The clay-plastered bedroom seem to be filled with an unnerving air. My eyelids lifted and my pupils focused. A light wind passed through a nearby window, riling gauze curtains into a twisting dance. A tapping noise sounded somewhere outside the closed room’s door. When I sat up, the symbols that marked the four walls faded into the wall itself.
Perhaps, the vanishing symbols were a trick of the late afternoon sun. I frowned.
“Your brave adventurer is awake,” I said to no one. And no one answered me. The tapping noise continued.
I pushed up from the bed. My naked body still ached as I stood up: Several deep cuts caused by the encounter with the jungle beast had not fully healed. I wobbled for a second and my feet protested about the cold stone floor. But I maintained my balance and hobbled over to the wall with the bedroom door.
The symbols had vanished. I rubbed my hand along the wall’s surface, only feeling gritty clay.
The tapping outside continued: tap-tap-tap. It was coming from just outside.
“Is that you? Are you teasing me?” I said. I smiled as if someone on the other side might know that I meant no harm in my questions.
The only response was the repeating blows. A light, metallic sound struck about every second.
I looked around the useless room. There was no tray of food left here for me. There was no dresser that could hold the clothes I had been wearing. There was only a bed with rumpled sheets. I’d have to leave these four walls if I was to find some personal attire and something to eat.
I frowned, again. But I worked up the nerve to open the door. Just outside in the hall and resting on a display table, it was the most grotesque thing I had ever seen.
A gilded beast statuette coupled with a silver woman bearing ruby eyes. A forked tongue licked her long neck. His claws sank into her back and arms. An enormous erection thrust into her, again and again. Tap-tap-tap. But instead of appearing terrified, the woman’s mouth opened wide into a moaning ecstasy.
In front of this disturbing artwork’s base, a placard stood folded. “For you,” was written in black ink. I swallowed hard, but I looked down and spotted some clothes resting by the table’s legs. I lifted my head and reached for the placard, hoping to see if anything else was written on the stiff, cream-colored paper.
The gilded beast stopped moving.
Author’s note: This is a continuation of “The Beautiful Creature.”