Leonard Letterman had been a mailman for fifteen years. His father had been a mailman, and his father’s father before him, and so on as far back as the family could recall.
He’d had the same route every one of his fifteen years, and knew it well. In all his time as a mailman, he’d seen some strange, curious, and interesting things, but one day in particular gave him more than he ever expected.
It was a fine autumn day with the brisk nip of winter clinging to the cooling air between the sporadic warm summer gusts waving goodbye. Leonard approached the fourth wall of mailboxes waiting for their bills, magazines, postcards, the occasional letter and other paper materials when he noticed something odd.
In one of the unused and open boxes without a working locking mechanism was the familiar outline of a letter. Occasionally people stuffed in bills they would claim had never been delivered, or left various paper trash in the open boxes, usually if the trashcans were full.
This, however, was a letter.
Curious, Leonard reached out and pulled the dirtied white envelope from the open box. It was completely lacking in an address or stamp. The only writing on it was Letterman scribbled on the front. Leonard was intrigued and couldn’t help looking around him expectantly in hopes of seeing the sender covertly walking away or peeking through a window behind drapes as cover.
No mysterious individuals made themselves known, so Leonard turned back to the innocuous envelope in his hand. He stared at in wonder for a moment, sorely tempted to tear open the seal and see what it held, but the rows of waiting mailboxes rose up around him, reminding him of his mailman duties.
With a contemplative sigh and a promise for later, Leonard tucked the envelope into his breast coat pocket, patting it reassuringly before turning to those with proper addresses and recipients.
Leonard Letterman could not remember a time he had ever delivered faster than that afternoon when curiosity and intrigue burned within his veins and imagination. His mind was full of the envelope’s possible contents as he rushed through the remaining rows of mailboxes.
He finished locking and securing the last box and tried to walk instead of jog to his waiting van. After handling so many other envelopes intended for other people, his fingers were itching to pry open the one tucked against his chest. His eyes were hungry for its contents
As he shut the vehicle’s door and pulled the letter out, he reminded himself that it could be nothing at all; he had to admit, though, his hopes were up.
Letterman it read, though on closer inspection it could also have been Letter man. It was hard to be sure if it was meant specifically for him, Leonard Letterman, or not. It was written in black ink with a pen that looked like it was fading and would soon be out; slightly untidy but readable.
He turned it over and found the crease at the corner with the tip of his thumb, working its way under it and separating the glue that bound it closed. With steady motions, Leonard proceeded to tear it open. Rip-rip-rip.
He peeked inside and saw a folded piece of paper, a letter! As he pulled it out he reminded himself that there may be nothing written on it, but he thought it was pretty silly to seal a piece of paper in an envelope if there was nothing written on it. Then again, it’s not like anyone had actually mailed this letter, it was left in a box and may or may not be addressed to him.
The paper was unlined and looked and felt older than what he was used to dealing with. It was heavy and there was sign of age around the edges, a more yellowed tint to the worn paper, which Leonard found strange. Who would write and send a letter on old paper like this?
He unfolded the paper, resisting the temptation to close his eyes before opening them to read, like being surprised on Christmas with presents from Santa. It was easy to see after unfolding the top that there was indeed writing on it; Leonard’s heart leapt.
The letter read thus, in a scribbled hand that showed painful attempts at tidiness:
There is need for your dependable services, dear Letterman, and I hope that you will assist. There’s too much to explain, paper cannot hold such information without ripping from the weight. Trust that it would not be asked of you if there was not a need. Please come at once.
1812 Mockingbird Lane
Leonard read the short letter, though it was more of a note, really. Whatever he may have been expecting, it had not been this. Again, Leonard looked around and observed the complex around him, even though he knew it’d been hours since he’d arrived and found it.
He checked his watch, 3:15.
He checked the address and the name signed at the bottom. Wilhelmina Pond, a name he couldn’t recall but somehow rang a bell in the back of his mind, like a name he’d dreamed or a character from long ago story.
It was the call for aid mixed in with the mystery that decided things for Leonard Letterman. He tucked the note into its envelope and then back into his chest coat pocket, patting it for reassurance before igniting the engine and setting out for 1812 Mockingbird Lane.
He had never driven down Mockingbird, but had passed it many times. If the homes nearest the corner were any indication, each was large and old, easily passing into historical. The grounds accompanying each home seemed to expand the further down the road Leonard drove, becoming more like estates than neighborhood homes.
At last, Leonard found 1812, which looked as old as the address itself. He parked and exited his van, which looked strangely out of place against the ivy covered front of the large, aging house. He looked around curiously, unsure why he was asked to come here when it seemed like no one else was, or had even been here for quite some time.
He tried the heavy wooden door, but it refused to move. Even the latch of the ornate handle was loathe to turn when tried by Leonard’s hand.
A splashing noise caught Leonard’s attention though he couldn’t immediately see where it’d come from. He wandered around the front of the house, overgrown bushes, grass, and weeds tangling his legs when he passed from the walkway to the yard.
Around the side, through a thicket of bushes and trees until it opened up enough to accommodate a pond. The water was still rippling from what had, presumably, made the splash.
Leonard Letterman edged close to the edge and peered into the pond. The water was clear and the bottom was murky, but the longer Leonard stared, the water started to change. It began to glow with a purple and blue luminesce, rays of violet light shooting out from the water to great Leonard’s surprised and brilliant face.
The water started to swirl like a whirlpool and Leonard swore he could hear voices, whispery, calling voices that seemed to drift out of the water like an aroma and echo like a song around him. Leonard leaned closer to the water, his face inches from it as he gazed into on his hands and knees.
Then, Leonard felt a gentle pull on the cuff of his shirt, and he tipped over into the water. He braced for the splash and the cold water to surround him, but it never happened.
Instead he tumbled through the light, turning end over end through a storm of blue fingered lightning arcing through a purple sky until he was swallowed into a warm yellow glow.
Leonard hit a carpeted floor with a loud thump that resounded in the surprisingly large room. Looking around, Leonard gasped, finding himself in what looked like a well-furnished office or study. He sat cross legged on the floor to gather himself for a moment, he didn’t think he could stand.
The walls were lined with book cases, to either side of him were pairs of cushioned wingback chairs, each with a small table between them overburdened with books and loose pages. In front of Leonard was a robust mahogany desk, also covered in paper and writing debris.
The floor beyond the carpet was marbled and added to the chill in the room, despite a lit fireplace on Leonard’s right and closest to the desk area. Behind the desk was a picture window looking out on a rolling landscape Leonard did not recognize.
“Mr. Letterman, you’ve come!” a woman’s relieved voice called from behind him.
Click here for Part 2!