Fate Takes A Stand

Fate Takes A Stand

A Story by jen -- JG

Another for the Contest "The Letter" begins with IT ALL STARTED WITH THE LETTER



Fate Takes A Stand











It all started with the letter Jack Watson found in a champagne bottle bobbing in the river.


His small boat was caught in a swift current, but Jack was unconcerned about that. He knew what was down river, first the white water rapid, then the waterfall, a mere hundred-foot drop into a picturesque rock pool at its base. Feeling the boat beneath him surge forward, he smiled grimly as he welcomed the promised oblivion he sought.


The rapids were still several miles away when he became aware of the champagne bottle keeping pace with him. For some time he watched it bob and surge in the current and was slightly amused at the thought that at any moment it could smash to pieces against his boat. He thought it was rather prophetic, that he could cause the demise of one of his torments.


His hand drifted lazily down to feel the tug of the current and he revelled in the speed and power that so surely rushed him headlong into blessed relief from his anguish. The long neck of the champagne bottle bobbed into his hand and his fingers closed around it, bringing it into the boat.


Jack gazed at the bottle in hand and in that instant he was back at the birthday party with his wife Barbara…

 "Hey Barbara, want another one, this champagne is really good," Jack called to his wife as he poured another glass for himself. He knew he should stop because it was his turn to drive them home tonight, but the company and food was good, the champagne was fantastic and he thought,  What the hell, a couple more won’t hurt, so he polished off that glass and poured another for himself.

 He didn’t remember getting behind the wheel to drive home. He didn’t see the car coming straight towards them. He did hear Barbara scream "STOP!" before the sound of screeching metal filled the air around them.


When everything stopped spinning he saw… "Oh God NO!"


The image of Barbara’s head pressed into the shattered windscreen and her empty eyes staring at him burned into his brain, an instant before blackness fell over him like a warm fuzzy blanket.


That was two years ago…



Jack blinked and looked around him with dazed eyes. He was in his boat on the river, racing along in the swift current with a champagne bottle in his hand.


"It’s all my fault, I was stupid and I killed her," he cried out in despair and raised his arm to fling the bottle back into the river. As he did so a small movement inside the bottle caught his eye and he hesitated, looking closer at the object inside the bottle.


It was a piece of paper rolled into a cylinder!


He popped the cork and tipped the cylinder into his hand. His fingers trembled as he twisted it into a flatter shape and his eyes widened as he read the written words.


After a short time he carefully put the letter into his shirt pocket, reached for his oars and began his battle with the current. The river was running much faster now and he could feel the urgent tug of the current as it rushed him headlong towards the rapids just ahead.


"Come on Jack" he muttered under his breath "Put your back into it. You can make it to shore if you try harder."


Working his oars, Jack managed to angle his boat across the current and slowly edge his way out of the raging water and into a small inlet which was quite calm. He was only a few feet from the rapids when he finally beached the boat and staggered up the steep bank beside him, to the road beyond.



As he reached the road, a smart looking roadster pulled up beside him.


"Hey there stranger, I’m heading into town, would you like a lift?"


Jack looked at the driver and saw a pretty brunette with sparkling brown eyes smiling at him.


" Yeah, I guess so" he muttered then pulling himself together he forced a smile, "Thank You, I’d like that."


During the drive to town, Jack learned the brunette was Julie Anderson, and she lived alone on a riverboat upstream from him. She was a bit of a loner, and loved to paint scenery and wildlife.


Jack had no idea how it happened but he’d somehow agreed to stop by Julie’s houseboat and share a meal with her. It was weird, he felt strangely comfortable with her and the afternoon stretched into the evening and he ended up sleeping in the spare bunk overnight.


They spent the next few days together, swimming near the houseboat, exploring the area, and he even sat for a portrait Julie teasingly asked for.


Somehow the days and nights melted together and somehow the pain and anguish inside him melted into a warm glow of peace. He began to smile at the jokes Julie cracked and finally laughed out loud surprising then both with the strangely happy sound.


The seasons changed and now it was summer again. Jack asked Julie to marry him and she said, "Yes", then Jack confessed what he was really trying to do the day they first met and what made him change his mind.


"Of all things, Julie, it was a letter. Just a letter in champagne bottle, floating into my hand on the river, but it really made me think."


"Do you remember what it said?" Julie asked eyes wide with excitement.


"Sure, but I can do better than that, I have it here and I can show you if you want."


"OH, yes please," and Julie sat down and waited…


Jack pulled the letter from his wallet and spread it out so they could both read the words.


Whoever finds this letter please be kind to yourself and to others. Life is too short for anger and resentment and it only eats you up from the inside. I know this because I have lived it and I am afraid I’m not strong enough to fight anymore. So I wrote this letter hoping that I can convince myself that living is worthwhile after all. I’ll put this letter into the first bottle I find and toss it into the river hoping that it will make me stronger and will help one other person decide what is right.


I feel better after writing this, much stronger and now know that I will fight my way out of the darkness straight into the sunlight and live a happy life.


I give you this, my letter reading friend, be strong. No matter how bad things may seem right now, be strong and fight your way out of the darkness. The sunshine is beautiful and is waiting for you.


Keep your dreams alive and live.



 "That’s the letter Julie. That was the turning point for me and I’m so glad I did because I am in the sunshine now with you." Jack sighed happily and Julie picked up the letter and nestled her head against his shoulder as they gazed at the river before them.


Julie looked at the letter in her hand – and thought,  It all started with the letter, this letter I wrote so long ago, I’m so glad I found that empty champagne bottle.




©Copyright jen-JG - 22 February 2009



© 2009 jen -- JG

Author's Note

jen -- JG
As always honesty works wonders - like it, hate, please tell me why. Any suggestions, alterations, critique and comments are all most welcome.

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I liked not finding out what the letter said write away, and I liked how it was an atypical conclusion. Of course, when reading about a message in a bottle i would usually jump to the conclusion that it was someone looking for love. On the contrary, it was a more subtle help towards love, and helped the protagonist move on with his life in a positive way. Very much appreciated the story.

Posted 10 Years Ago

This one gave me the chills! I enjoyed this read, it left me wanting to know more, great writing nana!


Posted 11 Years Ago

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Honestly, I like this story better than the other one I read. This was very entertaing to read and was very interesting. I thought it well written and I like the happy ending.

Posted 11 Years Ago

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3 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on February 23, 2009
Last Updated on August 16, 2009


jen -- JG
jen -- JG

Melbourne, Australia

I enjoy reading, writing and watching movies. There are two adorable cats in our household who give us much pleasure. i enjoy writing poetry of most kinds, rhyme - open verse - and often anything a.. more..