By ty dehner
This is a Metalbond exclusive excerpt from ty dehner’s all new holiday novel, Master Eb’s Spirit. This story is set in our current day leather community, based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. After having spent a portion of Christmas Eve in his local pub, The Regents’ Boot, Master Eb is returning home to spend the remainder of the holiday night alone. Well, at least that is what he had planned…
Master Eb exits The Regents’ Boot.
Zipping up his leather jacket, the Master steps into the air that has cooled with the waning night. He pauses as his breath floats before his face before lifting up to the low clouds that cover London town. Putting his gloved hands deep in his jacket pockets, Eb notices a lightness to the surroundings as the snow has covered the cobblestones completely, reflecting the city lights to the low clouds creating a blue glow to the city on this Christmas Eve.
Stepping away from the doorway, the clop from Master Eb’s boots’ is muffled by the light layer of snow, yet the sound is louder because the city is mostly asleep. The blanket of snow creates a buffer, silencing the surroundings with a gentle calm and peaceful comfort. As Eb makes his way in the opposite direction that he arrived in, he can smell the light scent of burning wood from some of the fireplaces residents have burning on this holiday eve. As he passes by some of the flats, a golden glow in their windows creates warmth and safety as they enjoy the last of their festivities before the big day arrives.
One street is gayer than others with the multicolored Christmas lights strung across the small street. The fog glows with the greens, golds, and reds from these larger traditional tapered Christmas bulbs. The light from the amber coloured street lights cast shadows that ebb and flow as Eb makes his way through the snow-covered neighbourhood. For a fleeting moment, these shadows are less of Master Eb and seem to be one of a canine, ending with a small wagging tail. Other times, these shadows stretch across the front of the various flats, creating warped dark silhouettes of the leather master.
Just as the chill is starting to find its way beyond the heavy leather that Eb wears, he reaches the stoop to his three-story flat along Eastcastle Street. As his boots step up the snow-covered stone, he pulls his keys from the pocket of his leather jacket. Inserting the key, Eb doesn’t notice that his brass door knocker moves slightly as it morphs into the head of a cute dog, its tongue dropping from his mouth trying to lick Eb’s face that is too far away.
The motion of the tongue does disturb the atmosphere which causes Eb to look up briefly, missing the brass dog as he disappears with the leather master only seeing his brass knocker. Eb pauses for a moment, not sure what just occurred. He shakes his head slightly deciding it is the cold breeze scattering the snow as it falls.
Entering his flat, the heavy wood door slams shut behind him as Eb stamps his boots on the small rug on the wood floor. The flat is dark, except for a small lamp that casts a warm golden glow from the small table that sits in this entryway. Dropping his keys in a small bowl of carnival glass, Eb starts climbing the stairs to the second floor where his bedroom is.
The light comes on in Eb’s bedroom. The room is rather spartan, with the walls of fine oak towering in the twelve-foot ceiling with ornate plasterwork that dates back to when the flat was built in 1928. A plush red leather tufted wing back chair sits next to the fireplace that starts up as Eb goes to the switch next to the stone mantle. The bed on the wall opposite the door is a sturdy walnut four-poster with sheer white curtains currently parted. In a corner is an iron cage that would hold a large dog. The cage is covered in a blanket. One of the walls is lined with fine wood bookcases with volumes of classics in their leather bindings. The opposite of the books is the two dressers with the tall pane window that looks out into the cold night, the snow lightly falling.
Warming himself as the flames build in the fireplace, Eb removes his jacket, placing it on the back of his wingback chair. He loosens his leather tie, as he sits on the fine burgundy colored duvet that lays on his king-size mattress. Pausing for a moment, Eb sighs, gazing forward. With a grunt, he leans forward lifting his right leg, gripping his boot with his gloved hand and working the boot off, dropping it on the rug with a thud. Eb then works his other boot off, wiggling his toes in the gray wool boot socks. While he always enjoys wearing his boots, there is a moment when they come off that allows his feet to relax.
Standing and taking his boots in hand, Eb goes to the door on the right side of his bed. Flipping the switch, the light comes on in this narrow closet that holds his business clothes along with one of the finest leather collections in the United Kingdom. This is a collection that many leathermen dream of, but few ever build. There are jackets, pants, chaps, gloves, boots, and many other articles of leather clothing.
Removing his Langlitz, Eb places them on a cedar hanger then with the other leather pants he has in his collection. As he hangs his pants, there is the faint sound of chains outside the closet. Lifting his head, Eb listens for a moment, but the sound doesn’t continue so he continues to remove his “Bah Humbug” black t-shirt, hanging it where other t-shirts hang. Placing the hanger on the rod, there is a sound of chains moving, this time a bit louder. Now Eb knows he heard that. He turns towards the closet door, wearing his white t-shirt, undershorts, and boot socks.
As Eb exits his closet he notices on the digital clock that the time is 11:35. His bedroom is quiet as he looks around. The leather master decides that he is just tired so he turns down the sheets on his bed, climbing in and settling for a nice cozy night of sleeping as the snowfalls. He reaches for the switch on the wall, the lights go out and his room falls into darkness. Only a golden glow comes between the separation of the curtains on his window from the fireplace.
Rolling on his side, he closes his eyes and enjoys the liquid butter feeling of his luxury Egyptian cotton sheets. Still in his leather gloves, he enjoys the scent they create as he empties his mind of any thoughts.
Just as he fades, there is the sound of chains again. Slowly, the leatherman rolls on his back, moving his hands from under the covers to lay beside his body. He opens his eyes to see a green glow of light filling the room. It then goes dark as the sound of the chains silences. Eb sits up in this bed, looking around his bedroom. The chains and glowing light return, but now Eb realizes this is coming from the corner of his bedroom. The corner where the empty cage sits.
Eb is slightly concerned as he looks at the cage under a blanket in the corner, with the glow coming from under the cover. He moves his legs over the edge of the bed as a voice comes from under the blanket that is upon the cage, “Eeeeb.” The leather master’s name is a long-drawn-out sound, with the sound of the chains rattling.
Now the voice startles Eb, as he curls his legs back onto the bed, sliding back towards the center. He is apprehensive but also wonders what is happening on this winter night.
Building his courage, Eb moves back to the edge of his bed, stepping onto the floor with stocking feet and cautiously approaches the cage and the blanket covering it. As he reaches to look under the blanket there is the voice again.
From under the blanket comes the haunting, “Eeeeeeb.”
Eb snaps back his hand. Now he is getting pissed as whatever is under that fucking blanket is teasing him, so Eb just grabs the blanket quickly, pulling the blanket off, throwing it across the room.
“Woof, Master Eb.” playfully from inside the cage comes a greeting from the ghost of Jacob. The green glow reflects on the rubber dog suit and heavy chains that Jacob wears, with a dog hood covering his head, Jacob is translucent but clearly visible before his former master.
Eb is startled as he steps back, his butt landing on the edge of his bed. Staring at his former submissive, now a ghost in his favorite rubber dog outfit, heavy iron shackles attached to his wrists and ankles that are connected by chain to the bars of the cage. Jacob has a playful pup-like spirit to him. The way Jacob jumps around like a puppy in the chains, Eb realizes it is his Jacob. The rubber of his suit shows off his chiseled chest and thick arms. Jacob tilts his head as a puppy would as he appreciates seeing his master once again.
Not sure what to say, Eb stammers a bit, “What, what are you doing here? You died two years ago.”
Jacob sits on his ass, “I’m here to warn you, Master!”
Eb stands once again, now wondering how real all this is, “This is bullshit, I’ve had too many bitters tonight.” Eb looks closely at the dog in his cage, “A fucking ghost, really?!” Eb waves his hands as he dismisses what his own eyes are perceiving.
Jacob’s tone turns serious, “I am a ghost, one that still cares for you and is here to warn you that you need to change your ways!”
Laughing, Eb steps towards the cage that holds this canine ghost, “Look at you, what’s this fucking get up?”
Turning his head to look up at his master, Jacob is content as he explains who he is, “I’ve found being a rubber puppy makes me very happy, Sir. It is my hope to wear these chains for eternity but if you stay as you are, they will be removed, and I won’t be able to be the puppy I am meant to be.” Jacob is saddened by the thoughts of losing the chains that bind him.
The dog stares directly into the eyes of this leather master, “I’m warning you Sir, that you must change your life by tomorrow morning and find your true spirit that you have buried inside you or face a future that no man should have to live through.”
Eb’s gaze has connected with his former slave, the memories of the times they had rush through his mind quickly as he looks at this ghost that sits in his bedroom on Christmas Eve. But still Eb doesn’t buy into all this hocus pocus stuff that Jacob is spouting.
Shaking his head, Eb is getting impatient, “What is all this spirit shit?! Why would you come here to warn me? You hated me for taking you deep into your desires to be owned by me. You’re no dog.”
The chains rattle as Jacob reaches the bars on the top of the cage, pulling himself up. As the dog sits up, Eb steps back a step showing that he has some fear about what is going on.
The canine speaks through the rubber puppyhood that he wears, “You took me for granted as your boy. You stopped loving me. You didn’t care what I did for you. I tried fulfilling you to make you happy. But as you lost interest, I became your burden and you wanted me gone.” The thought that Jacob was no longer wanted by this leather master hurt the canine deeply, as Jacob pauses, feeling that hurt once again, looking away from Eb.
As Eb sees the emotion of this rubber dog, his heart thaws a bit like the joy of having Jacob as he was a good feeling that Eb enjoyed. The control of a man, molding this boy into what he desires in life.
Jacob can sense what Eb is feeling, “You discovered that you fell in love with the power of controlling a man, taking their heart. But after you had mine, you threw it away.”
Eb hears the word, crossing his arms, “All you wanted was romance. You kept talking about being a dog. Leather is not about romance or being a dog. I owned you and treated you like the slave you are.”
Confused about what is going on, Eb then says, “You were. You are. Whatever. You left because you couldn’t handle the intensity that you craved deep inside you.”
Jacob realizes that Eb is stubborn, never going to admit that what he did to this now rubber dog wasn’t cruel. Eb was adamant about what he wanted, and that was complete and total control. Jacob pauses, then continues, “You went too far Master and your heart turned to stone. Abusing me was your only goal in life. You didn’t see how much I loved you, how much I needed you. I left because I could never please you. You wanted a new perfect man in your life as you grew tired of me.”
Eb is thinking about what Jacob states as he returns to his bed, sitting. For the first time Eb shows a bit of compassion, “I did miss you Jacob when you left. And when I heard you had been killed in a car crash on Christmas Eve, I questioned why.”
Eb pauses as that hurt still has a place in his soul. But the leather master must hide that feeling as he turns cold, “But soon realized that I can find another slave like you to own.”
That last comment shakes Jacob as he doesn’t realize how cold Eb really was.
Jacob slumps back into the cage, hurt by that last comment. “Ouch, that really hurts Sir. I didn’t realize you were that cold. Perhaps I didn’t mean that much to you.”
The rubber dog finds that possible reality difficult to take, “But I wasn’t the one that ever filled your heart. Long before me you found one man to fulfill all you wanted and even then, you threw him away.”
Eb is silent as he thinks about what Jacob states and the one that did take his heart. He couldn’t allow himself to let any slave overtake him, yet one nearly did and that had to stop.
Jacob can see that he struck something in Eb’s thoughts, “That isn’t healthy Master. You must open your heart and change your ways.”
Eb stands, angry at the assumptions that the dog Jacob is making. “Bullshit, there are many boys out there that can give me what I want.”
Jacob is feeling a bit empowered now, “But what about their desire to give you what you want. You are going to learn tonight that you must change, or you will spend your life alone.”
The leather master is no longer interested in all this fantasy shit that this ghost is saying, “Threats, not reality. You don’t know my future. I’ve got lots of tongues that will lick my boots.”
Leaning back as Jacob knows he has done his job of warning this master, but Eb will have to just experience what is in store for him. “But they won’t mean anything to you. When was the last time you had pure joy in your heart when you were with a slave?”
Jacob adjusts himself in the cage, looking directly at Eb, losing some of his playful spirit. “You are going to be visited by three Spirits that will take you on a journey that I hope you take to heart.”
Eb looks at Jacob with some emotion showing his heart still cares about this pup in his cage, but there is an element of fear also, for all this shit that Jacob shares could indeed happen.
The rubber dog, sits back, looks up at his former master, connecting his gaze, “When the clock chimes midnight the first Spirit will arrive. Tonight, is your experience, only for you Sir. You are a great man Master Eb. Open your heart and spirit and discover what a life you can live!”
With that last statement, Eb stands and reaches out to his dog boy in the cage, as the ghost of Jacob fades away and the cage is empty, the room turning dark except for the orange glow of the fire. Eb stands for a moment, lowering his hand. He steps back sitting on his bed, thoughts of his life running through his head. Slowly, he lays down, pulling the covers over him and curling into a fetal position under them.
Excerpt from the new novel by ty dehner Master Eb’s Spirit
Available worldwide from Amazon on Kindle and in print.
© Copyright 2021 by ty dehner/ All rights reserved.