by C. E. Gee
My diction is baroque to the point of being archaic. Such cannot be
helped. I have lived most my life in another era.
The death of my wife came as no surprise. She’d lived a dissolute and
slothful life, replete with many bad habits and unhealthy addictions.
Nonetheless, I had loved the woman. Her passing filled my heart with an
The home we’d once shared served only to remind me of what had been.
Every room held some knick-knack or object d’art of hers, our bed
chamber was infused with the scent of her perfume. My beloved workshop
was strewn with articles of hers in need of repair.
I emptied my home of all such items that might bring memories of my
wife. The task was painful. I found that my home constantly reminded me
of happier times. With reluctance I abandoned our estate, left for the
city, moved to a small apartment adjoining the Park Blocks.
The city seemed the very epitome of feculence. Though brigands and
gadabouts infested near every thoroughfare, I confess, my appearance is
coarse, my physique uncommonly powerful, I have the lumbering gait of
some dockyard worker. Perhaps it was because of these attributes that I
was able wander the city undisturbed, surrounded by a veritable sea of
It was at the end of one such day that I found myself with a gnawing
hunger but was far from my own table. I had passed the afternoon within
a bookstore located near the northernmost edge of the city. Said
bookstore was housed in a large building that had once been a
warehouse. It was set amongst the city’s breweries and railroad tracks.
To my dismay there seemed no dining establishment nearby.
I prowled neighborhood, vainly in quest of an eatery. Just as I was
about to abandon the search I stumbled up a crayfish house. It had a
short and unassuming name, but from the outside it appeared elegant and
In my younger years, during my tour of military service, I had once
been based at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Crayfish is judged a delicacy by
the natives of that state. The consumption of arthropod flesh usually
holds no appeal to me. I must confess, while living in Louisiana, I
consumed prodigious quantities of such. My memory conjured up visions
of steaming platters of crayfish. I entered the establishment.
To my joy they were equipped with a bar. I took my leisure at it while
awaiting a table. The place was packed with what passed for the city’s
glitterati. Their posturing and preening and the nattering character of
their conversations amused me. I quietly sipped my wine, watched over
their absurd rituals of primacy and seduction.
Soon, I was escorted to a table. After making my order I inquired as to
the location of the men’s restroom. The restroom was in the back.
As I made my way down a narrow corridor, a set of double doors leading
into the kitchen came into view to my right. Each door had its own
window. I looked through one of the windows.
Chefs watched over huge pots or attended to grills and pans. Servers
hurriedly came and went.
My eyes fell upon a man laboring amongst the sinks and steam cabinets.
I recognized this man as an Army buddy of mine, a comrade in arms, a
machine gunner of much skill who had saved my life more than once.
Though I am notably unemotional, on this occasion tears clouded my
vision. Beneath my breath I cursed the culture that could so reduce on
of its finest citizens. This man had once placed his life in jeopardy
in order to serve society, enduring the unendurable to protect our
ideals and shores.
All the effete and snobbish patrons of the crayfish house together were
not worth an iota to this man, yet here he was, scrubbing away their
After visiting the men’s room I returned to my table. I presented my
card to my server, request that it be given to the dishwasher.
Shortly afterward my comrade came to my table, a sheepish grin and
downcast eyes marking his countenance.
We shook hands, I bade him to sit but he begged off, the demands of his
job spared little time. However the end of his shift loomed near. I
promised to wait until then.
I lingered over the meal, then withdrew to the bar. I confess a
weakness for dessert wines. At the bar I sampled the establishment’s
My comrade made his appearance, joined me in my consumptive sport.
Like our brethren warriors throughout the world and back into the
furthest reaches of history, we reminisced over our battlefield
One of the barkeeps was a young woman of obvious delicacy, Being my
comrade’s coworker she freely joined our conversation. My comrade and I
amused ourselves by prodding the woman’s sensitive sensibilities with
shocking tales of horror that might only be spawned from the gruesome,
macabre occurrences of the battlefield.
The barkeep’s squeals and moans provided a fitting accompaniment to our
nightmarish narrative. We whiled away the evening. Closing time came
much too soon.
As I accompanied my comrade to a bus stop, we arranged to meet again.
Later, at my behest, it became our habit to jointly attend cinemas,
theaters, museums, public readings. We took many meals together,
The lack of female companionship disturbed neither of us, for we were
passing into the time of life for men when such pleasures became
In my quest for books I traveled to a bookstore east of the river. That
part of the city was known to be inhabited by the most raffish elements
of the populace.
After visiting the bookstore, knowing of my comrade’s address, I
sauntered down my comrade’s street, supposing only to visit my
comrade’s address for the purpose of discerning the nature of it.
It being the weekend many children were about. I marveled at the
happiness of the children, for many of the homes in part of the city
were in a dreadful state of repair, trash littered the streets, broken
down autos cluttered the curbs.
The children seemed happy. I exchanged greetings with several of them.
I found my comrade’s home. It was my intent only to stroll by, making
observations in passing. To my dismay my comrade was in his front yard,
busily raking leaves.
A few more steps brought me before him. We exchanged greetings. My
comrade seemed nervous.
I complemented him on the outward appearance his home.
He explained that he’d inherited it from his parents. The home had been
constructed just after World War II, when labor costs were low, when
fine woods were available to all.
I asked if I might see the interior of is home.
My comrade acquiesced, though he did mention the upper floor was closed
Inside the home, I noticed the odor of what I thought was cooking
My eyes adjusted to the dim light, I saw that much of the wall space
was given over to a collection of framed photographs, mostly black and
A young female graced some of the photos, she was quite comely. I
assumed she was my comrade’s sister. I complemented my comrade upon his
sister’s beauty. In lieu of a reply my comrade seized my arm, drew me
to the living room. There I was invited to sit on the couch while my
comrade went to the kitchen to brew coffee.
I leaned back. My eyes swept across the room, fell upon an ornate
staircase, leading upward. Someone strolled into view. I saw it was the
sister of my comrade!
Though many years had passed following the taking of the photographs,
the semblance was sure enough. I quickly stood so as to properly
introduce myself. Before I could utter a greeting, the sister placed a
forefinger to her pursed lips and shook her head.
She motioned for me to sit. As I did so, she hooked her thumb downward
toward the kitchen shaking her head, grimacing a most disparaging
The sister turned her right side toward me, keeping her adorable eyes
locked to mine by the flirtatious affectation of looking over her
shoulder. A twisted little smile became an omen of wicked
She was dressed in a plain white blouse, buttoned over a full skirt
which was emblazoned with a pattern of colorful flowers.
In a languorous gesture, as I watched in amazed incredulity, she
smoothed down the front panel of her blouse, holding it in against her
stomach while at the same time thrusting her well formed, mammalian
splendors outward, presenting them in a most provocative manner.
I’ve never considered myself a lady’s man, indeed, quite the opposite.
However, the fates have been kind to me in matters of the heart and of
the flesh. Though I claim no more knowledge of the fair sex than any of
my gender, a lifetime of experience has made me wise in the ways and
wants of these exquisite creatures. To my mind there could be no doubt
as to the unspoken desire of my comrade’s sister. She sought to engage
me in carnal activities.
I considered ascending the stairway. Just as I was about to take
action, my comrade entered the room.
Thus diverted, I found myself returned to the harsh reality of daily
As we drank coffee, I made some discrete queries concerning my
comrade’s sister. He artfully avoided any references to her. However, I
did learn her name way Maryann.
Maryann –- the name haunted me for days after. My fevered brain brought
forth remembered images of her hedonistic actions at the top of the
stairway. I lustfully recalled every detail of her exquisite form, her
In all modesty I consider my imagination to be world class. Indeed, I
have found none better. I became so obsessed with Maryann that she came
to dominate my dreams. I dare not mention the details of these dreams,
given the depth of the depravities found therein. So authentic were
Maryann’s cries of pleasure, so urgently did she call out to me, her
dream voice followed me to wakefulness, beseeching my presence and
I formulated a plan. Feigning an appetite for crayfish, I inquired of
my comrade’s schedule for the next Saturday, proposing that after his
shift, we would dine at his place of employment.
The next Saturday I summoned a cab. When I gave the address to the
cabby, she seemed reluctant to visit that section of the city. I
promised a substantial gratuity, was promptly delivered across the
Cabs must have been a novelty in my comrade’s neighborhood. As we
pulled up before his home, children gathered ‘round the cab. Their
curious stares and excited chattering amused me. After paying the fare,
I dismounted to the curb. My mood was buoyed by the presence of the
I boldly strode through the gate and up the walk. The children returned
to their play.
Confronted by the front door, I felt misgivings. Perhaps I was being
too bold, perhaps I had misinterpreted Maryann’s actions, perhaps she
had other suitors.
I consider myself a man of action, prefer being condemned for taking
action, no matter the result, inactivity being an anathema to me. I
pressed the doorbell button. A muffled and melodious chime sounded from
deep within the home. After a discrete interval, I again pushed the
The door had a small window. I looked through it. Maryann was staring
My surprise was so great, I retreated a step. When I returned to the
small window, Maryann’s face was gone. As my eyes adjusted to the
darkness of the foyer, I saw that she’d backed halfway into the foyer,
smiling her wicked little smile.
I tried the doorknob, it was locked. I called out to Maryann,
requesting she allow me entry.
She backed a couple more steps, beckoned me to enter. She then turned,
presenting me with her backside. Placing her right hand upon her hip
Maryann turned her head over her shoulder, peering back at me with an
expression of elfin mischievousness. With her left hand, she beckoned
me to follow. Any man who could resist such a beckon should not be
considered a man.
I am at the twilight time of life. Thankfully, I still possess some of
the robust strength of my youth. I scanned up and down the street. Only
the children were about, They seemed deeply engrossed in their games.
Satisfied I was unwatched, I put my shoulder to the door with such
force that the jamb splintered away from the lock and the top hinge
pulled loose from its mounting.
I stumbled through the opening, kicking away broken pieces of wood. I
grabbed the door, shoved it back into the doorway.
Maryann had retreated to the landing at the top of the stairwell. I
tried to coax her down to me. She smiled at my pleading. I mounted the
stairway. Maryann skipped out of sight.
When I reached the top of the stairs, I found a long hallway, dark,
dusty, littered with trash. A small window at the distant end allowed
some light. There were four doors. Walking up the hallway I tried the
nearest three. One was a closet, the other two were bedrooms.
I opened the door to the last bedroom, then entered. Just enough light
seeped through the weave of a drawn blind to infuse the room with a
soft, golden glow.
My eyes fell upon the form of Maryann. She was stretched out on a bed.
She appeared as if the pampered daughter of some ancient, long leisured
house of nobility.
She was fully clothed. Her skirt seemed a
fallen fan that covered and artfully concealed that which it so
I went to her, my anxious footsteps providing a fit accompaniment to my
wildly beating heart.
I snuggled in next to Maryann, sliding my left arm beneath her head.
Close-up the inviting eagerness of her smile seemed wondrous beyond
description. I nearly swooned the scent of her perfume.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” said Maryann. “I just knew you’d come
back.” Her voice then became hushed, tinged with shame and remorse. “My
brother keeps me here for his own perverse pleasure. Many years have I
dreamt of a rescuer such as you. I pray you become my champion, deliver
me from this house of horrors.”
My heart swelled with love and compassion and concern for this precious
Maryann took my hand into both of hers, then brought my hand to her
Maryann closed her eyes. “Do with me as you will,” she whispered as she
gently placed the palm of my hand upon the soft lushness of one breast.
I then made use of Maryann in ways I must not now speak, lest my
confession bring forth some dishonor upon her. Suffice to say, my
labors so exhausted me that I fell into a deep sleep.
Many years have passed since I last was upon a battlefield. The
instincts impressed into one’s very essence by surviving such a trial
last lifetime. I alertly awoke to the faint sounds of someone
stealthily climbing the stairs.
I tracked the intruder’s progress by occasional ominous creaks of the
I assumed the sitting position, feeling about on the floor with one
foot, searching for my trousers. My modesty is such that even in
distress I would cover my nakedness.
Softly cursing the tinkle of the belt buckle, my feet bare, I tiptoed
over to a position next to the closed door. I sought to ambush the
ambusher, who I suspected could only be my comrade. Being familiar with
his temperament, I knew he would never surrender his sister without a
I naturally assumed I had the advantage. A preemptive counterattack
upon an attacker is an ancient and well-test strategy that often breeds
success. I knew my eyes would be better adjusted to the darkness than
My ears detected faint shuffling sounds from the hall. Silence then
reigned. My comrade was as experienced in the ways of war as I. Rather
than rushing into an unsecured space, my comrade paused, patiently
awaiting some betraying noise from within the bedroom.
As silent as a statue, I stood behind the door, off to one side. After
what seemed an interminable wait, my comrade stealthily eased his way
into the room. With all the power I could muster I slammed the door
Quick as a cat, I sprung out from behind the door. My comrade flipped
the light switch. My eyes were momentarily blinded as the single,
overhead light bulb flashed to brilliance.
“You!” my comrade exclaimed.
Nothing else was said. We both had once been warriors. We both knew
that the situation before us was beyond words.
My comrade was much smaller than I. Blessed with the quickness often
inherent to those of such stature, he sprung, his movements a blur of
My comrade delivered a vicious uppercut. Fortunately my constitution is
such I shook off the effects. We began to exchange blows with the
frenzied passion of men seized by the primordial instincts of survival
My comrade threw two punches as counter each one of mine. His blows
soon became badly directed, for my own strength and power and endurance
became the dominating factors.
I grabbed my comrade’s collar, pulled him toward me, slamming rapid
punches flat against his face.
My comrade’s knees buckled, we fell to the floor.
I fell atop my comrade. My hands went around his neck.
I supposed at that very moment we both came to the realization of what
was to come.
I felt a melancholy tinge of despair as I watched the signs of life
slide from my comrade’s visage.
I removed my hands from his neck. In deathly silence, I raised one of
his eyelids, gouged out the eye. No one, no matter how stout their
heart, can endure such without aversion. It is a sure test of
consciousness of an enemy. I saw no such aversion.
Pushing myself up and away from the corpse, I stood. The harsh light of
the dangling bulb illuminated details not previously perceived.
The walls were festooned with pages torn from magazines and of computer
printouts, all displayed photos or drawings of the most lurid variety.
Many were of unclothed women in provocative poses. More than a few of
the images were of persons engaged in couplings unnatural in the
extreme. The stained wallpaper held scores of such images.
I turned to my right. Still upon the bed was Maryann. My heart came
near to a stop. She was not at all as I remembered her. I was struck
with a vision so unimaginable that I stumbled in fright as my mind
tried to make sense of what was before me.
Maryann’s form and features were withered to a mere shell of what I
remembered. Her eyes gaped as black holes in an empty skull, tightly
covered with skin so desiccated that its appearance was as parchment.
Her mouth, at which I had recently and lovingly suckled, appeared
grotesque and grimacing, perhaps frozen in the midst of some ghastly
Maryann’s from further unnerved me, for in the midst of our lovemaking,
I had opened her blouse. Exposed to the unrelenting glare of light, her
torso became to me a nightmarish vista of hellish, disfigured horrors.
Some of her skin had been worn away, revealing yellowed rigs and the
cadaverous constraints of her ribcage, which I could see contained
nothing that might sustain the living.
Her twin mounts so recently favored by me that I recalled as being as
splendorous and delectable as any that might be imagined or experienced
were now seen as deflated flaps of skin.
The lovely print skirt that my amorous actions had caused to be bunched
up around Maryann’s waist framed her gate of Venus, now a gaping maw of
unimaginable hideousness, glistening with the full extent of my most
recent issue, obscenely distended to dreadful proportions by years of
abuse by my comrade.
I recoiled in horror. The thought that I had recently worshiped at such
a debased, loathsome, sickening shrine of abominations pushed me past
the edge of reason.
I stumbled over the body of my comrade, withdrew to the hallway. One
last terrified glance at my Maryann precipitated a rapid retreat down
My comrade had left the broken door ajar. Shoeless and shirtless, I ran
down the walkway, screaming mindlessly in effort to release the visions
that so mercilessly ripped at my soul.
I fell to my knees, saw a group of children gathered together at a
hopscotch court. They clung to one another, seeking mutual protection
from my mad cries. When I begged their assistance, they scattered like
a flock of startled starlings. I then vomited, fell forward into the
pool of my vomit.
I recall the sounds of neighborhood doors slamming, was not the least
surprised to shortly thereafter hear the approaching siren of a police
cruiser. In that particular ward of the city, police would have
constant patrols, could respond quickly to the summons of any child’s
I must now say that as a concerned citizen I have fretted over news
accounts of alleged police brutality. As a former member of the armed
forces I hold misgivings concerning the modern practice of militarizing
I found my concerns totally unfounded, for the police were entirely
correct in their treatment of me.
Within the stark confines of their interrogation room, as I delivered
my statement, I was touched by the sensitivity of one of the officers
who was a great bull of a man. He was so taken with my recollection of
the romance I’d had with Maryann, he wept openly and was subsequently
ordered from the room.
I perceived his superior officer as being a hard, unforgiving specimen.
Though He had a fearsome appearance. His actions belied his appearance.
As he sipped coffee his hand trembled.
No matter. With the help of the police and a most understanding
District Attorney, I’ve shifted my residence to a private sanitarium of
I have no complaints concerning conditions at the sanitarium. The
appointments are plush, the staff has been discrete.
It is only a terrible loneliness that bedevils me. I miss my wife, my
comrade, my Maryann with such feeling that I truly fear for my sanity.
I consider myself a resourceful and determined person, have resolved to
join my loved ones before my mental state declines to the point of
This very night I have managed to free one arm from the restrains used
to secure me to my cot. While reciting one last time my litany of
recent recollections, I have used natural pauses in the narrative to
gnaw judiciously at the inside of my wrist, thus have opened some veins.
My mattress is thoroughly soaked with blood. I am amused to imagine the
horrified face of the attendant the next time he shines his accursed
light through the window set into the door.
Alas, I must end this narrative, for I feel my life force ebbing. With
each throb of my waning pulse I sense the encroaching perceptions of
that which is to follow.
Indeed, I see a vision before me. It is of my loved ones beckoning to
cross over. I. . .
© 2018 C. E. Gee
Bio: C.E. Gee aka Chuck misspent his youth at backwater locales
within Oregon and Alaska. Chuck later answered many callings: logger,
factory worker, meat packer, Vietnam war draftee infantryman (1968),
telecommunications technician, volunteer fireman and EMT, light show
roady, farmer, businessperson. Retired from the electronics industry
and also a disabled veteran, Chuck now writes Science Fiction.
Website: C. E. Gee
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