After that protracted descent, Herbert’s eyes had adjusted to dim light; even so, it took him some time to acclimate to the large, dark cavern. Beyond the rigidly symmetrical working of the fire door jamb, the floor was a smooth, slightly uneven plane of rock. All around the room were small stalactites and mineral deposits bulging on the walls in places. The ceiling was too high and too dark to readily perceive, beyond the reach of the colored lamps that stood on thin brass stilts at intervals about the area. He heard the trickle of running water but couldn’t pick out its source. As he stepped into the room, shapes coalesced and defined themselves: stuffed Victorian chairs here, a bookcase and circular walnut end table there, and a broad, heavy Persian rug commanding most of the floor, larger than he’d ever seen before.
Come to that, upon this rug reclined a vast and mighty woman, as long as the rug and nearly filling the room. She was draped in yards and yards of satin, as elegant as finest brocade and voluminous as a surplus parachute. It only partially covered a woman who resembled Rodin’s masterwork, the result of a three-year sabbatical fueled by unlimited patronage and untrammeled arousal. Curves no mind could frame, milky hues and porcelain textures that defied perception and invited—demanded!—caressing, exploring, tasting. Beneath her dress, the titaness’s skin glowed in answer to all the colored lamps, casting a dim light of their own. Her long, long legs stretched on forever, potent muscle caked in delicate flesh, ineffably demure in their subtle pose. Subtle! What about this colossus could be subtle? She was gigantic, she was immense; she filled the room with her mass and commanded attention with her… her… je ne sais quoi, animal chemistry, the imperceptible and unmeasurable charm that gave people irresistible command over legions.
Her eyes glowed in the darkness, it seemed to Herbert, and when they slowly rolled toward him, his body shocked with the urge to scramble away and hide behind a loveseat. This figure spoke to his basal self as a large predator, overwhelming, against which he had no defense. To be in the same room with her, to stand this far away and witness her potence, that was more than enough. It was too much! Her chest swelled with her breath, and he believed he could feel the entire room drawing in toward her, and himself with it. He glanced at his feet, checking his unsteadiness against what his body was actually doing. And she looked at him, and he wanted to flee, and all this fought with the screaming, searing urge that she was everything he had ever dreamed of.
Herbert craved her; he feared her. He wanted to throw himself into her arms and sob unrestrainedly; he wanted to knock the steward on his ass and charge up the stairs, maybe burn the house, no, the whole neighborhood down. None of this made sense, none of it: not the fact of her dimensions, not the scope of his yearning, his starvation for her. How could he want something that existed beyond his comprehension? His legs were weak, alarm prickled in his armpits, and his chest frosted over in panic. What should he do? What was he supposed to do? She was looking right at him! What was he supposed to do?!
He wheeled to face the steward. That was a composed man, a man’s man, someone who stared bravely into every inky unknown and acted with conviction. He’d know what to do.
What he was doing was hauling the fire door closed again. Herbert only barely contained the temerity to remain standing: charging after this old traitor was well beyond his capability. He could not even croak out a cry as the heavy steel door fitted with incontrovertible solidity into place; distantly, heavy pistons and bolts rolled into position, placing punctuation after punctuation at the end of Herbert’s sentence.
“Good evening, Herbert.” Her voice resounded throughout the cavern, knocking him to his knees. She said his name Air-Bear, in a halting French accent. French; a French titaness, lounging on a priceless Persian rug in a louche cavern under the most expensive, private section of his city. He wanted to laugh at the extravagance of it, every aspect of it, until his throat bled from hilarity. Yet there he knelt, clutching his thinning hair, shamed in the light of his eternal goddess now manifest, only now remembering to breathe.
He tried to turn but collapsed upon the damp rock, gasping without a shred of elegance or composure. “Herbert? Can you hear me?” Oh God, oh God, his goddess was calling to him, she knew his name, how could she know his name except everyone in this opulent bloc seemed to know his name. What should he do? What should he do?
Slowly he pushed himself up to lean upon one hip; in ungainly fashion he twisted himself around to try to face the living goddess once more, but the simple physics of his body resisted him. The dim pang of impatience was his salvation, then, as he kicked his legs out straight, bent them to heave his body upright, and finally stood shakily before the immense creature of incalculable sensual depth.
“It is pleasant to meet you at last, Herbert,” the monstress said. For all her charms, Herbert’s basal self knew that she was an aberration of nature, most likely an apex predator, and that charming man’s man just sealed him up with this gorgeous, horrifying beast. “You are, erm, smaller than I anticipated, but you are much more silent as well.” She arched an eyebrow the size of his arm. “Is it that you have nothing to say to me?”
He wanted to laugh at her, brayingly, mockingly. What place did a wretched little mortal like himself have to utter anything in the presence of this awful divinity? Should she not smite him at the sounding of his first miserable syllable? Ah, but was he not already smitten…
In for a penny, he thought with characteristic understatement. “The pleasure is all mine, goddess,” he said, and his voice was even thinner and weaker as it bounced off the glossy mineral walls. Should he bow? He tried bowing, one foot crossed before the other; one arm folding his abdomen in half, the other flung away aping élan. And why not? If he was going to die here, now, with her, at her hands, then why not just fucking go balls out and play the game as well as he could.
Breath roared in her chest. The titaness closed her eyes slowly, opened them, like an affectionate cat does. Not a finger twitched unduly: in this realm, everything belonged to the giantess and nothing occurred without her approval. She had all the time in the world, and everything Herbert thought was his, was in fact… “You are a nice little gentleman, aren’t you.” Her voice was loud yet soft, resonant and musical without being overbearing. When she spoke, it was an orchestra that came at him from all sides. He could feel her voice tingling in his pubic hairs; promptly he chastened himself for such a filthy, demeaning thought, then realized his cock was aggressively hard. He folded his hands before his crotch and nodded. “Step forward, then,” she said, and there was not a fiber in his body that could resist this command.
He heard his pathetic shoes shuffling over the rocky floor, then muted as they crossed the hem of the ungodly expensive rug. He watched his unfaithful legs drag him from the place of modesty and respect to a brazen proximity without shame. The giantess lay placid, stretched without a consideration for how she must appear, arrayed like the foothills of a legendary mountain range. What should she care, when the only witness to her bearing was a wretch like him?
And what was up with that, his wretchedness, his pathetic quality? They came up again and again without apprehension in his thoughts, as neutral as the fact of his existence. Was he comfortable with these descriptors? Was he proud of them? That is to say, what mortal could not but feel wretched in contrast to this vast, voluptuous spread of femininity? And if he was wretched already, was he not therefore especially suited for this situation? Yes, any other man, any hale, tall, robust figure of quintessential masculinity would have so much farther to fall, confronted with this casual giantess of overt, abundant sexuality; Herbert was already most of the way down, so while the red-blooded American hero had shattered his bones in his descent, Herbert merely picked himself up, dusted himself off, and moved to the next scene. This was the gift of being naturally low; this was Herbert’s Christmas.
“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be here,” he said cautiously. It was sincere, but in no way was it the uncoordinated tumble his emotions wanted to make it. It was good enough, but he dared not follow it up with anything.
Which… seemed to disappoint the giantess. Could he do anything right? Her unperturbed expression glowed against his skin. Thick lips, heavy with raw sex, parted and formed shapes: “I wonder if you can tell me why you are here, petit Herbert.”
Again, he was seized with the urge to throw himself at her, weeping, and beg her to roll just enough to crush him beneath her sternum, crush him to a paste. End me, his entire body sang, finish me beneath any section of your blessed divinity. To shove my head up your asshole is more than I deserve, and there he cut off his rampant, unpolished thoughts from speaking another sound. “I got this card,” he started, “from the Madame.” There. Perfect. All the facts, not a shred of which made any sense out of context. He sounded like a particularly dim child. Nicely done, Mr. Barton.
“Is that so?” As she spoke, one massive thigh shifted ponderously upon another truly colossal thigh. Herbert quickly ran out of adjectives, staring at the large mass drift over the other large mass, between which he craved to be obliterated. “Who is this Madame, and why did she lead you to me?” She said ’oo instead of who, zees instead of this, and he wanted to crawl into her mouth and live until he died in the place that made such sounds.
He drew a breath, and his ribs ached with disuse. “I’m sorry, do you mind if I sit? I’m kind of overwhelmed.” Herbert was stunned at his glibness, his casual tone. And yet, rather than backhand him to an early and unsatisfying death, the titaness simply reached out and picked up a chair like he would pick up, say, a magical, life-changing, reality-altering business card. She placed it beside him and his automatic reflexes guided him into it, when his more candid reaction would have been to collapse to the floor and urinate with abandon.
“I think you know the Madame,” he said with astonishing frankness. “I have been frequenting her business—heh, her whorehouse—for half a year at least. I’ve spent quite a lot of money going through all of her staff, asking them for one thing after another, pursing something I didn’t really understand myself.” He smiled, despite his urge to vomit with intense tension. “Big women, tall women, women with exaggerated features who could sit on me, stand on me, crush me in various ways. I didn’t understand what it was I wanted, and every woman was a near miss.” He laughed, when his body wanted to wail and tear down the steel fire door with his flimsy nails. “So, after banging my head against this particular wall for months and months, I finally received this little card from the Madame, which led me here. And honestly, I had no concept, no notion of what I was getting into.” Again, he laughed, when he was ready to tear open his rib cage and surrender his ghost to the hereafter.
The giantess moved. How she moved, what part of her moved, was impossible to estimate. “That is a tidy little answer, for such a tidy little man,” she purred, like a Harley-Davidson purrs. “I commend you for not wasting my time.”
“Wasting..?” Something compelled him to lean forward slightly, arching his brows in concern.
“The other men”—zee uzzer men—“they gabble and they plead and they fall on the ground. They roll around, begging and demanding, like a…” The giantess’s eyes squinted, and for once they trained upon somewhere other than Herbert (he felt a weight lift; he felt an indescribable robbery). “Like a, you know, a puppy. The puppy likes to play, it bites you, and then it rolls to its back and shows you its, how you say, its tummy? And you rub its tummy, but no, it wants you to masturbate it.”
Herbert’s barking laughter surprised even himself. He knew exactly what she was expressing, the sickening cross-species warmth of the emerging red shaft against the side of his hand; the all-consuming longing for this gigantic mother of humanity to suck his cock and balls right out of his body. He found himself on both sides of this fence, abruptly, and he refused to say another word until he knew where to step.
“You are not like these men, Herbert.” Once again, her fearsome, luminous green eyes rolled to consume him. “You ask for the chair. I ask you a question, and you answer me without a wait. There is something about you, Herbert. Do you know this? You must. Vraiment,” she said, and her massy head dipped twice with profundity, “tu es un petit homme spécial. With you, I am looking forward to play.” One huge arm bent and reached back, threading thick fingers through thick hair, tossing her raven tresses behind the peak of her shoulder.
Herbert couldn’t breathe, and that was the level best he could manage.