Lucy's mind fell into a dreamlike state. Yet it was not a dream. It was too vivid. It was a surreal illusion, an epic hallucination. But she knew it was not nonsense hashed up from her unconscious mind. Lucy Caldwell knew she was awake within her mind, and witnessing the memorandum for what it truly was.
In a void of colourless nothingness, she stood upon paper that threatened to give way under her feet. Yet, it remained.
And from the void, came shapes; shapes that cornered and curved into distinct, familiar forms. They floated around her in clusters. And the clusters formed letters. With a gasp, that echoed beyond the reaches of her dreaming body, she realized that the letters were words, and the words were sentences, and all together it was a letter.
Her gaze darted about to follow the message that the powder had imprinted upon her mind. But it was nearly incomprehensible. It was a chaotic memo, and she caught only hints and glimmers of the full message. And they came in no particular order, as if scrambled.
Each few words that she could glean confused her even more, "watch out" - "Dear Miss Caldwell," - "stolen" - "museum curator said" "make haste, Lucy!" - "pack your" - "P.S. I still" - "Dear Miss" - "$250,000.00 USD" - "priceless artifact" - "idiot" - "Lucy, I think you should" - "fate" - "your bags" - "theft" - "as an agent of" - "Sincerely, your" - "in need of your assistance" - "I still love you, Lucy."
And then the letters moved away, into the void. The last letter she saw, and the most curious letter of them all, was a large and boldly scripted, horseshoe-shaped, omega.
Beyond the letters, she saw nothing. Neither black, gray, white, nor static. Just nothing.
Suddenly, the paper beneath her tore, and she fell. And as she fell, her head spun in a tailspin. Something's been stolen? How am I to be of assistance? USD? United States Dollars? What does foreign currency have to do with this?
Lucy woke up from her dream, and drew herself to her feet. It was now late in the evening. Her stomach growled a request for food, and she saw stars as she rose and walked toward the kitchen.
As she walked away, the torn envelope lay still upon the floor of her front hall.
Something caught her eye, out the window of her kitchen, and she turned towards it to see her neighbour's black cat gracefully walking out of her back yard. She told herself, No, it's nothing. You're being paranoid, Lucy.
Lucy set water to boil, and laid herself down upon the couch in her living room. She thought hard about the strange message that she hadn't been able to fully read, It must have said, 'P.S. I still love you, Lucy.' That's my biggest clue... and perhaps the omega.
For a moment she contemplated going back to the envelope and giving it a good long sniff - but she thought it might kill her. She already felt weak.
Then, the kettle whistled.
Returning to the kitchen, she peered back out the window. And saw nothing.
First, Lucy grabbed a mug from one cupboard. She poured the boiled water into it. Then, she reached up to grab some tea bags from another cupboard, and spilled the package by accident. With trembling hands, she caught one in her mug, sloshing water onto the floor.
Somewhere in her back yard, was a mechanical click.
And Lucy abruptly ducked down to grab the fallen bag, while holding the full mug level in her other hand.
The arrow left a hole clean through the glass of her window, leaving a spiderweb of cracks around it, and shattered the mug that she held precariously by one arm, where her heart had just been seconds before.
Outside, the sniper swore under his breath.
And Lucy Caldwell dropped the broken mug, as hot, watery tea fell upon her.
The arrow had lodged itself in the broken mug. And as she stood quivering with fear on the ground floor, she read the message inscribed upon the shaft of the arrow: Dear Mr. Caldwell, do not read your dead wife's mail, or we will kill you too.
And then Lucy heard her husband turn his keys in the doorknob of the front door. It was quite audible over the eerie silence that occupied her house.