RevenantbyCal Y. Pygia©
Danny frowned when he saw the paddle lying on the table at the foot of his bed.
On his way to the bathroom, to take a shower, he'd noticed that the implement was missing from its place in the collection of Roger's spanking instruments. Although several equipment items adorned the wall--"adorned" had been his late lover's term, not Danny's--including paddles, straps and strops, riding crops and whips, martinets, birch bundles, and bamboo and rattan canes, a missing item was readily apparent, because its absence left an empty space in its stead. Where the small, oval, white plastic paddle had hung, there was now but an unused peg.
The paddle itself was on the table at the end of the bed, but how had it gotten there? Who had removed it from its place of honor--Roger's term, again, not Danny's--and placed it upon the table--and, perhaps more importantly, why?
His intended shower now forgotten, Danny was frightened by the thought that the condo that he and Roger had once shared (and that was his alone, now that his life's companion had died a few months ago) had possibly been invaded. There might be an intruder in his home, hiding in a closet, in the other bedroom, or elsewhere in the house, perhaps waiting for his chance to ambush the homeowner, to rob him, or even to kill him.
After Roger's passing, Danny had reluctantly given away or sold most of his lover's possessions, which had been agonizing. One thing that Danny hadn't been able to bring himself to dispose of was Roger's collection of spanking implements. Although Danny wasn't any too fond of them--and with good reason; they'd been used, mercilessly and frequently, upon his bare bottom for years, subjecting him to both emotional distress and physical pain (despite his erections)--the instruments had been more than merely important to Roger; they had been something akin to the idols of a perverse, if powerful, faith.
Roger had spent hours polishing them, oiling them, inspecting them, researching them, seeking them, testing them, refining them, and otherwise having what amounted to a relationship with them. They had not been merely wood and leather and plastic and bamboo and rattan and metal to him. They'd been fetishes imbued with magical powers and invested, as Roger had told Danny many times, with their owner's own vitality, with Roger's essence, with his very soul.
They were talismans. By virtue of the attention, the loving care, and the devotion that he'd given to the spanking instruments over the years, Roger had said, he'd invested himself in the paddles, straps and strops, riding crops and whips, martinets, birch bundles, and bamboo and rattan canes, so that they were as much a part of him, or of his soul, as he, or it, was part of them.
Knowing his late lover's sentiments, there'd been no way that Danny could ever have parted with Roger's collection, even if the mere sight of them sometimes made Danny uncomfortable. There was a disquieting, even frightening, aspect to the well-polished plastic and wood and to the well-oiled leather that seemed, somehow, malignant and malevolent.
As Roger himself, on occasion, could be, Danny thought.
Immediately ashamed at having thought ill of the dead, especially when "the dead" was the man he'd not only loved with all his heart, mind, and soul, but with whom he had also lived for most of their adult lives, all the way up to Roger's death from pneumonia a few months ago, Danny sought to repress his impetuous characterization of his paramour as "malicious." However, he found, he could not put the troubling thought to rest, for, as a matter of fact, Roger could be, at times--all right, was, in fact, most of the time--a malicious man with a nasty temper and a volatile demeanor.
The many, many spankings that Roger had delivered to his beloved's bare, defenseless buttocks hadn't always been simply and solely for the purpose of "disciplining" him, Danny knew. Sometimes, Roger had wielded his paddle or his strap or his whip for no other reason but that he'd felt like doing so. There had been more than a bit of the sadist in his late lover's character. Roger really had been much like the cruel instruments he'd used to spank--and to beat--Danny into submission and to keep him there.
As these thoughts passed and flitted through his mind, Danny, having selected the four-foot rattan cane--it left not only welts, but deep, long-lasting cuts in one's buttocks--as his weapon, searched his condominium for a possible intruder. Someone, after all, had removed the plastic paddle from its peg; the instrument hadn't floated off the wall and onto the table at the foot of his bed by itself. Therefore, whoever had done so, might still be inside the condo.
Cane in hand, and feeling awkward as hell and more than a little frightened, Danny crept to the door of the master bedroom, where he paused, just inside the massive frame, and listened intently, holding his breath.
He heard nothing.
Still, he waited, straining to hear the least sound. There was, he discerned a faint humming in his ears. Cautiously, he turned his head to the left and the right, hoping that he might identify the source of the reverberation.
He squinted, peering straight ahead, down the carpeted hallway that led from the rear of the condominium to its front, where lay the study, the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen. He saw nothing and no one.
At last, wiping the back of his free hand across his perspiring brow--he hadn't been sweating a few minutes ago, and the air was actually slightly chilly, thanks to the central air conditioning that filtered and cooled the suite of rooms--he realized that he was the source of the sound he'd heard; it was the coursing of his blood through his veins and arteries: those closest to his ears conveyed a dim, muffled drone.
He smiled, not daring to laugh, at his foolish fear. He'd heard of people who were afraid of their own shadows, but he'd never heard of a man who was afraid of the circulation of his own blood.
Adopting what he hoped was a more manly and resolute posture, he stepped carefully from the door frame.
Turning to his left, he crept toward the guest room, the door to which, he saw, was open, as he'd left it last night after vacuuming the carpet and dusting. Nothing seemed disturbed.
He tiptoed across the carpet and, seizing the closet's doorknob, turned it and snatched open the door, all in one quick motion, brandishing his--or, rather, Roger's cane--at nothing.
The closet harbored only the few items that Danny had stored there, memorabilia of his life with his late lover, mostly: photograph albums, travel brochures, newspaper clippings, reviews of Roger's theatrical performances on and off Broadway.
A quick glance into the guest room's private bath also revealed no trespasser, and Danny was beginning to feel as bit sheepish. He'd always been meek and timid, Roger, who had been anything but either, had told him time and time again, usually before, during, or after a sound spanking, whipping, or caning. It seemed that Roger had been right about that, as he'd been right about most of his other beliefs.
Still, having checked the rear of the condo, Danny thought that he might as well err on the side of caution--it was better to be safe than sorry, he'd always maintained--and be sure that no one lurked in the front of the apartment, waiting to bludgeon or shoot him. Not all men were as submissive as he, after all; some were aggressive, indeed. Some were dominant and domineering, as the love of his life had been and as, presumably, an armed robber and housebreaker would be.
Danny dared not think of what he'd do--probably piss himself, if he didn't shit himself--if he actually came face to face with an armed intruder. He didn't allow himself to think of such a possibility.
Instead, he pressed forward, cane at the ready--probably to have it stolen from him and used by the burglar to beat him to death--and checked the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room. All were clear, and he breathed a sigh of relief.
Only the study remained to check, and it had its doorway was occupied by double doors set with windows nearly as long and as wide as they, so that anyone could see inside the room from outside. Danny wouldn't even have to go into the room, but, when he saw the photograph, he did.
It was a picture of Roger and Danny, together, in the master condo's bedroom, Roger's collection of spanking implements on the wall, the leather looking as well oiled and the wood as well polished as ever
All but one of the implements, that is, were on the wall, for, in the photograph, Roger was holding the same rattan cane that Danny had been holding, in his own hand, when, just a moment ago, he'd looked through the one of the long, wide window panes, into the study. Seeing the photograph , he'd dropped the cane immediately, involuntarily, suppressing the scream that had launched itself within him.
After Roger's death, Danny had consigned this very photo to the walk-in closet of the guest bedroom he'd just visited, along with the other memorabilia of the life that Roger and he had shared as lovers--and as master and slave, respectively. This picture was the last which showed Roger in what appeared, at least, to have been good health. In the photograph, cane raised in his steely grip, ready to strike Danny's naked buttocks yet again, adding another bloody stripe to the lacerated flesh of his arched bottom as Danny knelt on his elbows and knees in the bed that the two men, master and slave, had shared for so many, long years, Roger looked robust, hale, and hearty. He was in excellent shape, and his body was conditioned and toned. Outwardly, at any rate, Roger was the very picture of good health. The early stage of Alzheimer's wasn't apparent in the photograph. Pictures do lie, Danny had learned, as this one did, showing a trim, fit, vigorous man where, in reality, there was but a hollow husk of one.
Within a few months following the picture and the spanking--one of the most terrible (and, therefore, memorable) that Danny had ever endured at his lover's hands--Roger's health had declined noticeably, as Stage 1 of his Alzheimer's manifested itself in his forgetting where he'd left his keys or eyeglasses. Then, he began having trouble remembering the names of acquaintances and even friends.
Later, checkbook errors became frequent--and costly--as he paid--or tried to pay--the couple's bills. Roger couldn't tell his Mondays from his Fridays, and he began to lose track not only of his siblings' birthdays and names but also forgot that he had two sisters and a brother.
Danny had considered a nursing home, after the diagnosis had been made, but he'd loved Roger too much, despite the many spankings and savage beatings he'd endured at his dear, familiar old hands over their many years together as domestic partners, ever to confine him to such a facility, and, before the end, he'd had to brush Roger's teeth, wash his body, dress him, and even wipe his ass for him after Roger had used the toilet or, for that matter, when he'd pissed or shit himself, which he had, with increasing frequency, as his decline had continued.
Toward the end, Roger had begun to suffer delusions, imagining that Danny was an imposter or an intruder, and his behavior had become bizarre in other ways as well. He'd polished the wooden and plastic paddles and oiled the leather straps and whips with obsessive-compulsive zeal.
Finally, before the final stage had had the opportunity to visit the most extreme of the disease's indignities upon Danny's lover, Roger had passed away in his sleep, beside Danny, in bed, a victim of pneumonia complicated by his Alzheimer's disease.
There was no intruder in the house. There was no burglar hiding in a closet or behind a shower curtain or under a bed or a desk. In fact, Danny had checked and double-checked the doors--they were locked--and the windows--they were not only locked, but also unbroken--and he'd had to conclude that there was no one in his condominium but himself.
How, then, had the cane been taken from its place in the collection, and how had this photograph found its way from the guest room's closet to appear in the study, its frame propped up on the desktop, polished as brightly as any of Roger's wooden or plastic paddles?
There was but one answer, Danny thought, fighting down a terror inside him as dark as malevolent mindlessness and looming death. He himself must have Alzheimer's, just as Roger had had. Danny himself had moved the cane, for some reason, just as he had the photograph, and he'd forgotten that he'd done so. He'd also imagined that someone else might be in his residence, an intruder who was present only in his own mind.
He'd watched his lover's slow, but inevitable decline, a relatively young victim of the disease that had robbed its victim both of dignity and health and of self-respect and sanity, and Danny knew that he couldn't endure such a horrible fate. He just couldn't!
Not that he'd have any choice in the matter, if he really, truly had dementia.
With a faint heart and a trembling hand, he returned the photograph to the guest room closet and the cane to its place on the master bedroom wall, and he got into bed, forgetting his intended shower.
He managed, after tossing and turning as he moaned and groaned in terror and panic for half the night, to fall asleep.
When he woke the next morning, his buttocks were afire.
He leaped from his bed and streaked into the bathroom, where, in the mirror, he saw that his bottom was red and purple with deep, horizontal gashes, half a dozen in all, one above the next in a neat parallel series, across both buttocks.
The bamboo cane hung beside its rattan mate, and, under it, thin lines of a dark, ruby fluid--Danny's own blood--streaked the beige wall!
* * *
"The good news," Dr. Chambers announced, speaking across his desk to his patient, "is that you do not have Alzheimer's."
Danny breathed a sigh of relief. "You're sure?"
Dr. Chambers permitted himself a slight smile. "Positive."
Danny sighed again, more deeply. "That's a load off my mind." He'd settled back into the deep cushions of the armchair. However, he sat forward abruptly, his brief relief a thing of the past. "What is wrong with me?"
The internist's slight smile faltered. "I'm not sure," he admitted, "not yet."
Danny was as forthright as he'd ever been in his life, asking, "Am I losing my mind, doc?"
"No, of course not."
"So, what the hell is the matter with me?" Danny demanded. "You can tell me."
"I already have told you: I don't know, not yet. I'm ordering a battery of tests."
Danny looked worried.
"Don't worry," Dr. Chambers told him. "We'll get to the bottom of this."
Danny tried to return the internist's reassuring smile, but he wasn't reassured, and his lips refused to pretend that he was.
The doctor handed his patient a slip of paper.
Danny looked at it. "What's this?"
"A prescription for a tranquilizer."
"Will it make me stop imagining things?" Danny had told him of his delusion about the invader. He'd told him about the fiery sensation in his buttocks and the sight he'd seen of his lacerated bottom in the bathroom mirror. He'd told him about the misplaced items, too, including the paddle. His confessions concerning the BDSM games that he and his late lover had played had been the most embarrassing admission of his life. His face reddened again as he recalled the declaration.
Dr. Chambers considered his words carefully, meting them out as if they were pearls of wisdom not likely to be understood or appreciated: "They will keep you tranquil."
* * *
Roger was waiting for Danny when he got home.
The sight of his dead lover, as substantial-looking and robust, as vigorous--and virile--as he'd been in his best years, in the flower of his youth, and handsome as the devil was more than Danny's senses, even tranquilized, could bear. He keeled over in a dead faint.
* * *
The paddle--not the oval plastic, but the heavy, rectangular pine one with the holes drilled through its blade to reduce air resistance--hovered above Danny's bare buttocks.
The terrified victim, lying naked across the knees of his unseen spanker, his bottom arched upward to receive the paddle's falling blade, screamed once, through the haze of the tranquilizer he'd taken just before he'd returned home from Dr. Chambers' office an hour ago, before the pain exploded in his ass cheeks, igniting a fiery sensation that blasted through him, as hot as molten lava.
The paddle launched itself into the air again and descended a second time, with even greater force, its blade flattening Danny's buttocks as the wood struck with an enormous CRACK!, loud as a gunshot.
Six more strokes of the paddle fell, rapid-fire, making Danny's bouncing buttocks quiver as if they were jelly rather than flesh and blood, and he howled in agony.
He glanced back, over his shoulder and, as the paddle rose into the air again, he saw the semblance of flesh take the shape of a fist, wrapped about the instrument's handle. More "flesh" assembled itself out of thin air, forming a forearm, an elbow, a pair of biceps, a shoulder, and, before Danny's terrified eyes, the body of his late lover appeared, piecemeal, as it were, wearing the very tweed suit in which Roger had been laid to rest.
"What are you?" Danny screamed. "A demon out of hell?"
There was a horrific laugh as the Roger-thing opened its mouth, and Danny, suddenly, didn't want to know the answer to his question and was sorry he'd had the temerity to ask. The horrid sound rose and echoed, sounding like the chorus of a thousand fiends guffawing over the sight of a sinner suffering the pangs of eternal torment. Then, the Roger-thing spoke in the voice of Danny's late lover. "I am a revenant," he answered, "one who has returned from the dead. A poltergeist, your kind might say."
"My kind?" Danny bleated.
"The living," the apparition explained.
The paddle fell with a resounding crash against Danny's red-and-purple ass. He squirmed, moaning, his erect cock rolling and pressing against his returned lover's ghostly thighs. They seemed substantial enough, Danny thought, for a phantom.
"I have returned from the grave to continue our loving relationship."
The paddle landed again, with devastating pain. Danny screamed. "What relationship can we have?" he bleated. "You're dead!"
In place of the paddle, a razor strop pelted Danny's ass, leaving wide, red stripes in his black-and-blue ass. "The same relationship we had when I was quick instead of dead," the ghost declared. "That of master and slave."
A half dozen strokes of the strop lashed Danny's bruised and lacerated ass, and he shrieked, rolling his hips hard against the ghostly sadist who held him fast.
Danny recalled the sight of his bare buttocks in the bathroom mirror the other day, raw and bleeding, and the missing cane, like the misplaced photograph of Roger in his prime, standing, proud, before his array of spanking implements. It made sense--if he could accept the impossibility of it all: a poltergeist returned from the grave, if not from hell, to resume the relationship he'd had with Danny during the ghost's mortal years. It was incredible. It was laughable!
The strap lashed into Danny's buttocks, and he howled, but not with laughter. The anguish that ballooned inside his buttocks, spreading through his ass cheeks like a wildfire, made Roger's absurd claim that he'd returned from the grave to resume his domination of his slave believable, and, between teeth gritted in pain, Danny said, "Welcome home, sir."
The lash of the strop was the revenant's response, and it was all the answer Danny would ever need.