Sep. 27th, 2011

Annamarie turned in her deck-chair on the balcony and called to Charlie, who was inside in the cool shade of the beach house's living room. "Hey!" she said, "do we have ice?"

"Yes, we have ice," Charlie said, trying to watch the baseball game.

"And soda? We were running out of soda yesterday," Annamarie pressed.

"Plenty of both," Charlie replied. "The caretakers stocked us up again yesterday."

"Damn, they're good," Annamarie said. She settled herself back in her chair and smoothed her bikini. The sun was sinking and hung redly above the ocean, but it wasn't hot or cloudy – good conditions for sunning. Really, Annamarie thought, Murphy's Law had obstinately refused to ruin this vacation. She and Charlie were having a good time, the Petersons were a fun couple to share a house with, the house was impeccable and its staff conscientious (if invisible), and she basically never wanted to go home.

"Is it five o'clock yet?" she called. They and the Petersons had agreed that five o'clock was the cocktail hour. Charlie looked at his watch.

"Close enough," he said. He got up and began mixing drinks at the bar. The door to the Petersons' bedroom cracked open.

"I knew I heard ice cubes," said Don. "Make mine a double, whatever it is."

"And I'll have whatever she's having," added Brandy, jerking an elbow at Annamarie out on the deck.

"She isn't having anything yet," said Charlie.

"I know, because I'm having it," said Brandy, laughing lightly.

"I heard that," said Annamarie. "Mojito. Lots of mint. Chop chop." She snapped her fingers.

The four vacationers converged on the deck with their drinks. "Great place," said Don, putting his tanned legs and feet up on the railing.

"True, true," said Charlie. "I'm glad you recommended it."

"I thought this place was your idea," replied Don. "Friend of a co-worker owns it, or something like that."

"Hell, I don't remember," said Charlie.

"I don't remember most of this trip," said Brandy, and they all laughed.

"Well, here's to a supremely stocked bar, clean glassware, and plenty of banked vacation time," said Annamarie. They all clinked glasses. It was five o'clock, the cocktail hour.

They drank their drinks, and then a few more. They began to get a little louder and laugh a little too hard, as people will do when they're drinking at vacation pacing. Charlie, the chief mixmaster, began to pour generously. Brandy's face became flushed, and she couldn't stop giggling. They all found everything supremely funny, and Annamarie even rolled off her deckchair. She spilled her drink in the process, of course, but this only generated more amusement, and Charlie could always make more.

Don and Brandy began making out in the doorway. Charlie and Annamarie hooted derisively, especially when the couple fell together on the living room mat and rolled around together for a bit, but eventually they lay still. Charlie got up, staggering a bit, intent on refreshing drinks. He stumbled over the unconscious couple in the doorway, and never made it to the bar before passing out himself.

"M-make mine with… with less sugar this time," slurred Annamarie. Her eyes closed behind her enormous sunglasses, and her highball glass slipped from her fingers to clatter on the wood deck.

The four humans lay still, breathing shallowly. Charlie, face down on the carpet, snored slightly.

Panels in the walls cracked open, and eyes peeked through. They weren't human.

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September 2012

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