The bottle came in the mail, deep amber glass sealed with a cork and blood red wax. It came with a thick piece of cardstock attached by a ribbon. Written in elegant calligraphy were two words: “Drink me”.
You hadn’t of course; you were curious, not stupid. You’d searched for a return address, even visited the post office wondering if the mystery bottle had been sent to you by mistake.
It now sits on your kitchen table like a dare. You’ve almost forgotten about it, accepted that it must have been a décor piece purchased on a late-night whim, when something more comes in the mail.
It’s the same cardstock with the same calligraphy, but this time the note says, “Don’t you want to remember?”
Part of you wants to burn the note and throw the bottle in the garbage. The larger part of you is too curious to dare. Over the next several days, you try again to find who may have sent you the note and the bottle but find nothing substantial.
One morning, you open your blinds to find that someone has painted a message for you on the outside of your window. It reads, in that same calligraphy, “Don’t you want to remember?”
You find that you don’t. You really, really don’t want to remember. There are locked rooms in the big empty house you’ve come to call your home. You don’t hire a locksmith because you know better than most that some things are best forgotten. Some secrets should be taken to the grave.
You do not want to know why those doors remain locked anymore than you want to remember the person in all those blurry photographs. You do not want to remember the grief and the guilt that lies locked away in your heart. The glimpses you catch when it rains and storms and the lights flicker, and the firm locks in the house and in your heart waver and let out something that aches and wails.
You do not want to remember.
Someone else wants you too, though, and they’re proving more and more stubborn. Notes appearing at your work. At your favorite coffee shop, your favorite grocery store, carved into the stone of the house, smeared across the front porch in dripping red.
You do everything you can to find the person stalking you, but you never manage to find anything. The day that the words “Don’t you want to remember?” appear on your living room wall you have a moment of numb realization.
This person isn’t going to stop, and you won’t be able to find out their identity unless you remember.
It’s a rainy day and the lights flicker as the doors in your house creak on their hinges and the wind howls and something other wails. You pick up the bottle, and you down as much as you can bear.
You fall to your knees in front of the blurring words scrawled onto your wall, the bottle slipping from your grasp. As it turns out, remembering hurts.