Your plane touches down on a remote island in the South Pacific. Dammit, you’ve needed this vacation. And it doesn’t hurt that your sister decided to uproot her life and move here just under a year ago. Sure, she followed a man, and while that’s not your cup of tea and it has put some distance between the two of you both emotionally and physically, at least it means you get an amazing vacation spot to visit! Looking on the bright side, just like your therapist suggested. Two weeks visiting your little sis in the South Pacific. What could possibly go wrong? Plus, she asked you to come. She must want to see you and reconnect.
You make your way out of the airport, slightly disoriented, anxiety rising with every step. No, calm down; it’s your sister, you’ll be fine. You walk outside and smell the salty air. You see her pull up and run out of the car to hug you. She smells like tobacco and burnt sugar. The hug is a great gesture, but it does seem odd that she’s wearing long, dark robes. It’s the South Pacific! On an island! In summer! But rather than nitpick, you hop in the car to go see your sister’s new life.
“How was the flight?” she asks. She seems genuinely excited to see you.
“Very long, but no screaming infants, so I’ve had worse.”
“Oh, yeah, babies on flights are terrible. I’m glad you made it safe; I wanted you to make it here in one piece.” She smiles. Her face looks strangely frozen; the smile seems a bit vacant.
That’s an odd statement, and why does your face look so strange? You don’t say those things, of course. Instead you ask, “So how’s Paul?”
“He’s good! I’m sorry he couldn’t make it with me. I didn’t tell you yet, but, we’re having a group over tonight for a bit of a welcome party for you. I hope that’s okay!”
You’re slightly taken aback. You don’t particularly like Paul, or his shady-seeming friends, and the thought of a giant group get-together on the evening of your arrival seems a bit unnecessary. The pit of your stomach roils in anxiety.
“What was that noise?” your sister asks.
“Oh, just my stomach. Guess I’m a little hungry.”
“We will absolutely take care of you, don’t worry.”
You two lapse into silence for a while. This island isn’t very big; there’s no way this drive can be much longer. It’s dusk outside, and you appear to be driving further into jungle, away from civilization.
“Not to be a child, but, are we there yet?”
“Oh, we’re close; we’re very close.” She turns and gives you another strange, vacant smile. Her eyes look glassy. The hell is going on here?
She makes a sudden turn into a hidden drive, and you immediately notice a group of 50+ people standing in a field. There’s a large bonfire, and everyone is wearing robes just like the ones your sister is donning. Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no. Your anxiety is through the roof; you feel like you’re having a heart attack. You turn and yell at your sister.
“What are you doing? Why did you bring me here?! Is this a sick joke?!”
She smiles that disembodied smile. “No, sister. This is very serious. Anxiety is caused by our God; he lives under this island, under the sea. He’s coming back, and soon. He’s sleeping, surrounded by sunken cargo ships, and mountains of gold doubloons, the sickly sweet smell of decomposition is what he feeds upon. He won’t be sleeping for much longer. Join us.”
“And if I say no?” you ask, trying to back away, to get to the car, to escape this insanity. Suddenly, you’re grabbed by multiple arms; a gag is shoved in your mouth; a hood is slammed onto your head.
You hear your sister’s voice say, “Oh, I wasn’t asking you. I was telling you. You’re one of us now.”
Scent notes: crisp sea salt; tobacco leaf; burnt sugar; freshly poured pavement; carrot seed. (This is a challenging blend, with a few sour/unpleasant notes at first that dissipate to a strange, delightful blend of sweet and salty with a touch of rot. Not for the faint of heart!)