Listening Closer

    The envelope itself was completely devoid of any clues. First off, it was a square, perfectly shaped with identical sides all around. What did a square envelope mean? Can you even buy white square envelopes?

    The return address, too, gave no info of great, immediate clarity. It was peculiar, though. Lucy didn't recognize the name, or even the supposed town from which it was sent. However, it was hand-written, so her Code of Letters told her that it must be personal. No questions asked.

    Curious.

       When regarding the stamp, Lucy's last hope for gleaning any information about the mail before opening it, she was again met with a blank. Well, not literally. Who had ever heard of blank stamps? No. It simply said 'Postage Paid" and looked like it might have been dispensed from a vending machine, or something.

    Curiouser and curiouser.

    Well, this letter surely would not get the better of Lucy. She would crack it open to reveal its secrets, no matter what. The mail could never be opening until she knew it's purpose.

    I'll start with the printing.

    And so she did. Magnifying glass in hand, she scrutinized every letter, every dot and dash. It was agonizing work, hunched over the letter, glass trembling in her too-tight grip.

    Alas, it led to nothing, other than the fact that the scribe involved had a very fine hand and used a black ball-point pen. Her mind raced to try and place the meaning of black ink, but that, too, led he to nothing. Anyone could use black ink for any purpose, so there was no way to judge it.

    Next up was the paper of the envelope itself. It, too, bore no secrets, as bleached white paper was an industry standard in the world of envelopes.

    Lucy ignored the stamp, as just looking at it brought a sense of frustration down on her shoulders. It just emanated drab.

    All options exhausted, and almost all efforts used up, Lucy took one last, drastic step. She took up the envelope in her hands, brought it up close to her ear, and shook it gently.

    I'm like a child at Christmas with a wrapped present.

    Hearing nothing, she shook it again, a little more vigorously. Still, no sound from the envelope, although it would probably cackle if it could.

    Becoming angry with the square of paper, Lucy shook it even harder, her own cries of malice drowning out any would-be noises from the innocent envelope.

    Until a realization hit her: there was nothing inside.

    It must be empty. Only nothing makes the sound of nothing when shaken.

    She sounded like a mad-woman. And brandishing her sharpened letter-opener like a dagger, she was.

The End

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