Another Excerpt from Sable Locks

Not everything happens on the fourth floor. William explores one of the other rooms in the house in this excerpt:


William stopped outside a door that was almost identical to all the other doors on this floor, and all the doors that he’d gone through on his other nights in the House. This one was made unique solely by the brass plaque that read “Brigantine.” Nothing in the name gave any hint of what to expect inside the room.

This was the last room. He’d tried all the others, on both floors. Some were interesting, others bored him. Most of them had bored him, to be honest. He had promised Gerald, though, and now this was the last. After this, he could return to the fourth floor. He pushed open the door and went in.

He was met inside by the attendant automaton, just as in all the other rooms, and once again, he allowed himself to be prepared for what lay ahead. His mask and gag were removed and laid aside, and clothing was laid out for him to put on. William dressed slowly, intrigued by the fact that he was putting on the uniform of a Captain in the Royal Navy, complete with epaulets, an empty sword belt, and boots. He adjusted the coat and turned to let the attendant add the finishing touches. Leg irons were fitted around his ankles, and then his wrists were bound before him with rough rope that smelled heavily of tar. The final touch was a gag, a simple length of cloth forced into William’s mouth and tied there tightly, almost painfully. The attendant took his arm and steered him to the inner door, and without ceremony shoved him through.

He stumbled, nearly falling as his bad leg went weak under him, and was caught by a multitude of rough, grasping hands. He looked up, startled, to see himself surrounded by men who laughed and jeered as they pulled him further into the room, away from the door. The room was made up to look like the main deck of a sailing ship, but none of the men who were manhandling him were dressed in uniform. Rather, they were dressed in ragged, mismatched clothing that was dark with dirt and sweat. William realized immediately just what this room was meant to represent: a pirate attack. No doubt he was supposed to be the captain of a ship taken by pirates, and somewhere in this crowd was the pirate captain to whom he would be presented as a hostage. Even as he struggled and fought to pull away, even as the pirates pulled him steadily forward, their harsh hands tugging and tearing at his clothes and groping at his arse and his crotch, William was examining the room, the automatons that made up the crew, weighing the possibilities. And growing aroused.

Bruised and disheveled from the rough handling, with one sleeve torn free from his coat, William found himself forced to his knees in an open area of the deck and held there by two of the pirates. In front of him, facing the rail, was a tall man dressed in a once-fine, wine-red velvet coat.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment, Captain,” the pirate captain said as he turned to face William. “Do you remember me, I wonder? Do you remember John Forester?” William stared up at the man and shook his head; Forester laughed. “No, of course not. Why should you remember the promising young officer that you sentenced to be flogged ’round the fleet and court martialed?” He grabbed the front of William’s coat, dragging him to his feet. “Do you remember me now, Captain?” he demanded, spitting out the title like a curse. “Do you remember how I begged? How I swore that I had nothing to do with the mutineers and that I was loyal to you?” Forester pitched his voice lower, “Do you remember how I knelt to you, offered you everything I had, if you would only listen to me? How you took advantage of me, and then threw me to the dogs?” He shoved William away, watching as he fell into the waiting hands of the other pirates. “Now I’m the one with the power, aren’t I?” He laughed again and stepped back, raising his voice, “I think that the gunner’s daughter is waiting for our guest!”

William’s muffled protests were drowned out by the cheers and shouts from the pirates as they dragged him away from Forester and further out onto the deck. The sea of men parted, and William saw the cannon, an ancient demi-cannon that had seen better years. Some small, rational part of his mind protested, telling him that it couldn’t possibly be a real cannon. Never mind the fact that the floors would never hold the weight of such a weapon, there was no way in Heaven’s name that Madame could have even gotten the thing, let alone brought it into the house and up four flights of stairs! It was fake, it had to be fake. Even knowing that, it was impossible to deny the delicious thrill that washed over him as the pirates pushed him towards the barrel of the gun. William let them carry him, stumbling slightly over the chains at his ankles until they reached the muzzle of the cannon.

There, he was pushed forward over the barrel and held there while the ropes that bound his wrists were cut and his arms were brought under the barrel and chained there. A noose was tossed around his neck and tightened, almost painfully so, the free end wrapped around the barrel and tied off. William struggled for a moment, tossing his head to try and get the hair out of his eyes, testing his bonds, letting himself get lost in the role. He fell still as the pirates grew quiet; there were heavy footsteps coming towards him, and Forester moved into his line of sight, a heavy-looking canvas bag in one hand. The pirate studied him for a moment, then smiled slowly and stepped back, waving his free hand at his prisoner. “Strip him!”

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