Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | February 19, 2008

Key’s Door

Tension before/after the Storm. Watercolor collage. March 2003.

Tension before the storm

Lightning dashes aside arcs of dark ocean, while thunder envelopes the quick brightness with a darkening deep roar.

Still, the door stands.

The wall is made of nothing but time and strands of volcanic glass, so thin it is all but invisible in the storm. To the old gods who know only birth and death and suffering, it is nothing but spider’s silk. It will fall, and the seas will wash over the door, and the darkness will hide its beckoning passages from all who dare search for a way home.

But the door is older than the old gods, and once upon a time it wasn’t a door at all.

It was a young girl named Key, a girl born in a howling storm in a crude cloth tent thousands of feet high in the mountains. Her mother died in that tent, lost and alone except for one horse and one young son. Her tribe had been driven from their homeland, then up into the mountains where all perished or wandered lost in the staggering peaks. When the winds finished blowing and the son finished crying, he fed his sister on the horse’s milk and they rode through valleys of blue flowers and across streams of smooth rocks.

Key was two years old, and walking beside the horse, strong from cold creek water and the mountain rabbits her brother snared, when she saw the woman with the jewels. She was the first human being the two children had come across in the years since their mother’s death, and she was wrapped from head to toe in shimmering black cloth and sparkling chains of colorful stones.

The boy did not understand her words–they were like the twittering of birds or the gurgle of water. But Key heard her destiny.

The two year old child had no way of comprehending the vision of black stone arched passageways, but the door understood all too well.

Someday, this child would not only open the door, but become it. And in the becoming, she would free her people from the old gods. Only her brother would refuse to pass through, and turn to face the churning waves. From his hands and heart came the spider-silk obsidian wall, the door’s only protection and the bane of the storm.



  1. Kathryn- Is the painting for sale?

  2. Sure, if I can find it! This one is very small, just ink and torn paper, maybe 5 by 7 or so.

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