As the movers retreated down my new street with a friendly wave, I stood across from my new home, and thought about Josh.
He would have thought me silly and unusually girlish for having bought such a cliché - small white picket fence, roses, the whole bit - but I knew that was a side of me that he loved. He would have loved the big garage with the attached shop - that was another reason I’d bought this place. I didn’t need a workshop myself. I’d bought it because Josh would have loved it. It didn’t look as cheery with the gathering clouds of a spring storm above, but it was - almost ridiculously cheery. Well, perhaps it was time for some cheer. I’d been mourning a long time.
At least I wouldn’t have much lawn to mow. The house was on a steep hill, but so was the entire town. Gilman had been a modern ghost town, shut down in the eighties when the mine it had sprung up to support had closed. Some entrepreneur in the nineties had bought the entire town, razed most of the homes and replaced them with modern, cozy, places, and restored a small handful of really nice houses which had been in better shape than the rest. Mine was one of these and it was charming. Gilman was now a combination of arts mecca, retirement community, and tourist trap.
My plastic surgeon had told me about the place on one of my last check-up visits, after my last procedure. It seemed a couple of his other former patients - literally a couple, married - had moved there to retire. Like me, they had suffered significant facial disfigurement, but in both of their cases it was from skin cancer, not from being trapped in a burning car.
My doc had suggested I look them up after I told him of my plans to move to Gilman. Assuming they were even still alive of course. He hadn’t spoken to them in years.
Another reason I’d chosen this house - there had been three available in town, surprisingly - was the path between my yard and the neighbor’s property below me which led down to the river, not more than a hundred yards away. Both my fence and my neighbor’s had gates opening onto the path, and it was obvious that the path predated the redevelopment of the town.
The house below mine shared the hill, the river path, and a driveway, along with my house and one other. I made a mental note to ask around town who lived there. It was a charming old dump, probably one of the restored originals, although the yard looked a little neglected. Well, to be fair, so-called “yards” are hard to maintain on a mountainside.
When the first raindrops fell, I turned to go back inside when something moving in the corner of my eye caught my attention; my neighbor below had just come out his back door and was headed for his gate. He wore a shiny black mackintosh style raincoat which caught my eye. It draped and rippled as he walked, not stiff like vinyl or the coated fabrics we usually see.
I was pretty sure that was a British style of mackintosh made in satin-backed rubber! It could hardly be considered fashionable in Colorado mountain towns these days. The rubber boots were sensible though. Except, there was something else… oh: the boots had heels. I’d been thinking it was a guy, but it looked like it was a gal. That explained the fashion sense. Still… a shiny black macintosh? What were the odds? She probably wasn’t a fetishist, just someone who liked good quality rain gear.
That was why my interest had perked up: I am a fetishist, a right kinky pervert, and it’s entirely Josh’s fault. It is one of the things I have by which I remember him. From the first shy and awkward moment when he’d admitted his obsession, through our exploration, to my gradual growing interest, I have a hundred treasured memories of Josh and I together, having fun, giving each other pleasure, experimenting, learning, growing up together. We had always thought we would grow old together…
The next day I asked Mary at the hardware store who lived in the house below mine and she said it was empty, but she was pretty sure there was a caretaker who either lived in it part of the year, or visited it a lot. She said the caretaker was a guy, so that was interesting.
Mary and everyone else in town have been really nice to me. Nobody is put off by me wearing a mask under a veil. In fact, several people mentioned a guy named Bob, who also has a messed-up face. He goes around wearing a bee-keeper’s hat and veil. I have a strong suspicion he might be the patient my surgeon mentioned. No idea where he lives though. It’s a small town so I’ll probably run into him sooner or later.
By the end of the week, I had everything unpacked and was essentially moved in except for a few boxes of junk I didn’t much care about. Weekends and weekdays didn’t seem terribly different any more, since I’m essentially retired. The award from the lawsuit means I don’t have to work, but that’s no compensation for losing the love of your life. I would dig ditches seven days a week for the rest of my life if it would bring Josh back.
Saturday was rainy again, and as I wondered what to do with my day and whether I should make the trek to the library, my eyes landed on the calendar I’d just pinned up to the office wall and I realized what day it was. Our anniversary. Our “official” anniversary. After we’d been together for more than a year, we realized we weren’t certain exactly when we had started dating, so we had decided to use the day we’d moved in together as our official anniversary day. Today.
Ever since the accident, I had made a point of doing things which Josh loved or which we had loved doing together, on special dates like birthdays or our anniversary, or holidays, or whenever the aching ball of cold lead in my stomach made me feel like killing myself out of despair. Music, especially live music. Sushi. His - and now my - fetishes and kinks like rubber clothes and bondage. Hiking. Walks in the rain. These activities have kept him alive for me.
Thunder crashed. I looked out the window, down the hill, and there was the gal - or perhaps the cross-dressing caretaker - headed out in his or her shiny black mackintosh and high heeled rubber boots.
Something in my head clicked, and I realized how I was going to spend my day - or at least the next several hours. I was going to get dressed up in rubber and go for a walk in the rain.
I rushed a bit, not knowing how long the fickle mountain weather would last. Based on past experiences, the sun could be shining in half an hour, or it could still be raining tomorrow.
I was putting my feet in the neck hole of the suit when a sort of flashbulb of arousal went off in my head and I decided to do something I hadn’t done since the accident. I put on a pair of dildo panties, using a boat-load of silicone lube, before the suit. Then a corset, a simple hood, my treasured high-heeled Hunters, and a mackintosh not terribly different from my neighbor’s, except mine is bright crimson red.
It was pouring harder when I finally walked outside, and although it wasn’t technically sunset, the sun was well behind the mountain peaks, putting the whole valley and mountainside in shadow. The rain was unusually warm for the mountains, which means it wasn’t as cold as ice water, just normally cool. The feeling of being dry inside my layers of rubber while water poured over me was delicious. I decided to head down the path to the river, the way my neighbor / caretaker had gone. I hadn’t dressed up like this in months, and as for going outside while dressed… I realized suddenly that it had been since before the accident.
It felt exciting, and naughty, and the plugs inside me felt very, very nice as I walked.
The first time I had done this, Josh had had to hold me up because I had climaxed and my knees had buckled. I couldn’t stand. I’d been embarrassed, even though no one had been around, and it had been raining, like it was today. I paused at the gate and smiled wistfully. That memory didn’t hurt the way it used to, and I felt a little warmer inside. Who knows, I might even have been smiling.
The path had been graveled so it wouldn’t get muddy, and was an easy stroll even in my four inch heels. Plus the Hunters have chunky practical heels, stilettos on this course gravel would turn your ankle.
The noise of the rain on the hood of my mackintosh was deafening, although the lightning and thunder were sparse and not very loud. I guess that the center of the storm had moved away from the valley, although the rain hadn’t let up at all.
When I reached the river I could see it was swollen above where it normally ran- not flood stage, but swift and dangerous-looking. I turned and wandered upstream along the wide bank. I soon found an interesting feature on the bank above the path; a sort of bowl which a small stream had caved out of the bank, exposing bright orange clay. I had always been the sort of girl who stomped in puddles and played in mud, so I stuck a foot in. The whole bowl was full of thick, wet, sticky orange mud. This looked fun! I sat down and put both feet in. I scooped some up. The clay was very fine, so the mud was slippery and smooth, not gritty. It looked like pudding.
Cautiously, I worked my way into the middle of the bowl and sat down in the muck. The mud was higher than my boots and promptly sucked one of my boots right off my foot when I tried to walk in it. I rescued it, removed the other, and tossed them on the bank. Squishing the mud with my latex-encased feet felt lovely. The air and the rain were warm enough I didn’t really need my mackintosh… I peeled out of my coat and tossed it aside too. Everything was smeared with orange, but it would all rinse off in seconds in the rain. Rubber is handy that way.
I rolled around and squirmed in the mud for quite a while, luxuriating in the squishy, slimy feeling until I started to feel a bit chilled. It was time for my mackintosh again, and maybe home. Standing up in the middle of the bowl forced my feet deep into the mud and I realized that walking was impossible, I’d have to slither my way out. Except… when I pulled one foot and leg out, with effort, I forced the other even further down. I laughed. This stuff was like quicksand! And then a chill went through me: maybe this stuff was a little too much like quicksand! I’d better get out.
A few minutes later, I was no closer to the edge of the bowl of mud, I was winded, I was scared, and I was crying. I was also quite stuck. I didn’t seem to be in any danger of sinking deeper into the mud, but I couldn’t get out of it either. For a long time, I lay on my back in the mud, my legs seemingly ending at the knee where they were poked down into the thick gunk.
And then, a very unexpected face appeared above me. Unexpected because it was wearing a black latex hood not very different from mine, framed by the hood of a shiny black mackintosh.
“Do you need help?” a man’s voice asked, “you appear to be stuck.”
I stammered that I was, and I did, so he reached out his hand and with only a little effort, pulled me out.
For a long moment we stood and stared at each other. He was dressed much as I had been, although his boots were tan, not black. I didn’t know whether he had a catsuit on under his raincoat, but I wouldn’t have been surprised. I mean, the mask was a dead giveaway.
“Well!” he said at last, nearly shouting to be heard over the rain and wind, “it’s lucky I came along - that mud hole is a tricky old bugger, and who knows how much higher this river will get before the storm quits? Are you quite all right?”
He had a quaint way of talking, it seemed a bit old fashioned. He sounded very proper, as if he ought to have an upper-class English accent, though if he had one, I couldn’t place it. He was also very friendly, and we were alone out of anyone’s sight, and I wasn’t naive. I decided I’d better get home; if he was my neighbor, we could get to know each other somewhere public, later!
“Thank you!” I finally managed to stammer out, as I retrieved my boots and squelched my muddy feet into them. “I’m very grateful. It seems we have something in com—“ I started to add, and then faltered as I stood upright and realized he wasn’t where he had been. I whirled around, expecting some kind of bad behavior from behind me… but there was no sign of him. He’d split while I was bent over! He wasn’t upstream or down and I didn’t think he’d gone in the water, so he must have high-tailed it back up the trail. I’d heard of shy men before but that was the fastest disappearing act I’d ever seen.
So much for my paranoia about strange men in rubber.
I didn’t see the old caretaker - for I was certain now that’s who the shy fellow in the mackintosh had been - the next day, or the day after. I suspected he was hiding his cross-dressing from his wife or the neighbors, and was using the empty house as a safe place to dress up. Well, his secret was safe with me.
The next time I was “in town” I cautiously asked Mary, the hardware store owner, what she knew of the house below mine, and the caretaker. According to her, she’d asked around and found out the caretaker lived in the house for six months out of the year - in winter. He shouldn’t be there now.
So who the hell had pulled me out of the mud pit?
I wasn’t about to tell Mary where I’d been or what I’d been doing, but when I said that I thought I’d seen the caretaker during the rainstorm, she got a funny look on her face and asked me to describe him. So I did, including the boots and the mackintosh, and feeling a bit daring, I added “and I think he was wearing some sort of mask…” I was curious how she would react to the description. I neglected to mention my own clothing!
When I said that, she got a bit wide-eyed and said, “why, dearie, that doesn’t sound like Jim the caretaker at all, that sounds more like the house’s former owner, Rob Reinhold - a bit odd, liked to dress up in weird clothes, tho he was completely harmless. But it couldn’t have been him!”
With a feeling of dawning horror, I asked the obvious question: “why not?”
“Because he’s been dead for three years. He got stuck in a mud hole down by the river when it was rising, and he drowned!”