But no--that wasn't possible--it had been empty, she was certain of it! All the bottles had! She took a closer look, lifting the green glass up against the light of the window. Sure enough, folded neatly inside the bottle was a yellowing piece of parchment paper.
The top was too narrow to reach through. She'd have to break the bottle. She ran down the narrow stairs and into the room again, looking for anything she could use to smash it. "You're back!" the man cried. He was staring through the window as though he'd never left it. "Are you alright?!"
Ava found a wrought-iron paperweight on the aging desk, twisted in the shape of an open-winged songbird, and wiped the dust off of it. "I'm not the one who left!" she hollered back. She set the bottle on its side and raised the paperweight above it, holding her body back to avoid the splintering glass. Just as she was about to strike, she froze.
The bottle was empty. She held it up into the light again, while the ever-confused man looked on. She shook the bottle and looked through the opening, but it was no good. There was now nothing inside the emerald glass. "This can't be right," she muttered to herself, and made for the stairs to see if it had slipped out on the way.