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The Message - Prologue

by


Nancy Brar

I hadnít meant to stumble upon the bottle and the message it contained. It had just happened. And how am I to account for natural curiosity? I am only human, right?

I barely escaped from the ruthless clutches of boring and dull cousin Clarence, sidestepped the downstairs maids, bolted past Cobbs the butler, and snuck out the kitchen door right under the Cook's nose. I kept running until I was out of sight and on the beach, the fog swirling around me, hiding me in its blanket of white.

There I sat down, pulling my skirts scandalously up to my knees, and digging through the sand like a commoner and not the famous Red Tide Heiress I am. My shoes fell victim to the fierce tide of the water pushing up on the earth and the fog hid them from view. I smiled at my cleverness, but now look upon it and realize I was nothing but a foolish, foolish child.

I walked along the beach for hours, making castles out of sand and imagining my prince and I would live there, forever in love, happily ever after. I played with crabs and touched sea stars, fondling the sand with my tiny twelve year old fingers. The wind tore at my carefully curled hair, my new morning dress. I didn't care about the damage it was causing my appearance and embraced it with open arms.

I finally came upon a cave; dark and mysterious, it beckoned to my imaginative mind, and wide eyed I picked up the hem of my dress, tied it around my waist, my bloomers then scandalously visible. I ventured slowly, relishing the moment, licking my lips and tasting a delicious sense of danger. Barefoot, I padded deeper and deeper into the cave, until the darkness consumed me.

I felt the jagged rocks pierce at the sensitive skin of my feet and cried out in pain. Startled, I jumped back and met the wall. I felt a sudden, panicking fear. I swallowed a scream and continued walking, not knowing where I was, not knowing if I would ever find my way out of the darkness. My small hands reached out, trying to feel my way through the nightmarish world I had stepped into.

I heard a screech and fell still. My breath ran harsher and deeper, I was panting in fear. Then a flutter of wings, passing so near that I stumbled and fell backwards in surprise, but I kept falling. I screamed and it seemed hours before I hit the ground, a jarring commotion of my body dropping and folding over into a heap onto the cold floor of the cave.

I was astonished when I opened my eyes and saw light, and a pond of water sparkling in front of me. A wave suddenly crashed into the private cove, drenching me completely. I sputtered, shaking the water off. The water pulled out as suddenly as it had come. I grumbled, muttering nothings, trying to squeeze seawater out of my hair. It may have been the flicker of the sun, or perhaps the angle of my head, but I abandoned the task of drying out my hair, walked straight into the pond, and grabbed the pea green bottle. I stared at it curiously and another wave pulled in, leaving me sputtering once again. I tucked the bottle into my dress, and waded out in the pond, coming to the conclusion it wasn't deep at all. I felt my way out of the cove, and when I turned I saw the stretch of beach where I had first come. My shoes were wet and soggy, exactly where I'd left them. I snatched them up and moved to a drier part of the beach.

I fell to my knees and pulled out the bottle impatiently, tugging hurriedly at the cork tightly screwed in. The force of pulling the cork out made me fly backwards. My eyes rolled back and I saw a blur, before the world came back into focus. I scrambled back to the bottle, and turned it upside down, slapping it down on the sand, finally managing to get the paper out of it. I unfolded it, immensely annoyed that the author of the note had folded it more than thrice.

I almost ripped it, in my haste to read the message it held. I squinted my eyes to make out the words:

We are the undead, ruthless and determined in our beliefs, in our vengeance, seeking their blood,

They, she and I shall never fall, flying through these blue waters, waiting for the red to spill,

Warned be them, for their black draws near, feared be we, for we are invincible...

I stared at the words, written in red, I gasped as realization struck me: blood, the words were written in blood! I tore the note, fear taking hold of me, and I threw it into the sea and watched it disappear with relief. The bottle I threw next, satisfied when it was shattered against the rocks. I grabbed my shoes, and ran up to the house, my eyes widened in horror.

I heard the rumble of thunder and lightening flashed in front of me, making me run even harder and faster towards the house. I looked back once. And I knew I should never have touched the bottle.

A black ship perched high on a red wave flew towards us.

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