Why are all men cursed to be such bastards?
You may think that this is an odd way to begin the story of a true-life haunting, but as you will discover, it's all
relevant to the influence the house had over me. Whatever it was that was in
that place, whatever malevolent presence, it had a damaging effect on us all.
I know you probably think I'm trying to lay all the blame for my behaviour and the break up of my marriage
on some supernatural entity, and not on the fact that I can't keep my dick in my pants, but it must at least have been partly
All you women out there already smell the biggest rat of all in this story and that rat is me. Is that right ladies? I admit it, I treated Helen (my ex-wife)
badly and I've paid for it in more ways than one!
Its influence was working on me that first day I clapped eyes
on the damn place, I could feel it. There was an air about it and a
smell of foreboding (literally - as you'll see.)
The house was an old grey-stone building that had been built
in the early nineteenth-century. It was situated, isolated, halfway along a country
lane that led into the small town of Rothsdale. Further down on the opposite
side of the lane, was a row of a dozen terraced houses (the only neighbouring residents.)
Rothsdale had a history of once being a thriving mill town. Now it was
populated mostly by professionals who worked in the neighbouring city of Manchester.
The house stood in Mill Lane, if you followed the road into town; the old mill was still in evidence, now the premises
for a local carpet manufacturer. It was called Stokes Cottage and had been commissioned
by one of the mill's bosses himself all that time ago, so he could live in close proximity to the mill.
We'd first seen the house at the estate agents office in Manchester. They'd
got in touch with their branch in Rothsdale and told us that one of their colleagues from there would meet us at the house
with the keys. Diane, the woman who dealt with us at the Manchester office, had
even drawn us a map, based on instructions shed been given over the phone from the Rothsdale branch.
Knowing that we'd travelled all the way from York (where we currently lived) they were only too pleased to let us view
the property that afternoon.
We thanked Diane and set off with her scribbled map in the direction of the town.
We'd soon left the centre of Manchester and before long were travelling through an inner-city area, populated by tower
blocks, graffiti, vandalism and no doubt, like we'd heard gun-touting, drug pushers (the likes of which thankfully we didn't
encounter.) I was slightly disappointed, however, as I'd heard that certain parts
of Manchester; like the one we were travelling through, were more like Chicago during Prohibition than the outskirts of one
of the formerly prosperous industrial heartlands of the north. I'd been expecting
we'd have to drive through ducking our heads to dodge the ricocheting gunfire of rival gangsters. However, our journey was uneventful and the tower blocks were soon in the distance in my rear-view mirror
and we'd left the city altogether.
We passed through a few towns, which all looked identical, one after the other, until we eventually broke out into
the open countryside.
As we neared the dale, in every direction around for miles, we saw nothing but the patchwork quilt of yellow and green
squares of field. Hard to believe we were less than twenty miles from the grey,
dark, concreted Manchester.
When we were stood at the
front of the property looking at the house for the first time, there were no clues as to what would happen later. There was nothing about it to suggest a place of evil the house looked innocent enough, although
not exactly pretty.
Helen had enthused about it when she'd seen the photograph back at the office, calling it
beautiful; but I was not in agreement. A little imagination could have
made it so, but as it stood it was rather bland looking. I'm a draughtsman by trade and work for an architects and so know a little about
these things. I'd seen a lot of houses that had been beautiful in my time, but
this wasn't one of them.
Its grey-stone fašade was pleasing enough to the eye, but it had
a cramped look about it. The front of it was narrower than houses normally were. Its windows were too close together. You
know the old adage that you should never trust a man whose eyes are too close together?
Well maybe we should have applied that same reasoning to this damn place, and not trusted a house whose windows
were too close together!
Inside, we'd been told, the house had low ceilings. The problem with the place was that it had been constructed as a three-floor house within the confines
of two-floor space: with the attic doubling as the third floor and providing two tiny bedrooms (which when we'd heard about
them, thought would be ideal to put the children in.)
The whole place had the look of everything being crammed in.
It was not a great piece of architecture by a million miles, but
Helen loved it. So who was I to argue?
I concluded that the house was an ugly monument to a dreamer of a man, who had most likely had it built to his own
specifications, knowing zilch about architecture or any of the aesthetics of architectural design.
'Isn't it beautiful?' Helen said to me again, gazing in wonder at the thing as we stood at the gate.
'Yes, it's lovely,' I lied.
Of course, the place being a little rundown didn't
help matters. The garden was overgrown with long grass, brambles and weeds. A sea of, predominantly yellow and green, with the
occasional region where white campion and pink/purple hemp nettle had intruded.
The FOR SALE sign was half-hidden amidst this wilderness, standing crooked at a forty-five degree angle, as if fighting
a losing battle to maintain supremacy and remain seen, and as if at any moment it would be dragged down into it; devoured
by the vegetation.
Even the white two-barred fence, which ran around the perimeter of the garden, was fighting for survival against the
sprawling growth, and was only just detectable. Only the gate, situated at the
left-hand side of the front section was fully visible.
However, the place hadn't been occupied for a while and you
could make some allowances, at least with the garden.
Elaine had met us at the house with the key. This was my first encounter
with her. She pulled up behind our car, tossing her long dark hair as she jumped
out to greet us; smiling pleasantly as she approached us.
I couldn't help admiring the car she'd pulled up in, it was a sleek black Cougar, a sports car to die for, and certainly
put our own blue Mondeo rust bucket to shame, which now, parked in front of it, looked shabby by comparison, with
its countless patchwork paintjobs where bits of bodywork had been carried out. I'd
had the thing for so many years, I'd forgotten just how many. It had served me
well though and had very rarely broke down, although I had been meaning to get a new car for ages but we'd had other priorities,
especially now with the inevitable move.
'Nice,' I said as she walked towards us, and for a brief moment she thought I was passing comment on her;
as I was staring in her direction. I felt Helen's eyes boring into me as well.
'The car,' I said nodding in its direction.
'Oh that,' she said, the dawn of realisation breaking out on her face.
She twisted towards it. 'My little run-around?'
She turned back to face us, and now that she was closer, I couldn't help noticing that she was a babe!
As fit as the proverbial butchers bitch.
Her hair was as black as a raven's plumage, her eyes were dark green; the colour of jade, but shining like more precious
jewels in the sunlight. The remainder of her features were that of nature's
sculptured perfection and no exaggeration: prominent cheekbones that stuck out like wing-mirrors, a nose that was neither
too protruding nor too modest, and lips; not lacking in fullness; but not so voluptuous as to make them look collagen-enhanced
I placed her age at around thirty, that would put her three years younger than Helen, and yet to look at them
both they could have been ten years apart; such was Elaine's youthfulness. She
had the perfect, unblemished face of a twenty year old.
She was slim, though not too thin, and very feline, very much like a cat; the way she moved, everything.
Have you ever noticed that some women look like cats? That others
have the appearance of birds? That some resemble rabbits (and often go like them
too!) While more cuter ones look like squirrels or chipmunks. And of course, some are dogs.
This one was unquestionably the feline variety and as endearing and as graceful as one, as well.
She reminded me of a young Kate OMara (I'd seen her in a re-run of The Horror of Frankenstein on TV a few
weeks earlier.) Not one of Hammer's better efforts, I'd thought. But there was Miss OMara, with all her voluptuous charm; showing off her more than ample bosom
(Elaine however, was not as generously stacked - although you can't have everything!)
She was dressed smartly in a suit of black jacket and matching
short skirt, which showed off her long slender legs. She wore a white blouse
underneath her jacket, protruding outwards where it covered her modest sized breasts.
She very much fulfilled the criteria of what I'd expect the stereotypical estate agents representative to be. Although I hadn't imagined that one could be so captivating - I couldn't keep
my eyes off her.
Until that moment I had never looked at another woman in all
the twelve years I'd been married to Helen. Well that's not exactly true - I'd
looked. When you're out with the lads and an attractive girl arrives
on the scene, you look, don't you? You swap a few comments, such as,
I wouldn't mind, eh? and, I'd definitely give her one. It's
just natural male behaviour isn't it? I'm sure in fact: I know
that women look at men in much the same way when a gaggle of them get together (well don't you, ladies?)
She was so different to Helen, with her long dark hair and
her slim figure. Helen had always had short blonde hair and although had never
been what you'd call slim, she'd really piled on the pounds since our children had been born.
All right, at the time when she was ballooning and feeling insecure, and I had to reassure her that I still
found her attractive, I'd said that I liked a bit of weight on a woman anyway, and didn't like the skinny supermodel type. And true I didn't, Elaine wasn't skinny, but then again she didn't have all
the excess pounds that Helen had acquired with motherhood and in the years following.
Helen was developing a slight double-chin, when she bent her head forward it showed, and it had a nasty habit - much
to Helen's dismay - of showing up in photographs when she'd thought shed done a fairly good job of hiding it. Her cheeks had become plump, her cheekbones no longer visible; they had lost the battle to maintain prominence
and had sunk without a trace. Her thighs had become the width of small tree trunks
and her belly like that of a serious beer drinker. And I'm sure her arse was
twice the size it had been when I first met her.
I'd always liked slim women, now Helen was the wrong side of medium build and I wasn't a happy bunny.
The only consolation was her large breasts (that had become even bigger during pregnancy - which was the part
I'd been looking forward to the most!) Although there was no great increase in
size since she'd put on weight, they were still big and I loved to gorge myself on them on the rare occasion that
we still made love.
She didn't even attempt to get herself back into shape after having either of our two children. Opting out of like some more husband-friendly wives would going to aerobics classes or buying
the latest celebrity workout video in a bid to work it all off.
Keep fit had never been one of Helen's passions - she said she felt tired even watching people exercising.
It should be one of the rules of marriage that a wife should work to keep herself appetising for her husband, otherwise,
should she really be surprised when her other half strays?
Am I giving more excuses for myself, ladies? Or have I just convinced
you I am the sexist pig that you all thought I was?
Helen had always had short-cropped blonde hair, always. In all the years that I'd known her she'd never grown it very long, and this always
seemed to make her look a bit boyish. She was a bit of a tomboy, and
from what she's told me, she always was that way, even when she was a little girl. In
fact, it's hard to imagine Helen as a little girl, even though I've seen pictures and there she is in a cute party frock and
with pigtails, clutching a doll (was that Helen abducted by aliens and replaced by someone else, I have often wondered?)
Since the kids were born our sex life had also dwindled, so
much so that it had become virtually non-existent and when we did do it, it was conducted in very much the manner
of just going through the motions and not with any great deal of fervour.
I missed the passion we'd had when we'd first started seeing
each other and in our early years of wedded bliss. At the beginning of our relationship,
it had been very passionate and the best I'd ever had with anyone before, ever.
When we viewed the house, it was the beginning of the summer holidays for the children; we'd left them with Helen's
parents while we had gone off house hunting. If we were to move, we'd figured
it was best to do it during the long summer break, so the kids could start their new school year afterwards at the same time
as all the other pupils, instead of beginning mid-term.
It was a blistering day and we were dressed for summer, both in shorts and me in T-shirt and Helen in vest
top. Elaine was not so lucky, her job demanded that she dressed formally and
she was feeling the heat. She kept tugging her blouse collar away from her neck;
in the end she gave in to the heat and unfastened the top button.
When Elaine bent forward to open the small latch gate, which
led onto the garden path, it nearly fell off its hinges. It hung there, askew,
and dragged along the paving, as she struggled to push it open, accompanied by a loud grating noise. Helen grimaced and Elaine gave an embarrassed laugh. 'It's
just the gate, she said, the house is in fine shape.'
When she'd finally opened it, she stepped briskly ahead of
us and made her way up the path, brushing through the tall grass, which overhung, on both sides.
'What she means is, the house is in fine shape as
long as we don't spot anything wrong with it,' Helen whispered to me.
We followed Elaine up the path, which was overrun with dandelions
that had pushed themselves up through the cracks in the paving. In one part a
group of ants went about their business, disturbed only momentarily by our passing feet and suffering only one or two casualties
in the process.
Flies buzzed around and a wasp just missed a collision with my head as I ducked to avoid it, I batted it away and it
went over to pester Helen. Irritated by it, she waved her hand around frantically.
'Get lost, wasp!' she told it.
So it did (even wasps obey my wife!)
I glanced upwards and noticed that the face of one of the grey stones that made up the fašade of the house had been
fashioned into a plaque. It was positioned in-between the attic bedroom windows,
and read: STOKES COTTAGE, accompanied underneath by the date the place was built: 1822.
The house was in fairly good nick considering it had remained empty for such a long period of time. The once brilliant white paintwork of the window frames and doorframe, and the door itself, had lost its
sheen, coated as it was with a thin layer of grime, and was peeling in places. The
window above the door, which allowed light onto the stairway, had been smashed in the left hand corner, leaving a jagged rectangular
gap in the glass and cracks spreading outwards from it, the longest of which travelling the diagonal width of the remainder
of the pane. But apart from that, the place did look in fine shape.
I did wonder why it hadnt taken more of a battering from the local youth population of the town. Either Rothsdale had the most well behaved kids in the land, or something was keeping them away. Perhaps one of the neighbouring do-gooders from the houses further down acted as a caretaker for
it, and kept a vigilant eye on the house. Or maybe they'd read To Kill a
Mockingbird in school, as I had done, and feared that Boo Radley was in residence there.
As we reached the front door, Elaine turned her head back to us. 'There's no one lived here for two years,' she told us, and
then returned her attention towards the door again and slotted the key into the lock.
'No one except the ghosts that is.' She froze, and stopped dead in mid-turn. 'Shit,' she said under her breath.
Helen's ears pricked up, 'Ghosts?'
Elaine turned round to face us slowly and offered a smile. Her irises
gleaming in the sunlight again - definitely a cat, I thought. 'Yes,' she said
and gave a laugh. 'Some people think the house is haunted - the locals you know? But I'm not supposed to tell you that, so not a word to the boss that I've let it slip, eh?'
Elaine informed us that she lived locally, at the other side of town and had heard friends tell stories about the house.
'We don't believe in ghosts anyway,' Helen assured her.
'I do,' I said.
Elaine shot me a polite smile.
'Oh I forgot,' said Helen, 'my husband: the horror writer.'
'You're a horror writer?' Elaine gasped, those cats eyes widening in genuine excitement (I thought she was about to
purr.) 'What have you written?
I love a good horror.'
'Nothing you'll have heard of,' I told her.
'That means nothing. He hasn't had anything published,' my wife
told Cat Woman.
'Not yet that is,' I added.
'I like Stephen King. Have you read, The Shining?'
It was amazing - she liked King. He had to be my favourite writer of horror by a long (green?)
'The Shining's a great book!' I said. It had been one
of my favourites of King's. Kubrick's film hadn't done it the justice it deserved
it I'd thought when I'd seen it, but the book I definitely loved.
Helen gave an exaggerated cough in annoyance. She had never been interested
that much in the horror genre if at all even. 'Are we looking round this house
or what?' she asked, shifting from one foot to the other impatiently.
'My wife doesn't share my interest in horror, she likes a romance,' I told Elaine.
'There's a lot of romance in horror,' Elaine said, grinning mischievously to me.
Being Shown Around
It was even hotter in the house, and stuffy. At least there'd been a cool
breeze outside. Inside it had been like venturing into a furnace, the heat met
us at the door and escaped past us. There was clamminess in there too; the place
needed air, badly.
Some of the flies had followed us in, I heard their buzzing receding into the distance as they went off to explore
the house, thankfully though, the wasp had opted out of an investigation.
Another thing that welcomed us as we'd entered, apart from the heat, was the smell.
A strong musty odour had met us as soon as Elaine had let us in. As we
peered into the dark, dust-ridden hall we could see that the paper was peeling from the walls in places, probably due to dampness,
and there were no carpets or any furnishings of any kind to be seen.
'As I said, no-one's lived here for two years,' Elaine told us, by way of an apology for the state of the place.
Once we were inside, Elaine pulled her jacket from around her and hung it on the banister post at the foot of the stairs. She then proceeded to fan herself with the sheaf of papers she had containing the
information about the property, and did an upward blow with her mouth in a bid to cool herself more. The back of her blouse was wet through with sweat I noticed; the bra straps showing through as if it were
made of see-through material.
She then proceeded to show us around the rest of the ground floor: the front room, the kitchen and even letting us
peek into the pantry.
While in the kitchen we looked out at the back garden, it was as overgrown as the front had been. Suspended the length of it was a filthy old washing line, which stretched from the house to a white post
at the bottom of the garden. A similar white fence enclosed the back, as did
All the rooms were in a similar condition to the hall, with not a stick of furniture or fittings in evidence and just
the bare boards of the floor to walk on. Our footfalls were deafening, as they
clomped across them and echoed off the walls. The biggest culprit was Elaine,
in her heels, which sounded like a herd of women alone, and then, in addition to that was Helen's clattering flip-flops
and my trainers (making the least noise - I hasten to add!)
It had been no exaggeration what we'd been told about the place having low ceilings, when we'd been standing in the
front room, I held my hand up and I could rest the palm of it on the ceiling. Helen
couldn't, even though she stood on tiptoes, and Elaine didn't even attempt to try, she just watched us two, arms folded and
with a wry smile of amusement on her face.
As we were passing through the kitchen door, back into the hall,
she opened the door to the cellar, which was situated under the stairs, and we popped our heads in and peered down into the
darkness. We couldn't see anything down there; it was pitch black; we just saw
the wooden stairs disappearing into the darkness below.
She slammed the door shut again. 'Nothing much to see down there - apart
from cobwebs and spiders that is.'
Helen visibly shuddered at the thought; she loathed spiders.
Next, we followed the Cat up the stairs, and, being directly behind her, I couldn't help admiring her perfect
arse as it shifted from side-to-side in an almost hypnotic fashion like a swinging
Talk about being mesmerised.
Helen was following close behind, so I didn't dare make it
obvious I was looking, but nevertheless I looked.
All the rooms in the house had been almost bare (save for
the odd debris of litter and of course the thick layer of dust which had settled on everything.) It was also badly in need of decorating, it was the same story upstairs.
The place, throughout, had smelled really musty and damp too, although we knew it hadn't been lived in for a while,
so we weren't concerned too much; even though at one point Helen pulled her face and mouthed to me: 'It reeks.'
There was something definitely odd about that smell,
it didn't have the same odour that damp or mustiness normally has, it was a much stronger, more unbearable smell,
as Helen had said later: 'It was like something had died in there.'
The estate agents, initially, had said they hadn't been able
to sell the house and they had been forced to lower the price. The dirt-cheap
price tag was what had attracted us to it in the first place, and as I've said, when Helen had seen a photo of it, she'd
fell in love with it. Helen had always wanted us to live in a little cottage,
in a picturesque rural area, away from the humdrum, and I for one, as Ive already said, had never really been a townie.
'There must be something wrong with it,' Helen said
to me when she'd pulled me to one side back at the office, 'for the price to be so low.'
Now we'd experienced the mother of all smells and,
more importantly of all, we'd heard that our house had ghosts - bingo!
On the first floor there was the large master bedroom
and a meagre bathroom. Elaine briefly showed
us the tiny bathroom (there was just enough room for the essentials: a bath, a toilet, and a washbasin.) After that she showed us through to the main bedroom, it, like the other rooms, was completely bare.
The Cat eyed me. 'This is the main bedroom,' she said and those eyes, that still seemed to shine despite the absence
of sunlight, widened suggestively and lingered on mine for a while.
Helen and me scanned the bedroom. It was a large room, much larger
then the bedroom in our other house. I followed Helen over to the window
and we looked out across the lane into the distance. There were some woods, directly
opposite, about a quarter of a mile away.
Our feline guide next took us up to the second floor, where
we were shown two smaller bedrooms that we'd had in mind for the children, they were perfect for our intention.
As she'd shown us around, there'd been exchanges between her
and me - eye contact. It had become apparent that we couldn't keep our
eyes off one another. All this, of course, had gone completely unnoticed by Helen,
who was too busy taking in the house. I, however, had been distracted from our
tour by stealing glances at our guide rather than concentrating on what she was telling us about the property.
This cat creature was gorgeous.
It was plain that she felt the same way about me, I could
tell with the way she looked at me, women have a way of looking at you when they're interested, take it from me, I know (guys
if you ever want any tips, write in - I'm an expert!)
I've never believed in any false modesty or anything like that. I could
say that I'm nothing special, and that I don't understand why women could possibly find me attractive, but the truth is that
I have been blessed with above average good looks. I get it from my mother, whose
side of the family were all attractive people. Women do find me attractive,
and I was always being tempted by certain looks they'd given me over the years since I'd been married: the odd offer of a
drink, a date, and even on one occasion being asked directly to share one of their beds for the evening.
Why I'd suddenly decided at that point to do something about it, I don't know.
As I said at the beginning of this book, the house may have played its part in my adulterous straying. But, as I also said, the more cynical among you will probably think its just an excuse.
I was thirty-six at the time but I, unlike Helen, had not let myself go, I kept in trim, I had been known to jog and
had even wandered down the local gym once in a while. I only had a mild paunch,
even though I liked a drink. I didn't seem to load on the calories like some
men do, lucky that way I suppose. I'm fairly tall, although some might say that
five foot ten is not that tall for a man (Elaine was almost my height, in heels.)
I'm neither slim nor medium build (I'm somewhere in between) and I have short hair, which is a dark shade of brown,
and brown eyes also (women say that my eyes are my best feature - they say I have sexy, playful eyes that seem to be suggesting
'What sort of family lived here before?' Helen asked Elaine,
as she studied one of the tiny attic bedrooms we'd been led into.
'Oh,' said Elaine, 'a young couple, no children.'
'We have two children,' Helen informed her, 'a girl and a
'Oh really?' said Elaine, offering the false smile of polite
interest she'd no doubt adopted from dealing with countless potential homebuyers before us.
'What are their names?'
'Sophie -' Helen began.
'And Danny,' I cut in.
'Daniel,' Helen corrected me, and shot me one of
her superior looks. I'd committed the ultimate crime of calling our son: Danny,
in company. According to Helen, Danny, was common. 'Call him: Daniel, that's his name,' she would always say. 'He's four and Sophie is five,' she told Elaine.
'Five and a half,' I corrected her (Sophie would
have made a point of informing her of this if she'd been there.)
'I'd like children,' Elaine told us, letting her
eyes drift away from us dreamily; as if picturing herself in that room, with kids one day.
'No time, eh? Being
a career woman?' enquired Helen (ever nosy.)
'No, I just haven't found the right man yet,' she said, and
looked directly to me and let her eyes remain on mine once more. It did things
to me to look directly into those eyes. It was as if they shone with their
Helen changed the subject. 'I think a house's character is
shaped by its previous owners.'
'She's a bit superstitious our Helen,' I said to Elaine, placing
my arm around Helen and squeezing her to my side.
Elaine gave a disapproving look at my action, followed by
an awkward smile and a lowering of her head, as if to avoid watching the affection I was displaying towards my wife. 'Oh I see,' she said, keeping her head bowed.
The way she said it seemed to suggest to me that she was thinking that my putting an arm around Helen was telling her
I loved my wife and wasn't interested in anyone else. Whereas in truth, the only
woman I had eyes for in the room, or any where else in the entire world for that matter at that present moment in time, was
After the tour of the upstairs, we made our cacophonous descent
down the two flights of stairs. Elaine in front and Helen behind me again as
they had been on the way up. I stole a few more glances at Elaines rear, admiring
it, unseen by Helen. Elaine and me had both been making it pretty obvious that
we fancied each other. Our ritual only hindered at one point, when I'd shown
affection to Helen. On all the occasions our alluring guide had caught me giving
her even the slightest fleeting glance, she'd smiled and then looked away to my wife and then back to me, as if she was trying
to convey to me the fact that she was interested, but how was the situation with my wife?
At the time, short of taking her to one side out of earshot of Helen and telling her that I would jump her pretty,
sweet bones right there and then if I could, I couldn't think of a way of replying to her charade (I'd never been good at
that particular parlour game anyway - it's a book, it's a film, three syllables, sounds like ...)
When our guide had brought us back down to the front door
again, she swung round to face us. 'What do you think?'
As I looked at her and my eyes travelled over her again, I
thought to myself: Not bad, and, uncannily, as if she'd read my thoughts, Elaine said: 'of the house?'
Before I could answer, Helen jumped in. 'We'll be in touch.'
Elaine collected her jacket and we stepped out into the cool breeze once more.
It was welcome relief from the humidity inside. It was also good to get
away from that smell.
The wasp that had been pestering us early (or one of its stripy yellow friends) found us again and proceeded to dive
bomb Helen. 'That thing doesn't like me,' she said waving her hand around madly,
swiping at it and twisting around in a circle on the spot as it flew around her.
'On the contrary,' I said, 'it can't seem to get enough of you.'
It finally lost interest after taking the mother of all batterings from Helen, and ascended into the air, becoming
nothing but a harmless little speck above us.
Elaine pulled the front door shut, and then she swung her jacket over her shoulder, closed her eyes and lifted her
head back slightly and let the gentle breeze blow across her face. 'Ooh,'
she said after she'd opened her eyes again, 'that's refreshing.'
'It was a bit close in there,' Helen said.
Elaine undid another button on her blouse and flapped the loose material to allow cool air into it, and when she looked
up she caught me watching and shot me one of her playful smiles.
It was one of the most perfect moments of the day.
That night I had a dream that I was being pursued through the woods by a large black cat - a panther.
I was running for dear life through the trees until, finally, after a chase covering some ground, where I put the years
spent jogging to the test, caught up with me in a clearing near a fallen tree, and cornered me. There was no means of escape, the horizontal tree trunk too broad to climb over, and the undergrowth around
it too dense to make my way through.
For some reason I was naked.
The panther prowled towards me and glared at me with eyes that I recognised from somewhere. They were Elaine's. The large cat came at me and knocked me to the ground. After toying with me, it began to paw at me; and finally made impact with my flesh, scraping its huge nails
across my chest. The scratches bled open, oozing thick red blood. The animal then bent its head and licked at the wounds.
The sight of its large tongue lapping at me from behind two rows of large animal teeth and those very sharp looking
fangs, had me fearing for my life.
I knew how panthers and other members of the large-cat family killed their prey; they crushed the skull of their quarry
with those very same pointed incisors I was witnessing not so far away from my own skull.
And this was a big fucker; I had no doubt that it was capable of such a feat with me.
However, the panther now did something extraordinary - it transformed into Elaine.
She smiled at me in the mischievous way she'd done at the house, and then moved her face towards mine she was completely
naked also, after her metamorphous.
We made love, there, in the middle of the woods, naked as babes. She,
still the predator on top of me; riding me; working on me, I was still very much her prey and even if I hadn't wanted this,
I would have still had to endure it. She continued to pump me, her hands gripping
my shoulders, her nails digging into my flesh. They were still sharp,
like the panthers had been. She drove me, and worked herself too, closer and
closer towards orgasm, until finally, with us both sweating profusely, we both climaxed.
She relaxed and we both reclaimed our breaths, and as she remained astride, she bent down to me. Her mouth suddenly reverted back to the panther's, jutting outwards and sprouting black fur. Then it yawned wide-open, revealing those enormous animal teeth and fangs again.
I woke with a start and also disturbed Helen with my sudden movement.
'What's the matter?' she asked me drowsily.
'Oh, nothing bad dream,' I told her.
'Poor darling,' she said.
'It was weird,' I said. 'A black panther was chasing
me through the woods near our new house.'
'Our, new house so were having it then? You didn't
seem too keen earlier.'
I still wasn't.
'It needs some work, but it's ideal, don't you think?' I cringed inside
when I heard myself say this - was this some other person talking inside me; some evil other entity in collusion with my wife,
that was speaking through me? Have I been possessed like in The Exorcist? At any moment was my head going to start spinning and I'd vomit pea soup everywhere?
What was I saying? No! I
don't want ... just because you ... why do I have to ...
'Yes,' she agreed, 'it's perfect.'