THE DORLEY CYCLE
2 years later
The tourists took the flyers from their hands reluctantly, many crushing the colorful piece of paper into a ball and shooting it at the bin, and some others threw a glance at the written text “DORLEY – THE BY THE SEA RESORT YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR! COME STAY WITH US AT THE MERMAID GRAND HOTEL!” and again crushed the offer, not needing another advertisement being pushed in their hands.
The summer workers, as their mentors referred to them, kept on their pretense smiles and stomped their weary feet up and down the fully restored pier which the said tourists loved so much, taking selfies and long and dramatized sunset and sunrise photos with the Ferris wheel in the back – Dorley, the resort you had to visit before you die.
Darryl counted the remaining flyers in his stack – he had about thirty left and without giving it much thought he pushed the majority of those in his pants handing the remaining ones out fast.
“I’m all done losers!”
Megan tilted her head at him.
“Cheater. Really Darryl if Benson finds out he’ll be pissed.”
“It’s a crappy job and you know it. Handing out something no one gives two fucks about and boiling under the sun. I should have been a life guard at the hotel. Give me a pool and drowning chicks to save.”
“More like limb numb grannies.” Joe laughed as he pushed his hands into his pockets and retreated towards a weak shadow to have a sit.
“You all done?”
Megan and Darryl looked at him suspiciously.
“What can I say, I get the job done, I get to run the Ferris wheel tonight.”
“You little shit.” Darryl punched him in the shoulder and sat next to him. He watched as people paced down the white-painted pier, the waves of the summer sea brushing against the pillars underneath their feet, making the sound of creaking planks inaudible. It was a beautiful pier for sure and the wheel made a nice touch to it, gathering souvenir shops, sweet corn and all kinds of candy stands around it. The Grand Mermaid Hotel though was where the money came from, and being a valet or a pool boy, or hell any kind of working boy in there made the summer work much more profitable and practical. Darryl however hadn’t made the cut, and was assigned to maintaining the pier. That did not give tips.
The rich hotel was built last year after a few controversies over the ground on which it was supposed to be built. They had to move the old cemetery to make place for the hotel as that point made for the best possible view over the sea from any floor. The road was redone and swerved down to the coastal line and the pier. Darryl traced it up to the hotel which windows reflected the late sun.
“I’m going to have a smoke.” Megan announced and roamed through her purse. Darryl snapped out of his thoughts and jumped to his feet
“Spare one? I forgot mine.”
She nodded and led the way. Joe shook his head and Darryl flipped him a bird.
The safest place to smoke without being scolded were the old fisherman cabins down at the Old Side beach. When the town began its renovation, parts of it were left out after numerous protests from the fisherman society, the old folks born and raised here with beliefs and traditions no law stood up to. It split the town in two, the main area getting its renewal, and what was left becoming a remote fishing harbor maintaining the traditional business and soaking the air with cheap beer and dead fish. The cabins were deserted now, all rotten wood and broken windows.
“There are some rumors about this place. Sometime back this guy supposedly killed a mermaid and then went seriously mad after hearing a siren sing to him. He drowned himself. Or went to a madhouse.”
Megan lit Darryl’s cigarette and leaned into the sidewall of the cabin. He shifted uncomfortably when she didn’t say anything.
“What are you planning to do after the summer is over?”
She made smoke rings.
“University I suppose. You?”
“I’m saving up money so I can travel a bit before getting into life.”
She laughed and her eyes glimmered.
“Maybe I’ll tag along.”
His jaw dropped. He was a shy guy in front of girls he liked and Megan, he definitely liked. She put her smoke out and moved closer to him.
“Would you like that?”
“Yes, a lot.”
Something made the door of the next cabin slam open and shut. Megan jumped and pushed into Darryl who clumsily grabbed her shoulder for balance.
A single brief gasp tore from her lips as she was taken by surprise from behind and thrown against the side of the cabin, crashing through the wood. Darryl spun around but a strong hand gripped at his throat and began crushing his windpipe. His vision blurred in and out, the figure before him unclear and he felt something sticky and sour penetrate his nostrils. It made him very dizzy and he found he couldn’t move a muscle. But he heard a voice ordering him and he found himself obeying.
“Open wide now.”
The grasp eased and his mouth swung open, saliva bubbling up inside and spilling from the corner of his lips down his chin. The attacker’s hands moved to his shoulders to steady him. Something thick and slimy licked at the tip of his tongue and was rapidly and forcefully pushed in his mouth, moving itself down his throat, gagging him. Thorny hooks clung to the sides of his mouth forcing it wider. His eyes whitened as a second parasite invader probed the gaping void of his mouth and nestled itself inside him, sucking at the core of him, making him empty. He could feel such things crawl upon his face and over his eyes and around his ears, little suction disks planting on his skin before he dropped dead.
Megan stumbled to her feet, her wrist aching, blood on her forehead and her eyes darted around before settling on Darryl. She screamed. For a brief moment she couldn’t breath and her voice died in her throat when she tried to call him, so she ran, tripping, in the opposite direction away from Darryl’s body, before the same sour smell breathed into her face, sticking, and she fell back, the late summer sky blurring crimson red and burning orange.