Remember me (I)- Short story

The story of fate and destiny

Chapter 1

Nature’s Gift

The waves broke around the beachfront with their foamy crests transforming into a chaotic lace over the brown. In the same way that curtains folded above a golden stage, the waves thrashed like the dancing hem of a long and flowing gown.

A chorus of sun-warmed grains sang the melody of the beaches right into Tara’s core. The rhythmic percussion of the waves on the sand was the perfect white noise she needed to finish the last two chapters of the psychological thriller that held her attention captive for weeks.

The beach had been commercialized to the hilt, thankfully it remained relatively clean and decent. But it didn’t hold as much allure as it once did months earlier when Tara walked the beachfront with her arms wrapped around Levi’s waist. Their footprints were etched in sand of the most gentle hue of gold, as though indelible, until the waves erased them in a choreographed plunge dragging with it the fading memories as it receded into the ocean.

The low, piercing keow of a colony of sea gulls jolted Tara back from the percussion of pebbles at the shoreline to the pages of the book that fluttered in the afternoon breeze.

Tara was a woman unburdened. She thought highly of herself, and it showed in the way she dressed and how she walked about her office propped up in stilettos that added a few inches to her height. But the soft sand at the beach offered her no favor.

She was on a mission to rebuild her life that Levi had left in shambles after he betrayed her. The “Men are scum”  tagline had stuck with her ever since she found out he had consummated a lavish wedding with his ex-girlfriend whilst they were still dating. The same woman he claimed was confined to a past he never wanted anything to do with.

If only she had paid attention to the signs even after her instincts warned her. His late evening calls while they were together and incessant chats that needed his thumbprint to access his phone were tell-tale signs she ignored. But the signs were blatantly everywhere, and she failed to acknowledge or act on them. Now she paid the costly price of a broken heart that refused to mend.

The discovery broke her, it was splayed on the social media pages of their mutual friends and was the talk of the town for many weeks, yet she was the last to know. Of course, she blamed herself. Who else was to blame for permitting his manipulative nature to get the better of her?

Now she was clawing her way out of the mire of dysfunction and back to her best. For many weeks, life lost its luster, but nature was her cocoon, comforting her patiently in ways that allowed her to rediscover her essence.

She had learnt to be strong enough to show her heart, but intelligent enough to remain logical and wise with her decisions. Something had to give. Whatever was left of her heart had been strewn together with tears and her scars banded gingerly with forgiveness.

That afternoon, the thick black braids that hugged her chiseled jawline accentuating the beauty of her face, were unyielding to the breeze, unlike the soft pages of the book she struggled to hold still in her hands.

It was Wednesday afternoon, and the beach was scanty, making her the humble star of the scene. Tara loved the quiet and the ambience during the work hours when the hustle and bustle of the Lagos metropolis buried all the noise and chatter. It was the picture-perfect scene she needed to finish the book.

She daydreamed for a moment allowing time to move fast and then slowly. She had a lot of time to kill, she was on her first staycation of the year. Thankfully the all-year round weather in the south of the country invites only the adventurous to rest on the beach as though into a cozy hug, one only matched by the sunshine filled sky, and she heeded the call.

Something caught her eye in the ebbing waves. It was like a glazing flash of light that reflected into her eyes before it disappeared just as fast.

Her curiosity piqued, eyes squinted, she watched intently as a glass bottle bobbed on the buoyant waves until it rolled into the golden sand of the beachfront.

At first, Tara sat there unmoved, her eyes moving from sand pebbles to the bottle, from seashells to the breaking waves, before heaving her weight into the sand, abandoning her book.

It was indeed a bottle. The odd thought that the bottle once held liquid, perhaps the most exotic wine, tingled her skin so much that goose pimples popped all over.

She picked up the bottle with knees bent as though in reverence to nature’s gift to her that afternoon. The bottle was thick and heavy, and it looked like it was made to last for generations. That was perhaps the only way it survived the ferocious tossing in the waves, and it’s fated journey through the unforgiving ocean. If it once was a crystal-clear bottle, at the time she picked it up it looked nothing like it. The ocean had coated the bottle in the reddish orange of carotenoids, so caked that it stamped nature’s passport around the travelling object.

The bottle had an unusually short neck that appeared to be sealed around its neck ring with strings to hold a water-proof membrane, that looked nothing like she had ever seen. The body of the bottle looked like it was coated in some coarse film before mud and sea debris coated it in reddish orange.

“Strange. This must come from the past. I wonder how long this has been at sea.” The words escaped her mouth before she looked up around the beach to see if anyone else noticed the strange object awash at the shore.

No one seemed to pay attention and so she hurried back onto the wooden beach chair with her firm grip on the bottle.

She heard the laughter of a child from afar, running around the beach away from his mother, so free and pure that the sun brightened in agreement.

She started to clean the bottle with her fingernails, chalking off bits and bits of the caked layer to reveal the amber colored bottle. She was careful not to break her neatly manicured nails. They didn’t come cheap any more at the beauty parlour.

“No wonder it had the reddish hue. The bottle is a colored one.” She seemed impressed, nodding her head.

She tugged at the waterproof membrane until it tore into shreds, breaking away like ashes to reveal a well-sealed and surprisingly dry cork.

“Interesting. What could be inside this one?”

She had read in books about mysterious “witch” bottles appearing out of nowhere on shorelines in the Golf of Mexico. The bottles were so named, not only because the sender was unknown, but because they often had weird items inside – including what many people feared were spells.

She promptly threw the bottle into the sand, clapping her hand to shake off the sand and rubbing them together to remove the remnants of the chalked layer that stuck between her fingers.

For many decades, there was a powerful belief in Africa that evil people, by extension witches, could cause ill fortune, illnesses, and other unthinkable misfortune by casting a spell on their victims and then bottling their personal effects such as a lock of hair, their photographs or even their jewelries in bottles tossed into the ocean locking them in perpetual damnation.

Tara didn’t know what to believe about the “witch” bottles. She had a strong Christian background, but that was where the buck stopped with her. She was convinced that one was only affected by whatever they believed in.

She looked at the bottle again from her vantage position. It didn’t look like one of those bottles she had read about. It had a short neck, thick body and was moderately sized. It could easily pass for a medical bottle or one of those chemical-resistant bottles she used in the chemistry laboratory of her secondary school.

Just as she started to get out of the beach chair, a voice jolted her.

“Madame do you care for a cold bottle of water, a mocktail or beer.” It was the voice of a young boy right behind the chair.

Her heart missed two beats and when it restarted, she shot him an evil look.

“No thank you.” Her voice did not betray her emotions.

She started to pack her things.

“It is time to leave.”

The last thing she picked up was the bottle as she slid it into her oversized bag before heading to the car park to fetch her car. Building excitement quickened her pace as she wanted nothing more than to open the bottle to see its contents and the promise it held.

None of those stories she had heard in the past mattered to her at that moment.

She only had to make sure that the beach hat she held with her other hand as the breeze whipped relentlessly did not fly off.

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26 thoughts on “Remember me (I)- Short story”

  1. The hints about the bottle’s origins and contents have me intrigued to keep reading. The writing flowed beautifully and the imagery was vivid.

  2. Omodara Oluwayomi

    Impressive delivery. The suspense was the height. Now I want to know what we would find in that bottle. On to the next one ☝️. Thanks for sharing Akin!

  3. The part where the stiletto added a few inches to her height while the beach sand didn’t do her such favor got me reeling in laughter.. well done

  4. I was expecting to read that a genie came out of the bottle as she cleaned it……lol. That’s what happens when one has seen too many Arabian night stories.

  5. Alphonsus Octavius

    I couldn’t help being nostalgic while reading the first and third paragraphs.
    Should start a countdown for the next chapter.

  6. It’s how Mr. Akin makes his readers pause to think on how they can relate to a particular thing in real life. He just has his way of briefly taking your mind to what one can relate to. The part he mentioned her neatly manicured nails that were expensive and her effort to prevent her hat from flying off which was the only thing in her mind at the time( that it even ended the mysterious….I couldn’t but smile….well done sir

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