Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

The eye in the keyhole

“You can’t do this to me” I want to yell but I don’t. I don’t say anything because if I did it would make this even harder for her. My mom just told me and my brother Ash that she had to go away for work and she leaving us at my dad’s. All I can say is “How long are you going away for? When are you leaving? where are you going?”


My mom replies, “I’m going to Paris, France. I am leaving in a week. I will be gone for the school year but you guys can visit me on school breaks. Won’t that be fun? We can visit all the landmarks.” “So we are leaving in a week too.” I am trembling, blinking back tears.


“Actually” my mom says, “you guys are leaving in 4 days.”


It’s not my dad. Not at all. It’s that I have to go to a new school, in a new city and I don’t know any- one at my school except my annoying step sister Violet. Me and Violet have nothing in common. I am shy, she is popular. I like to read books, she likes to read social media posts. She’s into fashion and I couldn’t care less. Her favorite colour is, surprise surprise, violet. My favorite colour is turquoise. We don’t get along.
My mom’s voice interrupts my chain of thoughts. “You guys will even get to go on a plane!”


“4 days”, I whisper.


My mom nods and says: “You better start packing.”


I start up the stairs and my brother runs up to me and says: “Can you help me pack?” His little eyes staring up at me.


“Sure,” I reply. I could say no but he is 4 and it would not really help my mom. I step inside my brother’s room and help him get some of his stuff ready. Till I retreat to my room to get my stuff ready. The next few days go by in a flurry of packing.


And just like that we were leaving. We arrive at the airport and get checked in. Then we board the plane and we are on our way to a new city. As we land and get off the plane I see my family. My dad, Violet, my other step sister who is 4 and her name is Isabelle but everyone calls her Izzy and step- mom Joy. Isabelle runs up to me and screams:
“Saaaammmm” she cried smiling.


I call back “Izzzyyyy” and hug her. Then I hug my dad and Joy. Then we pile into the car and drive to my dad’s house. As I step in the perfectly modern house, I follow my dad upstairs to the bedrooms. The first is my brother’s. It is blue with a white carpet and a small bed. The next room is the same but pink, and it is Izzy’s room. The next room is bigger and has a big bed. This is Violet’s room. The last room is mine it is.
The same as Violet’s but turquoise. The rest of the day is not very eventful.


Then it all changes. The next day Joy and my dad had to leave to do some errands. So me, Violet, Izzy and Ash decide to go outside but then Violet cries: “I can’t open the door, it’s locked.”


So I scream back: “Then unlock it”.


She screams back: “I can’t”. I push her out of the way and try to unlock the door but it won’t budge.
Seeing the freaked out and confused looks on Izzy and Ash faces, I add calmly: “Lets try the back door.” When we go to the back door we realise it is locked. I say to Violet: “Don’t panic yet me and Ash will try the windows and Violet you and Izzy try the phones.” Violet nods. We meet back and I ask Violet: “Any luck?” She shakes her head and I scream: “Okay now we can panic.” Then things get weirder. The lights go off, then on. The phone rings. Violet looks at me. I walk towards the phone. I pick up the phone.


A voice says: If you ever want to get out of here, you have to solve a bunch of puzzles. Then the phone cuts out.


We see an eye in the keyhole.


We are trapped.