"And tomorrow we'll install the kitchen cabinets along this wall here," the man gestured into the adjacent room.
My mother nodded in agreement as the construction contractor spoke. All the while, I sat slouched in boredom against the unpainted drywall of my newly-constructed home, my eyes wandering around the unborn living room as I searched for something, anything, to pique my interest. I desperately prayed for any form of entertainment or distraction, but the room loomed in desolate quietness. The scruffy man with my mother turned and stretched his hand out towards the wall directly across from me, redressing the cryptically dull conversation into that of the addition of a new fireplace. I gave another sigh of boredom and rested my small chin on top of my crossed arms. But just then, salvation presented itself to me in the form of a slight glinting atop the nearby counter dividing the two rooms.
I returned my gaze to my mother, who still stood with her back to me, nodding on occasion. So as not to draw attention to myself, I silently got to my feet and stepped to the source of the shimmer. I had to stand on the tips of my toes to reach it, but after much perseverance and stretching, I finally felt the frosted touch of metal against my tiny fingertips. It was my mother's car key—a jagged silver sliver tipped with an ebony rubber grip. For the next few minutes, my mother and the contractor continued their conversation as I fascinated myself with the alien object, playing with it between my hands.
As any child would, I soon grew bored with the things, shiny though they were, and carelessly shoved them into my pocket, listening to the faint jingle they made. After checking to ensure my mother's attention was still elsewhere, I turned and ran down the entrance hall as noiselessly as possible, searching for a new source of amusement; namely, exploration.
I soon found that the house was astonishingly dull, deserted and dreary with its absence of furniture. I wandered around the house aimlessly until my imagination eventually kicked in.
The imagination of a child is a curious and powerful thing, so much so that it must be extinguished before one reaches adulthood. Within each room, I became lost in a new corner of my own mind. I was an explorer in the foyer, which had distorted into a magnificent jungle; I was a cowboy in the desert of the dining room; I was an astronaut amongst the craters of the study; and lastly, I was a racecar driver in the cramped laundry room at the rear of the house. The race was about to begin.
I sat on the bitter linoleum, clutching an invisible steering wheel firmly in my fists. I could hear the jubilant cheers of the crowd, feel the faint hum of the seat beneath me, and see the referee as he raised a microphone to his face.
"Racers—START YOUR ENGINES!"
I retrieved my mother's keys from the depths of my pocket, bringing the thin metal strip closer and closer to the hungry, vivid scarlet slot. As soon as the metal tip met the gaping trench, it was swallowed whole.
The mirage surrounding me shattered to pieces, replaced with a sharp sensation I had never felt before. My nerves cried out in pain, and my hand trembled violently, all before my brain could comprehend what was happening.
To a child, electricity is an enigma—an invisible force with no physical presence and magic-like properties. A child cannot comprehend the sheer lethality of 250 volts of pure, unrestrained energy. I sat there for what felt like ages, my body vibrating, twitching and convulsing frantically. All the while, my fingers remained glued to the key. Try as I might to pry them open, it was useless. My hands had gone completely numb, incapable of responding to wave after wave of distress messages flowing from my brain. My head was splitting, my brain screaming relentlessly in response to every nerve's plea. Let go; relax your hand; release your grip; do it! And then, a message I had never heard before—one so primal, it rose above all the others and shouted from the farthest reaches of my mind.
You're going to die.
My stomach churned over, and I could feel the stir of nausea rise to my throat. Tears streamed forth from my eyes. Suddenly, as if of its own free will, my hand lurched from the key's hilt, leaving behind a painful, screeching trail before collapsing to the floor in exhaustion.
I clasped the lifeless hand in the fingers of its brother and sat there, my face a snow white with eyes wide and watering. The key remained clasped in the jaws of the power outlet, trembling and jittering in terror as it was eaten alive, wedged in the beast's left tooth. As soon as my legs would allow, I leapt to my feet and fled the room crying.
Retracing my path, I sprinted to the room where my mother and the contractor still stood. A wave of ecstatic relief washed over me, and I finally felt safe once more. My mother turned when she heard me approaching, and gave a start of surprise when I clung to her leg, burying my face against her thigh. As I whimpered into the cloth of her pants, she looked down at me with a look of concern and confusion, exchanging glances with the equally perplexed man at her side. When my voice finally returned to me, I tipped my head back, stared up at her with eyes still watering, and explained all that had happened to the best of my ability:
"Mommy, it bit me!"