I walk on a sandy beach. Waves are rushing in, foamy, submerging my feet in ice cold water and leaving again every few seconds… I cringe every time they come but keep enduring it because it is a refreshing awakening after a day of stale emotions. There are thousands of broken shells at my feet, and my eyes keep searching for the whole ones. The sky is dark grey today and feels heavy, the way it does before the rain. I breath in salt air and admire the energy of the vast ocean.
Ouch! Something small crunches under my foot and a sharp piercing sensation suddenly makes it throb. I lift it up and see red blood spilling out quickly. What the hell? A piece of paper is lying on top of sea shells, among shiny pieces of wet glass. Message in a bottle?
I pick it up and look at it for a while, without taking in the words because the handwriting is exactly like my own. The paper is yellowed with age, and the ink has almost faded. It must have been in the ocean for decades. There are only two words: “Take it”. Take it? Take what? I put the paper in my pocket and start heading back home.
I wake up and go to the kitchen to make breakfast. The note from yesterday is on a table. “Take it”. It’s silly, but I can’t stop thinking about it – the handwriting is strikingly identical to my own. Take what? What does it mean?
A doorbell rings. I open the door and see my neighbor Mark – a young, good looking guy with black bushy hair – is struggling to hold a white-and-brown puppy that’s trying to get away from him.
“Hi Sarah. Umm… My mother’s dog had pups and she brought this one yesterday as a gift. I told her I can’t take care of a damn dog. I hardly have time for my friends! Or my pretty neighbors…” He winks at me. “Anyway, she insisted it will be good for me to have a companion.” He rolls his eyes and gives me a pleading look. “Do you want to take him? You are gonna love him! It’s a boxer.”
“Umm, I don’t know anything about dogs Mark, I can’t help you out with this one, sorry.”
“Oh ok. I guess I’ll keep asking around.”
I sit down to eat my breakfast and the paper is staring at me. “Take it”. I don’t know why I’m so fascinated with it, maybe because I believe in intuition, and right now it gives me a strange vibe, probably because of the handwriting. It looks as if I have written the note myself. “Take it”. I repeat the words in my head, trying to connect it with anything that is going on in my life, anything that would make sense…
“Mark!!!!!” I dart from the chair and run downstairs to a lower floor and ring Mark’s doorbell like mad. “Please be home!”
He opens the door and looks at me incredulously.
“Uhm, hi Sarah.”
“Hi. I changed my mind. I want the dog.”
A wide smile breaks out on his face and he looks relieved.
“Great! Puppy! Come here little guy!!!”
I take him in my arms and carry back to my apartment. I’m going to call him Message…
It has been a week, and Message and I has gotten along great. He is very affectionate and loves attention. I enjoy walking and playing with him. Today I’m going to take him to the beach for the first time.
I haven’t seen Mark since the day he gave me Message. I knocked on his door several times, trying to get some advice about the puppy, but no one answered. Poor Message would be very lonely there indeed.
We are just about to leave for the beach when I hear loud voices in the hall. I open the door and realize there are a lot of people on the floor below, where Mark’s apartment is. I close the door behind me so that Message doesn’t escape and come down to see what is happening. There are firefighters.
“What is the matter?”
“There has been a fire. Thankfully it didn’t spread beyond this apartment. The neighbor next door called us right in time.”
I feel terror gripping me, my head swims – it is Mark’s apartment. I stare at the open doorway with eyes wide in shock. It looks wrecked with flames. The walls are blackened, and there is a stench of melted plastic.
“Where is Mark?” I ask quietly, afraid to hear the answer.
“Don’t worry Ma’am, no one was home. We just called the owner. He left for work early this morning, and the place was empty. It’s a good thing he didn’t have any pets. A lot of damage though. Hopefully he’s got insurance…”
“Right… Ok.” I breath out in relief, shocked.
In a daze, I move up the stairs; dread is in me, afraid to think what could have happened. I walk in and Message runs up to me. I sit down on the floor, take him in my arms and press him to me in a tight embrace. My happy little puppy. I kiss his head and he licks me and wiggles away. As I think about the note, disbelief settles upon me and I run frantically to the bedroom drawer and take out the message. Is it all a coincidence? Who wrote this note? Did I?? Unable to comprehend what had happened, I just break out in tears and thank the paper for finding its way to me. I cry for some time, confused and overfilled with emotions. Finally, composing myself and accepting the fact that I will never know where the message came from, I fold it in a tube, the way I found it, and put it away back in the drawer. I wipe the tears and yell:
“Message, you want to go to the beach?”
A year later…
I walk on a sandy beach. The waves are rushing in, foamy, submerging my feet in ice cold water and leaving again every few seconds… I cringe, but Message is delighted; he keeps running away from the waves and back again, jumping awkwardly over them. I smile. His head almost reaches my waist now. I lift my foot to look, with gratitude, at the mark, left by the broken glass a year ago. There is a small white scar on my hill.
I take the yellowed old paper with the message in the faded black ink out of my pocket, closed up in a new glass bottle, and throw into the ocean for the waves to claim it…
Perhaps one day someone will find their Message…
Thanks for reading my story! As you might have guessed, the message in a bottle represents intuition - the inner wisdom and knowledge we all possess. If you enjoyed this short story, please follow my blog. Your thoughts and comments are welcome.