This is a short (or vignette) from a book I'm working on. Its a delivery from the 'Beach of all Things Lost' by a bird girl named Loki. I've been developing this imaginary world since I was 16, right around the time my older brother disappeared. You might say it was escapism, or wishful thinking. I just really liked the idea of going to a place where lost things (and lost people) would turn up.
A sound like miniature feet, a tiny scrabbling, came from the next room. Mrs. Reppeteaux jerked awake, startled by the commotion. She got up slowly, her back bent, her hand automatically grasping the cane by the recliner. She shuffled apprehensively toward the dim bedroom, standing in the doorway, searching for the source of the noise. She half expected to see a mouse, but it sounded bigger. Surely not a rat! She noticed the window cracked open and wondered when she had opened it, she moved to close it and saw a small parcel on the bedside table. The package, thin paper folded into a tight square, with deep red thread binding it closed, felt light in her thin hands. The old woman could see spidery writing in the same shade of scarlet on the other side and squinted to read the message : “To Mrs.Reppeteaux, 117 Widdleston Street, I found this ring and thought you might like to have it back. V.” Who was V? She opened the package and stared open mouthed at a ring she had lost nearly twenty years ago. Memories washed over her, she was a child again, walking through the dusty markets of Cairo, holding her fathers big hand, as he led her through the crowded, chaotic streets, the noise and smells swirling around her. A flash of gold caught her eye and she tugged at her father to stop. A gold ring topped with a sitting bird, lay on a square of brown cloth amid other treasures, but all she could see was that ring. Her father had laughed at her intensity and bought the ring, putting it on a fine chain for her to wear (for it was too big for her little fingers). The ring accompanied her everywhere after that warm, happy day, a lovely reminder of her winters in Egypt. She wore the ring throughout college, on her wedding day, when her children were born, everyday for forty years, until the day her husband died. She had gone into the sea, to float on the waves, to let the immensity of the ocean drown her grief. When she emerged, dripping and cold, she saw the white indention where the ring had been and felt a new hollow, empty place within her. It felt like a particularly bitter betrayal for her bird to leave when she was this weak. She had wondered about it everyday since she lost it, if anyone had found it, or if it lay on the bottom of the sea, a piece of her history caught within a forest of pink coral. She put the ring on, it fit perfectly, as naturally as if it had grown there, she looked out the window for a long time, wondering.