Hide-and-Seek

[mc, mf, fd, hy]

((A strange piece written impromptu style for an Halloween-themed challenge in 2015. It feels quite different from other things I’ve written in the past, but I still like it, nonetheless.))


“What am I doing here?” Matthew thought as he roamed the corridors of the old Penderghast Manor, heart racing like a madman on the highway.

He knew the answer, of course. He was playing along in one of Phoebe’s crazy schemes because, no matter how much he tried, he could never seem to find the fortitude to say no to her smile.

Of all the unexpected ideas she had ever had over the last couple of months since they had started dating, playing hide-and-seek in an allegedly haunted house was surely the worst. That’s something crazy people do in slasher movies or macabre tales, not in the real world. There was no rational reason for doing so, especially on Halloween night.

And yet, there he was, picking up the pace after she made him close his eyes and count to one hundred. His eyes darted nervously in every direction as he tried to negotiate the dusty passageways of the gruesome estate.

No one remembered exactly the reasons for the Manor’s infamy. Ten different people were sure to give you ten different reasons from witches covenants to satanic rituals, legends about shapeshifters or simply deranged tales of vengeance and suicide. Whatever the truth was, it was one covered in layers upon layers of ill-fated feelings, an oppressive cloak of bad memories that lingered on the walls, the broken chandeliers and the creaks on the floor. Hallucinations were common among those that spent too much time inside the abandoned property and he was starting to understand why.

“Phoebe?” he asked, noticing a shadow dance in the corner of his eye.

“Cold,” replied a voice very similar to hers but with a metallic rasp that made him shiver. Something screeched next to him and blue sparks came flying as a swinging axe almost tore his head off with a single blow. Matthew barely had time to react when the shadow stepped into the light, a feminine-like monstrous deformity with a hanging neck and a party gown drenched in blood. Another axe materialized in her semi-translucent hands.

“Can I have a piece of your mind?” the tormented spectre asked.

He should have frozen with fear, but his body had a different agenda. Without a second thought, he started running, the adrenalin rush keeping him grounded enough to understand there was no time to waste. He ran, ran, and kept on running across the darkened hallways until the ghost simply faded out of view. The quietness returned sooner than expected, but it was a tainted one for other supernatural manifestations lurked within.

When he finally stopped to breathe, Matthew took notice of the strange chamber he now found himself in, a circular altar adorned with red and black candles. A coffin stood at the center, lid slghtly ajar. An inviting hand emerged from it.

“Phoebe? Is that you?” he asked again, knowing deep inside he wasn’t going to enjoy the answer.

“Freezing,” said the luscious vampiress turning into a cloud of smoke before reappearing behind his back. She had long, raven hair and eyes cold as ice. A sharp, blood red painted nail touched his neck with a promise of undying sensuality.

“Are you the toy I’ve been promised tonight?” She purred. “Let me taste you…”

Once more, Matthew’s swiftness was surprising by human standards. His left hand reached for a candle and, with a throw worthy of an MLB pitcher, he hurled it at the undead seductress. It was distraction enough to make her flinch for a second and, when she looked up again, he was already gone, running for his life on a treadmill of horrors.

The disconnection between feet and mind was evident as he moved from one nightmarish sensation to the next, walls phasing in and out, the marble floors deliquescing into quicksand. Eyes wide shut, he forced himself out of the chasm, into the deep end of a decaying garden. The dirt smelled of frozen roses, engorged maggots, and freshly dug corpses.

“Phoebe? Can you hear me?” He called out with a hoarse voice. “Phoebe… please…”

“For pleasure to live, something must die,” responded the echo of a cadaveric sorceress rising from the depths in front of him, a sapphire pendant glimmering around her bony neck. “Are you ready to die for me?”

“Stop this, STOP IT!” Matthew screamed from the top of his lungs as the dead bodies all around responded to the call of necromantic powers and dragged themselves across the mud. He stumbled, crawled, ran, fighting gravity and the fear of fear itself. He blinked, and returned to the Manor, now alit from inside out.

Half-feverish, he stopped by a crumbling fountainhead, face buried between his hands, too tired to go any further.

“Damn it, Phoebe! Where are you?” He mumbled, his thoughts clouded by the most appaling desperation.

“Warmer,” she replied non-chalantly, the sound of her voice coming from very close indeed. To the left, Matthew saw an open door awash in a hazy tint. Beyond the threshold, a vague outline beckoned his attention.

He started moving towards it, her voice guiding his steps without effort. In that moment, there were no bloody apparitions, no dark secrets to contend with for the game was coming to an end.

“Hot,” she said.

The outline revealed itself to be a full body mirror, the only object within the room. Ripples of gold oozed from the frame creating a set of intricate yet very distinctive patterns he was sure to have seen before. He stopped in front of the reflective surface, looked straight into it and…

“It can’t be!” he exclaimed, his breath dying out at the startling realization.

Phoebe’s face was projected on his drowsy pupils and, looking at her, made him want to sink to the floor. She had been inside him all along, expertly weaving the fabric of reality to her liking until all that was left was the awareness of his puppet existence. As he knelt, one final question escaped his lips:

“Why are you doing this?”

“Fear is the ultimate rush,” she replied. “I know you’re scared, but you’re also more aroused than ever, aren’t you? Resisting for so long has drained you completely, and now all you want to do is rest for a bit, isn’t that right?”

He nodded, erection throbbing, his head feeling so very heavy. As his forehead touched the floor in ecstatic adoration, he knew he wouldn’t be able to get back on his feet without a direct command from her and that was the way things were supposed to be.

“Just stay there, drifting further down, deeper and deeper under my control,” she whispered. “On Halloween, all naughty things come out to play and, trust me, you still haven’t seen my naughty side…”

The truth is always the truth even when buried in lies and he knew that for certain, now. She was the ghost, the vampire, and the evil priestess from the grave but, most importantly, she was his Mistress and everything lived and died by her rules. With a fingersnap, the whole world fluttered into entrancing darkness. He would never fear serving her, again.

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