donderdag 18 december 2014

The Woman in Red: Chapter 9

9. The secret panel.

          Katarina, daughter to a Baroness! His French was a bit rusty. Nevertheless, he had understood that. It was not very difficult. Another servant who had appeared from behind the old lady had shown him the way to the left stairs while Katarina was left behind with her mother. Upstairs they turned left and after about ten meters he read on a small plate on one of the doors ‘Chambre Rouge’, the Red Room. His assigned room.
            His luggage was already unpacked and upon his bed. An oversized four-poster bed was covered with a red bedspread, a bit old-fashioned, Jean-Pierre thought. At the top of the four posts on each corner of the bed, red clothing in a flower design was draped in a broad lining over the bed and hung a bit lower in the middle. Stylish furniture which probably dated from the time of Louis XV were spread through the room. When he looked closely, he saw that they were taken care of very well, probably painted and varnished again. The sitting and the back of the chairs were velours-covered with a bright red velvet. The window was made of a single glass; it would be chilly at night. They hadn’t invented yet the double glass in this French castle.
            After putting all his baggage that was on his bed in the large closet on the side of the bed, he gave the room a closer look. There was three piece garniture on the mantelpiece, two bronze chandeliers, and a heavy clock, gilt stamped and decorated with hunting scenes. A real jewel, very expensive if you have to buy such an antiquity.
            When he wanted to take one of the chandeliers in his hands to study it closer, he noticed it was attached to the beam of the mantel-piece. Strange, though maybe a measure for avoiding that the guests would rob such an expensive item. Accidentally he pushed one of the arms of the chandeliers and heard a dry click.
            On the right side, a wooden panel was clicked open in the wall. Interesting, Jean-Pierre thought. A castle with a secret space! Well, yes, he had read that certain fortified castles had a sneak path by which the nobility could escape out of the castle when it was beleaguered. Why shouldn’t a French château have a sneak path? He couldn’t control his curiosity and looked through the opening behind the panel.
            He saw in the lighting of his room that there was a corridor behind it, that ran right ahead. Probably parallel with the other rooms, but he couldn’t look far enough to distinguish how far. In one of the drawers of a beautiful oaken writing desk, he found it. A big flashlight. If it worked, Jean-Pierre would be happy. And yes, he was lucky, the lamp did it. With the thing pointed as a weapon in front of him, he entered the corridor.
            Here and there he stumbled upon some spider webs. However, it was reasonably neatly in this small space. Maybe the servants used this corridor to transport the dirty bed linen to another space. When he heard the noises, he froze. His heart was beating in his throat. Did the sound come from his room, would he be caught? No, it came from in front of him, through the walls.
            Carefully, he silently stepped further. After three meters, he saw the small beam of light. There was a hole in the wall and the sound came out of this spot. Jean-Pierre turned off the flashlight. He heard a hoarse laughing and some words, he couldn’t distinguish what they were saying. When he arrived at the air hole, he asked himself if it was fitting to overhear people, let alone watch people through this opening. His curiosity won over his ethical objections.
            He kept his breath as if it would betray him and peeped through the hole. What he saw, beggar belief. A matron, her hips almost two times bigger than her bust and two giant big breasts hanging almost upon her belly, was kneeling on a red velvet rug… totally naked. She was full of admiration for the man, a real Adonis, who stands in all his display and in his birthday suit before the woman.
            She laughed, and he recognized the kind of hoarse sound from before. Jean-Pierre didn’t know how he had to feel about it. On one hand, he was aware he was blushing, but on the other hand, he looked almost eager at the woman who caressed the man in the most intimate spots. Her thick fingers took the young man with his masculinity while she stood up and led him to the bed. There she fell down on her back and showed the young stallion how much she longed for him. The man appeared to have no prejudices and moved upon her, without a struggle.
            Jean-Pierre couldn’t believe his eyes. That couple was making love in the middle of the day in a way he couldn’t describe. The woman encouraged her jockey with the heels of her short legs upon his back, urging him to gather speed. He heard and saw it all at the place where he was standing, the sounds of two bodies splashing against each other, their bodies covered with the perspiration of passion. The woman kept laughing, even when she reached her climax… and then it became silent. Both in the room as behind the wall. As silent as he had arrived, Jean-Pierre disappeared going to the opposite side.
            When he was back in his room, and he had closed the panel, he stood still for a moment. He realized he had seen something that turned his image of lust and sensuality totally upside down Both concepts he had coupled with age and beauty, what he had just experienced, contradicted this on all points. These two persons had enjoyed their actions and Jean-Pierre had to admit, at a certain point it had sexually aroused him too. Before his experience in the corridor, he would never concede that this was possible.     
He heard a short ruffle on the door and Katarina entered without waiting him saying a word. ‘Ready to visit all the hook and edges of the castle, mon chéri?’ Jean-Pierre tried to disguise his emotions and nodded affirmatively. She was dressed in half long black skirt and a red blouse and matching red pumps. Katarina obviously loved red. Had she inherited it from her mother? How did you address a daughter of a Baroness for that matter? He searched his memory and found the answer.
            According to the Salic law the firstborn of a baroness could claim the same title, in other cases a female heiress was addressed as Damsel of a noble woman. Well, in any case he had learned this at school. If Katarina was an only child, then she was in name Baroness too… but then he realized that he didn’t know so much about the woman in red… yet. Who was she really?

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere 07/12/2014

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