All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Eleven

Weeks went by and Sela found that she enjoyed the company of this illusive, charismatic man who she defiantly called “Ben.”  Although it seemed to be reciprocal, Sela suspected that he was most likely an Übermensch: someone who feels so superior that they are bound by neither law nor morality.

After they dined, they stood on the veranda and Sela watched as Ben overlooked his vast empire.  They spoke only of the meals and occasionally, the stars.  There was no touching, no lengthy glances and the quest for each other’s identity seem to have faded into the background, at least for now.

They were once interrupted by Earl, who had apologies with an urgent message.  When Ben excused himself, Sela could hear words like “product and delivery.”  After thinking she heard Ben raise his voice and say the word “Sycophant,” she never saw Earl again.

Earl had not been one to “get to know,” and it was as if Ben had just changed a floral arrangement in the foyer.  It was of no concern to Sela, as it had been with Roy.  She had free reign of the mansion and didn’t need to be “watched” anymore.

Still, she wondered what happened to Roy and she was worried and she knew something.

Roy had, in strict confidence, told her that the King had once been on trial for murder.  He hadn’t offered details and Sela hadn’t asked but quietly wondered if that was the reason for his isolation from the world.  She also wondered if it was true.  Roy was enamored with her and possibly by telling her that secret, it might make him look more like a knight in shining armor.

Ben was charming, a good conversationalist and Sela was surprised with how she looked forward to spending time with him…but was it true?  Was he a murderer?  Or was he just accused of murder and was found to be innocent?    He didn’t look like a murderer but what did a murderer look like?

Sela had obvious bouts with depression.  She still craved the idea of escaping the confines of the mansion.  Sometimes she would cry uncontrollably.  As she sobbed, Ben would stand beside her but offered no hug or even a hand on her shoulder.  He knew why she was crying.  She wanted to know who she really was and more importantly, why no one had ever come for her or even looked for her.

Ben was uncharacteristically compassionate when he told her that maybe she found her way to him because it was meant to be.  He smiled and in an almost protective way, said “you could have suffered a far worse fate.”

Although Sela smiled, she hadn’t forgotten how she had been found and how long it took to recover.  “A far worse fate?”  How much worse could it have been?” she thought.

She didn’t know that she was still under suspicion.  The things Sela mourned for were the things that had become an obsession for the King.  He was good at placating her vulnerability but his ulterior motives were always on the surface.  He didn’t believe in coincidence as he had almost playfully suggested to Sela.

Months went by and the games and mutual manipulation continued, with each thinking they were holding the winning hand.

They grew closer and they were both excellent thespians but for Sela, it was becoming more and more difficult to resist this man of absolute, near perfection.  When he took her hand one night, they locked eyes and almost embraced.

Sela pulled away and said “we can’t do this.  I have to know if I belong to someone.  I feel like I belong to someone.  Don’t you see?  If we begin a relationship, I would feel a sense of betrayal until I know for certain, that I don’t belong to someone.  Please understand.

He leaned over and whispered in her ear, “I understand.”  Sela smiled and said “thank you.”

Unbeknownst to her, he had played every card, called in every chip, made every threat, made every offer that couldn’t be refused, and money had flowed like a rapid stream until one day, his efforts paid off.  It had taken more than two years but through a source called the “chameleon,” the King discovered exactly who Sela was.

The next night as they dined, the King looked at Sela and said “I have something to tell you.”  Sela timidly asked “what?”

Looking for the slightest expression of surprise or fear in Sela’s eyes, he took her hand and said “I know who you are.”

 

To be continued_____________

 

All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Ten

Sela was sure that she had stirred something in Roy.  She knew he was watching her as she strolled back into the house and a backward glance, accompanied with a beguiling smile made Roy blush.

The next morning, Sela dressed and went for her usual garden visit.  As she swung back and forth, she searched for Roy in the distance but didn’t see him.  As she got up and started walking, another man appeared and said “good morning, ma’am.  My name is Earl.”

Sela was confused and asked “where’s Roy?”  Earl said “I’m sorry ma’am.  I wouldn’t know.”

“Why are you here?” Sela asked.  Earl said “I’m here at the King’s request.”  Sela asked “his request to do what?” Earl said “to be your guardian.”

Sela was angry and repeated, “where is Roy?”  Earl repeated, “I’m sorry ma’am.  I wouldn’t know.”  Sela said “I want to know where Roy is.  Find out.”  Earl was silent as Sela made her demands and she sensed that he was not going to be swayed by her feminine wiles.

From the window, the King was watching and summoned Earl.  Standing before the King, Earl was asked what Sela was talking about.  Earl said “she wanted to know where Roy is, Sir.”

“And what did you tell her?” asked the King.  “I told her that I wouldn’t know Sir,” said Earl.  The King said “I think Roy was becoming a liability, in that he was getting too close to her.  Can I be assured that you will not be making the same mistake?”  With an appropriate bow of respect, Earl said “you can be assured, Sir.”

The King surprised Earl when he said “bring her up here.  I think it’s time that we met.”

Earl escorted Sela to the King’s “tower.”  As they walked in, the King said “that will be all.”  Earl, with the same bow of respect, left the room and closed the door.

The King had his back to Sela.  Stinging from the absence of Roy, Sela asked “who are you?”  The King answered,”I might ask you the same thing.”

She said “I am called Sela, but I don’t know who I am and I don’t know who you are.  Who are you?”

The King, turned and said “you might call me your benefactor.”  Sela quipped, “so I should call you what…Ben?”  Her insouciance angered the King but he found her quick wit intriguing.  He walked toward her and invited her to sit.

Sela obliged and watched as the Kings’ eyes traversed her long legs from hip to ankle as she crossed them.

He said “I think we should get to know each other a little better.”  Sela looked at him and said “how can that possibly happen?  My name may not be my real name but at least I have a name.  You either don’t have a name or you refuse to tell me and if you think I’m going to call you “the King” like your subordinates, then you are truly mistaken.”  She smiled as if she had one-upped him and said “yes, Roy told me that everyone refers to you as ‘the King’.”

He didn’t appear to be amused but it was obvious that she had piqued his interest.

In truth, Sela could understand why he might be called “the King.”  He was beautiful.  His dark, close-cropped hair, tan skin and piercing pale green eyes, lent an air of mystery and potential danger in an exciting way.  The way he carried himself, his almost whisper of a voice and the dominion that he oversaw, left only two things missing.  A crown and a throne.

Sela again asked “what’s your name?”  The King smiled but didn’t answer.  Sela said “understand one thing.  I am not going to call you ‘the King’.”  He whipped around and said “and you understand one thing.  You are here at my pleasure and you don’t tell me what you are and aren’t going to do.”

Sela stood and defiantly said “fine, BEN.  Help me find out who I am and I will be happy to leave…at your pleasure, of course.”

They were playing mental Chess with each other and it seemed to titillate them.

 

To be continued________

The Three Word Challenge Story

This is the answer to a three word challenge from Brian Lageose, who continues to be under the impression that I can write.  LOL.  In the story, you have to use three words he gives you.  I agreed as long as one of the words wasn’t that ridiculous “L” word.

True to his delicious sense of humor, he included that word in my challenge.  The three words are highlighted in red.

(Thanks Brian.  I’m coming for you.)

__________________________

Every Saturday afternoon, a group of refined, high-fashion elite women and I met at the Charlestown Country Club, just outside Atlanta, Georgia, where Southern accents were understood and considered to be charming and sexy.

We sat on the veranda, sipped Mint Juleps, fanned ourselves against the steamy heat and often gossiped about tawdry, promiscuous women and the nasty, ill-bred men who tasted their wares.

We were high-born, highly educated ladies who only allowed high-born, highly educated men into our inner circle but by no means were we prudish.  Our ladies and gentlemen honored a code of silence.

The gentlemen didn’t “kiss and tell” and by no means, did they leave money on the dresser after a night of lust.  The women bathed away the evidence and emerged as though they had never been touched, other than a slight triumphant smile, recognized only by us.

It was on a hot, sultry day at the Country Club when I first set eyes on Edward Carrington, III.  I gasped as I said “Oh, my!  Who is that delicious long drink of water?”

Estelle said “that’s Edward Carrington, III.  Every woman in town is trying to land him.  He has everything…looks, money, education, position, charm, charisma, pure raw animal sex appeal…but…”

“But what?” I asked.  “But…he’s a real player,” she said.  “I mean, look around.  Every woman’s head turned when he walked into the room, and don’t think I didn’t notice the flush in your face when you saw him.  Look at him.  He just finished a round of golf and he isn’t even sweating.”

I smiled and said “I’ll bet I can make him sweat.”  Estelle looked at me and said “I’m sure you can.  I’m sure you can make him sweat several times but after a week or two, he’ll move on.”

“I’ll take that challenge,” I said, as I started to make my way over to this mysteriously magnetic, man who now had a target dead center in his chest.

Estelle took my arm and said “you’re going to lose.”

I smiled as I said “we’ll see.”

The next morning, I had the recognizable, triumphant smile on my face.  Estelle whispered “well?”  I looked at her and said “it was glorious and I think you’re wrong.  I think that all he needed was for the right woman to come along.”

Estelle asked “and you believe that you are the right woman?”

“Yes I do,” I said.  “If you had been there, you would agree.  We explored each other with uncontested enthusiasm.  It was much like finding buried treasure.”  I blushed when I said “and he found treasures that I never knew existed.  It was as if we had both been starving to death and were feasting on each other.”

For two weeks, Edward and I shared tempestuous passions that most could only dream about.  I was feeling and doing things that were much like I imagined those “tawdry, promiscuous” women I had loved so much to gossip about were doing and had done.  But I didn’t care.  Edward was a wonderful lover and he brought out the long-lost lover in me, who had been suppressed by my pristine upbringing.

Two days into our third week, I slithered out of his bed and slipped into my sheer bathrobe.  The sun had just risen and as I came out of the bathroom, I crawled toward Edward on all fours like a panther stalking its prey.  He was watching me and suddenly sat up.

There was no “good morning.”  The only thing he said was “I’ve been thinking.”

In an almost purring voice, I said “thinking about what?”

He looked at me and said “I’ve been thinking about us.  You see, some of the men are starting to say words like LOVE, marriage, family, forever…things like that.”  He took my hand and said “you understand that those things are not part of our relationship, right?”

I hoped he didn’t hear my almost deafening swallow as I said “of course I do.”

He said “so, you understand what I’m saying?”

“Yes,”  I said.  “You’re saying our time is over.”  He smiled and said “yes.  I think you knew from the beginning that this was just going to be a casual thing.”

I smiled as I got up but turned before I got to the bathroom.  I opened my robe and watched as his eyes ran the length of my exposed body.  He said “I’ll admit.  I’m sure going to miss that exquisite body of yours.”

I went into the bathroom and closed the door.  After I dressed, I looked at myself in the mirror and smiled.  There was only one word that came to mind.  That word was REVENGE.

I walked out and in a demure, passive manner said “do you know what a supernova is?  It’s when a star gets so bright, it catastrophically explodes.  It signals the end of the star.  Since our relationship is ending, I was thinking that we should be like two stars who supernova and go out in a blaze of glory.”

Edward’s interest was piqued.  “What do you have in mind?” he asked.

“I think we should ‘have each other for dinner’, if you know what I mean.  We could call it our last supper.”  Edward smiled and said “that sounds intriguing.”

“Good,” I said.  “I’ll be here at 7.

I arrived at exactly 7 and Edward greeted me with a smile.  “I have to tell you.  I have been looking forward to this all day,” he said.

I told him to go to the bedroom and undress.  “I”m liking this already,” he said.

When he undressed, I told him to lay on the bed.  I stripped down to a lacy negligee and went to the bathroom.  “What are you doing in there?” he asked anxiously.

“You’ll see,”  I said.  “Just relax and get ready.”

I came back into the room and told him to raise his legs and close his eyes.  I ran my hands over his legs and then placed a small bowl of warm water under his TESTICLES.

As I began to manipulate them into my mouth, he writhed and moaned with sheer pleasure.  “Oh God!” he said.

I whispered, “you’re going to need Him,” and then listened as his moans turned into blood-curdling screams when I clamped down and castrated him with one bite.

 

The End.

 

 

 

All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Nine

Sela believed that she had found her silent champion but Roy’s feelings and actions had not escaped the King’s notice.

As Sela continued to play with Roy’s emotions, she was tasting freedom.  She was not allowed to leave the grounds but he was and she saw him as her ticket out of there.

She would have to win his complete loyalty and make him want to enjoy that same sweet taste of freedom…and they could not do it under the auspices of the King.

Sela had already begun to feel like she, Dr. Burt, Roy, Greta and all the other silent people in the “kingdom” were part of a “glass menagerie,” kept for the Kings’ pleasure.  She had heard the whispers and she had seen how everyone stood on ceremony.  It was like none of them had an identity of their own.  They were just a small part of a whole and that whole was the King.

She began with a casual question to Roy.  “Could you just leave anytime you wanted?”  His first response was “actually, I’ve never given it any thought.”

Sela looked at him and said “but there’s a whole world out there.  Aren’t you curious?”  Roy surprised her when he said “there’s a whole world here as well, and it’s a very good world.  We, who live here, want for nothing and we’re treated very well.”

“But,” Sela continued.  “Don’t you feel almost like you’re in servitude?”  Roy answered exactly as Sela had hoped.  “We are free to come and go as we please.  We’re not prisoners and certainly not servants in the sense that you mean.”

Sela walked over to Roy and looked at him with beckoning eyes as she said “you can leave and you could take me with you.  We can make a plan.  We can have a life together.”

If Roy, even for a second, believed that would be a possibility, he didn’t reveal his thoughts to Sela.  “Do you realize what you are asking of me?  You are asking me to betray the King.  You are asking me to put my life at risk…to leave the life I’ve known for most of my life.”

Sela gently put her arm on his chest and said “do you really think you’re living?  No matter how you much you posture, you are his servant.  You are at his beck and call.  And remember, you said that you would risk your life for me.”

Roy said “I did say that but you have forgotten the circumstances surrounding that statement.”

Sela sat down on the swing and said “Roy?  Where exactly does the King get his money?  Did he inherit it?  I mean, I  never see him go to work in the traditional sense.”

The look Roy gave her left no doubt that she had crossed the mark and she would get no answer.  As if she had never pried, Sela cavalierly tried a different ploy.  Able to call misty eyes on command, Sela walked over to Roy and said “I need to know if anyone is looking for me.  Don’t you know that I need to know if I am missed?  I had to belong to someone.  Wouldn’t you want to know?”

As she moved closer, she said “don’t misunderstand.  I have been treated like royalty here.  You have been so kind and helpful but I need to know and I need you to help me.”

Sela’s charm and beauty had certainly captured Roy and he was finding it more and more difficult to resist, especially when she was playing the “I’m so vulnerable…please take care of me” card.

 

 

To be continued_______________

All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Eight

As he walked into the house, Sela screamed “I don’t know who I am!  Do you hear me?  I don’t know who I am!”

Roy walked over and tried to calm her down.  Sela looked at him and asked “who is that man?”  Roy said “he owns this house and these gardens.  He owns everything as far as your eye can see.  This is his kingdom.”

“But who is he?” she asked.

Roy gave just the slightest hint of a smile when he said “we call him the King.”  Sela quipped “the King?  You mean as in the ‘King of his Kingdom’?”

Roy shook his head in affirmation.  “Is he Royalty?” she asked.  Roy laughed and whispered “no, he just thinks he is.”

“You still haven’t told me his name,” she said in an almost pouty voice.

Roy said “if and when the King wants you to know his name, he will be the one who tells you.”

“What is your relationship to him?”  Sela questioned.  Roy said “I work for him.”

“In what capacity?” she asked.

“I am multi-faceted.  I’ve been appointed your guardian.  I’m a liaison and most importantly, I’m a trusted family member who protects the King at all costs.”

“At all costs?” Sela echoed.  “Yes.  At all costs, up to and including sacrificing my life,” he said.

She asked “are you in love with him?”  Roy laughed aloud and said “no, it’s not like that.  It’s more of a loyalty thing.  I protect him but he protects me as well.

“From what?” She asked.  Roy pensively answered “from outsiders.”

Sela said “who are these outsiders and why would they pose a threat to you?”

Roy quickly switched gears and said “don’t you love these gardens?  I see you out here every day and you always seem so relaxed and peaceful.”

“You watch me?” Sela asked.  “Yes,” said Roy.  “I told you that I am your guardian.  I am here to protect you on the orders of the King.”

“You mean you’re a stalker,” she said.  Roy said “no.  Not a stalker.  A guardian.”

Sela said “tell me.  Do you stalk me in my bedroom as well?”  Roy smiled and said “no.  Not in your bedroom.  Only on the grounds, and I’m not a stalker.  I’m your guardian.”

With playful eyes, Sela said “so, does that mean you would sacrifice your life for me as well?”

“I would,” said Roy.

“Do you carry a gun?” asked Sela.  “Yes,” said Roy.  “Is it a big gun?” asked Sela.  “Big enough,” said Roy.  “Can I see it?” asked Sela.  “No,” said Roy.

Sela was flirting with him and knew that he would be flattered.

“Are you in love with me?” she asked.  She could see the flush in Roy’s face as he tried to stumble through a denial.  “I’m here to protect you on the Kings’ orders.”

Sela had exposed Roy’s soft underbelly and she knew that he would be vulnerable.  He was in love with her and she could see a means of escape, if she played him…and her cards right.

Using her feminine wiles, she took Roy’s arm.  Coyly returning to the previous conversation about the gardens, she said “you’re right, you know.  The gardens are lovely and so relaxing and peaceful but I still feel as though I am a prisoner.”

As they slowly walked in silence, suddenly Sela stopped and tightened her grip on Roy’s arm.  She could feel his pulse quicken and see his pupils widen.  She looked at him and said, “would you do something for me if I asked?”

Roy thought Sela had finally noticed him and against his better judgment, said “anything.”

She leaned toward him and whispered into his ear, “would you help me get away from here?”

 

To be continued______________

 

All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Seven

Weeks passed, and more and more Sela found herself drawn to the feeling of serenity the gardens offered…always under the watchful gaze of the King.

Roy had been appointed her guardian.  He was always close but kept his supervision in the shadows.  He had become enamored with the beautiful, mysterious Sela, who sadly, barely gave him notice.  Their limited conversations were brief and mundane but Roy fought with futility, to spark even a paltry bit of interest from her.

His fight would soon bear fruit, but not for him.  One evening as Sela was coming back to the house, she was startled to see a man standing in front of her.

He was the kind of man you instinctively knew that you shouldn’t look at, but she did.  She was captivated by his striking handsomeness and magnetic eyes but somewhat frightened by his sudden almost ethereal presence.

“Good afternoon.” he said.  “I see that you are admiring my gardens.”

Sela looked around the display as if for the first time and said “yes.  They’re beautiful.  There’s such a sense of peacefulness here, almost like you’re in a different world.  A world of grace and innocence.  Her voice trailed off as she said “a world I think I’d like to belong to.”

“Have you seen the pond?” he asked.  Sela said “no, I haven’t.”

“Come with me,” he said.

They walked along the flower-laden pathway to a huge pond whose beauty rivaled the gardens.

“It’s fully stocked with the finest Nishikigoi, better known as Koi,” he said.  “They are symbolic of luck, prosperity and good fortune.  They also represent perseverance in adversity and strength of purpose.  Most importantly, they are symbolic of loyalty, and loyalty is very important.”  Then he turned and looked as though he knew the exact spot where Roy was standing.

Sela gazed at the playful Koi, who came to the surface begging for food.  “May I feed them?” she asked.

His answer was sharp and succinct.  “No.  I have people for that.”

As if nothing had been asked or denied, he continued.  “Many people erroneously believe that these creatures originated from Japan, when in reality they are thought to be native to China.”

Sela’s eyes were fixated on the massive, brightly colored fish and the over sized pond lilies.  Pink lotus plants seemed to dance on the surface, disturbed only by an occasional beetle looking for the sweet nectar of pollen.

A large, concrete angel with wings spread, held an urn with a never-ending flow of water, which lent the sound of a gentle cascading waterfall.  “If Utopia exists,” thought Sela, “surely this must be it.”

“It’s easy to feel like you can lose yourself here, isn’t it?” he asked.

“Yes it is,” she said.

He turned as if to walk away and Sela said “wait.  Who are you?”

He looked at her with his intense, beguiling eyes and said “I might ask you the same question.”

 

To be continued________________

All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Six

A week later, Sela was presented with a wardrobe fit for a queen.  As she slipped into a soft, white gauzy summer dress, she wondered “did I wear this kind of clothing?”

With a little trepidation, she opened the door and slowly walked out of the room.  She made her way over to the grand staircase, that seemed to float in mid-air.  Looking down on the immense marble floor of the foyer, she began her descent.

Halfway down, she met a maid who stopped and asked “can I get you anything ma’am?”  Sela asked her name.  “My name is Charlotte, ma’am.”  Sela said “hello Charlotte.  Can you tell me how to get outside?”

Charlotte said “yes ma’am.  I’ll take you to the gardens.  It’s just this way.”

Sela walked out and took a deep breath of fresh air that she had smelled only from the window of her room.  The perfume of row after row of flowers that lined the brick walkways compelled her to pick a rose from a nearby bush.  The grounds looked like a painting you would expect to see at the Louvre.  Saying that she found herself surrounded by overwhelming beauty would have been an understatement.

A large, vine-covered gazebo stood at the end of the path and boasted an inviting swing.  Sela walked over, slid onto the swing and felt free as she pushed herself back and forth.  She laughed like a school girl and let her long hair down, so that it flowed freely as if feeling freedom as well.

She didn’t notice the King watching her from the window high above, nor could she hear the conversation he was having with Roy.

In his usual manner of talking with his back turned, the King said “she’s been here for almost two months and we still know nothing?”

Roy said “we have searched and searched.  Nothing.  It’s like she’s a ghost.”

“Don’t we have somebody at the Police Department?”  Roy answered “yes, but he came up with zip.  There have been no missing persons bulletins, no inquiries, no calls.  Like I said, we have nothing.”

The King, clearly annoyed said “everyone has a past.  No one just magically appears as though they materialized out of thin air.”  He raised his voice and said “just find out who she is!  I don’t believe in coincidence or happenstance or serendipity.  I’m a suspicious man and I believe that she’s here for a reason and I want to know what that reason is.”

Roy cautiously said “begging your pardon sir.  Dr. Burt says she feels like a prisoner here.  If you had some interaction with her, it might help.  You may be able to gain her trust.”

The King was silent for a moment, then slightly shook his head up and down and said “yes.  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

Roy said “you believe she’s an enemy, sir?”  The King said “it’s your job to find out.  Getting information that I request is what pays your salary and it’s a very nice salary, if I recall.”

As Roy was leaving the room, the King turned his back once more and said “I’ll consider your suggestion.  In the meantime, I don’t care what you have to do.  I don’t care who you have to threaten.  I don’t care who you have to buy.  I don’t care who you have to kill.  Just do what you’re being paid for.  Find out who she is.”

 

To be continued_______________