The story of the couple trapped in the mysterious resort continues this week. This is part 2 of 3 of this scary mystery story for pre-intermediate teens or adults. If you missed the first part of the tale, you can find it here (part 1). Read on for the next installment. Also, make sure to get access to the story resource at the end, which has vocabulary practice for all the underlined words in the story as well as comprehension questions to be used in class.
Daichi called out Madame Khanh’s name in a panic. Even in his current state of mind he found it quite strange to call someone “madame”; this was not a custom in Japan. The bathroom door was open, but the only thing that Daichi could find in the bathroom were bags of makeup and other things that Daichi was unfamiliar with, but which he assumed were to refresh the Madame’s appearance.
There were two possibilities, either Madame Khanh hadn’t come to her room, or she’d gone out the window. Either way, it was clear that someone else had been in the room. A few ornate jewelry boxes were open on the dresser. They were empty. Daichi concluded that someone must have come into the room and taken them, but where was Madame Khanh?
Daichi looked out the window one more time. It was seven floors up, so there was no way that she could have gone out the window. The room was near a fire escape, but it wouldn’t be easy to access from the room. It was meant to be accessed from the hallway. Another strange thing…even through the rain and the distance to the garden below, Daichi saw two glowing red lights. They looked almost like eyes.
The Japanese man, now soaked from sticking his head out the window during a torrential storm, decided to contact security. Madame Khanh was likely hiding somewhere in the resort and it was important that somebody find her. After a bit of asking around, Daichi finally located a security officer named Dong, who was standing near a partially open service exit smoking a cigarette. Dong didn’t speak much English, so Diep, the guest relations officer, was assisting him.
Diep started by explaining the situation as Daichi had told it to her. Dong seemed a bit annoyed. Maybe it was because he had to put out his cigarette. Maybe it was because he now had some work to do. Before asking any questions, Dong, who was a rather thin man but with a slightly muscular physique, straightened the collar of his shirt. “When did you last see her?” this was translated to Daichi by Diep.
“About an hour ago. I was talking with her in the bar,” Daichi said looking at Dong as his words were translated by Diep.
“Why did you go to her room?” Dong asked suspiciously.
Daichi went on to explain about the ring and every action that he’d taken since he’d last seen Madame Khanh. After a few more questions from Dong, Daichi began to feel like he’d just become a murder suspect. Before going off to search for Madame Khanh, Dong gave Daichi one last suspicious stare. He then made a sort of grunting noise, straightened his collar once more and marched off, presumably to find Madame Khanh.
Feeling that there was nothing more for him to do at the moment, Daichi went to meet his wife. After all, she was probably beginning to worry about him. It had already been an hour since he’d sent her a text message about drinking champagne and celebrating their anniversary. Daichi checked his phone and saw that he’d missed three messages from her.
#1 Yes! Hurry up to the room, it’s lovely.
#2 Where are you? Hurry?
#3 Is everything ok?
The last message was from twenty minutes earlier. He walked past the bar and picked up a half bottle of moderately priced champagne and went up to his room where his wife was waiting. She was sitting at a small table near the window with her phone beside her. Kanako no longer looked annoyed with him, she looked concerned and then relieved.
Daichi told her all about Madame Khanh as the two of them enjoyed a glass of the bubbly dry champagne. Daichi had the bartender put strawberries in the glass to make it seem more romantic; Kanako seemed to approve. “You’re right by the way, this is a really nice room. Strange, but nice,” Daichi said looking at the strange choice of furniture and paintings that were characteristic of the Luck Pilgrimage Resort.
“How can you think about the room? That poor old woman. I wonder where she is?” Kanako asked.
“I’m sure she’s fine, but it was very strange. Let’s make sure we keep the door locked. Not as if we have anything worth stealing, but still.”
“Good idea,” she agreed with Daichi for the first time that day.
“Let’s get something to eat. After that, we’ll check about Madame Khanh. How does that sound?” Daichi asked his wife.
“Yes! I’m starving,” she said agreeing with him twice in a row; he was on a roll!
Maybe it was the champagne, but Kanako seemed lively and awake. Much different than before she’d gone upstairs to shower. This was the woman that he’d fallen in love with. The woman with an appetite and a love of adventure.
And what an appetite it was. The two of them both ordered filet mignon steaks with a side of mashed potatoes and asparagus. After finishing, they shared a chocolate mousse and two espresso macchiatos. They were just about finished with their coffee when a commotion broke out in the fairly empty dining room.
Dong, the security guard, was limping heavily and was being helped by the bellboy. All of the staff gathered around the two to find out what had happened. Daichi couldn’t help himself and quickly joined the group followed by his wife.
Daichi couldn’t understand a word that anyone was saying, but the clues of the situation spoke for themselves. Dong had a black eye and ripped pants from where he must have fallen down. Dong had been attacked.
As Dong spoke, the staff gasped in what Daichi interpreted as horror. Daichi had to know what they were saying. He found Diep, who was completely engrossed by the story. “Excuse me, what is happening?” Daichi asked.
“Please sir, don’t panic,” Diep said more to calm herself than for Daichi’s benefit.
“I’m not, but I would feel much more comfortable if you would tell me what is going on,” Daichi said firmly.
Diep was unsure what to do. She’d never been in a situation like this before. “Something attacked Mr. Dong and stole one of the lock boxes from the security office,” she explained.
“Something attacked him?”
“Mr. Dong is very tired and maybe he is confused. He says that it was a tiger with glowing eyes. He says it was like a ghost that appeared from nowhere and could go through walls…” Diep stopped talking to listen to more of Dong’s story.
“Tiger?” Daichi was very confused.
Tiger must have been one of the few words that Dong knew in English, because he looked straight at Daichi and showed him the large claw mark on the back of his thigh. It was deep and looked as if it may have been made by some form of beast. Perhaps a tiger.
Upon seeing the wound, the young women that had gathered around the security guard stepped back and moaned. It was as if by being too close to the wound, they were afraid it might hurt them too. Kanako had come to Daichi’s side and stood with her mouth open in surprise. There were no immediate answers to this mystery. None that Daichi could think of at least.
Mr. Theilman, one of the few other guests at dinner, stepped up to Diep and Xuan. “Did I hear that right? Did you say some ghost stole a lock box from behind the front desk? Whose lock box? Better not be mine!” His face was turning a dark shade of red from anger.
Xuan, the front desk clerk, was visibly still frightened of Mr. Theilman from their last encounter. “No sir, your lock box is in a special safe. As it happens, the lock box that was stolen didn’t have anything in it. None of them did,” Xuan explained.
“Are you saying that I’m the only one stupid enough to trust you people with my valuables! Well, if I didn’t learn my lesson the first time, I’ve definitely learned it now. I want everything out of that safe immediately, do you understand?! As soon as this storm is over, I’m leaving this horrible place,” Mr. Theilman yelled so that the other guests in the restaurant could hear.
Suddenly a loud strike of thunder hit so close to the resort that everyone shuddered slightly. The wind got even stronger and made the whole resort seem alive. Palm branches slapped against windows and bits of debris flew into the closed glass doors. The restaurant had an ocean view. Daichi stared out at the sea. From what Daichi could see, he didn’t think he would survive for more than a few minutes in those waves. Outside there was a dangerous storm and inside there was either the ghost of a tiger, or worse, a lunatic pretending to the ghost of a tiger.
Xuan reluctantly led Mr. Theilman away to collect his valuables from the safe. “And there better not be one thing missing, do you hear! I know what you people are like,” Mr. Theilman roared as he walked away.
“What a horrible man,” Kanako said clutching to Daichi.
“Come on, let’s go back to the room. I’ll keep you safe,” Daichi said winking at his wife and trying to reassure her that everything was fine.
The couple couldn’t sleep. The espresso hadn’t helped, but they both kept pacing back and forth in the room. They were both thinking about what had happened to the security guard and Madame Khanh. Daichi could not forget that Madame Khanh was out there somewhere. She had almost surely been attacked by the same monster as Dong. Where was she? Was she still alive?
“We have to look for Madame Khanh first thing in the morning,” Daichi said pacing near the bed.
“Agreed,” Kanako said stopping near the counter to start the kettle.
“More coffee?” Daichi asked wondering what she was doing.
“No. I usually bring some herbal tea with me on trips. I’m always a bit worried that I might not be able to sleep in a strange environment. Would you like some?”
“Thank you. I’m curious, what do you think happened?”
Kanako stepped away from the kettle and looked out at the rain. “Do you think it might be one of the staff?” she asked.
Daichi considered this. Of course it was possible that someone might be tempted, but there was such a high chance that they’d be caught. It didn’t seem worth it for a member of the staff to rob someone. Daichi started to think about a few of the other guests that he’d seen in the resort. He wondered if any of them could possibly be the thief.
After a soothing camomile tea, the couple lay down in the bed. They continued to talk about theories of what was happening, but were slowly accepting the sleepy feeling. It felt like Daichi’s eyes had just shut when he was awakened a few hours later. There was shouting coming from somewhere on their floor. It was 3am!
Daichi grabbed the closest thing to a weapon that was readily available: an umbrella. He ran out into the hallway with the umbrella raised like a spear. He wasn’t sure what he would do if he ran into any danger, but it made him feel better to have it. Eventually, he ran into Mr. Theilman outside loudly yelling at Dong and Minh Quang. Mr. Theilman was crying.
“How could you let this happen to me! To me! Do you know who I am…” Mr. Theilman wailed.
“What happened?” Daichi asked Minh Quang, who had considerably better English than the security officer.
“Mr. Theilman’s room was robbed. They took everything…”