Banging in the Bedroom
NOT long after Jonah and his partner, Tom, moved into their house in the leafy suburb of Mount Lawley, Jonah began to hear strange noises emanating from beneath their bed. It wouldn’t be entirely honest to say that there had never been any unusual noises in the bedroom of their last house, but they’d usually been the ones making them. These muffled disturbances were different, unaccounted for, and unnerving.
“There is something under there,” Jonah said as Tom stepped from the en suite bathroom. “The same noises I heard last night and the night before.”
“Probably just the boogie man,” said Tom. “Would you like me to take a look?”
He flexed his muscles and beat his lightly haired chest. Standing naked at the foot of the bed, thirty-five-year-old Tom, in all his glory, was a striking figure of a man. But Jonah was not impressed. Not at that moment.
“I’ve already looked. There’s nothing there except your porno mags.”
Tom’s expression morphed into one that was more suitably serious. “All right, then. What exactly did you hear?”
“I can’t believe you haven’t heard it yourself. A muffled banging sound,” Jonah replied. “And don’t you dare make a joke.”
Tom pressed his lips together. “I wouldn’t dream of it,” he said solemnly. “A banging sound, you say?”
Jonah examined his partner’s face for the slightest sign of a smirk.
“Okay. I’ll keep an ear open,” said Tom. “It’s probably just pipes or something. This is an old house. It could be lots of things.”
Jonah’s expression remained unchanged.
“What?” Tom protested, shrugging. “What else do you want me to do?”
Jonah relented. Tom had a point. There wasn’t much else he could do, at least for the time being.
“So while I’m waiting for these banging sounds, would you like to get lucky?” said Tom, climbing into bed.
Jonah felt his lover’s erect cock against his naked thigh. Tom’s lips, soft like tiny pillows against the sensitive skin below his ear, produced a wave of warm tingles but had little other physical effect. Jonah wished he could be more accommodating, but the mysterious noises were preying upon his mind. It wasn’t just pipes.
He rolled over, facing away from Tom, before reaching up and turning his bedside lamp off. Tom slid back to his side of the bed and, with the press of a button on his lamp, plunged the room into darkness. In the ensuing silence, Jonah stared into the nothingness, feeling like a real bastard.
Jonah was teetering on the brink of sleep when he heard a loud bang under his bed followed by a dull thud and a bowel-loosening crash. He snapped open his eyes and pricked up his ears. There was a muffled cry, some struggling on the other side of the bed, and another dull thud. Jonah sat bolt upright. In a flash, he had the bedside lamp on.
Immediately, he saw that the other side of the bed was empty.
“Tom!” he called out, adrenaline propelling him out of bed. “Tom!”
He scanned the room, but there was no sign of his boyfriend, and even though he was nauseous with fear, he had to find out what the hell was going on under his bed. After a deep breath, he threw the covers up just in time to see two bare feet disappearing through a gap in the floorboards.
“Tom!” he called as he launched himself under the antique brass bed.
He missed grabbing Tom’s feet by seconds but discovered that the opening was actually a trapdoor, which slammed shut once Tom had been pulled all the way through. He spied the handle, a brass ring embedded in the floor, and it struck him as peculiar that he hadn’t ever noticed it before. However, there was no time to ponder its mysterious appearance. Tom had quite obviously been abducted.
Jonah sprang to his feet and hurried across to the armchair in the corner, where the previous day’s clothing lay in a neatly folded pile. With no time to lose, or to find a clean pair of underpants, he pulled on his blue jeans and a T-shirt. He returned to the bed and, with a good deal of elbow grease, managed to move it far enough away from the wall to allow easier access to the trapdoor.
I can’t believe I’m going to do this, he thought.
He gripped the brass ring and lifted the trapdoor open. When he leaned over to see what lay beneath, he was startled to find a face staring back up at him and a hand poised as if it had been about to push against the bottom of the trapdoor.
“Who the hell are you?” demanded Jonah.
The blond-haired man smiled weakly, and despite Jonah’s harsh tone, the man’s large blue eyes sparkled.
“I’m Jock. Jock Strap,” he said. “You don’t know me, but I’ve got some information for you.”
Jock Strap? Jonah pursed his lips. He was in no mood for levity.
“All right,” said Jonah, cautiously affording the stranger the benefit of the doubt. “You’d better come up.”
Jock’s smile widened.
“Thanks,” he said as he clambered through the opening and onto the bedroom floor. “I didn’t know whether I should come or not.”
Jock was the same height as Jonah, about a hundred and eighty centimeters, and athletically built. His skin was pale but flawless, and there were whiskers on his top lip and chin. He stood with a nervous confidence, assured of himself but not of the situation. He was dressed in a pair of crude knee-length shorts made of roughly woven fabric and tattered around the bottoms. There was a sizeable bulge in the crotch area, and if Jonah hadn’t been in such a flap, he might have liked to investigate further.
“So what’s this important information you have?” he asked impatiently. “Is it about Tom?”
Jock hoisted his shorts up, accentuating the bulge.
Jonah swallowed hard and promptly averted his eyes.
“Is that his name? I guess it is, then,” replied Jock as he began exploring the room.
“Well, tell me,” Jonah said tapping his hand madly against his thigh. “What is it you have to tell me?”
Jock returned his attention to Jonah.
“Ah yes. There’s no time to lose. Your Tom has been kidnapped by pirates, but it’s even worse than that.”
Jonah stared at Jock in stunned disbelief. “Pirates,” he repeated, hardly believing he’d heard correctly. “Worse than pirates?”
“Yes,” said Jock earnestly. “And like I said, the pirates aren’t the worst part. They’re acting on orders from Selma.”
“Yes. You know. Selma Granma, the wicked bitch of the Inky Sea.”
“Ah! Now it all makes sense,” said Jonah, brushing Jock aside to get to the trapdoor. “Pirates have kidnapped my boyfriend on the orders of a wicked bitch, and all this is being told to me by a guy called Jock Strap. Pffft! I don’t have time for this!”
Jonah looked through the opening in his bedroom floor and saw a swirling, churning lavender fog that he hadn’t noticed earlier.
“Be careful,” said Jock from behind. “The rungs might be difficult to find at first.”
Jonah ignored him and lay down on his stomach. Slowly and carefully, he inched his body backward through the opening. There was a moment of wild leg-swinging, but once his feet had found the first rung, he was on his way. He walked his feet down each rung in turn until he was all the way through and his hands were firmly gripping the rope. With a single glance up at Jock, he disappeared into the lavender fog, climbing down the ladder as quickly as he dared.
“I’ll meet you at the bottom,” Jock called from the bedroom.
“Okay,” Jonah called back. “But hurry if you want to come with me.”
He certainly wasn’t going to hang around waiting for someone called Jock Strap, who may or may not have been under the influence of some pretty serious hallucinogenic drugs. On the other hand, he didn’t know where the hell he was going or what the hell he’d find once he arrived. Perhaps it would be prudent to allow Jock to tag along.