Trina tries not to giggle as Bryce kisses her to deliver a fourth shot of whiskey, the tipsy girls having claimed a corner of the room for themselves. Curled up with each other on a large beanbag chair that reeks of beer, they ignore the drunken guys that stare at them. At first, they would wave at the leering faces, but an hour of being asked if they were interested in a threesome by men and women has made them more reclusive. Wearing jeans and nude-colored shirts that mark them as first and second place winners, Bryce and Trina enjoy being warm and covered. The rest of the party is nothing more than background noise, which a panicky young man is desperately trying to keep down to a mild roar. Playfully whispering to each other, the couple reach for their final shot and take it by clumsily twisting their arms together. Most of their drinks get on their shirts, but they are more upset about the wasted alcohol than the damp clothing.
“You go get another few rounds,” Trina slurs as she rolls off the beanbag chair. She uses the wall to get up before helping Bryce stand, the pair sharing a short kiss before stumbling away. “I have to go the bathroom. Drank a lot of water before the race. Meet you back here as soon as I’m done. Get some tequila this time.”
“Shouldn’t we go back to the room?” Bryce asks with a lazy smile. Her eyes begin to close, but she shakes herself awake. “I know we don’t have classes tomorrow, but I wanted to hit the gym for a little cardio. Then again, I’ll be lucky if I can walk in the morning. I can get us a bottle and we can have a private party back in our place.”
“Sorry, but we can’t afford to get in trouble again. I’m sure both of us would be expelled for the noise alone,” the smiling freshman says while crossing her legs. Seeing someone else heading for the bathroom, she lets out a whimper and emphatically nods her head. “Fine, we’ll risk a third strike, but we have to be quiet this time. Now, let me go pee before I have an accident.”
Nearly shoving people out of her way, Trina rushes to the bathroom while keeping an eye on the other girl. She guesses her opponent for the toilet is a sorority pledge with the way she is repeatedly stopped to chant something. Even with the delays, the cheering girl is nearly at the door by the time Trina gets around a group of boys singing a common drinking song. With a growl of determination, she barrels through a barely clothed couple and grabs the doorknob, her butt flicking to the side to knock her enemy away. A few people move to catch the defeated drunk, who is cursing at the top of her lungs and unwittingly showing that she no longer needs the bathroom. Trina feels a pang of guilt as she closes the door and locks it before scrambling to the toilet. With a sigh, she relaxes and grabs a can of air freshener to read, the words partially blurred by her faltering vision.
A cold breeze runs up the tired girl’s spine and she practically jumps to her feet before realizing that the window is open two inches. She considers closing it, but stops when she catches sight of the lake. Memories of the dancer flood her mind and she anxiously looks for any sign of the mysterious woman. For a brief moment, she swears there is a horse standing in the shadow of a tree, but the silhouette is gone after a few blinks. Leaning closer to the window, Trina jumps back when a raven lands on the sill and silently stares at her. The bird’s unblinking gaze makes her uncomfortable, a feeling that is made worse when it manages to push the window further open. Opening the air freshener, she sprays the animal and drives it away, many more joining it in the air as they leave the trees.
Trina continues watching for the birds while she finishes up, her hands fumbling with her belt. A bang on the door snaps her out of her trance, but she can only manage a slurred reply that is met with another impact. Clearing her throat, the young woman goes to wash her hands and checks herself in the mirror. Her stomach gurgles and tightens, forcing her to cling to the edge of the sink. She coughs and fights back the urge to throw up, the taste of sweet alcohol rising from her gut. Trina spits up some of the whiskey and watches it go down the drain, the red tint making her swear to never order cinnamon-flavored drinks again. Hearing another loud bang on the door, she opens her mouth to shout back, but a flash of heat through her body nearly causes her to pass out.
Needing more air, Trina lurches to the window and throws it open, which attracts a pair of ravens. The birds remain on the ground where she cannot spray them and they refuse to move no matter how much she yells. She sucks in a big gulp in the hopes of clearing her head, but instead she spews alcohol and her dinner into the grass. More ravens land on the branches while the first two bravely fly onto the sill, their beaks mere inches from Trina’s dilated eyes. She is about to wave the animals away when a fresh bout of nausea causes her to throw up again. Not wanting to be seen, she covers her mouth with her hands and hurries to the toilet. The panicking freshman is vaguely aware of the birds entering the bathroom and surrounding her while she continues to vomit. A voice in her head screams that something is not right, a thought that becomes stronger when blood begins coming out of her mouth. No matter how hard she tries, Trina cannot stop herself and the last thing she sees is the dancer reflected in the metal toilet handle.