Foley sat without moving, almost without breathing, as day faded and the cheap motel room filled with impenetrable shadow. Some unseen boundary passed—and then exhilaration battled fear for supremacy in his gut, sweat moistening the palms of his hands, soaking his armpits.
Darkness is more than the simple absence of light, he assured himself. It exists in and of itself. And I am one with it.
There was safety in darkness, and power if a man could summon it.
As the last traces of sunlight disappeared he began, his body humming, almost quivering with anticipation, the ancient chair squeaking in protest as he came to his feet.
He crossed the room, unbuckling his belt as he went. He took off his shirt and then his pants, folding them over a chair. Seconds later he was naked, the threadbare carpet grimy, almost crumbly, beneath his bare feet. He flexed and stretched, reveling in the forbidden freedom of nudity, a certain breathlessness accompanying his mounting excitement.
He turned on a single lamp, its feeble illumination violating the night to a minimum degree.
He slid an expensive briefcase from under the bed and set it on the worn bedspread, clicking the hasps open and raising the lid in a practiced motion. He removed an oblong, gold box, placing it on the room’s nightstand with care. A handful of multi-colored jewels shown on the top of the thing; otherwise it was plain and unadorned. He clicked the briefcase closed, sliding that back under the bed.
Straightening up, he caught sight of himself in a mirror, pausing to examine the reflection.
He stood taller than average; another inch would have made him seem large. Musculature flexed without bulging beneath pale skin. Nordic features and blond hair left little doubt regarding his ancestral heritage.
He practiced the smile he used when plying his trade. Satisfied with the result, he let his features relax back into their natural configuration. Now his face became devoid of emotion, falling into an expression that would have looked natural on a bird of prey.
Removing a small plastic vial from his pants’ pocket he coaxed two lines of powder onto the scarred surface of the writing desk. He snorted these with no hesitation, first through the right nostril and then the left, his eyes slamming shut against the pain.
He welcomed that horrific burning sensation, placing the palm of his left hand on the desk, leaning on it as the universe reeled, the raw power of the drug taking hold, pounding in his veins. He would need every ounce of that energy for the task ahead.
He navigated back across the room on legs that felt like stilts, each step requiring careful placement. But before he could lower his naked buttocks onto the chair’s stained fabric he heard a cautious rap of knuckles against the hotel room’s door. Seconds later he was peering through the peephole at a grey, feminine form, partially concealed in shadow.
He cracked the door enough to show one eye, then two.
“Are you Art?” the woman asked, glancing right and left before fixing her gaze on him.
He looked her over. Of course she was a peroxide blonde; and even in the faint light he could see that she was hard-bitten.
She let her drab overcoat fall open, revealing a garish blouse with a ruffled collar. The garment was unbuttoned to reveal a bulging swath of meaty cleavage, a display that could only be maintained by an industrial-strength, push-up bra. Faded jeans, torn with precision at both knees, gave a passing nod to the current style.
She had been pretty once. Now, thin shocks of greasy hair couldn’t hide cheeks peppered with acne scars. An extra thirty pounds did nothing to dispel an air of gauntness that seemed to hover about her. Her lips parted a quarter of an inch to reveal teeth that were stained and crooked. At least one of them was in dire need of a cap.
Perfect, he thought.
“So, you gonna let me in?”
She fumbled cigarettes out of a coat pocket, igniting one with a neon-gaudy plastic lighter in a practiced motion.
“Are you from the agency?” he asked, paranoia blossoming on the heels of the drug rush.
She sucked nicotine before blowing a voluminous grey cloud to one side through bright red lips. She repeated the sequence before answering his questioning with one of her own. “Who else would be knocking on your door and calling you by name in this neighborhood?”
She let her expression fall into a professional leer as she sized up the evening’s latest john. She had time for a third, ravening pull from the cigarette before he eased the door open enough to let her squeeze through.
Her eyes widened when she saw that he was already naked. But in the next second she recovered, her features assuming an expression of jaded boredom. “You’re not one for wasting time, are you Sugar?”
She started past him, but then stopped and turned, examining his face now, an expression of puzzlement forming on hers. “Hey, I know you.”
“No. No, you don’t.”
“Yeah I do! You’re… Yeah, I got it now; you’re that preacher guy on television! Brother something-or-other…Wait, I remember! Foley! You’re Brother Foley! Well I’ll just be…”
For an instant he felt anxiety rising, penetrating the drug high and threatening to ruin his delicate mental configuration. Then he willed himself to calmness. This mischance could be dealt with.
He pushed past her to the nightstand, placing his hand on the bejeweled box he had removed from his briefcase. He felt a familiar stirring in the muscles of his neck as a tingling spread through his limbs, a warm glow coming alive on its heels.
The woman took five, halting steps to the middle of the room, putting her cigarette in an ashtray and setting down an oversized purse, each motion slower than the one before. She removed her overcoat in a dazed fashion, and then seemed to become unaware of it. In the next instant the garment slid from her limp fingers, collapsing into a crumpled heap on the floor.
“You don’t know me,” Foley stated. “You’ve never seen me before—isn’t that right?”
A look of confusion appeared on the woman’s features as she squinted at him.
“Say it,” he demanded. “You don’t know me.”
“Know you?” she asked. Her gaze dropped to the grimy carpet, then wandered to the stained wallpaper. When her eyes returned to his face he saw honest puzzlement.
“You don’t know me,” he repeated, as if reciting a simple, obvious fact.
Her lips parted. “I…” She squinted at him as if straining to recall something. Then she spoke again. “Naw, Sugar,” she said, frowning at the apparent misunderstanding. “Naw, we ain’t never had a date. I remember my customers, and I ain’t never seen you before.”
That settled, she backed away from him, hesitated, and then began unbuttoning her blouse.
She stopped to grope for her cigarette; taking two more deep pulls, her brows still knit in puzzlement. The final drag brought the ember dangerously close to the filter. She glanced at it in surprise, and then seemed to remember something, a look of faint contempt appearing on her face. “You got it all wrong, Sugar. I don’t know you at all. I guess I just got that kind of a face or something.”
She ground the life out of the butt and resumed removing her clothing.
The danger of being recognized now past, Foley interrupted the impromptu striptease. Sensuality was something he neither wanted nor required. “I have something for you to put on.”
She glanced around the room, and then at him, the sameness of the situation putting the last of her confusion to rest. “Where?” she demanded.
“It’s in a gym bag in the bathroom. Go in there to change.”
She went into the bathroom, closing the door behind her. He heard the lock click.
He took the opportunity to snuffle two more lines from the desktop, the bathroom door reopening just as the world was steadying down again, the air buzzing with even more energy.
The crotch-less dominatrix outfit was too small for her. She grimaced, pulling at the black leather that was now straining to contain her pale derriere. Her other hand grasped the whip, its nine strands trailing behind on the dirty carpet.
“It’s a little tight, Sugar.”
“Shut up you filthy fucking slut! Sit down over there! Don’t talk or do anything until I tell you!”
She froze at the outburst and he saw the color drain from her face beneath thick rouge. She made a visible effort to control herself before obeying, perching on the edge of the threadbare bedspread, unwilling to take her eyes off of him now. The tense, uncomfortable posture she assumed made it unnecessary for him to sense what she was thinking.
What have I gotten myself into this time? Is this the nutcase that’s going to kill me?
The fact that her complacency had been supplanted with fear engendered a spark of excitement in him. He seized on that as he sat down, the slick fabric sticking to his naked buttocks like damp plastic.
He had masturbated repeatedly during the day, to the point that his prostate ached and the membranous skin of his penis was raw in spots.
He flipped open his laptop computer. It would take just the right image, now, to get the job done. He scrolled through the snippets of sadomasochistic pornography that he had viewed in recent hours. As he looked at one specific thumbnail—a video of a young woman gagging and then vomiting after a huge penis was rammed down her throat—the stirring in his loins intensified. He came to his feet, his eyes still closed in concentration.
The man in the video had slapped the woman for vomiting, and then resumed jamming his member down her esophagus.
The look of wretchedness on her face had been exquisite!
Though his member remained partially flaccid, he began masturbating.
As he worked himself, becoming tumescent by degrees, some portion of his awareness wondered at his actions.
It wasn’t perversion. Not really. It was technique, a technology of sorts, one he had stumbled on and could now use to achieve a higher purpose—a holy purpose.
“Now!” he moaned. “Do it now!”
She came to her feet, drew the whip back, and then hesitated. “How much can you take? Do we need a safe word?”
“Just do it, God damn you! You fucking cunt! You ignorant fucking bitch! Do it now!”
The cat-o-nine-tails began falling across his naked back and buttocks, tentatively at first, but with an intensifying fury as he cursed her for a worthless bitch and a whore. Moments later he lurched to the desk, spilling the last of his precious powder into a heap and snorting it, never ceasing to pump himself, the whip falling across his back in an unending, stinging sleet.
His eyes rolled up in his head as he climaxed, falling backward on the bed to let the whip lash his breast and nipples, four drops of semen oozing out of his penis in weak pulses.
Grey mist obscured his visual field; a roaring filled his ears.
They’re coming! They’re coming now!
There was a blinding light. And then the skies opened, the Heavenly Messengers rushing in to fill him with ecstasy, downloading new visions into his brain, instructing him further in their divine plan…