I come to lying on something softer than the usual concrete floor and it takes me a few minutes to realise I'm in a bed. The black silk sheets are a nice touch. Then I realise I'm naked and have a little wobble, okay, a big wobble. I may even have called Lucien a dirty fuckin' paedo out loud, at least till I check round the back and since my arse doesn't hurt I start to relax a bit.
It's a bit of a shock, let me tell you, waking up starkers in a strange bed. The last thing I remember is being in Lucien's car, and the word Rohypnol keeps marching across my mind in pit boots. I'd better go and have a word, just in case liberties have been taken. I'll not stand for that.
There's a wardrobe full of clothes, expensive designer stuff. That's mildly worrying. Presumably he's done this sort of thing before? Well, if nothing else I may as well profit from a new outfit, so I rake out a pair of decent-looking jeans, a t-shirt, hoodie and a rather nice leather jacket. I dress quickly, then check myself in the mirror, only I don't, 'cos I'm not there.
Whoa! What the f--! What the fuck's going on here? I'm in front of the mirror, slap-bang in front of it, but the reflection only shows an empty room. Alright, time for some answers I think as I head for the door, half expecting to find it locked from the outside, but no, it isn't and I'm padding down a stone corridor cursing myself for not grabbing a pair of trainers to go with my new outfit. In my defence, I'd had a shock. It's not everyday you discover you no longer have a reflection.
The corridor gives out onto a balcony overlooking a long room with a high-ceiling. It looks a bit like the reading room at the British Library. Not that I'd know, I've never set foot in the place. Wouldn't want you thinking I was some sort of literary geek or something. There's some posh furniture in here, sumptuous as my old Mother would say, and a bit at the far end separated off by bookcases. I can see a roaring fire through the gap between them.
I head down the stairs and across the room. The carpet's warm and soft on my feet. I can't resist wiggling my toes in the deep pile, I can't remember the last time I had carpet under my feet. I reach the gap in the bookcases and peer through. It's some kind of office-come sitting room, all big fireplaces and leather high-backed chairs. There's also a desk with one of the latest touch-screen computers on it. So, Lucien's not short of a bob or two. I might make a few quid out of this yet.
Stepping through the gap, I stand in front of the fire, which is nice as I can't seem to get warm since I woke up. As I look round the room from this side, my eyes take in the paintings, old ones like the bollocks you usually find in museums, there's also a table with decanters on it, I make a mental note to help myself later. Then there's the book cases, only they aren't from this side. They're glass display cases. Bloody hell! Running almost from floor to ceiling, the display cases are full of weapons and armour – axes, those spiky ball-on-a-stick things and swords, big bastard sharp looking swords. I feel my stomach turn over.
The other one has a horse in it. Yes, a fucking horse! It's stuffed, I think. I mean, it has to be, either that or it's the best mime I've ever seen. It's got a saddle on, and one of those fancy cloth things knights used to have. A Comparison, or something like that. Can you tell history wasn't my favourite subject at school? The cloth-thing is black, or at least it would have been when it was new, and there's a crest on it – a green cross, a bit like the Knights Templar, but not.
I freeze. Hang on a minute, what's the noise? Sounds like somebody chopping wood. The noise is coming from behind a set of floor to ceiling red velvet curtains. Funny, I hadn't even noticed them before., but now I do I can see there's a draught coming under them that makes the bottom ends billow a bit. I pad over and peep through between them.
There's a big picture window behind, with tinted glass, and a pair of French doors, one of which is open. These look out over a walled garden, in the middle of which is Lucien, stripped to the waist and knocking seven colours of shite out of a wooden post with one of those big swords. And it's dark as pitch out there, must be night time. How long did I sleep?
I let go the curtain and take a step back. Lucien appears as if by magic. Christ Almighty he can shift when he wants to, it must be at least fifty yards to that post.
'You're awake,' he says matter-of-factly.
'Err...yeah,' I murmur. God, I could do with a drink. My hands are shaking.
'You'll be expecting answers.'
I nod, like one of those flamin' dogs you see in the backs of cars. For some reason I can't seem to get the words out.
'Help yourself to a drink and take a seat. I shall explain.'
So I do, and he does, but that's a story for another time. Right now I'm more concerned with that bloody big sword Lucien still has in his hand, it looks sharp and it's pointed my way.