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Dark Encounters🍒

By E.P. Lande

Copyright ©2024

"What do you want to do now, Brad?" Matt asked. It was 3:30. Matt had no idea how long the evening would last. What was normal for this sort of thing? What time did the bars and clubs close? He had left all decisions to Brad, looking to his friend as a guide.

           "It's up to you, sugar" Brad replied. "There's a sex club somewhere around here. We could go there."

           Matt had only a vague idea of what a sex club was. Friends had told him about their experience in Paris. From their report it all sounded somewhat murky: anonymous sex in dark, almost pitch-black rooms, strangers fondling your near-naked body, a free exchange of caresses, fleeting moments of pleasure — a substitute for love. But Matt didn't want to be a killjoy.

           "Let's find it. We could always look around ... and if we don't like it, leave." Matt hoped that his voice hadn't betrayed fear. In the pit of his stomach, he felt dread, apprehension, but never would he let on that he was anything but cool with the idea.

           They continued walking, Brad's arm closed around Matt's shoulders, Matt's hand hooked onto the inside of Brad's jeans. Despite the hour, people, mainly in their twenties and thirties, noisily moved about their business which was anything but sober.

           Suddenly, there it was, right in front of them.

           "This looks like the place," Brad remarked.     

"Are you sure?" Matt asked feeling the anxiety in his gut rise up into his diaphragm, causing his heart to pump faster and labor his breathing.

           "Only way to know is to ask, sugar," Brad replied. "Come on, babe, let's party," and with these words Brad bounded up the few steps to the door, bringing Matt with him. Inside was dark, with no visible lights other than the bulb above the cashier.

           "Are you ready to hang?" Brad asked.

Matt wanted to be with Brad, but he wasn't certain about being with him in a sex club. What he wanted was Brad alone, not with others ... and Matt knew there would be men in the club all touching and groping. He wasn't sure how he would react, witnessing Brad being pawed and kissed. Could he watch while Brad planted his lips on another man, his tongue lingering in another man's mouth? At least he was with Brad who wouldn't get him into any trouble or uncomfortable situations.

           "Yeah, let's go, baby," and Matt bounded up the inner stairs, into a black silence.

           The club was about as dark as midnight in an arctic winter. Matt followed Brad closely, not wanting to lose him.

           "Can you see anything, baby?" Matt asked feebly.

           “No, but the guy told me that the lockers were at the top of stairs at the end of this corridor." Matt clung to the walls, trying to adjust to the blackness of the hole Brad was leading him down. From time to time, he reached out toward Brad who walked slowly but steadily, his pace tracking the absolute darkness.

           I thought I could hang — I wanted to hang — but this unease pervaded my whole being. I almost wished I hadn't agreed to visit the club. I knew Brad wanted to show me the gay scene and have me experience it. He had been living it, really living it, his whole life — at least since high school. How could he understand what I was feeling? We were a generation apart. Sex clubs, saunas, baths, strip joints — they were all the same to him. He experienced them every day of his life. My only experience was through literature, and how true was that? Vicarious, no danger there. Everything left to the imagination, no physical presence, nothing intimidating. Shut the book and it can all go away, disappear. Nothing lurks around a corner...or behind a door.

           In the security of my life before I met Brad, an invisible barrier had separated me from the adventures I was about to embark on. I would now be swimming in a sea foreign to me. I was unprepared; Brad was my life jacket. I had consciously entrusted my fate to him, in the belief that he wouldn't jeopardize, not only my safety, but my mental and physical stability. What would happen to me were he to leave my side, abandon me to find my own way out of the maze he was leading me through? I had been raised to be risk-adverse, yet here I was, in a sex club, trusting someone I hardly knew but under whose spell I had fallen. His sexual lure glued me to his body with an attachment that had replaced all former needs and loyalties. I'd do anything, just to be near him, for him to tell me, ‘You're hot, Matt’.

           They found the lockers where Brad used his zippo lighter to identify the one assigned to them.

           "Leave everything here, sugar," Brad said, "unless your briefs have pockets," he chuckled. "And keep your boots on too; you never know what you're walking through."

           "Where will you keep the key, baby?" he asked.

           "Don't worry your sweet head, pumpkin." Brad bent, placing the key in his boots where he also deposited his lighter, money, and cigarettes. He grabbed Matt and pulled him in a tight embrace, the heat of his near naked body searing his friend.

           “When I get you back in the room, sugar, I'll have you ... anyway I want.” Matt felt his friend's body pressing hard against his, pinning him to the wall of lockers.

           “Fuck, Brad, I wish we were back in the hotel.”

           Following Brad, Matt carefully made his way along dim corridors passing obscure figures moving in the opposite direction. At one point Brad stopped. One of the passing shadows stopped too, alongside Brad who stepped closer to the passing apparition. Despite the total lack of light, Matt saw a hand of the apparition on Brad's white briefs, moving across in a slow, rhythmic fashion. Brad turned to face the shadow. Matt watched, his heart pounding. It lasted only a few seconds ... and then the apparition moved. Matt's eyes were on the immoveable figure of Brad. He hardly realized that the hand of the shadow was now feeling his briefs, gently forcing Matt to move the inches that separated them, until they were touching, the bulging crotch of the apparition grinding into Matt, hot lips searching Matt's face, its grip tightening on Matt's ass as its lips found Matt's, forcing its tongue into Matt's mouth, almost choking Matt who desperately wanted to call out to Brad. As suddenly as the hand clutched at Matt's buttocks, it released him...and the shadow moved on.

           Shaken, Matt attempted to recover quickly so as not to let his voice betray him. But what would he say...and to whom? This was a sex club. Everyone there wanted one thing ... or at least a variation of it. And what Matt had just experienced was merely an hors d'oeuvre. He still had the appetizers and main course to taste, not to mention dessert.

           All I wanted was Brad, not the others. Did Brad think it would make me feel more of what he thought I wanted to be, to be groped and tongue-fucked by ... what? Someone I couldn't see; someone I could barely feel?

           Brad continued walking slowly. Ahead, Matt saw a glow, a light shrouded in a thick veil. The corridor down which they were walking opened into a small room in which several more shadows, like black moths, glided in a circle around an object in the middle.

           "What is it?" Matt whispered, moving closer to Brad, his mouth almost touching Brad's neck.

           "It's a guy in a sling," Brad replied, edging to where he was within arm's length of the object.

           Matt watched as though transfixed, glued to the ground, as the moths approached the object. Some bent forward and over the object in the sling, almost covering it with their bodies. Matt was so close to the object that he could make out a man held up by straps around his arms and legs which were spread out in front of him. One of the moth-shadows stepped in front of Matt and between the spread legs of the man in the sling who began groaning as the moth-shadow moved so that the two appeared to be one.

           "What're they doing?" Matt asked meekly. He felt fear in the pit of his stomach, impaled by what he was witnessing. 

"Fucking," came Brad's reply, casually thrown off as though he had been eating or humming.

           Matt placed his arms around Brad's body, drawing his friend's ass closer, to nestle into his crotch.  

"Let's go, baby," he kissed into Brad's ear. "I've seen enough."

           They made their way between silhouettes and groping hands, back to a corridor on the opposite side of the room.

           Darkness enveloped them once more as they walked, hugging the walls, occasionally stumbling into a silhouette gliding in the opposite direction or reclining against a wall. Avoiding physical contact was impossible, knocks and bumps becoming almost routine as they wended their way through the maze. Minutes passed in soundlessness, punctuated by an occasional groan or gasp. Matt glanced at the lit dial on his watch: 4:30. He was tired.

           They came to a sign on one wall: BAR, glowing green as though lit from behind. As they entered, the surroundings appeared bathed in a filtered haze not unlike the sling room.

           "Hey, guys," the bartender said as they approached.

           "Hi," Brad answered. "This place is fuckin' dark."

           "Yeah. It's new. The owners are from France where clubs like this are generally pitch black," the bartender replied. "The scene here is different ... but they'll adjust it in time. What'll you have?"

           "Two Maker's Mark," Brad told him.

           The bartender told them his name was Hank. He was an airline steward, working the bar at the club on his days off.

           "The club gives me a break. The hours are basically the same as my flight schedule," Hank volunteered. He worked flights from Montreal to Frankfurt, Germany.

Up close, Matt could make out some details of the bar and Hank. He must have been more than six feet tall and well-built, but not too muscular. He wore a jock strap that showed a nice bulge in the front, and, when he turned, a round, hard, smooth ass.

As Hank handed them their drinks, he reached across the bar and, placing a hand in back of Brad's head, brought Brad's face up to his and kissed him ... long and hard. Brad didn't resist, but leaned into Hank, remaining locked to the bartender's lips.

           "You're hot, dude," Hank said as he released his grip on Brad's head.

           "You're okay yourself," Brad told him, casually.

Matt wasn't sure how to react. Was this normal? For a sex club, probably ... but for Brad? This sudden easy intimacy between Brad and someone he had only just met made Matt uneasy.

           Would I ever accustom myself to such casual contact, as though it were the handshake in my new life? It was the first time I had seen Brad with someone else ... and I felt hit in the gut. I wanted to be the one feeling Brad's tongue exploring in my mouth, not watch while he and someone else, someone unknown, were intimate.

           "I'm going to have a smoke," Brad said after finishing his drink. "You stay, pumpkin...and keep this stud company," his eyes smiling in Hank's direction. Brad got up, and leaning into Matt curled his left arm around his friend's neck, bringing Matt's lips to his, entangling his tongue around Matt's, pressing his warm bare body against Matt's whose fears receded into the darkness of his inner being.

           "Okay, baby. Don't be long," Matt panted as Brad released his grip.

           "Your friend's hot," Hank exhaled, resting his arms on the bar in front of Matt.

           "Yeah," Matt agreed, not wanting to fall in too much with what he was beginning to realize was both a gift and a curse.

           "So, what are the two of you, boyfriends?" Hank asked, his eyes now fixed on Matt who was following Brad as he disappeared up the steps to the terrace.

           "No, not really," Matt answered, languidly. "We've known each other for about six months."

           "If he were my boyfriend, I would keep him locked away," Hank said as he lifted his left arm and, reaching across the bar, stroked Matt's face. "You're hot too, dude," Hank added, moving around the end of the bar to where Matt was sitting, standing in front of Matt, between Matt's parted legs.

           "You're okay, Matt." Hank guided Matt's hand to the band of his jock strap, lifting him off the stool so that Matt's body was firm against his, slowly moving his pelvis rhythmically into Matt's groin.

           "Yeah, baby, you're just fine," Hank breathed into Matt's mouth, pressing his body farther into Matt's, Matt grabbing the bartender's ass so as not to fall backward.

           Hank's tongue found Matt's waiting mouth. "I think you could use a little action," he said as he weighed himself into Matt, his hands feeling Matt's body as he moved them down to Matt's briefs which he slowly moved down Matt's legs. "We both could," Hank's voice trailed off as his mouth, now on Matt's chest, moved down Matt's body, over his stomach. "Yes, this is what I mean," Hank exhaled.

           With the touch of the other man's hands and tongue, Matt felt panic mixed with a tingling sensation throughout his body. His first impulse was to resist, to withdraw from a situation his instincts told him were just not right. He was here with Brad ... who had just left only to have a cigarette. Brad had initiated contact with Hank and had returned the bartender's passionate kiss which seemed to Matt inappropriate. But this was a sex club, he reminded himself. He was there to experiment, to have sex ... anonymous sex. But what if Brad saw them?

           Matt's feelings were mixed up, and he hadn't the time, or the desire, to sort them out. He had to react. He had to act. That was part of the game he found himself playing.

           “Shit man, that's hot," Matt gasped, holding Hank's head as he fell back against the bar for support.

"You two look like you're enjoying yourselves," a voice familiar to Matt wafted toward him as though floating in on a magic carpet. He opened his eyes to the darkness of the room.

           "Brad?" he finally blurted. "I'm glad you're back."

           "Yeah, buttercup, it's me." Brad stood in back of the kneeling Hank and, reaching over the bartender's bent body, pulled Matt toward him, their mouths meeting, their tongues locking in a hard embrace.

           "I think pumpkin here needs to be fucked. What about it, Hank?" Brad asked, turning to the bartender.

           "I think I'll fuck you both," Hank answered.

About E.P. Lande:

E.P. Lande was born in Montreal, but has lived most of his life in the south of France and Vermont, where he now lives with his partner, writing and caring for more than 100 animals, many of which are rescues. Previously, he taught at l’Université d’Ottawa where he served as Vice-Dean of his faculty, and he has owned and managed country inns and free-standing restaurants. Recently, his stories have been accepted by thirty publications in countries on five continents, including Bewildering Stories, Archtype and Literally Stories.

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