A Field of Candles
Chapter 10 And So It Is, Your Past Remembers You
Amara was looking through her files again, finally finding the number for a certain Mossad agent, still based in Israel.
Considering for a moment, she called the number, feeling some excitement building. Amara had developed excellent emotional control over the years; it was hard to tell what was happening with her, unless she wanted you to know, and she put that skill to work now. She needed to be calm.
She lit the slim joint she had been saving and inhaled deeply as the cell phone rang; once, twice, three times, “Gilad”, the deep voice answered.
“Amara,” came the reply. There was a long pause.
“It has been…a while.” The voice continued.
“It has. But now I have a reason to call. It involves our…friend, Louis Doukas.” Another pause.
“And I am interested in a shady Greek/Brit/American businessman, because…?”
Amara chuckled, “Well, mostly it’s his connections with your other, friends. You know the ones, with the black boots and the generous attitude toward others.”
Pause. “And how would our buddies, the Nazis, be connected to Mr. Doukas?” Gilad spoke quietly, but there was an edge now in his voice.
Amara took another drag on her joint, letting the smoke escape slowly. “Hmmm, it’s their interest in art; others’ art, of course.”
Gilad was now alert, “You think Doukas might be connected to looted World War II art works?”
Amara spoke evenly, keeping the emotion out of her voice, “I don’t think; I know, and I’m close to confirming that at least two paintings he is dealing are from Jewish artists. I will know today.”
“How is Doukas able to do this?” Gilad was part of a group that had been chasing stolen Jewish art for years. But the practice was steeped in deception and handled very cautiously.
“Doukas is very connected, Gilad; better than you can imagine. This is such a lucrative business as you know, money counts. Doukas has always known how to use money, and he is not a person who leaves loose ends.”
“So, how are you aware of this?” Gilad had reason for some skepticism. He had chased leads for many years; most ended nowhere.
Amara took in some more of her joint, then continued. “He mentioned, matter-of-factly several years ago about paintings; I think he had had one too many vodkas and let it slip. Not characteristic of him. He never said another thing, ever, around me; but I got the distinct impression he knew where stuff was, hidden. I think he has begun to liquidate it.”
“Hmmmmm, why now I wonder.” Gilad took a deep breath, lighting his own cigarette. “I wish you would share some of what you are smoking with me,” he chuckled, “but I’ll accept your information for now.”
“Later.” Amara smiled and butted out her joint as she turned off her phone. The smile remained on her face. Maybe, finally, something was happening.
“Ohhhhhhh. Fuuuuuck. Ummmmmm. Fucking fuck fuck!” Hailey moaned; her eyes closed; her wrists and ankles bound to the four corners of Alexis’s bed.
Alexis ran a warm tongue along the side of Hailey’s face, gently biting her ear lobe. “My Slut-slave earned her reward.” Alexis murmured.
Hailey had experienced orgasms before, when masturbating. But the one she had just ridden out, courtesy of Alexis’s fingers and tongue, was different. Like a bomb is different from a firecracker.
“Ohhhhhhh…” Hailey just lay still; her eyes closed,
letting the after-effects of her big ‘O’ take her away. It had been a busy afternoon.
After Hailey had dutifully performed on the black girls taking one to climax, (the other just nodded and said she was good) the two girls had ambled off, leaving Alexis and Hailey, both very aroused.
Alexis made the hard decision to bring Hailey home, to her own bed, where for the last hour they had feverishly explored each other; culminating in Alexis tying Hailey down and bringing her to climax.
“Do you want to be my slave?” Alexis smiled down into Hailey’s face.
Hailey opened her eyes and said, “Sure”, although she wasn’t really certain what that meant; but saying it made her feel good. Her smile then spread across her young, attractive face. She felt a warm glow begin somewhere deep within her and spread, right up to her hair follicles. Alexis unbound her and they embraced and lay quietly.
Daphne Powell stood at the door of Doukas’s hotel room; she had no belongings, not even a suitcase. “I’ll get some stuff at the airport.” She said, with a smile.
Doukas stood, looking thoughtfully at this woman, the first woman he had actually…fucked, in quite a while. “Here.” He said, holding out a flash drive.
“What is this?” Daphne asked.
“All the photos of you.” Doukas said simply. Daphne leaned in and embraced him.
“I know you are…a bad man. Probably a very bad man, but I hope we meet again”, she whispered. She straightened up and looked at him.
“Perhaps one day“, Louis Doukas smiled, and today it was a smile that reached his eyes.
Wednesday morning Nicole, busy with some tedious and
complicated court proceeding notes, was surprised when a voice said, “My, aren’t we busy,” and looked up into the smiling face of Susan.
“Hey, look at you, creeping up on people. Well, you’ve caught me hard at work,” Nicole laughed. “What is it?”
“Here.” Susan handed Nicole a check; it was for thirty thousand dollars, made out to cash.
“What is this for?” Nicole stared first at the check and then at Susan.
“For you.” Susan said simply.
“Oh, no. No, no Susan. I can’t accept this. No way.”
“Well, um, it’s not right, it’s….”
Susan touched Nicole’s hand. “Hey, look, Roland had a large insurance policy I knew nothing about. I have paid off our mortgage. Our house is worth one point eight million. I make five times a year what you make and you can use this money. Why can’t I help someone I…care for, very much.”
Nicole looked up, a lump developing in her throat. She didn’t like to be beholding to people and this had gotten to her. “But it’s not….”
“No buts, my junior employee. Take this and clear off what’s left on your cards and remember, I am always here for you.”
The two women looked at each other for a moment, and then Susan turned and walked away. She felt great.
Susan, or ‘My Pet’ as her mistress now called her, lay the sleep wear on the bed and knelt, waiting. In a few moments, Mistress Beth came in and ran her hand gently over her slave. “Very good, my pet.” She said, and began undressing. When she was naked, she picked up the leash attached to her slave’s collar and led her over to a chair, sitting down and spreading her legs. “My pet has earned her reward”, Beth murmured and Susan needed no more encouragement to move in and begin to lick and suck the pink and brown folds of her mistress’s labia.
It had been three weeks now since Susan had moved in with Beth. It had been a very active month, slave-wise, for both Susan and Hailey.
After discussions, Nicole had moved into Chestnut Hill to look after Hailey and the house. It was also agreed that Alexis could move some clothes, etcetera in as well, as she was now spending most of her nights there.
Susan had then been able to move most of her clothes over to Beth’s. This followed a major decision after much discussion, where Susan had approached her partners with a proposal, and at the end of August they had given her a handsome settlement. On September first, Susan had left the firm.
Beth was a very successful business woman and well off, and she liked the idea of Susan belonging to her full time with no need to consider or work around schedules, and with Susan’s move in, it all made sense. They had also agreed that some of the…activities, Beth wanted to do to Susan, public scenes mostly, could not happen as long as Susan was a lawyer with a prestigious firm.
So this worked out well for everyone, and Beth was now planning a holiday in Italy with her slave. A month of sun and travel, and a loving mouth on her pussy every night. Between now and when they left there were a couple of ‘events’ planned to keep things…interesting.
Alexis and Hailey, now just turned eighteen, had also evolved into a mistress/slave routine that Nicole allowed; as long as Hailey kept her grades up; this being her graduation year. If the first reporting period showed any issues, Alexis would be out.
And Nicole had made it clear, despite Hailey’s advances and her now being eighteen, there would be no sexual contact between the two of them (for now anyway, Nicole promised herself; why exactly she was delaying this she
couldn’t say; maybe she just wasn’t ‘ready’. Who knows with feelings? Certainly not Nicole.)
And Nicole was clear that all the mistress/slave ‘stuff’ was to be done away from her eyes; she was not to witness anything, although Hailey could come to her to discuss, well, things.
And then there was Tatjana. Even with Amara’s best efforts, they had not been able to figure out Doukas’s plan for the lovely girl. For now, Doukas had allowed Tatjana to stay with Nicole; she was actually living with them in Chestnut Hill. Nicole had also made it clear to Alexis and Hailey that Tatjana was not part of anything sexual, either as participant or observer. Nothing.
Nicole had come to believe that the young woman had some sort of mental condition; perhaps someday she would discover what that was. What she knew was that the girl acted like she was very young in many ways, like an eight or nine-year-old, and for whatever reason, Nicole was very protective of her.
Doukas was away a lot these days and seemed to be involved with something. Amara knew much, but was reluctant to share the information with Nicole, fearing for her safety. It was one thing to involve someone like Gilad who could look after himself, but Nicole would be kept safe, whatever.
If Doukas ever came to fear any sort of treason or threat, there would be consequences. Amara knew what the man was capable of.
“I wish I could see you,” Nicole murmured into the phone. It was late in Philly which meant it was early over in Europe, whichever country Amara happened to be in. It was Romania (Doukas was there as well it turned out; Sheffield, Amara believed, was in London) at the moment. Amara continued to work diligently for Doukas so as to not arouse any suspicion.
This week she was securing several boxes of rifles
stolen from a Russian arms dealer and being sold to someone in Somalia. Like Sheffield, Amara could not understand why Doukas took these risks. The last chance she had, a few days ago actually, to secretly look over some of Doukas’s finances, she was astounded to see his wealth now between three hundred and four hundred million American dollars. Why he did this petty, risky stuff, who knew; it obviously wasn’t for the money.
“So, what is Doukas up to?” Nicole asked quietly.
“Nothing good,” Amara replied, lighting a joint and evading the answer.
“Hmmmm.” Nicole murmured into her phone. “You see things, c’mon Am, give me at least a taste.”
Amara chuckled, “If I had you here, I would make you work for the info”, she purred.
Feeling somewhat horny; with no real outlet these last few weeks Nicole had relied solely on self-stimulation, which gets old in a hurry; Nicole felt a strong twinge at Amara’s remark. “You wouldn’t need to ask, tall, dark and beautiful. I’d be on my knees in a flash.”
As she said this, with a bit of a chuckle in her voice, Nicole’s hand snaked its way under her black, lace thongs. As she expected, she was moist. “You know I’m wet, just talking with you.”
Amara sighed, “Oh fuck, Nicole, stop that. You just want to drive me insane.”
“But I’m being honest. I have a finger in my pussy and I’m wet as Hell. If you jumped on a plane, how fast could you get here?” Nicole laughed, but her finger was busy.
“Not fast enough, I’m afraid.” Amara finished her joint and decided to give Nicole something. “Doukas is involved in pretty much anything going. Women, drugs, gambling, guns, stolen artifacts….”
“Artifacts? What, like paintings and stuff?”
“Yeah; paintings, sculpture, prints, coins, you name it.”
“But I thought you said Doukas has lots of dough?” Nicole added.
“He does, trust me. He doesn’t need this. It’s crazy really. I think it’s the thrill or something. I think he likes meeting in dark bars with shady people. I think he does like it. We’re meeting some guy today.”
“Where are you again?”
“Hmmmmmm,” Nicole sighed as her finger found a sweet spot.
As Hailey carefully shaved the small hairs on the inside of her upper thighs, Alexis moved her phone in for a close-up. “You promised, you will not show my face.” Hailey reminded her.
“Yeah, yeah, we’ve been over that. No face. Lift your leg higher, that’s it. Ok, that’s how I want it; I want you totally shaved, like a little girl, right?”
“Yes, Mistress Alix,” Hailey responded dutifully.
As the days passed, it seemed Alexis was becoming more demanding of her slave. She was talking of renting her out, which Hailey thought was just something to turn them both on, but it sounded more like she was really looking into it, and that scared her. Alexis had also talked about wanting more than one slave. Hailey wasn’t sure how that would work.
“Okay”, Alexis interrupted Hailey’s thoughts. “Lie on the bed and use the electric toothbrush on your pussy. Oh, yeah, like that….” She murmured as Hailey lightly moved the vibrating bristles along her outer pussy lips. Hailey noticed Alexis’s phone camera recording higher up her body. As if guessing what she was thinking, Alexis added, “I’m just recording your great tits. They are too good to keep hidden, Hailey-bitch.”
Alexis then opened her little bag, “Keep that brush going, Slave, pull your lip back so we can see some pink, and run the head along the edge of your fat lip. There, yes, just like that. Oh, fuck that is good.” Alexis put the phone down for a moment and attached her new thing; nipple clips, to Hailey’s stubby pink nipples. “Ok, ok, keep moving that thing along, now tug on your clips, pull your nipples out. Yeah, yeah.”
Hailey was becoming aroused, but somewhere in the back of her mind a little nugget of concern was growing. Hailey pushed it down, for now.
Doukas was sitting on a metal chair in the back room of a bar and restaurant, in central Craiova. The room was dimly lit and appeared to be used for card games and such. A door on one side led to a smaller room that held three metal cots. The door on the other side led out. That door opened now and four girls trooped in one after the other, followed by Amara.
Like Doukas, Amara had an ear for languages and spoke something in Serbian to the girls (all four were Serbs) who while hesitating briefly and with fear in their eyes, began to undress. When the girls, all olive skinned with dark hair, were naked, Amara had them kneel with their hands behind their backs.
Amara looked at Doukas, “eighteen, nineteen, nineteen and twenty,” she said, going down the line.
Good thing she knows, Doukas thought, they all look the same to me; young.
Doukas observed the girls like a cattle buyer at an auction. One nineteen-year-old had heavier breasts, likely thirty-eight C; the others had small, perky breasts on slim frames. There was not an ounce of fat on any of these girls; Amara had her own ideas on why that was.
Doukas pointed to the girl with the larger breasts and said to Amara; “Have this one dress and take her out the side, give her to Tony. The others, keep them here, naked. Um, and see how they make out with each other. I’ll just be in the bar and back in a few minutes.”
Amara watched the back of the departing Doukas,
thinking how easily it would be to put a bullet or a knife in it; but then she’d be done too, so that wasn’t really worth it.
She turned to the girls and told the designated one to dress; she didn’t have much in the way of clothes so in a moment Amara was taking her as directed. When she returned the remaining three were kneeling exactly as she left them. She had them then kiss each other, demanding “more tongue”, then had them suck each other’s breasts. No one seemed bothered and they were all cooperative.
They all had apparently learned how to survive.
In the restroom of a stylish restaurant in Paris, a distinguished looking man, mid-fifties, was standing at a urinal, focused on the…job at hand. When a second man, also distinguished, slightly younger came in and occupied the adjacent urinal; the first man stared straight ahead.
The second man spoke, “Is Carstairs in?”
After a moment, the man began. “Damn, that was tough to finally speak with her. Of course she is scared spit-less, but she is in agreement. We need Doukas out.”
“Good. I am having a chat with Gryba tomorrow; same thing, damn awkward connecting.”
“We’re dead if he finds out, you know.” The second man just grunted as the first flushed, washed his hands and left. No one needed to tell them what happened to people who crossed Louis Doukas.
The bar was rustic and, in an odd way, cozy. The building itself had been built in the nineteenth century and although updated at various times over the decades, the place had a distinct old-world feel (and smell, Amara thought) and the uneven floor meant your table wobbled. For tonight, there was a fire in the ancient stone fireplace.
Doukas walked to one of those wobbly tables, this one in one corner where an elderly man sat nursing a beer. The man looked up at Doukas with bushy eyebrows and a bald head fringed with pure white hair. “Anton”, Doukas said to the man.
Anton Sabău smiled a crooked smile, showing most of the nine teeth he still possessed, and spoke in Greek, “Louis Doukas, you old son of a bitch.”
The remainder of the conversation was in Greek, Sabău knowing it and his native Romanian, but Greek was what worked best for these two. Sabău had spent many years in Greece, which was how he had met Doukas, although Sabău had been a teen and Doukas a toddler.
“Thank you for what you did for Fabio.” The older man said gruffly, referring to Doukas finding a way to get Sabău’s grandson out of a Syrian refugee camp and home.
“Friends help friends,” Doukas said smoothly as his vodka arrived. The two men toasted and then Doukas began. “I am hearing stories, my old friend. Very interesting stories.” Doukas downed one shot glass and looked across the table; the old man raised his massive eyebrows, which looked like it would take an effort, and then Doukas continued. “Stories about my long time interest, lost art, courtesy of our friends, the Nazis.”
Sabău now looked a little uncomfortable, but he was aware that Doukas was one of a handful of people who knew of his…special interests.
“You need to be more specific, old friend. There are many stories told of my endeavours, and many stories of our old…friends (here he spat on the ancient floor). But I am listening, as I owe you a debt.”
Doukas poured himself another shot and went on to talk about Jakub Hildermann, a Jew living in Poland before the outbreak of the Great War. He was a sculptor of stone, and had, according to Doukas and legend, produced three images of Christ; a trilogy as it was called, which had disappeared.
Had Anton heard of such a thing?
Anton sat for a long while, before pulling an ancient bag of tobacco out of a pocket and placing a paper on the table; he slowly and carefully rolled a cigarette (in this place smoking was still allowed, no matter the century). When he placed the thin cigarette between his reedy, pale lips, Doukas held the candle from their table to it, watching the end catch fire, inhaling in the fragrance and the smoke.
“I may have heard such a story.” Anton finally allowed.
“I think more than that, my friend.” Doukas smiled, watching the man. “And, as well as your debt, I also have a gift, as a thank you for your, information. And of course, there will be your fee.
Anton smiled. “A gift?”
“Oh yes.” Doukas knew very well Sabău’s infatuation with girls, the younger the better; even at seventy-four, the old man desired them; and they were getting harder to come by.
“You have, such a gift here?”
“Oh, yes, in the back room. She is yours to take home tonight. She is Serbian; there is no paper or record. It is perfect. But first, I need what you know; all you know.”
So in his turn, Sabău recounted working several years, many years ago, for a wealthy man in Rome; a man with splendid gardens that hardly anyone saw. But Sabău had spent many hours in those gardens, working for the man, and being fascinated by three works of stone that were compelling; he would not have considered them religious, but it appeared they were.
Years later, when Sabău was reading an article, he read a description of three Images of Christ by a sculptor named Hildermann, and Sabău knew they were the same. In investigating, he had found where the works had gone following the death of the Italian.
And those works had been in a barn in the south of
Poland for all these years.
“And they are still there? You know this?”
“Oh, yes, my friend. I know this.”
Doukas finished his second glass. “And how can you still be certain, my old friend, after all these years?”
Anton Sabău smiled that crooked smile. “I know, because it was I who put them there. It is my farm; or at least it is now. It wasn’t always, but that is a different story.”
“But you must know what they would fetch in a bid?” Doukas asked.
“Fifteen million American dollars for the three; less if divided.” Sabău said without emotion.
“And yet you let them sit, in a barn, unknown. Why?”
Sabău finished his beer, and Doukas signaled the host. “I have never needed the money. And I liked having them; there, to myself.”
“But you would rather have a sweet, young girl for your pleasure, and a nice commission now.” Doukas murmured.
The old man looked with his droopy eyes at Doukas, for a long moment. “I don’t imagine you will give me much choice, my old…friend.”
Doukas smiled, pouring himself a little more vodka; it wasn’t as good as his stock, but it was decent.
(End of Chapter 10)