Saturday 22 November 2014

Like Diamonds

So shine bright tonight, you and I 
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky 
Eye to eye, so alive 
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

~ Diamonds 

Blossom (by Pandacv721 deviant,com)

Now that I have your face by heart,
I look Less at its features than its darkening frame
Where quince and melon, yellow as young flame,
Lie with quilled dahlias and the shepherd's crook.
Beyond, a garden. There, in insolent ease
The lead and marble figures watch the show
Of yet another summer loath to go
Although the scythes hang in the apple trees.

Now that I have your face by heart, I look.

Now that I have your voice by heart,
I read In the black chords upon a dulling page
Music that is not meant for music's cage,
Whose emblems mix with words that shake and bleed.
The staves are shuttled over with a stark
Unprinted silence.
In a double dream I must spell out the storm, the running stream.
The beat's too swift.
The notes shift in the dark.

Now that I have your voice by heart, I read.

Now that I have your heart by heart, I see
The wharves with their great ships and architraves;
The rigging and the cargo and the slaves
On a strange beach under a broken sky.
O not departure, but a voyage done!
The bales stand on the stone; the anchor weeps
Its red rust downward, and the long vine creeps
Beside the salt herb, in the lengthening sun.

Now that I have your heart by heart, I see.

~ Song for the Last Act by Louise Bogan


~ For Egle

Thursday 20 November 2014


Thro’ the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber, 
Past the wan-moon’d abysses of night, 
I have liv’d o’er my lives without number, 
I have sounded all things with my sight; 
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright. 

I have whirl’d with the earth at the dawning, 
When the sky was a vaporous flame; 
I have seen the dark universe yawning, 
Where the black planets roll without aim; 
Where they roll in their horror unheeded, without knowledge or lustre or name.

~ Nemesis by H. P. Lovecraft

Old House (by freatmah

Journey Into Madness

Arnold James.

He would probably describe himself as “a regular sort of guy” in spite of the fact that his first self-published horror novel “Nemesis” has become a best-seller all around the world.

Arnold James would proudly inform you that he was an avid Manchester United fan and that he never missed a match if he could help it.

And over a pint he might even reveal that he finally married his long-term partner.

Chloe James.

But he might be a little bit more reluctant to share his obsession with the darker side of life and of the human psyche and how he has been harbouring dreams of becoming the next Stephen King or Clive Barker.

The young man might not want to divulge the countless hours he has spent conversing with horror aficionados in chat-rooms and the secret life he has been living through the internet.

Arnold James won't want you know the price he's paid to get to where he is today and he'd he would gladly give it all up just to have the woman he loves back in his life again.

To turn back the clock ...

It was 2 am when the young man finally checked his watch.

He had just spent six hours conserving with a person calling themselves “Dr Cripin” in a chat-room for the horror aficionado and the lengthy interaction had yielded some truly toe-curling facts about the peccadilloes of serial killers.

“Nut job!” Arnold James cried as he closed his laptop and rubbed his eyes.

James was tall and boyishly good-looking with wavy brown hair and intense blue eyes and an endearing personality.

It was eighteen months since he had packed civil service job in and since then he had devoted every waking moment picking the minds of horror devotees in chat rooms and ion forums as he amassed material for his first novel.

But he had hardly written a word for the last several months as he spent more and more time having anonymous interactions with faceless people on the internet.

It was Arnold's charm that first attracted Chloe Dunlop to him.

She found his self-deprecating humour very appealing when they first met at the soft drinks machine at Southgate College.

It was raining that afternoon and he drove her home and was rewarded with a kiss on the cheek.

That was how it began, and five years later the couple were married in a Gothic church in Tufnell Park and they spent two idyllic weeks in Sardinia for their honeymoon.

Chloe James was a striking and attractive woman.

She was blonde and petite with warm brown eyes and a winsome smile.

Chloe was proud of the little florist shop she ran in Highgate Wood.

Petals was her sanctuary.

For the last eighteen months she had been supporting herself and her husband as he focused upon writing his first horror novel.

Choe James was just keeping body and soul together.

Weathering the storms with her husband .

And after six months of marriage, she was already a writer's widow.

Her husband had transformed a little outhouse at the end of the garden into a writing den and he retreated there.

His wife watched as he dragged a mattress and sleeping bag into the den and turned it into his new home.

Arnold James had only his vivid imagination and his cyberspace acolytes for company.

His wife had been excluded from his world.

Arnold James had become a hermit.

He only surfaced briefly to bathe before disappearing back into his sanctuary once again.

Like a rat scurrying into a dark corner.

Chloe James barely recognised the wild eyed, bearded man who grunted at her.

She was the fallen angel expelled from paradise.

Her husband was the mad man summoning all hell fire and sleeping with worms.

He was totally obsessed with the occult and devoured anything he could get on divination and summoning practises.

Chloe James was left to lie alone in their big bed; staring up at the ceiling with tears in her eyes as she wondered what had happened to the sweet boy she had met at college.

He had been replaced by somebody who barely noticed she was there.

She was a nonentity watching her husband descend into the darkest recesses of his mind.

Chloe James felt jealous of the faceless internet dwellers who had stolen her husband.

Did you know they've never found the killer until this day?” Arnold James informed his wife one evening when she bought in his dinner.

He was referring to the notorious Archway Road murders.

Her husband had lately become obsessed with the unsolved murder case from 1966.

53 Old Kent Road was still boarded up today because nobody wanted to buy it and they had given up trying to sell it.

Nobody wanted to live in a house that was cursed.

Arnold James had often stopped outside the house and imagined what had happened inside.

Someone had thoughtfully sprayed across the board in spidery red letters.

Hell Hole”

Chloe shrugged.

Maybe the killer was driven to it!” She answered drily.

But the quip escaped her husband whose gaze never left his laptop screen

Just think ... the killer is still out there” James replied dreamily “Scary, eh?”

Chloe shrugged.

He never heard his wife's soft footsteps as she quietly exited the den.

Arnold James had become completely obsessed with the 1966 killings and driven past the dilapidated scene of the crime countless times.

Martin and Sandra Miller and their twin daughters Sarah and Sadie were murdered in cold blood on a cold October night and their bodies were found several days later - slumped around the dinner table with their throats slit from ear to ear.

Prelude To Darkness ... (by hearthy
Chloe James sometimes felt that she was a victim of the crime too, as her husband prattled endlessly about it.

The only respite she received from her husband's neglect was the time she spent in her little Highgate florist shop.

The human contact and the aroma of a myriad flowers seemed to breathe life into her.

She was convinced that she had been born in the wrong era and believed that she belonged in a more genteel age where they were no laptops or internet connection.

Unlike her husband who was busy conducting intense relationships with faceless people in cyberspace.

One these new partners in crime was particularly persistent and intriguing and he called himself “Bill”and Arnold James particularly enjoyed their interactions.

Arnold James sat smoking in his red Jeep as he stared at the decaying old residence.

53 Old Kent Road was a haunted house.

After ruminating for a couple hours on what might have occurred within the rotting walls, he heard the unmistakable bleep of new messages in his in-box.
"Bill" had contacted him.

Arnold's eyes widened with astonishment as he began reading..

"I have been working on the Anderson case for three years now. And at last I have pieced it all together"

His mouth was hanging open

"I know who did it"

It was with a mounting sense of excitement that Arnold James finished the email.

"Meet me at the 53 Old Kent Road - Saturday morning at 8 am”

The writer felt exhilarated.

All will be revealed."

James quickly reeled off a response and pushed aside any nagging suspicions about "Bill".

He was like a man with tunnel vision coming out into the light and he decided there and then not to divulge what was happening to his wife.

There was no need to involve her in it.

Arnold James wanted to enjoy all the glory himself.

Nerdy “Bill” could be bought off later.

James was already counting wads of money in his head as he drove home like a man possessed.

Three days passed in full throttle as the would-be writer prepared to meet his fate.

He was convinced Chloe suspected something but the thrill of keeping a secret was too delicious to spoil.

Saturday morning finally arrived and Arnold James crept out of his house and sped to the crumbling old house.

For some reason it was particularly foreboding this morning and James almost lost his nerve as he sat smoking in his Jeep.

It was a bitterly cold morning.

And the house's battered old mail box creaked in the wind.

Arnold James suddenly fought the urge to reverse his Jeep and drive home as he was suddenly overcome by unreasoning fear.

But the prize he was about to win was worth much more to him than a few moments of doubt and apprehension.

Then he suddenly envisioned Chloe tossing and turning in their big bed; excluded and unaware of his little secret.

And Arnold James leapt out his Jeep with renewed.

But he couldn't deny his trepidation as he pushed the heavy door open.

The old house was shrouded in darkness.

Several large crows screeched loudly at the intruder interrupting their communion and Arnold James ducked as they flew past him out of the door.

Birds of ill-omen.

Arnold's heart was beating fast now and as he surveyed the decaying abode, Arnold James belatedly realised that this was no longer a dream.

The nightmare had stepped out of his over heated brain into the real world.

The wall paper was peeling and curling off the walls.

Broken pieces of furniture lay on the floor and there was on old and sodden sofa.

All the windows were boarded up and the stench was terrible.

Somebody had sprayed the walls with a large spidery slogan.

House of the Damned

Arnold James shivered with fright

It was no dream.

And the house felt eerily silent as if he had stepped into an open grave.

Arnold James had descended into the dark underbelly of a woe begotten and hellish place.

And suddenly he was fighting the primal urge to run.

"Keep it together!" Arnold James urged himself "I've come too far to blow it now!"

Suddenly he was in the kitchen where the gruesome killings had taken place.

The large mottled kitchen table stood before him.

It was where the Miller's had been found dead.

Arnold James had seen images of corpses with blank staring eyes and slit throats with dark blood everywhere.

And he had replayed the scene countless times in his feverish mind.

Arnold James retched; he was staring death in the face.

Somebody had thoughtfully scrawled a big red cross on the kitchen table as a mocking declaration.

"Bill!" Arnold James exclaimed into the gloom "Are you there?"

He had no intention of searching around the house and suddenly he yearned to be in the daylight again.

There was no answer to his cry.

But somehow he knew he was no alone in the decrepit house.

Something was moving around in the shadows.

"Bill!” Arnold James demanded "Show yourself! I know you're there"

But there was still no response.

And it had suddenly got very cold.

A large black crow screeched from the broken rooftop.

It stared malevolently at Arnold James.

"Come out!" James exclaimed forcefully.

This internet nerd was pushing it now.

Something shifted in the gloom.

A shadowy figure began to walk towards him.

And Arnold James instinctively backed away.

It was not meant to happen this way and suddenly James remembered that the murderer had not been caught.

Arnold James had cause to regret his rendezvous.

Perhaps he was alone with a raving maniac.

Arnold James squinted into the darkness.

He thought his heart had stopped when the figure walked towards him suddenly illuminated by light through a shattered window.

It couldn’t be ...

"I've lost my mind"

Chloe James had emerged from the shadows, dressed all in black as if she were going to a funeral.

Her pretty face was pale as a sheet, her lips crimson and her blonde hair scraped back.

She looked like a vampire.

"That's right!" Chloe declared "It's your wife! Remember me?"

There was a half smile on her face.

This could not be happening

What are you doing here?” Arnold James demanded indignantly.

His wife threw back her head and laughed loudly and it reverberated around the rotting house. .

"Why are you here?" Her husband insisted with stunned bewilderment.

"Why do you think?" Chloe answered him.

Arnold James slowly shook his head.

"I am Bill!" She added.

The words rang around them.

"I am Bill"

Arnold James was suddenly crestfallen; felled like a partridge hit by a hunter's bullet.

"I am Bill"

Chloe James was smiling knowingly at her husband and her dark eyes were flashing brightly.

Her unflinching gaze chilled his bones and froze the blood in his veins.

"What the hell is going on?"Arnold James demanded.

"I've been pretending to be Bill for the last month" Chloe James explained "It wasn't hard to hook you in. I know all your weaknesses!"

But why?”

"It was the only way I could get your attention!"

This must be a nightmare ...”

"It's all over Arnie” She informed him dispassionately “I'm leaving you!"

Tears filled the writer's eyes as he struggled to comprehend what was happening to him.

Don't go … I'll change”

"Goodbye Arnie!" Chloe James said simply and devastatingly.

Arnold James was in hell.

His wife had used his obsession to catch him out and he was caught like a rabbit in a snare.

James watched as his wife walked calmly to the door.

Then she slowly turned to him.

"If you dance with the devil" Chloe James informed him "eventually you have to pay the price"

Then she strode out of the place of death and desolation into the light.

Until the end (by hearthy


* Please note that this is a re-worked version of Dance With The Devil

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Lady Afari's Secret

Come now now from this country let us fly now I and thou
To the garden come now
by my hand take me now
or to thy skirt let me cling now
O come now to the garden now upon the bosom of thy beloved throw

(V-The Flight, Persian Songs:Erotic poetry From The Inmates Of The Harem Of Feteh Aly Shah)

Persian Woman 18 Century Painting (

The Harem of Delights

Formly Hall, Wonston, Hampshire


Sir Leopold Hawksworth had the good grace to die in his own bed.

He had breathed his last in the early hours of a cold winter morning at the magnificent Formly Hall.

The exact cause of his untimely demise was not divulged.

But Dr Gustav Hauser had checked the pulse of the imposing man and any signs of breathing and had pronounced him deceased at 3 am in his huge antique bed.

"I am afraid Sr Leopold is abgestorben " He informed his wife in a crisp German accent "Dead"

Lady Afari Hawksworth promptly fainted and had to be revived with smelling salts by Nelly the maid.

The majestic Formly Hall suddenly fell very silent.

Lady Afari was already very wealthy when she first met her husband-to-be at the lavish wedding reception of Sir Charles and Petunia Buchanan at the Hotel Café Royal in London some twenty years before.

Sir Leopold Hawksworth was immediately beguiled by the sphinx-like creature and her striking parents.

They were loosely connected to the English rish set and stood out by courtesy of their swarthy looks and exotic pedigree.

The girl with her parents must have been barely nineteen and Sir Leopold Hawksworth watched her every move like a hawk.

"The Hosseini's" Captain Edward Greaves informed him "they're stinking rich and among the Persian elite"

He took a long drag from his cigar.

"Whose the girl?" Hawksworth enquired.

"Afari Hosseini" Greaves replied.

"She's a peach"

"Isn't she just. Apparently, she's had one of those sheltered upbringing's like they do over there"

"Poor little innocent"

Captain Edward Greaves cocked an eyebrow.

But a surge of chivalry was already pulsating through Sir Leopold's veins.

He had suddenly forged a burning desire to rescue the captivating maiden from her prison-like existence.

Hawksworth could picture the wretched girl now, veiled and pining behind a grille.

"I must speak to her!" Sir Leopold Hawksworth declared with conviction.

"You'll have to ask her father's permission first" Greaves warned him "they don't do anything without male approval"

Within moments Sir Leopold had approached the girl's parents.

Captain Edward Greaves shook his head as he observed the scene.

"Damnable foreigners!" He muttered.

The Hosseini's were natives of Tehran.

Mahal Hosseini was a highly influential Persian oil tycoon.

He lived in a palatial residence with his wife Azarin and his only daughter Afari and it was said that he was so rich that he could have bought the whole of Persia itself.

It was Afari Hosseini's first trip to London.

Although she could speak four languages, she had never been out of her country before and it was a completely new experience.

Sir Leopold Hawkworth was 6 ft tall and twenty years older than the object of his affection.

He was extremely good-looking with dancing hazel eyes, sleek black hair and a fine curling moustache.

Sir Leopold Hawksworth was a son of the English aristocracy and a decorated Admiral and lived in inestimable splendour at Formly Hall which had been the family seat for nearly four centuries.

Formly Hall was a magnificent stately home situated in Wonston, Hampshire with seventy-five enormous rooms and surrounded by hundreds of acres of rolling countryside.

The former Admiral was urbane, well travelled and had an eye for beauty.

He had a taste for acquiring exotic artefact's from far-flung places and the mysterious Afari Hosseini was the kind of rare and beautiful objet d'art that he just knew he had to possess.

Sir Leopold Hawksworth had earned his stripes in the Great War and up until now he had been a self-avowed bachelor; dallying with the daughters of the gentry and had a laissez-faire approach to life.

But on this fateful night he was convinced that all that was about to change.

Sir Leopold was extremely charming and took care to ingratiate himself with Mahal Hosseini.

Hosseini was a proud Persian man who listened more than he spoke and when he did speak - he did so in measured doses.

"My daughter is a good girl!" He informed Sir Leopold in a heavily accented voice.

Afari Hosseini smiled and lowered her eyes.

 "She is very artistic" her father added mysteriously.

Afari Hosseini kept her eyes averted but there was a little smile upon her face.

The girl was dressed in a white satin gown, a necklace of priceless jewels glittered about her neck and her thick black hair piled high above her head.

She had totally eclipsed the bride.

When he was sure that he had won the trust of Mahal and Azarin Hosseini, Sir Leopold Hawksworth introduced himself to their daughter.

He was struck by how childlike she appeared with her wide eyes and vulnerable air.

"Poor little innocent" Sir Leopold sighed to himself.

She must have led a cloistered existence in Tehran; locked away from prying eyes and the rude stare of the sun.

"Women are like jewels that should guarded against the covetous gaze of men" Mahal Hosseini informed Sir Leopold Hawksworth

The former Admiral was also partial to the Arthurian legends and he was quite sure that he was about to rescue this delectable creature from her prison like existence.

Sir Leopold was fascinated by the air of mystery that surrounded the young girl but there was also something else going on behind her sultry almond shaped black eyes.

Afari Hosseini was olive-skinned and petite.

She had large slanting black eyes and glossy black hair and moved gracefully like flowing water.

Afari Hosseini was Cleopatra come alive.

Her curious accent and pretty laugh sent shivers down Sir Leopold Hawkworth's spine.

The former Admiral regaled her with colourful tales about his travels and of his vast collection of artefact's from around the world.

"I have never been further then our gardens" Afari Hosseini informed him with wide eyes.

"Good Lord, she is no more than a child"

Sir Leopold Hawksworth was suddenly rendered speechless as his shock was mingled with pity for the captivating creature.

His mind was full of visions of Afari Hosseini imprisoned in a high walled tower by cruel khalif's.

"Poor little innocent" Sir Leopold Hawksworth repeated to himself.

She was a Persian Princess.

Hawksworth could picture her walking gracefully through the grounds of Formly Hall with a flower in her raven hair.

He felt his member stirring and he suddenly felt guilty.

Afari Hosseini was an innocent.

How could he entertain such vulgar yearnings?

Her father was a shrewd man.

Mahal Hosseini was wise to Sir Leopold's intentions.

He was eager to match his daughter with a member of the aristocracy, even if he secretly regarded the English as barbaric marauders.

Nayika (by Yatindra
"There is an Arabic saying" Hosseini informed Sir Leopold "that you will find an Englishman under every rock"

Then he laughed.

Mahal Hosseini had been whispering instructions in his daughter's ear about how to conduct herself with the former Admiral and she dutifully obeyed them.

Sir Leopold was completely captivated.

The day before the Hosseini's were due to return to their country, Sir Leopold Hawksworth went down on one knee to propose to Afari in the foyer of the Hilton Hotel.

Her father nodded for her to agree and the young girl avidly complied.

"You made me the happiest man alive!" Sir Leopold cried as he placed a diamond and ruby ring upon her slender finger.

Mahal and Azarin Hosseini were looking proudly o.

Their daughter had made a perfect match.

And they expected Sir Leopold to keep their daughter in the manner to which she was accustomed.

Mahal gave a knowing smile.

"My daughter will obey your every command" Azarin Hosseini assured Sir Leopold Hawksworth later.

A broad grin crept across his face.

"She is such a little innocent" he sighed. 

There was an unmistakable gleam in Azarin's black eyes.

Sir Leopold Hawksworth was looking forward to a blissful life with his Persian bride.

He never noticed Mahal Hosseini smirking behind his hand.

There were ill-concealed expressions of shock and horror when Sir Leopold Hawksworth bought Afari Hosseini to Hampshire to be his wife.

The English aristocracy were scandalised by the appearance of the exotic female on the arm of the strapping former Admiral and alarm rippled through the ranks.

The wedding proceeded promptly with a majestic ceremony at Winchester Cathedral and a lavish reception at Arundel Castle which was attended by King George V and his Queen consort, Mary of Tek

Polite society were outraged by Sir Leopold Hawksworth's choice of bride.

But the media were in a frenzy.

King George and Queen Mary watched Lord Hawksworth marry a dusky maiden from Persia at Winchester Cathedral today. It was a thoroughly English affair even if the bride and her party are from the Orient. 

Not only was the new Lady Hawksworth unutterably foreign but apparently she wasn't even a Christian.

The chattering classes could barely bring themselves to say it out loud; but Sir Leopold had deigned to marry a "Mohammedan".

"A heathen from the barbarous east"
And there were even rumours that Mahal Hosseini had actually sold his daughter to the former Admiral and that the bride and groom had attended a "pagan Moslem ritual" before the ceremony at Winchester Cathedral.

Lady Hilda Gladstone was one of the appalled women who objected to Sir Leopold's choice of bride and she was determined to transform her into a respectable English woman of substance.

The self-righteous matron regarded herself as Lady Afari Hawksworth's moral guardian.

"My wife is a little innocent" Sir Leopold informed her.

"And she is little more than a child!" Lady Hilda declared "I will see to it that she remains untainted by the evils of the world!"

"I am most beholden to you"

"Those swarthy idolaters with their big manly chests and their big hands ... and their big ..."

Lady Hilda Gladstone was quivering and fanning herself as she sauntered out.

Sir Leopold vetoed the older woman's Tuesday afternoon visits which were an occasion for religious instruction and the tutoring of refined English sensibilities.

The former Admiral had introduced his new wife to his love of rare artifact's and he had taken her along to Sotheby's in London.

Lady Afari was fascinated by the grand auction house and became a frequent visitor.

She immediately became obsessed with acquiring recherché pieces

Sir Leopold assigned a special room for his wife's collection.

He never questioned his wife and her purchases remained locked away.

It was her sanctuary but one day he ventured into the secret room and was flabbergasted by what he found.

His inscrutable young wife had evidently acquired a fascination for erotica and she had obtained quite a sizable aggregation of rare, erotic Indo-Persian and Mughal miniatures.

The images explicitly depicted couples in various states of flagrante delicto.

"Good grief!" Sir Leopold Hawksworth cried.

He was struggling to reconcile his "innocent flower" with the risqué collection.

Mahal Hosseini's words were ringing in his ears.

"She is very artistic"

Sir Leopold could feel his member stirring.

His palms were sweaty as he locked the door behind him.

The door to his wife's secret pleasure.

Francis Marie Hawksworth soon followed and the little family was complete.

One afternoon, Lady Hilda was having tea in the huge drawing room when she suddenly noticed something that almost made her drop her china cup.

"Good Lord!" She cried.

There was an ornately carved ivory table with a circle of naked nymphs writhing suggestively around it's elegant legs.

The sight of bare breasts and female private parts soon had the older woman fanning herself with a silk handkerchief.

"The fruit of your heathen upbringing!" Lady Hilda Gladstone informed her host.

Lady Afari Hawksworth smiled sweetly.

"More tea, dear?" She enquired.

Lady Hilda Gladstone set about tutoring her young pupil with gusto.

Very soon even Lady Afari's most ardent detractors were galvanised by the way she appeared to have been transformed  into a bastion of the British Empire.

In fact, she was now more English than they were.

And she attended church every Sunday. 

Lady Hilda Gladstone had excelled herself and she was supremely triumphant.

Another foreigner had been subdued and the possible invasion of the British Isle's by swarthy savages had been averted.

Those were halcyon days and they were a memory now.

Lady Afari Hawksworth had been relaxing with her female friends in the enormous drawing room when news of her husband's passing was bought to her by a manservant.

She promptly fainted and had to be revived with smelling salts by Nelly, the maid.

Her daughter burst into harsh sobs.

And as Francis Marie clung to her mother, Lady Afari suddenly felt very alone in the huge residence.

The teenager had just lost her best friend and mentor.

Francis Marie was dark like her mother but had her father's sparkling hazel eyes and witty smile.

She was already very pretty and was just becoming aware of her feminine powers.

The funeral of Sir Leopold Hawksworth was as grand as his gesture's had been.

Winchester Cathedral was full of mourners that wet Friday afternoon.

King George and his Queen consort Mary of Tek had sent sincere condolences on remembrance of a man "who was more of a friend than a friend could be".

Sir Leopold had been a popular figure and the public were genuinely grieved at his passing.

Lady Afari looked wan in her widows crape, elegant hat and veil as Francis Marie somberly accompanied her mother in black satin.

Camera's flashed wildly as mother and daughter followed the coffin into the cathedral.

As if in anticipation of the sad day, the sky remained overcast and by the time Sir Leopold Hawksworth had been interned in the imposing family vault it was already lashing down with rain.

A splendid reception followed the funeral at Formly Hall in honour of Sir Leopold.

No expense had been spared and a fine spread had been laid out for the great company of mourners.

Lady Afari sat beside Lady Evelyn Squires.

The insufferable woman had been regaling the new widow about her own husband's passing ten years before.

Apparently, Captain Guilbert Gladstone had gone down with his ship and "drowned in the bitter Atlantic ocean".

"They never found his cadaver!" Lady Evelyn sniffed as she wiped away a tear.

She was homely, short and plump with greying auburn hair and pale blue eyes.

"What are you going to do in a big residence like this all on your own?" She asked Lady Afari after she had sufficiently recovered.

The widow fixed Lady Evelyn with her most sincere gaze.

"I will sew smocks for the poor and make raspberry jam for the church" she replied.

"Oh, how wonderful of you my dear!"

"Every new day is a good day if lived for the Lord" Lady Afari Hawksworth informed the prying older woman piously before gliding gracefully away.

"Such a dear soul!" Lady Evelyn Squires sighed.

"One can't help but admire her" Lady Rose Attlee declared beside her.

"She's very brave".

"And still such an innocent creature"

"All her beauty will go to waste" Lady Evelyn Squires declared dramatically as she took a sip of tea.

Both women watched Lady Afari as she mingled among the mourners.

"Life can be so cruel!" Lady Rose Attlee pronounced.

Attlee was a thin, nervy woman with grey hair and piercing green eyes.

"Poor Lady Afari" She added  "still an innocent"

She was destined to spend the rest of her days in genteel resplendence as she dedicated her life to doing good deeds for charity.

A virgin again.

The two older women sighed together.

Lady Afari sat demurely beside Lady Hilda Gladstone.

Nobody had noticed that the newly widowed woman had been quietly surveying the most eligible men among the mourners.

And silently sizing them up from beneath her veil.

Lady Afari kept her eyes modestly lowered as she made a mental note of all the most delectable men.

It suddenly felt as if she were meeting them all for the first time.

The charming ones, the unfaithful ones, the promising ones, the desirable ones ...

Lady Afari had a little smile upon her face as she observed her daughter.

Francis Marie had captivated a handsome young man by the fireplace and he looked smitten.

Lady Afari had indeed taught her daughter well.

"Poor little innocent!" Lady Hilda Gladstone cried as she patted Lady Afari's hand.

Then she prattled on about her late husband Gasper and how her Oxford educated son had emigrated to Australia.

But Lady Afari Hawksworth was already distracted by the sight of a taught male bottom.

She licked her lips.

Lady Hilda continued to recount her tragic tale until she was stopped in mid flow by the sight of a very good-looking young man kneeling at Lady Afari's feet.

He was clutching his hat to his chest.

"Good Lord!" The older woman gasped.

The young man was very good looking with wavy brown hair and crisp green eyes and could barely be in his twenties.

"Lady Afari!" He declared "If there is anything I can do, please let me know!"

To all intents and purposes he was Sir Lancelot pledging his devotion to Guinevere.

Lady Afari's eyes had lit up.

"What is your name?" She asked him.

"Samson" he answered "Samson Lockhart"

"Ah, yes. Son of Sir Theodore. Lately of Friar Grange"

The young man nodded eagerly.

Now she remembered.

Only yesterday he was just a toddler running about.

Who would have thought that he would grow into such a strapping young man?

Lady Hilda Gladstone had been stunned into silence.

"I'm sure I can find something for you to do" Lady Afari grinned.

Samson Lockhart sprang to his feet and bounded out of the huge drawing room while his new mistress devoured him with her sultry black eyes.

Sun Temple Detail 6 (by Yatindra
Lady Hilda Gladstone had begun fanning herself against a sudden hot flush.

"The boy behaved as if you were the Queen of Sheba!" She informed Lady Afari in a tremulous voice.

The new widow smiled back knowingly.

Many lamented that Formly Hall would now be a mausoleum to the memory of Sir Leopold Hawksworth.

And indeed, often times Lady Afari and Francis Marie were spied visiting the family vault where the former Admiral had been interned.

Mother and daughter placed a bouquet of roses at the foot of Sir Leopold's tomb and after some quiet moments alone with him they emerged into the daylight again.

This ritual was undertaken every week and the media soon heard of it and filled their newspapers with captions declaring the're tragic plight.

Sad Lady Afari and her daughter emerge from the family vault after leaving a dozen red roses. The world was stunned by the sudden death of Sir Leopold two months ago leaving his dusky wife a widow and his daughter fatherless. "We will carry Leo in our hearts" Lady Afari declared shortly after the funeral.  

Pictures of Lady Afari visiting orphanages and pledging money donations to charities soon filled the dailies.

And it so it seemed that the beautiful widow had consigned herself to a quiet country life.

Then late one morning she had an unexpected visitor.

Lady Afari was delighted when the butler ushered in young Samson Lockhart into the large drawing room.

She was just taking her tea when the handsome young man strode purposefully in.

"What a pleasant surprise!" Lady Afari declared as she rose from her seat.

Samson Lockhart took off his hat and kissed her hand with a flourish.

"I have come to offer my services to you!" Lockhart informed her.

She suddenly noticed how taught his chest was beneath the tweed jacket and how vulgar the cleft was in his chin.

"What do you like to do?" Lady Afari asked him.

The question hung in the air.

"Do you like to ride?" She added.

Then she smiled.

Francis Marie returned to Formly Hall later that afternoon and enquired after her mother.

"She's down at the stable's with Sir Lockhart ma'am" Nelly, the maid informed her.

By the time Francis Marie reached the stables, her mother and Samson Lockhart were just trotting in on their white stallions.

Lady Afari greeted her daughter with a warm smile.

"I've been riding him all afternoon" she informed her.

Samson Lockhart flashed Francis Marie with a broad grin.

Several weeks later and Lady Afari was entertaining Lady Hilda Gladstone to their customary tea in the large drawing room.

"I see that young Samson has made himself utterly indispensable to you" Lady Hilda Gladstone observed as she sipped her tea.

Nothing appeared to escape her.

"His performance is most satisfactory" Lady Hawksworth replied with a smile.

Nelly the maid appeared at the door.

She was tiny and fair-haired with blue eyes and quick movements. 

"Sorry to interrupt you ma'am, but Count Yefimov has arrived" Nelly announced.

Lady Hilda's eyes widened with surprise.

"You remember Count Yefimov? Maxim Yefimov, friend of the Romanov's?"

The older women had been rendered speechless.

"Please show our Russian friend in, Nelly"

Within moments a strapping man had bounded into the drawing room.

"Greetings and felicitations!" Count Maxim Yefimov addressed the two women.

Lady Hilda Gladstone had suddenly become rather flustered.

Count Maxim doffed his cap with a flourish.

"Might I introduce Lady Gladstone" Lady Afari gestured.

"Au chante!" Count Yefimov cried as he bent low and kissed Lady Hilda Gladstone's hand.

The older woman blushed violently.

Count Maxim Yefimov was 6 ft tall and well set with wavy black hair, brown eyes and distinguishably handsome features.

"The Count has come to view my private collection" Lady Afari Hawksworth informed Lady Gladstone.

The older woman got the hint.

She quickly rose from her seat.

"Well ... it's been nice to meet you" Lady Hilda declared in a tremulous little voice.

"I can assure you that the pleasure is all mine" Count Maxim Yefimov assured her with a smile.

Lady Hilda Gladstone began to fan herself.

Then she quickly hurried out of the large drawing room.

Lady Afari Hawksworth maintained the status of a dignified widow.

Even though a steady stream of men appeared to be passing through her private sanctuary at Formly Hall.

Some of the men were married and others were eligible bachelors.

Nelly the maid and Edward the butler, were both given strict instructions not to disturb their mistress when she was "entertaining" a male guest in the secret room.

The sight of attractive men entering and leaving Formly Hall several hours later soon became an almost daily occurrence.

One disgruntled wife had convinced herself that her husband was conducting a liaison with Lady Afari Hawksworth. 

On a windy winter's day, she appeared at Formly Hall without announcement.

Lady Penelope Cholmsley had been married to her husband for twenty-five years and they had settled into a humdrum domesticity at Chester House.

She was a nervy and slight redhead with clear blue eyes and a thin red mouth.

Ignoring the imploring maid, Lady Penelope pushed her way past.

"Come out, Finian Cholmsley!" Lady Cholmsley yelled as she pounded on the door of the locked room with her fists "I know you're in there with her!"

There was no answer.

 "Come out you hussy!" Lady Hilda added forcefully.

After several long moments the door finally opened.

Lady Afari Hawksworth expressed mortification at the combative woman.

"What can the matter be, my dear?"

Lady Penelope strode determinedly in.

"Where is he?" She demanded loudly.

Then her hand suddenly flew to her mouth as she stared at the countless erotic paintings on the wall and erotic Indian sculptures.

They were everywhere. 

Lady Penelope Cholmsley had never seen so many vaginas and penises before.

She was filled with horror.

"Lurid images depicting human animals mating!" Lady Penelope exclaimed with disgust "The fruit of your unbridled sensuality!"

"What could you possibly be referring to?" Lady Afari replied innocently.

It was then that Lady Penelope noticed the unfamiliar man observing them from the chaise longue.

He was attractive with chestnut hair and hazel eyes.

Suddenly Lady Penelope Cholmsely noticed that he was sitting beneath an explicit Indo-Persian miniature of a couple enthusiastically engaging in fellatio.

She gasped at the depiction of a large erect penis.

The man appeared to be holding a wad of letters in his big hands.

"Sir Ralf Sadler of Ravenlea Manor" Lady Afari informed Lady Penelope Cholmsley.

The man cocked an eyebrow.

Then he grinned at her showing sharp white teeth.

Lady Penelope's bravado had suddenly deserted her.

"He does me the kindness of reading my late husband's letters to me" Lady Afari Hawksworth explained "Listening to a male voice read those words brings my Leopold back to life ... like Lazarus"

The widow gave out a long sigh.

Lady Penelope suddenly felt ashamed of herself.

"Only the good Lord knows my grief" Lady Afari added sadly.

"But where is my Finian?" Lady Penelope wailed.

"After inspecting my collection he went riding with my daughter" Lady Afari answered "I'm sure they'll be back shortly"

Lady Penelope felt crestfallen.

Lady Afari Hawksworth was smiling benevolently at her.

"Please forgive me .., I'm so sorry to intrude like this ... please accept my sincere apologies" Lady Cholmsley stuttered.

She was inwardly chiding herself for being so hysterical. 

Sir Ralf Sadler grinned at her and patted a place beside him on the chaise longue.

Lady Penelope Cholmsely noticed how muscular his big legs were.

She quickly turned on her heels and hurried out of the room.

Lady Penelope never heard the giggling in her wake.

She went home a changed woman.

And Lady Penelope Cholmsley never questioned her husband again.

Lady Afari Hawksworth continued to attend to her charitable pursuits and to take her illuminating class with Lady Hilda Gladstone.

She employed a music master named Matthew Grey to teach her and her daughter how to play the piano.

Yama (by Yatindra
He was a strapping man with brown hair and blue eyes. 

"Mr Grey and Master Samson are keeping me occupied these days" Lady Afari informed Lady Hilda Gladstone with a smile.

The older woman's eyes widened over the rim of her china cup.

"Mr Grey is teaching me new things" Lady Afari added sweetly.

Lady Hilda Gladstone was already becoming suspicious of the men who appeared to be passing through the doors of Formly Hall. 

But thus far, she kept her thoughts strictly to herself.

One Year Later

At a lavish dinner party at Formly Hall one autumn evening, Lady Afari Hawksworth looked about her and struggled to find one man she hadn't "entertained" in her secret sanctuary.

Then she noticed an unfamiliar man at a far end of the huge table.

He was unmistakably good looking.

"Sir Rufus Delamere" Francis Marie informed her mother "a friend of daddy's. Of French stock and frightfully upper-class"

"He's very striking"

Sir Rufus Delamere was suave and handsome with chiselled features, sleek black hair and glittering hazel eyes.

He flashed his hostess a broad grin.

And a shiver ran down her spine.

"I think he'll do nicely" Lady Afari declared. 

By the end of the evening, the couple had become inseparable and Lady Hilda Gladstone was watching their every move like a hawk.

Several weeks later, Sir Rufus Delamere publicly announced his engagement to Lady Afari Hawksworth and the media went into overdrive.

The couple were pictured walking through the grounds of Formly Hall and the glittering emerald and sapphire engagement ring was front page news.

Later they became the main attraction at Royal Ascot.

Sir Rufus Delamere looked dapper as he accompanied his intended to Royal Ascot. Lady Afari was radiant in a blue satin gown by Coco Chanel and an elegant Sally Milgrim hat. All eyes were upon the dazzling couple as they avidly followed the races beside Prince George. The wedding promises to be the big event of 1924 and the marriage ceremony is fêted to be conducted at Westminster Abbey.

But one woman was not convinced about the happy couple.

Lady Hilda Gladstone had been closely observing Lady Afari for some time.

And as her impending marriage approached, Lady Hilda decided to act.

She decided to approach Sir Rufus Delamere with her suspicions.

It was her duty.

The besotted man expressed complete disbelief at the allegations.

"Lady Afari is the purist soul I have ever met!" He cried.

"I am afraid that her innocent visage hides a serpentine mind" Lady Hilda Gladstone declared in a frenzy.

Sir Rufus shook his head.

Lady Gladstone was very persistent, insisting that he desist from seeing Lady Afari lest she "seduce you with her silky lies". 

"What do you expect from a heathen Mohammeden from the licentious east!" She added

Within days the engagement had been called off and Sir Rufus Delamere had retreated to his imposing villa in Provence.

The media were quick to report the split.

Lady Afari was pictured walking through the grounds of her vast estate as she clung onto the arm of her daughter.

She was also pictured dining alone at the Ritz

The media quickly began to depict Lady Afari Hawksworth as a tragic woman doomed to live alone for the rest of her days.

"You have ruined my life!" She informed Lady Hilda Gladstone.

"I am your moral guardian and it is my duty to protect your good name and reputation!" Lady Hilda replied loftily with her head held high.

The large drawing room had fallen silent and the tea was getting cold.

"Then you'll agree to refrain from visiting me" Lady Afari announced "if you have entertained such dark insinuations about me then I suggest we part company"

Lady Hilda Gladstone was rendered speechless.

There was a chill in the air.

"If that is how you feel ..."

"The men you refer to so blithely have been half a balm to me in my hour of need"

"Please let me explain Lady Afari!"

"You have disgraced me and you are no longer welcome in my home" Lady Afari Hawksworth pronounced icily "Now, would you kindly leave!"

Three Months Later

Lady Hilda Gladstone had decided to pay Lady Hawksworth an unexpected visit.

In a spirit of reconciliation she had even bought a homemade ginger cake with her.

She had been sufficiently chastised and desired to make amends.

"Lady Hawksworth is entertaining Prince Carlos" Nelly the maid informed the older woman at the door.

"Please, would you kindly give her my gift" Lady Hilda informed her, handing her the cake.

"Yes, ma'am" Nelly replied obediently.

And with that, Lady Hilda Gladstone departed.

She knew better than to question Lady Afari Hawksworth.

And Lady Hilda was confidant that they would shortly be rekindling their friendship and sipping tea together in the large drawing room.

It would soon be like the old days again.

As if nothing untoward had ever occurred between them.

In the secret locked room, Prince Carlos of Spain was lying naked on the chaise longue.

He was swarthy and handsome with curly black hair, piercing black eyes and a hairy muscled body,

The couple had met at a polo match the day before.

And Lady Afari Hawksworth was impressed by his performance and the way he rode his horse and she was confident that he would show his expertise in other areas too.

She had already regaled him with sultry tales of her escapades with the Spanish manservant at her home in Tehran as a teenager.

The Persian beauty had even explained how her late husband had died.

"In the act of love" she sighed. 

Now Prince Carlos was showing himself eager to satisfy her every desire.

She had seen him ride.

She knew what he could do. 

"Delicious" Lady Afari sighed as she slowly surveyed his naked body.

She ran her finger along his hairy muscled chest all the way down to his fulsome member.

"You're perfect"

And then she slowly undressed beneath a mughal miniature of a couple fornicating on an oriental rug,

Lady Afari had assured Prince Carlos of Spain that they would not be disturbed.

Her daughter was otherwise indisposed.

"Screwing Master Samson in her room" she assured her lover. 

Prince Carlos was grinning broadly and anticipating the sexual gymnastics to come.

This was going to be a fuck to remember.

"I think we'll take our time today" Lady Afari Hawksworth purred.

Sun Temple Detail 5 (by Yatindra