The Light Of The GUARDIAN

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CHAPTER SIX

Distorted Dreams

They dined, the two of them. Ada made the dinner, although she didn’t eat, and her, she, the mysterious woman from the photograph was not present for the meal.

After dinner, Kurt faced Ada and asked, “When will Thiebe join us?”

Ada ignored his question as she said, “Before bedding down, you must bathe.”

They followed Ada under the stairs, then waited as she opened a door on the right. Kurt and Jack followed her into the room, and they saw that it was the large bathing room. The large circular bath had been filled, steam lazily spiralling upwards.

“Stand here and undress.” Ada commanded.

Both stripped down to their shorts, and Ada advised, “Undress completely.”

“Ohh no, we’d prefer to leave our shorts on.” Kurt replied.

“Please do as I ask and undress completely.”

Kurt and Jack ambled over to the bath and turned away from her as they prepared to take their shorts off, but Ada said, “You must stand here and face this way.”

“Why?”

“My Lady wishes to look at you.”

Jack felt a tingle as he asked, “She’s awake?”

“She is, and she wishes to look at you.”

Kurt and Jack stepped out of their shorts and faced the wall, Kurt apprehensive, although Jack was excited. Quite possibly the most beautiful woman in the world might be gazing at them.

Three-quarters of the way up the timber panelled wall, fifteen feet above them, a small panel seemed to slide open, the panel a foot wide and a foot in height, the square prominent, because it was cloaked in darkness.

“We can go in the bath now?” Kurt asked timidly.

“No; stand still and be silent.”

Kurt felt exposed and vulnerable, but after two minutes, the hair on his neck prickled, as he heard a double tap on the wall.

Ada looked at the wall, then turned to them and said, “You may enter the bath.”

Curious and excited, Jack asked, “She, she was looking at us?”

Ada nodded, and Jack, feeling invigorated by his nudity, stepped right into Ada’s line of vision as he said, “Ada, it’s okay, I mean we don’t mind if you come in with us.”

He watched as her eyes lowered to his groin, and feeling aroused by her fixed gaze, he shuffled side to side, the shuffling prompting his dangling penis to swing subtly. This was his area of expertise, this was where his bold and adventurous nature shone brightest; charming the ladies.

After correcting her gaze to look at him, Ada said calmly, “Please step in and bathe.”

She began to turn away, although Jack skipped in front of her, and on full display, he splayed his arms out and asked arrogantly, “How do I look?”

Her gaze dropped to his groin, corrected to his eyes, then she said, “You look like a young man who is about to bathe.”

*

Jack knew that he was going to sleep much better on this night, because the cards were starting to stack up in his favour. If he had to fight a monster (or even or a man) he would be at a distinct disadvantage, because he was a lover, not a fighter; and luckily, this bizarre experience seemed to be heading towards an area where he excelled. Good looking, confident and charming; big words, positive phrases; yet they were words and phrases that accurately described him. Undress completely, Ada had instructed, and Yes, thank you, I will … and even though the tall woman’s face showed no expression, her eyes did rove, and Jack’s confidence grew. Two women had seen him naked, and if Jack had his way, it wouldn’t be the only occasion; So Ada, I don’t mind bathing four times a day …

Even though his mind was racing, Kurt fell asleep quickly, and dreams slowly filtered in. He saw himself standing naked and facing a wall, and he heard the double tap, but then a clip, or a blip distorted the dream; and he saw himself standing at the door, his hand shaking as he gripped the door handle; she, her, on the other side of the door. She, her, had been in his dreams many nights, always dressed in the transparent gown, although on this night, her, she, didn’t appear in the dream, only the suggestion of her was available for his consumption. The mysterious woman was hidden behind a six-panelled timber door, and then the mysterious woman was hidden behind a panel in the wall, and apparently, the woman was gazing at him. In a restless slumber, caught up in the mystery of dreams, Kurt imagined that the image of himself in the dream was dreaming, yet he was dreaming multiple dreams, all the dreams depriving him of what he so desperately wanted to view. He saw himself facing the wall naked, and his sub-conscious stirred, for while the actual event had made him feel vulnerable and exposed, the event had also left him feeling decadently aroused. The multiple dreams clashed and ran into one another, and he saw himself walk out of the bathing room, still naked, and he gazed up the stairs, and curious and aroused, he began padding up the stairs, then he walked down the long hallway until he found himself standing by her door. With a measure of hesitation, he gripped the door handle, knowing that her, she, was on the other side of the door, or quite possibly, her, she, was on the other side of the dream; and even though he couldn’t see her, the unseen image was still alluring, still mysterious, compelling … and he turned the door handle, desperate to see her; and the door, on silent hinges skimmed inwards, and then, in a moment that broke the established principle of dreams, he stepped into the room …

Jack stirred, sleepy, although he was aware of a silhouetted presence at the open bedroom door. He sat up and asked uncertainly, “Hello, are you Theibe?”

The figure was motionless for more than a minute, then without a sound, the figure glided away. He knew it wasn’t Ada, for the figure appeared to be dressed in a light flowing gown.

Shaking with anxiety, yet trembling with expectation, the Kurt in the dream stepped into the room, although something was wrong. He hadn’t stepped into the room, he had stepped into another dream, or maybe, he had stepped into the other side of this multi-layered dream; for he was standing at her door again, his hand turning the door handle, and as the door opened slowly, both sides of the dream merged, the dreams leaking into one another, growing and swelling, becoming the one dream, becoming the finale, becoming the answer, becoming the culmination of his growing obsession …

“Kurt!” Jack called out.

Kurt stirred, then he heard the urgent whisper, “Kurt!”

“Huh, what?”

Jack was sitting up in bed, and he gushed, “She, she was here!”

Kurt rubbed his brow and looked up as he asked sleepily, “Who, what?”

“Thiebe, I’m sure Thiebe was at our door.”

Kurt scrambled out of bed and looked both ways up the deserted hallway, then he trotted towards the stairs, although on reaching the stairs, he stopped and gasped.

For a fleeting second, he had seen a flash of white before it disappeared up the winding stairwell; her gown, her flowing white gown, the gown luminous against the darkness of the stairwell. Kurt skipped over and placed his hand on the rail, looking up, listening. He wanted to scamper up after her, although he tarried. He concentrated, listening for padding feet or creaking steps, listened for the opening or closing of doors, although no sounds disturbed the eerily silent night. Kurt hung his head and sighed, disappointed that he hadn’t seen her, and he was also disappointed that he didn’t have the courage to follow her.

Walking back into the bedroom, Kurt asked, “So you saw her?”

“Arhhh, I saw someone standing at the door,” Jack replied, “You didn’t see her?”

“I’m not sure, all I saw was a white gown disappearing up the stairs.”

“Damn.” Jack muttered.

Damn indeed, Kurt thought as he climbed into the bed.

*

Breakfast was eggs and bacon, the bacon deliciously crisp; and Jack faced Ada and said, “I think Theibe was at our door last night.”

Ada had no compulsion to reply to statements, so she remained silent.

Kurt seemed to understand, so he asked, “Was it Theibe?”

Ada glanced at him and replied, “It was not me.”

The boys spent a restless day exploring the castle again, although as most of the rooms were empty, there wasn’t much to see.

After dinner, Ada said, “Your bath is ready.”

Jack felt excited as he stammered, “Is, is Thiebe going to watch us?”

“Yes.” came the bland reply.

“And you, you are going to watch?”

“I shall be there.”

They undressed and faced the wall, and Kurt felt a shiver rattle up his spine as the small panel slid across. On this night, he didn’t feel exposed or embarrassed, he felt triumphantly exhibited, and he puffed his chest out and stood tall and straight. Staring into the black hole, he prayed for a glimpse of her, a glimpse of the woman looking at him; anything, a twinkle in her eye, a flash of teeth, even a silhouette of her hair, but nothing except total darkness.

Tonight was longer, a longer viewing, until the double tap, and then the panel closed.

“You may enter the bath.” Ada advised.

Before moving, Kurt stared at the closed panel, then he called out, “Thiebe, I can’t wait to meet you!”

Jack looked at Ada and said brightly, “You can join us if you like.”

Ada regarded him, turned, walked ten feet away, then lowered her gaze.

Curled into bed, Kurt dozed, dreams swirling, combining, dissipating; hands on door handles, panels sliding open, a flash of a white gown, he standing naked at her door, and strangely, in a dream that interspersed with his dominant dream, Kurt saw his father standing at the six-panelled door, his hand gripping the door knob. The dreams chopped and changed, Kurt standing naked at the door, his father at the door, Kurt clothed at the door, his father turning the door knob; she, her, on the other side of the door, or on the other side of the dream; and something else, a new dream sporadically snap-shotting into the confusion of images; a young girl, a frightened young girl tied down, the girl screaming out as a sword was raised …

Jack tensed, then asked, “Kurt, you awake?”

No answer.

“Kurt, wake up!”

“Huh, what?”

“She’s here!”

Kurt sat up and stared at the door, the open door, the door wide open, a figure silhouetted in the doorway. “Th-Thiebe?” he asked timidly.

Not a sound, not a movement, the figure standing straight, the darkened silhouette clearly discernible.

“Thiebe, is that you?”

Both stared at the figure, waiting anxiously for a response.

Kurt couldn’t bear the tension any longer, and he pushed the blanket off and prepared to climb off the bed, although a voice said calmly, “Do not move or I shall go.”

Kurt was surprised. Even though he had never wondered what her voice would sound like, he was surprised by it; the voice smooth and unhurried, the accent unmistakably English.

“Are, are you Theibe?”

A moment flittered by until the response lilted over, “I am.”

Kurt shivered with excitement; the image, the woman in his dreams was real. “We, we came here to see you.”

“Why?”

“My father might have come up here almost twenty years ago, and he has been missing ever since.”

“What is your father’s name?”

“Hors Slovinsky.”

Silence, so Kurt continued, “Maybe you know of my father, or your parents or grandparents knew of my father.”

“Young men, you are not of this village.”

Kurt was surprised by her statement, and he said, “No, we’re Americans.”

“Who brought you here?”

“A man from the village, Ivan.”

A moment of contemplation until she hushed, “I shall let you sleep.”

“No, wait, don’t go!”

“We shall talk again, another night.”

Jack was unnerved by the silhouetted figure, yet the events of the previous two nights had him curious, so he said, “Thiebe, before you go …”

“What young man?”

“Did, did you watch us undressing?”

“Yes, I did.”

Jack leant forward and asked breathlessly, “Why?”

“If I wished to explain my actions, I would, but I do not.”

The silhouette turned, and before moving away, she said, “Goodnight, I trust your dreams will be pleasant.”

The door closed, and Jack blew out, “Hell!”

Kurt’s dreams were pleasant, the Kurt in the dream undressing, although not facing the wall, the Kurt in the dream facing the silhouette in the doorway. Exposed, exhibited, although the Kurt in the dream was excited by the experience; she, her, gazing upon him, and the Kurt in the dream had many questions to ask, but he couldn’t speak, he standing still, and again, the dream multi-layered; his father at the six-panelled timber door … a flash of white gown, the straps of the gown being gently pushed off her shoulders … hands on door handles, panels sliding open … and a cry, a young girl’s desperate plea, as the sword glinted …

*

At breakfast, Kurt was excited. “We met her last night Ada, we met Thiebe!”

“Of this, I am aware.”

“We couldn’t see her, but she spoke to us!”

“Most things that My Lady does, I am aware of.”

*

After dinner, Ada led them to the bottom of the stairs, although Jack was curious. The previous few nights had established the routine; dine, then walk under the stairs and into the bathing area, strip off, then bathe. Jack wanted the routine to continue, because on this night he had decided that he would move close to the striking woman and press his naked body against her. “Ummm, I’m ready for the bath.” he said expectantly.

“Come, follow me.” Ada said as she walked up the stairs.

They followed her up the stairs, and they followed her down the long, narrow hallway, then they stopped as she opened the door that led down to the bathing room. Jack frowned as he thought, Would have been quicker just going under the stairs like usual … although he cocked his head in surprise as Ada jiggled, then pushed the partition on the left of the stairwell. The partition pushed inward to reveal an opening six feet high and three feet wide, and Kurt and Jack looked in, not that they could see much, for it appeared to be a dark, narrow walkway.

“What is this?” Kurt asked.

“Follow me.” Ada said.

Jack was hesitant as he looked down the narrow dark chamber, “What’s in there?”

“You wish to see My lady?”

“Of course.”

“Then follow me.”

Confused, Jack asked, “Is she in here somewhere?”

“No.”

“Why should we go in then?”

“My Lady is preparing to bathe, so if you wish to see her, you will.”

Kurt didn’t like the prospect of being shoved into a narrow crevice in the wall, and he didn’t particulary like the prospect of spying on someone as they bathed, so he said, “No, maybe we can meet her after she’s finished bathing.”

“You shall not meet her on this night, but you have the opportunity to gaze upon her.”

“No, it is wrong to spy on someone who is undressed.” Kurt offered timidly.

Jack wanted to wrap a gag around Kurt’s mouth and shut him up, although Ada’s next statement made that unnecessary as she said, “My Lady will disrobe and bathe for your pleasure.”

Jack nudged Kurt, then he followed Ada down the dark, narrow crevice, the walkway being just wide enough for Kurt to walk front-on, although Jack, bigger and more muscular, had to scuttle down side-on.

Total darkness, pitch black, although soft light filtered in as Ada pulled open a wooden panel. The opening was just big enough for both of them to peer out, and Kurt realised that this must be the opening that looked into the bathing room. From this vantage point, they were at least fifteen feet above the floor of the room, and Jack was disappointed as he gazed down, because while steam lazily spiralled upwards from the full bath, nobody was in the bath.

When they undressed for Thiebe, two lanterns burnt brightly, the lanterns placed on either side of the bath, and the lanterns lit up the entire area, although on this night, two modest candles flickered, offering only the dullest of light.

“She’s not there.” Jack said dejectedly.

Ada gave two solid knocks on the wall, and a moment later, a woman of fair hair glided into their line of vision, then she swivelled and stood with her back to them.

From their vantage point, the woman seemed of average height, and in the flickering light, her white gown appeared fully transparent.

In slow yet deliberate movements, she pushed the right strap of the gown off her shoulder, then the left strap. Carefully, she guided the gown down, the gown gathering as it sat on her hips.

It appeared that she was allowing a few moments for the exposed flesh to be viewed, then with a fluid grace, she pushed the gown past her hips, and a moment later, the gown fluttered to the ground and folded upon itself.

Kurt tensed, yet Jack manoeuvred closer, his eyes wide and his mouth agape.

The flickering light seemed to bathe her in a golden hue, her slender figure seeming perfect. Her shoulders were straight, her back stream-lined, her hips narrow, her legs slender, and her buttocks were curved mounds of perfection. She was a vision, a dream, a fantasy; she was an image to make a man’s heart pump faster. In this elevated view, she seemed perfect, seemed as if she was the immortalization of beauty; she was desire, she was carnality, and Kurt realised, she was standing before them, unadorned, allowing them to gaze upon her.

Jack bit his bottom lip, and Kurt placed a hand over his racing heart as she began to move.

With measured steps, the woman glided towards the bath, a part of her left breast visible from their vantage point, the breast bouncing subtly with each step, and she moved gracefully, elegantly, moved as if she were a gently lapping tide, moved as if she were the most fluent lines in a poem. She moved, and your eyes moved with her, followed her. In motion, she demanded your attention, your focus drawn to her, viewing her in motion being something that one could never forget.

Settled into the bath, lying back in repose, the woman began to turn, and Kurt tensed, breathless at the prospect of seeing her face; she turning, her profile visible, and … Ada pushed the panel across.

“Wait!” Kurt protested.

“A problem sir?”

“We, we were just about to see her face!”

Pitch black again, and Ada said calmly, “When My Lady wishes it to be, it will be done.”

Sleep was elusive for Kurt, although when it did come, it was restless.

His hand was shaking on the door, a door he wanted to open, and on the other side of the dream, his father opened the six-panelled timber door, his father stepping through, and Thiebe pushed the gown off her hips, and the Kurt in the dream gushed, ‘Father, wait, be careful!’ But the gown hit the ground, and Kurt was more interested in watching the unadorned vision move, rather than follow the progress of his father; she moving gracefully, elegantly, and, and … another unadorned vision, this one not so graceful, this one restrained, younger, terrified; and the flickering lanterns caught the unadulterated fear in her eyes as a sword hovered threateningly above her …

*

At breakfast, Kurt asked, “So she knew that we could see her?”

“Everything that happens, happens because My Lady wishes it to be so.”

“But we saw her naked.”

“My Lady wanted it to be so.”

The vision of her body was still alive in his mind, although his ambitions were skipping into the future as Kurt said meekly, “Ada, we want to meet her, we want to meet Thiebe.”

With customary calmness, Ada said, “I believe you shall get that opportunity.”

“When?”

“You, your friend or I do not make that decision; My Lady will make that decision.”

*

Most two hours and a half after dinner, Ada faced them and said quietly, “Come.”

Jack waited breathlessly, wondering which direction Ada would head. Both directions offered rewards; if she walked into the bathing room under the stairs, he could rip his clothes off and press in against the attractive woman; although if she walked up the stairs and led them down the narrow walkway, they would be able to gaze at the naked beauty again.

Ada carried a lantern, and she led them up the stairs, and Jack thought, Yeah happy … Ada led them towards the darkened hallway, and Jack spluttered, “Is, is she going to bathe?”

Ada continued down the long hallway, saying quietly, “Follow me.”

They walked past the stairwell door, continued on down the long hallway until Ada stopped at the door at the end of the hallway. With an expression of surprise on his face, Jack turned to Kurt, although Kurt’s focus was on the door. He had stood before this door once, yet the door was now a regular vision in his dreams. Strangely, Kurt wondered, Did you ever do this father, stand at her door? Kurt’s heart was beating rapidly as he envisaged his next few moments; walking into Her bedroom, gazing at Her, seeing the face that he so desperately wanted to see.

Ada bent down and extinguished the lantern, then with a deliberate movement, she slowly opened the door.

“This, this is her room?” Jack whispered excitedly.

“Please, move in.” Ada said.

Jack moved in cautiously, and Kurt, with his heart thumping now, followed him into the room.

A small lantern provided the only light, the lantern affixed halfway up the wall they were standing behind, and the dull light showed that this was a bedroom, a large, impressive bed nestled against the far wall. For a moment, Jack was caught in a swirl of carnality as the thought rushed into his mind, Does she want us? Is this going to be sex? The mysterious woman had seen them naked, and they had seen her naked, and now, they were in her bedroom. Please, please, please …

Two antiquely grand bedside tables sat on either side of the bed, and the only other pieces of furniture in the room were three chairs, two positioned three feet in front of them, the third chair twenty feet away near the far wall.

And someone was sitting on the third chair.

“Th-Thiebe?” Kurt asked nervously.

The figure was faintly silhouetted against the dull light, although Kurt released a surprised gasp as the eyes opened.

“Yes, it is I.”

A flash of white teeth were available as she spoke, then a moment later, the only light from the far end of the room came from her eyes.

At more than twenty feet away from her, Kurt couldn’t determine the colouring of the eyes, although strangely, the eyes remained open, never being lost in involuntary blinks. Kurt became aware of his own blinks, maybe a blink every ten seconds, sometimes more frequent, yet before him, unblinking eyes.

The lantern behind them flickered, casting light two feet in front of them, and they could see each other clearly, but nothing beyond except for the eyes.

“Thiebe, may we approach you?” Kurt asked politely.

“No.”

Jack, adventurous yet nervous, mumbled, “We, we can’t see you.”

“That is my wish.”

Kurt, curious and increasingly desperate added, “I would like to see your face.”

“Why?”

“I, I have heard it said that you are the most beautiful woman in the world, and I would like to gaze upon such beauty.”

“A woman’s true beauty is not how she looks, but who she is.”

Thiebe spoke unhurriedly, every word spoken with clarity, yet every word was laced with an underlying sensuality.

“Thiebe, you allowed us to gaze upon you naked, yet you will not let us see your face?” Kurt asked.

“I have allowed you to see what I wanted you to see.”

Timidly, Jack asked, “Why?”

“I am sorry young man?” Thiebe asked.

“Why, why did you allow us to see you naked?”

“I have gazed upon the two of you, so it was only proper to allow you to gaze upon me.”

Jack rubbed his hands on his thighs and then said shakily, “You, you saw us from the front, yet we only saw you from the rear.”

“That was my intention.”

Jack too, noted that the eyes hadn’t blinked, and he desperately wanted to see her face, so he assumed that an offering of praise might appease this strange woman. “Thiebe, even from the rear, you are breath-taking, your figure, your body looked perfect.”

Kurt also had plenty of praise available, and he gushed, “Yes, you look divine. Your golden hair is mesmerising, and your body is a vision to behold.”

“My outer beauty is subjective,” she cooed, “My inner beauty is perpetual.”

Kurt drew in a breath, then said, “Thiebe, please, I, we, me and my friend wish to gaze upon you. Seeing what you have allowed us to see, now makes us desperate to see your face.”

“Desperate?” she asked.

“Yes!” Jack gushed, “We will do anything if you allow us to gaze upon you.”

The eyes remained opened, the eyes offering the only light in front of Kurt and Jack, and the unblinking eyes seemed to erase her faint silhouette, the eyes surrounded by darkness.

“May I take you on a journey?” she asked calmly.

“I’m sorry?”

“The journey is a path of decisions, where if one door opens, another closes.”

“What do you mean?”

Conscious of her role, Ada pointed to the chairs and said, “Please, both of you sit.”

After they were seated, Thiebe said, “If you wish to set your gaze upon me, you will need to pay a price.”

They looked at another, then Kurt turned to the front as he asked, “What is the price?”

“Many things can make a man desperate, but if he knows that a price needs to be extracted, will he still continue on his journey?”

They gazed at one another again, then Kurt spluttered out, “I, I want to see you!”

“You know not of the price I will extract.”

The poetic lilt of her voice had captured Jack, and he mumbled, “Tell us, tell us of the price.”

“The price will be …” Theibe began quietly.

Anxious, yet expectant, Kurt blurted out, “What, what is the price?”

“The price will be that if you see my face, you will never forget me.” Thiebe cooed.

They looked at each other, puzzled.

Jack had been expecting the price to be about handing over American dollars, and with such a measured and tantalising build-up, Kurt had been anticipating that the price could be about stepping into the unknown, so both were surprised by the requested price.

“Yes!” Kurt declared, “We will pay the price.”

The eyes closed, total darkness in front of them now.

“Ada …”

“Yes, My Lady?”

Kurt had been so tense that he’d forgotten that Ada was standing behind them.

“Escort the young men back to their room.”

“I shall do as you ask My Lady.”

Jack was confused, and he mumbled, “Thiebe, we will pay the price, we will pay the price to gaze upon you.”

“When a new moon rises on the morrow, I will make myself available, and that will give you time to consider whether you want to go ahead with this.”

“Thiebe,” Kurt began, “You said that the price will be that we will never forget you, and both of us are prepared to pay that price.”

“If you wish it to be, I will reveal myself at the next moon, and I state with a measure of certainty, that if you do see me, you will never, ever forget me.”

Ada moved in front of them and said, “Young men, follow me.”

Lying in bed, both of them were affected by a nervous energy, and Jack stated excitedly, “Tomorrow night Kurt, Hell, we get to see her tomorrow night!”

“I can’t wait!” Kurt replied.

“Me either. We’ve seen her gorgeous body, and her hair looks glorious.”

“Yes, and tomorrow night we see her face.”

“I wonder if she’ll be naked.” Jack wondered.

“Damn, we should have asked her. I was so tense, I wasn’t thinking straight, although it appeared that she had the gown on tonight.”

“If she is naked, I don’t know if I’ll be able to control myself, I mean even her voice excites me.”

Jack’s dreams were expected, Kurt’s dreams were confusing.

Dreams in the dreams, and dreams on the other side of the dream; panels sliding open, trembling hands on door handles, a flash of gown, the same gown lying innocently on the ground; long golden hair, bare legs, perfect buttocks, and … fear.

Fear not emanating from the unseen woman, fear evident in the young and innocent one, the Kurt in the dream opening the door and stepping in, and she, her, of youth and innocence, staring at him, then looking to the Heavens as she cried in despair, ‘I will pray to my Gods that they return me so that I can have revenge!’

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