by C. Ikpoh
The man's gaze melted into the cream surface of the table before him. It was long and oval shaped. He knew this from observing dark oak legs which peaked from underneath a vanilla-colored tablecloth. It was handmade and of the finest material, as was everything in the room. The floor and walls were identical to the table. If the ceiling were not so high, he could most likely confirm it was dark oak as well. Candles burned inside golden holders illuminating the wall. Also before the man were wine glasses crafted from precious crystal; they were gentle to the touch. The plates were china even royalty dared not dine from. It was quite apparent the spirit of the bourgeoisie was reflected in all of his hostess’s possessions. The woman of the manor spared no expense.
It was the beginning of their romantic night. However, utter discontent coursed through the man's veins. The smell of the room reeked of affluence. The man's fingertips wanted to curl away from the touch of all the precious items in his reach. The refined tastes and flavors massaging his taste buds -- even though tantalizing -- forced him to suppress his gag reflexes. He struggled to control his hands from shaking with anticipation. The man's mission was harder for him then anyone could fathom.
Amidst the man's fight to conceal his repulsion, visions of his past flashed behind the thin veil of his eyelids with each blink; horror and terror were dinner guests as well. Yet, a fire ignited in his loins as excitement and shame took their place at the table next. The man's internal battle waged on. "All emotion MUST be suppressed," he told himself. Eventually, he realized the first step in doing so was removing his hands from the soft, smooth tablecloth. The regal feel of it only aggravated the flashbacks.
When the lady of the manor presented an inquiry requiring a retort, venom in its simplest form slid off the man's lips. He began to poetically relay his pleasure with her abode, her items, and with her. As he committed these sycophantic recitals, the man could feel his skin adorn the sensation of scales. Oh, what potent venom he spewed indeed, for his answers motivated her to smile; it was a smile intoxicating to all other men, but it instantly birthed a queasy sensation in his stomach. Again, he fought to hide his true feelings. Ultimately, the man forged his face into a porcelain mask, disguising his true state of mind. Smiling at that moment, he knew he would cry later.
Clattering through the air and cracking the man's smile was the sound of a bell ringing. The lady had grasped her summoning tool. In a few seconds, a young boy entered the room. "Servant" was written throughout his demeanor. The child adorned short, brown hair, dark brown eyes and a slim frame. Nevertheless, despite his frail appearance, it was evident this slim frame housed a big heart. And it was the big heart of the servant which subliminally cried out to the man, uncovering the servant’s massive trepidation. “A boy should be carrying no such weight on his soul,” the man said to himself. Invisible tears flowed down the man's face as each wave of fear exuded from the servant child washed up on the shore of the man's eyes. The man empathized with the boy's existence.
The woman spoke to her servant with a subtle disdain. Her tone, the look in her eyes, her essence, they all triggered another flashback in the man. Sounds of torn cloth and popped buttons vibrated in the man’s ear drums. The scent of brandy and perfume riddled his nostrils. Sensations emerged on his chest while the skin began to concave with indentions as if pressed by fingernails, succeeded by those indentations rolling down toward his abdomen. Another fire ignited in his loins and more excitement sparked, followed by more shame. The man's flashbacks were becoming stronger.
The lady stood from her chair after the servant boy pulled it out for her. Revealed was her impeccable frame. Every womanly curve was precise. Her body was supple. Her flesh was soft. The gown clung to her body tightly with perfection. Her long, black hair contrasted her bright blue gypsy eyes. The man thought to himself there could be an alternate outcome if only her eyes did not hide the atrocities they did.
She gestured to her servant in a dismissive manner. Sheepishly, the boy began to walk towards the door. Before exiting though, the child looked at the man for a moment. As they locked eyes, hope glimmered in the pupils of the boy. It was a short-lived moment however, for the lady of the manor spoke. "Move along, boy." His hope was vanquished as her murderous voice permeated the room. Upon witnessing this, the man’s distaste and hatred grew more and more behind the porcelain mask. It was then he decided the time was at hand.
The door closed slowly behind the servant, leaving the man and the woman alone. She walked over to an extravagant couch in the corner of the room. It was a dim corner, as the light from the candles retreated immediately upon reaching the area. Her slow strut hypnotized men. Yet, it only angered the man as she delayed his desires.
Upon the lady sitting, her legs slightly parted. Her shy and prudish, yet inviting gesture, hinted she was a proper lady as well as a commanding one. She had no qualms about inviting those in whom she desired. However, the lady's beauty could not dispel the monstrous image the man viewed her with; an image begging to twist his facial muscles. However, the man’s porcelain mask remained firm as he approached her side.
When he sat, the feeling of plush comfort greeted his hind parts. It was a quality piece of furniture indeed. The man placed his left hand on the dark green velvet material. With his right, he reached for the inner part of the lady's knee. This opened her legs even more as they needed very little coaxing to do so. The lady of the manor was willing and ready.
The man continued tracing his fingertips up her inner thigh. While skillfully massaging her skin, he leaned in to kiss her neck ever so softly. She moaned lightly; so lightly that her passionate whisper fell deaf to the world as soon as it leapt from her lips. Nevertheless, the man could not escape the sound. A seemingly non-existent murmur captured his ear, producing another flashback.
A young boy sleeping in bed appeared in the vision. He was instantly recognizable. It was the man as a child, unaware of an approaching evil. As the knob on his bedroom door began to turn, the sound frightened him awake. He knew what was about to happen. The lady of the estate -- where his family were servants -- had found her way to his chamber once more. She came to take what she wanted, to rob deserved innocence from a righteous child. His master slowly walked towards him with her breasts protruding from her corset. Her sharp red hair flowed down her back in light curls. She filled the bed chamber with her presence as the door closed behind her. He was trapped, unable to leave the room. His only escape was to remove his spirit from his
body, something he had learned to do very well.
Floating above the horrific scene, the man watched the desecration of his childhood temple from above. The drunk woman mounted him forcefully while tearing his attire, popping buttons onto the cracked wooden planks of the floor. She guided the boy’s hands where she wanted them to venture, unwillingly exciting the boy's flesh. This confused him, for he did not want her. He did not want any of it. His heart and his body became torn along with his clothes, entering him into his personal hell.
The man's attention was abruptly thrown back to the present with his hostess once more. She had aggressively mounted him. The vision of his past and the present were mirroring each other. Wallowing in a flux of emotions, the man was rushed into the flashback one more.
Watching in spirit, the man looked on as the woman of the estate allowed her red hair to fall over his childhood face, tickling his lips and forehead. His eyes were shut tight. He tried to fight as usual, but she overpowered him. Riding more and more intensely, his master continued to murder his soul. Her fingernails indented his chest as she rolled them down to his abdomen. Exhaling heavily, she mixed the scent of perfume with the brandy saturating her tongue. The man remembered his child mind contemplating choking her, smothering her life as she was smothering his. “If only I were bigger,” the man remembered thinking to himself. “If only I were stronger.”
Flashback concluded, the man's conscious was jolted to the present. While being kissed by the lady of the manor, he remembered something. He remembered why he was there in her home: word of the mistress who egregiously and violently defiled her boy servant had been circulating through the circle of socialites for weeks. Such a ghastly story was something that could never elude the man's ears, and for good reason. Since discovering her wicked ways, the man could not sleep. For weeks, all the man could think of was seducing the lady in order to free his soul and the soul of the victimized servant. He became obsessed with shredding the weight no young boy should be carrying. The weight that had compounded throughout his adulthood, becoming oppressive and all-consuming. That night in the lady's manor was the chance the man waited a lifetime for.
While he contemplated this, the lady leaned in, bringing him closer to her protruding breasts that were spilling out the top of her corset. The lady's presence began filling the room as her long black hair tickled his lips and forehead. She wanted a kiss but he did not want to oblige. However, all the fear and anger he experienced as a child began coursing through his veins, disabling his ability to resist. The traumatic memory of his long-time demons whispered the cry of his child self. The man felt helpless once more. “If only I were bigger. If only I were stronger,” he recited in his mind. However, it was then the man had an epiphany. He WAS bigger and stronger. The end was at hand, and he knew he had entertained the lady's charade long enough.
Forcefully, the man wrapped his hand over her mouth, silencing her as he was silenced with paralyzing fear as a child. With his other hand, he gripped her throat to take her breath away, the same way he could not breathe when he was taken advantage of. No knife, no objects, nothing was to be used to exact his revenge. The man wanted to feel the lady's life leave her body through his fingertips. He wanted to feel her soul exit, and he wanted to witness it looking down upon them as his soul looked down upon him as a boy being raped. He wanted to be free of all the tragic feelings and memories that haunted him forever. The man wanted his life back.
The lady slapped and clawed at him. Her legs flailed wildly until he flipped and mounted her to control her movement; a maneuver the man learned from his red-headed master. He could see the v-shaped area between her neck and collarbone sink deeper and deeper with each passing second. Her neck muscles flexed under his palm in an attempt to gasp for air as she fought vigorously to survive. No will would overcome the man's though. The abused child inside of him squeezed with an unparalleled strength. He held on so tight, he felt the minute wrinkles of her windpipe increase as he crushed it. The lady’s attempts to free herself became ever more deflated, and the man cherished the feeling.
While inflicting his pain on her, the man never wanted to release his grip. A maddening sense of retribution drove him into a zone away from reality. He was suddenly startled by something though, bringing him back to the dining room. As the lady of the manor lost all energy, all life, she went limp. The muscles in her neck relaxed, creating a space between his hand and her skin. The woman’s spirit was leaving her body and he could feel it. Simultaneously, the man felt the oppressive weight burdening him for years leave his heart. He began basking in the moment, breathing easier than he ever had before. However, while he reveled in his new found freedom, the man was completely unaware there was another person in the room. Upon realizing he was no longer alone, he panicked. The man believed someone loyal to the lady of the manor was present with him. However, as the man turned to confront the witness, he discovered it was a kindred spirit. The other person present was the servant boy.
The child had witnessed his master's murder. Nevertheless, even when death engulfed them, the boy looked more alive than before, more human. The man continued to look at the child as he viewed the servant's face turn into a childhood reflection of himself. Visible tears now flowed down the man's porcelain mask as it cracked, and he thought, “I knew I would cry later.”
The man wept because the servant was free. He wept because they were both free. Before moving towards the boy, the man moved the lifeless body of the lady. He walked over to the child servant, and as he reached the boy's side, they hugged one another. While embracing, they journeyed towards the door. The echoing sound of the man’s hard-bottom shoes were in unison with the soft brushing of the boy's cloth soles, and the scent of the untouched food left on the table permeated their nostrils. The man and the servant child were not detoured while exiting though. They forever left behind their pasts on the antique couch, and their demons’ last supper on the table.