Sunday, May 15, 2016

Some Beach, Some Where, Part One

Brian smiled as he leaned back in his beach chair, a cold beer in his hand as he stared out at the cool blue waters of the island resort. To his left was Linda, his wife of three days. She was snoozing, a romance novel opened over her chest, one arm laying partially in the sand.

Brian took a moment to capture the image in his mind; his beautiful wife in her bright green bikini, the gorgeous cream-colored skin slowly tanning beneath the sun's rays. Remembering their wedding night made Brian smile; he'd made sure that he would have a blast, and boy did he ever!

Now they were spending their time relaxing, as they both had stressful jobs back home. Linda was a manager at an accounting firm while Brian was an Electrician by trade. Both rarely took vacations and they had set up a two-week stay at a resort, where they planned to party every chance they had.

Wincing at the sudden loss of sunlight, Brian looked up over his sunglasses at the offending figure blocking his sun.

It was a woman, dressed in ratty clothes and a yellow rain poncho, the hood pulled back to reveal her face. The first thing Brian saw, however, was a writhing face of rotting flesh and maggots.

Letting out a cry the woke his wife, Brian quickly calmed down as he realized that the woman's face was normal, albeit a little dirty.

"Wha... what is it?" Linda asked, sitting up in her beach chair. She quickly gathered her thoughts when she saw the woman. "Hello? How can we help you?"

The woman swayed on her feet, a wide smile revealing several missing teeth as she hummed a strange tune. She reached into a pocket stuffed full of envelopes and pulled one out, handing it to Brian. He took it and before he could ask anything, she turned and began shuffling away.

Looking down at the envelope, his eyes widened.

"What is it?" Linda asked, leaning closer to her husband.

He flashed the envelope, a thick and yellow piece of scratchy parchment. On it, in a fancy scrawling lettering, were their names. Linda studied the envelope for a moment before taking it from her husband's hand.

"That's weird... how could someone know us by name? We only just arrived here a few days ago." Linda said, turning the envelope over to reveal a red wax seal depicting a crude bird. "And who uses wax seals anymore?"

"Maybe they don't have our e-mail addresses?" Brian offered, earning a swat from Linda.

"This isn't funny," she scolded. "Did that woman say anything to you?"

"Nothing, she just walked up and got my attention. You woke up when I yelped and spoke to her. You know the rest."

"This is so weird!" Linda said, running a finger over the red ink spelling out their names. "Should we open it?"

"Sure," Brian shrugged his shoulders while nodding. "I mean, it is addressed to us, right?"

Linda reached for her bag, a tote thing from MPR, and fished out a sharpened pencil. Using it like a letter opener, she broke the wax seal and pulled the folded vellum from the envelope. The thick paper unfolded, revealing a long letter.

"It's from someone called Lord Crow," Linda said, scanning the message written in the loopy handwriting, the red ink glistening in the sun. "He says that he welcomes us to his island and would like to have us over for dinner at his manor, on the eastern end of the island."

"Huh," Brian leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees. "Do you think we should?"

"It says he'll be having many of his friends and guests of the hotel. Would seem a waste not to meet a local while the others get to," Linda said with a smile.

"What time is the party?" Brian asked, squinting as he looked up at the sun. Several clouds were rolling in, dark and heavy with rain. "We better get inside, it looks like we're about to have a downpour."

"Not just for that," Linda said, folding the letter and stuffing it into the envelope. "The party is for tonight. We'll have to get ready for the carriage he's sending to the hotel to gather up the other four guests."

"Do we have the right clothes for this? I mean, he is a Lord right?" Brian asked, standing up and arching his back to work out the kinks.

"It says we should dress in comfortable attire. I have that sundress and you have that button up shirt you wore beneath your jacket for the wedding." Linda pointed out.

"Alright," Brian said, helping his wife to her feet, "Let's go get ready!"


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