Authors: John Crandall
“I haven’t seen you in a while. Actually
since you brought me home.”
“No. I’ve been gone for the last month.”
“Oh,” she said. “Well, it’s nice to see
you all the same.”
“Thanks, it’s nice to see you too,” Dirk
said. He had always hated prostitutes and could not imagine it being “nice” at
all to see her. He had always imagined that they liked what they did, but
Tallow seemed to deny it, to ignore it in a sense. It had darkened her, that
was clear, but he could still see she had a youthful exuberance which helped
her shed herself of the heavy mantle of guilt she might otherwise have felt.
He thought if he, or someone in general, could only take her away from such a
life she could be someone so much more admirable.
Tallow was pretty and feminine, and her
innocence and charm made Dirk feel like a man. He wasn’t on trial, like with
Fiona, Melissa, or especially, Cinder. Dirk wanted to make love to her, but he
didn’t want to use her, and he couldn’t do it and not pay her either. He could
not imagine why he felt so conflicted, but perhaps having always shunned
prostitutes made it hard for him to consider employing one. Had he
subconsciously thought of her for the past month? He wasn’t sure. Just then,
a heavy man, wiping the sweat from his brow while hiding his face, whisked down
the stairs in back, across the room and out the front door without a glance or
“We’ll be able to go up in a minute,”
Tallow said. “I’ll be right back.” With that, she rose and disappeared up the
steps. Dirk looked around the room: it was small and sparsely, but
tastefully, decorated. Two paintings, a flower vase on a delicate table, a
long low table set before the couch, and two stuffed chairs were all the
furnishings. After a few minutes Tallow called him. Dirk went to the stairs,
waited a moment then, not seeing her, walked up. There was a small landing at
the top with two doors on the left, and one straight ahead from where the sound
of splashing water came. Tallow stood in the first doorway on the left: she
was smiling and Dirk thought she looked slightly uncomfortable.
“Come in,” she said, and Dirk did. The
bed, a large one, lay immediately ahead, while the rest of the room sat off to
the left. There was a dressing table and mirror with a stool, a wooden chair,
a wardrobe, and the window which was framed by two brass pieces of artwork.
Tallow sat on the bed and Dirk went there as well, but placed himself away from
“What have you been up to?” Tallow asked,
still smiling, though clearly nervous. She climbed into the middle of the bed
and sat on her knees, running a finger across her face to remove her hair from
it as Dirk shrugged his shoulders in reply to her question.
“Not much,” he said, “I mean, we went on
this adventure onto the moors, but that’s all.” He didn’t know why he was
trivializing the highlight of his life up to that point, but right then it
seemed so distant and long ago. “What have you been doing?” he asked. Tallow
turned her head.
“Oh, nothing much,” she murmured, feeling
sick thinking of what it was she had done in that room, on that bed, especially
then with Dirk right next to her. He realized, too late, it had been a dumb
question. Tallow jumped off the bed excitedly, needing to be off it, startling
Dirk, but not wanting to appear hurt at his question, so she continued talking
as she sat in front of her mirror. “What else have you done?” she asked.
“Well,” Dirk said as he thought, “that’s
it, at least since we met. That’s where I’ve been.”
“Oh,” she said. Tallow did not want to
appear like she was attacking him sexually, but Dirk was not making his motive
clear. He must want sex, or he wouldn’t have come here, she thought. Tallow
slowly brushed her hair and watched Dirk in the mirror. He didn’t notice.
“Would you like serviced?” she asked, stopping her motions. She saw Dirk
smile, then it faded. He shrugged again.
“Serviced?” he then asked, as if unsure
exactly what she meant.
“You know…my services? To do
love?” Tallow posed, normally using that phrase only as a last resort since
what she did was as far from love as anything she could think of.
“I don’t know. Do you?” He looked at
her and saw that she watched him. Tallow turned her glance away and setting
down her brush, stood. “I wanted to come see you…to see if you were ok…if you
were all right,” he said nervously.
“That is sooo sweet of you,” she said.
“You don’t need to be nervous.” Tallow walked over to Dirk and asked him to
untie the strings holding her dress tightly to her breast. He stared at her
curvaceous form as she stood before him, her chest before his face. Dirk
released the bow of her bodice and needed do little else as the string
unraveled the rest of the way easily and Tallow’s young healthy body spilled
over its restraints. Dirk then pulled her onto him, grabbing her shoulders and
she straddled his legs, holding his face in her hands and kissing down at him
from above. As their passion soared there came two brisk knocks, and the door
flew open. Tallow leapt off Dirk and pulled her peeled top back together with
one hand, the other raised a Beatrice and two other girls who came into the
room and, seeing Dirk, stood slack jawed, staring.
“I need my face paints, Tallow,” said a
short, pretty blonde, apparently Vanna, Tallow’s roommate. Beatrice and the
other shook the dumb looks from their faces and went to the wardrobes, giggling
and whispering to each other, ostensibly looking for garments.
“Great gods!” one of them whispered
heartily to the other.
“Can we borrow some clothes?” they asked,
chuckling. Dirk pulled the bed covers over top of himself and turned red with
anger and embarrassment. Before he could begin yelling, Tallow went on the
offensive, grabbing her coworkers, first with one hand then with both and
shoving them out the door, not concerned that she was awkwardly half naked by
the time she turned the key and locked them out. She was leaning against the
door, her chest bare and she shrugged at him and laughed. Dirk could not help
but chuckle himself and his presence in that room, that bed no longer made him
uncomfortable and he laughed louder.
“Where were we?” Tallow mused, pulling
her arms free of her loose top and tossing it to the floor, before leaping onto
Dirk and kissing him deeply.
When Dirk had gone, his fire quenched,
his passion sapped, his guilt grew strong, not that Cinder or Melissa would
even care anymore: his relationship with them was so convoluted he didn’t even
worry about it anymore. He just did whatever they told him to do and let them
sort out whom he belonged to. But for Tallow, he felt he had used her. He
felt he had lowered himself. When he made love to her, he vented the
frustration he increasingly felt from his three other women friends. He was
rough, and he could tell that he had hurt her. But Tallow wanted to please
Dirk more than any other man in her life. So she gave him free rein, even
begging him to do all he desired. She had done the same for men she would have
felt nothing for if they had died stepping off her front porch. For Dirk, she
would do anything.
Dirk left money, not so much as payment
as it was for her to “buy something nice,” he said, paying her ten times what
she normally received. Then he went home and tried to forget about it; and
her. He already had too many women in his life. For once he had wanted
emotionless sex. He tried to tell himself the bout lacked any heartfelt
emotions, but he felt then a flood of emotions, namely frustration and
Will hid in the shadows, silently fending
off invisible warriors with his gleaming knife. He stopped and quickly pressed
himself against the wall, in the deepest dark, at the sound of approaching
footsteps. He slipped his knife back into its sheath and peered down the
street, squatting down as if on a secret mission, which in a way, he was.
Coming his way, was the round form and top hat of Trundle the spice merchant,
wheeling this way, then that, mumbling to himself. Will threw the tattered
cloak over his shoulders and quickly smeared dirt on his face, loudly calling,
“Pardon, sir” his palm thrust out, “me mom’s sick. Could you spare a mere
piece o’ silver or maybe a gold crown, sir? Please.” Trundle scoffed and went
to move by, then with a sudden change of heart, dug deep into a jingling pouch
and pulled out a handful of coins. Searching, amidst the gold coins he found
one silver and dropped it into Will’s palm.
“Thank you. Thank you much,” the last
three words he said quite loudly, even Trundle noticed, but the merchant went
up the stairs and through a door, slamming it behind his bulk. “Many blessings
on you, sir. Many thanks!” Will called after the man loudly.
Will quickly bent to the ground,
searching for a pebble. “Never one when you need one,” he said to himself as
his hands groped in the dark for a stone, ever more frantically. “Come on,
come on!” Finally, he sighed in frustration, giving up. Standing, he pulled
forth the piece of silver he had already stowed away, kissed it hurriedly
farewell then hurled it up and through the open shutters of a second story window.
Shortly, Selric’s naked torso appeared in the frame, pulling his shirt over his
head. He gave Will the “o.k.” sign then whirled suddenly around, as if
startled. Pressed for time, he swung out onto the shutter, draping his arm
over it then kicking away so that the shutter, and thus himself, again hung
next to the wall and out of sight of anyone within. He clung there
precariously for several seconds, then with a “crack,” the shutter broke away
and came crashing to the street, Selric with it. Will covered his eyes for a
moment then fled into the alley, his master scrambling quickly behind. Trundle
rushed to the window, but only the broken wood lay below.
“You know I lost a silver tonight,” Will
scolded his older friend as they slowed to a walk down the dark alley.
“Oh?” Selric asked, putting his arm
around Will’s shoulder. “You did well. A little close, but all is right.”
Will reached into Selric’s pouch and slyly pulled forth a coin; it was a gold
crown. Will smiled to himself, and so did Selric as he secretly watched Will
slide it into his own pocket and said naught about catching the pickpocket at
“What can you talk about for so long?”
Will asked. “Do you play or something?”
“I know, someday I’ll understand.” He paused
in thought. “That means you were kissing again. I’ll bet you were lying on
top of her too, and she was making sounds like her belly hurt.” Will mocked
the image of a woman moaning so much that she would have been dying from the
Plague to make such sounds. “I’ll never understand
,” he laughed.
Selric laughed heartily.
“I think you’ve been spying when you
should be on the lookout,” Selric said.
They had walked no more than two blocks
like this, when a woman, or maybe she was a tall girl, stepped out of the
shadows. She was slightly taller than Cinder. She was thinner than the
sculpted, voluptuous half-elf, a more slender, girlish body, yet tall and
elegant. And young she did seem, like Fiona. Her light curls fell down her
back like a waterfall glittering in the moonlight. But, strangely it seemed to
Selric, she was dressed as a thug in dark breeches, vest, and heavy boots.
Selric stepped forward, smiling, and
released Will, then immediately heard scuffles behind him. When he wheeled
around, sword already drawn, he saw a rogue holding Will, a knife to his young
throat. Selric shook his head, having been caught so dull in his senses. He
could have leapt forth and hewn the villain down, without a chance of the boy
being hurt, but another female, more wicked appearing than the first, came and
stood by, long sword in her hand. Then, another man brought the count to
four. This last one approached Selric.
“Drop the blade, master,” the man holding
Will commanded. “Or the urchin’s blood will fill the gutter. And up with your
gold, while you’re at it.” With a twist, Selric flipped the sword into its
scabbard. He unfastened his belt and lovingly laid the pouch and sword upon
“Step back,” the second man said. Selric
As the man approached, Selric spoke. “Very
well, but anyone who steals that sword, I will kill. It is the law of the
East. And, if you harm the boy, I will not rest until you all suffer harshly.
There is nowhere in this city you can hide from me. I don’t think you know
upon whom you ply your trade.” Selric said this with such fellness, that the
second man faltered, frozen in his steps, unable to touch the sword.
“Fool,” said the older, darker woman as
she walked up. She bent down and picked up the blade and money without
hesitation, casting Selric an arrogant, spiteful stare. Then she turned and
fled into the dark. The other female, after a sorrowful, kind look toward
Selric, ran on behind, her long hair flowing out behind her as she fled. Then
the terrified thug next ran off. The apparent leader, the one with a knife to
Will’s throat, stood there pondering Selric’s words. He wondered if he killed
the boy whether or not flight would be possible. Just as Selric was about to
make a move, the thief turned and fled.