May 16 2016
CARVED Part 02: The Message
“One bottle Pureness black ink
Two Silvermane pen nibs
Twenty sheets bond paper
Buy at Scrolls and Pens Specialty Store later at 10 a.m.”
Those were the words scratched onto the inside of Rodolfo Estoque’s left forearm. The bleeding had stopped. The letters glowed under the bathroom’s yellow light bulb. What was this all about? He wondered. It’s just a list of stuff to buy. Could this be a message for him? If so, from whom?
Rod shook his head. “Idiot,” he muttered. “This isn’t some divine message. It’s too simple for something like that.”
How the list suddenly appeared on his arm was another matter to consider. Say it was a message for him, he thought. What was he going to do with all those art supplies? Judging by the list, it looked like something a writer or a calligraphy enthusiast would buy. He was neither of those. And he doubted if the divine was interested in wanting him to change hobbies. Maybe the supplies were not for him, but for someone else?
An abrupt knock on the bathroom door broke Rod out of his train of thought.
“Rod?” called out a voice from the other side of the door. It was his mother. “Are you okay in there?”
Rod hastily covered his forearm. “Y-Yeah,” he replied. He scanned the bathroom for something to hide his arm. The towel wouldn’t do. It could slip off and give him away. His gaze fell onto the mirror in front of him. The medicine cabinet! He yanked it open. The mirror smashed against the tile wall and shards of glass pounded onto the floor until they turned to grains.
Cursing under his breath, Rod pulled out a roll of medical plaster and a pair of bandage scissors. He pulled out a length and cut it off the roll. “I’m a bit busy here,” he called out.
While he was wrapping plaster onto his forearm, his mother said, “I heard something crash in there. Are you okay?”
Rod patted the plaster down. No blood leaked through, and he sighed in relief. “Yeah,” he replied. “The door’s unlocked.”
Mrs. Estoque gingerly eased the door open. She gasped at the sight of Rod standing in the middle of the broken glass. “What happened here?” she demanded.
Rod fumbled for words. “I, uh, needed to go to the bathroom when you were talking,” he said sheepishly. “I accidentally tripped and knocked the mirror onto the wall. Got a bit cut up.” He showed his bandaged arm for effect.
Mrs. Estoque clapped her hand to her mouth. “Oh my!” she exclaimed. “Don’t move, or your feet might get hurt.”
“Yeah,” Rod mumbled. He felt himself turn red. He added, “Could you hand me a broom and a dustpan? I’ll take it from here. You better go to work.”
Rod sighed with relief when Mrs. Estoque’s footsteps grew fainter by the second. He cleared that first hurdle. By the time he cleaned up the bathroom floor and disposed of the mirror shards, his mother had long left home.
His forearm itched. For some reason he felt the pain subside. He unraveled the plaster and saw the words fading. “This is not good,” he muttered. Racing to his bedroom, he switched on the light and grabbed his cellphone next to his pillow.
Right when he had the camera application opened, Rod felt his arms trembling. The letters were fading faster by the second. Rod took a deep breath to steady himself. “Stay cool”, he repeatedly told himself. Just like how Dad told him all those years ago. It did the trick, and his arms steadied. With a click, the photo was taken and letters had vanished right after, as if on cue.
There were no scars where the words were. It all seemed like a dream. Rod checked his phone gallery and found the list of art supplies on his arm. That should be proof enough that he wasn’t crazy. Pen nibs, ink, and paper. All of them at Scrolls and Pens Specialty Store at 10 a.m. Whatever the message was supposed to mean, it looked like he had a little shopping to do.
TO BE CONTINUED
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