Message In A Bottle

“You’re enjoying making sand castles at the beach, when the ocean waves wash up a message in a bottle. You pull out the message: What does it say?”

I sit there, quiet as the ocean waves wash over my feet, between my toes.

   The air is hot, beating down on me, swarming me in heat! I should be in my hotel asleep at this time of day. I know it’s my summer holiday, but it is way too hot to be outside on this Greek beach at midday.

   Isn’t there something called a siesta?

   I should be having a siesta, not sitting here on the burning sand with my parents just sunbathing a few metres away.

   They’re not moving.

   They’re probably asleep.

   Of course they are, it’s them!

   Just as I lean back over to my sandcastle, digging a moat around it, I think I should get up and walk back over to my parents. The hotel is only a short walk from the beach and I can already feel my nose and shoulders crisping.

   As I heave a sigh, ready to get up and put on my flip-flops, a cold, smooth object brushes over my foot.

   I freeze.

   Maybe it was a fish?

   But as I look down at my toes I see a glass, beer bottle that’s been stuffed with leaves, bark and rope to determine that whatever is inside, does not escape from the bottle’s hold.

   Slowly, I reach over and pick up the bottle.

   It’s wet and I can feel the salt from the ocean, glazed over the bottle.

   It must have been floating in the ocean for days!

   I may be exaggerating but it’s a fun thought.

   Endless possibilities suddenly enter my brain.

   Maybe this bottle holds a message from someone stranded on an unknown island, or is a love note, passed over the sea from a hopeful lover? So many possibilities it starts to make my heart quicken in excitement.

   Before I can think any more, I rip the rope from around the bottle, holding the leaves and bark in place. I pull the foliage out of the bottle and tip the contents of the bottle into the palm of my hand. I throw the bottle and everything else away from me, letting it skid over the sand.

   I hold in my hand; a note.

   It’s folded into some sort of star, the paper yellowed and mouldy at the edges from the wash of the ocean.

   I open it up and first of all see a diagram, filled with lines and circles. I’m not quite sure what the drawing is meant to represent, but it looks as if it’s been drawn in a hurry.

Above the diagram is a message:

You are now the only holder of the Hydrian Code. Keep it safe. People would kill for this information. Good luck, from a dead man.

Brilliant, just when I thought this holiday was going to be relaxing…

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