Deimos' Chagrin

By: Ungku Amirul Ariff bin Ungku Ariffin

‘Splash!’, a serious load of water wetted his dimpled yet tanned face. Matt had put an end onto Alan’s night-long dream. Very long, indeed.

These two young men had built a strong friendship for a long time, or at least their friends admitted that. Alan rushed to complete his daily wake-up routine; checking Instagram feeds. Even though breakfast was just in his line of sight, Alan could not resist the strong attractive bond between him and his brand new iPhone. Actually, with all other smartphones he once had. All of it.

Nevertheless, Matt was the other way around; morning workouts eliminated his post-sleep lag! Thank God it was weekend, if not they both missed their lectures.

*****

Chloe fixed her wireless sports earphones in her delicate ears. A good morning deserved a good jog! Without hesitation, she jogged around the lake. Her playlist aided her pace to be constant. 15km jog. It was her target, but she exceeded it in perpetuum. Maybe nature inspired her to maintain her body in good shape.

When every inch was perfection, words could not tell much. The tall bronze statue marked the end of her productive jog today. She took out her phone and start typing,

“Let’s hang out somewhere guys!”.

*****

Alan swiftly sat at the centre bar stool with Matt. It turned out that they received the message earlier than expected. Enjoying perfect shot at a perfect place, Pur Bodega was a heaven bar for youths like them.

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“Another shot, please. Make it a good one.”, such soft, lovely voice uttered from a woman’s larynx. Alan glared at her as if she made an intense fracas. Both of them did. Her distinctive side engraved her perceptible guilt to them. Indeed it was Chloe.

Hours passed, and so stories were told. Climax was never in their vocabulary when it came to hobnob.

“How about going to a vacation together?”, Alan attempted to concoct another genus of jubilation. As expected, it triggered their exhilaration. After innumerable shots of vino, Matt realised he needed to settle a couple of tasks at home. Alas, the illuminated gilt clock already showed quarter past 8. They gradually left the famous bar. In fact, they were still thinking of that plan whilst traipsing home.

*****

It was quarter to two and yet those two compadres were vigorous as parrots. Matt was polishing the rectangular aquarium which housed his beloved Lyretail Anthias. Matt literally had a towering endearment towards its colour change ability. Alan did, too. On the contrary, Alan was slouching on a comfy brocaded canapé whilst ingesting chocolate-topped fougasse. He was dwelled by his regime; instagramming. Perhaps, he wanted to be prominent but substantiality impeded his vain dream. Poor him.

While busy refreshing his feed, he received a DM (Direct Message) from an unknown user. Male, the only information perceived. His presence was beyond Alan’s ken. Alan opened the message as if nothing happened, or at least until now.

A comprehensive detail of an exquisite island plus tons of markdowns for vacation packages made Alan lost his mind. ‘Harmonise with our agitative rhythm! Shall the island led you to the inexplicable?’ It just something that could not get rid of, for Alan…

“Get ready, guys! We are going to an island!” this 9-word enliven ‘BFF <3’ Whatsapp group in just a few seconds. Discussions were made, arguments being

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held and decisions were made. An obvious grin crafted after everyone joined, except this one person…

*****

Crymson Island was once renowned for its tourism. Yeah, was, which reverted into the 90s. An island filled with a myriad of sea activities. Scuba diving, island hopping to name a few. Ferries were filled to the brim in every trip.

Tourists from all over the world knew this glamorous island. Whether it was about high-quality woods, irresistible scenery or simply suspired by its fresh pure air. It all went substantially well until this one very Saturday.

“Help! Help! Call the ambulance!”

A gentleman hollered in forte after seeing a corpse at the beach. It looked fresh as it was not even a day old. He wanted to do CPR but it smelled horrible. Too horrible until nearby people felt nauseous. Severe nausea, though.

Consternation – a feeling that accumulated enough psyches. It had a huge scar at his abdomen; almost like a human hand doing – but way bigger! His mouth was ripped wide open – joker-like perhaps? Subsequently, brief post-mortem found an orbital-like mark at the back of his neck. Very deep, it was almost like a tattoo.

As years elapsed, so were the ratings declined. More and more deaths recorded. Episodes and episodes of uncanniness emerged. Crymson Island was escalating critics’ standpoints as recommendations subsided abruptly. Profit gains were almost non-existent.

“The Committee agreed to shut us down.” proclaimed Han, the great yet charismatic manager. The outstanding Crymson Resort & Spa would maybe turn into nothing more than an abandoned infrastructure. No further resolutions can be amended further. Yet they had to undertake that. For granted. Despite the fact, no one could derive the real plan Han himself devised on the island’s future.

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*****

Life is simple. Or at least Matt held that principle. He finished packing up his stuff in ease. He just made fun of his mate. Made Alan annoyed, though. In fact, he packed up too slow. Took quite an entire day to complete it.

“Are you bringing the whole cabinet to the island?”, mocking was just Matt’s major expertise. Especially when it came to Alan, who was used to it. Tranquillity assisted him as he finalized his stuff.

Couch potato – a habit Chloe did not resist on. In spite of the fact that tomorrow was the day; the near-to-the-most anticipated day as best friends for her, she just lazed around. Such rounded eyes clung to the curved QLED television whilst her distal phalanges drummed the leather armrest. She was seen so intent; maybe experiencing her own escapism into her fantasy.

“There is still tomorrow”, feeling so positive that she could finish packing up by morning.

*****

Pearl Brasserie was chosen as their converge point. Wallace’s Standardwings could be seen soaring in elliptical motion around the café. People sauntered along the pavé ahead the well-furnished café. As usual, Alan went there eminently early in the morning. Just enjoying the sunset scenery whilst having a good piece of handcrafted butter croissant and a cup of joe. Matt was at his back, of course.

A woman with blue micro-mini and Gingham-plaid shirt could be noticed from far by them. Chloe, for sure. Beside Chloe was a woman averagely her age, with a nice ponytail hair.

“Amy was joining us? Bet she isn’t…” a faint utter towards Alan.

“Huh, check your Whatsapp carefully.” responded Alan voluntarily.

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Few hours passed and everyone was there. They were very anti-social; sticking themselves with their respective mobiles as if they were present by their own. Consequently, Amy broke the awkwardness with an enquiry.

“What’s the island all about, guys?” followed by a momentary quietude.

Alan apprised in precise detail to her and everyone about the island they were going to. Exhilarated faces conveyed by them which proved their sole emotions to it. Each and every one of them. They ambled in serenity as the harbour was at close quarters.

“All right folks, circle please.”

Safety briefing was delivered by the ferry manager as they foregathered at the main entrance. They gradually loaded the luxurious ferry. Matt was astounded as he had never been in a ferry before.

“Matt, Chloe, Amy, Damian and Paisley? On board?”

*****

Han deliberately stayed at Crymson Island as workers gradually left the wicked island. Wicked, probably their current mindset. Inversely, Han indeed had his own perspective of viewing this so-called ‘disaster’. He reckoned that the island had a ginormous potential in tourism. In fact, he believed these ongoing tragedies were ad interim.

It was a calm and peaceful night for the people of Crymson Island; yes, the remaining people. Moon shone its ray, enlightened such Stygian terra firma. Person by person, staff by staff went out of the island. Time flew conventionally until this very tick.

‘Boom!’, the only ferry that transported them off the island got struck by an extraordinary lightning. It occurred right at the shore. Nobody expected that. Neither Han.

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In the spur of the moment, the management drew out their emergency rafts. It relieved the rest of the people. They strived hard to get out of the island even though they knew it was a serious schlep.

People just left. Only time could be patient enough expecting for another, contingency perhaps?

*****

“So Damian, which course do you pursue now?” Chloe started a talk. He had good looks, no doubt in that. Damian glanced at her, then told her about his criminal science and forensic science courses he had been pursuing on. Matt, Alan and Chloe just kept their ears wide open. Not surprising to see a tall, serious, strict-looking guy with style studying in that field. Chloe gazed at him as he talked more and more. Someone was jealous, though.

Instantaneously, Paisley pointed at a direction. It was a pod of dolphins swimming parallel to the ferry. The waves produced beside the ferry may attract those magnificent creatures to them. Their eyes were focused on its comportment as they entertained all the people on the ferry.

Minute by minute, kilometre by kilometre. Ample time expensed as the island was in their line of sight. Euphoria swayed their very ardour. It complemented with an alluring blow of zephyr. Alan took the rare opportunity to take a quick glare at Chloe; admiring her beauty. He did not realize that someone did the exact thing as well.

As the name suggests, Crymson Island had a correlative with crimson; a strong yet bold adaptation of red. To be straight, the island got a strong and bold appeal. On the exact second Alan’s feet landed on the strand of the island, he sensed something wrong.

“What’s wrong, Alan?” his thoughts began uncanny.

*****

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Days locomoted in fated pace. Emergency rafts were almost in deficit. The only choice people could make was praying so that they could reach the ground; real ground. Crymson Island was now a dread towards them. It felt weirder day by day.

As the moon showed its physique, Han sat under a shady coconut tree. Coconut leaves blocked moonlight from touching Han’s delicate face. He felt responsible towards the doomed island. As a result, he decided to meet Fort, the most senior staff in Crymson Resort & Spa, the past one as expected, with a humongous wish.

“Hi Fort, can I ask you something about this very island?”

“Sure. What is it?” replied softly.

“May I know about superstitions that endured here?”

Fort stood still whilst staring at the open sky. Maybe he bought some time to rejigger the plots. The tale began a long time ago, during the pioneers of Crymson Hotel & Spa.

News about the recently discovered island spread all over the world. From headlines of newspapers, television advertisings to lengthy Internet articles, it became viral as soon as eyes caught a glimpse of the exquisite island. Han’s grandfather, Chen, was the founder of the recognized hotel. He, along with his partners saw a huge commercial value deep inside the island. Few agreements signed, and so were several plans being drawn. 7 months was all it took to build one of the most reputable and prestigious hotels in his era. Probably the one and the only one.

As figured, the hotel was a huge success. Increasing customers as well as bookings and reservations for international functions. Profits were off the charts. They seemed so well until a noticeable drop detected.

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Less customers and also online bookings. Jaws were dropped as they did not expect such outcome. They, especially Chen, feared if the loss became too large until it swallowed all their cumulative profits. Thus, Chen made a brave move. He catechized a satanic spirit to solve this problem. Quite a move, indeed. Agreement was tied.

Chen was unsure of himself. Perhaps his dread overcame his sanity. But then, nothing could turn back to the past. The demand that the spirit asked was ridiculously priceless but still, Chen accepted.

“Just don’t do it to my family.” begged Chen.

*****

Alan was astonished by the scenery. It had never been this picturesque for him; in respect to his utmost desire towards Instagram. His phone was ready to receive any call of duty. Poor Matt, his best friend set him aside.

“Look at those primates!” Paisley electrified by those hysterical beings clinging from tree to tree. “There were currently 264 known species of those animal, thus fractionated into two; New World monkeys and the Old World ones.” she elucidated. Matt and others, especially Damian, gave no attention as it was not their favourite.

Paisley’s profound curiosity towards environs soared as she set her foot on the island. As a charming yet whip-smart colleen, exploration was roughly in her grasp. An A to Z knowledge regarding terrains, flora and fauna or anything related was stored in her mind. No wonder she looked quite aggressive and stone-headed; she had been in one.

“This way”, a small elliptical placard hung at a tree, presumably the highest one on site. What left us a question mark was a visibly old skull being hanged as well. Not a question mark; a fear mark to be concise. Trying to forget about it, Alan led his bezzies to the resort.

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Crymson Resort & Spa. It was as bold as it got. Furnished in a mystical motif, including a drop of fear essence, presumably. Maybe that intuitive mood earned them a 6-star rating. In fact, it was beautiful. Or at least by few people.

Damian took out their online receipts printed beforehand. Rooms cards passed onto Alan.

“Electronic cards. Not left behind, huh?” chuckled the rest of them.

Strategically placed right in front of the renowned swimming pool, their rooms were just within earshot. Alan entered the room and straight to the bed. Queen-sized comfy bed, fully-prepared with two woollen pillows and a complementing bolster. Who had the will to resist such gratification?

Here it came, the first night of their stay! After such tiring evening in the swimming pool, where all of them involved, the only thing mattered them was lounging. In the irresistible sauna, maybe? Or their luxurious, appetizing brasserie?

“Let’s play Ouija board game!” sounded Chloe.

Alan agreed in the blink of an eye. Matt glared as Alan’s prompt reaction erected a feeling – not a likeable one perhaps.

They gradually gathered at Chloe’s room except Damian – who fell asleep too

early.

Alan took the first step. Everyone was thrilled on what came next.

*****

A gentleman’s body found deceased in the middle of the tropical forest. The corpse was awfully abandoned – lots of bite marks pierced deep into his skin; weird ones, his head was turned 180-degree clockwise plus his right leg was halved brutally.

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Thankfully the body was found only by the resort’s patrol. The tragedy was kept secret so that no bad news spread.

Chen knew it was ‘its’ doing. Nevertheless, he shut his mouth. Risks had to be taken in order for desired results to emerge.

“What happened at the woods?” The Committee ejected a statement. Only the management knew about it. Even so, no one could give an answer to that.

“We hope that this tragedy stays as a secret and our reputation is conserved” *****

“Do we have any spirit in here?” first question delivered. Truthfully, fear ruled tiny spaces in his soul at the moment. Neither answer nor responses received by them. Matt, who did not believe superstitions at all, laughed as it was a humorous joke. Annoyed by him, I guess. They just remained silence.

Subsequently, Chloe’s hair was played. Gently. She just let it be since she thought he did it. He – such a subjective character. No one aware of that.

“Arghhh!” screamed Chloe. Her hair was pulled violently – could see her face expressed that. Everyone shocked and sat still as they did not know what to do. In parallel to that, the board moved – forming a word. Probably a reply from some kind of, spirit?

‘y-e-s’, such a predictable answer after what happened to Chloe. At that very tick, Chloe was hung on air. She looked as someone pulled her hair upwards. Alan took deliberate action by grabbing her legs. He attempted to pull her downwards by his full will.

“Call the hotel manager!”

Matt rapidly took the phone and dialled the manager’s number. Brief explanation could make the manager, Logan understand what happened. He rushed

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to the room with priests following behind, performing rituals and recitations along their way.

As it happened in front his very own pair of eyes, Logan was thunder bolted. He had never seen such tragedy since he was the new manager there. Not even served a year at the resort, he could eject such expression. In the meanwhile, the priests’ faces were very calm yet soothing to the eye. Apparently, they were too used to such phenomenon. Holy water dispersed all over the area as the other priest concentrated on the Holy Bible.

Recitations one after another, and so were rituals. Chloe was going down at a slow pace while her face became more relaxed. Everyone was relieved – especially Alan. The priests warned not to play such games, owing to the fact that the place had a very frightful past. They gradually left her room, going straight to their respective rooms. Wishing it would not become their nightmare, though.

*****

After small discussions and taking all considerations, they all decided to come back home. In fact, Chloe needed some rest, following the horrendous tragedy took place on her.

“Calm down, okay? There’s nothing to be worry about.”, crafting a sincere smile towards Chloe. Alan knew it was very hard for a woman to take that. They gathered at the spacious lobby as the ferry was waiting for them.

They loaded their bag into the ferry as other people did so. A sweet spot at the front corner of the ferry had been chosen by them. Enjoying the remarkable landscape as the ferry drove away the shore.

Damian saw someone. An old man, to his thoughts. He stared at him very long. Something was wrong in his opinion. Why a grey-haired, crooked old man stared at him like that?

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“You cannot escape forever! Deimos’ chagrin will come for you!”, exclaimed Han, the old Han.

Melia abdeen

2018-03-02 20:03:47


Excellent stkry line! The author managed to take the readers into his world. Great masterpiece