"MONTSABOT CHARTERHOUSE" is a gay story, with some parts containing graphic scenes of sex between males. So, if in your land, religion, family, opinion and so on this is not good for you, it will be better not to read this story. But if you really want, or because YOU don't care, or because you think you really want to read it, please be my welcomed guest.

MONTSABOT CHARTERHOUSE by Andrej Koymasky © 2018
written on 29 June 2002
Translated by the Author
English text kindly revised by Brian

It had been two years since Roland was married and he was happy. Having to take care of his new family, besides the work with his father, made him feel fulfilled. At times he could feel desire awaken, but managed to always keep it in check, as all summed up he had an agreeable and full life. Mainly seeing the children grow up, caring for them, devoting to them all his free time, enjoying their deep affection, was extremely gratifying.

Jean-Marie and Michel, who were now seven years old and starting to attend school, called him Dad. Serge instead, who was thirteen, even though incredibly affectionate to Roland, called him by name. It was all right with the young man. Between Serge and him there was a great confidence, at times also some kind of complicity as seldom exists between real fathers and sons.

His relationship with Madeleine was like that between a brother and a sister, they were fond of each other and supported each other in all matters. Roland's father had accepted his son's new family without suspecting that between he and Madeleine there wasn't any sexual relationship. In fact at times, while they both were at work, Monsieur Laforest asked his son why they were waiting to give him a grandchild...

It was the beginning of 1921. One day Roland's father asked him to take his car and to give him a ride.

"Where should I take you, Dad?" the young man asked as they leaved.

"Go straight. I'll tell you when you have to turn." the man said with a mysterious smile.

"All right, but where are we going? And to do what?" Roland insisted.

"You will see... I have in my hands a golden opportunity... Something really interesting."

Roland resigned himself not to get more information for the moment. On one side the mystery air of his father amused him. Anyway, if the man said it was a golden opportunity, as he had a remarkable flair for business, it should really be something special.

Guided by his father, Roland drove for about one hundred and fifty kilometres, until they were in a wide woody area at the foot of the Massif Central. They passed through a small town, then the father told him to stop.

"Look!" he said, looking in front of him. "What do you see?"

Roland looked in the direction where his father was looking. There was the mountain, covered with woods, and at its foot a rocky formation gently sloping down, on which were standing the ruins of an ancient church and other buildings.

"What is it?" the young man asked, curious.

"Montsabot Charterhouse. You see, the rocky formation where it stands has the shape of a clog, of a sabot, from which it takes its name."

"Yes... I see... So, then?"

"It stands in a splendid location, from up there, there is a unique panorama. Here the climate is good and at the back of the Charterhouse there is a spring of abundant water low in mineral content. The Charterhouse has been abandoned for more than a hundred years... It was attacked and sacked during the revolution. It became state property, but during the war, out of need of money, the government sold it to Monsieur Albin, the Paris publisher. But at the death of old Albin, his inheritors decided to get rid of it... and they are ready to sell it for a song, as they don't know what to do with it."

"And you decided to buy it?" Roland asked, rather surprised, not understanding where was the golden opportunity, how little could it cost, what could his father do with a charterhouse in ruin, in that place?

"Certainly so!" the man answered with a pleased expression.

"But... to do what?" the young man then asked.

"A luxury hotel for rich people wanting to do the waters treatment. It is becoming fashionable, the rich middle class is hunting for thermal hotels in splendid place like this."

"A hotel? Are you planning to pull down everything and have build one of those horrible hotel complexes?"

"No, no, absolutely not. Take that road and let's go up there, so I can explain to you the fantastic idea I had..."

Roland drove, taking the narrow dirty track that with some hairpin bends ended in a square in front of the church. They got out of the car.

The church had a Latin cross plan, with three naves and three apses; all the walls and the dome were still standing, and only part of the roof towards the facade was partly collapsed. All the doors and the lancet arch windows were empty. At the left of the church there was an elegant tower-house, in gothic style like the church, that should have had bells in the top floor; then there were other three story buildings that, with the church, enclosed the square on three sides, so shaping a rectangular space with colonnades, open towards the valley.

"Do you see? That tower-house was the Abbott's residence. The building at the side was the scriptorium and the library, and at this side of the gate there was the herbalist's shop with his laboratory. On the other side of the church, at the right, there was the important guests' quarters and here towards the belvedere, the pilgrims' guesthouse. On the other side of the other gate, there was another shop, where they sold various handicrafts, like pottery... but I don't know..."

"How did you get to know all this?" Roland asked, made curious and in part fascinated by those buildings.

"I got copies of all the old maps from the land registry office. This entire rock spur down to the valley and for a good stretch up to the mountain, is part of the Charterhouse estate."

"And you are planning to change these buildings into a hotel? But how would you use the church?"

"No, this part will be only the reception, the offices and the services, the medical surgeries, restaurants, bars and so on. The church, once restored, will become a gym with the most modern equipment, including a pool. And in the crypt there will be the boilers..."

"But... and the rooms?"

"This is the best part of the plan. Come!" the man said, his voice filled with enthusiasm.

Passing through the rusty and half demolished gate between the library and the herbalist's shop, they clambered up a path. They crossed a stone small bridge.

"The water of this brook comes from a small lake that is up there, feed by the spring of the curative waters... we will partly enclose the brook to feed the pool in the church..." the man went on to explain.

Just beyond the bridge the path divided in three almost parallel lanes, each at a higher level. Along these lanes, exactly at the back of the church, were standing rows of two storied small houses, all perfectly identical, built in stone, some still in a good shape and others partly crumbled.

"The monks lived here. Each of these small houses contained four apartments, two in front and two in the back, you see, there are the access stairs. Now, each floor will contain a suite for the hotel guests, therefore at the beginning there will be twenty-two suites, as in total there are nineteen houses but only eleven are still easily restorable. The other eight houses will be restored in a second phase, and there is enough room to eventually build seven more of these houses, in the same style, so bringing the total capacity to fifty suites, which means we can host between fifty and one hundred and fifty guests... What do you think?"

They entered one of the small houses. Each floor was a rectangle surrounded outside by columns at two meters from each other, for a total of five on the shorter side, including those at the corners, and seven on the long side. Therefore inside were visible three columns for five, as the ends were used for the front and back stairways.

"It's fascinating... and the suites would be quite nice... But all the amenities are missing; water, electricity, heating, sewage..."

"Yes, but all will be installed. Thanks to heaven, as the whole complex is almost in ruins, there aren't any obligations from the Fine Arts and Monuments Office. Therefore, maintaining the ancient external aspect, all the interiors will be very modern, functional and fitted with the most modern accomodations. We will also get telephone service, of course... But now come, there are still a couple things I want to show you."

They clambered up to the higher lane and, going from there towards the east, they reached the small lake. Beyond it, in a clearing, was standing an octagonal chapel, also in stone, on top of a big rock.

"That is the chapel in honour of Saint Bruno, the founder of the Carthusians. Restoring it we can get an elegant bar, possibly with a small orchestra and a dance floor... What do you think?"

"Yes... all this will cost not so little..."

"Of course, but much less than building a new hotel and anyway, preserving as much as possible of the Charterhouse's original aspect, we will get a very, very original and elegant hotel. And as all the land with the woods and these ruins will cost me less than a normal plot of land in the plains where we could build a hotel, we will get something extremely luxurious, spending relatively little money..."

"Do you have any idea about the time it will take to do all the work?"

"I have to contact a good contractor and a skilled architect... but I think that in a couple years, at most three, we can open the hotel. First of all I want the whole estate surrounded by a wall. Did you notice the small house down there, at the beginning of the dirty track leading here? That also is part of the estate. There we will have the reception. Of course we will have the dirt road paved in asphalt, the church square and the lanes paved in granite, and there I will have a nice stone stairway connecting the three paths and leading towards the church-sports centre... Yes... I already can see it... it will be fantastic!"

Roland smiled at his father's enthusiasm - it had been years since he had seen him so excited about something.

"And what will you call this hotel?"

"Oh, simply Montsabot Charterhouse Hotel. So, then? What do you think?"

"Dad, you have an excellent nose for business, if you say it's worthwhile, it surely will be worthwhile. I think that in a short time you will abundantly get back the money you are investing on it..."

"We are investing, my son. All that belongs to me one day will be yours, as you know. And anyway, to start, I will buy this estate in your name, and also the hotel will be recorded in your name. At least on this you will have not to pay the inheritance tax. You agree, don't you?"

"Of course, Dad; what you decide is good for me, you know it."

"You don't seem really enthusiastic..."

"Yes, Dad... it's just that you took me unawares. From steelworks to hotels... I simply didn't expect it. But I think it's a brilliant idea..."

So, Monsieur Laforest found a building firm able to do a careful restoration-modernisation job, hired a good architect to design the project, and started to build the surrounding wall and to asphalt the road...

He got all the needed authorizations, so he also started the work to have installed at the Charterhouse water, electricity, telephone, and to build also a perfect sewage system.

Roland was going forth and back to supervise the work. Around the end of the year, back from one of his periodical visits to the building site, he found Serge sitting on the villa's entrance stairs, in tears.

"Hey, Serge! What happened?" Roland asked, sitting on the stairs near him.

"Mum... she got a high fever... the doctors... she is ill... she is dying..."

"No way... It happens to get fever, you should not worry, Serge..."

"No, they said... I've heard them... they said... that the drug they are giving her... not always is... not always does..."

"Serge, my darling, you possibly misunderstood..." Roland tried to console him, moved by the deep dejection of the boy. "Come in, I will go and talk with the doctors and you will see that..." he said.

He went in and Serge followed him, dejected. While they were climbing the wide stairway leading to the first floor, Roland's father was going downstairs. The young man looked in his eyes with a questioning expression.

"I immediately called the physicians, as soon as I knew... as soon as I got back home..." the man murmured in a flat tone.

"What do they say?" then Roland asked worried, noticing the tense expression of his father.

"Blackwater Fever, it seems. They gave her quinine, but..." then he stopped looking at Serge. "Come with me, Serge, we have to go to the kitchen to take some wet cloths for your Mum... Come..."

The boy looked at Roland, who nodded in assent.

"Yes, Serge, give my dad a hand..." he said, gently pushing him towards his father.

The boy turned round and followed Roland's father to the kitchens. Roland continued climbing the stairs and when he was about to enter Madeleine's room, a doctor came out.

"Are you Madame's husband?" the man asked him.

"Yes... tell me... what has Madeleine got?"

"Malaria... and we are afraid of the malignant kind..."

"But... will you succeed in..."

"We still can't say but... but we doubt we can."

"Is it infectious?"

"No. It's caused by a mosquito's sting... you just need to burn fumigators in all the villa to avoid other people being infected."

Roland went in the room. Near Madeleine's bed were standing two more doctors.

"Can I talk with her? Is she conscious?" Roland asked in a low voice, looking towards the pale figure lying on the bed.

"Yes... you are..."

"Her husband. Can you leave us alone for a few minutes?"

"Surely. But be careful not to weary her, Madame is very weak."

Roland went near Madeleine's bed and took her hand in his hands. She was burning. The young woman opened her eyes and as she recognised him gave a faint smile.

"You are here..." she whispered.

"Yes... how are you feeling?"

"Do you remember... what you said... about Hervé... just before he... he left us?"

"What?" Roland asked, feeling his heart break.

"That he knew... that he was going... So am I..."

"No..." Roland moaned. "You cannot... your children..."

"They have you, now. Swear... you will go on... caring for... them..."

"Of course, but..."

"You didn't want... with Hervé... to surrender... And you don't want... to surrender... also now... isn't it so? But in a... short while... I will be with him... and from up there... we will wait for you..."


"Thank you... for everything... everything... everything..."

After a few days of intermittent fever, Madeleine fell into a coma and soon left this world.

Roland was terribly shaken by Madeleine's death. She was just thirty-two. When Serge and the twins asked to see their dead mother, Roland's father opposed. But Roland remembered what Hervé told him - the most cruel thing had been that he was not allowed to see for the last time his dead parents and little sister.

Therefore, after checking that Madeleine had been laid in the proper way on her bed, he took the hands of Michel and Jean-Marie and with Serge, entered their mother's bedroom.

"Here... see how beautiful she is? She seems to be just asleep, doesn't she?" Roland whispered trying to restrain the pain and the grief he was feeling.

"She is so pale..." Michel murmured.

"But she is really beautiful... she seems like an angel..." Jean-Marie said.

"Yes, now she really is an angel... and she is looking at us... and she will protect us..." Serge said drawing nearer the bed and caressed his mother's hand.

This reminded Roland of when he caressed the lifeless hand of Hervé, there on the battle field, and he had to exert a great effort not to burst in tears. Serge turned, looked at him and from his expression understood what Roland was feeling.

"If you feel like crying... just do it, Roland. So we too can cry without worrying."

"Why did Mum go away?" Jean-Marie asked.

"Why so soon?" said Michel.

"Because the good Lord called her. And because she knows that Roland will take care of us. Because she knows we are not alone." Serge murmured.

"Dad... you will not go away, will you?" Michel asked.

"You will not leave us, will you?" Jean-Marie insisted.

"For what depends on me, my darlings, I will never leave you. Also your Mum didn't want to leave you, but unhappily... unhappily... she fell ill and... and nobody could help her..."

Later, Serge went near Roland who was alone, sitting in the studio room sofa, and sat near him.


"Tell me, Serge."

"You were near Dad when he died, there in the war, weren't you?"

"Yes, sure, to his last breath."

"And also near Mum when she died, right?"

"Sure, also near to her."

"And you too feel a great pain as we do... if not even more, right?"

"Of course. I would have died in place of your Dad... and would have liked to have been able to do something for your Mum..."

"Yes, Mum told me. She told me you really loved Dad. And you also did love our Mum very much, I saw it."

"And I love you three very, very much also."

"I know. I would be glad if I still had my Dad here... but even if I am not able to call you Dad, because I remember him too well, I am glad having you here, near me. I wanted to tell you this. Also if I cannot call you Dad... I love you so much... at least as much as I loved my Dad."

"I know, Serge, and we don't really need you to call me Dad, it's rather right you can't. For your little brothers it's different, as they didn't know him..."

"Yes, of course, I know. We are lucky having you..."

"Do you know that you resemble your Dad very much? And not only physically, but also in character. I met him when he was older than you now, but I can bet that when he was your age, he was exactly as you are."

"He too lost his Dad and his Mum, right?"

"And a little sister... yes... when he was just ten years old."

"But he didn't have someone like you to take care of him..."

"There was an old aunt..."

Serge had a light smile, "I like you better, a thousand times, than an old aunt." he sweetly said, looking in his eyes.

Roland tenderly hugged him. Serge curled himself up against him and emitted a soft sigh. Roland caressed his hair. They remained so for a long time, giving each other comfort just with their closeness, with that contact filled with tenderness.

The following year, at the beginning of Spring, a new loss hit the villa. Roland's father, who was sixty-six years old, while working in his presidential office at the Laforest Industries, during the morning was cut short by a heart attack. His secretary found him collapsed on his desk. The woman at once called Roland, who was in the storehouse talking with the chief-storeman and informed him that his father seemed unconscious. Roland ran upstairs... and understood that his father in reality was dead.

Even though he never had a very close relationship with him, and never very affectionate, Roland was deeply shaken. He asked the secretary to call a doctor to certify his father death and to do all that was needed. He then called the villa giving the news to the butler, asking him to inform all the personnel, and to tell the family chauffeur not to go to fetch the children at school as he personally would go.

He went to the parking lot to get his car. The news had already spread throughout the factory and many of the employees offered him their condolences.

He arrived in front of the primary school just before the boys came out. He waited and took the twins on board, who were really happy that Roland came to fetch them. He then drove to Serge's School, as he was coming out half an hour later, and they waited for him too.

When the boy saw Roland, he opened up in a bright and wide smile.

"How great! Today you came to get us!" he merrily exclaimed. "How could you? Your Dad let you free, today?"

"Serge, Jean-Marie, Michel... my father this morning... has died. I wanted to be the one to tell you."

The three boys fell silent.

Then Serge said, "I'm so sorry, Roland... I'm really so sorry..."

"But grandfather was so old?" Michel asked.

"No... he was rather aged but... quite likely his heart stopped... possibly his heart was older than his body..." Roland tried to explain.

"How can the heart be older than the body?" Jean-Marie asked.

"In a car, some parts become older than others and stop working before. And our body is somewhat like a car." Serge explained to him.

"But a car, one can repair it, it's enough to change the part that doesn't work..." Jean-Marie objected.

"Who knows that one day it may be possible to also change the parts of a human body that don't work... But for the moment this is not possible. The doctors are not yet able to do everything..." Serge said.

"Yes, like they weren't able to help Mum, isn't it?" Michel then said.

"Exactly so. Life and death are two things about which we still know very little, yes, very little..." Roland said.

A great crowd of people took part in Roland's father's funeral; he had been an important name in the field of French finance and industry, and an important member of the community of the town where he had his villa. Politicians, soldiers, financiers and industrialists, the mayor with all the town council, and also commoners...

The newspapers published plenty of articles, and bags of condolence letters and telegrams came. Roland charged his father's secretary to answer everybody on his behalf.

He then took the woman aside and asked her, "Josiane, I think that my father had a mistress... even though he never told me so. If you know something about her, I would like you to tell me who she is... I wouldn't like her to suddenly find herself in financial straits, now that my Dad is dead..."

The secretary looked at him somewhat puzzled then, hesitantly, said, "Yes, Monsieur Roland, you are not wrong... You really want to know who she is?"

"Oh, my god, Josiane... I didn't want to... I should have been more cautious, more careful..."

The woman smiled, shaking her head, "No, Monsieur Roland, even though it is often thought that a secretary is also... no, it's not me."

The young man sighed, "Luckily; I feared to have embarrassed you... Forgive me. So, then, why are you so hesitant to tell me?"

"No... if you want to know... Your father demanded that I keep silent... but as I see the reason why you want to know, and as he is no longer with us... Well, here is her name and address..." the woman said writing them down on a sheet of paper, with her elegant calligraphy, and handing it to the young man.

Roland threw a glance at it. "Do you know who she is, what she does, how she lives?"

"No, monsieur Roland. All I know is what I wrote, as your father often charged me to buy some things and to have them delivered at that address."

"Buy things? Presents? What kind of things?"

"Rolls of cloth, food, wines... at times also something for the house, like... like a piece of furniture, or a pendulum clock... a set of glasses..."

"Thank you, Josiane. I have to go and meet her... and see if I can do something for her."

"You have a heart of gold, Monsieur Roland..." the woman commented. Then added, "Ah, your father's attorney called and asked when you have time to see him."

"Ah... tell him to arrange a meeting, just look on the calendar when I have some free time."

"I certainly will."

Roland went to the address that the secretary wrote down. It was a house in the town centre, standing on a narrow alley. It was an ancient but dignified building. He went upstairs and on the second floor he saw her name on a door, Odette Féraud. There was no doorbell so he knocked.

Soon a woman, dressed in a simple but elegant way, came to open the door. At her back there was a kid of about ten years of age, who was holding on to her skirt.

"Madame Féraud, I presume..."

"Mademoiselle... yes it's me. What do you desire?"

"My name is Roland Laforest, I am the son of..."

"You? What can I do for you?"

"May I come in, pray?"

"Please... come in..."

Roland went in; the apartment was dignified, not rich, not poor. Mademoiselle, the woman said. She should be in her forties and was a rather pleasant woman. And she had a child... 'Can he be the son of my father?' he asked himself.

"Forgive me for coming to disturb you, but... I know that you... were my father's... companion, therefore..."

"He told me you didn't know about me..." the woman said in a low voice, looking at the tip of her shoes.

"I didn't, in fact... but I guessed and... after my father's death, I got your name from his secretary..."

"I see..."

"The reason for my visit... well, I wouldn't seem... tactless... But I asked myself if by chance, now that my father is dead... if by chance you... I didn't know you had a son... What's his name?" Roland asked to gain time, not knowing how to face the subject.

"His name is Edmond..."

"Like my father..." Roland remarked.

"No... I mean, yes, but it is a pure coincidence... He is not your father's son..."

"Are you sure?" Roland asked, then blushed, "I beg your forgiveness, I didn't want to..."

The woman shook her head, "Of course I am sure, as I gave birth to him, didn't I? No, he was born one year before I first met your father. It is just a chance that he has his same name... Really just chance."

"Therefore... it is about eight, nine years that you and my father..."

"Exactly ten years... in May."

"And... if you will forgive me to ask of you... why didn't he marry you, as he was with you for such a long time... and as you still are a miss?"

The woman sadly smiled, "He never proposed to me... and it was not up to me asking him... I knew he had you... it could have been for you that he didn't, but I don't know..."

"And now you... forgive my daring but... what work do you do?"

"Work? He didn't want me to work... he wanted to find me at home. Any time he decided to come, do you see?"

"But so, now... how can you continue?"

"I really don't know. I didn't have to pay the apartment rent... the house belonged to him... therefore now to you. I will look for a job, I think, even though at my age... possibly as a shop assistant... at least I hope."

"Listen to me, Mademoiselle Féraud... if for ten years my father has been with you, it means that he was affectionate to you... that he was fitting well with you... and now I don't want you to find yourself suddenly out of house and home. Therefore, if you allow me... I was thinking... I will ask the attorney to record this apartment in your name... Moreover, even though the boy is not my father's son... I would like you to accept an annuity in his name, at least until he comes of age and can provide to sustain you..."

The woman looked at him astounded, "And I thought that... feared that... Why will you do all that for me, for us? After all we are two perfect strangers to you."

"You weren't so for my father, and this is enough for me. You cared for him for so many years... I think that what I am offering you is simply owed to you."

"What can I say? You are really kind and generous... surely your offer would allow me to live without too many problems... I can anyway really look for a job and so support my son and myself... You don't need to..."

"No, I don't need to, it's true. But it seems to me just fair and I'm pleased to do so... at least in the memory of my father. Please, accept it. If you find a good job, so much the better. But if your child one day desires to attend a superior school... they are quite expensive... so you can allow him to do that, don't you think? Accept for him, at least. I don't intend at all to offend you or to embarrass you."

"I thank you... I accept then. But, wouldn't you like to know how we met, your father and I? Why I still am unmarried but have a child?"

"If you want to tell me... although you really don't need to."

Odette then told him her story.


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