TOPIC OF THIS CONTEST WAS:
It was horribly hot but her husband insisted on sitting outside. The sun’s glare on the water left spots in the pigments of her eyes. Blinking, she watched a silhouette approach. The woman’s arms were crossed and her red fingernails contrasted sharply with her white, see-through dress. She stopped short in front of both of them. The man’s wife craned her neck as her husband stood up. She then bowed her head, whispering, “Not again…”
(Stories need only touch on this topic in some way to qualify.)
“Do we have to sit outside again? It’s already freaking hot out here.” Susan fanned herself with her hand and adjusted the brim of her hat.
“Of course, it’s hot. What would you expect?” Neil laid back on his forearms and closed his eyes, making a big show about sunbathing. “You’re the one who wanted to come to Costa Rica.”
“It just seems to be getting hotter every day,” she whined. Her skin felt scorched, but it remained pale. “Don’t you think?”
Neil just shrugged, ignoring her.
Susan frowned. The last few years of marriage hadn’t been easy. Their spark had gone out, and she’d hoped this trip would rekindle the romance. The vacation started out so perfectly. The promise of exotic adventure, the lure of pristine sandy beaches, and a private cabana they had all to themselves for a whole week…it was a true all-play-no-work paradise.
But it didn’t last, and now the days stretched on. She ran a hand over her leg, knowing the carnage she would see there later.
Susan stared out into the rolling waves as they lapped at the shoreline. Sunlight glinted off the ripples, leaving spots in the pigments of her eyes. The horizon stretched endlessly. She had loved the ocean once.
“It’s nearly time to go to the boat.” Susan was beginning to feel that familiar pulling sensation again, like she was made of metal, and a magnet had come into range, attracting her to it. She had tried to fight it many times before, uselessly. The reality was, they had to follow the same daily routine whether they wanted to or not. “Maybe we should go early today?”
“What’s the point?” He shrugged again, which infuriated her. “Going early or late makes no difference.”
“Don’t you even care anymore?”
“We’ve tried everything Susan.” Neil sat up, a tired and slightly irritated look on his face.
“We’re obviously missing something! There has to be a way.”
“There’s no coming back from this,” he said sternly. “You need to accept that we’re-“
“Don’t say it.”
Neil growled and flopped back to the sand. “Fine, live with your own delusions.”
A bitter silence lingered between them for quite some time. The magnetism pulled harder.
Susan caught sight of a slender silhouette approaching, her willowy form casting a long shadow in the morning light. Blinking against the sun’s glare, Susan swore under her breath. “Not again…”
“What?” Neil’s eyes popped open, sitting up with anticipation. Susan quietly seethed. She had to be with him right now, but she didn’t have to like it.
The woman stopped at a beach chair nearby. Her red fingernails contrasted sharply against the white see-through beach dress she wore. Neil’s hungry eyes raked over her, as he stood to get a better look. The harlot removed her threadbare cover, practically naked, and not the least bit ashamed.
The succubus laid down on the same chair she occupied every damn day, stuck in the same loop somehow, and Neil’s eyes didn’t falter in their admiration.
“Enjoying the view?” Susan turned away from her lecherous husband, sick of seeing him drool.
Susan recalled how shocked and uncomfortable they both were when the nude sunbather first appeared 162 days ago. Neil had respectfully averted his eyes, saying reassuringly that he didn’t need to look anywhere else. She had felt love for him back then…but, that love been bitten off in chunks each day, slowly eaten up.
“Well, since you killed us, it’s been my only joy.” Neil’s words dripped resentment.
“Ah, the blame game again, is it? You could’ve been the one to cut your leg just as easily.”
“But I didn’t.”
Susan bit her tongue, deciding to ignore him. Instead she pondered what might have been. What if they hadn’t ventured off on their own during the dive? What if the boat had been there when they resurfaced, like it was supposed to? What if she hadn’t cut her leg on that coral, chumming the waters?
The magnet was tugging so hard now that her body leaned against her will. Both Susan and Neil would snap to the dock soon, to relive their deaths all over again.
“I guess it’s that time,” Neil sighed. The scuba diving excursion always left at 11 in the morning, without fail. They’d gear up alongside the other excited couples and head out to the remote location to explore the exotic fish and underwater landscapes.
Susan absent-mindedly looked down at her thigh again, envisioning the blood seeping from her impending wound. Her heart fell, knowing she would soon feel the sting of countless razor-sharp teeth, her cries mingling with Neil’s as frenzied sharks dragged them under. Everything would go dark.
Then suddenly, they would snap here again, sitting on this cursed beach that steadily grew hotter with every single rewind.
“Maybe you’re right. We are in hell.” A tear rolled down her cheek. Susan had never said it out loud before, still stubbornly clinging to the hope that it was all just a torturous dream she couldn’t wake from.
Neil looked at her with raised brows. “Welcome to reality.” His gaze returned to the sunbather with a smile. “Hell ain’t so bad.”
Susan felt her mind shift, as the bright sunshine surrounding her darkened to a fiery red. The last vestige of hope she clung to crumbled. The magnet tightened its grip.