"Mr. Mortensen, I may be out of line, but where you're asking to go is about as dangerous as it gets, begging your pardon, sir." Ian gazed at me with an expression reflecting my own dread. Upon reading my sad eyes Ian's face softened before he shook his thick white hair. "I just wanted you to know that, sir, because I'm right worried about you. In my humble opinion you are taking too many chances here, young sir."
"I appreciate the worry, Ian, but I am performing my search in a methodical fashion and I must search this district next. Unfortunately I must do the footwork; I don't trust anyone else to be as meticulous. Yet see? Today I dressed properly for the role." I lifted my arms, displaying the tattered black suit I had created just this morning. Since the idea of haunting one of the disgusting London markets didn't appeal to me I merely took my older black suit, rubbed dirt into the fabric and attacked it with my razor. The destruction felt quite therapeutic. Ha, when I left the hotel my worn garb gained me many a puzzled look. "Believe me, Ian, I must search alone."
Loyal Ian stared at me, a mix of pity and anxiety staining his confused blue eyes. He was used to dealing with arrogant nobles looking for sport in the decayed streets but I suppose this one strange American haunting the slums for another reason puzzled him in a different manner. "Very well, my young sir, but please be ever so careful, if you don't mind me saying so."
I nodded and found a grim smile for him. The poor man had put up with me for the past months so I valued him. Yes, when my search ended I planned on making Ian wealthy enough to retire. "Ian, my loyal companion, I appreciate your true concern but I must search alone. Indulge me." As I spoke I swung my body into the carriage's cushioned grasp.
The careful descent into the disreputable district where hovels represented homes filled my soul with fresh despair. The Shoreditch area lived up to its reputation as the Calcutta of England, the horrible streets teeming with the desperate poor and the forgotten. A doctor could fill multiple hospitals with the sick people I saw during our drive. When the congestion on the narrow, cobbled streets worsened to a dead stop Ian deposited me at a filthy corner. I told him to leave. Of course the loyal fellow argued with me but I assured Ian I could walk over to the City of London walls after this stop. I told Ian to pick me up before the forbidding Tower of London in an hour. I didn't think I could stand this area for longer, plus I certainly didn't want the fine old gent's life on my hands by making him wait for me here. After Ian finally relented he moved the carriage away as swiftly as he could through the bleak humanity.
The fetid swarm depressed me. I noticed a few people glanced my way so I forced my refined face to reflect the painful area's atmosphere. I kept my light gaze fixed against the filthy cobbles but my senses remained screamingly alert. Yes, ha, getting knifed in the back might slow my search.
Near Boundary Street I entered another crowded, gray-hued pub, the disgusting space packed with the lost at midday. Once through the door I pushed past filthy bodies and arrived at another darkly scarred bar. I swore a gruesome factory churned out these crude bars complete with the already decayed appearance. The sour air's stench filled my constricted throat with a silent gag.
I controlled the ill-timed gag. My very life depended on my self control. "Mate! Excuse me... 'ere, mate, I need to talk to ye," I called in a horribly faked accent. Ha, I sounded appallingly stupid.
The massive barkeep threw me a suspicious glare before he moved away from chatting with his cronies. My new collection benefited from his hard, nasty look. Familiar bile rose in my throat. Since his slow, lumbering approach peaked my anger I tried controlling my natural repulsion. When the wretch stared at me I kept my cultured voice low, desperately trying to maintain a lower class accent, yet I knew by how he looked at me I failed miserably at my task. "I'm lookin' for this 'ere man... 'ave you seen 'im recently?"
The huge barkeep continued staring at me, his piggish eyes granting me no quarter. His small, brown eyes developed a look he must practice on feeble-minded dolts. "And what if I 'ave? What's it ta ye?"
You annoying pig! "Please, mate, 'ave you seen 'im?" My despairing mask slipped through my facade. In this dangerous area it wasn't smart to appear too eager. It also wasn't a smart idea to make enemies. Hell, it wasn't smart to draw breath here but so be it.
The large man coughed, his chest heaving in effort. The physical act moved something evil in his thick throat. I instinctively recoiled and quickly hoped the foul mucus stayed within his hulking anatomy. "Mmm, I may 'ave seen 'im," he admitted.
Yes, fine, here we go again. I pulled out a small fortune in coin and carefully tucked the metal discs into the man's half-torn pocket. My fingertips crawled in dread. I dropped the fake accent and lied about my finances. I had more but by now I knew how to barter. "Please... that's all I have left. This man is my cousin. He's been missing for years and I have been searching for ever so long. Can you tell me anything useful?"
Luckily my generous financial oiling loosened both the barkeep's tongue and his noxious flem. After elaborately spitting on the crusty floor he leaned towards me. Hell, his callous stare raked over every pore. Oh yes, he knew how much I detested him. He felt my hate drifting from my pores and he returned the foul emotion in full force.
Too bad. The murderous feeling welling within me escalated. I defiantly met his mocking stare until he grinned and leaned away from me to spit with full vigor. Bastard.
Another unhealthy greenish gob hit the floor before he muttered in mocking tones. "Mmm, yeah, it was a while ago... 'e came in 'ere and just sat. Didn't order anythin', didn't say anythin'. 'e went and sat in that there corner and stared at everyone. Seemed to be sizin' everyone up, 'e did. Just stared and stared. 'e gave a few of the workin' girls the jitters... there was somethin' not right about 'im, even though he looked to be a ladies man wid 'is 'andsome face and pretty long 'air. But too pale, 'e was, too odd. 'e looked weird, and I don't like strangers in me bar, so I finally told 'im to piss off and stop botherin' me payin' customers.
"Then 'e stared at me like I was so much dirt and told me 'e was doin' no harm... I remember 'im because he owned a real la-di-da voice: 'is voice didn't match 'is clothin'. 'e dressed like a beggar but sounded like some toff... like ye do, mate, only at least 'is British accent wasn't faked," he added softly, his cold eyes nailing me with pure contempt. "I told 'im to get the 'ell out and when 'e ignored me I grabbed 'is arm. 'e shook me off like I were a wee brat. Liked to send me into the wall, 'e did. Then 'e just stared at me real cold like, got up, and walked out of here right regal as ye please. I thought about chasin' 'im and setting 'im straight but like I said, there was somethin' wrong with 'im."
My heart tripped in excitement. "My God... how long ago?" My urgency flew out of control. I didn't care what the sullen barkeep though of me; this man had seen my dear Orlando. "How long?"
My informant shrugged. As he thought his fat, filthy finger toyed with a knothole. "Maybe a month er two... twas late at night, that I do remember. Late, and we was real busy. That's why I didn't like 'im sittin' there scarin' customers off wid 'is queer manner. I never saw 'is pale, pinched face again, and I'm fookin' damned glad of it," he sneered before spitting onto the filthy floor with complete disgust.
My anger flared into my brain. Damn, this man spat at my precious Orlando. Come now, Viggo, have control, oh sweet control. You needed this wretch's help.
My breath caught. Sighing I desperately shook my head before attempting words. "Perhaps two months. if you see him again... oh, you won't. He won't return here. I thank you."
I didn't have to pretend re-adopting my despairing mask. The expression slammed over my aristocratic features with alarming force. Turning blindly I pushed my way out, my soul somehow ignoring the low taunts following me. As I heaved in a great gasp I leaned against the outer crumbling wall and shut my eyes in fury, yes, raw fury against that filthy scum, against Orlando, and against myself for my own self-torture.
"''Ere, mate!" A woman's shrill voice pierced my fierce agony. I recognized her from the bar; she obviously looked for afternoon trade. Her pale, taut fingers grabbed my ragged suit coat and tugged. "Mate, I 'eard some of yer story in there... let me see ta piccie," she urged.
I intently stared at her filthy yet pretty face. The woman looked to be in earnest so I produced my lone talisman. The whore instantly greeted Orlando's flattened photographed features with a violent hiss. "That's ta one, that filthy fookin' bastard!"
My mind reeled at her angry words. Now what? "What! What did he do?"
As she wrinkled her tiny nose in revulsion she managed to almost drape herself over my shoulder. "I... well, luv, I only 'eard the tale, but I saw 'im in there: 'e went off with Cate, who stopped 'im just as 'e left... silly Cate told me she thought 'e were ever so 'andsome but I thought 'e seemed too strange, looker or not. Not all there... I told Cate not to go wid 'im but she did. I don't see 'er for the next two nights and when I do Cate's all sick like... pale and droopy." The woman angrily poked her finger into my innocent chest. "Cate claims 'e did it to 'er... she felt fine but just before they reached 'er room 'e started tryin' to snog 'er and 'e bit 'er... ye could still see the right nasty marks on 'er poor neck. All black and blue they was, wid little red 'oles... I thought if 'e bit 'er, then 'e probably gave 'er whatever 'e 'ad, the fookin' bastard," she hissed, she spitting for added emphasis.
At this bar spitting seemed the proper dramatic action for showing real contempt. I ignored the doxy's insulting action; I had enough trouble understanding her appalling accent plus her less than fresh scent nearly made me gag. My anxious stare held her curious gaze. "But that was months ago? A few months?"
The whore offered me a vigorous denial. The act dislodged her frayed bonnet. As she jammed the ancient concoction back on her tangled blonde hair she frowned in memory. "Faugh, luv, nawww, only like a month ago if that... I've not seen 'im since but if I did I certainly wouldn't go near 'im, the bloody loony. Imagine bitin' a poor workin' girl like that... 'e didn't even pay 'er, the filthy swine! Makes 'er right sick and then runs off on 'er. The nerve of 'im!" she snapped with great indignation.
Controlling my fury I stared at the whore's thin face then I confusedly shook my head. What did this madness mean? "Something is wrong with Orlando then... I knew it," I whispered desperately. "I knew it!"
I swiftly pushed my remaining coins into the woman's small right hand then I slid my private detective's card into her left fingers. "Here... if you see him, send word to this man."
At seeing the financial bounty my confidant's light blue eyes widened but when she saw the office's name they instantly grew cautious. How amazing, the filthy doxy could actually read. "Ohh, right, like I'll go prancin' into this office and tell 'em. Ooowweee." Another glutinous spat followed. Charming.
"Please! Information is important to me; look, if you're frightened of him don't talk to my cousin Orlando. But let me know, please, if you or any of your, ahh, friends see him. There's a generous reward for any solid news." My sad desperation burned all too real and I didn't care if this voracious woman saw it or not.
"Aw right... say, mate, in your own manly way ye're as 'andsome as 'e was but ye seem normal. Are ye busy now? I 'ave plenty 'o time." As she released a suggestive purr the doxy pushed her thin body against me in a lewd manner. Her expert fingers slid down my stomach and fondled my cringing cock.
Dear God no. I reeled from her foul whisky breath, attempting to keep calm and not shove her away. Once my Orlando had taken me to sublime heaven so I could hardly accept this woman's filthy hell. "I have no time now... please, I must keep looking for my cousin. But I thank you. You have been so very helpful and kind."
A lewd wink added the subtle promise of decayed sex to her words. "Well, if ye change yer mind, my 'andsome dollie, I'll be 'ere. Ask fer Miranda O. The 'O' stands fer open fer business." Her fingers casually assessed my cock. "Mmm, luv, ye are a right nice 'andful. I'd 'ave fun wid ye. Are ye sure? On the 'ouse. I dawn't get the chance to do such 'andsome gentleman."
After she giggled Miranda's thin lips first kissed my tense cheek then she licked my lower lip. As our flesh made contact I panicked and frantically wondered what common diseases Miss Miranda carried in her blood. Calm, Viggo, remain calm. My body rested against the wall then I held my hands up in supplication. "No, really, I appreciate the offer but. farewell, Miranda." Roll to the side, yes, once free I hastened away from her grasp, wildly pushing past the living dead who crowded around me. God, I prayed she didn't come after me with a knife.
As I pushed along my mind finally forgot Miranda and pulsed with one blazing thought: Orlando had been seen here a month ago! Orlando lurked close, yes, he seemed closer than ever before. I felt him. My logical nature scoffed my feeling off as my fevered imagination, yet something inside my soul knew this dark, decaying street offered me ultimate answers.
Only what did the two stories mean? What could be wrong with my Orlando? The physical strength bothered me. Orlando was a slender creature, he blessed with gifted artist's hands. Those lovely hands were hardly capable of pushing a burly barkeep against the wall. Wait, and pale; Orlando wasn't pale, no, his glorious flesh shone with a dark golden glint. The savage bites on the neck defied my reason; my impulsive Orlando ran wild, yes, he gave into his passions, but he'd never deliberately harm anyone. Especially not a woman. That aspect made no sense at all. Why would Orlando seek out a female whore? His sexual tastes ran quite the opposite. I could vouch for that since I was the only person Orlando usually harmed through his heroic thoughtlessness.
Ahh, neither strange tale made sense. My broken thoughts crowded my brain so fiercely that another dizzying migraine impended. Above my mind's din one thought screamed as of a month ago my precious Orlando walked these very streets. The knowledge was more than all the years of search ever gained me. Yet part of me thought this latest hope could be false. How could Orlando hurt a woman? How? Why?
No. Stop. I chose to ignore my own rioting thoughts. I had to lest I went mad.
Ian picked me up before the imposing Tower, he escorting me back into to town where I grimly searched a few more reputable pubs along the strip. More fruitless results. As darkness fell I raced back to the carriage, frustrated and bitter beyond anything I thought possible. "So close... damn your selfish soul," I half snarled, allowing myself to be drawn back into London's more welcoming environs. God, if and when I found my lover I'd be hard put not to strangle him.
Wrong, how very wrong.
Yet I couldn't help my rage. Not after all these years of torment.
I deserved to be angry.
After another bland British meal and too much brandy I set about trying to imagine my lover again. Ahh, yes, tonight something called to me. My fingers unzipped my trousers and shoved the annoying material from my rolling hips. My thick cock stirred against the free air. No, those weren't my fingers stroking my cock. Those fingers belonged to my dream, my long lost demon love. Yes, only Orlando stroked my cock so skillfully. Only his moist lips knew where to nip, suck and nuzzle until I vocalized in rapture.
Why wouldn't he return to me?
Stop asking and accept the fantasy. Yes, Orlando's long fingers stroked your heavy balls. His talented lips kissed your eager cock. As usual the sweet demon made you gasp in pure delight.
Orlando always made me come. He always completed me.
My flexing fingers rapidly coaxed my cock into completion then I stared at nothing but cherished memories.
My torment had reached its limit.
Now what would I do?
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