Monday, July 23, 2012

Message in a Bottle                                                  

By D. E. Allen

I am blessed to live near the bay, except when the full moon and a Nor’ Easter bless me with a house, in the bay.  Most evenings my wife and I stroll on Amity Harbors sandy private beach.  This past Wednesday as we strolled I spotted a silver flask bobbing up and down in the seaweed gathered by one of the beaches groins.  It looked like a brand new thermos bottle.  I got closer and plucked it out of the seaweed.  It was metallic, and yet even though it was filled with seawater it had been bobbing like a cork.  As I poured out the seawater, to my surprise the flask contained a tan colored metallic straw that floated out of the flask on the stream of seawater, but when the straw hit the beach, it unfolded into an ultra thin, fragile looking sheet of tinfoil like material, the size of a normal sheet of typing paper.

I picked it up and I could see strange writing of some sort on the metal sheet.  Just then a strong gust of wind blew, but the sheet of foil did not make a flutter, not a bend in the breeze.  My wife, who loves doing Cryptoquotes in the newspaper, was already reading the sheet over my shoulder.  “Strange symbols, but it looks like English, just from the letter pattern, I bet that word is THE, and that single symbol is I or A.”  Her Cryptoquote mind was in overdrive as we reached the house.

We went inside and placed the sheet of whatever this stuff was on the dining room table.  Smokie, our cat, immediately jumped up on the table and sat on it.  My wife grabbed the cat to lift her off of it, but not before the cats claws had put a few puncture marks in the foil like material.  Puncture marks that healed themselves up before our very eyes.

My wife went to work solving this mysterious puzzle.  The message was longer than most puzzles in her puzzle books.  This one took my wife nearly, 15 or 20 minutes to decipher.  The message read:
Mayday, Mayday.  Stranded here twenty days ago following a solar plasma ejection that disabled all ships functions.  Fate of all other crewmembers is unknown.  Water surrounding the island is not potable.  Water scavenged from plumbing of ruins is highly radioactive.  Ships anti-matter engines appear to have torn a rift in the time space continuum.  The time rift has swallowed up two previous attempts to release signal buoys with messages inside.  All sorts of twenty-first century trash has been bombarding me through the rift day and night. This is my third, and final chance to release a message buoy.

 If I perish before this message buoy is found by sub-orbital reconnaissance, tell everyone back on Mars Colony that we must continue our quest to return to Earth.  We knew that our mission to explore post apocalyptic Manhattan was dangerous, but we must not give up.  Always remember the words of our Leader, “Return, Repopulate, Renew.”

All my love to Anna
I remain forever in service to my Colony,
Sir David Sorenson, Captain Commanding, Phoenix One
I should have left the thermos looking thing on the beach. It was indeed generating a signal. A signal followed by the authorities to my home. My wife and I were interviewed by the “Men in Black,” and released after just a few hours. They knew that I would be telling this story today, but they did not care. They knew full well that none of you would ever believe a story like this, coming from a fiction writer like me.

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