The sun cast it glow on my patterned beige sundress making me look like a summer queen. I stared at myself in the mirror thinking about what I had signed up for. A bargain vacation. Phew.
I was in desperate need of a break and the idea of a vacation was tempting. But being broke, I had to settle for a cheaper vacation with many conditions. One of which included me staying with a stranger.
I contemplated all the things that could go wrong. Me ending up dead as a result of being paired with a serial killer or me ending up having a great time and getting to know a really fun stranger. There were two sides to the decision so I decided to take a risk and go further with it. I mean, how many times does an opportunity like this arise?
I packed my shorts and crop tops and booked a flight to Curacao. Curacao as I had seen in the pictures was a beautiful place. A place where I could let go and relax. A place where I could get away from the harshness of the world.
The day to go arrived in no time. I was all set and ready for my trip. I ignored the fact that I was about to share a week of my life with a complete stranger. I didn’t want to panic and back out. I needed this. Then an epiphany hit me. I was a stranger too. A stranger to the person who would live with me. Maybe the other person was just like me? Just looking for a break.
The plane took off in mid-day and I napped the whole flight. Luckily for me, the lady next to me was quite nice and didn’t trouble me. I reached my destination at midnight when the sky was all black and darkness had taken over. The moon’s soft buttercream rays led the path to the airport where I collected my suitcase. I hailed a cab and headed straight for the island without any hesitations.
Along the way, I crafted up at least fifteen different strangers and scenarios of how I would get along with them. I told myself, “It’s just the stay. You probably won’t be in the room half the time.”
An hour long drive seemed like forever. The twilight seemed eerie yet I was more excited than scared. The driver stopped by this massive resort which almost seemed like any other resort. Almost.
The receptionist was very welcoming and gave me the keys to my room. Before reaching the room she spoke, “The person whom you will be sharing your room is here.”
My heart trembled with fear. Who would it be? Was it a woman or a man? Was it an ordinary person or some weirdo that I would have to stay away from? Terror gripped my body like shackles. I opened the door to an alarmingly sweet fragrance and the silhouette of a woman. I was relived at the sight of a woman. I proceeded further and placed my suitcase in an empty corner of the room. The other woman seemed to have arrived just now too. Not knowing what to do, I raised my hand towards her,” Hi. I’m Samantha Gardner. I’m your roommate for the week.”
“Braise Michelin. Nice to meet you.” She replied shaking my hand.
Braise was stunning. She was exquisite from every angle. You could look at her and tell that she caught the attention of people in a room. We talked a bit about our daily lives so as to feel comfortable around each other and went to sleep in a little while. I found out that Braise was a telemarketer and that she was just like me. In need of a break.
It was a sharp 9’o clock when the sun stole the sleep in my eyes. I figured if I was awake why not head out. I got up and freshened up. I put on my white crop top paired with red denim shorts. I noticed that Braise still lay in her bed. I thought of waking her up but we didn’t know each other well enough to do that. I put on my sandals and headed out of the room. I passed by the receptionist on the way out and nodded as she threw a smile my way. There weren’t many people at this time of the year but the ones who were here were enjoying themselves.
I found myself making my way to the beach and I was in awe of the view displayed in front of me. The corals in the water shone brightly from the water reflecting their soft hues to the viewers. I could see the horizon where the sea and air meshed into each other. I breathed in the air smelling of seawater. And then my eyes went black.
Braise had wrapped her palms around me as an act of fun but I panicked and started screaming. Braise immediately removed her hands and assured me that it was just her and no one else.
“You freaked me out!”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you would tense up so much!”
I gasped for air as I understood how silly I was being. She was only playing and I had caused a ruckus. “No, no. I should apologize. I was scared. I thought I was alone. I’m sorry”
“Hey its fine. Anyone would be scared.”
I smiled and forgot about what happened. Braise and I walked around the beach and swam and talked. We talked about our lives back home. It seemed Braise lived a very full life. She had a loving family and a husband. It all sounded very homey. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. Her descriptions of life were short as if she was narrating someone else’s life instead of her own. I ignored it.
Braise went away to get some drinks while I hunted for tables to sit at. I chose the table next to the window for the view. Soon, our drinks and meals arrived and we chatted about how we should stay in touch once we went back to our homes. The time I spent with Braise seemed hearty. It was as if only the two of us existed when we talked to each other.
The end of the week was nearing. Braise and I had spent almost every day joint at the hip. We spent days playing all kinds of games like volleyball and had conversations about troubles back home. We swam and ate to heart’s content. The last day of the week arrived and I was upset about how I wouldn’t get to see Braise anymore. We’d agreed to message each other when we had time and call one another but it wouldn’t be the same.
We hugged each other before we left and gave each other a souvenir to remember the other by. I reached my home in a matter of hours. I decided to unpack my suitcase later and jumped on the bed. I removed my phone from the pocket of my trousers and checked the news as usual. My eyes widened with fear as I read the headlines:
‘Braise Michelin arrested in the murder of twelve people. The Red Killer finally caught.’
And that's when the power in my house went out.