Coverfoto Marc Manther: Das Jagdschloss

Marc Manther: The Hunting Lodge

I wrote Nina and Ben’s story, whose car breaks down in the evening and find refuge in a remote hunting lodge after I’ve been watching “Rocky Horror Picture Show” for the umpteenth time. I wondered what would have happened if Janet and Brad hadn’t ended up in Dr. Frank N. Furter’s castle, but in Roissy, the castle where Pauline Réage’s “The Story of O” is set. The more I put myself in the setting, the more my story took on its own traits. And the result was something quite unique.

Detailed teaser:

The first date between Ben and Nina takes them to northern Alsace. But on the way back from the restaurant, the car causes problems and breaks down in the middle of a forest, far from civilization. Luckily, they spot lights among the trees and arrive at an old hunting lodge.
Ben doesn’t speak French, but Nina gets a chance to freshen up a bit before they leave. She disappears. At some point, Ben sets out to find her. And has to realize that they have ended up in some kind of private club. All the rooms are equipped with Venetian mirrors, which he can see from the corridors.
Eventually, he finds Nina again. He watches her taking a shower and later having an intimate massage. But it takes time for him to find his way to her through the maze of corridors. They are allowed to stay overnight. But of course, there are mirrors hanging on all the walls in her room, too.

Reading Sample:

Shortly before midnight, the old Renault began to sputter, died and would not start again. They were driving Nina’s car and were hopelessly lost. Of course, there was no navigation system in her car. It didn’t even have a working radio.
Nina turned the ignition key and tried to get the car going again. Without success. Ben, sitting next to her, paid little attention to what she was doing. Even with his eyes slightly narrowed and a hard tug around the corner of her mouth, he thought she was beautiful. The tanned face made her blonde hair look even brighter. He was also fascinated by her little snub nose.
The road they were stuck on was narrow and didn’t even have a median. They were in the Palatinate Forest, in the French part, somewhere in northern Alsace. Ben couldn’t remember the last time they had driven through a village. It was also of little help that he did not speak French.
In the restaurant near the border where they had dined, that had not been a problem. The menu was bilingual, and the waiter who served them also knew German.
After the meal, they stood indecisively in front of the restaurant for a while. Ben didn’t feel like going back home already but hesitated to confess this to Nina. It was their first date, and he was still unsure about her feelings for him.
„It’s actually too early to turn back right away,“ Nina happily took the initiative. „If you want, we can drive along the river for a bit and see if we can find a cozy spot by the water. I have an Indiaca in the trunk. We could end the summer evening with a round of Indiaca.“
He would have done the devil to turn down the chance to spend more time with her.
Especially since he had noticed early in the evening that she was not wearing a bra. The idea of doing a little sport with her and experiencing how her breasts remained in constant motion in the white stretch blouse excited him. The fact that the top buttons of the blouse were undone further fueled his imagination. Maybe he would get to see more of her that evening than he had hoped for from this first date.
However, they had to search for quite a while until they found a freely accessible meadow at a bend in the river. Nina parked the Renault at the side of the road. She took a pair of sneakers out of the trunk and sat down on the side of the driver’s seat to take off her pumps. Ben had gotten out and came around the car. While she bent over to change her shoes, he took a cursory glance down her blouse. And he liked what he saw there. Her breasts stood out pointedly, palm-sized and sun-tanned. Raspberry-red areolas, no bigger than the tip of a thumb, were enthroned in their center.
Nina looked at him questioningly but then smiled. If she had noticed his curious look, it didn’t seem to bother her.
She had gotten rid of her pumps and reached for the sneakers. Ben briefly wondered how she had been able to drive a car in those shoes. But obviously, she had practice in such things.
He also liked her feet. She stretched her instep to slide into the sneaker. These feet were smooth, lightly tanned, slender, with subtle, natural-colored nail polish on her toenails. Maybe he’d be able to talk her into a foot massage after the game.
Without further ado, he also took off his shoes. For the restaurant visit, he had put on his black business shoes, which would only get in the way of his sport. He removed his socks and wiggled his toes. The grass under his feet was still warm from the summer sun. It took him a while to figure out the technique of Indiaca, and the rallies got longer. He had not thought that this was such a dynamic game. At first, he paid more attention to what was going on under Nina’s blouse. Unfortunately, her breasts were too firm to bounce strongly. But he liked how the elastic fabric pressed around her curves when she made a bounce or went wide with her arm. The longer they struck the Indiaca at each other, the more he concentrated on his technique. And the more he enjoyed it.
They started to sweat. This looked particularly appealing on Nina because her tanned skin took on a golden glow. And because her blouse began to stick to her body and become increasingly transparent. Her nipples, which he had noticed earlier as slight bumps in the middle of her areolas, were now clearly visible under the elastic fabric. Her courts formed lovely, unmissable splashes of color.
Nina did not seem embarrassed in any way. She gave herself entirely to the game and laughed most of the time. Ben took that as a good sign. In any case, she was not a prude.
However, his assessment changed when a walker came along the path by the river with his dog. When he raised his hand in greeting, Nina waved back cheerfully. Obviously, it was not uncomfortable for her to appear so open-hearted even in front of strangers. Displeased, Ben saw the stranger appraising Nina. He felt jealousy boiling up inside him. „He’s gawking at you pretty good,“ he said.
„He’s just friendly,“ she countered.
„Can’t you see how he’s staring at your boobs?“
„You do, too.“ She grinned. „He likes what he sees. I’ll take that as a compliment.“
Somehow he had hoped that Nina would have dressed like that for him. But now, he got the feeling that she just liked being looked at by men.
They broke off the game shortly after and went back to the car. At first, Nina didn’t seem to notice his disappointment. But no real conversation wanted to come up anymore. And then, after darkness had descended over the wooded area, the car broke down in the middle of nowhere.
Annoyed, Ben got out and made his way in the direction they had gone. This road had to lead somewhere.
The only light he had available came from the moon, which stood as a crescent in the night-blue sky. Something flew past him. As it rose into the air, he thought he saw a bat in the pale light. Somewhere in the distance, a woodpecker was knocking a late meal out of the wood. There was a soft crackling in the undergrowth.
He hadn’t gone far when he heard the car door slam behind him.
„You’re not seriously going to leave me alone here in the car, are you?“ exclaimed Nina.

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