Two men were standing on a bridge over a river. The city lights were on and the traffic was low. It was shortly after 11pm on a weekday. The streets were deserted just like the roads.

The two men were a policeman and a psychologist. They were good friends, but they didn’t work together. They both were wearing long coats, dark scarves and hats. It was a winter night and it was quite cold. Fortunately, it was neither raining nor snowing.

They were standing next to each other and bending over the railing. They were talking quietly, although there was no one near them.

‘To be honest, we don’t know where to look for the man,’ said the policeman to his friend. Our people have no idea about what to do next. We’ve never seen anything like this.’

‘I don’t think that I can help you with this case right now. It seems to be very strange,’ replied Bob, the psychologist. ‘How does he kill his victims? Do they suffer a lot?’

‘No, not really. He kills them quickly. They do not suffer at all. But he always kills them in a different way and then he throws their bodies to this river. But he always throws the bodies to the river at a different place.’

‘So he’s on the move.’

‘Yes, he seems to be travelling from place to place. Every victim was killed in a different city.’

‘How many bodies have you found.’

‘We’ve got three dead bodies so far. But I don’t think he has finished… We just can’t figure out his motive. We don’t understand why he is doing it. There’s only thing we know. We know why he always throws them to the river.’

‘Why is that?’

‘He’s throws them to the river so that we can find them. He is using dead bodies as bottles to send us messages.’

message in the bottle ján vrabec sparrow's english reader - level 3 english for learners
blog: L-3: Message in the Bottle

‘What do you mean?’

‘You know this old thing which people used to do. They wrote a message on a piece of paper, rolled it and put it into a glass bottle. Then they corked the bottle and threw it to the sea or a river for someone to find their message.’

‘I still don’t understand…’

‘You know this chocolate egg, Kinder Surprise or something like that, don’t you? When you eat the chocolate, there is another small yellow plastic egg with a little toy inside.’

‘Yes, I buy those for my kids once a week,’ said Bob.

‘Well, our man writes a message and puts it into this yellow plastic egg. They he kills his victim and when he or she is dead, he pushes this yellow egg into the victim’s throat. Then he throws the body to the river for us to find the message.’

‘You’re joking..’

‘Not a bit,’ said the policeman. ‘I’m not in the mood to joke right now. We just don’t know what he is trying to tell us.’

They were quiet for a while, looking at the river flowing underneath the bridge.

‘You say that you have found three bodies so far,’ Bob interrupted the silence. ‘So you have three messages. What did he write?’

‘Yes, we have three messages. I can remember them exactly, but they are stupid things. One says “Hello from Germany”. The second message says “memento mori”…’

‘What’s that?’

‘That’s in Latin. It means “remember that you are mortal“.’

‘OK. And what about the third message?’

‘The third one is really stupid: “If you find this message, please look at the moon on the 22nd of January. I will do the same”. What do you think of it?’

‘He’s making fun you.’

deserted /dɪˈzɜːtɪd/ – (opustený); empty place, with no people in it

scarf (pl. scarves) /skɑːf/ – (šál, šatka) – a piece of cloth that is worn around the neck or over the hair or shoulders, for example to keep warm or for decoration

railing /ˈreɪlɪŋ/ – (zábradlie) – a fence made of metal bars that go straight upwards; one of these bars

victim /ˈvɪktɪm/ – (obeť) – a person who has been attacked, injured or killed as the result of a crime

suffer /ˈsʌfə(r)/ – trpieť – to be badly affected by a disease, pain, sad feelings, a lack of something, etc.

so far – (dosiaľ) – until now; up to this point

figure out – (prísť na niečo, zistiť) – to think about somebody/something until you understand them/it

So that – (aby) – in order to

corked /kɔːkt/ – (zakorkovaný) – a bottle closed with a cork

underneath /ˌʌndəˈniːθ/ – (popod) – under

mortal /ˈmɔːtl/ (smrteľný) – that cannot live forever and must die

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