he bang of a door closing startled Doug awake. Puzzled, he sat up and found he was naked on a prickly feather mattress on a small, uncomfortable double bed. It took seconds to realize that he wasn’t in his room anymore. Where the hell was he? For a second, he thought he’d been kidnapped, but no, there was no one in the room with him, and he wasn’t tied up. Weird. Shivering, he pulled up the blankets to cover himself and realized he could see his breath. Damn, what happened to the heat?
“I’ve got to stop drinking so much before I go to bed,” Doug said out loud.
His voice sounded loud in the silent space. He realized there were no machine sounds. No quiet humming of a heater. No traffic noises outside. Just silence.
Looking around, he noticed a tall narrow window opposite his bed, decorated with a simple red curtain. The hardwood floor boasted nothing more than a round rag rug. Overall a very plain room, especially compared to the lavishly decorated, not to mention warm, bedroom where he had fallen asleep.
While he was still sitting there, wondering where exactly he was, a sharp rap sounded on the door, scaring the hell out of him.
“Mr. Coleman, are you out of bed yet?” an annoyed feminine voice inquired, sounding a bit disapproving from the other side of the door.
“Why do you want to know?” he threw back, hoping to find out who she was.
“It doesn’t concern me one way or another; it’s your life. If you wish to laze about in bed while the sun is high in the sky, it’s no concern of mine. I simply thought you might want some breakfast while it was still hot. It seems I was wrong.” The female that had spoken punctuated each sentence with a loud sniff. Okay. Weird, and man, did she sound annoyed with him.
“I’ll be right down,” Doug said, bemused. Apparently, sarcastic women came with this strange room.
“Don’t be too long. I have more to do today than wait around for you,” with her retreating footsteps, he heard her muttering about lazy men.
Several things became obvious very quickly. First, he had no idea how he had arrived at his present location, and second, he wasn’t all that worried about it after hearing the voice on the other side of the door. Maybe he should have been more concerned, but this situation was something unusual and interesting. Granted, he couldn’t argue that his current situation was any better, but it was different, and right now, different sounded pretty darn good to him.
Slowly he got out of bed, winching as his feet touched the cold hardwood floor. He looked around. Shivering, he tried to pretend that he couldn’t see his breath every time he exhaled. He’d been in a cold place like this before, but never inside and certainly never naked. He had to find some clothes before he froze his pecker off. Even his morning wood retreated from the cold, something that had never happened.
Spying a pair of pants tossed across the back of a hardwood chair, he pulled them on his body. He felt slightly better but wished he could jump into a hot shower. His mind was still a little fuzzy from the over-imbibing he’d done last night, and the steamy water always helped clear his head. He tried not to think about how it would warm him up.
Beside his bed was a small old fashioned washstand. The white porcelain pitcher, which sat inside the washbasin, was filled with water. Poking a finger in to test it, he found the water still hot. He guessed this was what he would have to use to wash and shave. It wasn’t a shower, but he wasn’t going to be picky. At least it was warm. That must have been why the door was closing that woke him.
Picking up some soap from the soap dish, he proceeded to wash up with the washcloth and towel provided. There was a funny-looking single edge blade that was sharper and more dangerous than any razor blade he’d ever used, and some thick, foamy soap in a cup, which he guessed would have to be shaving cream. Using the mirror above the bureau, he carefully shaved, nicking himself only a couple of times, but pretty proud of the job he did overall.
Rinsing off the razor, he put everything back where he’d found it. If only he could find a toothbrush. He cupped some of the water from the pitcher in his hand and quickly rinsed his mouth. Not as fresh as Scope, but better than nothing.
His nipples were beginning to hurt from the cold. Grabbing the undershirt thrown on the chair, he pulled it on. The soft cotton made him feel instantly warmer. There was another, thicker shirt with a stiff collar as well. The clothes weren’t his, but he was too cold to care. Glancing out the window, he was shocked to see patches of snow on the ground.
“I don’t think I’m in Los Angeles anymore,” he laughed to himself.
Obviously, he was in a primitive place, maybe an Amish farm? There weren’t any telephone poles outside; he noticed as he dressed.
The clothes fit him as if they had been tailored for him. He found a pair of thick socks and boots under the bed, which also fit. Leaving the room, he noticed a heavy coat hanging on a hook and grabbed it as he walked out the door.
Looking around curiously as he walked down the hall, he descended the stairway into the wonderfully warm kitchen. The room was extremely neat but sparsely furnished. Its warmth felt like heaven after that freezing room.
Standing at the old-fashioned black cookstove, stirring something in a pot was a small thin woman. Her hair was wound tightly into a bun on the top of her head, and she wore a floor-length dress of dark blue covered with a light blue apron. She was by no means pretty, but she had an air about her that made him think of a military commander. He knew as soon as he saw her that he’d never seen her before.
She turned and looked at him with a frown.
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