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Rated: E · Short Story · Mystery · #2184409
A man finds a bottle on a beach with a desperate plea for help
Robert had found the bottle as he took his nightly walk along the beach. It was a pale, green bottle half buried in the sand. He couldn’t tell if it was a soda bottle or a beer battle but it didn’t matter. Trash shouldn’t just be left on a beach. Since the residents of Pine Marten Bay were usually good about keeping the litter off the streets, it was a bit of an unusual sight. He unburied the bottle and realized that the bottle wasn’t as empty as he thought. There was rolled up paper tucked neatly inside the bottle’s neck. He was bewildered and curious now. Messages in bottles were ridiculous. It was the kind of thing that happened in stories. The paper was probably nothing more than a bottle deposit slip. In spite of this, he took the bottle home with him. He wanted to know what it said, even if it was just the deposit slip.

Once he got home, Robert brought the bottle straight to his office. There was a set of tweezers in his desk. He used the tweezers to pull the paper out of the bottle. He was surprised to find that it wasn’t just one piece of paper. It was actually several papers that had been typed on and stapled together at one corner. There was a little water damage at the top of the first couple of pages but the words were still legible and intact. He turned his desk light on as he sat at his desk to read. The pages seemed to be a letter.

To whom it may concern,

I’m writing this in the hope that somebody will be able to assist me. I’m currently staying at the Pine Marten Inn, in the town of Pine Marten Bay. I seem to have stumbled onto a mystery that has me baffled. There are several other guests staying here, all relatives, for a reunion. I learned from speaking to them that part of the reason for this reunion is the reading of a will. They’re all heirs to the deceased and apparently there were stipulations. However, a member of the family here for the reunion has turned up dead.

Though it’s a clear case of murder, I’ve hit a snag. There are rumors of the inn being haunted. The murder is being blamed on the spirits that supposedly haunt the inn. There was a threatening message left just after the murder and another last night. Both were signed, the Phantom. While something ghostly appears to be going on, it’s clear that some of it is being faked or could easily be faked. It appears as though someone is trying to cover up their guilt by pin the murder on a ghost. It’s like being in an episode of Scooby-Doo.

I’ve been unable to contact my superiors as the phone lines have been cut, the road has been washed out by the weather and more bad weather is coming. Unfortunately, there’s no other way off the property as there are the inn’s two boats are unusable. One is out of service and the other is in town. The manager hasn’t been able to contact the operator of the second boat. I’ve done the best I can to collect and preserve evidence but I need help. If you find this, please contact any law enforcement that may be able to assist ASAP. I fear for the lives of those currently at the hotel, including mine. Please send help,

DS Albert Tross

Robert grew more worried as he read the letter. He knew the pine Marten Inn. The inn stood on a decent plot of land on the edge of the bay. While it wasn’t quite an island, high tide and inclement weather were known to turn it into one. He flipped the letter back to the front page. It was dated to the night before. The sergeant and the other people at the inn could very well be alive and still in serious danger. He picked up his office phone and dialed. He listened to the other line ring until it was picked.

“Hello, operator, this is Robert Ross. I need to speak to Inspector Willoughby. It’s an emergency, a matter of life and death actually,” he said.

After a moment, Robert was connected to the inspector.

“Inspector Willoughby here, Robert. What’s this about a life and death emergency?”

Robert explained to the inspector about the bottle and the letter within.

“This is serious. I know the boatman and where he is. We’ll met you at the docks in ten minutes. WE don’t have a moment to lose,” the inspector said.
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