Written for Genre Scribes #49 – Paper.
I was sitting on the train minding my own business when I saw it, a piece of paper tucked between the two seats in front of me.
Ignore it, Michelle, I told myself, but I was like a buzzing bee. Once it caught my attention, it was all that was on my mind until I investigated further.
I unfurled the paper and peered with interest, furrowing my brow when I read the words:
See what you’ve done.
I looked around, wondering if someone was playing a prank on me. I turned back to examine the piece of paper, flipping it over to read the words: get off at the next stop.
I scoffed, not believing what I was seeing. I was on my way to work; I wasn’t going anywhere.
There was a chime and suddenly, the train announcer said I’m sorry to announce that this train will be stopping here. Please be sure to take all your belongings and report anything suspicious.
People began to file out without question, and I followed them reluctantly, only stopping when I noticed something was sticking out of my handbag. A yellow piece of paper I’d never seen before.
Now I have your attention.
I glanced around, wondering who was toying with me. Was this a sick joke? I turned the paper over and bit back my frustration at the neatly printed words.
Leave the station and look out for another message.
Reluctantly, I complied, the consequence of watching too many action movies at night. Whoever this was, I didn’t want to get on their bad side.
I walked through the exit, briefly struggling with the turnstiles – just my luck – before I spotted a pink piece of paper pinned to the notice board.
Smile. You’re on camera!
I swallowed hard, willing myself to turn it over instead of drawing suspicion to myself.
Buy a Snickers bar.
There was a small convenience store next to the station and I entered, quickly scanning the aisles and heading towards the chocolate bars. I grabbed the first Snickers bar I saw, grimacing when a green piece of a paper floated below, landing on my foot.
Hope you like nuts.
My eyebrows flew up, just as I caught the words on the reverse.
Sorry to be so crude. Bad joke. Leave the store and walk north for fifteen steps, turn right and make like a tree and leave.
I bought the chocolate, wondering if I was being stupid. No one was forcing me to follow this wild goose chase – and I had a job to get to.
Still, curiosity got the better of me and I went along with it, stopping when I saw a purple scrap of paper dangling from a tree.
Buried beneath, you’ll find me
I looked down and there was a child-sized shovel at the base of the tree trunk, multi-colored like the notes. I knelt and picked at the dirt, wondering how crazy I must have looked.
At least until I saw a glint and dug faster, scooping soil out until I pulled out what looked to be several diamonds shoved into a Ziploc bag.
There was another note, and this time there was no message.
Just a ‘?’ staring up at me, daring me to run away with the diamonds or face the consequence of explaining how I’d come to find it.
I heard a roar in the distance and looked up to see a helicopter in the sky, passing by slowly.
When it disappeared, I saw a large question mark written in the skies, piercing the blue with white.
I stood there, with still hands and my feet frozen to the ground – knowing my life would never be the same again.