"vacations in Iceland during the midnight sun"
Provided by @zoexantelamv
Image courtesy of @rocking-dave
I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket, but when I checked the screen it was blank with no notifications. I caught a glimpse of the time, and it read midnight. I looked back at my wife to my right to tell her again how funny it was to have sunlight at midnight, only to learn she wasn’t there.
I stopped mid-step and looked around, but there was noone there. No sign of people. Not even a footstep. I was alone on a stranded beach in the middle of nowhere. The more I looked around, the less I knew where I was and how I got there. I could feel my body tense up and my mind fill with panic, so I sat down on the sand and tried to just breathe and relax looking at the ocean. I wanted to relive all the events leading up to present, starting with day one of my trip.
I landed in Reykjavik on the 7th of June. I was travelling with my wife who I just recently married. The trip to Iceland was our honeymoon. We arrived to the hotel somewhat late, but still rented a car, visited one of the inactive volcanos and the black sand beach, then enjoyed a glass of champagne over their most prized seafood for dinner. Our room was absolutely gorgeous and we had an amazing night together. I remember how we laughed when we had to close the curtains because it was still bright outside. I also remembered how I couldn’t sleep that night and went for a short walk after my wife had dozed off.
I talked a bit with the receptionist who understood all about my jet-lag and she recommended me to take a sleeping pill or two that they hold in every one of their rooms. I kindly declined and went for a walk outside instead. Both ends of the streets looked equally as impressive, so I closed my eyes and spun around a few times then picked a random direction. I took a left turn and just went with it from then on. When I got to the end of that street, I did the same thing as before and kept going until finally I was completely lost after about half an hour of walking.
Everything was in English so I knew finding my way back wasn’t going to be an issue, which is why instead of heading straight back I went to a fast food place and had some of the more disgusting food of my life. Obviously, I needed something to get the horrid taste out of my mouth so I went to a nearby pub and had a couple whiskeys. With the sun still outside I forgot all about the time and before I knew it, it was three in the morning.
I paid for my drinks, tipped the waitress and went on my way back to the hotel. I wasn’t tired at all still, even though I was awake for near 24 hours by then. Slightly drunk I waved my middle finger at the fast food joint where I ate earlier, only to then crash into the next one and binge on some junk food again – only that time it tasted very good.
The two shots I had right before I left the pub had finally kicked in in full and I could hardly get up from my chair. On my way back I kept on thinking how mad my wife would be because I got drunk and because I spent the night away from her. I drunkenly decided I would spare myself that anger and took a left turn instead of going back to the hotel.
I kept trying to come up with excuses for my wife. I knew a simple “I couldn’t sleep” wouldn’t work. It was eating me up inside that I still wasn’t going back and was only making the situation worse. At last I decided to drown those thoughts and entered another pub. The last thing I remember was having a couple shots more.
I tried my hardest to try and remember what happened after that, and how I got to the beach, but to no avail. I only knew alcohol couldn’t be the reason because I didn’t feel any hangover, or even dry mouth. Aside from being dead tired, I felt absolutely fine.
I checked my phone again to read the date. 21st of June.
I have lost near two weeks of my life and I had no idea how. Was I drunk the entire time? Was I drugged? Poisoned? Kidnapped and then let go because my wife wouldn’t pay? My mind was racing with all possible ideas. I could feel myself panicking again so I tried closing my eyes to relax. The moment I closed my eyes, though, I saw a dead woman right in front of me, covered in blood. When I opened them again my wife was right in front of me – wearing only her swimsuit – facing the ocean. I yelled after her, but she just ran toward the water. I got up and ran after her, but my tired legs couldn’t hold me for long and after a couple steps I stumbled and found myself on the floor again, my mouth full of sand. I looked up to see where she was, but I couldn’t find her anywhere.
All of a sudden I saw her very far out in the water, too far for it to be possible for her to swim that far in that little time I took my eyes off her. I rubbed my eyes and blinked a couple times, and she was gone. I was hallucinating like mad, but didn’t know the reason why. I started wondering when I slept last, but couldn’t remember.
I tried to get back up, or at least sit, but couldn’t. It was as if I was being electrocuted - all of my muscles were shaking uncontrollably and there was nothing I could do. I could feel I started foaming around my mouth and because I could no longer control my bladder all the pee went loose. It didn’t take long then for me to lose my consciousness.
When I finally came to be I was in a prison cell. I must’ve slept for a day straight because it was beyond hard to get up and on my feet with my extremities tingling, but at the same time I felt somewhat refreshed. A policeman soon approached me and escorted me to an interrogation room with two officers seated at the other end of the room.
They kept asking me about the 8th of July, but I couldn’t tell anything other than “I don’t remember anything”. The officer in charge went on to show me some pictures of my rented car in a ditch somewhere with blood stains on it, its hood smashed in and its windshield cracked. Before I was done observing those pictures he showed me more – pictures of a dead woman lying dead at the edge of the road. I recognized that woman. I’ve seen her before. It was the same woman I saw when I closed my eyes back at that beach.
Soon all the memories came flooding one after the other. That drunk night from the 7th to the 8th of July I did manage to get back to the hotel and confront my wife. As anticipated she made a huge fuss out of everything and threw me out until I sober up. With my judgement impaired by both the alcohol and the conflict with my wife, I decided to return the rented car before they charged us another day, because I knew for certain we would spend that day arguing, not traveling.
When I got into the car I felt rather good – not too drunk at all. I started the engine and went my way back toward the airport. Not too far out of town there was a woman on the side of the road, walking toward me. I kept looking at her face because she looked familiar and in doing so drove straight into her at above 70 kilometers per hour.
I stopped the car as fast as I could and rushed outside to her, but there was no chance for her to survive the accident. She died on spot.
I decided to run away. Build as much distance as possible from the crime scene and just lay low. I knew I couldn’t go back to my wife. I knew I couldn’t go back to town. I also knew I was busted the moment they check who rented that car last, but at that moment, I didn’t think of all that. All I had in my mind was running away as far as possible.
I kept on running for miles until I made it to a forest where I decided to stop and catch a breath. I drank some water from the nearby stream and with the adrenaline wearing off I could definitely feel the lack of sleep. I delved a bit deeper into the forest still, and decided to catch a quick nap and get completely sober before I make any more decisions. The moment I laid down and closed my eyes, though, all I could see was images of the woman I just knocked over flashing in front of me. I couldn’t sleep, no matter how hard and how long I tried, and the sun shining outside was of no help either.
I tried ignoring hunger for long, I was too tired to hunt, but there was no denying I needed to eat. I got myself back up on my feet and went searching for food. I ate everything and anything I could find. From berries to insects. I left no potential food source behind.
The following days – if I could call them that because I lost track of time – were much the same. Find food, drink water, try to sleep. Every now and then I crashed on the floor unconscious and drooled for a couple ten minutes, only to then be woken up again by the horror that I have done. Due to the lack of sleep I started seeing things. Hearing things. Forgetting things. I couldn’t remember anymore which way I came from, and I couldn’t tell anymore whether the deer in front of me was real or a product of my imagination. I couldn’t tell illusion from reality anymore.
Apparently, after days of mindless wandering, I found myself on a secluded beach with no one in sight, and the police finally caught up with me.
I’m now looking at a long prison sentence, heavy guilt, and a wife who is likely to divorce me. I believe I’ve learned my lesson about drunk driving.
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