*This post contains physical and sexual violence. Reader disgretion is advised.*
A pink classic car drives along a bright windy road with lakes on either side of it. In the car, other than the driver is Tom and Hannah Simmons. Tom is an accountant in a private firm while Hannah works in a boutique dress shop. Both are busy professionals and they haven’t been on vacation since their honeymoon six years ago. But now being here in Cuba is the most amazing feeling.
“Whoo!” Hannah raises her arms in excitement. Tom laughs as he puts his arms around her shoulders and plants a kiss on her cheek.
The two of them are looking forward to going to their all-inclusive resort called the “Playa Cayo Santa Maria.” For a whole week it will be nothing but fruity rum drinks and salty sea air.
The classic car taxi arrives at the resort where a huge archway with a couple of golf carts and a tourism bus greets them as soon as the car stops. Hannah’s gasps at the beauty of the resort as she steps out of the car. She picks up her camera and snaps a picture of it. Tom pays the car driver and says a few words in Spanish to him before he walks up to his wife. He hooks his arm around her waist.
“Oh Tom!” Hannah says happily wrapping a hand on his waist. “Its so beautiful here.”
Tom smiles and looks towards the guest service desk. “Shall we check in?”
He looks back at Hannah as she looks at him and gives him a peck on the lips. “Let’s do it.”
After checking in at the desk, Tom and Hannah finally get to their room a half hour later. They unlock the door and open it to see where they are staying. It is a nice cozy room with earth tone colors. The drawers have a hanging mirror over them that almost divides the room. But it provides great storage for their belongings. On the other side of them is a TV in the right-hand corner on top of a mini-fridge, two chairs with a small table sitting between them, and two different pairs of curtains (one green and one a translucent white) leading out to a small balcony.
After bringing in their bags, Hannah goes into the fridge to open it up. In there she finds complementary champagne and sodas. Seeing this, Hannah lets out an excited squeal.
“Honey!” She turns in her kneel and shows her husband the inside of the fridge. “We got free champagne and pop in here.”
“That’s fantastic Babe but we got a problem here.” Tom says as he looks towards the two queen beds.
Hannah could see the problem too but she has a solution. “Oh, that’s not a big deal honey. We can push them together and make it a big bed for us. Or just sleep on one bed and leave the other for another night.”
“Yeah. I guess you’re right.” Tom says. He isn’t the kind of person to make a huge fuss over little things and neither is Hannah. It’s one of the things that they love most about each other. Tom looks towards his wife and gives her an impish smile. “But let’s not sleep separately. I can’t sleep unless you are right next to me.”
Hannah jumps up and goes into his arms. “Ditto.” She gives him a long sweet kiss and looks straight into his brown eyes. “What do you say we break into that champagne and celebrate out in our beautiful balcony.”
“I like how you think Babe.” He says smiling down at her and presses his lips lovingly to her forehead. With another excited squeal, she goes to the mini-fridge and gets out the bottle while Tom finds two glasses in the bathroom. They meet outside and pour the champagne into the glasses. This is going to be one amazing vacation.
The next morning, Tom and Hannah decide to leave their room and go see their Sunwing representive after breakfast. Hannah in her sweet pink sundress, walks out the door giggling with her husband right behind her. As he holds her close, the two of them nearly bump into the chambermaid trolley in front of them.
“Oh!” Hannah says in surprise and a young, petite woman stands up behind the trolley.
“So sorry, senorita.” The chambermaid smiles at them.
“Oh no. It’s alright. I bumped into you.” Hannah says. “Are you alright? Did I knock something off or…”?
“No senorita. No harm.” She says kindly. After studying her a little closer, Hannah can see that this small woman is actually quiet a cute-looking person. She has short black hair, hazel colored skin, a sweet smile, and an unusual necklace with a green shell pendant. However, she had no nametag on her shirt. Although that is strange, Hannah thinks nothing of it.
“Do you clean the rooms on this floor senorita?” Tom asks her.
“Si.” She says to him.
“Is it possible to get some more soda pop?” Tom starts to stammer as he thinks of the words he is trying to remember in Spanish. “Gaseosa?”
“Ah! Si senor.” She says and bends down to pick up one of the sodas that she has in her chambermaid trolley.
“Ah si!” Tom says as he points to it. “Could you give us some more?”
“Si senor. I’ll give you more.” The chambermaid gives him a friendly smile.
“Muchas gracias.” He says and gives her five pesos.
Tom and Hannah take off but turn around to wave at the chambermaid. She returns the wave and studies them as they leave down the stairs. The maid’s face changes from a friendly working woman to something shadier and more sinister. These people have no idea what they are in for. A lurid smile crosses her face. She has been hungry for quite sometime and she’s been waiting for people like them.
Later in the day, Tom and Hannah return to their room. Tom goes to the fridge to get a couple of pops and Hannah goes to the bed and sets her bag down. Tom tosses Hannah, the lemon-lime flavored pop as she takes out the brochures from her bag.
“Oh Tom! I’m so excited that we are going on the Two Cities Tour.” Hannah joyfully states. “I wonder what we are going to see.”
“A lot about the culture and history I think.” Tom says, sipping his cola. “It should be really good.”
“It looks like our chambermaid has cleaned up for us.” Hannah says. “I love the towel flower she made.”
Hannah takes a look down at the bed and with a couple of towels made into the shape of a single flower. She takes out her camera and snaps a picture of it. It is so whimsical and lovely to see it resting there. As she moves to the foot of the bed, something catches her eye on the floor. It looks like some kind of symbol burned into the ground.
“Tom. What is that on the floor?” Hannah asks inquisitively.
Tom walks over and looks at the symbol. It looks like an inverted cross with three horseshoes going around it. He has never seen anything like it but he has a theory. “It’s probably a company logo of an architect firm. I’ve seen them before. Not like this but I bet that is what it is.”
Hannah is not so sure but she accepts Tom’s answer. “Well, enough seriousness. Let’s get our swimsuits on and go to the pool.”
Tom smiles at her and says. “Sounds like a great plan. I’ll bring my book.”
“I’ll bring my bikini.” She winks at Tom who raises his eyebrows at her. She knows how much he loves seeing her in that bikini.
That night, Tom and Hannah are sound asleep in their bed. A day of relaxation at the pool was exactly what they needed. After they had their supper at the snack bar, both Tom and Hannah felt a little drained. They thought they might have had a little too much sun and with the tour tomorrow, they decide to go to bed early.
They both are sleeping peacefully until Hannah suddenly opens her eyes in fear. Someone is in the room with her and it isn’t just her husband. Unable to move or scream, she realizes that she can only move her eyes. She looks at her husband who is sound asleep and not even stirring. From behind her she hears the door lightly open and close. Her heart races and still she can’t scream.
A shadow glides past her bed, there she sees the chambermaid from earlier. But why is she here? Hannah wonders. The chambermaid looks blankly at her for ten seconds until a sinister smile appears on her face. When she opens her mouth, she reveals sharp snake-like fangs where her front teeth should be. The chambermaid climbs up on top of the bed and straddles on top of Hannah. She begins to touch and fondle her breasts.
“NO!” Hannah screams in her mind. “STOP! DON’T TOUCH ME! HELP!”
The chambermaid starts slapping her in the face over and over until Hannah can feel nothing but numbness. Tears start streaking down her cheeks while the despicable woman on top of her rips off the shoulder of her nightgown. With her sharp teeth she bites down hard on her shoulder and a scream finally lets out of Hannah’s mouth. She manages to kick, scream, and throw up her arms.
“HELP!” She screams as she kicks up the blanket and sheets off the bed. “TOM!”
“Woah! Woah!” Tom yells and grabs a hold of Hannah’s arms. “Hannah wake up! Your dreaming!”
With frightened fast breathing escaping her lips, Hannah looks at Tom and sits up. She turns into his shoulder and starts sobbing.
“She attacked me!” Hannah sobs.
“What do you mean? Who?” Tom asks worriedly.
“The chambermaid.” Hannah explains with tears coming down her cheeks. “She was beside the bed and then she came on top of me and started molesting me! Then she was slapping me and she bit me on the shoulder after ripping my nightgown!”
She pats her shoulder to find that her nightgown strap is not ripped off but something does hurt. She puts down the strap and sees what looks like two bite marks. Tom looks inquisitively at the bite marks. He goes to the bathroom and gets a cold wet washcloth to wipe at the bite marks. She flinches with the pain.
“I’m sorry Babe. I know it hurts.” Tom says calmly. “It looks like a bug bite. People get them here all the time.”
“But the chambermaid…”
“Babe it was just a dream. Look around she is not in here.”
Hannah does as he suggests and looks around. He’s right. She isn’t in here and there is no way she could be in here. She lets out a sigh and brushes away her tears. Now she just feels like a fool.
“Come here, Babe.” Tom says gently putting his arms around her. “I’ll protect you.”
Eventually they both fall asleep despite Hannah still feeling as if she has been violated. Hopefully things will look much better in the daylight. That is what she hopes for anyway.
The next morning, Hannah and Tom walk out of their room. They come face to face with the chambermaid in the hall.
“Buenos diaz!” She says cheerfully to them and still has no nametag.
“Hola.” Tom says kindly to her, but Hannah stays fearfully silent.
The chambermaid sees her trepidation and says to Hannah. “You alright Chica?”
“Sorry it’s nothing.” Hannah says smiling. “I’m just not feeling well today.”
“Ah!” The Chambermaid says, “Can I help? More soda?”
“I’ll be okay. Thanks.” Hannah says trying to smile and sound better.
The two of them walk away and bid the chambermaid adieu. She watches them go and waves to them. One down and the other to go. Although a woman’s blood has a sweet nectar to it, she has always enjoyed men’s blood more. It’s hardier. Even when she was still in Greece, men’s blood has always been her preference.
The tour of the two cities has cheered Hannah up drastically. Tom doesn’t know which part has helped her the most. The first place they went to is the stream train graveyard. They walk around all these antique but vibrant trains from the 1930s that used to go everywhere in North America. Hannah could not stop snapping pictures of them. They were intricate and beautifully painted like any kind of work of art. They couldn’t get enough of it but it isn’t long before they are whisked off to downtown Remedios City. They are dropped off in front of a church made in the 1700s, yet it still stands tall and proud.
Inside they found many detailed statues of the saints and Jesus himself but what really surprises them is the plaque they find on the ground. Tom kneels and studies it while Hannah takes a million photos of it.
The tour guide comes towards them and says, “That is a mass grave of the men who built this church.”
This news has Tom stumbling back and taking a gulp. Hannah looks at him and starts to laugh. When he looks at her, he blushes in mild embarrassment. He can tell that she seems much better now and gives her a smile. The tour guide leads the people out of the church to their next destination.
After they had watched the making of Cuban cigar demonstration, they are given a free hour to explore the town centre. After taking a quick look around, the couple decide to sit at an outdoor café to drink some mojitos.
“This has been a fantastic day.” Hannah says sipping her drink.
“It’s not over yet, we’re only half done the tour.” Tom says cheerfully. He reaches across and holds her hand. “I’m glad you are a little happier after the night you had.”
Hannah gives his hand a light squeeze and says. “You were right. I overreacted. No matter how real it seemed, it was in the end, just a dream. I’m sorry honey.”
“Don’t be.” Tom says. “You were scared and from what you told me; it was a really frightening dream.”
“Well, thank you for making it all better.” She leans over the table and gives Tom a quick kiss on the lips. They hear a whistle and see their tour guide across the street waving his hands.
“Time to continue.” Hannah says standing up.
“Yep.” Tom says and they walk hand-in-hand towards the group.
Back from the tour, Tom and Hannah stop in their room. They are so glad that they listened to their Sunwing agent and took this tour. They could not have asked for a more knowledgeable person or a more fabulous time. But now Tom has an exciting night planned for Hannah.
“I got a lovely surprise for you tonight.” He tells her as she pulls out her best dress.
“What’s that?” She asks.
“I booked us dinner at the most romantic restaurant on the resort and I thought we could take in a show tonight.” He says with a big smile.
“That sounds perfect.” Hannah says smiling and goes over to her husband to put her arms around his neck. “A romantic night out after our big adventure today? What could be better.”
Tom chuckles as he kisses his wife. “Go get dressed Babe. I’ll do the same.”
“Oh, you bet. And if you play your cards right, you might get lucky too.” She says taking her dress and winking at him.
He smiles after her and can tell that his mission to cheer her up has been accomplished.
Tom and Hannah leave the romantic restaurant feeling lightheaded in all the best ways. Gourmet food tends to make even the most grounded person into a dreamer. Everything from the salad to the dessert looked like a piece of art. The salad looked like a forest tower, while the main dish looked like a 3-D picture with a spider web background, and the dessert was the delicious signature of it all.
The atmosphere of the restaurant even shows romance with its red tablecloths, a single white flower in the center, and champagne constantly flowing in and out of their glasses. So far, it has been a perfect night.
As they walk towards the theater, Hannah takes Tom’s arm and smiles up at him.
“What?” He asks smiling down at her.
“I just want to thank you for being the best ever husband.” Hannah says and presses her lips lightly to his cheek.
“You finally noticed?” He chuckles at her.
“Well you have always been a man of facts; I was just stating one.”
“Uh huh.” He says and points down to some wicker chairs at the front row. “How about we sit in those chairs. Get a great view of the show.”
“Sounds good.” Hannah says as she taps his arm. “I’ll get the seats and you get the drinks.”
“The usual?” He asks. “Strawberry daquiri?”
“You know it.” Hannah says, releasing his arm, and walks down the steps to get the seats. “See you down there.”
In mere moments, Tom goes to the chairs that Hannah has saved with their chosen drinks. After he gives Hannah her drink, he sits next to her, and settles in. The lights begin to dim, and the host announces himself.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Welcome to the main event! The show is about to start so sit back, relax, and enjoy.”
A lively Latin tune starts to play and the lights on the stage brighten up to illuminate the set. Four women with long billowing skirts dance and swish their way onto the stage. In seconds, four men dressed in black and white suits join them. Hannah is entranced by the performance, but Tom finds himself drifting off. It has been a long day and only Hannah really enjoys shows like this, so he lets his eyelids get heavy and falls asleep.
He feels a nudge from the person next to him and opens his eyes. He looks straight ahead at the dancers twirling around in a circle. When the dancers split up to either side, Tom suddenly sees the chambermaid at the center stage. At first, she just stands their staring blankly ahead at the audience. He looks around and no one seems to react to her. She looks to Tom and gives him the evillest look that he has ever seen, like she wants to kill him.
The chambermaid bursts into a run and jumps on top of him in his chair. Her eyes look so red and demonic like a snake that’s about to feast. He tries to move his hands to push her off but all of a sudden, he can’t move. She punches him over and over in the face. He sinks in his chair so defeated and exhausted that he can’t even scream. Her long front teeth suddenly appear, and she gives him an inhuman smile. With her hand she strokes the front of his shirt and tries to undo his belt. A whimper sounds from his mouth when he realizes what is coming next. The chambermaid leans towards him and opens her mouth like she is going to bite him.
Suddenly, he finds himself shaken awake by Hannah. “Honey. The shows over. You slept through the whole thing.”
Tom is sitting completely silent with his face turned away from Hannah. She becomes concerned when she sees him shaking with terror.
“Tom?” Hannah asks worried. “What’s wrong?”
She puts her hand on his shoulder and he nearly jumps out of the chair. A gasp escapes Hannah’s lips after she sees Tom’s quick movement. Tom looks to Hannah and finally says. “It was a dream. I can’t believe it.”
“What?” Hannah asks and sees something that makes her scream. “Tom! You have a black eye!”
Tom puts a finger lightly on his left eye and feels the tenderness of it. “She hit me.”
“Who?” Hannah asks frantically. “What happened?”
“The chambermaid.” He whispers. “You were right. These aren’t just dreams.”
Hannah reaches over and holds Tom. When she looks down, she sees the same symbol that is in their room. The inverted cross with three horseshoes going around it and its on the arm of the chair that Tom is sitting in. When they break apart from their embrace, Hannah says nothing but points to the symbol. Tom looks at that and realizes that it has a connection to the chambermaid. Hannah takes out her camera to snap a picture of the symbol. She looks at the photo and finds that the symbol is not on the picture. Not letting that stop her, Hannah takes out her notepad and rapidly sketches the symbol. After Hannah finishes her sketch of the symbol, Tom takes her hand and they both leave.
They hastily make it back to their room. While Hannah runs to the mini fridge to get out a cold can of soda for Tom’s eye, Tom sits on the bed shaking his head. He still can’t believe what happened to him. Hannah brings Tom the can and sits beside him.
“We have to get help.” Hannah says matter-of-factly.
“From who?” Tom says. “Who is going to believe us?”
“Customer service, maybe?” Hannah says. “They have to do something. And we can’t just let this go.”
“What do you think they are going do!?” Tom says in a shout.
“I don’t know!” Hannah yells back at him. “But we can’t just let the fact that we both were physically and sexually assaulted.”
“In our dreams.” Tom points out. “By a chambermaid who’s name we don’t really know for sure. Get real!”
“You get real Tom!” Hannah scolds him while getting off of the bed to pace. “You want to sit here by yourself feeling miserable that’s fine but first thing tomorrow, with or without you, I’m going to customer service to make a report.”
Tom looks to his wife and can tell that she means what she says. She walks past him and calmly utters, “I’m getting ready for bed.”
As Hannah goes to the bathroom, he realizes that she is right. They must go to somebody about this whether they look crazy or not. He also feels so guilty for downplaying what happened to her. What she went through was just as real as what happened to him. She silently crawls in the bed beside him and tries to fall asleep.
Tom looks to Hannah, lies down, and puts his arms around her. “I’m so sorry.” He simply says.
She puts a supportive hand on his arm and replies. “We are in this together. We take this down together.”
The next morning, Hannah and Tom stand outside the customer service office waiting for them to open. When Hannah lets out a sigh, Tom looks her in the eye and takes her hand. He gives her a smile which she returns. Suddenly, they both feel a little stronger.
“Buenos diaz.” Says a feminine voice behind them. “Can I help you?”
Tom and Hannah turn to face the voice. They see a blonde-haired woman with blue eyes and sweetly sun-kissed skin. She wears a perfectly pristine grey suit and her hair is up in a French twist. She greets them with a small professional smile. With a light squeeze of Hannah’s hand, Tom speaks to the woman.
“We have a very bad problem.” He says. “We need to make a report about it.”
The woman nods. She can see that these two guests have been through hell. Because of that her heart sinks a little. “Come on in.”
She unlocks the door to the office and the three of them step inside.
After recounting their attacks, Tom and Hannah study the woman whose name turns out to be Yvette. She has listened very carefully and clearly takes what they have said very seriously.
“Did you get this woman’s name?” the Yvette asks.
“No. She didn’t even have a name tag which should have been our first clue, but I have this sketch of this symbol that keeps appearing whenever she is around. I tried to take a picture of it, but it didn’t show on my camera.” Hannah pulls out her notepad and shows it to the woman. After seeing it the woman has a look of fear on her face. She takes a breath and tries to compose herself again.
“What do you folks know of Ancient Greek Mythology?” She asks.
“Not much.” Tom answers. “Why?”
“This symbol is that of the Greek goddess Hekate.” The woman explains. “She’s the goddess of witchcraft, magic, ghosts, and necromancy. She also has a vampiric servant named Empusa. She invades dreams and feeds on the blood and flesh of mortals. Usually men but there have been some cases where women have been attacked too.”
“How do you know this? If you don’t mind my asking.” Hannah asks politely.
“I have a degree in Greek studies.” She answers. “I think I can help you. The good news is that she is easy to rid of. I’ll get security on this but for you two, if you sense her in anyway, insult her. She is banished by verbal abuse.” Yvette pauses when she sees the questioning looks on the couple’s faces. “I know it sounds simple and stupid but ancient texts swear by it. Give it a try.”
Tom and Hannah look at each other and they can tell that they don’t have any other options. They look to Yvette and nod at her. They look disheartened and sad but Yvette has an idea of how she can make them feel better.
She looks to the couple and offers. “Because this happened to you, I’d like to return your money this week and offer you two another free week. You will get a different room and we’ll take care of your returning plane tickets.”
“That’s very generous.” Hannah says to her in pleasant surprise.
“It’s the least we can do after all that’s happened to you.” Yvette says caringly. “And we’ll get to work on getting rid of Empusa. Don’t worry, security is used to doing the odd tasks that I have for them.”
Tom and Hannah, get up to leave but before they are out the door, Tom turns to Yvette and asks. “Why did you believe us? I mean, it happened to us and it is unbelievable to me.”
She looks at them and says. “Well. Let’s just say I’ve learned to keep an open mind. Put all your worries to rest. We will get rid of her for good.”
The Simmons leave the room, feeling good again. A huge weight is lifted off their shoulders. As soon as the door closes Tom and Hannah embrace each other. It looks like everything is going to be okay.
Empusa stands in the forest outside of the resort. The security guards were yelling out these curse words and calling her horrible names. She has already changed from the unassuming chambermaid to her true form, that of a flame-haired, mule-footed demon as she hatefully glares at the resort. Clearly those two humans blabbed to the right person. They knew exactly how to get rid of her and that boils her blood.
She turns away from the resort and goes towards the beach where she had hidden her shape-shifting necklace. Empusa had to take off the necklace because when she transforms back into her demonic self, the necklace is too tight. It has a magical gem that looks like a green rose that shines gold in the right angle, so it is easy for her to find. That necklace has been with her since her mistress and goddess has given it to her thousands of years ago. The sooner she gets her necklace, the sooner she can move on to another country and feed on other unsuspecting travellers.
She walks into the clearing where she put her necklace only to find that it is gone. There is no one else here and no sign or scent of anyone ever being here. Empusa’s eyes go wide in shock, rage, and something along the lines of anguish. She raises her arms in the air and roars. Not only did she lose her most valuable possession but now she is stuck in Cuba like a prisoner. Whomever took her necklace is going to pay!
*If someone assaults you whether it is physical and/or sexual, do NOT be silent. Tell someone and get help. Noone has the right violate another person.*
Special Thanks to:
Playa Cayo Santa Maria Resort: For a beautiful vacation and wonderful time - Las Dunas 5, Cuba, https://www.hotelplayacayosantamaria.com/
Sunwing Vacations : For organizing everything for us - https://www.sunwing.ca/