Submitted into Contest #210 in response to: Make a mysterious message an important part of your story.... view prompt


Fiction Friendship Science Fiction


Greta had a quiet, serene, and rather lonely life. She lived alone after having married twice and been divorced as many. Her three children were now adults and lived in other cities. Marisa, the youngest, had been living abroad for years.

Since she had retired ___he had been a  music teacher in a high school____ Greta devoted herself to gardening ___her oriental roses were a rarity, and, of course, to music. She played the piano and the violin.

 Greta loved walking at night, especially in the summer in her town ) park, which had the name of a Goddess, Minerva. It was an August night, Greta, while was walking in the park she found herself immersed in the glitter of the rain of shooting stars. What joy, what peace, what splendor! “ When you see a shooting star, MAKE A WISH, and your wish will come true” they had always told her. Oh, but she was now seeing so many shooting stars and she was having trouble making a wish for every star she saw falling.” And yet, come on, you had to make ( to express) at least one wish, “ she said herself. It was then that she began to feel light touches on her back.  They were light taps that followed thickly on the center of her back and that caused her a tingling. The touches looked like taps made with a point of a pin. Greta dazed, touched her back and she felt light stings, almost caresses, on her hand. “ Is it possible that the shooting stars are falling on me?” she wandered a little afraid but also delighted. 

Then she felt a heavier ( stronger) blow on her back and she fell to the ground. The tapping stopped and she saw a red arrow appear in the sky pointing northwest, towards the bright kite of stars with glittering ( dazzling) Arturo. It appeared to her as if in a flash and vanished at once. Greta felt an itch on her hands but in the moonlight, she could see no nick, no mark on them.

It was only when she was home and she was getting ready for bed that she had the surprise. What a surprise! Incredible! On the back of her blouse, there was a kind of embroidery made of very tiny holes. With the tiny holes were drawn a triangle, a stylized rose, and a vertical line that ended with a question mark. Who, what had drawn that sort of riddle on her blouse? Might it have been shooting stars? Greta remembered the red arrow that had appeared in the sky for a moment when the tapping  had stopped and she was lying on the ground .

“ This is A MESSAGE” her friend Peter, to whom she showed it, said to her.

“ A message FROM WHOM? You don’t want to start talking about extraterrestrials now, do you?”

 “ My dear, the universe is infinite. It is not possible that we are the only inhabitants of the universe” said Peter.

“ I think this too. But even admitting the existence of other inhabitants of the universe, can you tell me WHY they would have chosen me to send what you call A MESSAGE?”

“ Maybe because you were walking in the park at night”

“ I saw that there were other people in the park. WHY ME?”

“Maybe they chose you because you are a musician. They could have listened to you while you played piano or violin…Look that I think and many like me that music is also capable of communicating with the other unknown inhabitants of the universe”

“ Of course, music is so subtle, ethereal that…it can reach the stars. It makes me think that while I was listening to it or playing it my music could have reached other unknown inhabitants of the universe” Greta was fascinated by that possibility.

“ WHY NOT? It is possible” Peter said “ But THEY sent you a drawn message that looks like an embroidery made with very small holes….it is a matter of deciphering it”

“ Oh, what a feat! I’m not capable of it. For me it remains AN ENIGMA” said Greta who, however, came to think of Schumann’s The Pilgrimage of the Rose….The rose that asks to become a girl to know the love and then dies to become a rose again….

Peter strongly believed not only in the existence of other intelligent beings in the universe but was also sure that they had already made contact with humans. He showed the drawing or embroidery on Greta’s blouse to circles of Astronomy enthusiasts and ufologists. The photo of the drawing was also published on the first page of newspapers and shown on television. The extraterrestrials had made contact with humans! Interpretations or rather attempts to decipher THE MESSAGE were unleashed. There were those who said the triangle indicated GOD, LORD OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE, who even said that its vertex to the North indicated the presence of God in the universe ( the place WHERE God was in the universe), who said that it indicated an OTHER GOD than that of humans, God of whom had sent the message, and then who said that instead, it indicated the planet or star where the message came from, and who said that the triangle indicated the human beings to whom the message, ending with a question mark, was addressed. WHAT WAS THE QUESTION that those unknown inhabitants of the universe addressed to the humans?

Under the triangle was THE ROSE…..and there was an avalanche of interpretations also about the rose. Sure, the many meanings of THE ROSE to humans were known, but what did the rose mean to the extraterrestrials? What did they mean or ask by sending the guilted drawing of a rose?

“ Think, it is possible there is another planet, who knows how far away from us, where roses bloom like on Earth”, Peter said enraptured.

“ I prefer ( would like) to think of a small planet where ONLY ONE ROSE booms ( exists), like that of The Little Prince” Greta said, with a dreaming look. ( looking dreamily at the sky).

“ Yes, and that single rose is very important for the care it had required from the Little Prince,” said Peter chanting as if to make fun of her.

Among all the interpretations that were given of the rose Greta liked to imagine a planet, big or small, where roses grew with difficulty, and for this very reason they had great importance and value. And that the inhabitants of that unknown and very distant planet with their message had wanted to signify their FRIENDSHIP towards the humans and ask humans to reciprocate their friendship.

Greta’s oriental roses were also a rarity. They didn’t grow in every garden and needed a lot of care. They were magnificent, with white petals mottled with blue and embellished with a golden border. She gave them, her priceless roses, only to her true friends.

One night after playing Chopin’s Nocturnes Greta was walking in the park holding one of her oriental roses in her hands and singing: “ With a rose you came to find me/ with a rose I come to you…..

And the rose from her hands flew into the sky advancing into the infinite space.


August 12, 2023 03:28

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