I Who Killed Me-Chapter III

I+Who+Killed+Me-Chapter+III

AKA Xueyun, Contributing Writer

Chapter III

-A’ad be Khufain Hunain-

The air was boiling his brain, the desert ahead of him fading in and out like a dream. Why was he there?

He walked, the heat draining life out of him second per second until he saw a small house. Outside the gardened house was a slim lady. The white dress she wore swayed in the desert’s wind as she stood with her back turned.

Words fell out of his mouth as he called to the woman, but he could not hear them. 

The lady turned, her eyes a gradient brown, her hair wavy and black, and her skin the colour of the desert sand. 

She spoke, her words resonating through the grey sky, “Come find me.”

 

“Attention all passengers, we are making our descent into Cairo.” I was startled awake, looking around me before recalling where I was. 

“Welcome to Egypt. If this is home, welcome home,” the intercom clicked off. My neck cried in pain as I winced and stretched un my seat. The window outside the plane was like out of a movie, the scene below a mix of the orange desert sand and the wavering city buildings.

I couldn’t believe I took the trip after getting that pamphlet for something I didn’t even raffle into, but what else was I going to do while I was forced to take a vacation? If I had shown up to work looking the same as I was before I caused a scene, I would be taking the risk of being fired on the spot. My manager was tough, but I had already cost him a news headline of ‘worker at The Swan forced to work to the point of passing out’.

When I first read it, I couldn’t help but laugh, but this was a serious problem. I figured I could shirk off that uneasy feeling by going to Cairo, but something told me that there was more to this trip. 

-⏳-

“I won a reservation at this really expensive restaurant and now you say you’re in Cairo?! You could’ve just told me you didn’t want to go!” Phoebe sighed. I could tell that she was disappointed, but was glad I finally left the state to do something with myself.

“Now who I am supposed to go with? You’re so dense because all you eat is grass,” Phoebe shouted through my phone as I walked through the airport. I figured I could call someone to ease my nerves, but I could already feel myself getting closer to high blood pressure. 

“Just because I’m a vegan doesn’t mean I eat grass,” I retorted. She always used crude remarks to get on my nerves, but I had gotten used to it after many years of hearing her statements.

“I’ll send you pictures if you need proof, but don’t worry,” I explained once more after listening to her ramble incoherent words for a good minute. “Listen, I’ll call you back when I get to my hotel.” 

“Hey! Wait, what about my reservati-” Before she could continue, I hung up and stuffed my phone in my pocket. The signs and announcements were generally in what I would assume to be Arabic, though, much to my luck, there was some English. 

After squinting at a headboard and following crowds, I found myself at the pick-up of the airport. The humid air hit me before anything else, like a sauna baking my skin alive, if that even is possible. The buildings and structures had unique colours and designs, something I would have definitely not seen if I were to stay in my stuffed apartment.

I watched as other people from my flight motioned for taxis, so I did the same, and sure enough, a taxi driver pulled up to me. 

The guy rolled down his window and glared at me, his bushy eyebrows almost mocking me. “Where to?” he spoke, his fluency much better than I had expected. 

“The…” I fumbled, pulling the crumpled booklet from my pocket. “The Purple Lotus Resort?” 

He seemed to understand as he nodded and motioned with his hand to the back as the car trunk popped open. “Put your bags in the back and get’n.”

I pulled my suitcase to the back of the car and hauled it in before sliding into the passenger’s seat. The car smelled of pine, a painful and over-used air freshener for cars, but I kept in my disgust the best I could.

“What is’a American like you doin’ in Cairo?” he started speaking again as he glanced at me. He steered the car out of the airport and onto the highway. The car was stuffy enough to make me feel carsick, but it was better to be out of that cramped airplane. 

“Won a trip here,” I replied. I turned to look out the window. Compared to the desert we flew over, it was just like any other city I’d seen. There were obvious American influences in stores that we passed, many of which I recognized, but nothing that caught my immediate attention.

The guy only tutted as he turned the volume of the radio up. The music was a weird mix of what I’d imagine phonk to be, and pop, but it was much better than silence. I lay back and sighed. I wonder if Mom will call me.

-⏳-

Compared to what I had imagined, the entrance of the Purple Lotus Resort was packed with taxis with foreigners and couples. Just like in the name of the hotel, there were lotus flowers surrounding the entrance in the clear ponds. I could tell just by glancing at the entrance that I would not find myself relaxing well in a hotel full of extravagant design and packed with millionaires waiting to load off their money.

The taxi driver pulled into the front behind a swarm of cars. Even though there were many cars cramped into the three-lane entrance, there was a considerable amount of order and screaming between drivers compared to the way here. 

“Ten Egyptian pounds,” the driver said as he turned to me. 

I stared out the window for a moment before I took out my wallet and pulled out the card that came with the brochure. “Does this work?” I held it out to him before he took it and analyzed it. 

“You really did win, eh?” he said with a raised eyebrow before sliding it through a small card reader. 

I didn’t know what to say to him as he handed the card back and motioned for me to get out of the car. I got out of the car and shut the door before walking around the back and getting my suitcase. 

“Hey, American!” 

I turned to look back at him as he leaned on the open window of the car. He looked at me with a serious face, only one that almost felt unsettling. “Be careful,” he said before rolling up his window and driving away. 

The taxi driver drove away before I could say anything. I watched as his car merged into a farther road and disappear into the traffic. What was that supposed to mean?