Beneath her boots, encrusted with dust, was a green trapdoor. A shimmering emerald light seeped through the edges. The door was painted with shining green enamel, as smooth as glass. Snaking from its golden hinges were thin, glittering vines. The vines coalesced in the center of the door to form a circular handle. Lycia brushed the dust away and stroked the surface of the door. It was warm. It made her fingers tingle.
Meg called out again, this time more frantically, and Aster’s horrid laughter ceased.
“Over here!” Lycia said hoarsely. She heard them scramble through the wreckage toward her. They crested the last mound of metal and stood over her. They gaped at the trapdoor in stunned silence. Lycia studied the pattern of vines and furrowed her brow. She fumbled in her pocket and pulled out the key Morgan had given her. The vine patterns on the key were almost identical to those on the door.
“Could it… maybe?” she whispered.
Aster leaned forward and snatched the key from her hand.
“Did you find this in the rubble?” he asked.
Lycia didn’t answer.
“Pretty grimy key for such a fancy door,” he said, and held the key out to her. “Go on, open it.”
Lycia looked at him uncertainly. Aster urged her on with a nod. Lycia put the key in the keyhole. It turned with ease. The emerald light poured into the warehouse as she lifted the door and the three of them were pulled down into the void.
- Excerpt from How To Disappear Completely by Annika Howells