Road to Nowhere

     The windscreen wipers tore back and forth but their efforts were futile against the deluge. The storm was monstrous. What started as spots of rain dotting the windscreen had developed into a full-blown meteorological onslaught. Rain hammered down and a savage wind battered the hedgerows, bending branches low over the road.

     Thorny foliage caught in the wipers, scraped arcs across the windscreen, scratching the glass. Ignoring it, Seren leaned forward and peered anxiously into the darkness. She was hopelessly lost. A wrong turn had led her to the middle of nowhere and, with no signal to her satnav, she had no idea what to do. The storm wasn’t helping. She could barely see the road let alone any signposts.

     “Bloody hell,” she gasped as the car lurched through a pothole, jolting her sideways.

     The road, initially well maintained with streetlights and white lines, had somehow mutated into an unlit, scarcely navigable track. The tarmac was patchy and holes the size of craters made driving a bone-shattering experience. She wished she’d stopped in the last village where the local pub had advertised rooms. The establishment’s flaking façade had looked less than enticing but it would have done for one night.

     Cursing, she conceded that her best option was to turn around. If she retraced her steps immediately, she might make it back to the pub before it closed. The road was too narrow for a three-point turn but a farm-gate or pull-in would work. Eyes peeled, she scoured the roadside for something suitable.

     “Come on, come on…”

     Nowhere. Nothing.

     Lightning snaked across the sky and a violent clap of thunder shook the car. Thoroughly unnerved, Seren accelerated. She shifted gear, flinching as she heard the clink of her wedding ring tapping the gear stick. She hated that sound but the odious ring wouldn’t budge from her finger. She’d have it cut off later.

     More lightning forked ahead, illuminating something strange hovering above the trees - a twisting, metamorphosing cloud of flapping shadows. What was that? Birds?

     Seren rubbed her eyes. Tiredness was catching up with her. It had been a long, day and the stress of that heated argument, the threats, the frantic packing… it was all too much. Frustrated and exhausted, she thumped the satnav, desperate for guidance.

     “Piece of crap,” she growled, tearing it from its mounting. She took her eyes off the road for a moment, mere milliseconds… “Shit!”

     The satnav flew through the air as Seren yanked the steering wheel with both hands, suddenly aware that he road ended abruptly dead ahead. Two huge gates marked its terminus, blocking her path. She slammed her foot on the brake and braced herself as the car skidded forward. Miraculously, it halted without hitting anything.

     Breathing heavily, Seren wiped sweat from her brow. The gates, inches from her front bumper, were huge ornately-twisted iron things, rusty with age. They had to be guarding some grand stately home but, oddly, there was no sweeping driveway on the other side. Mature woodland grew right up to the metal, clawing at the fretwork as if trying to escape.

     Lightning flickered and Seren baulked as she glimpsed a pale figure crouched to the side of the gate. Tensing, she strained her eyes… there. Lit up by another flash, she could see the kneeling figure wasn’t human. It was carved into the stone pillar securing the gates. There was another, almost identical, on the other side - two naked, stone maidens, genuflecting outside the gates as if pleading for admittance.

     Admittance to what?  

     Booming thunder blasted Seren’s eardrums and, shaken, she slammed the car into reverse. As she turned the wheel, the headlights swept over another ghostly figure. A third statue? Braking, she squinted through the darkness but all she could see was swaying greenery. It must have been a trick of the storm.

     “Oh, goodness!” Something ran across the road ahead of her sending her heart into her mouth. “A fox, it’s a fox.”

     She watched the animal freeze in the headlights, staring at her with narrow-set, piercing eyes. Then, with a flick of its russet tail, it darted away.

     Time to leave. A warm bed awaited her if she could find her way back to the pub. With no time to lose, Seren revved the engine and accelerated away, tyres squealing.

     “No!”

     A figure stepped out of the shadows, positioning itself directly in the path of her car. She braked hard but there was no time to stop. The pale face captured in the headlights was indelibly etched into Seren’s brain at the moment of impact - the porcelain skin, matted black hair and vivid blue eyes that fleetingly locked with hers. The sickening thud echoed through her mind as did the image of the wraithlike figure catapulting over the bonnet and smashing into the windscreen.

     Instinctively, Seren raised her hands across her face to protect her eyes from flying glass but the car, no longer under control, slewed sideways and ploughed into the thorny hedgerow. Seren was thrown forward like a rag doll. Her head made contact with the steering wheel and she heard herself scream…

     Stirring, she moaned. Her neck ached and, dazed, she gingerly touched her throbbing head. The flesh on her forehead was tender and a warm trickle ran down her face. She tasted blood and spat it out. Cautiously, she stretched her arms, then her legs. They seemed intact.

     The car wasn’t. The bonnet and driver’s side wing were dented, the windscreen shattered and a thin trail of steam curled from the lifeless engine. Behind her, the dusty hold-all on the back seat had been up-ended all over the floor. Her precious belongings, everything she’d managed to salvage, lay scattered haphazardly, covered in glass.  

     Sifting carefully through the debris, she located her phone. Like the satnav, it had no signal, but it was an excellent torch.

     The figure… that woman.

     Seren felt numb. That was no statue she’d hit. There was an injured woman out there or worse, she could be… she shuddered. Her hands trembled as she fumbled with her seatbelt and pulled her cardigan tightly around her. Summoning her courage, she pulled on the door handle and kicked the battered door.

     The angry maelstrom immediately attacked her. It pelted her with stinging rain and whipped her with debris snatched from the woods. Hugging the cardigan, she flicked on her torch ap and flashed the beam over the road.

     “Hello,” she hollered, “can you hear me?”

     The wind screamed a reply but nothing human responded. Knowing the woman couldn’t have gone far, Seren searched the road and hedgerow. She found nothing. No blood, no footprints. Nothing. Thoroughly confused, she clutched her aching head. Blood seeped from the wound, mixing with the rain to pour down her face. It dripped to the ground, tainting the mud around her feet. She scrunched her eyes, shutting out the unfolding nightmare. How could this be happening?

     Cold and wet, basic survival instincts kicked in: she needed shelter, somewhere safe from the hostile elements. There had to be something beyond those gates and even a derelict house would be better than sitting in her smashed-up car with an injured mad woman lurking near.

     Clutching her phone, she charged towards the gates. Her attire was completely unsuitable for the weather but it would have to do. She’d packed in a hurry on what had been a hot, summer day, so hadn’t brought anything waterproof. Her sodden dress clung to her legs as she walked and her sandals sank into the mud.  

     The stone figure kneeling to the left of the gates, greeted her with an expression of serene patience. The sculpture had exquisite facial details and hair swept back into an intricate knot. The nose was a little worn and the chin chipped but that didn’t detract from its beauty.

     Seren gently touched the stone, tracing the smooth curves of the neck and shoulders. Her fingers trailed down to the perfect breasts with nipples, carved in minute detail. The hands were fascinating. They held a tiny star cupped between perfectly sculpted palms and delicate fingers.

     The high, stone wall beyond the pillar was overgrown but secure. With no obvious hand holes, she’d never climb it. The other side might be easier.

     The statue opposite was similarly beautiful but had suffered more damage. The maiden’s knees had crumbled away and the pillar itself was cracked. The wall on this side had collapsed, some time ago by the look of it. It was no more than a heap of stones buried in the undergrowth. Climbing over would be easy, even in the rain.

     As she swung her torch, picking out a path, Seren spotted a fox carved into the pillar beside the stone maiden. Its body had crumbled but the close-set, piercing eyes stared intently. They seem to follow her as she began her ascent.

     She was right about there being a house. From the top of the stone pile, she could see lights shining in the distance. They twinkled alluringly from behind the trees. This was no ruin, it was inhabited. There’d be a phone and someone to help her make sense of the night. Filled with hope, she headed onward.

     The woods were savagely inhospitable. Branches clawed at Seren’s face and brambles tripped her, tearing her legs. At least the storm was dissipating. The rain eased while the thunder grumbled under its breath but no longer roared. The moon, peeping out from behind the scudding clouds, cast eerie shadows among the wind-blown trees.

     Something flapped out of the darkness and Seren ducked as a beady-eyed raven flew at her. It screeched angrily in her ear before melting away into the woods. What was it doing? Protecting its nest? Startled by the encounter, her heart thumped wildly, flapping as violently as the bird’s wings.

     The adrenaline surging through her veins worsened the pain in her head. It stabbed mercilessly as she battled through woodland that seemed to go on forever. Exhausted, she was ready to give up, to drop to the ground and let the earth swallow her, when a flash of red in the torchlight caught her attention. It was a rose. A delicate red rose in full bloom, its velvety petals bejewelled with raindrops. Seren smiled. Roses like that didn’t grow in the wild. She had to be close.

     She shone the torch through the woods, slashing through the gloom. Surely that was the tree line? Ignoring her pain, she ran, laughing aloud when the woods thinned giving way to open ground. Seren breathed deeply, relief flooding through her. Stretched out in front of her were the most beautiful, landscaped gardens. Roses bloomed everywhere, a veritable sea of blood red with a heady scent that hung heavy in the air.

     At the centre of the floral ocean sat a sprawling, stone built mansion with lights blazing from its windows. It was a quintessential English stately home with symmetrical design folding around an impressive pillared entrance. Gravel paths wound through the maze of rose beds, past a circular pond and on to the house.

     Suddenly energised, Seren gambolled forwards. The scent of roses was intoxicating and, running with arms outstretched, she sent the petals flying as she passed. They fluttered in the air, leaving a spattered trail of red in her wake. The pond veered into view and, slowing, she gaped at the marble statue at its centre.

     “Woah,” she breathed, her jaw dropping.

     The monstrous, beautifully fashioned, carving featured figures engaged in sexual acts. Boldly displayed in hand-crafted detail, bodies entwined in all manner of positions with faces carved into expressions of ecstasy. Erect phalluses protruded proudly, pounced on by puckered stone lips and eager carved hands. There were hardened nipples, drooling mouths and bulging muscles galore. It was enthralling, spellbinding, but what sort of person commissioned such a thing?

     Suddenly uneasy, Seren flicked off her torch. She skirted around the pond keeping to the shadows and approached the house without drawing attention to herself. A gale of laughter skipped through the air to greet her and twirling silhouettes danced across the window of the room closest to the door. She could hear a piano, its tinkling melody just about audible above the melee.

     Seren faltered. There was a party in progress and she was about to interrupt it, all mud-splattered, wet and bloody. She surveyed the grand entrance, doubting her courage to knock on those doors with their iron studs and carved figures prancing across the polished oak. The stone raven guarding the doorway, flapped its wings and glared at her with unblinking eyes. Losing her nerve, Seren backed away.

     Okay, back-up plan… the party would require caterers and entertainers - people she could turn to without disturbing the guests. Their vehicles had to be parked somewhere. Staying out of sight, she followed the contours of the building around to the right. It was a beautiful, elegant house with unusual arched windows like those found in medieval churches. Some of the windows had stained glass panels depicting distinctly X-rated scenes. Seren was tickled by the brazen eccentricity.       

     She didn’t find any catering vans or, indeed, a driveway. She did, however, find another way in - at the rear of the house was a steep set of steps leading down to a ‘servants’ entrance. The scuffed wooden door was ajar. Perfect. Seren slipped inside.

     She was in a narrow corridor or was it a tunnel? With stone on all four sides, it felt subterranean. It was blissfully warm, the confined space having retained the heat of the day. The corridor was lit by candles wedged into iron holders, another eccentricity. They flickered in the draught from the door, throwing dancing patterns against the stone.

     “Hello, anyone there?”

     Her voice was weak, barely more than a croak. Red spots swam before her eyes and, suddenly dizzy, Seren slithered to the floor. Her phone slipped from her grasp as her vision blurred.

     A door creaked. Footsteps. Running footsteps.

     “Seren, Mistress Seren, can you hear me?”

     A hand supported her head and something cold was pressed against her lips.

     “Here, drink this.”

     She tasted wine, strong wine, burning her throat.

     “Easy, easy… sip it.”

     Seren swallowed. The potent liquid trickled down her gullet, warming her. Her eyelids fluttered.

     “Miss Seren?”

     A face was staring at her. Who? As her eyes focussed, she saw it was a young woman, late teens or early twenties. She was beautiful, pale and serene, like the statues beside the gate.

     “Welcome back,” the girl smiled.

     “I’m sorry to intrude,” Seren stammered blearily. “I’ve had an accident.”

     “Another one?”

     “What?”

     “Another accident.”

     Seren frowned, unable to formulate a reply. She squinted at her rescuer, a pretty girl with extraordinarily dark eyes and glossy, red lips that seemed too big for her face. Maybe the severity of her hairstyle distorted her features? The tight ballet bun wasn’t particularly flattering. Her attire was unexpected: a dangerously revealing black, lace basque worn with the skimpiest white panties, scarcely covering her sex. White suspenders held black stockings in place and black leather burlesque boots completed the ensemble.

     With a black choker around her neck and white trim on the basque and stockings, she had the look of a French maid, though not like any Seren had seen. Presumably, the party was fancy dress?

     “Something wrong?” the girl asked. “Don’t you like our new uniform? It’s better than the old one, don’t you think?”

     “I… I don’t know.”

     The girl leant closer, “The Master loves it.”

     “I’m sure he does. Listen, I don’t mean to be rude but do you think I could-”

     “Come on, up you get. Can’t keep Master Reynard waiting.”

     “Who?” Seren shrank back. “I’m sorry, I don’t think you understand. I’m hurt. I need help.”

     “You look fine to me.”

     “No, no I’m not. I crashed my car and then the brambles-”

     “Ripped you to shreds?” The girl tittered. “Don’t you want to see him?”

     “No. Not really. I need a phone and…” a frown creased Seren’s brow, “how do you know my name?” Confused, she struggled to her feet, noticing something peculiar as she did so. “What have you done to me?” she gasped.

     The girl rolled her eyes, “Nothing.”

     “Then what’s this? This costume?”

     Seren had been completely re-dressed. Gone were her mud-stained, soaked clothes, replaced by a sleek, velvet dress. The tightly laced bodice had delicate lace sleeves and the long skirt billowed around ankles now swathed in black boots, similar to those worn by the girl. The whole outfit was a rich, textured black that reflected shades of blue and purple when it caught the light. Like a raven’s plumage.  

     That wasn’t her only surprise - her skin was free of dirt and there was no sign of the scratches. What’s more, her head no longer hurt and, touching her forehead, she could find no trace of the wound.

     “I don’t understand,” she stuttered. “How long have I been unconscious?”

     The girl giggled, “Oh Miss Seren, you do make me smile. Come on, Let’s go.”

     “No, wait!” Seren patted her body. “Where’s my phone?”

     The girl pursed her lips. “Come on,” she held out her hand, “he’s waiting.”

     Too weak to argue, Seren took the outstretched hand and allowed herself to be led along the corridor. She half stumbled, half floated, following the click of the girl’s heeled boots and the sway of her pert derriere.

     There were no rooms off the corridor; it was a solid tunnel ending at a narrow, spiral staircase. Strange. Everything about this house was strange. The noise from the party grew louder as they negotiated the narrow steps and, apprehension mounting, she hastily formulated a plan: find the host, this Master Reynard, thank him for his hospitality and politely request the use of his phone. Simple.  

     A plain oak door marked the top of the staircase and the girl, lifting the latch, led the way through. Seren’s eyes widened as she emerged into a truly cavernous hallway. Opulent and extravagant, the old-fashioned ‘candlelit’ theme continued. It was like stepping back in time. An oversized chandelier, dripping with candles, illuminated the flagstones and oak panelled walls, the polished surfaces reflecting the flicker, as if on fire.

     At one end of the hallway, Seren spotted the pillared main entrance and the carved oak doors she’d had been too scared to knock on. A sweeping marble staircase dominated the opposite end, its balustrades carved with more naked figures while the pillars at the base were angels with feathery wings wrapped around their bodies, bashfully hiding their nudity. An enormous, arched window overlooked the stairs, its sexually explicit stained glass murals, luminescent in the moonlight.

     Numerous oak doors led off the hallway. All were open, revealing lavishly furnished, candle lit, rooms. Only the room nearest the door appeared to be occupied. The voices and laughter originated there and other sounds too, one’s she couldn’t place - groans, grunts, squeals?

     “Off you go,” the girl urged, giving Seren a nudge. “Oh, wait. Here.” She proffered the wine glass, still brimming with ruby liquid.

     Seren gratefully drank it down.

     “Better?”

     She nodded.

     The girl kissed Seren on the cheek. “Let your instincts take over,” she smiled before scuttling off along the hallway and disappearing into a room on the left.

     Alone, Seren stood on trembling legs, listening to the party and watching shadows cavorting past the doorway. Waltzing into that room had seemed plausible when climbing the stairs, but now… let her instincts take over, eh? At that moment, they were screaming run away. Perhaps she should.

     What about the woman on the road?

     She could look for a phone. With dozens of empty rooms, surely she could find a one without going near the party? Resolved, she tiptoed forward to begin the search. The first room was a study with bookcases lining the walls and a blazing fire in the grate. Aromatic wood smoke perfumed the air in what was already a cosy room. There was no phone, though.

     Disappointed, Seren turned to leave. She caught her reflection as she passed the mirror above the mantelpiece and, blinking, inched closer. Her face looked different. Her skin was paler, her lips plumper and her blue eyes brighter than she ever seen them. Her hair was different too, very different. It was darker, jet black, and styled in sleek coils piled into a bun. The top-knot was decorated with feathers the same shade as the hair. Raven feathers, unmistakably.

     Taking a step back, she admired the new dress, loving the way it hugged her figure. The tight bodice gave her a waspish waist while her voluptuous cleavage spilled out of the top, wobbling teasingly as she moved. A necklace she’d not noticed before, hung around her neck, the three strings of onyx beads supporting a star shaped pendant inlaid with stones that caught the light as only diamonds can. Her hand hovered close, afraid to touch it.

     Seren stared, confused by the transformation. “How can this be?” she whispered.

     Piano music floated towards her as the pianist struck up again. It was a jaunty melody, one she knew but couldn’t quite remember. The accompanying grunts and groans weren’t very tuneful, though their rhythm matched the thumping base banged out beneath the melody. It was a peculiar noise. What on earth were they doing?

     Curiosity conquering fear, Seren tiptoed towards the source of the merriment. Her pulse quickened with every step and her hands quivered. She halted short of the doorway, staying out of sight as she peeped inside.

     “Oh my goodness!”

     The statue in the pond had given fair warning as to the nature of the ‘parties’ thrown at this house, but seeing it with her own eyes, hearing it, smelling it, was something her imagination could never have conjured. The musky odour of sex added another dimension to the auditory and visual display. The wicked, licentious scent, emitted from bodies in the throes of bliss, triggered chemical reactions in Seren’s brain that set her alight.

     Tingling all over, she surveyed the debauchery. The dress code was clearly ‘anything goes’ with outlandish costumes on display although hardly a guest remained fully clothed. Garments littered the furniture and floor, tossed aside in the lust-fuelled frenzy. Semi-naked bodies writhed in a grunting, sweating mass as hands explored cavities and hungry mouths sucked hardened nipples and cocks.

     Basque-clad ‘maids’ loitered on the fringe of the melee with drinks and canapés held aloft on silver trays. They offered other ‘refreshments’ too. A maid, on her knees, lapped a splayed pussy, licking and sucking with lusty abandon while the guest juddered with orgasmic spasms.

     Over in a corner, the ‘top hat and tails’ pianist hammered his glossy Steinway, oblivious to the figures fucking in time to his flying fingers. Such decadent depravity. Who were these people? Delightful twinges tickled Seren’s sex and her mouth flooded with saliva as a jealous lust stirred inside. The ache grew, fuelled by every satisfied moan that sang in her ears, every breathless sigh and lustful grunt. Mesmerised, hungry for more, she stepped forward.

     The music stopped the instant she crossed the threshold. The piano player gawked, unblinking, and, one by one, the party-goers fell silent, eyes turning her way.

     Trapped in their stares, Seren froze.  

     “Seren?”

     She turned, startled to hear her name, puzzled by the familiarity of the voice. She knew that voice. Her gaze met the close-set, piercing blue eyes of a striking man with wiry red hair. Tall and slender, he was impeccably turned out in a crisp, white shirt and russet waistcoat. He strode towards her with arrogant confidence and a roguish grin on his face.

     “Back again? Naughty girl!”

     He addressed her with vulgar familiarity and Seren, taken aback, inched away.

     “Well,” he said, “are you staying this time?”

     “Sir, I don’t-”

     “Bloody hell, come here.”

     Seren heard a collective gasp echo around the room as the man swept her into his arms and kissed her on the lips. The kiss burned through her veins like venom. It infiltrated her mind, releasing absurd notions, disjointed memories… she knew this man. This was Reynard, her Reynard. But how was that possible? She’d never met him before. Panicked, she struggled.

     “Sir, I…”

     Reynard placed a finger to her lips, “You’ve forgotten me again, haven’t you?” A lopsided smile creased his face. “Hang on…” Pulling her close, he kissed her again.

     This time, Seren squealed but the images in her head and feeling of overwhelming desire, soon quietened her. Memories surfaced from the depths of her mind, filthy recollections of nights with Reynard: kissing, fucking, writhing naked on red silk sheets. Ooh… eyelids fluttering, her arms flapped helplessly by her side and her body went limp.

     “So you do remember?”

     He kissed her a third time and, putty in his hands, Seren parted her lips allowing his tongue to tangle with hers. Awakening lust stirred her juices and the rapidly blooming desire to fuck skewed all residual level-headedness. Unable to control herself, she rubbed her throbbing pussy against his body.

     “Uh-uh, not yet. You’re so impatient, Seren.”

     Without warning, Reynard grabbed her waist and tossed her unceremoniously over his shoulder.      

     “What the fuck are you doing?” she shrieked “Put me down!”

     She glimpsed her audience watching, amazed, as she was carried from the room like a sack of potatoes. Her fists pounded Reynard’s back but he paid no heed, his grip never faltering. He carried her up the marble stairs, past the window and along a candle lit corridor lined with paintings.

     “Reynard,” she gasped.

     “Shhh…” He barged open a door. “Recognise this?”

     A rush of confusion made Seren giddy. Yes, she recognised the room. She knew every inch of it, every detail. It was her room. Her four-poster bed with the red velvet drapes, her candelabras on the mantelpiece, her walnut dressing table and the matching wardrobe. She even remembered the vase stuffed full of roses. And it wasn’t just the room she recalled, it was what they did in there.

     “Put me down,” she said quietly, “I won’t run.”

     Releasing his hostage, Reynard flashed that mischievous grin she’d seen and loved, so many times. Not a word was spoken. None were required. The look in his eyes and bulge in his trousers told Seren all she needed to know. Grabbing his shirt, she pulled him to her and kissed him hard. He tasted of wine and tobacco, indulgences, frowned upon in her world. She sucked in the flavours, wanting more.         

     “Who am I?” she demanded. “Who am I to you?”

     “Don’t you know?”

     “No.”

     All she knew was that she wanted him and, shoving him backwards, she pushed him urgently towards the bed. Her hands grappled with his clothing, unbuttoning, ripping, in a desperate bid to get at his flesh. She drove him onto the bed and crawled on top of him. There, she hitched up her skirt to rub her heated sex against his bulge.

     “Oh… that’s good,” she moaned.

     Devilishly aroused, she unlaced her bodice, pulling it open to expose her breasts. She cupped the weighty globes, offering them to Reynard and groaning like the guests downstairs when his lips curled around an aching nipple.

     “I don’t care who you are,” she sighed, “just fuck me.”

     “I thought you’d remembered?” He sounded annoyed.

     Seren was suddenly rolled, flipped over with Reynard on top in a reversal of roles. With his eyes on her face, watching her, he eased her thighs apart and touched the lace panties covering her sex. He stroked her through the flimsy material, fingers circling her hardened nub and rubbing in the most delicious way.

     “Do you remember now?”

     Seren squirmed. “No, not a thing.”

     His touch made her quiver and, burning with desire, hot juices seeped into her panties, soaking the gusset.

     “Liar,” he teased.

     Leaning forward, he kissed the moans rumbling in her throat and sucked the sweat from her heaving chest. His tongue lapped over her flesh, tasting every inch of her as he travelled downward, lower, lower… teeth ripped away her panties and, face buried between her thighs, Reynard’s wet tongue attacked her sex. It swirled over her clit and probed her tunnel, working her into a lustful frenzy.

     Ripples of ecstasy radiated out from Seren’s pulsating pussy. They collided and grew, swelling into waves that crashed through her, making her writhe. The waves kept coming, bringing forth a flood of juices. Seren threw her head back, riding the ecstasy of release.

     Gasping for breath and slick with sweat, she gradually came down.

     Reynard’s face appeared, slathered in glistening juices. He ran his tongue over his lips then wiped his mouth on the back of his sleeve. 

     Amused, she smiled. “Reynard?”

     “Yeah?”

     Seren hesitated, “Is this, erm, how can I put it? Is this house some kind of brothel?”

     There was a sharp cough. “What makes you think that?”

     Seren sat up. “The pictures and all those people… I thought…”

     He shook his head. “Still don’t remember?”

     “No.”

     “Oh, Seren.” His mouth mashed against hers, kissing her affectionately. “It’s a place to rest while deciding what’s next, that’s all.”

     “I don’t under-”

     “Move on or go back. Simple really.” The kisses trailed down to her neck, teeth nibbling her flesh. “Most stay a while then move on. Not you, of course.” The kisses stopped. “You have to be different.”

     “What do you mean?”

     “You’re the heartless vixen who always goes back.” He pushed Seren backwards and straddled her. “But you’re here now. Do you want this?”  

     Undoing his fly, he released his engorged cock, fisting it close to her face. She could see the veins throbbing and feel the heat. The scent of pre-cum filled her nostrils and, desire raging, her tongue flicked out, tasting the air. Yes, she wanted it. Her sex burned, already on the brink of a second orgasm.

     “Please,” she begged, “please.”

     Reynard flipped her over onto her stomach, his fingernails digging into her hips. Seren cried out as his erection made contact with her sex, nudging her entrance, taunting, teasing… she released a guttural groan as he thrust. The throbbing meat squeezed past her labia, sliding smoothly inside her.

     “You like this?” he rasped.

     “Yes, oh, yes.”

     “Are you sure?”

     “Yes.”

     The penis thrust deep, colliding with her cervix. She shuddered at the heavenly mix of pain and pleasure, her muscles contracting around the thick cock. She moaned as Reynard withdrew and thrust, harder. Again he did it, again, again. Her groans rumbled, like burgeoning thunder.

     “Fucking whore,” Reynard growled, “you love this, don’t you? Shhhhh…” The thrusting abruptly stopped and Reynard lay still, cock twitching inside her. “Maybe I shouldn’t fuck you.” He withdrew his cock, slowly, until only the tip remained embedded. “I don’t want to give you pleasure if you’re planning to leave.”

     “I’m not, I’m not,” Seren pleaded, “Please. Ahhh…”

     The thrusting continued, deep, hard. Reynard sank his penis to the root, balls hitting her buttocks with a wet slap. Then nothing. He stopped again.

     “Please, please…” She ground her hips, desperate to be fucked.

     “Stay,” he commanded. “Don’t run again.”

     “I won’t, I promise.”

     “Liar!”

     Reynard withdrew completely, slapping his juice-smeared penis over Seren’s arse as he sat back. “You always leave,” he sniped, fisting his erection, pumping it hard. “You waltz in here, turn my world upside down, then bugger off back to your shit-hole reality. You cross that threshold without a backwards glance. Every time. I swear you do it to wind me up.”

     “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I don’t remember.”

     “Self-centred whore.”

     “I am not. Don’t you ever leave?”

     “Of course not!”

     He grasped Seren’s hair, making her squeal as he yanking her forward to meet his cock. Pre-cum glistened on the swollen helmet and the veins throbbed against her cheek.

     “Open wide and show me how much you need me.”

     Seren’s scalp stung but a filthy naughtiness permeated her soul transforming her into… into what? Her true self? With a wicked smile spreading across her face, she swallowed him, taking his meat to the back of her throat and sealing her lips around it.

     “Oh… filthy slut,” he groaned, “that’s it, suck.”

     She sucked hard, relishing the heat of his cock in her mouth, the taste of it, the smell. Pre-cum coated her tongue like the appetiser before the main course. Obscenities tumbled from Reynard’s throat as he thrust his hips, fucking her face. His body stiffened and, twitching, he ejaculated deep into her throat.

     Seren swallowed, taking his seed, loving the taste and texture. The salty liquid burned her throat and the need inside her reached a crescendo. As soon as Reynard released his grip, she spread her thighs and rubbed her clit for all she was worth. She needed to cum, she longed for it, and when it happened, her body convulsed.

     It took her an age to come down. When she had, she reached for Reynard. Curled against him, a multitude of emotions jostled inside her - love, hate, need - but at that moment, she felt at peace.

     “I always come back?” she whispered.

     “Yes. You belong here. We’re a partnership, you and I. Master and Mistress of this house.” 

     “Mistress?” she tittered, “I’m no Mistress. One of your fuck toys, more like.”

     “Not at all.”

     “Come on, I bet you screw everyone.”

     “I wouldn’t dare.”

     Rolling over, she studied his face.

     “If I so much as looked at anyone else, you’d castrate me with your bare teeth.”

     “What?”

     Reynard nodded, “You’re a scary woman, a force to be reckoned with.”

     “I don’t think so,” she snorted.

     “You are. You saw how they reacted to you, downstairs. You’re an insatiable slut with a cruel streak.”

     “Am not,” she protested, “I’m a pussy-cat.”

     “With very sharp claws.” He locked eyes with her. “D’you want proof?”

     Reynard grasped Seren’s hand and hauled her off the bed. He led her across the room, grabbing candelabra from the mantelpiece on the way. On the far wall was a painting and this was what he wanted Seren to see.

     “Look,” he said, holding up the candles, illuminating the guilt-framed canvas.

     “More sex,” she shrugged, hardly surprised by the painting’s theme.

     “Look closely.”       

     The painting was a portrait of Reynard. He was standing beside a leather clad woman whose sleek raven hair flowed down her back and ruby lips pouted beneath eyes of the brightest sapphire blue. In her hand she held a sturdy bull-whip and all around her leather-booted feet, naked figures fawned, their swollen genitals protruding longingly. Red stripes marked their flesh, the slashes oozing with beads of red.

     “That,” said Reynard, “was painted during your last visit. You were here a while and really came out of your shell.”

     Seren peered at the whip yielding vixen. “You’re not trying to say that’s me, are you?”

     “Of course, it is.”

     “No, it’s not.”

     That woman wasn’t her, how could it be?

     Reynard placed a hand on her shoulders and, stooping, kissed the tender flesh at the base of her neck. “Seren, my star, Mistress of this house, stop running and come home.”

     “No.” The dream with Reynard shattered into a thousand pieces in front of her eyes. “I crashed my car,” she said flatly, “I came here for help.”

     “Did you? Are you sure about that?”

     “Course I’m sure.”

     “Listen to your instincts, Seren.”

     She calmly raised her left hand in front of Reynard’s face. “See this? This is reality, my reality.”

     “And it’s lovely, isn’t it, dear?” he sneered. “A cheating shit of a husband, crappy job and constant misery. Oh, to be you.”

     “Bastard!”

     “It’s always the same, isn’t it? You decide this isn’t real, I’m not real, and go charging back to your reality.”

     Tears stung Seren’s eyes as rage swelled inside her. “Why are you lying to me?”

      “Lying? I’m not lying. Don’t leave.”

     “I have to. None of this is real.”

     “And your reality’s so fucking great, isn’t it?” he snapped.

     “I can change it.”

     “Oh dear Lord, the record’s stuck. You never change anything. Ever. You make the same mistakes over and over, bad decision after bad decision. Then you wind up back here with heaps of regret and a cheap, fucking, wedding ring stuck on your finger.”

     “You’re lying,” she screamed. “I don’t know who the fuck you are!”

     “Fine.” He raised his hands in surrender. “Have it your way.” He turned his back. “Go on, scram!”

     Tears blinding her, Seren bolted from the room. She blundered down the corridor, holding her bodice together while she clumsily laced it. When she reached the staircase, she kept running, her booted feet drumming down the steps like rain on tarmac. She ran full tilt across the hallway’s polished flagstones, seeking those carved oak doors and rose gardens beyond. Shadows appeared in doorways, watching, listening, but no-one made any attempt to stop her.

     “Seren!”

     She halted short of the doors, unable to ignore him. Sobbing, she turned to find him leaning against the balustrades at the top of the stairs. His close-set, piercing blue eyes sparkled and he was smiling. Smiling?

     “See you soon,” he called with a cheery wave. “Have a safe trip and, erm, thanks for the fuck.”

     How dare he?

     Enraged, Seren spun on her heel and stomped towards the doors, she slammed into them, surprised when the offered no resistance, swinging outward on well-oiled hinges. She stormed across the threshold without looking back.

     A freezing wind hit her immediately and fat drops of rain splattered her skin. The storm clouds had re-grouped during her absence, and thunder flexed its vocal chords menacingly. As she bowed her head to descend the steps, the wind caught the doors behind her, slamming them shut with a crack to rival the thunder.

     There was no going back. She picked her way down the steps, buffeted by the wind and hampered by the darkness. The moon was buried beneath layers of clouds and, with no phone torch to guide her, she found her way more by touch than sight.

     The gravel path provided crunching navigational guidance. She skirted the pond quickly, ignoring the shadowy figures fornicating at its centre. The rose beds were more difficult. Errant branches snagged her clothing as the passed, the thorns piercing her flesh, staining it red.

     The brambles in the woods were more vicious still. They clawed and slashed until her clothing was in tatters and her skin shredded. At the same time, the rain intensified, making her passage through the woods ever more uncomfortable. Lightning flickered, and thunder echoed through her head.

     More than once she thought she heard Reynard’s name howled upon the wind and memories of him clawed at her mind, the pain as real as the gouges from the thorns but embedded deeper. She wondered if he was missing her. Dismissing such preposterous thoughts, she stumbled on.

     Windswept, drenched and exhausted, she reached the tumbled stone wall and paused to catch her breath. There were no lights through the trees behind her anymore. The storm was blocking visibility or the party had ended. Either way, her beacon had gone. Biting her lip and wiping the rain from her eyes, she clambering over rocks, moving as quickly as she dared. Her foot slipped, twisting her ankle and, looking down, she was startled to see mud-covered sandals on her feet.

     What the hell…?

     She patted her body, fingers finding rain-drenched cotton and saturated wool. The necklace with the star pendant had gone and her hair blew around her face, loose and matted.The wedding ring was still there. The hateful thing cut into her skin, a vicious, visceral reminder of her reality.

     Reaching the serene, naked maidens, Seren tilted her head back and screamed. What had she done?  She was back in reality, her reality - and look at it! Cold, wet, miserable. She was still lost, in every way, with no idea what to do next. Reynard was right: she did keep making mistakes over and over. She’d thought that exact same thing before crashing the car and now...?

     Reynard’s image floated before her in the rain, fading, fading… disappearing into the night along with her cherished memories. The smell of his skin, the odour of sex, the thrill of fucking… oh, why had it become so disjointed?

     Because it wasn’t real, was it?

     Seren crouched next to the carved figure, her eyes seeking out the damaged fox. “So what now?” she whispered to the unhearing creature. “What do I do? I’m supposed to choose aren’t I? That’s what he said. Move on or go back.” A sharp pain stabbed through her forehead and, wincing, she held her head. “I don’t know what ‘moving on’ means and I don’t want to go back. Not this time.”

     The pain in her head intensified and she tasted blood. She needed shelter, any shelter. Leaving the statue, she staggered out onto the muddy road, seeking the point where her car had spun off. Where was it? Where was the car? She hadn’t been far from the gate when she’d crashed.

     A low rumble in the distance made her stop. She cocked her head to one side, listening, trying to decipher what the sound was. It wasn’t thunder, it was a different… suddenly recognising the droning growl, she sprang backwards into the hedgerow, narrowly avoiding being struck by the car hurtling towards her, its tyres squealing. It passed so close, she could see the startled look on the driver's face as it hurtled towards the iron gates blocking its path. Seren heard the screech of brakes and watched the car skid to a jarring halt, millimetres from the wrought iron barrier. 

     Scarcely breathing, she stood in the storm, watching. The car’s headlight swept over her as it turned around and, ducking, she scurried along the road, out of sight.

     The driver, apparently dazed, stared through the windscreen, unmoving. The car, the driver… why were they were so familiar? Seren clutched her aching head, shrieking as something shot out of the undergrowth.  

     “A fox, it’s a fox,” she gasped, clutching her chest.

     The majestic animal sauntered into the road, positioning itself directly in the glaring headlights. With its close-set, piercing eyes fixed on the driver, it froze, as if trying to communicate. Then, with a flick of its russet tail, it disappeared.

     Seren finally understood. 

     Grasping her wedding ring, she tore it from her finger, ripping the flesh as she prized it off. She tossed the hateful shackle into the mud and watched it sink. Then, turning her face to the skies, she addressed the elements:

     “I choose to stay,” she declared defiantly. “Let me stay.”

     The thunder boomed angrily in reply, shaking the earth and lightning lit up the world. A car engine revved and Seren knew it was time. A warm bed awaited her… all she had to do was get back.

     Taking a deep breath, she marched purposefully into the middle of the road, stepping into the headlights, as the fox had done. She stared, unblinking as the car sped towards her and, for one brief moment, her eyes met those of the terrified driver...

 


Copyright © Mags Hayward 2017 No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, or used in any other fashion without the express permission of the owner.

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