Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: OVERSEAS VACATION (08/13/15)
TITLE: Glass Dreams
By Yvonne Blake
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The drive from the city took me hours, but I was finally here. I dropped my things on the porch, kicked off my shoes, and made my way to the beach. I collapsed into one of the Adirondack seats to let the ocean renew my soul. Tilting my face to the sky, the ocean breezes played with my hair. I closed my eyes and soaked in the soothing sounds - the waves swishing upon the sand, the gulls calling to each other, a buoy dinging in the bay. I don’t remember a buoy. I opened my eyes and scanned the horizon.
I heard it again – ding. I shaded my eyes against the sparkling ripples, but saw no buoy. I stood and waited for the sound to repeat. Ah! There it was again! It was more of a clink than a ding, and it came from down the beach. Maybe something drifted up with the waves.
My bare feet left a row of puddles behind me as I traced the edge of the gentle surf – each swish like a breath of the giant slumbering ocean. Clink. My eyes searched the tangle of seaweed and driftwood for the identity of the sound. Another wave surged around my ankles. Clink. A green bottle lifted its neck for a second, as if weakly asking for help.
I lifted the grimy bottle from the barnacled covered rocks and held it up to the sun. Its surface was covered in crusted scum. I twisted and turned it. I tugged on the wedged cork. I could hear something thud as I tipped it over, but its contents remained a mystery. The amber sun sank low in the inky waters as I turned my feet toward the cabin.
After a meal of scallops and salad, opening the bottle became my goal for the evening. I scrubbed its sides until they squeaked and lifted it again to the light. Yes! There was something in there – a folded paper and a small object. With renewed vigor, I tackled the cork with pliers and a sharp knife. Millimeters at a time, it slowly emerged. After a final POP, I was able to peer down the long green neck.
I shook the bottle upside down and the object fell into my cupped palm. It was a little man, crudely carved from a pale yellow substance – perhaps bone or ivory. His round face possessed only a pair of slanted dots for eyes, but his coat displayed an intricate design of swirls and stars. Setting my new friend to one side, I fished the paper from the depths of the bottle. The cork had proven worthy, for the dry paper crackled as I opened it.
Neatly written words filled most of the page. It seemed to be the same message written in various scripts and languages. I recognized French, Spanish, and perhaps German. There were also Oriental and Arabic letters – plus other strange ones. I knew enough French to translate the message.
I WISH TO SEE THE WORLD. IF YOU FIND ME,
COPY THIS MESSAGE IN YOUR LANGUAGE
AND SEND ME ON MY WAY.
I picked up the little man. “Well, hello, Makai. Welcome to Hidden Haven.” I wondered how long it had taken for him to reach my corner of the earth. I added my message beneath the others and refolded the note. I hesitated to put Makai in the bottle yet. I’d let him enjoy his freedom for a few hours. Tomorrow, I’d toss his glass ship into the ebbing tide to float away to other lands.
I wished I could go with him.
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