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An accidental visit to a Dublin brothel -

An excerpt from Beneath the Darkening Clouds

Quin and his friend Archie encounter an enemy on the streets, leaving them rather the worse for wear. Contemplating how to get back to their beds, Archie makes a suggestion...

“I have an idea.” Quin turned back towards Archie. Although he couldn’t see his face clearly in the dim light,

he thought his friend seemed a little hesitant. “I have…some acquaintances,” he went on cautiously.

“If I’ve got my bearings right, I believe the…um…residence shouldn’t be too far from here.

We should be able to get a carriage from there.”

[...] "Then let’s go,” Quin said, getting laboriously to his feet and giving Archie a hand. He heaved himself up with a groan, clinging to Quin for support. The two of them staggered out of the small, dark alley, and Archie led them a short distance through the deserted streets until they reached a moderate, plain-looking house. As they teetered up the steps to the back entrance, Quin wondered what sorts of acquaintances would receive them

beaten and bloodied well past midnight. 

To his surprise, Archie’s brisk knock was answered promptly, by a rather fetching middle-aged woman

whose welcoming smile turned to a look of horror when she saw who had landed on her doorstep. 

“Lieutenant Bellinger!” she cried with a hand to her ample bosom. “What has happened?” 

Seeing his friend in the light for the first time, Quin recoiled a little himself. One half of Archie’s face was covered with dark, crusty blood, while the other side was smeared with assorted filth. His hair was plastered to the back of his head with more blood, revealing an egg-sized bump, with the rest sticking up wildly around the sides. As for his clothing…burning it was likely to be the best thing for it.

Looking down at himself, though, Quin realised he looked no better—and possibly worse. 

The woman’s loud exclamation had attracted the attention of the establishment’s other inhabitants. For an establishment it most certainly was, one evidently dealing with matters of the flesh. Quin’s eyes went wide as he took in the appearance of a dozen or so young women, all clad in silky garments that slithered around their nubile bodies. Starting to feel rather dazed, he stared at a red-haired beauty whose dark nipples peeked out from beneath a

near-transparent costume as she descended the stairs. He tore his eyes away from the sight and looked

towards Archie, blinking stupidly.  

His friend grinned, which Quin rather wished he hadn’t as it made him look even more ghastly. Before he could say anything, the madam—or so Quin believed her to be—clapped her hands and started issuing orders, which soon resulted in the two men being driven up the stairs by numerous scantily clad ladies of the night, as the others disappeared back into the surrounding doorways. 

“Oh, you poor dears,” one of them tutted, patting Quin on the shoulder. 

“We’ll have you right as rain in no time,” another assured him as she led him into a room where a pair

of maids was bustling about. 

“Um…” Quin looked around for Archie, spotting him on the far side of the room. Before Quin could call out to him, he felt a hand tugging on his waistcoat. “What?” He looked down and swatted weakly at the intrusion, but soon felt another, this time on his waistband, while a third pair of hands swiftly undid his cravat. “Ah…” He tried to extricate himself from the roving fingers, but his objections went unheard. Before he knew it, they had undressed him to his skin and were ushering him into a large copper bathtub he hadn’t noticed between the dozens of lanky limbs. 

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