to her cash in her purse. She took it out, examining, wondering how the key from this morning had found its way into the folds of cloth. A coworker noticed her inspection.
"I'm not sure," she answered the coworker. "I found it on the side of the road." She placed her money on the table with a large tip, and they all made their way back to their work stations.
Her boss called her into her office at the end of the day.
"I have an opportunity for you," he said, passing over a piece of paper. She glanced it over as he spoke. "I'm making the position specifically for you. It's a step higher than you are now, with a bit more responsibility, more pay, and a good career move. I'd like you to formally accept after this informal interview."
They discussed her new position in great detail. She would be attending more meetings, making more decisions about the department, and would even get her own admin. As her boss said, this was a step up. They shook hands, and she thanked him. She would start officially after the weekend.
The woman stopped at a pub on her way back home. She asked for an amaretto sour. Her hand brought out the key while she waited for the bartender. The key was generic, and dull. But she liked how it had caught her attention anyway. She paid for her drink, swallowed it down, then left the pub for home.
It wasn't dark yet, as it was coming toward the end of summer. There was a light breeze, still warm. She took her time walking home, thinking of what she would be doing soon. The weekend would have many congratulations, along with a fancy feast and maybe a present or two. She would maybe go to the grocery tonight to purchase a few things, and would get some sand paper to redo a dresser with water stains from careless cups without coasters. She'd maybe watch a movie, one she'd already seen.
It was then that she saw the blue box. She almost passed by it without thought, but her right shoulder nicked a corner, and she had to look up. It was tall, an arms width wide, and most certainly the shade of cornflower blue. Her confusion of the object grew as she jogged her memory as to when she'd last seen it, which was never.
This was new.
The key was pulsing in her hand. It had pinched her skin slightly, so she opened her palm to find it glowing, bright, then soft. It was almost humming, and she swore she was hearing music, a song that no one else seemed to hear. She knew no one else could hear it because the sound was magnificent, something no human had ever heard before, and no one would be able to contain their awe.
She had stepped up to the door. The key was normal now.
She glanced around. Her heart thumped. But her hand was steady as a surgeon as it rose the key to the lock on the door. Her heart beat with so much urgency, it felt as if it'd made it's way to her throat. She knew that if her hand would not move the key to unlock, her heart would instead make it's way out to do the deed.
The lock gave away with a click.
The woman pushed the door a bit, which emitted a small creak. her eyes widened when she peaked inside, and they quickly scanned the outside of the structure, then back in, for, the fact about the blue box was that it was larger on the inside.
Her leg lifted, setting a foot inside.
A man was watching her, ordering a hot dog from down the street. He had been wondering whether the blue box had been there a week ago, or even yesterday, or even this morning. A woman was slowly making her way toward that box, and she was being curiously familiar with the door. She seemed to be opening it, and he knew he had never seen that box before now.
"That will be $3.50," said the vendor, impatient as he'd mentioned it twice.
"Oh!" the man said, and looked down to pat his pockets for change.
A noise blew around them then, deafening and strange. The man tried to look through his hands, as they'd swept up to his face. When it all stopped, the man looked down the street. The girl was gone. But, then again, so was the blue box.
"Did you see that thing there? The blue police box?"
"I've worked here for over 10 years and ain't nothing ever been on that corner. $3.50."
The man shrugged and gave the vendor his money, along with a thank you. He took a bite of his hot dog and chewed thoughtfully, staring at the space that had once held what he thought was something significant.
And then he went about the rest of his day.