By Taran Geary
Chapter Two : Pavel
Pavel woke up. His head ached and he was
disorientated but as he slowly climbed into consciousness he became aware of a pain in his bottom he gingerly felt
down there and realised that something was stuck up there – it felt like some sort of cloth. He felt something on
his hand and realised he was bleeding or at least he had been.
He wanted to cry out but something inside him
told him that he must be as quiet as a mouse.
He didn’t know why those
men had drugged him and done those things to him that had hurt so much. Where were his Mummy and Daddy? Why didn’t
they come and rescue him? He wanted to cry-but he was a big boy now and big boys don’t cry.
He started to make sense
of his surroundings. The room was lit by the light from the streetlamps outside and as his eyes got accustomed to
the dim light he saw his clothes on a chair. He quickly got up and dressed himself. He forced the pain to the back
of his mind; He looked out of the window at the wind and rain and quickly realised that he would need more than his
ordinary clothes if he was to last any longer than five minutes outside.
He rifled through a
large chest of drawers and found some old woollen jumpers, they were miles too big but they'd do. He found some
scarves and an old trilby hat that he forced down over his ears. Luck was on his side as he found a very old folded
up plastic mackintosh, he managed to unravel it and put it on; it came down to the ground but it would keep him
Now to get out; he took
off the Mac and folded it up, it made too much noise as he walked so he carried it; he crept to the door. It
opened; Pavel gave a prayer for that. He could hear the buzz of voices and he recognised a raucous laugh; he felt
his hackles rising as he crept out, He found a bunch of keys hanging on a hook, he took them and made for the front
door. His heart was pounding so much he thought he would choke. The door was locked and one by one with shaking
hands he tried the different keys in the locks. At last!! One turned, and he was outside in a stairwell. He
carefully closed the door, relocked it and put the keys in his pocket, he unrolled the Mac and put it on and headed
down the stairs, through the outside door and he was free.
The cold and rain hit
him like a hammer and knocked the breath out of him but he quickly regained his composure. Which way to go? Left or
Right? He watched the traffic on the street and saw that there was more going left than right and he surmised that
that must be the way to the city. He started walking, then trotting and very soon running as fast as his oversized
clothes would let him. He saw traffic lights up ahead, perhaps there will be road signs there that he could make
some sort of sense of. Some signs at home were written in English so perhaps he might recognise
He got to the road
junction and looked at the signs. City Centre, he recognised those words and he knew what they meant. He gave
himself a pat on the back and headed off briskly towards the centre.
Those two boys he met;
what were their names? Mick he remembered but the other one? That was a funny sound he couldn’t recall
He came to a big iron
bridge; he climbed up, looked over and saw the river flowing underneath it. The river was swollen and angry with
all the rain and flowing very fast. Pavel stood and looked at it for many long minutes; he even thought about
jumping in. Surely it couldn’t be any worse than his life now. He forced those thoughts out of his mind; he felt
tears welling up again.
BIG BOYS DON’T
He climbed down from the
He felt in his pocket and found the bunch of keys
he’d taken from the house where he’d been held. He climbed back up on to the bridge and threw the keys as hard and
as fast as he could. That made him feel better and he smiled as he imagined those men frantically searching for
their keys and not being able to get out of their house.
He climbed back down and
continued on his way. He pulled the trilby down even tighter to keep the driving rain from his eyes as he pressed
on towards the City Centre.
Those two boys, he
thought, could he find them? They seemed kind and he guessed they been through similar things to himself. I wonder,
he thought what are the chances?
The streets were now
lined with shops. Odd little shops, Not City centre shops but he guessed he must be getting close to the main
He ran across roads
narrowly missing being run over and several drivers blew their horns at him, but he kept going and eventually he
found what he supposed was the City Centre; Big wide street, big clock tower, big shops.
Big Boys Don’t
Pavel wandered around
falling ever deeper into despair. He didn’t recognise anywhere or anyone. All the big streets looked the same, he
But wait; he recognised
where he was! Those boys were sitting just up here; could they still be there?
He speeded up and his
heart sank. There was nobody there. He knew he had been foolish to expect them to be, but he had hoped; he felt the
tears coming again, he sat down slowly in the shop doorway and, big boy or not, he let them flow. A screaming,
wailing surrender to his despair, anger and frustration and he pounded his fists on his knees; a kindly lady spoke
to him while he cried, he didn’t know what she said and he waved her away with his hand and he buried his head in
his knees and sobbed.
When the tears passed he
looked around him; nothing had changed except that it felt even colder and it was perhaps even darker. Something
made him look down and he saw something stuck in his shoe. It was money; he knew enough to know that it was a five
The nice lady must have
put there while he cried; so, there are nice people in this country after all. Now at least, he could get something
He stood up, his bottom
was still sore and sitting on cold slabs hadn’t helped but the pain was manageable and he started to walk to find
He could smell food and
his mouth watered as he approached a fast food shop. He went in and the young men behind the counter started to
laugh at Pavel’s appearance. Pavel realised that he must look ridiculous with his Mac hanging to the floor and the
trilby hat wedged on his head and he thought that perhaps it was a good thing that he had no idea what they were
saying. But he had managed to work out that one of them was called Sadik.
Pavel used sign language
to show that he didn’t understand and he pointed to what he wanted. After he had got his food, Sadik, perhaps
regretting his earlier comments gave Pavel a can of Coke for free, despite the fact that Pavel hadn’t understood a
word he said.
Pavel went back to what
he considered “his” doorway and sat and ate his food. He was feeling tired now and he had no idea what to do next.
So, he just sat and waited; he was ignored by everyone and the way he was feeling now, that suited him
Eventually he got up and
set about finding somewhere to sleep. He found himself back at the food shop; he saw boys going around the back of
the building; so Pavel followed them and he saw other boys sitting by a hot vent he went and stood and looked at
them. None of them were Mick or his friend but one of them looked up and saw Pavel; he patted the ground beside him
inviting Pavel to come and sit with him. Pavel did sit, he nodded his thanks and there he stayed until a fight
broke out over something and it turned nasty so Pavel ran away back to his doorway only this time he ducked down an
alley which he found led to a yard where the dustbins were kept. Pavel felt the tears coming again. Big boys don’t
cry! He told himself he’d already sobbed like girl today and he wasn’t doing it again!
Pavel found a quiet
corner out of the wind behind the big dustbins and settled down to try and get some sleep.