Part 1 of my practice story

(I figured the first part of my story was okay to share since it isn’t very graphic and you can see that I am creating something!)

The inheritance had come as a surprise to Dak’kon. The existence of a grandfather who-he’d assumed long deceased-had left him with a relationship for which he was simultaneously grateful and deprived. He would never know the man who had saved him. He would never know the man whose unconditional generosity had given him a legal means to pay off his mother’s hospital bills/funeral costs. He would only stay in the Victorian manor for a few months. He’d recover what he could of his family history. He’d sort through a lifetimes worth of acquisitions, most of which he’d donate. He’d make the necessary repairs and then he’d sell the manor at an honest price. He’d never known anything but poverty and the thought of living at Anwar Estate seemed somehow gluttonous. His grandfather was from a different world, a world veiled in pretense, a world he was destined to hold at arm’s length.

The house had 10 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 pantry, 1 dining room, 1 game room, 1 art room, 1 library, 1 music room, 1 study, 1 office, 2 living rooms, an indoor pool, and a laundry room. The house was discreetly tucked into a labyrinthine garden, a garden that in the depths of winter looked wasted and demonic. Aside from its size the grey stone house was unremarkable, lacking the garish accouterments that wealth so often favored. From a distance the windows were dark and blank. Soul-piercing darkness and cold silence greeted him on arrival. None of the outdoor lights seemed to be working. The servants, most of which had been well beyond retirement age, had been given sizable pensions. Only the chef, a heavily-scarred man in his 30s, had agreed to stay on. He would deliver Dak’kon’s meals once a day.

Dak’kon reached into the shadows, searching for a light switch. His arm seemed to stretch into a vast and incontestable void. He’d only taken a few steps away from the door how could the wall be out of reach? No light entered the vast, sightless windows, it was as if they had been painted over. His feet were firm on the wood floor but there appeared to be nothing around him. Eventually he located the switch but the light was too weak to suppress the shadows. The room was empty save for a life-size black statue against the east wall. Though obviously masculine, Dak’kon could not discern if the statue depicted a human or something altogether different. The features felt wrong but he could not determine the precise nature of their wrongness. Reaching out he touched the left arm of the figure and found it cold and smooth as glass. He shirked on contact, though tactically he understood it to be an object, emotionally he had anticipated a response.

The windows were painted black, a speculation which had seemed so ludicrous in passing seemed even more ludicrous in reality. He moved from room to room, filling each shuttered oubliette with a jaundiced glow. The other rooms were furnished. Every piece was handmade and every piece was beautiful and, for reasons intangible in the wane light, disturbing. Perhaps it was only the presence of an eerily tensile gloom that made the pieces appear grotesque.

Dak’kon dropped his suitcase in the first bedroom he found. The room was nearly as large as his entire apartment but only minimally furnished, as a result the room felt oddly vacuous. The bed was bookended by a massive metal headboard and foot board, set with an oval of patina’d copper. The burnt orange duvet was in contrast to the drab grey and white wallpaper and the grey hardwood floors. At the far end of the wall was an antique sea chest. The chest was heavily ornamented and though Dak’kon attempted to assign pattern and meaning to the symbols the swooning imagery did not yield to coherence. The chest emitted a faintly unpleasant musk and he decided against opening it for the time being. In the corner there was a mirror shaped object but a black sheet banished it from view. There was a large wardrobe against the west wall and two matching end tables, each with a stack of leather bound books. Above the night tables there were two old-fashioned wrought-iron wall sconces. Dak’kon touched the black window and felt his stomach turn. He drew the grey curtains closed though it served no purpose. He checked his cellphone, it was late, nearly 1 am. He’d shower and sleep. Tomorrow he’d investigate the rest of the house.

There was a bathroom directly across from his bedroom. The bathroom was all white tiles, tinged with age. The white claw-foot tub stood against the wall, it was fitted with a shower head but the burnished copper fixtures were desperately outdated. The piping under the marble sink was visible, the mirror above was broken and so heavily abraded that the reflected images appeared out of phase. The copper wall sconces barely illuminated the room. There was a large mahogany cabinet inside of which Dak’kon found clean towels and a smaller freestanding mahogany towel rack. He felt the radiator for warmth but it was ice cold, turning the dial elicited no reaction. Hopefully the water was hot.

Stripping down Dak’kon left his clothes where they fell. The pipes protested when he turned the tap and the first splutter of water suggested rust. He waited until the water ran clear and steam clawed its way free of the cascade. The white shower curtain hung from a burnished copper ring, the resulting cylinder was uncomfortably close and the wet fabric clung to his naked skin whenever he brushed against it. Closing his eyes he tilted his head into the incoming tide, letting the heat dissolve the tension of a long car ride.

A sensed presence coerced his eyes open, inside the hollow womb of the curtain he could see nothing. He listened intently for several moments but no sound was forthcoming. He closed his eyes a second time. He felt a breath, cold against the shell of his ear and he turned his head sharply backwards in order to identify the source. There was nothing behind him but a flimsy white wall. As he turned his head forward again he noticed a contrast, a flash of inconsistency and his eyes dropped to the porcelain basin. The water was black and heavy like paint. It ran in long, thick ribbons along the length of his exposed body. He traced his fingertips with his thumb, the fluid was viscous and smeared on contact. Whatever the substance was it had no odor and that alone was a consolation.

“What the fuck…” He muttered reaching for the faucet but the faucet would not close. He threw back the curtain, the room was empty. He took hold of the faucet again, more forcefully than before but it proved unnecessary, the faucet turned easily and the rush of water stopped. A second glance to bottom of the tub revealed only transparent droplets of water. Dak’kon had never known himself to hallucinate, even for lack of sleep but there was no other explanation that he was philosophically equipped to entertain. Grabbing up a towel he hastily dried off. Tomorrow he’d work through things but for now the only rational course of action was to sleep.

Dak’kon fiddled with the radiator in his bedroom and it warmed, albeit with expletives and a good deal of reluctance. Shaking out the dust from the unused duvet he cut off the lights and climbed naked and damp into a cold bed. Being from the city he was accustomed to noise, to the relentless and the intermittent pulse of humans in constant flight. He expected an old house like this to creak and moan but there was only silence. He found the silence dissonant and unsettling but in the end fatigue proved more formidable than uncertainty.

The lights in the corridor faltered and in the staccato croon of their lethargic light the shadows spilled prominently along the walls. These shadows, which lacked origin, took on vaguely humanoid forms. The doors lining the walls were heavy and unsightly and though he tried each in passing none of them yielded. He took the house to be his grandfathers though it looked more like an institution than a private residence.

Dak’kon called out but the figure did not respond. The distance between them, coupled with the poor lighting prevented him from making any definitive assessments on the interloper’s appearance. He quickened his pace just as the silhouette slipped around the corner but he was ultimately unable to confront the intruder. He stood in front of a metal door, heavily locked. He knocked and the sound resonated so deeply in his chest that he clutched at his shirt and leaned on the frame. He was simultaneously tempted to open the door and to retreat. He pulled back the window on the door and peeped inside. Nothing lay behind, not even darkness. He pulled back and brushed the hair from his face. His hair was damp and semi-adherent, he was perspiring heavily but he was neither hot nor winded.

What are you doing here?” A voice implored from behind. Dak’kon turned around so suddenly that his vision temporarily dimmed. “I own the place…the real question is who are you?” He asked focusing his eyes with some effort. The young man’s dark, red hair obscured his left eye. The right eye was a poisonous shade of green which had the queer reflective properties of a nocturnal animal. That single, outlandish eye was framed by heavy black lashes. Shadows fell into the crucible above the young man’s cheekbone suggesting an ongoing bout of insomnia. The intruder’s mouth was hitched upward in a placatory smile, suggesting the type of guilt that follows a crime necessary to one’s survival. “I live here…in a manner of speaking…” The red head answered after an uncomfortably long intermission. “Are you a servant?” Dak’kon asked for it seemed the most plausible explanation. “Yes…a servant…that is the uncomplicated version…” The green-eyed man said rubbing the back of his head. Though it was clear he did not wish to elucidate Dak’kon pressed forward, though it was more a matter of curiosity than an accusation. “What’s the complicated version?”

I do not understand the complicated version very well myself. Are you a superstitious man?” The red head asked suddenly and Dak’kon wondered if it was a strange attempt at diversion. “Not particularly no…” The dark-haired man answered. “Then you will not believe what I have say…” The servant’s smile was playful and oddly vague. “I’d like to hear it…if it’s all the same to you…” Dak’kon folded his arms over his chest but his expression was not stern.

And you shall have it…in pieces…now come away from that door…” The servant took hold of his wrist all the while eying the door, his expression one of both horror and contempt. “Why what’s behind that door?” Dak’kon asked turning his attention back to the door. The window was closed now though he couldn’t remember shutting it. “You are….”

Dak’kon woke to a dark room and a familiar pressure against his pelvis. The mattress was depressed on either side of his hips and creaked with the movement of a foreign body, a body that settled against him. He felt the warmth of another’s breath against his cheek but he did not detect, in that breath, a scent of any kind. With the assailant now half on top of him he was able to determine the sex of the intruder, male. The only men who knew his current whereabouts were his band mates. Among his band mates only Trent would pull such a prank but he wasn’t convinced it was Trent. The servant perhaps but hadn’t that been a dream? In the dark he could not make sense of the face inches from his own. He instinctively reached for the light though it would have been smarter to toss the stranger from him on the off chance the assailant thought him still asleep. His hand never made it to the switch, the figure caught him with a speed and precision that seemed to him unlikely. How could the other see well enough to target his wrist with such conviction? The hand struck him as familiar though the only distinguishing feature was its intent. The pressure on his wrist was insufficient to detain him but it held him nevertheless.

Look in the mirror….” The stranger’s voice was intimate and rough. This was no simple request, it was a commandment one that Dak’kon felt inclined to obey, if only to sate his own curiosity. Nothing so far had made sense to him. He knew the dream arose from his connection to the house and specifically from his repulsion to it but the dream itself had not yet revealed its message. Then again he might be awake and the thigh now wedged against his groin might actually belong to a human being.

In an instant Dak’kon found himself standing in a lit bedroom in front of the covered mirror. He was dreaming still. Dreaming though he felt everything so acutely. Dreaming though he felt fully embodied. The man was gone, he assumed for he made no effort to locate him. Grabbing the sheet he tore it away, allowing the silk to pool at his feet. The mirror beneath was painted black. ‘That seems a little excessive.’ He thought running his hand over what he expected to be a textured surface but their was neither texture nor surface. His hand slid into the mirror without resistance.

Dak’kon woke with a start. The sweat on his skin, though sparing, chilled him thoroughly. With the windows so thoroughly obscured it was impossible to gage the time. Turning on the lamp his eyes swept the room, everything was precisely as it had been, except that the sheet had slipped from the mirror. The mirror was in all respects, save for its age, completely ordinary.


9 responses to “Part 1 of my practice story

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