Here is the second round in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Contest.
My category: Action/Adventure, an international border crossing, a bathrobe
I will say that I wasn’t too happy with the ending; if I had the chance I would go back and change it, but I do hope you enjoy..
Even Love Has Boundaries
She dreamed of the perfect wedding, but she got more than she bargained for.
It was after midnight when Cassie finally stumbled back into her hotel suite. Her bridesmaids were still out enjoying themselves, but she was too excited about the wedding to stay; in less than twenty-four hours she would be marrying her love, Alan, on the white sands of Andalucia, Spain. Cassie let her purse and key card fall to the floor. All she wanted to do was get into bed, but her clothes wreaked of nightclub smoke and sweat, that showering became a priority.
She made her way into the bathroom and felt along the wall until she hit the light switch; warm recessed lighting cascaded down from the ceiling. She fumbled for the shower handle and waited until steam covered the glass stall. Cassie undressed and carefully stepped into it; she exhaled as the hot water touched her skin. She scrubbed the remnants of her bachelorette party from her body and watched them collect in a soapy swirl over the drain. She still couldn’t believe she was getting married to a man she had only met a few weeks before, but it all seemed right to her.
Cassie’s shower was cut short when she heard the phone ringing in the next room. She slid into a plush bathrobe that had been hanging behind the bathroom door and rushed to her phone. “Hello?” she answered.
“Hey, honey,” Alan replied.
“Alan!” Cassie sunk into the bed and curled her feet beneath her.
“How was your bachelorette party?”
“It was fine. The girls are still out there getting drunk as hell. I was ready to get back to the hotel room. Big day tomorrow,” she fidgeted with the tags on the comforter, “Do you think we’re rushing into this?”
There was silence on the other end, “Yes,” he said finally, “but I want this. I want you to be my wife, and I want us to go on adventures.” That was all Cassie needed to hear. “Well get some sleep. I can’t wait to see you.
“Okay, can’t wait,” she ended the call. It wasn’t long before she had drifted off to sleep.
In the morning, Cassie, still half asleep, could hear birds squawking, and she thought she could even hear frogs croaking; they were so loud she swore she was sleeping outside. When she finally opened her eyes, she was startled to find that she was indeed lying outside in the middle of a jungle. “What the hell?” Cassie was still in her bathrobe. She stood up and headed for one side of the jungle thinking her friends might have played a small prank on her. “Okay, funny guys! Come on, we have a wedding to get ready for,” she called, but as she began walking around she realized she wasn’t anywhere near the hotel. Cassie was lost in the middle of a jungle. “Don’t panic,” she said to herself, “Damn it, I’m panicking!” she ran to one side of the jungle, but it extended for miles. She ran to the other side and could see no end to it.
She fought her way through thick vines and crawled under leaves larger than her body. She walked, then ran, and sometimes cried in small spurts before telling herself to shut up and keep going. By mid-morning her bare feet were black and her bathrobe was tattered. Cassie stopped when she heard people behind her.
“Oh thank goodness, they found me. Over here!” she walked toward their voices, but she didn’t recognize a single person. Five men dressed heavily in cargo pants and military jackets, knives strapped to their belts, and guns at their sides flagged her down. When they lifted their guns she bolted in the opposite direction weaving between uprooted trees and heavy branches. They shot at her and bullets whizzed past her head. Cassie screamed but pushed on. They were fast, but she was small and could fit in places that they couldn’t easily go. She heard them yelling, but she couldn’t understand what they were saying. Cassie backed away until there was nowhere else to go. They closed in on her with guns aimed for her head. Cassie backed into a thicket; it splintered against her weight until it gave way, and she crashed down a river canyon.
Cassie cried out when she hit the water; the current swept her under and she struggled to come up for air. She grasped at vines but they slipped from her fingers. She was quickly losing her fight against the current, and she let it take her.
Finally, she caught a break as the rapids pushed her against tree roots jutting from the river bank. Cassie dragged herself onto it. Her body ached but she limped away from the river. Then she heard a familiar voice.
“I think she’s coming,” it was Alan’s voice. She hobbled toward it and trudged up a small hill. Once the trees cleared, Cassie saw the white sands of Andalucia’s beach; she saw their wedding guests, and Alan was standing before them all. Her bridesmaids were perfect, wide-eyed, and grinning through shiny teeth. Cassie’s teeth felt gritty. Everyone applauded as she approached.
“What’s going on?!” Cassie asked.
“I wanted our marriage to start off with an adventure. Something you’d never forget. So I put you on the Portuguese border.”
“Adventure? You had me chased across the border so I would end up here like this? In my bathrobe, in front of all these people?! I’ve been shot at. I slid down a river canyon, and I almost drowned!” Cassie looked down at herself, “And am I bleeding? I think they shot my leg!” She looked around at the guests. Their big smiles had turned to awkward glances.
“Honey, you’re overreacting a little,” he whispered.
“You are an asshole!” she barked. “Now please excuse me, I have to get myself to a hospital.” Cassie limped past each row of guests, and they watched her head for the hotel. She never looked back.