A Weirdo in the Dungeon
by Sharon Poppen
Tiffany’s feet were freezing. A minute ago, she’d been roasting in the French midday sun. Now, standing in what the tour guide had called the dungeon, she wished she had the jacket she’d left on the tour bus. She hugged herself for warmth as she continued her tour of this macabre zoo of torturing devices.
Pausing to inspect an ancient wood stock, she cursed her friend Julie for missing this tour of the de Sade mansion. Julie and Tiffany had partied last night with some locals. Julie had been too hung over to even think about a tour, let alone the bus ride to the mansion.
An icy quiver of air twirled in and around Tiffany, leaving her dizzy for a moment. As she steadied herself, her hand brushed against an odd looking, wooden contraption. It was damp and left moisture on her hand. She wiped it on her perfectly aged Levi’s. A red streak formed on the material.
“What the hell?” She glared at the stain.
“I beg your pardon. Is that any way for a lady to speak?”
A quick look to her right found the speaker. He was dressed in a period costume that screamed very early nineteenth century down to the brass buckled pumps on his feet. His smile dissolved into a lascivious leer.
Rather than answer this strange man, Tiffany scanned the room looking for fellow tourists. Not a one in sight.
“Looking for someone in particular?” he asked.
“Yes. My tour mates.”
“The people I arrived with.”
He glanced over her shoulder toward the heavy wooden door. “There are others? I was told only one girl was being sent.”
“Yes, a friend of... oh, no matter.”
The man reached out and touched Tiffany’s hair of many colors. “Your hair? This is not real.” His eyes devoured the rainbow of reds, purples, yellows and greens.
“Duh. Ya think.”
His hand drifted from her colorful hair to inch across her face touching three rings pierced in her eyebrow. “Why was this done? Is it a branding of some sort?”
“Branding? What are you talking about?” She lifted her tank top and showed him a tattoo of a snake curling through her rib cage. “Now, here’s a brand.”
Again, his hand was on the move. It roamed the length of the snake and ended by fondling her belly-button ring. “Extraordinary! Besides the rings in your ears, nose, lips and tongue are there any others?”
She gave a teasing smile and belly danced her mid-section. “And wouldn’t you like to know.”
The man stepped back in admiration of the girl’s marked body. “Who has marked you so? I must meet him.”
“Him? There’s no one him. I had these things done by body artists and some I did myself.”
“Really?” Slowly his look of admiration at this strange encounter morphed back into the leer. “Oh, but I’ve forgotten my manners.” He extended his hand. “I am the Marquis de Sade. You’ve wandered into my home, my dungeon.”
Tiffany nodded and looked around. “De Sade, huh. I thought you were dead.”
“Quite the contrary, my dear. I hope to be eternal.” He reached for her hand. “But, charming lady, you have not told me your name.”
“Tiffany Sanders. I’m American and here on vacation.”
“Ah, American. May I pour you a drink?”
“Sure. Got any tequila?”
He was already at a small bar decanting a red liquid. “No, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy this fine burgundy wine.”
She took the glass. “Oh, what the hell.” Tiffany downed half of it. “Not bad.” She wandered about the room, finally touching the wooden contraption that had bloodied her hand. “So, what’s this?”
“Would you like me to show you?”
“Here, give me your wrists and I’ll bind them before attaching the rope.”
“Are you serious?”
“Of course. With all the markings you already have, I have a feeling that you will love the things I can do to you.”
Tiffany looked up at the ropes hanging from the ceiling just above the contraption. “Hey, weirdo. I don’t get my kicks losing blood.” She downed the last of the wine and headed for the door. “Find another weirdo to play your kinky games,” she called back to him as she stepped into a well-lit stairwell.
Again, she felt an icy quiver of air twirl in and around her. By the time she walked into a vaulted entryway, she’d conquered her dizzy spell.
A tour guide stood at the door. “Young lady, we’ve been looking everywhere for you. We were about to leave without you.”
“Yeah, well you should check out the weirdo in the dungeon.” As she walked past the guide, she complimented him, “Gotta tell ya, though, the old dude is a nice touch to the tour. Got any snacks? That wine made me hungry.”
The guide watched Tiffany head for the bus, then turned to another guide who was leading a tour down a staircase. He called out, “Keep them together. It happened again, just now.”
The other guide nodded. “Folks, stay together now. We’re heading into the dungeon. It’s rumored to be haunted.”
Copyright © 2008 by Sharon Poppen