The address was a little way out of the town centre. Ken Stoker stood outside a plain wooden door set in the back of a nondescript building. Tattered scraps of faded material hung down between the metal framework of an old awning above the door. Behind him was a builder's yard. On either side of him the road ran past old industrial plots, their red brick buildings slowly decaying from neglect. This area had seen better days.
The door was slightly ajar. Ken pushed it open, feeling some trepidation. On the other side a short corridor terminated in another door. Ken walked up to it and pushed a buzzer.
He heard the outer door creak as it started to close behind him. Shadow poured into the narrow corridor and Ken felt his chest tighten. He turned and watched the door swing shut. It stopped before closing all the way, letting in a small chink of light from outside.
Not enough. Ken still felt confined, trapped. His finger was already jabbing back towards the buzzer when he heard the inner door click open in front of him.
He walked through into a spacious reception area. Comfortable looking sofas lined the walls. A water cooler stood in the corner, flanked by two potted plants. The only piece of furniture that hinted at the true nature of the building was the TV. Currently it was showing a hardcore porn movie.
A plump woman with an overly made-up face sat behind the receptionist's counter.
"Can I help you dear?" she asked.
"I'm ... um ... Ken Stoker," he answered. "I think I have an appointment."
The only other person in the room was a slender young blonde girl in tight white pants and top. She was sitting on one of the sofas and filing her nails. She looked up at Ken and smiled, flashing long false eyelashes.
"Oh yes, so you do," the receptionist said. "We were told to look out for you."
She squeezed out from behind the counter.
"Follow me. We've already prepared a room for you."
She led him down a small corridor. The first door was open and behind it was a tidy little kitchen space. The second door was closed. Ken heard loud moans--of pleasure rather than pain--coming from the room behind it.
The receptionist saw his astonished expression and smiled. "I take it this is the first time you've visited an establishment like this," she said.
The receptionist chuckled. "Amanda is going to have fun with you."
"Um ... would it be possible to get the massage only?" he asked.
"Of course sweetie," the receptionist replied. "No one's going to make you do anything you don't want to. Officially, we only offer massages anyway," she added with a cunning little wink. "If you change your mind and decide you want something extra, discuss it with Amanda in the room."
The last door on the left was ajar. Through the door Ken saw a luxurious bedroom with a little en-suite shower cubicle in the corner. He expected the receptionist to lead him through into this room, but instead she opened the door opposite onto a small flight of wooden stairs leading downwards. She flipped a light switch and started down the steps.
Ken paused at the threshold.
The stairway seemed awfully narrow.
Realising she wasn't being followed, the receptionist stopped and looked back up at Ken. "Are you okay, dear?" she asked.
"I'm claustrophobic," Ken said, feeling sheepish. "I get panic attacks in enclosed spaces sometimes."
Understanding dawned on the receptionist's face.
"I'm sorry," she said. She started to head back up the stairs. "We can use one of the other rooms."
"No, it's okay," Ken replied.
The walls of the stairway seemed to throb and constrict before him, closing like the gullet of a great beast. Come on, he thought, it's only stairs leading down to a converted cellar, not some gothic dungeon at the dark centre of the world.
Actually, there might be a dungeon down there, he thought with wry humour. It could be that kind of place.
He looked at the walls. They were covered in lurid pink and darker pink striped wallpaper. At regular intervals there were photographs of models in various lewd poses. It brought home just how ridiculous his terror was. He placed a foot on the first step and started down the stairs.
"I bet that's the first time you've seen a grown man trembling in fear at a narrow stairway," Ken said with a nervous smile.
"Irrational fear's a horrible thing," the receptionist said. "My great aunt was agoraphobic. She never left her house once in the last twenty years of her life. It might as well have been her prison. I'm guessing your claustrophobia doesn't do much for your love life."
"Screaming fits in elevators do tend to frighten the ladies away," Ken said with a wry smile.
"Yeah, I suppose that would make second dates difficult," the receptionist said.
Ken nodded. "But that's not why I'm here," he added hurriedly. "It's for my claustrophobia, not my love life ... at least I think so. I don't sound very convincing, do I?"
The receptionist pulled a face.
"I don't know why I'm here either," Ken admitted. "My doctor, sort of, told me I should come."
"Ah, her," the receptionist said, smiling at a secret only she knew. "She's a canny one that one. She really understands what makes people tick."
She had an unconventional approach to therapy, to say the least. Ken remembered his surprise when she'd passed the address to him.
"Isn't this a... ?" he'd said.
"Yes, and it's exactly what you need right now," she'd answered in a tone that brooked no further debate.
"Very big on the importance of proper relaxation," Ken said to the receptionist as he returned to the present.
"It does take the mind off things," the receptionist said. "Why, if this was twenty years ago you'd be too busy staring at my sexy little behind to worry about any silly little fears." She gave her wobbly butt a shake that brought a smile to Ken's face. "Of course, there's been a few too many years-and cakes-since then," she laughed.
They reached the bottom of the stairs and the receptionist took him through into one of the rooms.
It wasn't a dungeon, but the room was still a little strange. There was no bed Ken could see. Instead there was a sunken depression in the centre-like the room had once housed a shallow bath or pool-filled with a large round mat or mattress. The mattress was covered in furs and silken cushions. The walls were hidden behind curtains of gaily coloured silks. Low lamps in the corners illuminated the room with a soft orange glow. For its location and odd appearance the room still managed to seem luxurious, sensuous and thankfully spacious.
"Give me a mo." The voice came from an en-suite bathroom to the right of the door. "I'll be right out."
"It's twenty and whatever you agree on with Amanda," the receptionist said.
"Oh ... sure," Ken said, fishing out his wallet and handing her a crisp twenty pound note.
The receptionist flashed him a playful wink before leaving the room and closing the door behind her.
"Take your clothes off," Amanda called out from the bathroom. "I'll be ready in a minute."
Ken did as he was told, hanging his trousers and shirt over the back of an old wooden chair. He wondered what she looked like. She had a sexy voice, with a soft accent he couldn't quite place, completely unlike the coarse city accent he'd expected.
He took off his underwear and walked into the centre of the room. The matting was soft and deeper than it looked. It felt very much like a comfortable bed beneath his naked feet. He sat down. The mat didn't have as much spring as a bed, but it was thick enough that he couldn't feel the hard floor beneath his buttocks.
"Coming right out," Amanda called out.
Ken felt a little thrill of anticipation. He wasn't sure why. When he thought of massage parlours he pictured coarse women with big tits and too much make up, or skinny illegal immigrants with haunted eyes. His imagination was having no truck with that though, and was currently conjuring up images of sexy buxom beauties.
To be honest, Ken hoped she was fairly ordinary looking. He was just here for the massage, as his therapist had ordered. He had no intention of paying for sex.
Even if she happened to be fabulous looking.
Amanda happened to be fabulous looking and then some. Or at least half of her was. Her skin was a rich Mediterranean shade of olive. A lovely pair of full breasts bounced above a trim stomach. A bright green emerald was studded in her naval. Her eyes were the same shade of green and almost as bright. Viridian lipstick added sparkles to full, kissable lips. Her luxuriant black hair was cut in a Cleopatra style with a short fringe and long straight wings that fell down onto her shoulders. It framed a face that could have belonged to a top Bollywood actress or maybe even an exotic Arabian princess right out of legend.
If that had been all, Ken might have kicked his 'massage only' intentions right out of the window. He had his principles, but he was still a red-blooded male. Gorgeous princesses like this were not girls you could say no to.
If that had been all...
Above the waist she was a sex goddess, an absolute knockout. Below the waist she wasn't human. What should have been her legs instead merged into a long snake-like body covered in green and brown scales that glittered in the light like polished copper or bronze.
Her lower half was a snake.
Ken jumped back in alarm, scarcely believing what he was seeing. Was this some kind of hallucination?
"Mmm, what tasty little morsel has been sent my way?" the monster said.
.... There is more of this story ...