Battle-Hardened, War Weary Ch. 02byMimiRose©
Being that it was a Saturday, the clinic closed at an earlier time and it meant that Kali's shift ended at an earlier time of 4PM. By the time, 4:08 PM rolled around, she exited out of the building and was in the parking lot. As she walked further away from the building and further into the parking lot, she stared at a unique-looking car that was parked in one of the car slots. It was a posh-looking, black car. The windows were heavily tinted with a gray color. It was dark enough to keep an outsider guessing who was inside of the car, but light enough to let them know when there was an occupant inside. The vehicle's exterior was waxed and polished to perfection. Kali didn't have an extensive knowledge of automobiles, but she knew that this one was a foreign-made vehicle and looked as if it cost more than her annual income. She knew whoever owned the vehicle must've been a serious big-wig with some serious cash.
'I know this car doesn't belong to anybody who works at Horizons. The highest-paid doctor in there drives a beat-up Hyundai!'
Kali received the answer to the 'who's the owner?' inquiry, when she saw the car's owner exited the automobile. The owner was a man. In fact, the owner was a short man, who stood to be five feet-seven inches tall. There was a light tanned complexion to his skin tone, which meant he could've been of Mediterranean or South American descent. His black hair was styled and coiffed into a neat pompadour. He wore a simple pair of black slacks; a white shirt with a black blazer, with enough confidence that one would think it was an expensive designer suit. He left the car with his head bowed, so Kali did not see his face. He was straightening out his blazer. But, when she did finally get to see the owner's face, a huge smile formed on her face. When the gentleman saw her, he developed his own smile.
With an obvious eagerness to her stride, she made her way over to the man. As soon as she was closed enough to him, the man took her gloved hands into his own. He gave the back of each hand an enthusiastic kiss and then did the same thing to both of her cheeks. "Good evening, mi reina!" the man said to her, with a heavy accent.
"Good evening to you, Mr. Santos! How are you?" Kali said to Ryan's driver.
The short-stature man lifted an index finger in the air and then gave it three wags. "Ah, what did I say about calling me 'Mister Santos', Miss Richardson? I told you to call me 'Santos'. I prefer for you to call me 'Santos'. My father was Mister Santos and he was a mean son-of a-bitch. Pardon my French, Madame. So, for now on, you will call me Santos. And, to answer your question Madame, I am doing fine," the chauffeur said to her.
"Well, I will try to refrain from adding the 'Mister' part. And I am glad to hear that you are doing well... Santos."
The chauffeur's smile grew broader. He walked past her and gone to the car, where he opened the rear-passenger door. "Good, good, good, now let's get you inside of this warm car and we shall go." Kali gave him a nod of her head along with a smile. She strolled up to the car and stepped inside. Once she was fully inside of the vehicle, Santos closed the door. Kali watched, from the car's interior, the man make his way to the driver's side and slide into the car. He re-started the car and adjusted the rear view mirrors. He glanced over his shoulder, at Kali, who sat in the backseat. "Now let's take this show on the road!"
Having the ability to travel in a luxury car, speaking with Santos and seeing the wonders of New York City by just sitting in the backseat, are the only highlights for Kali, whenever she makes a visit to Ryan at his foreboding abode. During this evening, Kali and Santos spoke of several subjects, as the chauffeur drove through a scenic route to Midtown Manhattan. They converse about different topics; that ranged from alien abductions in Alaska to the current status of crime in New York City and if the mayor Rudy Giuliani was doing a good job to the subject of Santos' home country of Peru to whether or not any New York-based team was going to bring home a championship. For Kali, Santos provided a sense of safety. He was the calm moment that occurred before the tumultuous storm that was Ryan came along and fucked with her well-being.
A sense of trepidation blossomed inside of Kali, when she noticed the familiar route that Santos was took. It meant that they were near their destination. She didn't know what type of perversion he had planned tonight, but she knew that by the end of the night she was going to feel ashamed, disgusted and sore. She felt like a little girl again; back when she lived with Reba and Jackson: petrified.
The shiny, black, foreign-made car pulled along side the curb of a sidewalk that was in front of a large mansion. The once red-brick building stood there, looking menacing. Since she entered the car, Kali sat back for the first time and rested against the back of the seat. She stared ahead. She gazed out of the windshield and stared at the parked vehicle that was in front.
'You have to do this. You have to do this. You have to do this. You have to do this..." she chanted inside of her mind. Her eyeballs stung. The tears caused her vision to blur.
Santos, being the gentleman that he was, helped Kali out of the car. Once he was certain that every limb and bit of her was out of the car, he closed the door. The two people stood in the middle of the sidewalk, standing face to face. Once again, Santos took a hold of her hands and gave each one a kiss. When he lifted his head, so he could stare into her eyes, Kali noticed that his dark brown orbs held a sense of concern and pity in them. Knowing that another person felt concern and pity for her caused her stomach to tighten up and a lump emerged into her throat. Her eyes started to burn badly as her tear ducts were forming tears. She tried her best to not cry in front of such a regal man.
"Buenos noches, mi reina. Tu tienes el cillo de la santa. Soon, things will be better. I promise you. Vaya con dios, mi reina" Santos said to her, while clutching onto her hands.
"Gracias," she whispered. A single tear managed to escape her left eye. She quickly wiped it away. "Have a good night, Santos."
He left go of her hands and gave her a kiss on her cheek before the two parted ways. She watched the man get back inside of the car, which Santos informed her was called a Maybach. She listened to the car's engine purr and rumble. Then, she watched the car pull away from the curb. She stared at its retreating taillights until she couldn't see the lights anymore. Afterwards, she gazed at the mansion. Kali let out a sigh and then began her night as being a sex-slave.
Kali used the lion's head-shaped door knocker a few times and waited outside for fifteen seconds, before the door opened. Kali recognized him as being Ryan's butler, Ignatius. Standing in the doorway was an older-looking, white man. His toned, body was six feet-three inches tall. His skin tone was lightly tanned despite the winter season. The top of his head held a healthy amount of soft gray hair. His hair reminded Kali of the clouds in the sky because both objects looked fluffy to her. He owned a pair of dark blue, deep set eyes that was the dominant feature on his oblong-shaped face. An aquiline-shaped nose was set in the middle of his face. A few inches below his nose were a pair of lips that were pink and small. She noticed that he wasn't wearing his usual uniform: a pair of black trousers, a white dress shirt with a cardigan over it, a pair of polished black shoes and a black necktie. For tonight, he was wearing a pair of black denim jeans, a light blue dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a pair of brown loafers on his feet. She thought he looked odd in his casual set of clothes.
"Good evening, Madame Richardson," he greeted her, as he stepped to the side, to allow Kali to enter the house. Once she entered the foyer of the building, a strong scent of Indian curry caught her attention. The scent assaulted her nose and caused her eyes to water. Kali used her hands to cover her nose and mouth. Ignatius noticed her discomfort from the odor. Guiding her further into the house, Ignatius said to her, "I'm sorry, Madame Richardson, for the abundant smell of curry. The kitchen staff and I are busy right now preparing a food itinerary for Master Whittler and Madame Garrison's gala. It's Indian-themed and we're creating a palate of Indian dishes. From the way Madame Garrison is preparing for this function, I have a feeling that I will smell like a curried slab of meat for months".
"Sorry to hear about that, Mister Ignatius," said Kali through her hands.
"Thank you for your concern, Madame Richardson. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to the kitchen to finish with our dishes..." Ignatius produced a white envelope from his back pocket and gave it to Kali. On the front of the envelope was her name written, in calligraphy-style and in black ink. "Master Whittler wants me to give you this letter and gave me the instruction of telling you to open it, before you head upstairs. Have a good evening, Madame Richardson." Then, Ignatius left her alone in the foyer.
While she stood at the base of the marble staircase, Kali opened the envelope and fished out the content, which was a postcard. On one side of the postcard were a picture and a few words on the other side. She stared at the picture first. It was a reproduction print of a famous piece of art. Kali have never seen the picture before. She was enthralled by the piece. The artist's choice of color was the thing to grab her attention. It was very pretty. She thought it was a mosaic piece at first. Then she noticed the two faces. The faces were of a man and a woman. They appeared to be sleeping and from their body language, Kali figured that they were a couple in loves with each other. The thought brought a smile to her face. The artist's name and the title of the piece were printed on the lower left corner. "Gustav Klimt... 'The Kiss'..." she read aloud as her eyes drifted back to the face of the woman. For Kali, the woman looked content and safe.
'Could I ever feel this way around a man?'
Her mind started to tread into dangerous territory, when she snapped herself out of it. She remembered about the writing on the other side of the card, Kali flipped it over and read the message. Like the envelope, the words were written in calligraphy and black ink was used.
"My dearest Black Beauty, please come upstairs and make yourself comfortable. I am having my bath right now and I will be out soon. Love, Ryan."
After she read the message and viewed the calligraphy, an image popped up into Kali's mind. The image was actually a snippet that belonged to a memory of an event. The image was of a nine year-old, smiling, freckled-face, bespectacled Ryan Whittler. Kali remembered the event being of nothing major and traumatic. It was of an insignificant day, when they were students in Bainbridge Academy and they were in study hall. Both Ryan and Kali were the only fourth-grade students attending study hall, ever since every student in their grade was on a class trip. Kali's grandparents couldn't afford the trip and didn't want her to miss a day of school, so she was assigned to study hall all day. It was in that massive library, where she met Ryan Whittler. He was sitting by himself at a table and was making calligraphy on a piece of paper.
'Ryan, what the hell happened to you?' she thought.
She glanced at her wrist watch and saw that the time was 5:55 pm. She promised Ryan that she would meet him at 6:00 and he was a stickler for the time, so she marched on up the stairs. Taking two stairs at a time and in stiletto-heeled boots, Kali made her way to the second level of the house. Greeting her at the top of the marble staircase was taxidermy zebra that was mounted on a wooden pedestal. Kali gave the object a brief glance. She thought Ryan's taste for interior design was odd and gaudy. For instance, the second level's corridor had a 'black and white' theme: there was white carpeting, black wall sconces that were on white-painted walls. There were black chandeliers with onyx-colored prisms hanging from the ceiling. Framed 'black and white' lithographs from antiqued The Brothers Grimm novels hung on the walls. Then there was the stuffed zebra.
But, Kali didn't think Mr. Whittler's choice of interior design wasn't spooky, until she first set her eyes on the mural that decorated the walls that were in between the second and third level of the house. At first, the mural frightened her. As she made her way to the third level of the house, to the master bedroom, her eyes bounced from wall to wall, as she taken in the art. The mural was a depiction of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. The artist had chosen to take Gustave Dore's works of art as his inspiration.
The depiction of Heaven began at the bottom of the second staircase. In Heaven, there was a paradisiacal and utopia background. The angels were fierce and battle-ready. There were depictions of acts of fornication between the angels and the mortals.
Heaven was followed by Purgatory, which looked bleak. The Purgatory mural began in the middle of the staircase. There were humans who appeared to be in various stages of despair and pain. But, there was a positive character: a woman whose identity was hidden beneath several garbs and her face were hidden. She provided comfort and healing to several characters that were in the background. As she gotten closer to the top of the staircase and closer to Ryan's bedroom door, she was submerged in Hell.
The Hell mural was dark and there use of a lot of black and gray, oil-based paints. In Hell, demons had free reign. The mortals were being tortured and in the mural the depictions were graphic. Like in Heaven, Hell also had its share of depictions of acts of fornication. But it was between demons and unwilling female, damned souls. As Kali made her way to the bedroom door, she noticed a new addition to Hell. She was painted on a wall that was adjacent to the black door. Kali actually took the time to survey the new art.
The new addition was of a woman. Like the rest of Hell's characters, she was painted in black and white. She was sitting on a piece of ground. She possessed a crown of wild, wavy hair. It surrounded her nude form like a halo. She had her legs folded and pulled up closely to her torso. Her arms were lacerated and blood seeped from her wounds. They were protecting her legs. The lower half of her face was covered. The upper half of her face wasn't finished yet, so there was a blank spot. It made Kali interested as to see the identity of the woman.
Kali didn't even bother knocking on the door, because she knew Ryan wouldn't hear the sounds. She entered the dimly-lit bedroom and closed the door behind her. Despite hating Ryan with every bit of her soul, she did love how bedroom and bathroom was decorated. His bedroom taken up the entire third level of his house, so it was large. It was large enough to fit three studio-sized apartments inside. There were walls that were painted a pale shade of yellow with white boarders and crown moldings. On the right side of his bedroom was where his bed and other matching accessories, as well as, the door that led to his dressing chamber. On the left side of the room, was the huge fireplace, a small lounge area with a few pieces of furniture, a spiral staircase that led to a balcony, four bookcases and to another room.
Kali loved the minimal decorations that adorned the bedroom's walls: wall sconces, a few framed pictures and no stuffed animals. There were a few outlandish item as well: the two five-foot-tall, guardian lions that sat on opposite ends of the fireplace, the nine-foot-tall framed, photograph of his dick that hung above the fireplace and then there was his bed. Hanging above the bed and bolted into the ceiling was a twelve-foot-long light fixture. The light source had a 1940's art-deco design and was made from gold, silver and the onyx gemstone.
For Kali, she assumed that the bed must've been Ryan's favorite part of the room, due to the lavish and opulent setting. The bed was circular in shape and was large enough to fit fifteen people comfortably. The bed was set upon a platform that had five steps. The bed was surrounded by four columns that were adorned with orange and crème-colored silk drapes. Plus, the mattress was the most comfortable mattress that she laid on. She thought that the bed felt like Heaven against her body, even though the only time she ever laid on it was to commit acts that felt like they came from Hell.
She remembered that Ryan told her to 'get comfortable'. Kali removed her clothing because she really knew that 'get comfortable' was code for 'get naked and wait for me'. She neatly folded her belongings and placed them on the seat of a chair. Hoping that she was quicker with her task than he was with his, Kali climbed up the stairs of the spiral staircase. The metal steps were cold and it caused shivers to tingle at her skin. She made it to the balcony and trekked up to the door. The door was painted black and looked foreboding. Kali grabbed the knob. She prayed that the door was unlocked. She turned the metal knob. Unfortunately, the doorknob's was limited. She pushed on the door. The solid object didn't even move in the frame. A wave of disappointment washed over her and she shuddered. She sighed and pressed her forehead against the wood. Her right hand formed a fist. She punched the thick and solid surface. She didn't feel any pain from the impact. Her anger and disappointment protected her appendage from feeling the blow.
'It has to be in there,' she thought.
She made her way back downstairs and ran over to the door that led into his 'dressing chamber'. She entered the well-lit, large room that served as Ryan's walk-in closet. The room comprised of ceiling-to-floor shelves, four island counters, chest of drawers and cabinets, as well as elaborate shoe racks. She knew that she needed to go through each one, in such a short time. She started with the island counters that was in the middle of the room. Her nimble fingers opened drawers and searched through the contents, hoping to find the item that she was looking for. As she searched, she silently prayed to God that she will find it during this search. Once she gone through that group of drawers, she moved on to a bookcase-type of armoire that was nearby. It was used to store all of his pastel-colored shirts, she noticed. She scoffed in absurdity, before going through the shelves and drawers.
She found nothing, so she moved on to the next armoire. She ended up with nothing there either, so she moved onto the next one. She didn't find her desired object, but she did find an engagement ring that was purchased from Tiffany's, along with the receipt. She quickly glanced at the ring, before she replaced it back in the jewelry box and resumed her search. She skipped the next armoire, because it stored his girlfriend Suzette's belongings and Kali thought he was too smart and not risky enough to place the item there. She quickly searched through the last two armoires and turned up with nothing. By the time she was finished, Kali felt like she had gone through a work-out. There was the heavy dose of adrenaline running through her body. The muscles in her thighs and arms felt the strain from the constant moving. Her lungs also felt the physical burden of being on the constant run.
On light footsteps, she strolled over to the bed, parted the partitions and climbed onto the bed. With every bit of movement, she felt that body part sank so deep into the mattress that she thought she was going to fall through. Getting into the center of the bed, she lied on her back and gazed up at the light source.