- Initial version
- Replaced ending thanks to feedback by NofP
- Some minor corrections (and addition of the version history)
Sandra let her view glide on the house fronts. She didn't believe in
that prophecy nonsense, but she had promised to look for the sign, so
she did. Not that she expected to find anything, but when she promised
something, she did it thoroughly, even when she didn't see the point.
In the hand she had a piece of paper with the relevant lines of the
On the Arctic part of the most important way, there's a sign. The
sign will be a mark that someone left there long ago. Enter the
year of the mark, and you'll find the answer.
That was all she had been given. She had asked for the rest of the
prophecy, but nobody had wanted to tell her, nor would anyone tell her
why. But then, in the end it probably wouldn't matter anyway. After all,
she was convinced that prophecies were nonsense.
Sandra was sure she correctly decoded the first sentence. The most
important way surely was Main Street. Except that recently, the town
had decided to split that road into two, at least in naming. The
southern part of the former Main Street was now called African Street,
while the northern part was called Scandinavian Street. Sandra had the
suspicion that this originated from some bad joke of a town official
that had inadvertently been taken serious by the town council. Anyway,
the Arctic part of the former Main Street obviously was Scandinavian
Sandra had reached the crossroads where African Street turned into
Scandinavian Street, and turned left into the latter. The street was
filled with the heavy-scented air blowing from food kiosks and
nightclubs, 24/7 emporiums and drug stores, tattoo and massage
parlours. The clash between the street's name and its character
couldn't be bigger, Sandra though. But anyway, she had to look for the
Her gaze fell on a movie poster in the window of Cinema 55. The cinema
was named after the old address, 55 Main Street. Now it was 7 Scandinavian
Street, but obviously the owner decided to not change the name.
The poster advertised a showing of The Beauty and the Beast. The
beast. The mark of the beast. Was that the sign she was looking for?
But then, the movie poster clearly was new, it was not left there long
Sandra went on. On the right she saw a flickering neon sign: Mark's
Butchery. Obviously that sign was not new. And it contained the word
Mark. Was that the sign she was looking for?
Sandra went to the butcher's shop to have a closer look. The window
displayed a bunch of meat products. There were Wiener sausages lying
on the bottom, steaks on a glass board in the middle, and salamis
hanging from the top. But Sandra was more interested in writings on
the window and door. Open daily Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm,
Saturday 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. Sunday closed. Shop owner: Mark Miller.
But not what Sandra had hoped for: Founded in: year.
Finally Sandra decided that if it had no year number, it probably
wasn't the sign. After all, the prophecy clearly spoke of a year of
the mark. Or was it about the year the neon sign had been put there?
But she didn't see how she could figure that out. It was Sunday, the
shop was closed.
Sandra went on, looking at the shops left and right. Then suddenly she
noticed something on the ground. A silvery coin. She took the coin and
looked at it. It showed a stylised eagle, and around it an
inscription in all uppercase: BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND. There also
was a slightly smaller single letter J at the bottom.
She knew that Deutschland meant Germany. But Germany had the Euro. She
knew what Euro coins looked like, and this clearly was none.
She turned the coin around. There she say a big digit one, with oak
leaves left and right. And below that, again in uppercase letters:
DEUTSCHE MARK. And a year number: 1967.
There she had her mark. A Deutschmark. A coin that surely had been
lying there for quite some time, as the currency had been replaced by
the Euro almost twenty years ago. And there was a year number. The
year of the mark. 1967.
Now she had to interpret the last sentence of the prophecy. Enter the
year of the mark. What should that mean? She looked around and
noticed that the house next to her had still the house number plaque
of the old address, 67 Main Street, besides the one of the new
address, 19 Scandinavian Street.
And then it struck her: That was it. 1967. 19 Scandinavian Street, 67
Main Street. The answer would be in this house.
The house had a monumental entrance door with a bulbous brass
doorknob. Sandra hesitated a bit before trying to turn the doorknob.
She expected the door to be locked, but the knob turned easily, and
the door didn't resist opening.
What Sandra hadn't noticed was the man tailing her. He was very
careful not to attract her attention, and that carefulness had
Now he watched her opening the door. Obviously she had solved her
part of the prophecy. Good. As she entered the house, he noticed that
she was cautious, but if the prophecy was right, that would not help her.
The prophecy even spent two full sentences on what would happen next:
The answer will terminally hit you. The answer will mess with your head.
And then the secret is safe to get.
The door closed behind her, and then he heard a short scream followed
by a crunching sound. That had to be the trap. The decision to involve
an outsider obviously had paid off.
Now entering the house should be safe. Opening the door, he saw her
squashed body. Her face wasn't even recognizable.
An evil smile entered his face. She had really been an airhead for
not insisting on learning the complete prophecy first. An useful
airhead, for sure. Now he would safely recover the secret from
He closed the door. After all, he wouldn't want to risk anyone seeing
the dead body while he was inside. As he turned around, he saw something
big approaching his head. Then he felt a big pain, and then nothing more.