“My name is Rose,” she said to the air in front of her as they climbed the stairs.
Martin said nothing, his senses too occupied with analyzing the changing surroundings to respond even if he had the inclination. When she turned around suddenly to face him, he almost went for the quick kill punch to the Adam’s apple he automatically used whenever threatened in close quarters. But he pulled back before she even noticed.
“And what’s your name?” she asked in the tone you use for a shy three-year-old.
He felt angry at her patronizing tone. He wasn’t an idiot for Chrissakes. Yet he was shocked to see his anger melt away under her smiling gaze. “I’m Martin,” he replied.
I couldn’t believe it! His real name! What was going on here? I wanted to shake him and say, “Hey wake up!” But I wasn’t there, not all the way. So I kept my mouth shut.
“Hi, Martin,” said Rose, shaking his hand and smiling again. Then she turned with a toss of her short black hair and started up the stairs again.
Martin actually looked at his hand before following her.
As soon as Rose opened her door, Martin’s eyes bugged out in wonder. Had he entered some science-fiction teleporter? A time machine? A Moroccan opium den? She couldn’t have been living here more than a few months, yet every square inch of the walls was covered in exotic draperies, the intricate patterns almost causing him to hallucinate. His eyes scanned across them and down to the floor, which was layered with what looked like big, white, hairy yak-fur rugs on top of Persian carpets. Resting on the rugs and carpets were giant silk-embroidered pillows, so many he wanted to count them, but his eyes lingered on the low table they surrounded. The table was made of black teak and held over a dozen fat beige candles, all lit and dripping into the red dragon inlays carved into the surface.
Fire hazard, he thought, ever the pragmatist. How she could even think of leaving her apartment with so many candles burning? She could burn the whole building down! He would escape, of course, his acute sense of smell alerting him far in advance, but that didn’t mean he shouldn’t snuff them out right now for the risk they represented.
“The sink’s over here,” Rose said brightly, extinguishing his thoughts instead.
She was pointing at a door and he was shocked again to realize that he couldn’t match the floor layout with his own apartment. It must be the same or at least a mirror image. That was one of the things he liked most about apartment living, the predictability of the environment. But everything seemed so different.
“Over here,” she coaxed in a warm, relaxed voice. When he didn’t immediately respond, she took his hand and led him. He looked at her small hand in his and watched in disbelief as his feet started moving, skirting the pillows to follow her. On his way, he paused in front of a thick (couch? mattress? futon?) covered with the silkiest blankets he’d ever seen. Everything seemed so soft, including the translucent curtains draped from a central gathering on the ceiling. They surrounded the bed on all sides like a wispy cocoon.
Rose tugged on his hand again, pulling Martin away from the wonderful cocoon.
On their way, they passed in front of her altar. Martin stopped again, mesmerized by the candlelight illuminating all the gems and minerals. He stroked the large red gem much as Rose had done, not for luck, but for the sheer pleasure of the tactile sensation. It was so beautiful. The candles made it look like it was glowing from within, like it was alive and might respond to his touch with an even greater display of brilliance.
“Nice,” he said appreciatively, crouching down to gaze at it even more intently.
“It’s a bloodstone,” Rose bragged, elated that he was enjoying it as much as she did.
“Rhodochrosite,” Martin corrected her. “Probably from the Sweet Home mine in Alma, Colorado. It’s a fine specimen,” he added, standing up again, “best I’ve ever seen.”
“Thanks.” She beamed, his admiration erasing her frown from his previous comment.
They silently stared at each other for a moment that stretched out far too long until she couldn’t take it anymore and pulled on his hand again. Yes, Martin thought, feeling the same discomfort and needing to get back on firmer ground. The sink.
When they passed through the door, Martin landed with a whump back on the planet. It was like he was in his own apartment again—sink over here, cabinets there, just a normal kitchen—no candles, no rugs, no softness, no nothing! He wanted to run back into that other world...the world on that side of the door. But he stood there dumbly, his mouth open, his head swiveling back and forth between the two rooms.
“I’m not finished,” she said, not sure why she was acting so apologetic. “I blew all my money fixing up the other room.”
Money? All you need is money? Martin thought, not sure why he felt so angry and disappointed. Then he looked at her pretty face and turned his attention back to the sink, grateful for something to do. “It’s not broken, it’s clogged,” he said with characteristic bluntness. “Don’t you have a plunger?”
“I tried.” Rose said with a shrug, holding up the still-dripping implement. Then she added with a wince, “Macaroni and cheese.”
Cute, Martin thought, an unfamiliar warmth invading his chest.
He grabbed the plunger and pounded the drain like a pneumatic drill. The clog was obliterated in eighteen seconds and his anger had almost vanished too, when a fresh new horror caught his eyes.
“Woolite? You use this shit?”
Rose didn’t understand the appalled expression on Martin’s face, wasn’t even quite sure she heard him right. Did he really just make a disparaging remark about her fabric softener? She didn’t have time to ask. He was already out the door, grunting, “I’ll be back,” like you-know-who.
Martin flew down the stairs, unlatched the seven pick-proof locks and the cold-rolled-steel dead bolt and threw the door open so hard the frame almost splintered. He grabbed a jug from his special stock and bounded back up the stairs. Rose was waiting right where he left her. There was something about seeing her lean against that sink that made his cock inflate like a meat balloon. The hard-on was a real surprise for him. Even so, he didn’t pay any attention to it, as usual.
She did. Martin had a really big one. Figures. Why should someone who couldn’t care less if he used it or not get a really big one? The head of his cock pushed its way out the leg of his gym shorts and was still growing down his thigh. Rose knew her mouth had to be open as she watched its progress, but she couldn’t do anything about it. When she looked back at his face, she was even more shocked to see he was completely oblivious to what was happening. Instead, he turned to the sink and thumped down the big plastic jug.
“Here, use this,” he said proudly, handing her the bottle. “This is the good stuff.”
Rose couldn’t decide which was a bigger turn-on…the man standing there with his big huge cock hanging out his shorts like a fat log, or the fact that he was so blissfully unaffected by it. She reached down, grabbed the big fucker in both hands, looked him straight in the eye and said, “No. This is the good stuff.”
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Genre – Paranormal Thriller / Dark Fantasy
Rating – R
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