message in a bottle.

Aashna Pant
7 min readJan 21, 2020
Photo by Scott Van Hoy

The story starts with a message in a bottle, an old-time convention when pirates ruled the sea. But now when bottles travel up from the waves, who is to say, what will emerge from underneath?

Trapped within borders, a girl sits and dreams; about the people and places, stuck in other isles across the sea. Since the day she was born, she knew she couldn’t leave, she had no idea how or the reason behind this decree. It was called New York, the world they knew, too large for their people and too grand for tomorrow. Through technology advancements and fashion renewals, her secret mound of electronic scraps had grown even taller, through years of collection, bargaining and barter. She planned that one day, she would escape the grey towers and find the colours in a forest, untamed.

However, during the history of their nation, rumours had started to circulate on why they were here and ways to get out. They apparently held memories of another world, where the scattered mounds of dirt conjoined their jagged edges. Though nothing was wrong about this great city of theirs, there was just a problem with the bubble surrounding its borders. Not visible to the eye nor could it be felt, but each item that was flung out into the open never strayed beyond a certain quantified distance.

But a child would not listen to stories of isolation, so her hope trickled higher, as each masked man glanced, one dismissive eye and moved onto the next. Only a few prowled the large city, as the population was meagre, a thousand? five hundred? Maybe not that many.

One tends to make stories when no logic can be found, so they were called the masked men sent from the heavens. Yet the reputation of their name was soon to be tainted when one poor soul attempted what no one saw coming. He swam up the ocean, desperate to swim away, only to be caught by them and imprisoned. Ever since this moment, the girl held back, fighting her desire to follow his track.

When a dark, insignificant day rolled by when the light hadn’t travelled far from the sun. The girl, now a woman, walking home on the streets of Manhattan, saw that the light seemed too dim even in the middle of the July. She looked down from the light and took one deep breath, but not too long, as she hadn’t much left. After weighing her options, she decided this day was it…

Aashna Pant

a poet. a writer. or at least I like to call myself that.