Club Tropicana "drinks are free". Sounds like a great way to spend a holiday, don't you think? Well we thought so too...until we realised it wasn't quite what it seemed.
My name is John and this is why you should ALWAYS read the fine print. I didn't, and now it's too late.
Me and my friends were planning a week away since we all worked in the same place and it was the two week summer shut down we figured we'd go away let our hair down and relax in the sun. The day before we were due to finish work, we each found a strange flyer in our respective lockers. "club Tropicana, drinks are free" it said in jet black lettering spread across a sunset red background with pictures of cocktails and a desert island in the background.
"Well well well," said Dave as he put his arm around me, "you got it too huh John?"
"Yeah, I got it Dave, but what is it?" I replied in a confused manner.
Dave looked at me as he grinned like the Cheshire cat, "A free holiday, that's what it is, how about it John? Sharon, Ben and Louise are all going too."
"I don't know man sounds too good to be true," I replied in a concerned tone.
"Oh well, suit yourself," replied Dave. "If you're coming we'll be at the port 8am sharp Tuesday morning."
"I dunno man. I'll think about it," I replied, still unsure but at the same time curious.
"Well, your loss if you don't come sweetie," Sharon smiled and winked at me, those "I dare you" eyes always did make me melt.
"OK, Ill be there Sharon," I hastily replied without even realising what I had said.
Dave grinned like the Cheshire cat again as he walked away. "See you then John," he said, laughing.
Tuesday morning came and we all met up at the port, 8am sharp as we'd agreed. When we boarded the shipmates showed us to our rooms and helped us with our luggage, then left us with a piece of paper. On it was all the planned events for the duration of our stay, including travelling there on the boat. Breakfast was served at 11am so up until that point we just explored, made merry and familiarised ourselves with the ship, it was gonna take a good 12 to 18 hours for us to get to our destination, after all.
As we explored we all got separated but we'd agreed to meet at the hall for lunch, this was a pretty sizable boat I'd never seen anything like it. Something wasn't right, I kept telling myself but when I tried to talk to the others they just laughed it off as me being paranoid. As 11am rolled around I met up with Dave, Sharon and Louise but Ben was nowhere to be seen. "Anyone seen Ben?" I asked, worried.
"Oh you know him. He probably fell asleep, the lazy bastard. I'm sure he'll meet up with us when we arrive," replied Louise in her usual sarcastic tone.
I shrugged. "Yeah, you're probably right," I said as I took my seat.
"May I take your orders?" came from behind me in the typical British creepy but polite tone you'd expect from a waiter.
"Yeah, I'll have the chef's special," I replied hurriedly. I was famished and didn't wait for the others to decide.
"Very good sir," replied the waiter, smiling politely.
"That actually sounds great," replied the others, one after the other.
"Very good, as you wish," replied the waiter, "anything to drink? May I suggest the house special we call it "Fun and Sunshine". It's quite popular." His smile and mannerisms made me nervous.
"I'll just have a light beer thanks," I replied...the others however were not so easy dissuaded.
"Hell yeah," said Dave and "You only live once," said the girls.
"Come on sour puss," said Sharon, yet again giving me the I dare you look.
"Nah I'm not really a cocktail kinda guy," I said dismissingly.
The waiter took our orders and returned swiftly with the drinks. They were a deep red colour with what looked like some kind of pink pulp floating around in them, not at all appetising but the others didn't care they started guzzling straight away while I nursed my beer they promptly finished and asked the waiter for another. The waiter happily obliged and brought more of those cocktails but commented with a menacing laugh that the others didn't seem to notice, "Careful now you wouldn't want to get brain freeze." I was very much unnerved by this, and stayed just long enough to have my meal but promptly left once I was finished. Though I must admit it was exquisite, I've never tasted anything like it. The meat was cooked to perfection.
I never was one for sailing though, and this gave me a perfect excuse to go to my room but not without Dave yelling, "See ya shore side, light weight," as I did so.
"Yeah John, what's wrong? Can't hold your beer?" Sharon joked.
"Yeah guys see you shore side I'm gonna get some rest I don't much care for sailing anyway," I replied as I disappeared from their view, waving them down.
Several hours later I awoke to the sound of the ships horn and the captain announcing, "We have now arrived please have your flyers and tickets ready as you unboard the ship." As I made my way to the dock, I caught a glimpse of Ben's room. The door was open and the room was empty.
"Lazy bastard slept for the full trip," I thought to myself. As I arrived shore side I saw Sharon and Dave but no Louise or Ben. "Any sign of Louise or Ben guys?" I swiftly asked them, forgetting to even say hello.
"Oh well hello to you too, light weight," laughed Sharon. Dave however didn't look so amused.
He replied, "Nah I thought they'd both be with you, you haven't seen them? I mean I'd expect this from Ben but it's not like Louise to stay behind."
"I haven't seen them man, I think we should wait to see if they turn up. Maybe they were thrown overboard or something," I joked.
"That's not funny John. You know I lost my brother that way, it was a year ago today he fell off of dad's fishing boat and was lost forever."
"Dave, I-" Dave cut me off.
"Save it, I'll wait here you and Sharon go take a look around see if they went ahead of us. I'll catch up to you by the bar later."
Hesitantly I nudged Sharon and urged her to follow me. Dave always had a temper when he was annoyed it was best to stay out of his way and I'd clearly struck a nerve. Sharon followed me and we explored a little, the island was beautiful, huge but beautiful as you'd expect from a Hawaiian tropical island I suppose, Sharon headed for the bar. Don't ask me how she knew where it was, she always had the nose of a bloodhound when it came to alcohol.
We sat by the bar and Sharon ordered two bloodlusts, which I guess were the drinks they had on the ship, from the cocktail menu, I hadn't been paying attention to what they were ordering before. She thrust one into my hand, I tried to refuse but she interrupted me, "No isn't in the cards today, sweetie."
I didn't argue, I just took a sip. "Hmm, it's pretty good," I exclaimed.
"I knew you'd like it you only live once, might aswell try everything," she replied flirtatiously.
"Sharon, have you been drinking already?" I asked her curiously.
"Well of course silly, it's a vacation isn't it?" she giggled.
"Yeah I guess you're right I-" Sharon interrupted me.
"Come on *Little John*, come dance with me."
I hesitated but then thought, "Fuck it, you only live once" I'd had the hots for Sharon ever since I met her and now was my chance.
"Yeah *little John*," said a familiar voice from the direction of the ship.
It was Ben. "Ben where've you been? And where's Dave and Louise?"
Ben shrugged. "I've been asleep bud, I guess I overslept. As for Dave and Louise, maybe they've gone somewhere more private if you catch my drift."
I laughed, "Yeah probably, knowing those two they were just waiting for a chance to slip away." Ben didn't seem like himself though, he seemed different but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
Sharon began to tug at my arm. "Come on John, what about that dance?"
I had come to my senses by now though, "Sharon you're drunk this may not be the best idea right now."
Her attitude changed almost instantly. "What, am I not pretty enough?" she yelled.
"It's not that I-"
She continued yelling., "You lead me on, bring me here alone, then as soon as one of your boys shows up you're acting like you're not interested again?" She stormed off.
I started after her. "Sharon," I yelled.
Ben grabbed my shoulder, "Trust me man, you don't wanna go there."
I started to answer back but stopped and replied with a simple, "Yeah you're right man. Damn, women get crazy when they're drunk." I laughed. Ben ordered us two bloody Mary's and continued to talk about how crazy women are when I interrupted him, "So if you weren't here or on the ship, where were you man?"
Ben didn't answer, he just continued talking. It was then that I noticed there didn't seem to be any other people on this island resort aside from me, my friends and the staff.
"BEN!" I yelled as he refused to listen, and I repeated my question in a more serious tone once I grabbed his attention. "So if you weren't here or on the ship, where were you?"
Ben's smile faded. The bartender looked at me with an evil glare in his eyes. "You shouldn't have asked that John," he said in a creepily serious tone. "You know why this cocktail is called a bloodlust?" he asked.
"Well I assumed it was because of the colour or something," I replied.
"No John," replied Ben. "It's called a bloodlust because it contains a special chemical artificially created to bring out a person's raw animal instinct." He began to smile again, "And what's more, if you drink enough of it you begin to succumb to it completely, even becoming an animal yourself." He smiled.
"And what if they don't drink it?" I replied, now terrified.
"Well, you know the law of the jungle buddy, you're either a hunter or you're the prey." He laughed maniacally.
"But that means-"
Ben interrupted me, "Yup," as he lifted his now large monstrous fist and smacked me in the head.
I woke up in a white room god only knows how long later. I don't know how much longer I have before I lose my mind either, I've woken up in the same room as Sharon but you know what they say, you only live once might aswell try everything once I guess...and I'm getting hungry.