Novel summary: Dream vacation -- or nightmare?
| DREAM VACATION
Entry to No Dialog Contest Round #64
Shelly had been ecstatic when she won the free trip to Lake Chipatla, Mexico. Return air fare, two nights, all exclusive, warm water, sandy beaches--a dream vacation! Yet from the start, a series of strange events piled up....
The Uber she called to take her to the airport failed to show, so she had to call a a taxi, which made her late to the airport. The automated ticket machine would not disgorge her ticket and boarding pass, forcing her to stand in line for an agent, which made her later still. Somehow, in the lineup, she went one way and her luggage another; sorting that out took more precious minutes.
At last she was on the plane, only to find someone in her assigned seat. A stewardess confirmed that somehow two identical tickets had been issued, and Shelly had to stand by (and listen to an announcement that the flight would be delayed!) while that was sorted out and another seat found. By the time she was finally in her seat, she was an exhausted, nervous wreck. What more would go wrong?
The handsome, bronze-skinned man beside her, Luis, turned out to to represent the tour organizer. He sympathized with her trials, and promised that the rest of the holiday would go smoothly. Shelly began to relax, and decided to enjoy the flight.
To help pass the time, her seatmate spun tales of their destination. Tales of romance and desert beauty, yes, but tales of darkness as well. Luis told of Chipatla's bloody history of death and torture, of its catacombs and mummies and ghosts, of its snakes and spiders and lizards. Was this supposed to reassure her? Shelly began even more to doubt the wisdom of the trip.
After landing, Luis shepherded her and a few other passengers into a van en route to their resort. He personally escorted her along the sparkling blue lake to the casita that would be her home for the next two days. He saw her settled in, then left to assist other guests.
The casita was a little house of reddish stone, with white wrought iron grill-work on the windows and doors, like bars on a cell. The red terra cotta tiles, and strands of various vines creeping up the walls should have made it charming but instead looked like the house was being enveloped and ingested. Inside, it was simply furnished, and cool enough to make her shiver.
Still tired and stressed from the eventful day, she decided to lie down and rest. She didn't bother to change out of her blouse and travel shorts, but simply threw herself down on the hard mattress. She was almost asleep when she heard a loud thump and felt a tremor on the bed.
Shelly opened her eyes and froze. She didn't dare breathe. Didn't dare move. Dared only watch, eyes glazed in silent horror, as a huge tarantula placed two quivering legs on her naked thigh.