Piggies

Dark Thriller. For her gap year, Robin and her friend Joey (short for Joanna) win a prize on a 5-star, year long cruise. Things start off well, but as time goes on they realize something isn't quite right as people keep getting picked to go to the mysterious floor below and then not returning...she realizes that they're on this cruise for a different reason and soon she is in a situation where escape becomes impossible.

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2. The room.

We were one of the first people to get to our cabin after Joey had barged through the crowd with me hanging on her arm. I fell into step behind Joey as we made our way along the many corridors, as I had three bags held feebly between my fingers and pinning me to the ground as I attempted to move. Reaching a narrow corridor, I watched as she looked briefly at the object in her hand and then scanned the doors. She ground to a sudden halt in front of a door, she glanced at the key we were given which was resting in the centre of her cupped hand.

“341,” she muttered under her breath, her eyes crept over the door number. Her face brightened, “341!” she then turned to me for confirmation, I nodded and she smiled.

“Well put the key in then!” I puffed, after heaving my bags up three flights of stairs, “I don’t understand why we didn’t take the lift.”

“I told you, we’re not disabled,” she began to explain, fumbling around with the key, “it would be pointless if we used it. It’s not for us.”

“It’s for guests,” I reminded her, “that’s us!”

She gave me a patronizing stare and then pushed the door out of its frame. Peeking her head around the door, I heard her groan.

“Oh no…”

“What?” I asked worriedly, trying to peek in over her head. She turned to me, closing the door behind her, and stood cautiously with her back to it.

“You know how it sounded like a romantic thing…” she started. I shoved her aside and barged through the door and with a thud, released my grip from my bags. Displayed in front of me was an enormous, white double bed, wrapped in linen and scattered with rose petals. She sheepishly trailed in after me.

“Oh.” I said simply and turned to her. She flashed me a timid smile, hiding her eyes with her blonde hair and backed away. I let out a laugh and dived onto the bed. She watched me, at first quizzically, but then cheerfully as she giggled and bounced onto the vacant space next to me.

“Are we gonna have to share?” she questioned sleepily, with her head settling on a pillow.

“We could ask them to swap it for twin beds,” I suggested.

“Meh…” she waved her arms lazily, “I’ll do it later.”

I sat up as a thought came to mind.

“Joey…” I said slowly, dangling my legs off the bed and then bounding to my feet on the carpet.

“Hm?”

“You remember that cat?” I asked as I brushed the rose petals off my trousers. There was a pause.

“What cat?” I swivelled around on the spot to see her with her eyelids hanging over her eyes.

“That cat we found at the port a few weeks ago…”

Still with her eyes closed, she frowned.

“Cat?” she said. I sighed wearily and fell into an armchair.

“Yeah…remember? It had all those weird black hairs on it…”

Her eyes pinged open as a shudder swept down her body.

“What about it…?” she said with a note of worry in her voice.

“Well, I got one of those hairs and-”

“Actually, please don’t talk about it!” she snapped suddenly, sitting bolt upright on the bed. I turned to her with bewildered, wide eyes.

“Um…” I faltered, “I’m sorry, I just-”

“Just don’t!” she leapt to her feet and swayed angrily on the spot for a moment, with me in her eye line. She cleared her throat loudly and purposefully and then strode into the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind her.

I waited for a follow up, but none came.

“Joey?” I wondered if it was actually her. I blinked in puzzlement. That was odd, I mused. “Joey?” I said again, making my way cautiously over to the bathroom. I knocked lightly, “Joey?” no reply. I smiled, “what’s the bathroom like?”

There was no immediate reaction. I saw the door handle tip downwards and it opened narrowly.

“Massive!” she whispered with a growing smile on her face. Then she stepped aside and presented the rest of the bathroom. She was right, it was massive.

“What are those?” I said, gesturing towards some small silver holes that were in the 6” long tub.

“It’s a Jacuzzi bath!” she said with an excited giggle, “those make the bubbles!”

“Ooh,” I inspected the inside, “hey, I heard there’s this thing on tonight.”

She fell on to her knees in front of the tub and leaned her head in.

“What sort of thing?” she said, only half interested.

“I dunno, some sort of party on the sky deck, there’ll be a jazz band and food and stuff…” I paused, “wanna go?”

She shrugged, fiddling with one of the handles at the end of the tub.

“Who told you this?” she drew her head back as water splashed her ponytail.

“One of the staff on the way in…”

“I didn’t hear that.”

“Probably because you were sprinting up the stairs at the time,” I laughed, “they’re announcing the winner of some…thing.”

“Really?” Joey said, “a prize on a prize ship…what is it?”

I shrugged.

“There’s a winner every night apparently.”

“What’s the prize?” she quizzed.

“You get a first class room, downstairs, I think…”

She nodded in approval and then furrowed her eyebrows.

“So, why are we going?”

I tilted my eyes upwards, searching my brain.

“Ah,” I remembered, “everybody was entered automatically. So, we could’ve won.”

She frowned at me again for a few seconds, then remarked:

“That’s really weird…”

Knock, knock, knock.

My eyes flickered on to the door.

“Who is it?” I called, pushing myself up to standing. An incomprehensible series of squeaks came from the other side of the door. Me and Joey stared at one another.

“Er…” I said, “It’s open.”

I stepped out the bathroom. The door swung open to reveal a bright orange woman in a red blazer and a blue neckerchief. She beamed at me with rouge lips and perfectly white teeth and then shuffled inside in her achingly tight pencil skirt. She scanned the room with her eyes. I assumed she was staff.

“Ooh!” she squeaked as I noticed the smile on her face looked forced, on the verge of being painful. She turned to me, “double bed all to yourself?” she then added, “Lucky girl.”

“Er, no, actually, it was a mistake…” I began explaining, Joey popped up beside me. The woman’s face fell slightly.

“Oh…” she said, “yes.” It took her a while to think of her next sentence, “This has happened to lots of people. Just now, two American boys asked me if they could swap for twin beds…bit cheeky, don’tcha think?”

I exchanged a look with Joey then nodded awkwardly at her.

“Anyway…” she said, “are you coming to the sky deck tonight?”

“Actually I was just telling Joey…” I started, jerking a thumb at my friend.

“Joey…” the woman said, “Like the kangaroo, huh?” the next thing she said sounded the most forced, “cute.”

Joey shot her a glare.

“You should definitely come,” the woman continued, now slightly unnerved, “you might win the prize. But you can’t if you’re not there.”

“What is the prize exactly?” I asked her. Her smile finally collapsed as her eyes darted around the room.

“Er…” she began, “I’m not sure…I’ve not really seen it. I think its work experience.” Her smile rose up again.

“Really?” I said. She nodded, “I thought it was first class rooms.”

Her face dropped again.

“Oh, Er…y-yes well, Er that comes too, I think…” she stuttered.

“Have you ever been down there?” Joey’s voice came from over my shoulder. She shook her head.

“Well, don’t people that go down there tell you what it’s like?”  I asked. She laughed.

“Oh, honey…” she said, “anyway, I better see you there! Joey and..?” she pointed at me.

“Robin,” I said.

“Like the bird,” she said, “funny.”

“Not really.”

She was slightly taken aback and then left the room swiftly.

I let out a sigh and turned back to Joey.

"So, are we going?"

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