The lights went out.
One minute the old Graily Mansion was awash with the sounds and sights of a Halloween celebration and the next, it was plunged into darkness except for a candle here and there, added for atmosphere. There was nervous laughter and murmurs and then someone said with an authoritative voice, “Don’t panic. We’ll have ’em on again shortly. In the meantime, haul out your phones and use the flashlight app so you don’t accidentally run into anyone you hadn’t planned to see tonight.” The weak joke did the trick, and tension bled from the room.
Tom, my friend since I was five, whispered in my ear, “Ethan, now’s our chance to sneak up to the tower and see if the rumors are true.”
“Which tower and what rumors?”
“The tallest one, where some moldy old Graily ancestor supposedly committed suicide and haunts it to this day. ’Tis the season. Maybe we’ll see a ghost.”
“I’d rather go to the wine cellar and crack open one of their $500 bottles.”
“Okay,” he said easily. “That sounds good, too.”
I was kidding, but the thought of wandering around the place was appealing. The hosts had roped off several areas to keep the riff-raff out (and there was a lot of riff-raff in our town), but with the lights out, we could slip past them easily enough.
We went down one hall after another, getting farther and farther away from the party. The mansion was huge, and there were a lot of rooms.
Tom kept opening doors and poking his head and lit phone in. “Library… office… bathroom… bedroom… bedroom… another bathroom. I wonder how many there are in this place? Oh hey, a kitchen, only it doesn’t look like it’s used much. I wonder if they call it the second kitchen?” He said it in a fruity, upper-class voice that made me laugh.
Next to a stainless-steel fridge and freezer was yet another door. An open padlock hung from a hasp. Someone’s carelessness had given us an opportunity. I turned a surprisingly old knob, given how modern everything else looked. “Success! This one leads down.”
“Probably to their fabulous game room, private theater, or family mausoleum.”
I put the padlock on top of the fridge, out of sight; no way did I want to be locked in a dungeon while we were trespassing. I put one foot on the first step. “Wanna?”
I felt for the light switch and flipped it on–“Hey, they they fixed the lights”–and we trotted down the wood stairs to what looked exactly like a wine cellar. The walls were made of rough stone, like they’d been dug out of rock, and when I laid a hand on them, they were damp. The floor was hard-packed dirt. The dark aged racks went from floor to ceiling, dimming lighting that had already been inadequate.
We wandered up and down the aisles. The bottles were old and dusty. I pulled one out of its cradle and angled the label toward a ceiling light. “Is Chateau Lafite expensive?”
“Depends on the year.” Tom leaned in to see and laughed. “Nineteen-eighty-two? Oh, yes. I think this one goes for over four grand.” His dad owned a liquor store and had been teaching Tom the business.
“We better not open it then.” I carefully put it back. I was a broke college student. I could barely afford the cheapest boxed wine at the market, and even then, I made it last a month.
Tom kept walking and disappeared around a corner. I pulled out another bottle, this one at the end of the row near the bottom. The wall next to me swung inward on near-silent hinges. I stepped into the opening and squinted. A small light flickered at the far end of what seemed to be a tunnel. A wave of dank earthy air curled my nostrils.
I was about to call to my friend when I was yanked fully into the passage and the secret door closed behind me. I jerked loose, turned, and banged my fists on it. “Tom! Hey, Tom!”
There had to be a release somewhere. I ran my fingers over wet stone, searching for it. I hadn’t brought my phone tonight, and so I had no light.
Someone—something—came up behind me. I froze, breath suspended, as a cold weight settled against my back, trapping me between it and the wall. I shivered. Arms went around my waist. Cold fingers slid under the hem of my Halloween T-shirt (a ghost holding up a mug of beer, bracketed by the words I’m just here for the BOOS!) and caressed my shrinking flesh.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” they said so quietly I couldn’t tell if the voice was male or female.
When I started to turn around, their hold tightened around me. Terrified, I clenched my bladder muscles. “Who are you?” Maybe it was a guest who’d had the same idea as me and Tom, lifted the same bottle of wine that opened the hidden door…. Yeah, right.
Their mouth was against my ear. “Relax. You’ll enjoy this.” Icy hands moved down and across my crotch, caressing my cock.
Oh! That was okay. I even got hard, but hey, nineteen, surging hormones. Why wouldn’t I?
Cool lips slid down my neck to my shoulder, then up again. “Sweet….”
Getting into this, I undid my jeans and shoved them down, then thrust against his hand. “Me likey.” A sharp biting pain in my neck made me abruptly straighten. “Not so rough, lover.”
They hummed, licking my skin, and I recognized the song: “The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove” by Dead Can Dance. Perfect for Halloween: dark, spooky, a little scary. I sang the lyrics in my head and trembled.
I was in a secret passage behind a hidden door, someone was working me into a sexual lather, and I couldn’t move much. Shouldn’t I have been screaming or something? But it was like when you’re in those dreams where someone’s chasing you, and your legs are knee-deep in quicksand.
“Are you giving me a hickey?” They were sucking hard enough to do it. I tried to pull away and couldn’t. Worse, I didn’t want to. Cold fingers jacked me off, and I forgot about everything else. “That feels good. Don’t stop.”
They laughed, low and sultry.
Male or female? I didn’t care, so maybe I was bisexual instead of gay, because I loved what they were doing to me. Excitement ratcheted to an unbearable level, and I came really hard despite the two beers I’d drunk earlier. My knees buckled, and they eased me to the ground. Smiling, I sank into total relaxation…
… and maybe I passed out, because the next thing I knew, Tom was bending over me, looking concerned.
I slapped his hands away. “What? I’m fine.”
He sat back. “You’re lying on the dirt floor, pants undone, blood dripping down your neck, and you’re fine?”
I sat up and leaned against the wall, which was solid stone again, no door. We were still in the wine cellar. “What the hell?” I tucked myself away and zipped up. “Christ, what happened to me?” Whoever had given me immense pleasure must have dragged me back into the cellar.
He leered. “Why don’t you tell me?”
I lifted a hand to my neck, and it came away bloody. “Oh fuck. Take a look, will you?” I pictured the hickey from hell.
He brushed my hair back. “Looks like someone bit you. Oooooh, mark of the vampire! Tell me you didn’t suck blood from his wrist. I’d hate to lose my best friend to the children of the night.” He emitted a Bela Lugosi cackle.
I insisted we return to the party, and though he asked me about it more than once, I never told him what happened in that wine cellar or how much I wanted to go back. He wouldn’t have understood.
How could he when I didn’t?
Word count: 1329