Day 122 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: About a character spending time on a disaster vacation with someone they love or about a character spending time on a dream vacation with someone they hate.
Shannon: “When the flight had turbulence, I thought it was unlucky. When they accidently gave away our hotel room and we had to stay in a makeshift storage closet and sleep in a tiny fold-out bed made for one person…”
“A cozy bed,” Max interrupted, always seeing the bright side, even now.
I dropped my hands to my sides and titled my head back. “Yes okay, it was very nice,” I agreed, “But we just fell of a boat and had to swim to dry land. I think this vacation is officially doomed, and maybe it would be safer if we just went home. Well… as soon as we find people who can tell us where we are,” I went to kick some sand in frustration, but immediately regretted it when my toe made contact with a hidden rock. “Ow,” I screeched and fell to sand to coddle my injury.
“Are you okay,” he sat at my feet. “Can I see?”
“No,” I whimpered. “It feels like there is going to be blood, and I’d rather not see it and just act like it’s not there. “Come on, help me up.”
“Nope,” he put his hands out to wait. I put my foot forward, and tried not to look. “Just a stubbed toe,” he revealed after a quick examination. I cringed as he search for a sharp rock. He used it to cut a small piece of his shirt to cover up the wound. “Tell my that wasn’t the best foot massage you’ve ever got,” he smiled at me after he was done.
“Is that what you call it,” I questioned with a confused smile.
“Yes, and with a massage like that, I’d say this vacation is just starting to look up. We can’t turn back yet.” Now I understood what game he was playing.
“Fine,” I pouted. “But next thing that happens we’re done.” I pointed at him as if my strict finger could force compliance.
“Whatever you say,” he agreed, seeming to know something I didn’t.
Erin: “Why did I have to go on this dang trip with you,” I asked as Lannie and I lounged by the pool.
“The only reason we get to be on this trip is because they want to see if we will kill each other,” she reminded rubbing sunscreen onto her body.
“Fair enough, what you want to do,” I figured trying to get along was our best bet.
“I want to scuba dive,” she offered.
“I hope your air tank fails,” I let out before I realized how badly I was failing with my goal.
“Well I hope you get eaten by a shark,” she sassed back. “Also, good luck finding our hotel key.”
“What,” I immediately checked my beach bag but she was gone before I could confront her.
What type of trip are you going to put your character through?
“I guess I chose the wrong stupid, idiotic, fu-” I was cut off as a pillow slammed into my stomache hard enough to leave me momentarily breathless. Glaring across the room at the gorgeous female swinging her bare legs in the air as she stared at a glowing cellphone screen, I resisted the urge to throw the heavy cotton-wrapped bolster back in her perfectly tanned face. When I looked down at my arms, I cringed at the wonky tan lines I’d gotten on the vacation so far because, unlike the princess lazing on the other bed, I couldn’t stand to do nothing for long enough for an even tan to develop. I breathed in deeply and threw the cushion aside with an easy motion before finishing my comment with relish, “-idiotic ticket number.”
At our office Holiday party there had been a draw for a few mundane gifts like a box of pens or a free pass to the copier for a week, some moderate prizes like a book of dirty office jokes that the winner was permitted to keep on the premises or a hefty gift card to the nearest Tim Horton’s, and the grand prize; an all-expenses-paid trip for two to a pearly beach to soak up the sun while the rest of the office languished in twenty below temperatures. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a specification that the “two” meant two people won and had to take the dream vacation together. If only we’d known, I would have sold the obnoxious accountant our firm had hired last year my ticket. Turned out the prize was non-transferable. Personally, I smelled some kind of a set-up higher up in the company, but I wasn’t gonna get fired for it.
So it was that, for the past three days anyway, we’d spread out on the sun kissed beaches like bums, gone on more hikes to spectacular views than I could ever afford, and swam with dolphins for a relaxing afternoon. We went to dinners together because that was the bond-building part of the vacation, and any activities we did separately would be taken out of our salaries. As far as I was aware, this was both of our absolute dream vacation, other than being on it together.
In the office, I was a hard-working sales manager who made every quarterly goal and was fair to my underlings, but when I was out of the office I tended to have a solitary streak and would prefer alone time if I had the choice. When the dolt of an accountant presented herself at the office, if she wasn’t too hungover or sick to come in anyway, she was all about yacking with people about her weekend plans and making my life hell. Suffice it to say, we didn’t get along in the florescent eighteen-floor office building. Surprisingly enough, we didn’t get long in the sun either.
So, when she decided to go for a swim in the ocean, no cost to that, I decided I’d just work on some numbers I’d been meaning to run since I left the office. Secretly, I hoped the bimbo drowned, but I figured I’d have to pay for the flight home if she did.
Josh sits down at the table, handing Denisa her beverage. He stares at his tea, trying to keep his heart from racing.
“You’re awfully quiet.”
“What? Oh…” Josh perks up, looking at her. Her eyes are waiting for him to answer. “Ummm… It’s just…” He taps his knee a few times, “Busy week. School, work, stuff.”
“Yeah, I meant to come by the dojo,” Denisa admits, “but I have a busy schedule, too.”
‘Planning innocent people’s deaths,’ Josh reminds himself. But he asks, “Oh? What does the Denisa Lacey do?” With false charm.
Denisa laughs, “Well, I work at one of the disaster relief foundations.”
Josh pauses, “What?”
“Yeah. You know, they fundraise money for disasters, both the villain caused or natural ones like earthquakes,” Denisa explains, “we’re trying to petition money from the government.” She lifts up a finger to imitate silence, “But that’s top secret.”
Josh looks out the window, “Cool.” He sips his tea, and it helps, a little. “Can I ask a question?”
“Go ahead,” Denisa says, leaning back.
“Why did you choose that job? It doesn’t sound like it pays the employees well,” Josh asks.
Denisa looks down and takes a deep breath, “Well, I don’t need the money. My parents are rich. I could have whatever I want.”
Josh nods, allowing her to keep going.
“And… as for the reason? Well…” Denisa sips her coffee again, “I was in a catastrophe before.”
Josh perks up now, leans on the table, listening, “Really?”
Denisa nods, “I was ten. My aunt and uncle decided to take my siblings, my older sister and my twin toddler brothers, on a cruise. We were just out of sight from the dock when we were attacked.
“I don’t know how many there were, but I was captured with my sister in the panic. We were held hostage, but it wasn’t long until they started killing people, screaming about the one percent and common people not having enough to go around.
“My sister and I were spared when a security guard that hadn’t been killed shot the villain in the head. His companions were also dealt with and everyone was accounted for.” Denisa looks Josh in the eyes, “my aunt and uncle’s corpses had slash and bite marks, as if it was an animal. But… there were no animals on the ship big enough to do something like that.”
Josh gulps, “The attackers-”
“Were gifted,” Denisa says, spitting the word, “the man keeping my sister and I hostage could manipulate energy. He fried his victims until they were undistinguishable.”
Josh is silent for a time. He looks at Denisa, who has returned to looking out the window while calmly sipping her coffee. “I’m… so sorry.”
“You’re lucky you didn’t lose anyone to such inhumanities,” Denisa comments.
“…It is sometimes worse when you can’t pin the blame on anyone,” Josh says quietly, “I was orphaned by a dumb truck and a four-way stop.”
Denisa looks at him, “My condolences.”
Josh nods, waving her pity away. They stay silent as they drink. People bustle around them in the café. “…Denisa.”
She looks at him.
“Not all gifted people are bad, you know that, right?”
Denisa looks away, “They are not gifts, Josh.” She sips again. “They are a curse, a blight on humanity. No better than the aliens that fell from the sky.”