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  • J.R. Packard

The Undisclosed Messenger

The man, whom we shall refer to as only, “WRITER”–seeing as his name has little importance in his new, most melancholic life that, in his mind, is worthless–sat both lonesome and red-eyed at his computer. Indeed, he hoped to type one last short story before the incident would occur. Would it be WRITER’s magnum opus? He could only hope; yet, none of it would matter after his upcoming meeting with MURDERER.


The poor, tired man was soon to fall asleep at his laptop, just as he was about to type, “Fin.”, when, unexpectedly and quite peculiarly, he heard the ring/ping alarming him that he had a new email.


Now, seeing as WRITER possessed the name of his profession, it was not at all unusual to receive query replies, announcements from publishing houses, editorial letters, and all of the sort. And yet, the hand on the wall’s clock read midnight. What a strange time to receive a message, he knew.


WRITER’s heart sank as he opened his email only to find a single file, reading, “Hello, WRITER”. Intrigued, he opened it, finding that the address on it was a series of numbers. Assuming the sender to be a scammer, he half-chuckled but, out of boredom, thought he’d humor him.


“Who is this?” WRITER asks.


The mysterious messenger informs me that, somehow, he knows me: your humble, earnest narrator, WRITER. In no detailed terms, he wants to “help” me. With what? Yes, I will never listen to what my readers say, no one can help with the recent events that have taken place as of late. She’ll never come back, what has been cannot be undone, and there’s only one option left.


Again, I strictly demand, “Who is this?”


He tells me that he/she wishes to go by, “UNDISCLOSED”–a pseudonym, of course. No matter.


WRITER began to worry and feel uneasy when UNDISCLOSED mentioned that he knew his plans and motives.


Ha! Whoever this clown is doesn’t know my motives; surely, he doesn’t understand the backstory behind it, if he did. Otherwise, he’d sympathize with me and know that what I’m about to do is justice, perhaps not so-called, “divine justice”. This is man’s hardy, icy justice: most fitting for the coldness of MURDERER.


A new email popped up–


“Of all the stories you have written thus far in your long life, WRITER, have you never incorporated the theme of: revenge is never the answer? That there are always other ways?”


Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, WRITER had the urge to glance over at his bed. Why?


I can’t put my finger on the reason, but I went over and pulled out the pistol stashed away beneath my mattress. Ping! I hear a new message.


“Would your WIFE approve of that?” UNDISCLOSED asks.


WRITER, at this point, was infuriated.


How the hell does this clown know about WIFE? The incident wasn’t on the news and not many caught wind of it. What’s he trying to pull? Her murder was not long ago.


A dark thought began to brew in WRITER’s mind. What if UNDISCLOSED was MURDERER? WRITER knew his identity well–having been his family friend for so many years. The police could never pin WIFE’s death on him, but WRITER knew the truth.


Bastard! I can’t help but think he’s MURDERER. “Well then,” I write, “I’m soon on my way. Just got to finish the damned story, if I get the time. How you know what’s coming eludes me, but rest assured, that gun is waiting for you.”


It was at this moment when WRITER’s angry grip loosened from his coffee cup that was on the verge of breaking.


“Do you remember our first date?” Asked UNDISCLOSED.


I don’t know what to think. Dear audience, my dear readers, being in the trade that I am, I’m a fairly down-to-Earth man and know the various lessons of life: such is what molds a proper writer to tell good tales. But, I do admit, that I’m more confused than ever, and am utterly bewildered at this whole scenario.


“You were once so caring when with WIFE.” Writes UNDISCLOSED. “At that time–during your first date–you wouldn’t hurt a fly, for you were truly the kindest of men.”


“How do you know about this?” I ask.


“I got with you from that day forth because of that tender fact.” Said UNDISCLOSED.

 

WRITER paused to catch his breath. If this were MURDERER, why would he say this? How would he know any of these details? MURDERER was too young and wasn’t alive at that time. Could this be, dare I even consider it, WIFE?... 


“I will always love you, WRITER”, says “UNDISCLOSED”. “I will forever cherish the gentle man I know. I’m in a good, most beautiful place and, if you deal with MURDERER, if you follow the path of misty revenge, we’ll be separated for eternity.”


Could this all be real? Could this be WIFE? I must ask you, my audience, because this stretches the mind, too much for one individual alone to endure. Is WIFE really communicating with me from beyond the beyond? If so, I trust her motives more than my own. A tear can’t help but slowly fall down my cheek. “I love you, WIFE”, I write.


One final email popped up following this: “Forever and always, even after death”.


Directly after WRITER finished reading it, all the emails got miraculously deleted, and the email address could no longer be found.


I’m sitting silently right now, pondering and awestruck. She was absolutely right. Seeking the death of MURDERER may seem like the right thing to do, but will I be a murder if that occurs? Will I be damned for eternity because of my hatred? No, UNDISCLOSED, WIFE or not, is right. I’ll throw the pistol in the river outside my cabin.


When WRITER returned to his bedroom, he was caught off guard to see a picture of WIFE and himself during their wedding night lying upon his bed. As tears continuously fell down hot, red cheeks, he lay down for the night whilst grasping the photo, thanking existence that she saved his soul.




About Joshua (J.R.) Packard

J.R. Packard is the lead editor of Aether Avenue Press. He is also a newsletter writer/editor on the side and novelist. He enjoys strange, mind-stretching stories that re-define what it means to think, consider, and feel when one gets immersed into a story.


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