The Devil's Triangle
September 14, 2017
Michaela "Mickey" Martin isn't thrilled with her life--not one bit. So, when it completely changes for the better in the span of one night, she doesn't feel like asking too many questions. Turns out, she made an inadvertent verbal contract with the Devil...and he soon collects by placing her on an old cruise ship with a group of other people who have done the same thing.
When I woke up the next morning, I kept my eyes closed, too afraid to roll over and see if Rafe had stayed or bolted. My bed felt different, so I wondered if maybe he had stayed...
The baseball game wasn't until two in the afternoon. If he stayed, we'd have hours together in bed. My heart raced at the thought, and my body immediately ached for an encore, or several, of the previous night's performance. Excited by the prospect, I flipped over to my other side and opened my eyes.
Rafe wasn't there.
And this bed wasn't my bed.
I wasn't in my room...
Where the fuck am I?
I shot straight up and rubbed my eyes, then looked around the room, my heart pounding nervously as I did.
Had I been kidnapped? Was this a nightmare?
“Please be a nightmare,” I muttered. “Because this looks like the cabin of a...”
Cruise ship. My eyes darted to the porthole, then to the cheesy watercolor of parrots, then the television that looked like it was manufactured in 1980 mounted on the wall. My heart started to pound like a heavy dance hall bass, echoing in my ears and rattling my ribs as if they were bottles of liquor on bar shelves.
Remembering many an urban legend, I quickly checked my lower back for a fresh incision that might indicate I'd had my kidneys harvested for sale on the black market. Thankfully, that potential scenario was a no, but I noticed that I was fully clothed in jeans and a white tank top.
I walked to the porthole and looked out, expecting to see mostly ocean, or some sort of dock, but instead I saw mostly sand with the occasional foam of incoming waves bubbling up along its edge.
“Great, I get mysteriously transported to a cruise ship and it's not even fucking cruising,” I muttered, banging my head against the little circular window.
My phone buzzed in my back pocket and I jumped, grabbing it excitedly—I could call for help!
It was a text from Mitch: Where are you? Rafe said he woke up and you were gone? We're worried.
Frantically, I tapped out my reply: I don't know what happened and I'm freaking out. Call the police, please! I'm not hurt, but I'm on a cruise ship and I don't know how I got here!
I anxiously awaited Mitch's response as the bouncing ellipses on my screen signaled that he was composing it. A warm wave of relief washed over me as a short vibration accompanied a new gray text bubble on my screen.
Wow. Well, I don't really know what to say, Mickey. Rafe will be pretty upset, and I guess I'll have Jenny cover for you while you're gone. Some notice would have been nice.
“What the hell—I need your help, Mitch!” I shouted at my phone.
Mitch—call the police! I'm on a fucking cruise ship and I don't know how I got here!!
Heat filled my cheeks and veins as a dangerous cocktail of anger and adrenaline filled my body.
Mitch's next reply came much quicker: Jesus, Martin. We get it. You're on a fucking cruise. One that you told nobody you were going on, by the way...not sure why you're rubbing it in.
I refrained from throwing my phone against the wall, settling for squeezing it in my hands and screaming with my jaw clenched.
How was he completely missing the part where I told him I didn't want to be on the fucking cruise ship and I didn't know how I got on it to start with?
Preparing to type it out in all caps, my eyes darted up the screen to my messages.
They were not what I had typed at all...
The first one read: Hey, Mitch, I'm totally fine—don't worry. I'm on a cruise! Woohoo!
“Woohoo? What the fuck?” I said aloud. “I never say woohoo...”
The second message read: It was a last minute decision. Don't be butt hurt! I just needed a vacation. I'm on a fucking cruise ship, motherfuckers!
I stared at the messages in horror for a second or two, then decided to partake in an experiment.
I typed “I have been kidnapped,” and pressed send and before my eyes, the words transformed and the letters rearranged and scrambled and the message that appeared on the screen read “I'm on a fucking cruise, bitch.”
“Shit!” I spat, stomping around in a circle, trying to release some of the steam that billowed inside me, but all it did was wind me tighter.
Buzz, buzz went the phone in my hand. I expected it, but I jumped anyway. Mitch was certainly not going to have anything nice to say after that last message.
Seriously, Mickey. Brag about this cruise one more time and you're fired. I'm being nice by not firing you as it is. And I really can't believe you would do this to my brother. He really likes you.
My heart dropped and my stomach tied itself in a knot.
Rafe. Poor Rafe. Perfect, hot, smart, sweet, gorgeous, killer-in-the-sack Rafe now thought that I had sex with him a few hours after meeting him then got up in the wee hours of the morning and ditched him for a cruise without saying anything.
The previous day had been one of the best days of my adult life. Obviously, it was too good to be true...
I couldn't fight the urge anymore, and I hurled my phone at the wall, the resulting thud and clatter to the flat-carpeted floor giving me a shred of satisfaction, but it was fleeting.
A knock sounded at the door and my heart did a gymnastics-worth flip.
Kidnappers, surely. Now were they coming to take my kidneys?
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” I muttered in a raspy whisper.
“Just open the door, I'm not here for your kidneys,” came a female voice, low and smooth, and featuring a Spanish accent.
I ran to the door and yanked it open.
“How did you know I was thinking that? Am I part of some mind reading experiment? Is that was this is?” I demanded.
The woman laughed and shook her head. “No, I just remember thinking the exact same thing when I got here.”
I stared at her lips as they curled and pursed slightly when she spoke. They were the prominent feature of her round, tan face, their natural curve and pout accentuated by the lilting, rhythmic chords of her rich, pleasing dialect. My eyes shifted up to hers when she finished speaking, and I immediately felt comfortable in their coffee brown watch.
“Can you tell me what is going on, please?” I asked, heat forming in my throat.
“Unfortunately, no,” she replied with a grimace. “It's something we all have to figure out for ourselves.”
Sobs built up behind the hot stone barrier in my throat, finally breaking through with a sound that resembled the haw of an injured donkey.
“Oh my god, I'm dead!” I bawled. “That's it, isn't it? I'm dead!! Rafe was a psycho killer and he murdered me in my sleep—I knew he was too good to be true! I knew it! Oh my god...just when my life was getting better I had to go sleep with a psycho killer I just met! Why am I so stupid?!” I wasn't even sure if my words were intelligible to the woman as they spewed forth accompanied by wailing sobs. I crumpled against the door frame and slid down it, resting in a heap on the floor.
The woman knelt next to me and swiped away a single tear with her finger. “It's always when your life gets better,” she murmured.
Then she stood and walked away. “Lunch is at noon sharp,” she added over her shoulder.
Lunch?! I thought. “What the fuck do I need lunch for? I'm dead!” I cried.
A muffled voice boomed from behind another door in the hall. “Shut up! You're not dead! Can you please fuck off—some of us have hangovers and it's only nine a.m.!”
With punctuated, labored gasps, I tried to steady my bawling and regain my breath, sliding back into my room and shutting the door.
How many people are on this boat? I wondered as I vigorously wiped the moisture from my cheeks and jaw. And if I'm not dead...then what the fuck is going on?