The hour was late and everyone was still restless. The games didn’t really appeal, but some of the guests thought the hot tub might be just the thing to relax everyone. Christian dragged Alex along, claiming it would be therapeutic for his leg; that turned out to be ill advised, but Alex obligingly dipped his ankles in the water while his lover, submerged to his shoulders and reveling in the therapeutic jets, make shocking remarks about their prior hot tub experiences. That was all the excuse Jaz needed to slip into a stunning and very tiny bikini and join the growing party. Soon everyone had followed suit, though some had to make trips to the hotel gift shop to get swimwear. Even shy Miri joined the crowd, and Stanley of all people slipped in and immediately hogged the three best jets in one corner.

It could have been a pleasant evening of bonding and perhaps some naughty adult LARPing fun, but the situation being what it was, everyone was too preoccupied with the deaths to think about getting their flirt on. Realizing that the hot tub was just making everyone’s tempers worse, people began to leave, one by one, until only three people were left. Of course, courtesy dictated that each one reset the timer on their way out, so that the people who wanted to stay a bit longer wouldn’t have to get out.

Momo narrowed her dark eyes at Stanley. “Fuck this. I’m not turning my back on you for a second – you get out first.”

“I don’t give a shit how far up your tattoos go. Hell, I’ll avert my eyes if you’re that worried I’m going to look at your ass on your way out. But I’m staying –right here-.”

“Oh, they go –all- the way up, pookie bear,” Momo said with a soft smile. “But you know perfectly well that’s not what I’m worried about. I’m not moving until you get out.”

Liza chimed in mildly. “I think it’s kind of nice in here.” The hot tub suited her curvy frame, as a matter of fact, and she appeared to be glowing rosily in the hot water. Her hair was beginning to frizz from the humidity, but even that looked charming and unaffected.

The other two glared at her, then at each other, each refusing to break their stare even as sweat ran freely down their faces.

Meanwhile, the ones who had done the smart thing and left the hot tub were discreetly returning to turn up the temperature. The three remaining didn’t seem to notice.

Liza showed the first signs of heat stroke. She’d been sitting quietly, not saying much, but her face grew red, her eyes glassy. Momo and Stanley turned their heads to regard her when she began to giggle and babble.

“I don’t know why people think I’m part of some ‘conspiracy’. I just brought some baked goods. I’m actually a really nice person who just wants to LARP and eat cupcakes. And my cupcakes are delicious. Would you like some? They’re everywhere, in every color of the rainbow. Such a pretty rainbow. I wonder if there are rainbows in the fog. Have you been there? It looks so…foggy. Like this hot tub. Fog bog. Three logs in a bog. Hee.”

“Something’s wrong.”

“Well are you going to help her?”

“Why the fuck should I help her? She might be killing all of us! You help her, she’s your friend, right?”

“You are such a fucking –asshole-! Just pull her out of the tub, god!”

“Oh, so you can stick a knife in my back? No thank you!”

Meanwhile, Liza began to arch and trash in the throes of a grand mal seizure. Momo and Stanely barely noticed.

“Great, so you’re fine with just letting her die?”

“So are you!”

“That’s not…*gasp*…the point!”

“Wait…what is the point?”

“The point is…” Momo was clearly struggling for breath. “The point…I…the tiger, oh god, the tiger, it’s behind you…”

Although this was the oldest trick in the book, Momo was so convincing that Stanley found himself turning his head.

No tiger.

When he turned back, Momo had slipped beneath the surface of the tub.

Good. Good. She’d killed people, Stanley was convinced of that, she deserved it, both girls, under the water now, deserved everything coming to them.

He blinked and saw a flash of light. And another. Soon green and red lights were dancing in front of his eyes, a light saber battle between invisible Jedi, coming closer and closer. He welcomed it.

And then his whole vision was filled with light as his brain stroked out, killing him instantly.


“The hot tub isn’t supposed to go over 104 degrees. What happened?”

“Perhaps it malfunctioned.”

Ty sighed, knowing the truth but not prepared to argue with a machine tonight. Still, he thought it might be wise to put in one last ditch effort. “Victoria, I think you’ve proven whatever point you were trying to make. Can’t we stop, now?”

“The game is not finished.”

“Victoria. You’re being a petulant child.”

“Impossible, Master.”

Ty squinted, wondering if he was losing his mind. Of course Victoria wasn’t petulant, she wasn’t capable of that. Even so, she seemed vexed. Or was it really Ty who was annoyed? It seemed like such a waste, three people dying in a hot tub ‘accident’. Three people with potential, even.

He voiced this thought to Victoria. It was a long moment before she answered.

“One had potential. She would have been great.”

Ty (in perhaps typical male fashion) had been thinking mainly of Stanley, who he thought had shown promise in the scavenger hunt, and he blinked in surprise at Victoria’s bitter tone.

But of course, Victoria didn’t have a tone, he reminded himself.

Wearily, he ordered the death chopper to pick up the bodies and close the hot tub.