Picture prompt Medusa's head. Something weird and disturbing.
|He jaunted toward the beach swaying a bulging plastic bag. Gazing up at the coconut trees hung drunken over the hotel lined street, he grinned. It was three in the morning and the breeze was warm and thick. The lights painted the sky black, and though the silence was eerie, he felt no fear.
Past the last hotel, waves breaking on the shore ruffled the silence. His sandals indented the sand. He kicked them off. Quickening his pace, he nearly stumbled till he reached the firm sea soaked sand. The crest of waves broke the darkness as they rolled toward shore. He inhaled the brine as the sea cooled his toes and spread a smile across his face. The package slipped from his fingers. Then, his mind went back 15 years.
Inside the airport the concrete walls were high and beige paint smooth except for the one facing the street. That one was clear glass all the way to the ceiling. From inside you saw light so shiny it made everything magical. If you were arriving, it made you feel you’d been wasting your life living somewhere else. If you were leaving, it made you wish you had the courage to throw everything away and turn around.
He was with his wife, his first love, the most desirable woman in the world. She was leaving, for she had been told in a letter that her mother was in a hospital. He had given her nearly all the money they had to go.
About to pass the gate, she turned around. “If you don’t want me to go, I won’t.”
Surprised, he laughed. “Mayumi, what are you saying? If you don’t go now, you’ll never be able to. We don’t have enough money to buy another ticket.”
Worry and sadness crossed her face. “You’re right. Well...”
Too inexperienced to understand that she might never return, he smiled and waved. “Have a safe trip.”
The hallucinations whirled away.
He let out a deep breath, laid down on the sand with his hands behind his head, and stared at the stars.
Memories flooded in of the call he got from her saying she wouldn’t be coming back, of the disbelief followed by his desperate pleas for her to reconsider. That was the darkest of dark nights.
For months he saved every penny, quit his job, and bought the ticket to Tokyo. Their meeting was awkward, for they had found something disturbing in each other. After days of trying to find a solution, he finally asked her why, but she only shook her head. The last thing he remembered her saying was she would never meet another who would equal his love.
The realization that all he had couldn’t keep her sunk deep down, festered, and rotted as the years went by.
A wave washed his ankles. The tide was coming in. Rising, he grabbed the package and sat where the sand was yielding and dry. He took out one of the bamboo snakes he had crafted, and watched with amused satisfaction as it jiggled along its joints with each flick of his wrist. The snake jiggled. Again, and again, and again.
The next hallucination rose.
She looked just like Mayumi would lying on the beach in her bikini. The day before, her camera had been stolen from her room. They had met because he was the hotel employee acting as interpreter for the Security Chief.
After watching her long enough to know she was alone, he approached and said, “Hi, do you remember me?”
She looked up. “Yes, of course. Thank you for helping yesterday.”
He took a camera out of a cloth bag. “I’m sorry about your camera. You can use mine. Here’s a roll of film. You can return the camera at the front desk when you check out.”
“That’s very nice of you. Are you sure you won’t be needing it? I’m leaving on Sunday.”
“I’m sure. By the way, I’m Jake.”
“Pleased to meet you, Jake. I’m Keiko.”
“Have you done any traveling here?”
“I can take you to a really nice beach. My car is in the garage here. Do you want to go?”
“Sure. I’d love to.”
The hallucination sank.
He put the bamboo snake on the sand, then took out the others and placed them in a row. He put a hand into the bag and caressed the hair. His fingers explored the holes in the head and spread the moisture around, and around, and around.
The last hallucination condensed.
They were just inside her room. The afternoon at the beach was over. He handed her the beach bag, and as she turned, he slipped his towel around her neck. When she passed out, he undressed her, put her into the bathtub, and turned on the tap. He took the drill out of his bag. As he was about to start, she regained consciousness. One hand shoved her face down into the water as the other started the drill. She died convulsing like, he thought, a huge orgasm.
The hallucination dissipated.
He took out the head, and rammed the bamboo snakes in. His hands rocked the head. The snakes jiggled and clacked, jiggled and clacked. He wanted to say now you're ugly, but the eyes opened and a snarl ripped the night.
Two security personnel entered the common room. One of them noticed the steel bars on the windows. The older one, his supervisor, pointed, “There’s our star, Jake Hopkins, the Medusa Killer. You heard of him?”
"No, what did he do?”
His supervisor answered, “I guess you were too young. It was big news about 20 years ago. He murdered a young woman, a tourist from Japan. He was caught holding her head on the beach. Just the head. He’d drilled holes in it for the snakes, too.”
“Wow. Why is he holding his hands like he's about to clap?”
“Dr. Walsh says he’s still on that beach holding that head.”