In the exposition to the middle of the rising action of the short story "Three Skeleton Key" written by George G. Toudouze, the backstory and conflict are revealed. It starts by telling of the story of how Three Skeleton Key got its name. It then proceeds to go into detail of the main character and his coworkers, Le Gleo and Itchoua, and why or how they work at the lighthouse. During their time working at the lighthouse, Itchoua spies a ship sailing around their island. They watch as it swerves back and forth until it eventually crashes onto their island. Giant sea rats escape from the ship and proceed to invade the island. They cover most of the ground and the entirety of the outside of the lighthouse. A few days go by before Itchoua's window breaks and rats flow from the window and inside the lighthouse. The exposition to the middle of the rising action displayed the backstory necessary for the story and the main conflict of the story.
It earned its name from the story of the three convicts who, escaping from Cayenne in a stolen dugout canoe, were wrecked on the rock during the night, managed to escape the sea, but eventually died of hunger and thirst. When they were discovered, nothing remained but three heaps of bones, picked clean by the birds. The story was that the three skeletons, gleaming with phosphorescent1 light, danced over the small rock, screaming....
Look! A Ship!
"Thunder! She's going to pile up! She's gone!"
When I was a young man, not very long in the service, there was an opening in a lighthouse newly built off the coast of Guiana, on a small rock twenty miles or so from the mainland. The pay was high, so in order to reach the sum I had set out to save before I married, I volunteered for service in the new light.
All this time our glasses were riveted on her and we suddenly cried out together: “The rats!”
Itchoua pointed, and following his finger, we saw a big three-master, with all sail set, heading straight for the light.
A few millimeters of glass, luckily very strong, separated our faces from their gleaming, beady eyes, their sharp claws and teeth. Their odor filled the tower, poisoned our lungs, and rasped our nostrils with a pestilential, nauseating smell. And there we were, sealed alive in our own light, prisoners of a horde of starving rats.
But this time she was so close that we knew she would not turn in time.
The chief had just time enough to leap to his feet and cry for help, the rats swarming over him.
The ship crashes and the rats that were on board swarm the land
The horrible band, in no measurable time, had swarmed up and over the tower as if it had been a tree, piled on the embrasures of the windows, scraped at the glass with thou- sands of claws, covered the lighthouse with a furry mantle, and reached the top of the tower, filling the gallery and piling atop the lantern.
At two in the morning, while Itchoua was dozing in his room, the sheet of metal sealing his window gave way.