Rose Red in Darkness Ch. 01bysididis©
*This is the first part of a developing erotic horror story, which started as an online conversation, with the girl of my dreams who eventually turned out to be like the stuff of dreams only an unrealised fantasy. With her in mind I am writing this tale. I welcome any criticism, editorial comments or storyline ideas *
The black Jaguar snarled a metal roar as it tore up the miles, its bright headlights pushing the big car through the darkness of the twisting country lanes. Bridgette sneaked another look under her eyelashes at him, the cool collected driver controlling the metal monster deftly as they took another sharp turn down another stone walled lane. She didn't quite know what it was about this guy, but from the moment they met online she'd seemed to be drawn to him. Perhaps it was his looks, long thick black hair, pale white skin, high cheekbones and dark smouldering eyes, but she was sure there was more to it than just simple attraction. Maybe the way he spoke to her: as if she was a young woman and not a child. She was flattered without a doubt, she knew he was flirting with her and she had flirted back eagerly. Something at the back of her mind did wonder what he was getting out of their flirtatious chat. What could he possibly get out of this?. He was obviously a lot older, even though quite handsome. She almost imagined it being how her mother had described one of her many affairs. "He simply took my breath away, Bridgette, dear sweet; sweet Rivera." she'd say. Stupid woman, imagine being taken in so badly by some bloke who didn't even stick around. He was gone before the end of the night, her big sis Eve was proof of that. She's seen it all, geeky goth girl that she is. She was only two when her mother had her first illicit fling, now seventeen going on twenty; she was looking for some excitement of her own.
The moon shone whitely through scudding clouds, half crescent, they slowed down, gravel crunching under the heavy tires. "Ah, we're finally here, welcome my dear Bridgette" Ahead of them under the bright lights of the car a pair of high heavy gates began to silently swing inward, revealing a cobbled driveway threading through an avenue densely lined with pine trees.. "Welcome to Harbinger House." The car started forward again and as they rounded a curve in the drive the house revealed itself to her, a pale Victorian apparition large and white, huge in fact 3 storeys high at least, she thought, but in the gloom she could quite make out how high it actually went. He brought the car to a final halt, got out and opened her door for her. As her feet touched the cobblestones she felt something electric go through her, like the house acknowledging my presence she thought, and then shook her head at the silliness.
Bridgette was an elegant young woman of seventeen, with exquisite long red hair. The full emerald green skirt and black bustier she wore contrasted with the flame above. Red wisps were playfully tugged at by the sudden night breeze, she now wished she had tied back, but she soon found herself loving feel of the cool air combing through her stray locks; so free. It carried with it the heady scent of pine, and looking up she suddenly realised that what she'd taken to be just an avenue of trees was actually a forest, dark and brooding, standing proud around the white tombstone of the manor . Dropping her bags and walking slowly over to the nearest trees she found her way barred by a high wrought iron fence. Pressing her face to the cold railings she peered through, into the darkness. Hearing the spiky susurrus, breathing the heavy pine fragrance, exhaling slowly. "I love it" she whispered to herself unaware that Matthias was standing watching her. He stepped out of the dark shadows. "Now that pleases me to hear" he moved closer to the fence reaching for her hand. Bridgette took his hand it felt cool and dry and strong, and nodded bashfully at him, cursing herself in her thoughts for reacting so stupidly. She smiled back at him and tried to turn to fetch her bags but he didn't let go of her hand. Don't concern yourself, Jefferies will see to them. "Jefferies?" she looked around puzzled. As if on cue, the portico at the front of the house blazed into yellow light, a tall incredibly thin figure stood silhouetted against the amber glow. He moved toward them, with a weird jerky sort of motion, a picture of a stick insect or chameleon popped into her mind. Close up Jeffries was even weirder, sallow skin over deep hollowed eyes, he was dressed in some archaic notion of a uniform, and close up smelled strongly of mothballs. He was looking at her as if she were a mud spattered mongrel about to roll on a Persian carpet, cold shivers down her spine. Long fingered hands extended to swoop up her bags, and then the accusatory gaze was withdrawn and with a twist of his head, he jerked away towards the house, bags in hand.
"Well...he's ..unusual," she finished lamely.
"Came with house, general butler, handyman and what have you, takes a bit of getting used to I admit, what can you do?" He smiled. But don't concern yourself, he won't get in your way." His hand gave hers, a reassuring clench, "Come, let me show you my home, I'm sure you'll find it fascinating."
Hand in hand they strolled to the portico, as they approached she suddenly began to realise just how big his place was. His voice telling her a little about its history, faded to a drone she was suddenly more aware of the tangible presence of the house itself, again something like an electric charge travelled through her, intensifying slightly as they ascended the portico steps.
" And that brings us to the here and now." Matthias concluded.
Heavy dark wooden doors easily 8 feet high opened noiselessly at his touch and then they were across the threshold.
He heels clacked quite loudly on the black and white tiles covering the floor of the hallway From here, a twin staircase of black marble bordered by wrought iron balustrades rose to the floors above. A gigantic chandelier rode in the gap between the staircases emitted a soft yellow glow. Doors branched off to her left and right , through one of them she could make out what looked to be a study, she could see a large writing table with a big computer on it and she wondered if this was where he sat on the many nights they chatted online.
Tilting her neck she tried to follow the staircase's ascent. "You have a beautiful home Matthias, just how big is this place?"
"That Bridgette, you can find that out yourself, you're more than welcome to explore it all while you are here, during the course of your, 'erm investigations." at this he winked slightly.
"Now I've had your room prepared for you," taking her hand he led her up the first flight of stairs. "I think you'll enjoy it",
Arriving at a door to the left of the first floor landing he produced a key on a violet ribbon and proceeded to unlock the door. It swung inwards revealing a bedroom luxuriously laid out in various lilac shades heavy silks and taffeta bedecking a large four-poster bed.
Swinging the key on its ribbon from his index finger he proffered it to her with a slight bow.
"This room the Gwendolyn suite, is now your own, you can lock it and no one will disturb you. Unless, he paused "You want them to?"
Accepting the key, she felt a sudden shock at how feminine she felt in his presence. He made her feel like a woman and she liked that feeling, adored not being treated like a child, and adored him. Or at least what she knew of him. "If you need anything during the nights, my room is at the end of the corridor to your right. If I am not downstairs that is where I will be; and you are welcome anytime dear B." His hand rested on her lower back guiding her through the door. His touch was sensual even though he remained still, she could feel his fingers circling, caressing her flesh through the fabric of her coat. Feeling a little light headed she allowed herself to go where he led, nearly tripping over her bags in the process. He gripped her arm stabilizing her, his grip sure and firm making her melt, feel safe. Something she wasn't used to at all.
Feeling a sense of gratitude, she leaned in to kiss him on his cheek, but as her mouth approached he turned his head quickly to receive her kiss on his mouth instead. Her lips tingled as they met his. Time stopped, her senses reeling, no-one had ever kissed her like that before and she was surprised at how suddenly she had become aroused. Their lips parted and she almost let out a sigh but managed to contain herself.
"Well then, if there is nothing else," he said casually. "I bid you adieu for the time being. I do believe a light repast will be served in an hour or so, in the meanwhile please make yourself at home, those drawers there are empty should you wish to unpack." With that he walked out of the room, whistling softly.
Closing the door behind him, Bridgette's knees were suddenly jelly. She collapsed onto the bed her heart racing. What was that man doing to her, she didn't normally feel like this with other guys, god her knickers were actually moist. He was proving to be a lot more than she had ever expected. She had met this mysterious individual on a website her sister had introduced her to, he'd been intelligent, witty, incisive. she remembered their conversations online. Bridgette was a witch in her own right. She believed in the supernatural and if ghosts and ghoulies existed then it was common sense to assume that vampires and other paranormal creatures did also. Her emphatic belief in the existence of supernatural forces and creatures had seemed to amuse him. His questions while sometimes glib seemed to hint of a deeper knowledge, knowledge she herself felt drawn to. As their debate blazed across the ether, she began to feel he was provoking her to find the truths. In the end she just ask him flat out "You seem to know so bloody much. How do you know "they" exist?" his answer when it arrived nearly knocked her off her seat. "Because I've seen them, and you can too, the evidence you seek is very close to where I live."
He then proceeded to offer to let her visit him and see for herself. And here she was miles from bloody nowhere alone with a perv, albeit a handsome one and his oddly shaped manservant. Suddenly a bit panicked, she got up and went to the closed the door and locked it. She was seventeen, not stupid; she thought. For reassurance she reached into her pack she and pulled out wicked looking knife, releasing it from its sheath she turned it watching the light catch on its sharp double edges. It was a ritual dagger, she'd always supposed it magical since the day she had found it in an old antique store in Brighton. Whenever she picked it up, it settled in her hand like it was made for it, the metal felt warm to touch, it always had, even on the coldest of nights. Finding the harness that fitted the sheath she proceeded to lift her skirts and strap the knife to her thigh. Thus armed she began to unpack the more unusual items, her candles, a chalice, pentagram and some black velvet. She had found a small circular table next to the bed "perfect" she said aloud. Taking it over to the end of the bed, she began setting up her altar.
. A knock at the door startled her "yes" she called out laughing at herself. "Some food is ready when you are, my dear," came the smooth reply. "Ok thanks" was all she replied. She knew she had to keep an eye on this one, he wasn't like anyone she had ever met before. She could see in his eyes the deepness that seemed to pull at her every time their gazes locked.
After carefully locking her door she hung the key on its ribbon between her breasts and set off downstairs. After one or two wrong turns she eventually found herself at the dining room. Her arrival was announced by the chiming of an ornate looking grandfather clock. Its chimed bonged out an ominous seven times before it fell silent. Candles in a central candelabrum illuminated the long dining table at the end of which lounged Matthias, playing with a silver fork. At the opposite end of the room was a large fireplace in which a fire crackled cheerily several comfortable chairs were laid out in front of it. The smell of food played made her realise just how hungry she was. Matthias rose and offered her a chair beside him. Ladylike she thanked him and sat as he drew her chair in for her and took his own seat. "You're so full of shit, ya know that" Bridgette gestured to her host. She carefully watched his face, expressionless he replied "How's so?"
"All this my dear and treat you like a lady coz I'm a gentleman stuff. No-one does that anymore" she smirked.
"They do if they have any decency." came his calm reply.
Any retort she may have offered was ended by the clank and clatter arrival of Jefferies wheeling in a food trolley. It was piled high with slightly tarnished silver salvers, the trolley appeared to have a dodgy wheel because it squeaked as it crossed the room. Jefferies drew the trolley to a shuddering halt and began tossing salvers onto the table, which proceeded to make an awful racket as they bumped and skidded across the table.
The food although there was a lot of it was not very good, undercooked or burned salty or unseasoned, it was as if the chef hadn't sampled any of the dishes before serving them, however the bread butter and cheeses that she found were all acceptable so she loaded up on them. Matthias she noted didn't seem to appreciate the food either pushing it around his plate with a fork or hardly touching any of it. To accompany the meal she had a choice of red wine or water. After sampling the wine and finding it slightly vinegary she resorted to the water which was cool lovely. Matthias sat silently watching her eat, a slight smile across his face, watching her expressions of distaste. He waited until she had finished chewing the last morsel on her plate before saying. "I apologise for the quality of the food, I know Jeffries does his best but between you and me I don't think cooking is his forte' I much prefer to go down to the village for a bite to eat."
"Oh there's a village close by?" she asked, feeling slightly relieved. "I didn't see one when we were driving in."
"That's because I took a short cut, but you are more than welcome to accompany me on my next foray down there."
Now I think we should clear your palette I've just the right thing to make you forget all about that dismal repast. I think I have a Courvoisier somewhere. So saying he crossed to a large oak dresser, and pulled out a decanter and two brandy snifters. Deftly pouring into each, he strode over to her and offered her a glass.
She took it attentively and they went sat by the large open fire. She cradled it in her hands. The cognac filled her senses its fumes reaching her brain even before she'd taken her first sip, it was sharp to taste, not like her normal beverage but it gave her a warming glow. As she sat looking at the flames she could became aware of just how loud the grandfather clock behind her seemed to be ticking. She took another small sip, and noticed him looking at her with a studied gaze. What? She asked catching his eye. "Oh nothing, well I was just thinking how fetching you looked in the firelight, with your red hair you look like something elemental, I was quite taken a back I admit." She smiled Why thank you that's nice of you to say" Actually she had been thinking how good he looked with the glow of the fire pouring over him small reflections glistened in his thick dark hair. His eyes caught small flames and burned into her. Her breathing picked up a pace and she could fee a bead of sweat on her upper lip. The tick-tocking of the clock intruded again That's a very load clock you have there.. she gulped. "Is it? I have to say I'd never noticed, but now that you mention it, it does seem quite loud." She listened along with him, the room still but for the occasional crackle of the fire and the repetitive ticking of the clock. In fact as she concentrated on it, it seemed to get rapidly louder, Tick-Tock! Tick-Tock! She felt herself start to sway her head, her eyes felt heavy, the room started to tilt, lights started to flicker in front of her eyes and then she just collapsed and fell into darkness.
She woke with a jolt. A cool chill crept down her back. Looking around Matthias was nowhere on sight. She checked her watch, 10.30pm "damn" she muttered. I must've dropped off she thought to herself. The flames of the fire burned low and steady but still a cold wind caressed her skin. "Why didn't he wake me?, Where did he go? Has someone left a window open? Questions, questions; questions. They played over and over in her mind. Rising she saw the front door was wide open in the hallway. Again she looked around for any sign of life. The fire hissed and crackled at her. Still clutching the quarter full glass of brandy she noticed she'd hardly touched it at all. Flicking the remaining contents into the living light, it roared a brilliant blue eager and energy. Bridgette ventured out into the night. Dark clouds gave an impression of a roofed closeness. Scanning the area from where she stood she had a few choices. Go back inside and wait which Bridgette dismissed quickly, there was no fun in it and she waited for no-one. Instead she had the choice, to head towards the sea or the forest. "Hum which to choose" she mused. Her mind was made up when for a brief moment she saw a flicker of light out in the forest. "Forest it is "she half said to herself. Reflexively she touched her thigh the warm metal of her blade through her skirt. She had begun to feel ill at ease "Get it together B" she said out loud "It's not like you haven't been alone in a forest at night before". But that was the point, her mind reminded her she was not alone. Matthias was somewhere out there.
Nerves steeled and resolved she set off locating a gate in the fence she opened it with a rusty squeal and made her way into the dark network of trees. Although she was no stranger to making her way through dense woodland at night, still it was tough going. Every childhood fairytale of dark evil woods and the perils within them flashed across her mind. Roots and fallen branches sought to slow her progress, needles snagged at her hair.
Suddenly she could see firelight through the trees Ahead the trees opened to the sky above. Flaming torches encircled and accentuated a clearing in the trees, the ground here was quite flat as if the area had been used for ritual for many years, large boulders demarked key points there was order to their placement this clearing was no accident of nature. The torches created pools of warm light, from her vantage point she could see Matthias. He stood with his dressed in a heavy dark blue velvet robe his back to here, as still as the circle of stones that ringed him. The centre of the clearing was made up of a single slab of stone, black as the night itself. She could see it had been covered with what she took to be throws of furs. Bridgette strained to get a better look. "You can see much clearer from in here." came Matthias's voice, smooth and rich. Bridgette could almost feel it caress her. Knowing there was no way she could go back into the forest without him hearing her she bravely entered the lit area. As he turned to watch her, she could see his robe was tied with a woven sash of gold, silver and white. Bridgette recognised the sash immediately. "Oh I didn't realise you were a practitioner as well." "Well I like to keep my hand in so to speak" At this she became alert, this man's temerity would never cease to surprise her, the sash told her his occultism was no mere dalliance. It denoted a person who had mastered the 3rd initiation rites of Wicca. Something not that easy to achieve as she well knew. Thinking back she should have known he was into something like herself.