The stairs creaked beneath his feet as Peter, clutching a mug of hot chocolate, made his way up to the bedroom. This house was full of noises tonight: the unfamiliar, disquieting sounds of a house you don't know. Peter had happily agreed to look after the place while his friend Don went off to spend Christmas with relatives at the other end of the country - it was a better option than staying in his tiny bedsit in London. At least here there was a widescreen TV with surround sound, a seemingly bottomless wine cellar which Don had urged him to make full use of, and enough expensive food in the freezers to feed a small army. Today was Christmas Eve, and he was looking forward to tomorrow.
In spite of having known Don for years - they'd gone to school together - Peter had only ever been in this house once before, one night a few years ago when Don had invited him for dinner. That had been strange: just about the only thing Peter remembered about that evening was, in fact, not being able to remember anything about it. He suspected he'd got so drunk he'd passed out for the duration. He'd be more careful this time.
The house was an old ramshackle place in the middle of nowhere at the edge of a wood deep in the Yorkshire dales - the nearest village being two miles away. Peter had arrived at lunchtime, and it had been late afternoon when Don had driven off down the cart-track in his Volvo, waving out of the window. Peter had just stood there watching the car's headlights meander away down the valley, stunned by the total silence that had settled in after its departure. The sky had been amazing, the sun setting amid a sea of vivid orange clouds and the almost-full moon higher up in a part of the sky that had graduated to the deepest, darkest blue imaginable. And the stars! Living in London Peter never noticed the stars, and he'd forgotten just how many there were. Even though the sun hadn't completely disappeared there were already dozens of them visible. He was gobsmacked by the enormity of it all.
Later, in the evening, he'd been watching the TV when a movement at the window had caught his eye. He'd got up, gone outside again, and grinned: it was snowing. A fine powdering of white covered everything he could see. He was no meteorologist, but a glance at the now starless and pitch black sky had told even him that more snow was on the way. With a pleasant shiver he'd gone back into the warm house, closed the door, and put his feet up with a glass of 20-year old single malt whiskey to watch more TV. He was going to enjoy this ten days.
By 1am he'd been yawning and ready for bed. He'd peered out of the back window while he was waiting for the saucepan to boil for his hot chocolate and he'd seen that there was a blizzard raging outside. The wind had got up with a vengeance, and snow was driving past the window at a steep angle. It was already inches deep on the back field. Only then, with the television switched off, had he become aware of the whistling and howling of the wind, and the creaking of the old house settling down for the night. As he poured the milk into the mug and made his way up the stairs to bed he was suddenly acutely conscious of being very alone and miles from anywhere. It was as ideal a setting for Christmas as he could have wished.
The bedroom was large and well-appointed. Peter put the mug on the bedside table, switched the small light on, undressed and climbed into the double bed, shivering at the touch of the cold sheets. He arranged the pillows behind his back and sat up to read and drink his chocolate before going to sleep. The wind and snow were beating against the window, but nothing was visible through it. He picked up his book - a thriller - and settled down to read.
Davidson counted to a hundred, slowly. By now Laura and the money must be well clear. Another few seconds, just to be certain. He lit the candle with his lighter, placed it firmly on the floor, and then turned on the gas tap. He took a last look around the warehouse, an expression of grim satisfaction on his face at the sight of the cases of high explosives stacked neatly in lines along the full length of the long room. In a very short while this place would be a large hole in the ground, and Paul Davidson would be someone the Firm would not mess with again.
He ran to the other end of the room, passing the lines of cases one after the other in the half light, and pushed the door. It did not open. He pushed it again and then, panicking, threw himself against it. It was locked. Davidson looked around for something to smash it with, but there was nothing. The fire axe that should have been hanging on the wall was gone, an axe-shaped area of less-faded paint being the only clue that it had ever been there. He closed his eyes and laughed, sliding slowly down the wall to the floor. "Laura, you bitch," he said.
At that moment the gas reached the candle. At the other end of the room there was an almighty explosion, and part of the ceiling came down in chunks. Fire alarms rang, and flames licked about the room for a few moments until the sprinkler system came on. Davidson opened his eyes cautiously - he was still alive. The whole building should have been wiped out. He frowned, not understanding. Carefully he got up, worked his way down through the interior rain shower nearer to the hissing embers, and pulled open the top of one of the cases. It contained not high explosive, but cheese. Dozens of whole Edams were packed like red footballs in the crate. For the second time in five minutes, Davidson closed his eyes and laughed.
The explosion had blown out a couple of the barred windows, and escape was possible through one of them. Hoisting himself up, he slipped out onto the rooftops - the sound of approaching sirens ringing in the night.
CHAPTER THREE - Laura Vanishes
Oxford in January is not a place to -
Peter jumped. What was that? He looked up at the ceiling. A noise. There were lots of noises in this house tonight, but that had sounded different. Louder. Closer. An animal? A burglar? He couldn't believe a burglar would choose a night with weather like this. And it sounded as if it had come from above. Perhaps there was a tree by the house which was tapping against the roof in the wind. Yes, that was probably it. He pulled the duvet up higher, took another sip of chocolate, and picked his book up again.
CHAPTER THREE - Laura Vanishes
Oxford in January is -
The book slipped out of his fingers as the sound came again. A scratching. An eerie, other-worldly scratching. That had definitely not been a tree in the wind. There was someone - or something upstairs. But hang on - he was upstairs. This was the top floor, wasn't it? Perhaps not; he'd never actually explored the extent of the house. The hairs rose on the back of his neck - he could actually feel them doing it. Silently he slipped out of bed and got dressed. He wondered whether to put his leathers on (he'd packed his jacket, boots, jeans and assorted toys for some private kinky masturbation at some point) but he decided that would take too long. His denim jeans, trainers and teeshirt would have to do. A cricket bat lay on a shelf by the bookcase, and he took it as a weapon if there actually was a burglar on the premises.
The floorboards seemed to creak even louder under him as he inched his way out of the bedroom and along the corridor. Where would access to a higher floor be? He hadn't noticed another staircase. And then he saw it: a pull-down ladder with a trapdoor above it. The ladder lowered surprisingly quietly on its steel rails, and Peter tiptoed up the rungs till he reached the wooden door. With a deep breath he opened it and peered into the attic.
Darkness. Pitch blackness. He couldn't see a thing. Holding his breath he waited, listening, but there was no sound apart from the oddly remote, banshee wail of the wind in the eaves. There was a deadness here that was unnerving - probably caused by the layer of snow on the roof, he thought. Well, there was little point in venturing further without a flashlight. He'd find one, come back and see what was causing that noise. At least a burglar couldn't have got up there. As he turned to go back down, he saw a lightswitch on the edge of the trapdoor frame. He turned it on and the attic was suddenly lit brightly. As his fingers left the switch there was a bloodcurdling scream and something soft and fast whizzed by his head. He felt the wind from it and saw talons. Peter yelled in fright, and then stared as the large owl landed on an upturned chair and sat there staring at him reproachfully with huge eyes. Peter had never seen an owl before, and he was stunned at how beautiful it was. As his heartrate returned to normal and the adrenaline dissipated, he grinned. "Sorry to disturb you," he said. Then he switched off the light and closed the door.
After putting the ladder back up, he knew he wouldn't be able to get to sleep, so he decided to collect his book and go read it downstairs with another scotch. He looked out of the kitchen window - the storm was showing no signs of abating, and the snow was drifting high up against the walls of the house. Oh well, he thought as he poured himself a generous shot of the Ardbeg, he was warm and cozy in here, Let the weather do what it would.
As he replaced the bottle of scotch on the kitchen shelf, he realised that he was feeling horny. The thought of his leathers upstairs and a nice iron-framed bed to tie himself to caused the beginning of an erection in his jeans. He switched the kitchen light off and went back upstairs to the bedroom.
Ten minutes later he was lying on a black leather sheet on the bed wearing his leather jeans, bike boots, and leather jacket, his ankles and his left wrist cuffed to the beframe. On the floor beside the bed, in easy reach, was his bag which still contained an assortment of items for use as the fancy took him. He reached down and felt around in it, bringing out a leather blindfold, which he pulled on. Then he began to enjoy himself running his free hand over his leathers and playing with his hard cock through his jeans. He stretched and pulled at the restraints, groaning quietly as he got himself more and more horny.
The only trouble with Peter was that he could never make this sort of thing last very long: there very soon came a point when he needed to wank, needed to cum. His hand went to his leather jeans and his fingers began to unfasten the belt.
Just then he became aware of a very strong smell of leather. It seemed to be all around him. At the same time, he suddenly had an intense feeling that he was no longer alone in the bedroom. His hand flew up to the blindfold to remove it - but it never got there. Leather-gloved hands grabbed his and pulled it up, clipping the wrist cuff to the bedframe.
"What the -"
Another gloved hand clamped tightly across his mouth, gagging him. He tried to rub his head against the pillow to get the blindfold off so that he could see, but the hands held his head still. His erection had subsided from fear, but then more hands began to stroke over his leather-jeaned legs and thighs slowly, teasingly. Unseen fingers tickled his balls and squeezed the outline of his cock through the black leather.
The cuffs holding his ankles to the bottom of the bed were released, and he instinctively drew his legs up to protect himself as much as he could. He heard quiet laughter as the hands now worked on the backs of his thighs and burrowed between them, invading him and continuing to massage his cock - which was now getting hard again very quickly. He struggled and fought but he couldn't get away from the hands. One of them had a good grip on his cock and was milking it it steadily through the leather while the others stroked and tickled up and down his legs and his thighs and over his balls. With a long moan of pleasure, Peter came in his jeans. The hand continued to milk him, sliding the black leather of his jeans smoothly over his cock in the growing pool of spunk inside them, until his cock had stopped pulsing.
Peter straightened his legs and lay exhausted. The hand over his mouth was removed, and the blindfold pulled off. He squinted in the light and gasped in both fear and lust. Standing around the bed looking down at him were three very muscular figures. Each one's head was concealed by a long, form-fitting thin leather mask, the eyeholes covered with dark lenses of some kind and the mouth hole with a fine grey mesh. The bottom of the mask ended below the neck. They wore heavy leather bike boots and skintight shiny black leather gloves. But it was the rest of them that made him gape: each figure wore what at first sight appeared to be a skintight, sprayed-on shiny black lycra one-piece suit - but it wasn't lycra, it was leather. Peter stared. How could leather be that skintight, that stretchy? They were as tight as a rubber wetsuit, but thinner - each muscle clearly visible under the shiny black leather. The guys had well-developed pecs, 6-packs, and slim waists. Peter lowered his eyes to their crotches - and his eyes nearly fell out of his head. Huge erections stretched the leather out into the biggest, sexiest, most beautiful bulges he'd ever seen.
Two of the figures stepped back, leaving one looking down at Peter. The figure spoke, his voice deep. "I am the ghost of Christmas Past, " he said.
Peter laughed. "Yeah? Well how the fuck did you get in here?" The ghost of Christmas Past indeed.
The figure reached up slowly with its leather-gloved hand and pulled its mask off. Peter froze. The face was that of a boy he'd topped years ago. The leather-gloved hand drew a lazy circle in the air, and the room dissolved into a formless grey mist.
Peter found himself spreadeagled again, but this time to a frame in a playroom. His old playroom at the house he used to live in years ago in Shepherd's Bush. The figure - the boy - still wearing exactly the same gear as in the bedroom moments ago, was holding a branch of holly in his hand. Peter was naked.
"Do you remember me?" Asked the figure. "I was Tom." He reached down and took Peter's cock gently in his hand, strokng it slowly. "You gave me a session I'll never forget. Changed my life. Remember?"
With a wave of fear, Peter remembered. Tom was the boy who had stolen his then current boyfriend from him. Peter had gone to great lengths to get Tom into his playroom, to teach him what happened to guys who did things like that.
The figure - Tom - let go of Peter's cock and walked around the frame until he was behind him. There was a swish of air, and then Peter screamed as the holly leaves whipped his back once, hard. It felt like his back was on fire.
"I was seventeen then, Peter. Didn't know any better. Hated pain. Thought we were going to have a nice sexy session in your playroom. But what did you do?"
The holly came down again, harder. Peter screamed once more.
"You beat me with paddles, a cane, and a tawse. As it's Christmas, I thought that holly would be more appropriate."
Tom raised the holly branch and brought it down again, and then again onto Peter's back. The spiky leaves raked his skin, and small beads of blood appeared. After a while they joined together in little rivulets and ran down Peter's back.
Peter thought he was going to pass out with the pain - he had never been able to take pain, and couldn't understand those who got off on it - but then Tom stopped. He walked back around the frame and stood before his helpless victim. "Does it hurt?"
Peter was too far gone to reply.
"It hurt me too. A lot. But..." The leather-gloved hand took Peter's cock again and stroked slowly. "It turned out ok. Oh I screamed and pleaded at the time - you had me gagged, as I remember - but later, thinking about it, when my back had healed, you know something? It turned me on. A lot." The hand continued to work gently on Peter's cock, which was - to his surprise - getting hard again. "Before long I was seeking out tops who would give me pain. I needed it more and more. Now, I get off on it like nothing else."
As Tom's fingers worked on his cock, Peter became aware that the fire in his back had changed. Now it was becoming a hot glow of pleasure, and it was becoming more so by the second.
The figure moved his hand quickly, and something appeared in it: a small bottle, and an artist's paintbrush.
"What's that?" Groaned Peter.
Tom looked at the bottle. "That, my friend, is something called Merbromin." His eyes returned to Peter's. "For our purposes it is liquid pain."
He went back behind Peter and opened the bottle. He dipped the brush into the liquid and then, very carefully, painted a single thin stripe across Peter's shoulder blades. Then he stood back and waited.
A quiet moan began in Peter's throat. This quickly gained in volume, becoming first a loud groan, then a yell, then a scream, and finally a shriek as the viscious antiseptic stimulated the nerves of his cut skin mercilessly. He thrashed about in the restraints manically, screaming his head off in pure, unbearable agony.
But then something amazing happened: the pain became pleasure, then ecstasy. It was the most intense sexual experience Peter had ever had. His screams turned to animal noises of lust.
Behind him, Tom smiled. He put the paintbrush down, took a cloth, and soaked it from the bottle. Then he quickly covered Peter's entire blood-streaked back with the liquid. As soon as he'd finished, he returned to stand in front of Peter again.
The Merbromin hit. Peter's eyes and mouth opened wide, his breathing sped up until he was hyperventilating, and he gave vent to an long, unearthly noise that was part shriek, part sexual ecstasy. His cock jumped, and spunk shot out in thick creamy gobs landing on Tom's thigh and running down the skintight black leather.
Mist enveloped the playroom, and Peter found himself back in the bedroom of Don's house. His back still hurt, but nothing like as badly as it had - and the hurt felt good.
The Tom-figure had replaced his mask, and now he stepped back as the second one came forward. "I am the ghost of Christmas Yet To Come," he said.
"Hang on, shouldn't the Ghost of Christmas Present come next?" Peter asked.
"Look, who's doing this - you or us?" Growled the figure.
"Ok." Peter said. "Sorry."
The figure reached up and pulled its mask off. The face was of someone he'd never seen before, and didn't know - but he wanted to very much indeed. The boy was gorgeous. Wide-set deep blue eyes, and with a short blond mohican.
The mist appeared again, and Peter found himself naked lying on a bed in an unfamiliar bedroom. The boy was now dressed in rubber - shiny waders, codpiece jeans, rubber teeshirt, and elbow-length black rubber gloves. He was lying beside him on the bed. "Hello," said the boy. "You don't know me yet, but you will. My name is Adrian." He leaned towards Peter and kissed him - long and hard, then slowly rolled on top of Peter. He smiled into Peter's eyes. "We will know each other very well, and for a very long time."
Peter thought he'd died and gone to heaven. The feel of this beautiful boy on top of him, the shiny black rubber pressing and sliding against his bare skin, was wonderful. He ran his hand through Adrian's short mohican, delighting in the feel of the spiky hair between his fingers.
Smiling sexily, Adrian took Peter's arms and moved them above his head, securing them there with some cuffs. Next, he took Peter's legs one by one and, using pieces of rope a couple of feet long, attached them to the same spot on the head of the bed, so that Peter's knees were against his chest and his arse was sticking out. Peter was so turned on by the boy's sexiness that he allowed him to do this without considering the reason for it. It was only when Adrian, kneeling on the bed beyond his arse, pulled off the rubber codpiece from his jeans, his steel-hard cock springing out - the head purple and glossy with a film of pre-cum - and rolled a condom onto it, that Peter realised what Adrian was going to do.
He shook his head. "No. Adrian - don't fuck me. I've only been fucked once and it hurt like hell. I'm not into that. Please don't."
Adrian just continued to smile. He spat on his rubber-gloved hand and smeared it over his cock, and then, in one fluid motion, plunged it into Peter's arse up to the balls.
Peter got ready to scream - but the scream died on his lips. It hurt - it hurt like crazy, his arse felt as if it was being burst apart at the seams - but the pain was good. Oh fuck, the pain was sooooo good. He opened his eyes and looked down, and the sight of that beautiful rubber boy with his cock inside him almost made him cum there and then.
Adrian took another piece of rope and tied Peter's knees tightly together, then reached between his thighs, grabbed his cock and balls, and pulled them through behind his thighs. He enclosed the hard cock in one rubber-gloved hand and began to slide it slowly up and down the length of the shaft and over the head.
Peter was going to cum! He felt his body prepare for orgasm and closed his eyes again in intense pleasure. But a split second before he could shoot, Adrian let go of his cock, leaned forward and jabbed his stiff fingers into Peter's sides.
Peter was excruciatingly ticklish at the best of times, but tied up helpless like that he was even more so than usual. He let out a yell that echoed around the room and which quickly changed into hysterical laughter as Adrian's fingers probed and prodded into his sides. His need for orgasm instantly disappeared - and after a few seconds Adrian stopped tickling him and returned to working slowly on his cock, this time fucking him at the same time.
This process was repeated over and over and over - each time Peter was on the point of cumming, Adrian would let go of his cock and tickle him mercilessly. He worked on his sides, abs, lats, armpits, thighs, knees - even his feet - and each time it killed Peter's need to cum immediately. But then he'd start again, sliding his black rubber-gloved hand slowly along the hard cock, bringing Peter back to the point of cumming gradually but inexorably.
Peter lost track of time. It seemed that this had been going on for hours and hours and hours. He wasn't sure when it happened, but there came a point when he realised that Adrian was no longer touching his cock at all. Now he was getting Peter to the point of orgasm just by fucking him - and not only that, but although the tickle-torture was getting harder and more sadistic, it was taking longer each time for Peter to lose the need to cum.
This change continued. Eventually the only way that Adrian could prevent Peter cumming was by stopping tickling him and stopping fucking him.
Adrian leaned forward around Peter's legs and kissed him. Then, without saying anything at all, he began again. Starting gently, he fucked Peter slowly while his fingers probed gently between his ribs. Even after all the treatment he'd had so far from the boy, this was still unbearable. Peter moaned and laughed and struggled in his restraints. Gradually Adrian's movements became stronger and more violent - until his cock was pistoning in and out of Peter's arse and his thumbs were jammed into his sides so hard that bruises were appearing.
Peter was screaming in hysterics and writhing in a combination of unendurable ticklish agony and a desperately urgent need to cum. Adrian's thumbs were working on his sides while his fingers tickled his ribs harder than ever. Peter could feel the boy's black rubber all over him, and his eyes stared unblinkingly at the beautiful face as he tortured him to orgasm - not even touching his cock.
With a scream Peter came. His spunk covered Adrian's rubber jeans as the boy's hips thrust his cock into him with a force that was machine-like in intensity. It went on and on - and Peter was flying in a universe of ecstasy he'd never experienced in his life before...
The mist cleared and the three figures were back, looking down at him. Adrian was masked again. Peter felt like he'd been pulled through a hedge backwards.
Adrian stepped back, as the final one moved forward.
"I am the Ghost of Christmas Present."
Peter groaned. "You're late."
The figure chose to ignore the remark, and removed his mask. Peter stared. He was looking into a face he knew very well indeed, but had never ever seen. It was his own.
"Errm.. Is that me?"
"I need a haircut."
The mist enclosed them, and when it cleared Peter was in a room he knew well: it was his own bedsit in Clapham. Peter found that he was wearing the same stretchy one-piece leather suit as the figures had been wearing. It felt wonderfully horny.
Peter II was dressed the same. They were standing facing each other. "So," he said, "what do you fancy doing?"
Peter frowned. "I thought this was your show."
"Oh it is. And you get to choose this time."
Peter looked Peter II up and down. It was unnerving looking at yourself. But actually, the guy looked fucking sexy. Nice body, even nicer bulge... Peter reached out and ran a fingertip over the outline of Peter II's cock. He let out a gasp and stepped back as if an electric shock had passed through him. He had felt that finger run over his own cock!
"Imagine the possibilites..." Said Peter II, smiling slowly.
"Oh fuck..." Peter reached out again and pressed his fingers gently into the guy's sides. He felt that too - just as if he'd done it to himself! For a moment, he stood and considered this. Then he said "O - kay..." He got his bag of toys from under the bed and took some ropes out. "Lie on the bed," he said. Peter II did so. Carefully, feeling everything himself while he did it, he hogtied Peter II, and hooded him. He wondered if he would still be able to see when he put the hood over his doppelgänger's head - and was surprised to find that he could, although he could also feel the leather pressing over his face, He also got the strong feeling of helpless horniness that he got whenever he was hooded himself.
Without warning he attacked Peter II - tickling him, getting to his cock and milking it for short periods before letting go and working on another part of his body unpredictably. Just as Peter himself had always fantasized of doing, Peter II was struggling and fighting, trying to keep his horny cock away from the raping hand. Peter could feel all this - he could feel the restraints holding him helpless; his need to see where Peter's hands were going next, and the horniness of his inability to do so because of the black leather blindfolding hood pressing over his face; he could feel his victim's determination not to cum, not to let his cock be raped by these unseen hands that were dong everything exactly right - precisely as he would do it himself. Which, of course, he was.
Peter found himself growling as he worked on the guy. "I'm gonna make you cum, boy and there's fuck all you can do about it. Yeah, try to fight it. You're hooded, can't see a fucking thing. Tied up helpless. Gonna rape your cock, boy. Try to stop yourself from cumming. You can't. Gonna make you lose control and shoot your spunk into that skintight black leather and there is FUCK ALL YOU CAN DO TO STOP ME!!!
Peter thrust his hand between Peter II's tightly-squeezed-together thighs and grabbed his cock through the thin, stretchy leather and milked it, the fingers of his other hand probling and tickling sadistically hard into the guy's side. He could feel every bit of what Peter II was feeling, along with what he was feeling himself:
The pressure of his fingers on his cockhead, milking it quickly
the smooth black leather beneath his fingers, with the warmth of the cock under it
his sadistic delight at working on a helpless boy
The leather pressing tight across his face, making it impossible to see when he needed to see so badly
the black shiny leather of the hood, knowing the victim needed to see, but couldn't
His determination to hold out
knowing that he could make him lose control so fucking easily...
With simultaneous yells, Peter and Peter II came. Peter could feel the spunk pumping into the shiny black leather of the ghost's one-piece under his fingers; he could feel the spunk soaking the inside of the leather; he could feel his own orgasm; and he could feel his own spunk as it landed in hot gobs on his leather-clad thigh as he struggled on the bed.
The mist came again, and Peter was back in the bedroom. All three figures were masked, and looking down on him once more.
"Oh fuuuuuck..." He groaned, through half-closed eyes. "Oooooh fuuuuuuuck." He tried to remember what had happened in the Dickens story after the final ghost had done his thing, but it had been so long ago that he'd read it that he couldn't think. He didn't have much time for thought though, as the three figures, all together, pulled off their masks again.
There was nothing underneath. Empty space.
Peter's eyes opened wide in fear.
The ghosts released his hands from the cuffs, and stripped him of his leather jeans, jacket and boots. They held him between them, their leathers pressing all over him, their hands stroking his naked skin. There then followed what could best be described as an orgy. Two of the ghosts held him while the third produced a whip and beat him; he was held down and tickle tortured mercilessly; he was fucked brutally by all three in succession; his head was forced into their leather crotches until he almost passed out from asphyxiation; he was milked almost to the point of orgasm and then held helpless, unable to cum - so many times he lost count. He was forced to suck their invisible but all-too real cocks; he was trampled by their bike boots; his nipples were worked on by invisible mouths and leather-gloved fingers; he was drowned in a sea of skintight, sexy black leather... The things they did to him included a catalogue of activities that, even yesterday, he would have hated. But now? He loved every one of them. Finally, while being spit-roasted by two of the ghosts and sucked off by the third, he passed out completely.
Peter opened his eyes. He was lying on the leather sheet, three limbs cuffed to the bed corners, wearing his leathers. He blinked. Had all that - any of that - happened? He unclipped his right wrist and sat up. "Owwww..." His back hurt like fuck, and his cock felt as if it had had a vacuum cleaner attached to it for a week. He unfastened the ankle cuffs and got off the bed. Taking his jacket off he inspected his back in the mirror. Countless small scars covered his back, and a single bright red stripe of antiseptic formed a line between his shoulder blades. Oh yes, that had certainly happened all right. He put his jacket back on - carefully - and went downstairs to get another scotch. The one he'd poured for himself earlier was still on the work surface. He picked it up and took a long swig.
Then he noticed the quiet. Peering through the kitchen window he saw that the storm had stopped. Outside it looked like a Christmas card - virgin white snow covered everything to a depth of about six inches. The moon had come out again and the view was beautiful. He opened the window, and just then heard a distant church clock striking midnight.
It was Christmas day! Lifting his glass, he toasted the three ghosts. "To you, boys. Come and see me again soon." He finished the whiskey and poured another.
There was a knock at the front door.
"Bloody hell, that was quick." He didn't really think it was the ghosts - they wouldn't bother to use the door - but he was afraid of what he would find waiting there. He put the scotch down and stomped out of the kitchen in his bike boots. A large amount of snow which had drifted against the front door fell in as he opened it.
A boy stood on the doormat shivering. "Hello. I'm sorry to trouble you. Can I come in and get warm please? I'm lost. I was on my way to a party and the fucking car's broken down. I've walked miles."
Silhouetted as he was against the moonlit snow, Peter couldn't see the boy too well, but there was something about him that was familiar. "Yeah, of course. Come in before you freeze to death." He closed the door and led the way into the living room.
In the brighter light, Peter could see him better. His mouth dropped open in surprise as recognition hit him.
"My name's Adrian..." He said, smiling as he wiped snow off his short blond mohican.