BREAKDOWN!

Sylvain put the phone down gently and called Manuela, her trusted Spanish maid.

“Two guests for the weekend, arriving this afternoon.”

“Si señora.”

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“Run my bath, Manuela, with rose petals and perfume.”

“Si señora.” She flashed her Spanish eyes with what could be taken as annoyance?

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Relishing the gorgeous luxury of her marble clad bath chamber, Sylvain basked in steamy solitude before her guests arrived.

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Meanwhile on a quite country lane. Sindy’s car had coughed, spluttered and halted abruptly. She tried everything to get it started (except fill the empty petrol tank) She was miles away from the nearest phone box, Sindy was stranded in the deserted back lanes and getting a little bit scared.

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Frantically she waved at the next passing car, close to tears she sobbed,

“Please help me, I’ve broken down!”

fullsizeoutput_9e5bLuckily they were NOT serial killers (?) just a couple of chaps ready to help a distressed damsel.

“Hop in sweetie, we’ll take you to a phone.”

Flustered, Sindy was suddenly aware they were driving a very shiny, expensive two seater sports car so it was a very tight squeeze, Sindy immediatly felt safe with these handsome ( and rich) strangers.

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Sylvain took her aperitif in the west wing.

“Los guests have arrived señora.” Manuela was on front door duty as well as waitress, chambermaid and general dogsbody.

“Good, show them in.” She said impatiently, before she even had a chance to pick out her favourite chocolates.

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“Julian darling, it’s been so long, you are as handsome as ever.” As they kissed twice in the continental fashion, complementing each other in affectionate gestures.

“Sylvain, the one and only true beauty, we have so much to catch up on.”

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“Tristan, I’ve heard all about your adventures, such a hero, when is the book published?”

“Sylvain, I haven’t started writing it yet, ha ha, you must help me decide on the title.”

“Ah, I see you have brought your tennis racket, we shall play tomorrow…and this time I will beat you!”

“Not before I beat you first young lady!” As he tapped it against her posteria in a overly familiar fashion, amongst jovial laughter all round.

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Sindy coughed

“And who is this?”

“We found this poor thing all alone and stranded in the middle of nowhere, her cars broken down.”

“So….no one knows where you are, no one at all?” Sylvain raised an interested eyebrow as she appraised the pretty blonde girl.

“Er, no…er, please may I use your phone, I must get a machanic.”

The three pairs of eyes devoured her innocent freshness ( were evil intensions afoot?)

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Manuela dialed a local garage ( or thats what she said she was doing) and spoke so fast Sindy could hardly understand her, although she didn’t actually mention her car, something about ‘sacrificio’.

“Its a mini.” Sindy added, trying to be helpful, just as the maid slammed the telephone down abruptly.

“When are they coming?”

“Later, pronto, mañana…..” She shrugged, “They are veerry busy.”

Sindy was a little disappointed until she looked around at the luxury and refinement of her surroundings, she’d never been in such a beautiful house before.

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Sly winks and nods were exchanged, unbeknown to Sindy the handsome duo had unscrupulous plans for our sweet heroine.

*We all trust in strangers at times of emergency, hoping they are upstanding citizens

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Manuela led the expected guests with their luggage to their room, leaving the unexpected one sharing some soft centres with the hostess.

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“So do you live here all alone? ” Sindy scoffed between small talk.

“My husbands have all …gone.” Sylvain replied casually.

“Husbands? How many have you had?”

“Six, the first was a Swiss General but I was only 14, then the Russian Count, followed by the Maharajah – such a sweet man but his children …. were difficult.” Sylvain had a far away look as she recalled her past life.

“Oh!” Sindy was easily impressed and her curiosity was whetted, “Where…are they….did you divorce?

“All dead, I am a widow.” Said Sylvain abruptly as she elegantly rose and left the room.

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Immediatly Manuela entered with refreshments, Sindy didn’t usually drink wine in the afternoon but it would be rude to refuse, wouldn’t it?

She was getting quite comfortable, pampered in the lap of grandiose luxury.

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Smooth talking Tristan kept her company and shared some chocolates so she didn’t feel too guilty finishing off the whole box. He was so handsome, Sindy was seriously falling for his charming ways, thrilling in this real life adventure just like the Mills & Boon books she loved to read.

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“Tris, will you come and play with my balls?” called Julian, who seemed keen to rescue his companion from pretty Sindy’s charming and innocent clutches.

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“I’d love a game of boules with you Julian.” Tris jumped up to follow his games partner outside just as Manuela refilled Sindy’s glass, she had lost count how many times she’d emptied it, who was keeping score anyway?

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Dusting the surfaces in the garden room, all semed quiet in the house, Manuela had seen many strange sights and odd goings ons, usually with willing participants; this time was different and she was having second thoughts, a crisis of conscience perhaps?

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“Ah there you are, you’re not trying to escape again, tee tee.” The now tipsy Sindy pounced (or staggered) over to this handsome smiling young man, grabbing his arm to steady herself, and stroking him affectionately.

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“I want to thank you so much for rescuing me, you were like a knight in a shining sportscar, ” she gushed, “Maybe we could go out together and get to know each other better?” Sindy had got some dutch courage from somewhere and her bold advances took him by surprise.

“Oh sweetie, ” he gently untwined her pawing hands, “I’m taken and haven’t you got a boyfriend, Barry, you told me all about him earlier.”

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Sindy had forgotten that bit and stood crestfallen and a little bit fuzzy headed as he made his speedy escape back to the sunny lawn and Julian’s ball game.

What a fool she’d made of herself, her romance novels never ended like this, he should have held her in his strong arms and whisked her onto his yacht after a quick marriage at Gretner Green.

Drunken Sindy had tears whelling up in her eyes.

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Manuela tutted from the dark corner of the large room and muttered in her native tongue about the folly of youth.

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Handing her the ( slightly soiled) duster to dab her tears, “Telephone this Barry, he take you home, you shouldn’t be here after dark, it’s…..dangerous.”

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Half an hour later, the familiar rumble of a motorbike was heard , Sindy grabbed her coat and ran outside at full pelt.

“Oh Barry, take me home now…hurry”

“What’s up Sind? We were all worried when you didn’t show up, even your mum called me!”

“Oh Barry – you are my true hero.”

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Later by the pool.

“What happened to that girl?”

“She has gone señor.”

“Shame, we could of had some fun with that one.” They laughed while handling their fruity cocktails.

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Sunday night with a cold beer, some praline chocolate cake and all her house guests now departed…

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Sylvain puts her tired feet up and dreams of the crisp Alpine air and the holey cheese of her childhood home.

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And the moral of this story is – always tell your mummy where you are going.

©Juliette Dodd 2000

 

HOUSEMATES

* Authors note – adult themes explored, do not read if you are easily offended – if you are offended then get a bloody grip, they are just toys! *

~*~                                            ~*~                                            ~*~

Madam Sylvain, Head of House was overseer of all the goings on, including the visitors and Housemates.

Firm but fair was her motto although her cold demeanour was often taken for disinterest, she had her own reasons for holding up a barrier to others.

Presiding from the inner sanctum of her stately Office, she kept the others under check and was held in the highest esteem, almost reverence by the ladies, most of whom where from the Old country, like herself.

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His regular visits were the highlight of Max’s mundane life, this was the only time he could truly be himself, indulging all his whims and fancies without judgement or criticism, exploring his feminine side was his greatest pleasure.

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Mistress Felina knew his needs perfectly and purred and pandered to his inner softie.

It was hard being such a masculine hunk of muscle having to keep up the appearance of a raging testosterone oozing, pumped up heart throb with rippling biceps and really cool hair.

All he really wanted was to be a girl wearing pretty lacy pink dresses and picking flowers, skipping and playing hide and seek.

Mistress Felina supplied a safe place to act out his fantasies, she knew what all little girls loved best, she was the best Nanny.

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After shaving his legs and chest Max anointed his taut body with rose scented lotion relishing the softness of his bronzed limbs, it was his happy time and no one could spoil it for him while he was safe in the House.

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Mistress Felina got on with the usual chores and did the laundry run after every visiter, lotions, creams and perfumes made a lot of mess and clean linen was part of the whole experience.

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In the kitchen, which was only for the residence, all the Housemates relaxed and refreshed themselves between visitors, a heated discussion was under way.

“Ze washing machine is broken, again, we need new one.”

“Not again, iz too bad, you load it too full Felina.”

“Do not blame me Selina, you don’t check ze pockets, too many rubber bands and coins, you broke it!”

And so it went on, each blaming the other for breaking the washing machine, the room was filled with sour faced ladies while the dirty laundry piled higher and higher.

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Breaking their blaming stalemate, Petra entered the kitchen,

“Madame has called a meeting, everyone must come to the Office, NOW!”

An almost audible intake of breath was heard as they immediately sat to attention and gathered themselves in a rather worried way.

“But Sonia has a visitor.”

“Go get her, Madam summoned us all, come now it is urgent.”

Squabble forgotten, one stormed off to fetch their comrade while the others made themselves presentable, they all knew how much Madame abided scruffiness and mess.

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Tapping her fingers impatiently on the Office desk, she redialed again, still no answer.

“Scheisse!” She muttered, obviously annoyed she slammed the phone down.

It wasn’t often Madam Sylvain lost her temper so this must have been something very important.

Composing herself she waited for the Housemates to arrive.

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“Madame, zis ez a serious problem, ze washing machine, it ez broken.” Felina knew someone must tell Madam and she wanted to be the first.

“Och nein!” Madame Sylvain was now visibly irked.

“That new man, get him to fix it, use you head Felina, don’t trouble me with trifles.”

“Ja Madame.”

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It wasn’t long before the room was filled with beautiful women all standing to attention around the desk.

“Gut, I have called you here, we have a very important visitor arriving soon, everything must be perfect, you will not let me down.”

“No Madam.” They answered in unison.

“And he will have an entourage, a whole weekend and I want everything running smoothly, do you all understand.”

“Yes Madame.”

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“Madame, which room will they be using?”

“All of them.” They all gasped together.

“Even the Greek room?” Selina asked.

“Especially the Greek room, this is a very special event and I demand perfection and I expect complete satisfaction for the whole party. You are all the creme de la creme, the most gifted in your field, we are the best House in the whole of Europe, lets make it the best in the World!”

“Yes Madam.”

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“But with dirty washing …” Muttered Selina smiling.

“This is NOT funny, I have no time for your jokes, get it sorted immediately.” Her reaction took everyone by surprise and they stepped back terrified as Madame Sylvain stood up, almost hissing her annoyance.

“We will get it all ready now Madame.”

“All will be done as you wish Madame.”

“But what about the Pink Boudoir?”

“All rooms will be in use, it’s a specific request, even the Nursery. Now go, leave me I have important phone call to make to Zurich.”

The ladies filed out of the Office and rushed to discuss the meeting candidly together in the Kitchen, except Sonia who rushed to release her visitor before another death occured.

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The next day Neville was summoned, he could only come after work and had great difficulty hiding his building excitement at the prospect.

Even Barry had noticed him clock watching and pacing around eagerly all day.

“What’s up with you Nev, you got a hot date or something?” Barry quizzed.

“NO, erm… seeing a bloke about a new bike down the pub.”

“Can I come, I fancy a pint away from Sindy, a lads night eh?”

“No, it’s….he’s a loner, doesn’t like strangers.” Nev lied.

“Sounds bloody dodgy to me, be careful Bruv.” Little did he know the secret life his older brother was hiding.

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Arriving as soon as he could, after showering and changing his pants (being ever hopeful – he was once a boy scout ) Neville was ushered into a small utility room near the back door of the House.

“Mend this, eet is broken.” Mistress Petra was as abrupt and direct as always, he quite liked that she was so dominant and he really wanted to please her.

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Luckily Nev had worked with an electrician as one of his many jobs after leaving the army, although he was quite talented in that field but could never settle in any place long enough to start a business.

Left alone to solve the problem, the house now seemed unnervingly quiet.

The Laundry room was filled with his favourite things – ladies frilly undergarments, although some of the items were a rather strange design and other of an unusually large size. Nev was in his element, the inner sanctum of this House of women with all their private things. He was deliriously happy.

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Meanwhile Max had escaped the Pink room and rushed down the corridor to dodge his pursuer, giggling loudly at the thrill of this simple innocent game, he too was deliriously happy.

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The hectic stomping and giggling outside disturbed Nev whose curiosity had got the better of him, peeking out of the laundry room door he saw a disappearing figure in a flowery dress and oddly familiar blonde hair.

 

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Intrigued he watched as they entered another door which immediately slammed shut accompanied by loud squeals and more giggles.

Nev dared not follow, he was both curious and a little bit scared to uncover the secrets of the House and to be caught in the act of prying would have meant immediate expulsion.

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“The brushes have worn out!” He muttered to himself after delving deeply inside the inner workings of the kaput washing machine.

‘That’s easily fixed.”

Nev masterfully returned all the components back to their rightful place and turned the dial, smiling smugly at the familiar noise as it begun filling with water, humming back to life as he stood back to survey his handiwork.

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Outside the door Petra’s voice echoed loudly,

“Found you!”

“You can’t catch me,” a high pitched squeaky voice replied.

“Enough, come back here, Maxine.”

“No, you catch me if you can, you’re It, you’re It.”

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The noise made Nev look out again, this time he spied Petra marching the blonde haired figure up the hallway…but it was a man…in a dress.

Neville was both shocked and relieved.

He wasn’t alone.

There were others like him, the same as him, at last he felt like he had almost found his tribe.

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Clearing up the laundry room, Nev couldn’t quite work out what this strange thing was, it looked exactly like a baby’s romper suit but massive, how very peculiar he thought and couldn’t imagine any of the glamorous ladies wearing such a thing.

What do you think it is?

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What else will he see in the House?

Who is the secret VIP guest?

And what goes on in the Greek room?

 

©Juliette Dodd 2020

In the HOUSE

* Authors warning – some adult themes explored but all in the best possible taste! *

                                ~*~              ~*~           ~*~             ~*~              ~*~

Neville returned to the House the following Monday evening, the front door was opened by Mistress Petra, who tutted and told him to use the tradesmen entrance round the back in the future.

Glancing furtively around he noticed Mistress Felina striding off down the inner depths of the house, she was totally uninterested at his arrival.

In the corridor they met another tall dark haired woman wearing a Japanese kimono,

“Who eez this?” she demanded in a heavy European accent, barely glancing at him she spoke only to Petra.

“Ez the new handyman, remember the last one left, he was no good, he cried too easily.”

“Oh ja.”

This made Nev feel a bit awkward, he knew the House was a strange place but it was odder than he’d remembered from the previous week.

“Man, I have work for you, send him to me soon Petra, first I must prepare the boudoir.”

With that she turned and disappeared up the main corridor, leaving a heavy waft of intoxicating perfume as a scent trail.

Nev was now buzzing with excitement and anticipation, so many beautiful women in one House, it was like a wet dream come true.

Clutching his work bag of tools tightly to his chest he obediently followed Petra through a door marked ‘Office’.

Then his jaw dropped in awe.

The room was dark, cold and massive; vast shiny floors like liquid lapped against marble clad walls, book lined cabinets from floor to ceiling. At the far end stood a white desk; then his eyes made out a ghostly pale face hovering almost Godlike in its luminosity.

Her icy blue eyes bored into Neville’s whole body as he slowly walked up to the desk, motioning Petra to come closer without breaking her gaze, he stood unsure what to do, he thought he was only there for odd jobs not to be scrutinised like a commodity?

“Here he eez.” It wasn’t really an introduction more of a presentation, Petra seemed pleased her ‘gift’ had been accepted with a delicate nod from the beautifully coiffured blonde head.

“Good work.”

“Thank you Madam Sylvain.”

Almost immediately a elegant white hand waved them away and Nev instinctively followed Petra out of the room, he felt almost afraid of what he’d just experienced, like a static buzz down his whole body, heightening his base sense of fight or flight.

Back into the familiar kitchen still tightly clutching his work bag Neville followed her quietly.

They were not alone, although she hardly looked up from her magazine while delicately puffing on a French cigarette, the obnoxious heavy smell permeated the whole room.

“Ez taking over from Joe,” Petras introductions left a lot to be desired, “Don’t scare eem, heez here to work only.”

“Ja, ja.” she laughed.

“Pleased to meet you Miss” Nev had to say something, just to convince himself it wasn’t a lucid dream and he was actually here.

She just looked at him, although not in a very nice way, it was quite direct and penetrating, like she was peering into his very soul.

“Come on man, there eez work to do.” Petra grabbed a bunch of keys from the table and beckoned Nev to follow her impatiently.

He felt he’d just been on a rollercoaster ride and his legs were still a bit shaky.

He also sensed her eyes on his back as he left the kitchen.

She smirked while blowing billows of strong tobacco smoke in his wake as she watched his strong haunches and the manly broadness of his shoulders leave the room.

Nev was led to a brightly decorated room at the front of the house filled with wall mirrors surrounding the central feature, this looked very much like a hairdressers salon complete with sink unit in garish pink.

“Do as Selina wishes.” Petra instructed as she left him alone with the kimono clad beauty.

She eyed him for a long minute.

“This sink , it does not work well, fix it.” She left him to the task.

Nev knew all about blocked sinks and tried the usual remedies, as expected it was full of a tangled mass of knotted nylon hair and glittery soap.

“Grief!” He explained as he pulled more and more of the slimy strands up.

Looking around the now empty room, he smiled at all the different wigs displayed, imagining all the ladies of the House doing their female pampering and beatification in front of this very mirror.

It had been a long time since he’d touched a woman’s shiny locks and he couldn’t resist stroking the softness of these blonde tresses, while caught up in his own erotic fantasy.

Before he knew what he was doing he was gazing at his own transformed reflection and feeling the sensual delights of long silky hair tickling his neck.

So lost in the moment Neville was totally unaware his clandestine activity was being observed with amusement in that many mirrored room.

A short while later, hearing a loud commotion in the hallway outside, a sharp female voice barked orders and a loud thwack followed by a high pitched yelp of pain. Nev snapped back to his senses just in time before his task master (or Mistress) returned; he busied himself cleaning up the now fully functioning sink as if nothing untoward had happened.

“Gut, I am pleezed.” she purred while inspecting the water disappearing unhindered down the plughole.

“Go now, you are not needed.” Neville was abruptly dismissed.

Cycling back to town in the dark, his mind again whirled with new sensations, his head was filled with pinkness and guilty pleasures. That night his dreams were darkly disturbing yet thrilling to the extreme.

He couldn’t wait to return to the House.

 

©Juliette Dodd 2020

– The HOUSE –

* AUTHORS NOTE – this photo story contains adult themed material – so anyone who had a sheltered upbringing or has a delicate disposition is advised to stop now and come back when I have exhausted this storyline ( which may be a while yet as it’s too much fun)

~*~

Neville had many jobs during his travelling years: washer upper, chef, barman, labourer, taxi driver, you name it, he’s probably done it (maybe not well, but he’s had a go!)

Standing in the spotless kitchen of the secluded mansion House in the woods with the beautiful yet abrupt German lady, Neville mustered up his manly practical skills to obey her instructions, she pointed to the sink half full of cold congealed washing up water.

“There, fix eet.”

“Oh yeah, this is blocked right up, have you got a bucket…er …Miss?” Neville still didn’t know her name.

“Ja, there.” she replied sternly, pointing to the next cupboard, “Get it done, NOW.”

Neville was a little bit scared and a little bit thrilled by her abruptness.

Delving under the sink to remedy the cause of this problem, he had to clear out a space to work first, ‘A torch, that’s handy’ he thought as he didn’t have any tools with him.

Taking off his Jacket, Nev tried the usual things first, boiling water, pumping the plughole to create a vacuum, nothing seemed to budge whatever the blockage was.

“You haven’t poured cooking fat down there recently…er….Miss?”

“Nein, nein, you can address me as Mistress ….Mistress Petra.”

“I’m Neville.” He replied, glad to know her name at last.

As he got on with the stinky job of cleaning out the U bend, she marched off, click clack went her heels on the hard floor.

“Do eet and clean up after.” She called as she left Nev alone in the echoey large kitchen.

He was sure he heard distant stifled screams, ‘Must be the wind’ he thought.

The pipe was stiff and took a bit of effort to unscrew, the putrid smell was gross, as expected as the dirty water gushed into the bucket.

It’s not even windy outside, Nev’s mind was roaming as more faint shouts could be heard, it was all most peculiar.

At last the sink pipe was cleaned out, Nev found some weird stuff that he could have sworn was candle wax as well as hair balls and an earring; quite pleased with himself he imagined her thanking him and smiled.

Like all good workmen, Nev cleaned up and put everything back where he’d found them, washing out the stinky bucket he gazed around the kitchen when his eyes fell on some unusual things. He wondered who else lived in this big house, must be a man he guessed, by the detritus.

His curiosity had been roused, a men’s magazine, keys and what looked like Gauloise in the ashtray ( he’d travelled in France too) Nev scanned the letter but it was written in German and he wasn’t very good at reading although he recognised a few words, not enough to understand the content.

Getting bolder he opened the top draw and got the shock of his life…a GUN!

Money, travellers cheques and plane tickets – this was NOT what he’d expected to find.

‘SHIT!’ his brain went into panic mode, shutting the drawer swiftly on hearing noises in the corridor outside.

With heart thumping he tried to work out what it could be – a shuffling and squeaking with breathless grunts as well as the heavy thud thump of slowly moving footsteps.

As the noise maker passed, he couldn’t help himself, opening the kitchen door quietly he peeked down the hall.

SHIT!

Gobsmacked….with utter shock and tingling with….oh dear….Neville’s brain was numbed.

What on earth had he just seen?

Unbelieving, he had another look to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating as the strange scenario slowly disappeared up the long darkened hallway to a distant entrance followed by the slamming of a door.

He stood alone in the hall for a long time it seemed, trying to make sense of the whole situation.

Questions, queries, and conundrums whirled around in his head, his thought was interrupted by the opposite door opening and lovely Petra appearing.

“Ah, you have finished ja?” Nev sheepishly nodded.

“Err yes….Miss….Mistress Petra, it’s all sorted now, as right as rain.”

“Gut gemacht.”

“I am pleased viv you.” She handed him a note, a pound note, which Nev was happy to accept ( it was a long week till payday and he was skint as always)

“No problem, Miss….Mistress Petra, I’m happy to help such a lovely lady as yourself…” He was beginning to get his priorities in order and really wanted to see more of this special lady now the job was finished. Just when he was mustering up to ask if he could see her again the door opened.

The same lady he’d seen in the hallway not ten minutes beforehand. Tall, statuesque and with a haughty expression of almost distaste, she stood inspecting his whole figure with her dark eyes, appraising him from head to boots, making a throaty humph sound.

“Is zis the one?” she asked Petra, rudely ignoring Neville as if he was an item of furniture.

“Ja.”

“Er ist akzeptabel.”

Neville looked quizzically from one to the other.

“My sister Felina agrees, you vill work for us, zis house iz old and need repair…how you say… heimwerker…handyman?

Neville was taken aback by the offer (or command, he wasn’t sure which) as he gazed from one beautiful face to the other, he could tell they were definitely related and the idea of sisters gave him a bit of a thrill too.

“Yes, great, when shall I start?” He was tad over eager and the excitement of that evenings goings on had roused his blood.

“Come again next Monday night.”

Then it hit him, this wasn’t a full time job, he’d have to wait a whole week to see her again.

“Ok but what do you want me to do then?”

“The gutter, it eez blocked, mend it.”

With that he was unceremoniously ushered out of the house with barely time to grab his jacket.

It was a long dark bike ride back to town, especially with no lights, all the time his mind was excitedly thinking about his next visit to the House. Neville was only just in time to catch last orders at the ‘Jolly Sailor’ pub but decided not to mention his evenings whereabouts to his brother Barry.

“Where have you been, I thought you’d done a bunk?”

“Er…went to the cinema.” Nev lied. He had been staying at Barry’s pad since he returned but perhaps it was time to find his own place, away from awkward questions and prying eyes.

“Hey, Nev I told Sindy about that chick today.” he taunted.

“Yes, who is she? Are you seeing her again? Barry said she looked foreign? I’m so glad you are making other friends.” Sindy was getting a bit fed up with him being the gooseberry around Barry’s place, especially as he creeped all her friends out.

“Not sure.” Was all he answered ambiguously.

What happens when he returns to the House?

What other strange goings on will he witness?

Wait and find out in the next exciting story….

©Juliette Dodd 2020

New Job

After the unfortunate incident while on the bin rounds, the whole crew got the sack unexpectedly; luckily there was always plenty of work around for fit and strong young men and they started the new job together at first light on Monday morning.

“Are you sure you know where we’re going?” Barry asked Tom, the only one with a HGV drivers licence.

“Yeah man, don’t fret, its cool.” Tom was always so laid back.

Barry had his usual swagger on, he loved being the leader of the gang, none of the others really cared, except his brother Neville sitting in the back hoping he’d get a dry seat on their return.

After a good half hours drive they finally pulled up on the roadside next to the most massive pot hole they’d ever seen.

“Quiet around here, isn’t it?” Barry lit his pre work fag and surveyed the scenery, clement for the time of year, the weak sun made the days task less arduous already.

“How long will this take, you reckon?” Barry was looking for a dodge.

“Be done by lunch, easy.” Tom replied, three men for one hole, a doddle!

Neville was trying to warm his frozen bones up and started unloading the gear, silently grumbling while the others had yet another smoke.

“What’s Up Nev?” Barry called over, he could see the expression on his brothers face and knew he was the opposite to happy.

“I don’t know about you two but I want to get this job done fast and get back to the depot, its bloody freezing.” Grumbled Nev, who didn’t own a warm overcoat, well not until payday comes anyway.

“Ok, ok don’t get your knickers in a twist bro.” Barry had a cruel streak, especially where his older brother was concerned, probably from years of childhood resentment being the small one.

“What are we shovelling first, the sand or the hardcore?” Tom didn’t know, and neither did the others; they’d all fibbed on their application forms about past experience, they didn’t have a clue so made a guess.

“I’ll do a few barrows of sand and you get the hardcore.” Barry ordered confidently, although neither was the lighter task, the sand took longer to shovel being so fine.

A bit of teamwork and they’d got into a good rhythm, the winter sun warmed their backs as they paced their mornings workload.

Then the chat turned to the fairer sex and Nev went quiet, he’d been back a few months now and still hadn’t met anyone; none of Sindy’s friends liked men with beards and with his odd ways, they thought he was a strange one.

Poor Neville

“So the holes filled in, now what?”

They all looked at each other for the answer.

“Get it flat?”

“Oh… yeah, maybe?”

All morning the road had been deserted but in the distance a lone figure walked steadily towards them.

Neville was the first to spot her.

A vision of leather clad loveliness, her haughty expression seemed to stare straight past the bright orange overalled lads, as she steadily marched onwards.

“So you reckon we should shovel some of this back then?” Barry questioned, Tom nodded and they started digging out the pile again.

“It’s a road not a mountain, you daft git.” Tom chuckled deeply.

Neville couldn’t help himself staring, like an enchantment had come over him.

He thought she was beauty personified and he was totally smitten; if there was such a thing as love at first sight, this would be the closest he’d ever got to it.

Aloof yet enticing, incurious and beguiling, she was the woman of his dreams.

“Good morning Miss.” He had to say something, anything to get her attention.

“Do you need a hand there?”

“Nein danke.” She retorted, glancing at him for an instant.

“Ah, bist du Deutscher?” Neville had picked up her accent immediately.

“Ja, ich bin Deutsch.” She seemed pleased.

“I lived in German for a while, Berlin then….” He trailed off as she popped her letter into the Post box and turned to go.

“Er…have you got any…odd jobs that need doing?” Was all he could think to say, it seemed to work as she stopped and turned to inspect him closer.

“Ja.. yes, can you mend ze blocked sink?” She stared into his very soul with her deep dark eyes.

“Of course I can, Miss.”

“Gut, then come to ze house…zat one,” she pointed through the leafless trees to a large concealed mansion and with those abrupt instruction she turned and marched off.

Neville stood enraptured, starting after her and relished the last of the sunlight glinting in her chestnut hair as the click clack of her heels faded up the road.

All this was duly noticed by the other two, who nudged and winked at each other, ginning widely Barry couldn’t help but feel a bit proud of his elder brother, fast work indeed!

“Nice one Nev, you’re a dark horse, I didn’t even know you’d been to Germany!” Said Barry while giving him a big pat on the back.

Neville didn’t really talk much, even to his own brother, about his past life travelling the world after the army, he was a very private man.

“Yes, but it was a pretty dark time and I don’t really remember much.” He suddenly came over extra quiet as the flashbacks smashed around his head like ping pong balls and made him shudder.

The hole was filled in and even a bit of extra sand on top so the lads were pleased their mornings task was completed.

“Who forgot the broom?” Barry moaned.

“You did.” Tom and Nev shouted in unison.

So much for taking turns, Barry loved his brother but not as much as he loved his comfort; it was a cold bumpy drive back to the depot. Barry hoped they’ll get allocated some power tools soon and do some proper digging with loads of noise.

Later that afternoon, eager Neville had biked over to the mysterious mansion in the trees, up the long crunchy gravel drive and stood nervously by the front door.

It seemed to take a long time to be opened after he’d knocked, he could hear her heels click clack steadily along an echoey hallway and what he thought was a distant scream.

“Come, enter….follow me to zee kitchen.”

“I’m Neville…” he stammered nervously although she didn’t seem to be interested in introductions.

The corridor was indeed long with many closed doors and dark passages leading off in every direction; as he walked swiftly behind the stoic Fräulein, Neville had the uncanny feeling he was being watched.

What is in this house and who is this mysterious German lady?

I hope you are brave enough to find out.

©Juliette Dodd 2020