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Notch: An Erotic Horror Tale
Chapter 14: The Forbidden Chapter

    “Welcome, welcome,” Christoph said, honey dripping from his words. “The Chateau is pleased to receive you.”

     He reached out and took Kat’s hands, pulling her in for a gentle embrace, kissing both cheeks when he pulled back. He moved on to the man, clasping his hand and pounding him on the back.

    “We’re pleased to be here,” Cillian said. “Very excited, actually.”

    “Yes, yes, and so you should be,” Christoph said, looking out the door at their vehicle. “Come inside and warm by the fire and I’ll go and fetch your luggage.”

    Cillian gave Christoph the once over and let a nervous laugh escape. “No. That’s not necessary. I’ll get it.”

    Without waiting for argument, Cillian was out the door to retrieve their suitcases. 

    “Well, my dear, no need to stand there in the cold. Come to the sitting room. We have books, a piano, a warm fireplace. Can I prepare you something to drink?”

    “That would be lovely, yes.”

    “A wine to warm you? Or perhaps a snifter of Brandy.”

    Kat licked her lips, and gave Christoph a cheeky grin. “Would it be awful to ask for the brandy?”

    His smile was so big it nearly split his face in half. “Oh, my dear sweet thing. That’s the spirit! I’ll have it to you straight away! Make yourself comfortable. There’ll be time for a tour later.”

 

****

 

     Liam and Karla lowered David to the floor, frightened that he might topple right over the edge and down to the floor below.

    “David?” Liam said, looking down at the striking woman now shedding her coat in the front entryway.       “What is it? Who is that?”

    David resisted every urge to puke, to scream, to cry. He wanted to, needed to, but felt like if he made even the slightest movement, he might explode.

    Liam looked at David, the horrified expression on his face, and looked down at the woman once again.         She had moved into the sitting room and sat in the armchair, one long leg draped over the other, fingers teasing the ends of her hair. “Is that …?”

    “Kat,” David choked out.

    “Holy shit,” Karla said, rubbing David’s head and gawping at the woman below.

    The front door swung open, and in came Cillian toting two large suitcases. “One more trip,” he said, rubbing his hands together. 

    Kat raised her hand in a thumbs up, and he went back outside. Christoph came back carrying a tray with three glasses and a full decanter, and placed it on the coffee table.

    “I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but I assumed the gentleman would want one as well?” Christoph said, brow raised. Kat nodded. “And I want to be anything but intrusive, so please disregard the third glass if you like, and I will be on my way.”

    “Nonsense,” Kat said, patting the couch beside her. “We’d love to spin a yarn with you.”

Christoph’s eyes were as bright as his smile as he sat down on the couch, filling each glass to the brim. 

Kat took a sip and breathed deeply.

    “It is so beautiful here, Christoph,” she said. “I’m meant to be here, you know. In the mountains. These mountains.”

    “I know, child,” he said. “Once they’re in your blood …”

    Kat suddenly grew quiet and sullen, and Christoph’s smile waned, looking in confusion at his new guest. David’s stomach clenched as he thought about how much Kat loved the mountains–their campsite, the lake, the hikes through the woods. She looked sad, but only like she had been touched with a light dusting of melancholy. More than that, she looked peaceful and happy.

    Cillian walked back through the door, two large garment bags in tow.

“Ah, my man,” Christoph said, taking the bags from him and running a hand over them. “How exciting. So very exciting.”

    “We’re over the moon,” Cillian said, looking over at Kat.

    “What?” David said, staring at the garment bags.

    Liam and Karla knew, but neither could muster up the courage to break their friend’s heart.

    “I have the items you requested. Had some spare time this morning, so I went into town and retrieved everything but the food, of course.”

“That’s so nice of you,” Kat said. “You really shouldn’t have gone to any trouble. We could have–”

“Nonsense,” Christoph said. “It’s not every day we have a wedding here at The Chateau. Let me live in the little fairytale.”

    “What?” David said, his hands trembling. “Wedding? Whose wedding?”

    “Please enjoy yourself with us,” Kat said, taking Christoph’s hands. “It’s a small affair, but very beautiful for us.”

    “And a beautiful bride, you are,” Christoph said, kissing Kat on the cheek.

    David’s world spun, his head woozy and heart pounding, and his skin grew colder than ice. Liam guided him to his feet, and he and Karla walked him down the hall to one of the back rooms, away from the jovial discussion below. They laid him out on the bed in Grace and Stan’s old room, and Karla covered him with a blanket. While Liam was shutting the door, David could hear the twinkle of Kat’s laughter ringing up the stairs, and it cut him straight through the heart.

 

****

 

    The day drew to dusk and into nighttime, dinner was served and devoured, and the third bottle of merlot was uncorked. Kat and Cillian were soaking up every bit of Christoph’s attention, enjoying his anecdotes about The Chateau and tales of the lake and mountains. David had spent a few hours shut in the hotel room, the television on loud enough to drown out the chatter below, but had decided to venture out and face his heartache. Liam and Karla had protested, but David had calmed enough that they were certain he wouldn’t be struck by crippling devastation enough to plunge him into utter madness.

    David sat at the top of the stairs, legs and arms crossed, watching as Kat doubled over in laughter, her lips full and glossy and voice sweet and musical. His eye twitched as her finger brushed gently over Cillian’s arm and she looked deeply into his eyes. 

    David knew that look. He had seen it many times before, back when she wasn’t a traitorous bitch.

    “I hate to cut this short,” Kat said, wiping away a tear of laughter,” but it’s been a long day, and I’d love to go lay down.”

    “Of course,” Christoph said. “You have everything you need for tonight?”

    “We do,” Cillian said. “I took everything upstairs for us. There’s nothing left in the car.”

    “Very good then. A nip for the road?” Christoph said, holding up the wine bottle.

    “Oh, I’ve had plenty,” Kat said, getting to her feet and wobbling around the coffee table. She let out a squeaky hiccup, which brought out another round of laughter, and Christoph joined in, his laughter cutting David like a knife. 

    “I’ll get you home safe, m’lady,” Cillian said, standing and walking towards her but tripping up in the coffee table and landing face first on the floor.

    Giggles erupted into roaring belly laughs, and Kat helped him to his feet. “It is I who shall help you, m’lady,” Kat said in her best regal voice.

    “Oh, you lovebirds,” Christoph said, folding his hands over his heart. “Your love is breathtaking.”

    Fuck you. Fuck you all, David thought.

    The three wrapped themselves in a group hug, then Kat and Cillian stumbled down the hallway to the staircase leading up to the third floor.

    “Let them be,” Liam said, putting his hand on David’s shoulder. “Nothing there for you but pain, lad.”

    “I know,” David said. “I just … I have to. Just for another minute, then I’ll let it go.”

    David stood and walked down the stairs, his eyes following the tipsy couple down the hall. Liam and Karla looked at each other, worried, and followed down behind him. Kat and Cillian disappeared through the doorway, and David leaned up again the wall, watching the door shut behind them. 

    Christoph walked into the hall, the smile on his face fading as he looked at David, and gave Liam and Karla a puzzled look. They whispered an explanation into Christoph’s ear, and David did not turn to see the expression on his captor’s face. His friend’s face. David waited a few minutes, stagnant in indecision, then walked towards the door to the stairwell.

    “Ah, buddy,” Liam said, walking after him. Christoph stopped him before he got to the stairwell.

“No,” Christoph said. “Like ripping off the bandaid. He needs to see to let go. To heal.”

 

****

 

    David closed the stairwell door behind him in near silence, taking care to not alert the couple to his presence. They were likely already upstairs in the room, unpacking, undressing. Their room. David shuddered, imagining his Kat in that man’s embrace, his hand touching her, and hers feeling him.

David shook the images out of his head and walked up two steps before stopping. There was a sound–muffled but loud enough to notice–coming from the stairwell maybe one story up. Breathy, rhythmic …

    No. Oh fuck no.

    His heart didn’t want him to, nor did his brain, but his feet moved regardless, carrying him up the first flight of stairs and rounding the landing to the second. He ascended half way up the last set of stairs before he found them. They hadn’t made it to their room. 

    They were at the top of the stairs, Cillian pressed against the wall of the landing, his jeans around his ankles. Kat was on her knees, her hands grasping Cillian’s buttocks, her mouth full of his swollen shaft. He put his hand on her head and fingers wrapped through her hair, guiding her pumping mouth towards his thrusting hips. She moaned, drool dribbling down her chin, and he looked down at her, biting his lower lip. Her movement intensified, her mouth pumping him harder and faster until he tilted his head back and his mouth dropped open. David saw the muscles in his thighs tighten and clench as he pushed his hips into Kat’s face, a windy grunt escaping from his lips. David watched as her eyes looked up at Cillian, watching him come, and saw the muscles in her throat swallow every drop of him.

    When Cillian was finished, his legs loosened and he wavered on his feet. She pulled back and licked him off, smiling as she pulled his jeans back up to his chiseled waist.

    “Thank you,” he breathed, putting his hands on her face and pulling her in for a kiss. Her tongue found his mouth, and his hand travelled down over her breast, briefly teasing her nipple before spinning her around so she was against the wall, and pulled her pants to the floor.

David’s fingernails dug into his skin as Cillian plunged his fingers deep inside Kat and she arched her back, moving in rhythm with Cillian’s hand. David cried out as Cillian dropped to his knees, his fingers still banging and his tongue parting Kat’s labia to caress her throbbing clitoris. Cillian flicked his tongue while his fingers plunged deeper, harder, until Kat covered her mouth with her hand, grabbing Cillian by the hair and driving his face deep into her, pulsating with a power that rocked them both. She shuddered, and Cillian withdrew his glistening flingers and stood to kiss her once more.

    “Think we’ll even make it to the room?” she said.

    “Who cares?” he said, his hands feeling their way up her shirt.

    David’s chest hurt, all the way to the tips of his fingers. A heart attack, he thought, though he knew that was impossible. Broken heart. Entirely possible, but of little consequence. He would live for eternity with the pain of what his eyes had seen. And he had seen enough. 

    He turned and descended the stairs, not taking the initial care he had when he had wanted to remain unnoticed. The door to the main floor slammed behind him, and Kat and Cillian jerked their heads towards the noise.

    “Hello?” Cillian called out as Kat quickly pulled up her pants. “That you, Christoph?”

     The two dashed through the doors of the third floor and ran to their room, laughing the whole way.

 

****

 

    “Yeah, you knew that was gonna be a bad idea,” Liam said, approaching David, who had just slammed through the stairwell door. 

    “Fuck off,” David said, flying by Liam and lunging at Christoph.

    “What did you do?” David shrieked, his face a centimeter from Christoph’s, spittle flying over the other man’s cheeks.

    “I’m not sure what you mean—“

    “Like hell!” David screamed. “You brought her here to torture me. You venomous asshole!”

David stormed into the sitting room, walked by a bookshelf, and swiped his arm across the top, sending glass ornament and a flower jar flying across the room. He walked over and kicked the piano, and the piano cried out a dull thunk and airy tinkle of keys. He moved to the couch, punching and kicking the back cushions until he was breathless, sweat and tears streaming down his face.

    “Are you very much finished, sir?” Christoph said, standing in the doorway.

    David collapsed onto the couch, and Liam ran to his side, saying nothing and holding his hand.

    “Go easy, Christoph,” Liam pleaded. “We can only imagine how hard this must be.”

    Christoph approached David, staying a safe distance away, and dropped to one knee.

    “Look at me, son,” Christoph said. David looked up into Christoph’s eyes and found them glazed with tears. “I assure you, I had no idea. I promise I would not consciously do this to you, to anyone for that matter. It may strike you as funny, but I do not strive to cause pain. No, she contacted me. She had seen       The Chateau in a mountain brochure and wanted to hold the … event here. Small gathering, a dozen people at most. Said she loved the mountains and loves a good ghost story.”

    She does, David thought, recollecting all the campfire tales she used to weave in the days when she still loved him. He choked back a sob and put his head into his hands.

    “It will all be over soon,” Christoph said, daring to reach his hand out and place it on David’s back. “She and her intended are to spend a few days here alone before the rest of their party joins them. After that, the wedding will take a day, and everyone will leave directly the day after. She said something about the two of them flying to somewhere with rum and coconuts.”

S    he had never wanted a honeymoon somewhere tropical. David recalled how, after their wedding in the woods on the other side of the lake, they had stayed in Harold’s cabins, spending their honeymoon skiing and snowshoeing. At least I have that to myself, I guess. They can have their tropical getaway, and she and I can have the snow.

    David cried and leaned into Christoph. They sat quietly on the couch, Christoph rocking him and Liam holding his hand until he was ready to descend the stairs to his cell and another disturbed slumber.

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