“There is a bottle, out there in the wild sea that has spawned tales and legends for decades. A bottle so significant and so impossible that it entertains the minds of all who hear about it, young or old, cynical or innocent.  A bottle that rivals the beauty of a perfect rose, that shimmers in the sunlight and glows in the darkness. It never washes ashore, never sinks, and is never swallowed by Moby Dick or Jaws. Few have heard of it, fewer still have seen it… But I have. I have seen all of its wonders, because I was once in it.” He shifted on his tiny seat, his tiny little voice sounding like Chip and Dale in the microphone. The audience stared, enamoured, his tiny words absorbing their focus, a radiant sponge of knowledge.

“In this bottle, there is a village. My village. The sunrise in that place is astounding, indescribably. It gleams off the curvature of our tiny world and wraps around us, a warm and comforting embrace from the wider world to our far narrower one. We live happily in our own little atmosphere –“ he pointed at the little suit he wore with the tiniest oxygen tank on his back, “- with a tiny church, with tiny birds and a tiny forest. It’s dazzling; resplendent in its magnificence… I do miss it. Anyway; to quickly answer basic questions: yes we have technology, we think we are some kind of human, maybe mutated ones from eons ago; the population numbers close to fifty and we’re happy.”

A woman in her twenties stood from the back and spoke forward, softly over the silence of the room that rose from the captivated audience like a black ghost, embracing everyone with warmth.

“How did you come to be? Where are you now?” She shifted a little, as if her voice had disturbed the room.

“Hah, the latter I cannot answer. I was only meant to go on a tiny expedition through the cork, to see the outside world as the first of our kind since we got into that bottle, but it went wrong. I ended up drifting on my tiny rocket until I washed ashore and was picked up by a lovely young family who are now smiling at me from the front row.”  He winked down at the Wattsons, who were all gleefully grinning back at him.

“I don’t know if there are more like me out there, I hope there are, I hope there are hundreds of tiny bottles floating across the open sea all looking into their own little skies and smiling, smiling at the beauty of what they have. We all came from the same place after all, in a time of rum, gold and wooden ships, a black bearded captain bottled ships. Their little crews, having eventually been turned in to the navies of the time, were left tiny, their curse un-lifted. By their own request they were sent in bottles with soil, seeds and food taken from the miniaturised ships, and once they had created a community, were left to float in the open sea, the last of the curse protecting their tiny bottle from all harm.”

It seems impossible, it seems ludicrous, but wouldn’t it be incredible if the stories we hear of pirates and curses, held some truth? Perhaps there is some reality held within the stories, undiscovered, hidden by shadow.

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