A Heart of Stone
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It didn’t feel like home turf.
The southern climate had forced Alec to leave his leather attire behind, in favor of thin, black slacks that fit tightly on his buff legs, and a simple linen button shirt that hung half open on his chest.
Far from a swamp, the Broussard estate was nevertheless wrapped in oppressive humidity that even the variable shade of gnarled cypresses along the uneven stone path barely eased.
The plantation was not open unannounced visitors but could be rented for those who preferred authentic slave barracks in the background of their wedding photos.
Alec removed his sunglasses as he came into view of the Georgian manor house, pale red walls framed by white, if dirtied, columns.
He was awaited by a brunet man in a tank top showing off his defined arms and a baseball cap on his square head.
“Yes,” Alec said and shook the offered hand. “You must be Mister Daniel Broussard.”
“Just Dan, please.”
They moved into the dim, dusty lobby. Alec couldn’t help feel the building’s age had been ignored for too long but the humidity was bearable here.
Dan led him up the stairs to a guestroom where Alec dropped his suitcase.
“You manage the plantation?”
“Sort of,” Dan said. “My parents spend as little time here as they can. Me and my little brother Ricky are stuck here with Howard – grandpa. I’d leave if I could but… someone’s gotta look after the old grump, haha.
“As for the Raven portrait…” Alec begun.
“So the painting actually *belongs* to Howard. You’ll have to talk to him. If it were up to me I’d just have sent you the damn thing but he takes up fascinations sometimes.” Dan looked like he wanted to say a lot more but switched track. “Grandpa can be stubborn. Maybe if you’re willing to wait until he moved on to some new item.”
“We’ll see. Can I talk to him right away?”
“I’ll check if he’s sleeping. He’s usually awake by now but… old people, you know.”
Howard Broussard was a rather ugly man but aside from severely messed up, brown teeth he looked much younger than his age – barely fifty.
He gave Alec a disapproving once-over. Likely because of the ash blond mohawk and nose ring, possibly also because of the dark skin.
“Your client wants the painting?” Howard asked, as if laying a trap. “Well he can’t have it,” he added with finality. “I’m not *done* with it.”
The old man lounged in a chair in front of a ceramics display hutch, an untouched, dusty tea set on the end table. The room stank of cigarettes but there were none in sight.
Alec dropped himself in the other chair, leaning back with legs wide to give Howard a show of rugged masculinity.
Dan, leaning on the doorway, twitched.
“And what exactly are you *doing* with it?”
“None of your business.” Howard was quiet for a moment. “But if you’ve got any information on it that would help me figure out… Well, I’m interested in its history. Things that might not be in the official records. If your client, uh-“
“-Mister Raven knows the key to this mystery I’d part with it sooner.”
The old bastard wanted to harness the portrait somehow. Conjuring? Sending visions to his enemies? Keeping a ghost as a slave?
“Can I see it?” Alec asked. “I’ve worked with Mister Raven for years. I have knowledge of ‘mysteries’. From the mundane to the… tricky.”
Howard gave him another faintly disgusted once-over but rose and waved him along.
At the back of the Broussard manor was a small office, overflowing with artefacts in glass cases and drawers, mostly open and loosely organized. Chinese scrolls, anatomical drawings, jars of snakes in aspic. A bookshelf where every other book carried a pentagram or a goat head on the spine.
Most of the walls were dedicated to African artefacts, like necklaces, shields and simple strings without obvious use.
Alec wasn’t good at this type of thing but it took little effort to call forth the Connections. The hanging objects had overwhelmingly belonged to people who had lived on the estate and had not parted with their owners freely. Trophies of a sort.
Above a modest fireplace hung a portrait of Orion Raven.
The four hundred year old painting, about two feet high, had become tinged a dark yellow but the strict looking fellow with the ruff collar stared at the observers undeterred by the centuries of grime.
“Any visions since he got here?” Alec asked. “Nightmares? Hallucinations?”
Howard grinned with his rotten-looking teeth. “That’s what I’ve been hoping for, but no. Not so far.”
“What about you?” Alec said and turned to Dan who had stayed outside the room.
Dan flinched. “I… Um, no, not reall- No visions, sir.”
A glance at Howard made clear Alec had just tipped the old guy off to something. Dan was lying but Howard istanbul travesti didn’t yet know the contents of the hallucinations. And Dan didn’t seem likely to open up to his grandfather.
A knock on the guestroom door. An unfamiliar voice.
“Mister Reyes? The take-out’s here.”
Alec opened, wearing nothing but black briefs. The guy holding up a plastic bag of Asian food failed to hide his shock and awe at the displayed musculature.
“You must be Ricky,” Alec said and took the bag to his small two seater table.
“That’s me,” Ricky said, nervously chuckling.
The ‘little brother’ was barely a few years younger than Dan, with the same edgy face, slightly taller and lankier, his brown hair in an even fringe.
Alec had planned to target Dan but he could still do that later.
“I was about to shower,” Alec said, putting a lot of effort into his voice to make it The Voice without the aid of his wristlet which lay on the nightstand. “Does the water take a while to get hot?”
Ricky swallowed hard and tore his eyes off the hunk’s abs. “Uh, hot, yes. I mean-” He pressed his eyes shut and cringed lightly. “The boiler was renewed last year so you’ll be good.”
This was easier than expected. Ricky didn’t seem to need much convincing. Or maybe Alec underestimated his capabilities. He had gotten a lot of practice in Europe.
“I couldn’t find the towels,” Alec lied. “Could you show me where they are?”
“Sure,” Ricky said, entered and closed the door behind him.
Alec walked ahead into the bathroom and pulled his briefs down, simply stepping out of them as they dropped. On the narrow shower’s glass wall he saw Ricky stare at the hunky bubble butt.
Alec whipped around, catching Ricky gawking at his dick and patted the towel hanging over the shower wall. “Silly me, I found it earlier. Different question then. Has anything weird happened since your grandfather brought that painting home?”
“Weird…” Ricky said, looking everywhere but at the hunk’s body.
“Dreams. Hallucinations. Someone standing in the corridor at night?”
“Sometimes when Howard brings home a… fascination, it shows up in my dreams before I’ve even seen it in real life.”
“Did Orion? The man in the portrait?”
Alec turned on the water in the shower. “I’d like to hear about it. If you’re going to stay, better leave the clothes outside.”
Ricky froze, then tore his shirt off as if it were on fire. Alec was in the shower by the time the slimmer man was naked and had kicked his clothes in front of the door. His hand hovered over his small, cut dick but he didn’t decisively cover it.
“Any idea what your grandfather wants with the painting?”
“No, Howard never tells anyone anything.”
“I can barely hear you. Come a little closer.”
Ricky stepped up to the open shower, flinching as droplets sprayed onto him.
The way Alec used shampoo made it a flexing show. He stayed turned to the side so Ricky could ‘safely’ stare while pretending not to. He shoved the shampoo bottle at Ricky and turned around.
“Help me with the back.”
Ricky tried to rub gently, timidly over the hunk’s broad shoulders and tight waist while avoiding the water spray.
Alec turned to face him, grabbed his arms and pulled him under the stream.
The bottle clanked loudly on the ceramic ground as their faces met.
Ricky kissed eagerly but submissively, his boner rising between their thighs. Alec’s tool chubbed in response. With increasing courage, Ricky’s hands explored the muscled, brown body as water splashed over them both.
“Did Orion do any of this in your dreams?”
“Fuck… I don’t really remember but yeah, I think we dream fucked.”
“Oh,” Alec said with a chuckle. “He was the fuck of your dreams?”
Ricky pouted and punched the bigger man’s chest. “You know what I mean.”
“So you have not had your dream fuck yet?”
Ricky looked to the side. He sounded almost childishly indignant. “I’m not a bottom. Forget it. We can just suck each other off.”
“Daring, hehe. Your brother seems a lot more repressed by comparison. Do you know if he had the same dreams?”
“I think so but we don’t talk about Howard-stuff. Mostly I pretend Howard doesn’t exist. I basically live at the skate park. Do we *have* to talk about this now?”
Alec turned the water off and towel dried himself. He pushed Ricky out of the shower with a slap on the butt and the slim man grabbed a towel for himself.
“Just one question,” Alec said and put more power into his speech. He was willing to respect Ricky’s wish not to bottom — mostly because he didn’t want to strain his voice — but Alec Reyes was no cocksucker. He *got* his cock sucked.
“Yeah?” Ricky said and watched with awe as the hunk needlessly flexed while istanbul travestileri toweling.
“Why do you call him Howard? Even Dan had to remind himself to say ‘grandpa’.”
Ricky looked troubled. He fought with himself for a moment, eyes glancing repeatedly at the hunk’s thick semi-hardon. His own towel hung over his fully erect dick of unimpressive size.
“He’s not my grandfather. He’s my great-great-grandfather.”
“You believe me?”
“Let’s say yes. How?”
“No clue. I wish it wasn’t true. He’s a monster. He can’t even look out the window without dreaming of seeing slaves working on the plantation again.”
Alec’s semi was rapidly hardening. He didn’t know how yet, but he’d use this information. For now, he could only clear his head.
“Hm, how strange,” the hunk said, pointing his twitching dick at Ricky. A thick pearl of precum glistened at the tip. “Could have sworn that spot was already dry. Little help?”
Ricky went to his knees, looking up as he slowly wrapped his mouth around the pulsing cock head.
Maybe Alec should call home regarding Howard. For now he forced a little too much into Ricky’s throat over and over, melting the oral bottom’s resistance with encouraging comments, enjoying the echo of desperate gagging on the bathroom tiles.
A few minutes later, the boy took a load without complaint and never asked his top to return the favor, leaving happy and glass eyed.
Away from the city, only the light of the crescent moon illuminated Alec’s sleeping frame. The hunk was naked, only his midsection covered by a nearly see-through blanket. His slow breath made his ripped chest move. No other sound disturbed the silence of the guest bedroom.
Footprints on the carpet, chaotically placed as if some unseen phantom was figuring out how many feet a person should have and miscounting every time, not even bothering to make them face the same direction.
A gentle tugging on the bedsheets went unnoticed. One hard tug tore the sheets away and Alec woke with a start.
The sheet sailed away, briefly hugging a humanoid outline at the edge of his bed that vanished from existence in the blink of an eye.
Alec saw handprints on the mattress, footprints on the floor and reached out into the air. He caressed a rugged face, briefly, before it faded into nothing.
“Orion?” Alec whispered.
What was he seeing here? What were they Connection? The naked hunk with nose ring and mohawk looked into the darkness, seeing with other senses.
“Show me the way,” he whispered.
Dan Broussard woke up as he heard the floorboards creak in the corridor outside.
Finally a night without dreaming of the guy in the painting, without dreaming about stripping for him, licking his shoes, bending over, begging for cock. He was happy in the dreams while they lasted but the moment he awoke he was hit by the horror and violation. He’d burn the damn thing if Howard didn’t sell it soon.
More creaky floorboards. Ricky had no reason to come this way and Howard moved around the house like a cat since he knew every inch of every traitorous floorboard. It had to be the weight of that muscular northerner.
Dan got up and headed quietly for the door.
A hand grabbed him by the neck, cutting off his ability to shout.
The Broussard man was dragged back onto the bed and something forced itself into his mouth. Something fleshy, almost like… a cock! He tried to bite down but the ghost rod fucked his mouth *through* the teeth as if they weren’t there.
More hands grabbed Dan, pinning him down by the wrists and raising his legs. With a ghostly smack on his ass, his legs were pulled up and apart.
Precum dripped into Dan’s face from his own dick as the ghost kept muffling his sobs with a throat fuck through closed lips.
Dan rapidly hardened. Invisible hands groped his junk and crack.
He opened his mouth to shout but the phantom dick never stayed out of his throat for more than one breath. Dan was gargling his own saliva and mucus while the ghost humped his mouth.
One hand let off his right wrist and Dan swatted the air, hitting nothing. He grabbed his own dick and rapidly jerked off.
A finger entered his hole.
Dan panicked and tried to scream, choking on his own spit. He masturbated more furiously. The dreams always ended after he came. Maybe the apparition would retreat for the same reason.
Invisible cum rained on him in ridiculous amounts, squirted from a dick above, like a showerhead.
As two fingers went knuckle deep into his ass, Dan finally creamed his load into his face. The ghost followed, exploding in the man’s mouth with such an amount that Dan’s gagging made the thick but invisible goo shoot out his nose.
With the taste travesti istanbul of cum all throughout his nostrils and on his tongue, Dan was unceremoniously dropped and spasmed on the bed as the remaining shivers of his orgasm ran their course.
He feel into a deep sleep from which he would awake unbearably horny. The memories didn’t quite fade, however, and Dan would rise with a burning hatred for the painting and what lived within.
“Orion? Where did you go?”
Alec had slipped into his black briefs and followed the trail to the office where the portrait hung. With the thick curtains drawn, the only light came from his phone.
He scanned the place but found no obvious clues and Orion’s disjointed, twisted phantom appearance had seemingly move on.
A brush against the curtains. A glint of moonlight. Movement on the carpet.
Alec stepped up to the indicated shelf next to the fireplace. An invisible finger drew a circle in the feint dust around an item stand. It held bracketed a fully calcified human heart, dimly reflecting the phone’s light in dark yellow, white and gray.
There was nothing unusual about it, considering it stood between a jar full of eyeballs and a set of frontal teeth.
“You want me to see that? Why?”
Alec placed a hand on the heart and tried to feel anything unusual. How was a calcified heart *supposed* to feel?
The hunk took it from its bracket but the ghost kept drawing wider and faster circles around the stand.
Alec put the heart back and gripped the stand itself. It refused to be lifted. Lightly bending it, he could move it like a lever. The shelf clicked and rattled.
With a grunt of approval, Alec pushed the now freely moving shelf aside and entered the secret room behind it.
It was an extension of the office, windowless, small and filled with yet more creepy items.
The phone in Alec’s hand was shoved to point its light at a square box, half a foot wide, made of polished wood.
Alec took one look at the ornate design on the lid and froze.
“Poseidon’s Casket. What’s that doing here? I thought only the Browns still those.”
There was no lock. The box would have considered it an insult to hang a lock on it or wrap it with a chain. It stayed shut under all circumstances as long as it trusted the owner.
Alec ran his fingers along the smooth frame, expecting to not even find a slit, as if the box didn’t even *have* a way of opening it.
To his surprise, he not only found a clear distinction between box and lid, he could even lift it. Gasping in awe, he nonetheless smiled to himself. The box didn’t trust the owner — it trusted Alec.
He raised the lid and shone the light in. The fearless hunk nearly cried out.
In two inches of blood lay a beating human heart.
He swallowed heavy, took a picture of the outside and the inside and sent them to Mordecai. The old man would see the texts in the morning. Alec was confident in his judgement and didn’t wait for permission.
“Yes, I’m sure. Just take the damn thing,” Dan said. “This is the museum’s packaging it came with, so I’ll assume that’s all up to transportation standard.”
Alec grabbed the wrapped painting, made heavier by the frame inside the box that secured it. His open shirt fluttered in the wind as he walked off the manor’s stairs.
“Been a pleasure,” the hunk said. “Thanks for making things uncomplicated.”
“Yeah yeah,” Dan said. “I’ll deal with Howard somehow. But I’m not having that creepy guy in the same house as me for one more night. Ugh, sorry, I… didn’t sleep well.”
“Don’t worry, things are only getting better from here,” Alec said and with one last goodbye, the northerner was on the way to catch his flight home.
In his backpack were two trophies. One was Ricky’s underwear — old habit. The other took up so much space that Alec had been forced to trash some of his stuff.
Poseidon’s Casket weighed heavy on his shoulders, the content sloshing with every step.
He wasn’t even off the property when he stopped and walked a few feet into the thicket next to the path.
By daylight the box with maritime ornaments looked much less uncanny. The lid opened for him without issue, exposing again the grim, red, thumping content.
He dumped the blood and heart without so much as an apologetic facial expression.
Rapidly, the heart calcified. The blood turned black, solid and flaky until it was mere dust. After a minute, the organ had caught up with its supposed age and had shriveled to plum size. Alec stomped it into the dirt.
Before boarding the plane, he’d send the box back to the remaining Browns in Hawai’i, with a warning about the still blood-painted insides. He had never met them personally, but if they weren’t trustworthy, the box would know.
Dan or Ricky, whoever checked up on Howard in his office, would find a desiccated, century old corpse turned half to dust. It would be a shock he’d have liked to spare them, but Alec didn’t expect anyone in the family to shed a tear.
With light steps, Alec left the Broussard plantation behind.
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