Dalton couldn’t move. He was wrapped in a death grip, a suffocating embrace – paralyzed with crippling pain. The unbearable sensations only lasted a few seconds; and, then he was awake. He quickly forgot the dream and dozed in the luxury of his very expensive antique bed. Dalton knew he was special, part of the one percent, son of the billionaire financier, Wilton H. Gann.
He grew up with every advantage money could buy … and all the expectations required by members of the ruling class. Like his father, Dalton was a De-facto Republican, a Harvard educated lawyer, and a collector of arcane antiques. Unlike his father Dalton was a party boy who enjoyed sex, drugs, and extravagance. Whereas his father was discreet and preferred serial marriages and divorces, Dalton preferred orgies, rough trade and shady women. Dalton pursued extreme pleasure with abandon.
When he was a teenager, Dalton was very lonely. He never knew his mother. He was raised by a nurse and sent to military school when he reached the age of twelve. He was attractive with blond hair and blue eyes, but never very popular. He preferred reading over football or military exercises. He wrote poetry that he had to hide from his fellow students — except for one … a young man named Trace. It was an odd romance: closeted, exciting, and filled with embarrassment and shame. It couldn’t last – Dalton’s dream of becoming a writer also could not last. He had to subscribe to the expectations of his station in life. His love affair with Trace was never exposed – one day Dalton simply shut the other young man out, dismissed him and forgot him. Trace eventually got over the ill-fated romance, but it left a terrible wound that would never heal. Dalton forged ahead to become a corporate lawyer who helped shield banks from any blame resulting from their careless and illegal dealings. He didn’t need the money, but wanted the prestige. He only worked with exclusive clients on a part time basis. The rest of his life was devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and adding to his collection of expensive antiques.
The bed cost two million dollars. It was the prize of his recent acquisitions. It had an ancient past – it was at least six hundred years old. Documents indicated it was once owned by Pope Innocent VIII. Other documents indicated the bed was originally built in a mysterious location that archaeologists tagged The Red City. Dalton got the bed at a bargain price as a favor from a former client he once defended.
Dalton enjoyed Lorette and her friends. She was a very high-priced escort with sizzling red hair. She had connections. Her friends were young, aspiring models. Dalton was enjoying the orgy. The bed was big enough to accommodate ten nubile bodies. Someone was giving him a blow-job while he played with a pretty ass. In the throes of his orgasm his brain turned red. Blood was everywhere and bodies were strewn across the bed like newly butchered carcasses. Then, someone was laughing and his vision cleared. No one was dead or bleeding. Someone was laughing at his limp, old cock.
Dalton was changing. He remembered his dreams as if they were memories of real events. Perverse, ugly images persisted even when he was awake. At night he often entered another world where life was reviled and death sanctified. Sex and torture were synonymous. Dalton was haunted, falling apart at the seams. He consulted the best physicians and was told he’d been working too hard, but he knew it was a lie to make him feel more at ease. The damn quacks, he thought, only wanted his money. Dalton abandoned work. Worse, Dalton abandoned any form of pleasure, including sex. He locked himself in his mansion. He never strayed from his bedroom – never strayed from his bed. He lived in his dreams – gaining a perverse joy from the horrors they revealed. One night he suddenly awoke to the stinging taint of urine. He had peed the bed. It was humiliating. He sat up and stared at himself in the mirror. He was a wreck, ragged and dirty. He was exhausted from the lack of any peaceful sleep. Every bone in his body ached. Dalton was only thirty-five, but he was suddenly ugly — old. After every nightmare he began to look in the mirror and that’s where the real nightmare was taking place. He was growing older. Every night he aged ten years. He was breaking down, turning inside out, regretting everything in his life. He was becoming a network of wrinkled, sagging skin – and losing his mind. After several days he realized the source of his pain was the bed. It was a Death Bed. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people died on his bed. Some people died of disease and old age – many people were tortured and murdered on the bed. Everyone died in pain and extreme suffering. Dalton could no longer move – he couldn’t get out of his bed.
When the house staff discovered his body they called the coroner’s office. No one knew how or why he died. He looked the same, a handsome thirty-five year old man in the prime of life.