by Jack Kendle
I am grateful to the distinguished artist, Maurice
Heerdink, for his permission to reproduce three of his excellent pictures, without which this story would be
Other images are, to the best of the author’s
knowledge, in the Public Domain. If, however, you feel that an image reproduced in this story is in breach of
copyright and can be proven to be so, the image in question will be removed.
©2011 Jack Kendle - All Rights Reserved
TO THE READER
Although most of the places and locations described here are real, this does not mean that the
persons represented here or the actions described in this story actually took place at these real locations,
nor should it be inferred. The locations are used purely for atmosphere and veracity. The story is of course
fiction from beginning to end and similarly, all characters are fictitious and any resemblance to real
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
The story contains scenes of man/boy sexual relations, some of which are non-consensual, which
may upset some readers and this being the case, they are advised not to read any further. Similarly, if the
reading or downloading of such material contravenes laws or regulations in your community, state or country,
then you do so at your own risk.
Peter Taylor, 23
Book illustrator and main protagonist
Jeremy, his current lover
no direct part in the action)
Sebastian Walker mid 30’s
Portrait photographer, a neighbour
Dr Jerzy Szczepkowski
Peter’s downstairs neighbour (takes no part in the action)
70+ A regular at “The Crown” –
Peter’s local pub
Simon Stafford-Jones 50+
Retired professional singer
Peter’s young friend and eventually, his lover
Stanhope Robertson 80+
Retired organist & choirmaster
Deceased. Former Rector at St Giles
Police detective, London
his sergeant (London)
Police detective, Bournemouth
14th Earl of Pevensey
Phyllida, Lady Pevensey
Kieran Montagu, 13
butler to the Pevensey household
current Rector of St. Giles
Man in bookshop
Izaak Waldon, author
Tom Thatcher, about 12 y.o.
(takes no direct part in
Philip J.W. Montagu
3rd Earl of Pevensey
2nd Earl, Philip’s father
James Venables, 14 y.o.
Edward Venables, 46
Will Fremantle, 13
chorister at St. Giles, diarist
“Use him as thoughe you Loved
him, that is, harme him as little as you maye poffibly, that he maye live
Izaak Walton, on the use of frogs as bait - from The Compleat
The book is gone now and I know I will never see it again. Even now, as I sit at my desk, I
vividly remember the texture and feel and slightly musty smell of the worn calfskin binding with its patina
of age from much handling. I will never forget the shock when I first read that title page and the subsequent
stories the book showed me.
How I came across this book and what it led me to might sound unbelieveable, but I assure you it
all happened, exactly as I write it down. Everything.
But I must start at the beginning.
(SUNDAY – MORNING)
It was raining. Not just ordinary common-or-garden rain, but London Rain; the type of rain
which, like stair-rods, clatters indiscriminately down from leaden skies on to grey slate roofs, squealing
black taxis and the fume-belching red double-decker buses. Rain which, with the capital’s typical lack of
subtlety and a mixture of Cockney brashness and the arrogance of a capital city, insinuates itself between
tiles, down drainpipes, down the soot-caked walls of buildings some of which, for centuries, have survived
innumerable such assaults, fills the gutters, overflows the cast-iron grilles, bearing on its inexorable tide
the flotsam of the busy thoroughfare; discarded bus-tickets, burger wrappings, cigarette stubs and the
yellow-brown leaves from the now nearly-bare branches of the plane trees lining both sides of the busy road.
The noise of the downpour almost drowning out the hooting of the stressed-out drivers, weaving through the
fleeing pedestrians, who, umbrellas up, dodge and scurry through the slow-moving traffic like carapaced,
two-legged beetles of every shade and hue, seeking shelter from heaven’s watery invasion.
It was an early Sunday in November and I was in the Charing-Cross Road, on my way home from
Jeremy’s. I had spent the night with him, saying goodbye - he was off to the States on a job for the next
three months at least. I wouldn’t be going with him, not only because the high-profile case he would be
working on would certainly take up eighteen hours of his day, but also because I just happened to have a
project of my own which I was working on and which was due to be completed within the next month or
Perhaps I should introduce myself before I go any further. My name is Peter James Taylor. I am a
twenty-three-year-old gay man and I am what people call – not quite accurately – one of the idle rich. Idle
because I don’t have a fixed nine-to-five job, but work as an illustrator, mostly those coffee-table type of
book, authors’ personal views on a place, be it city, town, location or country. Rich, because I am good at
my job and can now name my price for the jobs I do and thus in the enviable position of being able to choose
my projects. My fortune is due also to the untimely death of my parents, who themselves were certainly not
idle and very, very rich.
On my way home the heavens opened, catching me without an umbrella. I ducked into the nearest
doorway. It was a bookshop – hardly surprising really, as Charing-Cross Road is lined with bookshops for much
of its length.
As I dashed inside, I was vaguely aware of green paint, plate-glass with gold lettering and the
tinkle of the small bell as I pushed the door closed behind me, blocking out the pelting rain and the noise
of the traffic, hissing over the slick tarmac.
Not only was it suddenly very quiet here in the shop, the gloom was positively Stygian and my
eyes took a while to accustom themselves to the dimness within. I was aware of long lines of shelving,
sagging under the weight of hundreds, thousands of books, stretching away into the dim interior of the shop.
Tables piled high with books reduced the floor space to narrow corridors, towers of books threatening to
topple over and engulf me in fluttering avalanches of paper, print, leather and pasteboard.
There wasn’t a soul in sight. I peered past the vertiginous towers of books, hearing nothing but
the ticking of what sounded like a large clock, as yet still hidden from view. As my eyes began to get used
to the dimness, I began to get my bearings and started to walk down one of the aisles before me. I heard the
still hidden clock begin a sonorous chiming. I glanced at my watch; noon. I remember vaguely wondering where
there was wall-space for a clock; every available surface seemed to be covered with shelving or tables piled
high with books. There was a faintly musty odour; not at all unpleasant, reminding me slightly of the bark of
trees or leaves in a foggy night. Now and again, there was a faint rustle; I fancied it might be mice,
scurrying to and fro behind the vast brown bookcases. What a feast they had! I wondered whether the
proprietor, whoever and wherever he was, consigned the lesser
books to the lowest shelves, where the mice (and possibly rats as well), could gnaw and nibble without
destroying great works of Literary Art.
“Hello! Anybody there?” My voice sounded faint and as there was no echo, it fell flatly to the
ground, I fancied, unheard.
My eyes glanced along the uneven rows of books, picking out various titles on the spines. Some
were great tomes, inches thick, with ornate lettering, stamped in gold, others slim volumes with no word to
indicate what lay between the covers. I seemed to smell centuries of dust, imagining it, inches thick, lying
over everything in this seemingly forgotten world. My fanciful imagination felt as if this place had been
abandoned for millennia; it had the air of forlorn, yet dignified solitude, like a Miss Haversham Wedding
Breakfast of books for the mice and beetles.
I slowly ventured deeper into the sepulchral interior. Ceiling-high shelves met at rightangles,
narrow avenues of books leading in all directions. The place was huge! Much larger than one would have
thought, passing by. As I went deeper into the almost palpable gloom, all noise from the outside faded to
nothing and the silence, like the towers about me, became almost oppressive. Faintly, I still heard the
ponderous chimes of the clock, somewhere far away, it seemed to me. Still no sight nor sound of an owner or
employee. Only the tiny rustlings and an occasional creak from the overloaded shelves.
The shop seemed enormous. I could see no sign of walls at the ends of the narrow lanes of books,
only vague shadows of more shelves and yet more books. Looking down, I saw thick dust on the bare
floorboards. I glanced back and saw that only one set of prints followed me; mine. I felt a slight shiver run
down my spine. This was distinctly odd. Had no-one honestly been into this part of the shop in all the time
it took for that amount of dust to form?
I looked at the shelves; more dust, books seemingly untouched for years, decades even. This was
very strange. More than strange, it was positively creepy.
I was just about to turn and retrace my steps, when I was literally halted in my tracks by a
sound. In normal circumstances, the sound would not have awakened any suspicion or fear on my part, but here,
It was a small sob, a child’s sob. It didn’t come from behind me, but somewhere ahead of me, as
far as I could tell. Somewhere ahead in the gloom. I looked down again; still no footprints ahead of mine.
Yet the sob, though stifled, I fancied, was distinct. I was sure I heard it, or was I?
I stood stock still, trying very hard not to breathe, straining my ears for every sound, my eyes
wide open and scanning my surroundings for any movement. The place was as still and as quiet as the tomb,
which is why that alien sound had startled me so. There it was again! So soft, yet it wasn’t my imagination.
It was a sob, made by a child, as far as I could make out and it
definitely came from ahead of me in the darkness.
I inched forward, every nerve jangling, a sweat beginning to break out on my body, droplets
coursing down my back. As I slowly moved forward, I was aware of the sound of quiet sniffling, like a child’s
crying. It was so soft, I thought I must have imagined it, but there it was again, still very quiet, but I
had the feeling it was closer. I reached an intersection in the tall shelves, a kind of crossroads. Which
way? Where were these sounds, if indeed they were real and not the product of my imagination, coming
At the junction, I stopped again, and as I looked down the three aisles, I listened out for the
sounds to come again and if they did, see whether I could work out from whence. There! I heard it again! A
gentle sob followed by a sigh. A sigh so heartbreakingly sad, a tremulous sigh as if from one in deep grief.
It came from my left, and as far as I was able to judge in this strange, dead acoustic, only a matter of feet
away from where I was standing. Who was making these forlorn sounds? And how did they get there? It really
sounded like a child’s voice, and I wondered what a child was doing here, all alone, in this
I turned left and walked as quietly as I could, ears and eyes alert for any sight or sound of my
invisible companion. I arrived at an intersection and, out of the corner of my eye, thought I saw a figure,
only feet away, in the gloom, standing by one of the shelves, looking upwards. But as soon as my mind
registered it, it was gone. It must have been a fraction of a second, maybe a fraction of a fraction, but I
had the distinct impression that I had seen something … no … I had seen someone.
I went quickly to where I imagined it to have been. Nothing. I looked along the endless
corridors of shelves, disappearing into the gloom. Only my footprints in the dust. I looked down at my feet
and stared in horror at what I saw: the small imprint of a child’s foot; heel, arch, five toes. A child’s
bare foot. Just one. I fell back into the shelves, fingers clawing at the leather, hand-tooled spines, almost
pulling them from the books, dust flying into the air. I felt as if my knees had turned to jelly.
I must be imagining things, the poor lighting playing tricks on
me. I looked down again. The child’s footprint still there and next to it, the mark as if a drop of water had
landed in the dust – a teardrop.
I lay back against the bookshelf for support, my hands instinctively holding on to the books in
the shelves to prevent me sinking to the ground. My breathing was laboured, as if I had been running and
there was sweat on my brow. I found I was trembling as if in fear. I had to be imagining this, some sort of dream. I would wake up soon, I was sure –
or rather I hoped I would.
I looked around me. My eye caught sight of the corner of a book poking out over the edge of the
top shelf on the bookcase opposite me. My nanosecond’s vision returned; hadn’t whoever I imagined I saw, been
looking up towards that spot? Slowly, I reached up and my fingertips found the corner of the book. I
teased it towards me until gravity took over and the volume dropped over the edge of the shelf. Somehow I
managed to catch it, a small volume making a muffled slap as it met my outstretched palms.
As if a switch had been thrown, the place became brighter and the noise of the traffic outside
was suddenly audible once more. I found I was right at the back of the shop – no long corridors of shelving
stretching away into the distance, no sepulchral silence nor dust of ages. Looking down, I saw the plain
brown floorboards of the shop, polished by years of browsers – no sign of a child’s footprint, nor teardrop.
What had happened? Had I had some sort of blackout? Had I somehow or other had a dizzy spell, or even
fainted? I had no recollection of falling to the floor, no feeling of dizziness. I couldn’t understand what
had happened. I wasn’t drunk, of that I was sure. I had only had one drink with Jeremy.
The clock was chiming. Wait a minute! The clock was still
chiming! I looked at my watch; noon. No time had passed! Yet, in that ‘no time’, I had walked
along many yards of shelving, deep into the inner recesses of the shop, or somewhere, heard the sobbing of a small child, seen the book and taken it down
from the bookshelf yet the clock was still chiming! This wasn’t
just creepy, this was impossible! Yet there it was, in my hands, a small, leatherbound volume, obviously worn
with age, with faint gold lettering; “The Compleat
I was shaken out of my reverie by a soft voice at my elbow. Startled, I looked around to see who
“Ah! I see the book has returned and found its new owner!” I looked at the man, for it was
indeed a man, aged about seventy or so, I guessed, soft-spoken, snow-white hair wildly spreading in all
directions around a pink tonsure, like a mad monk, I thought to myself. He must have noticed – who wouldn’t?
– the stare of blank incredulity I gave him. His gaze indicated the small volume in my hands.
“It vanishes for years at a time, then suddenly out of nowhere, Pouf! it reappears in the hands of its next owner, or should I say caretaker.”
He paused for a moment, screwing up his eyes as if trying to remember something.
“Let me see, it must be ten – no twelve years ago since it was last here. I remember the last
one it chose…” he gave me a speculative look.
“I wonder… how long you’ll have it for? And why has it come back now? Hmmm.”
“But I didn’t choose this,” I said. “I didn’t come in here to buy a book. I came in to shelter
from the rain…”
“The important thing is, you came in,” said the old
man, enigmatically, his pale blue eyes twinkling behind his old-fashioned half-moon glasses.
“You might not have chosen the book, but it chose
you! Take it, young man! I have no idea what’s in it this time,
but may it be of use to you…” he paused, almost melodramatically, adding in a stage whisper, glancing about
him as he did so: “…but use it wisely. Do no harm.”
Again he paused me and fixed me with his steady gaze, emphasising every word with a finger
pointing at me. “Do no harm!”
“What am I supposed to do with Walton’s The Compleat
Angler?” I asked, somewhat amused by the old man’s theatricality, “I don’t even fish!”
“Take it home and read it carefully. Use it wisely!” the man repeated, beginning to move
“But, but what does it cost? I’m not buying something for which I have no use!”
“You will find a use for it, young man!” he replied. “Take it! No charge! Free. Gratis! Now go!
Look, the rain has stopped. Shoo! Go!”
The old man more or less pushed me out of the shop. He was right. The rain had stopped. I looked
down at the book, lying innocently in my hand. What a very weird thing indeed! Firstly, what had happened in
there? Had I blacked out? Was I dreaming all this? A speeding cyclist rushed right past me, almost knocking
me down. I almost went flying. The pain in my shin proved it: I wasn’t dreaming!
Had I slipped into a parallel universe? Had I witnessed a haunting? As my mind whirled, the
explanations became more and more outlandish, bizarre and crazy. I had to face it, there was no rational
explanation. Somehow or other, I had picked out a book, been given it by the proprietor and been given a
bum’s-rush out of the shop.
I turned and went back in. The lights were blazing, several browsers were scattered around the
shop, whose back wall I could now clearly see and a young shop-assistant at the till looked up and asked if
she could be of assistance. The old man I had just spoken to was nowhere to be seen.
“Er… I wonder, could you tell me how much this costs?” I asked, holding out the small well-worn
leather volume. The girl at the till gave me an odd look.
“No, sir, I’m sorry, but we don’t sell second-hand books here.” She made it sound as if I had
just shown her hard-core porn. With even more undisguised distaste, she added, “We only sell
new books.” She continued to look at me as if I might be slightly
mad and about to cause trouble.
“Oh, er… thank you,” I replied somewhat awkwardly, putting the book away, rather hastily, as if
it were an unclean thing.
I looked around me once more. This was quite a different establishment to the one I had just
moments ago exited. I felt the eyes of the young girl at the counter on me as I left the shop, even more
confused than before. Why had I been given this book, a book I had no use for and what was all that
babble about it choosing me and the appearing and disappearing
stuff? I reckoned the old bloke in there must be mad and I had just been the victim of a practical joke.
Maybe I was being filmed secretly and any minute now someone would come leaping out at me, all fake tan,
white teeth and exuding equally fake bonhomie, telling me I was
on “Candid Camera” and would I look over there and
I studied the little volume, lying innocently in my hand, turning over the recent events in my
Fact number one: I had rushed into the shop out of the rain.
Two: I had heard or thought I heard the sounds
of a child crying.
Three: I saw – or thought I saw a small figure, a
boy, whom, I thought, was sobbing and seemed to be trying to draw my attention to the book which I now held
Four: I was approached, one could say I was almost accosted by an elderly gentleman who insisted
I take the book. What had the old man been rambling on about: Use it wisely,
do no harm! He must be mental, I thought.
Five: did the man have any right to give me the book which must be merchandise? And yet… the
shop I went back into seemed to be quite a different place!
Six: the sales assistant had told me quite categorically that the book was certainly not one of
theirs – they only dealt in new books, she had said. Well, I had done my best to return the book, but no-one
was interested. Convinced that at least I wouldn’t be chased down the street by someone accusing me of
shoplifting, I pushed the book into the pocket of my Burberry and headed for home, my head reeling from the
inexplicable experience I had just had.
As I walked, I gradually came to the conclusion that I must have had a sudden drop in
sugar-levels, which to all intents and purposes made me almost faint and in that brief second, I must have
had this strange hallucination.
But something niggled at the back of my mind. Something wasn’t quite right with that explanation. Just in case, however, I took a small chocolate bar
I keep about me for just such an occurrence (I have a medical condition which means I have to keep a watch on
my sugar levels) and as I allowed the dark, sweet chocolate to melt in my mouth, I began to calm down and
‘It must have been a drop in my sugar’, I thought, as I neared home.
(SUNDAY – LUNCHTIME)
Home, was not far away, a leisurely five-minute walk brought me to my front door close to Seven
Dials. My flat was the top floor of a flat-fronted, brick-faced Georgian house in one of the narrow streets
just off the junction. Not ostentatious, it nevertheless had all that I needed for comfort. Both my parents
were dead, victims of a car accident three years ago, when I had just turned twenty. They had left me more
than adequately provided for; in fact, as their sole beneficiary, I had no need to work for a living. With
some of my inheritance, I bought and furnished this flat in central London, invested most of the rest and
lived off the interest.
The original layout of the Seven Dials area was designed by Thomas Neale in the early 1690’s.
The original plan had six roads converging, although this was later increased to seven. Following the
successful development of the fashionable Covent Garden Piazza area nearby, Neale aimed for the Seven Dials
site to be popular with well-off residents. This was not to be, however, and the area gradually deteriorated.
In the centre of the open area still stands a tall column, with a sundial based on that which had stood there
from earliest days. At one stage, each of the seven apexes facing the column housed a pub. Now only one
remains, The Crown. The original sundial column was removed in
1773. It had been believed that this was due to being pulled down by an angry mob, although recent research
suggests that it was deliberately removed by the Paving Commissioners in an attempt to rid the area
of undesirables. In those times, according to contemporary accounts, the monument was a renowned meeting place
for whores, both male and female and other disreputable characters. In the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, press-gangs roamed the streets, capturing young men and boys worse for drink from any of the pubs
at Seven Dials and condemning them to a life in His Majesty’s Navy – or darker, more sinister
I was the only full-time resident in the house. The basement had its own entrance around the
side. It seemed to be the offices of some foreign import-export firm, according to the very tarnished brass
plate on the door. “Offices” is probably too grand a term; more likely the basement flat was simply
used for storage. The windows were grimy and the equally shabby curtains were always drawn.
I never saw any signs of life there and certainly no-one either entering or leaving the place. I
did notice, though, that the parking-place which went with the flat was occasionally filled with a dirty and
rather beat-up old windowless Ford Transit van. It would stay parked there, usually for no longer than a few
days every month or so. That was all that showed that the flat was not derelict. However, whoever it was that
rented the place must have kept up with their payments and I knew that the Residents’ Association payments
were dealt with by a local solicitors’ firm.
A prime piece of real-estate in the heart of London standing empty and ostensibly unused. That
mysterious import-export company obviously had money. Occasionally I idly wondered what kind of imports and
exports, but other than that, I didn’t give the place a second thought.
The ground floor housed a portrait photographer’s studio and the middle floor was rented out to
some sort of academic, who was very rarely home, spending most of his time, I assumed, on expeditions to all
corners of the globe.
The photographer, Sebastian, was the only near neighbour I knew. He was about thirty or so. I
occasionally met him in the hallway or in the local delicatessen. He did well and many of the portraits he
displayed in the window of his studio were of the rich and famous.
The academic was an anthropologist, from somewhere in eastern Europe, I think – Poland I
thought, who spent months at a time away, probably looking for lost tribes deep in the Amazonian jungle or
cannibals in Papua. I had only seen him once or twice; he couldn’t have looked less like the “Indiana Jones”
type – he was short, almost totally round and with thick spectacles. The only times I saw him he was dressed
in a thick dark overcoat and large scarf which all but obscured his face. He reminded me of a very fat
Mole from the “Wind in the Willows. There was no name on his
doorbell, but Seb, who seemed to make it his business to know all there was to know about the local area and
our neighbours, assured me that the man was from Poland and was called Jerzy. He couldn’t pronounce his
surname, saying it lots of ‘s’s and z’s’.
As a consequence, the large Georgian house was deserted most weekends, although Sebastian might
occasionally come in for a sitting and if the academic was at home, he stayed indoors, probably writing some
learned thesis, or poring over maps, I fancifully thought.
I lived a quiet life. If I wasn’t staying at Jeremy’s, he was here with me and we might
occasionally go to the cinema or the theatre, although most of our time was spent at home, either in bed or
else just reading, nattering - or just cuddling.
I met Jeremy shortly after my parents’ death. Although still a young man, aged only thirty, he
had become a partner in the small solicitors’ firm who oversaw my parents’ affairs and my first meeting with
him was when he told me how wealthy I had just become.
We had a few meetings over the months following my parents’ death, to sort out the sale of the
house and all the other stuff and one day, almost by accident, after a long meeting involving probate, taxes,
investment-portfolios, I found myself asking him if he wanted to come and have a drink with me at the local
pub. He gave me his charming lopsided smile, blue eyes twinkling, and said he thought I would never ask! The
rest, as they say, is history.
We’ve been together now for nearly three years. We don’t live together; he keeps his bachelor
pad in Islington for when he needs to do some serious solicitor work and I have my own space to myself. We
enjoy this arrangement; flexible though not mutually exclusive. I think we both need our own time and space
for ourselves. We are also not exclusive partners. At the outset, we both agreed to have a ‘no strings
attached’ relationship: if Jeremy found a handsome guy (I know he has fantasies about black guys) that he
wanted to have fun with, then fine. The same went for me – my tastes ran to younger guys, a ‘bit of
rough’ - some of the workmen who occasionally drank at the pub on the corner were very good-looking
young men and not averse to bit of gay sex on the side, as long as their mates didn’t suspect. The funny
thing was, that these ‘mates’ were also having a bit of arse on the side! Despite our freer lifestyle, Jeremy
and I had a happy and stable relationship. Ours went deeper than just a ‘quick bit on the side’ – we might
spend days together without making love, we didn’t feel it was such a big thing; so our ‘sexcapades’ kept our
libidos in check.
I arrived home via the local delicatessen to stock up on my favourite Kenya Blue Mountain, a few
slices of Parma ham, some home-made ‘tapinade’ and a couple of freshly-baked rolls as well as the
proprietor’s own pistachio-flavoured ice-cream; lunch was usually a simple affair when I was at home alone.
Adding a couple of bottles of Montepulciano, I paid and walked the last few yards home, stopping off to buy a
newspaper from the newsagent’s on the corner. I skirted around a fenced-off area, which boded ill, I thought.
With a mental sigh, I envisaged being disturbed by the rattle of pneumatic drills over the next days or even
weeks. If there wasn’t building work going on in the neighbourhood, they were digging up the road.
Sebastian was coming out through the front door.
“Hiya Jack!” he said, giving me a flamboyant peck on each cheek. We had been an item for a short
while, just after I moved in and before I got to know Jeremy. Seb is a sweet guy, but just a little too
demonstrative and more than a little camp in manner for my taste . However, when Jer showed up, he was most
gracious in defeat and he even treated us to dinner, to congratulate us. He still teases me and asks “how
that boy-stealer” is.
“Hi, Seb. Jer’s fine,” I replied with a laugh.
“Well let me know when he dumps you. You can come cry on aunty Seb’s shoulder!” he replied with
a flick of his immaculately cut and blow-dried wispy blond hair.
The joke was so old, he said it every time we met. “I will Seb, promise!” I gave my usual reply
as I entered the house.
“I’m off for a week to my island paradise!” Sebastian called after me. “I’ve left a note for the
milkman. You’ll keep an eye on the place and water the plants? Key’s in the usual place.”
He swept into his waiting cab in a waft of cologne, his long scarf billowing behind
Sebastian’s ‘island paradise’ was Mykonos, where he went two or three times a year. I knew he
had a young man there, a fact I discovered after we had spent a night together and Seb had drunk rather too
much and in his remorse had confessed to me all about his “Adonis on Mykonos”.
He had shown me a photograph of a young man in the briefest of Speedo swimming trunks; “Adonis” was the right name for the gorgeous hunk in the
picture: piercing black eyes, curly black hair, worn shoulder length and a body to die for. He was a
local fisherman and Seb had met him on one of his holidays and fallen head over heels in love with the young
man, who must be about nineteen now. Lucky boy! Seb had bought him his own flat and, I suspected, kept him in
the manner to which the youth wanted to become accustomed.
I had my doubts that such a relationship could work; “Adonis” had to be having a bit on the
side, I thought – no young man could go without sex except for the sporadic occasions that Seb visitied the
island. Whether or not he did was not my concern; it seemed he was very discreet and Seb was always excited
to see him and always in a blue funk after his trips to Mykonos.
“Have fun!” I waved goodbye to Sebastian and walked up the stairs to my flat.
The Polish man was away as usual, but I did not have the same arrangement with him as I did with
Seb. Someone came regularly when he was away, but I never saw who it was who took his mail or looked
after the flat on the second floor. I occasionally heard the sound of his door opening and closing, or
occasionally the vacuum-cleaner, but that was all.
Reaching the door to my flat, I fished in my pocket for my keys and my hand brushed past the
little book I had been given earlier under such mysterious circumstances. The small volume slipped out of my
pocket and landed on the carpet with a gentle thud, raising a small puff of dust. As it fell, I fancied I
heard a small, quiet sigh. Bending down, I retrieved the leather object. It felt cold to the touch. Pushing
open the door, I went inside, kicking it closed behind me.
My light lunch eaten and a glass of red wine in my hand, I went to the sofa with the small book
and settled down to study the curious and mysterious tome. I opened the front cover, the slightly musty smell
and dust making me sneeze. I was face to face with a picture of a gentleman in old-fashioned clothes, gazing
at me out of the yellowing pages. I spent a few moments taking in the image; the man was kindly-looking,
bearded, square black cap, lace ruff, puffed sleeves and a black gown over what seemed to be a
surplice. In the background was a cityscape, I assumed it was London, although I couldn’t say for sure. The
man’s oddly gnarled hand was holding a book not dissimilar to that which I now held – perhaps he suffered
from arthritis? I particularly noticed his eyes, large and kindly, his brow slightly furrowed. He
looked gently and I thought, a little sorrowfully out at me.
I turned the page, totally unprepared for what stood there.
izaak walDoN Esqre
wherein are descrybed
the sad tales of the baityngE, pErsuit and capture of
boyEs & youthes
for sportE & perverse pleasure - also a description of those places where they have many
beene secretlie DIsPOzED
printed at the sign of the crown
IN MERCER’s lane, london
I had to read and then re-read the title-page to be sure that I hadn’t misread or misunderstood
the shocking message contained therein. Still scarcely able to believe what I had just read, I turned back a
page and took another, longer look at the picture of whom I assumed was the author. He looked more like a
clergyman than a pederast, but, I thought wryly, that was nothing
new, in the light of recent exposés of clergymen and their abuse
of children. Nothing new under the sun, then! I worked out the date from the Roman numerals at the bottom of
the page; 1593.
What was Izaak Walton, the famous author doing writing not one but two books called “The Compleat Angler”? It was only then that I noticed the name
of the author on the title page in front of me. It wasn’t Walton but Waldon. Close enough to be confused with the famous author of the treatise and
anecdotes on fly-fishing. I went over to my laptop and Googled
Izaak Walton. The date on the book, I now saw, was wrong; Izaak Walton lived from 1593-1683 - this was dated
the year he was born! I found nothing under the name Izaak Waldon.
Images from the bookshop flashed through my mind; the sobbing boy, the vast, deserted bookshop,
more like a mausoleum than anything else and then the odd man with his wild white hair and strange remarks
about the book choosing me and use it wisely. I felt an involuntary shudder tingle up and down my spine, giving
me goosepimples. This was decidedly creepy!
I turned the page, not knowing what to expect. What I saw produced all the effects I thought
only happened in horror novels: the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end, I felt shivers running up and
down my spine, I broke into a sweat, my hands shaking and clammy and I dropped the book. This had to be some
sort of practical joke; a weird practical joke. But who would have thought of it, who could have put it into
operation? Not for the first time that day, my mind reeled. I felt giddy and slightly nauseous.
I lay back into the soft cushions of the sofa and closed my eyes, trying to get my head round
what I had just seen. How was this possible? My eyes returned to the small volume, lying almost innocently on
the carpet by my feet where I had dropped it. It looked so innocuous, so ordinary where it lay, the warm
brown of the well-worn leather almost gleaming in the late afternoon light. To the casual observer, it might
conjure up images of a prayer-book belonging to a well-to-do country parson, such as in the picture I had
just studied; or the diary of a noblewoman. Perhaps even a book of poems, a love-token from a young man to
his beloved. Yet to me, it suddenly had become none of these; it had no innocent prayers, no gentle thoughts,
no lovesick sonnets. The title page had been enough, but what I had seen on the following page gave the book
a sinister, evil aspect.
The small boy sobbing flashed before my eyes again; now I thought I could guess why the poor
mite had been in such distress. Yet… I had to open the book again, read what was contained within its pages.
I felt an inexplicable compunction to see what was contained there. It was as if I heard thousands of tiny
voices, childrens’ voices, crying out to me to read on and by so doing, save their souls, for I knew, with a
certainty which was absolute, that it was too late to save their young lives.
My shaking hand reached once again for the book. I turned again to the page which had shocked me
so deeply just before. I shall never forget those opening words:
y what manner and fortune hath thine hand and eye been drawn unto me, most honourable
Gentleman Mr Peter Taylor Esqre of the Seven Dyles! For unto thee hath I turnéd and into thine hands hath the Spirit of thefe
times – may they for ever be plagued – for this will be for thee and thine allies fuch a puzzlement until
thine eyes shall be open’d and thou shalt feeke and, mercifulle God-wyllinge, discovere the Truth of these
Thinges which have come to passe and save those who suffer yet.
y thine Hand, Master Taylor, may Deliv’rance be found and through it mighte come unto oure
Soules the Peace for which we have struggled to fynde to no avail. Deepe are our Troubles and
e beg Thee that thou mighte overcome the Darknesse which shroudes our soules and
bring us Peace.
De Profundis clamavi ad Te
If this was a practical joke, a forgery, then it was a damn good one. For whatever reason,
someone had gone to a great deal of trouble – but for what?
After hesitating, hardly wanting to touch it again, I nevertheless leant down and picked up the
book and began to study it more closely. Everything about it seemed to be genuine; it looked right, felt
right, dammit it even smelled right! There could be no doubt
about it that the volume I held was from the late 16th
Century and that the pages it contained were original.
So how did my name get there? Had there been some incredible coincidence and the book was
addressed to my exact namesake from more than three hundred years ago? I had to dismiss that fact. But what
was left was even more fantastic, even more unbelievable; someone in the late seventeenth century had written
and printed a book that they knew I would find, quite by chance, in 2011. Ludicrous!
Yet, as Sherlock Holmes is supposed to have said; ‘When you have eliminated the impossible,
whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth’. Well, this was damn impossible and more than improbable, but what other explanation
could there be? A cry for help from the seventeenth century, addressed to me, ‘Peter Taylor of Seven Dials’ -
I realised that I had been holding my breath and now inhaled deeply, my mind refusing to believe
what my eyes told me, but not knowing what other explanation there could be for this extraordinary
(SUNDAY – EARLY AFTERNOON)
I now had no idea of what to expect when I turned the page. After what I had already read, I was
past the stage of being surprised. If it was a forgery, or an elaborate practical joke, then I wanted to find
out more. I didn’t want to even speculate if I couldn’t find an explanation – this was just too strange. So,
I wasn’t overly surprised when, as I started to read the next page, that it was written in slightly
antiquated English, although quite understandable and a usual typeface. I began to suspect that this was
indeed a hoax.
But there was something odd about the story, or rather, how the story unfolded. It seemed to me that, as I read, the lines became
visible only moments before I got to them – as if some sort of invisible writing was gradually unfolding
before my eyes. The strangest thing, however, was the fact that I couldn’t seem to re-read what I had just
read; it was as if there was a veil and I couldn’t backtrack – I could only read forwards.
Perhaps I was just tired or still in some state of shock, but it seemed as if I were being
pulled along by the narrative, without being able to look back. However, the strangest thing is that I seem
to have total recall of the texts, even as I sit here trying to write down the series of events from that
week, the texts from the book come back to me, clear as crystal, word for word.
The writing was elegant, beautifully formed letters, with a pleasing flow. I read:
Tom Thatcher, aged about twelve winters. A fair youth, an open, honest face and eyes of purest
blue. A pretty nose and perfect lips of coral red, an angelic countenance. His neck is slim, his shoulders
too and not rounded. A fair-formed chest and well turned limbs.
He stands about to my chest in height and when he turns his pretty countenance to mine, I can
deny him nothing. Little devil in angel’s attire! He knows he has me under his spell and spares no wile or
guile whereby to achieve his will! And I allow him to! Mine, then the weakness, but in the face of such
delectable beauty and perfect form what can I do but to quietly aquiesce to his every demand, however petty
or great. For he has me in such thrall to his beauty and his inventiveness when we are alone that I am in awe
He has kept me entertained many a long night, never seeming to tire and always teasing my old
body back to life and vigour ‘tis as if I were a youth myself again! What a cherubic form he has! His boyhood
belying his young age, a goodly handspan and of good girth. And his rump! Delightfully dimpled, plump and
within its secret place a rosebud of such delectable form – winks at me & invites me in to where I am
transported to such shores of pleasure, such a land of lust and wantonness that I can hardly believe my good
fortune to have this boy as my private plaything, under my sole command.
Turning the page, I was faced with a picture:
My Tom is an orphan, left without a mother or father after the Great Sickness two years since.
Alas, his sweet younger brother, Percy, also perished before I had the chance to sample the delights his
happy form furnished me with. But Tom – my Tom – more than amply makes up for his individual state and his
sweet mouth can perform such clever tricks upon my ‘pipe’ – he knows all the sweetest tunes and plays with
such dexterity with both hands and lips that I sing, nay shout in the throes of my passion.
I feast upon his tender stalk, his sweet young eggs hardly showing, yet, just recently, he began
to bring forth such sweet nectar to rival that of the very gods on Mount Olympus itself!
I feast my eyes upon his body; no blemish - no mark of imperfection to mar his boyish beauty.
Not a hair that is not upon his head. His sweet-scented form so patient under my roaming hands! Alas, the
time will come when I shall have to give him up; when tempered blade he will have to use upon his cheek and
chin. And then around his boyish cocklet, where, daily I inspect him for the first signs of disfiguring
sprouting hairs. So far none have appeared, but I am beginning to suspect my little imp/angel of plucking
But for now, my Tom satisfies my every need and anticipates my demands with an obliging meekness
which I have taught him to adopt. Long gone are the days I have had to chastise him for any wrongdoing – my
beatings now are solely for our mutual pleasure – and when he wields the pincers or the tickling tassels, our
heights of rapture are magnified a thousandfold.
Poor boy, when his time comes to leave my service. I shall miss him for a while, perhaps a night
or two, but I already have my eye on his successor; a charming little sloe-eyed beauty from the kitchens,
barely seven years of age. Alas that I had to dispose of his parents, but with me he shall lack nothing, if
he does what he is told. I have him under supervision of the head kitchen lackey, whom I had as a boy this
twelve year ago. When I had finished with him, I had him gelded and his tongue cut out to be my caretaker of
those precious youths that I need. He knows better than to tamper with my property!
Tom will go the way of the six or seven others I have owned. In a dark , quiet place, late at
night. A swift knifestroke to the throat, he will not even know it. A shame, but necessary. I cannot let my
goods or chattels fall into the hands of less salubrious characters. Nay, nor can I have my good name
besmirched by idle gossip or careless chatter. I shall provide a penny for his winding-sheet. Anonymously, of
Ah, here comes my little wanton now, a silken rope around his swanlike neck and his pretty hat
with that great feather his only attire, the whip he so craves in his hand, the sweet cocklet already risen.
I feel lusty tonight and ready to use him to the full. But first, some wine.
The narrative left me feeling nauseous. The images burned upon my brain. Was the writer that
same man in the picture? And the boy in the hat? Tom himself? I had no way of knowing. Poor Tom! Dead by
thirteen! Raped and abused for the filthy pleasures of the idle rich. How many more were there? How many poor
boys abused and disposed as if they were not even human. Dammit, I bet this man cared more for his dogs than
he did for the human lives he so wickedly destroyed.
I found myself weeping. Those poor, innocent boys raped and murdered, mourned by no-one,
forgotten by everyone, destined to leave no mark upon this earth.
Despite myself, I turned the page. It seemed as if I was no longer in control of my own actions.
I’m sure, that however hard I tried, I would not be able to shut the book until it let me.
Philip John William Montagu, third Earl of Pevensey,his ‘coming of age’ portrait, aged
My son, my only son! My Philip! You have a father’s love, his great love for you, my precious
boy! I have watched you as you grew, became a tall, serious youth. You have your mother’s looks, her kind
smile, her easy natural grace. The heir to my title and fortune, you shall one day be master here. I adjure
you to love, honour and obey the King, as I have done. Love thy brother and when the time comes, you must
teach your sons what I must now teach you. You are now fourteen summers and will soon be wed to the fair
Catherine. But for now, my darling boy, you are mine; the fruit of my loins. My blood flows in your veins, my
seed begot you. Your seed will keep the name of Montagu alive. When your son is your age, you must teach him
as I have taught you. For it was out of love for you that I took you to me, my dearest boy. Write it down
here, so that you may remember, without fail what passed between us and what you must pass on to your
progeny. The love of a father for his son is the most sacred love as was our God in Heaven’s love for his
only Son. For this love, have I done these things which you must do. Now, my son, write here what you must
‘My name is Philip Montagu, eldest son of John Montague, the second Earl of Pevensey, Lord of
the Marches, Keeper of the Falcon, Knight of the Most Ancient and Honourable Order of the Garter. My father
is a great man and has shewn his deep love for me in the only way a man can show his love for his son. I am
his, bound to him by blood. I am the fruit of his loins, the keeper of his seed. He hath shewn me the skills
I need for a balanced life – how I may best serve him? I kneel before my father, a mighty man and a loving
lord. Thus hath he instructed me in the ways of love a father has for his son, a master hath for his
I had just celebrated my fourteenth birthday with great pomp and circumstance, when my lord and
master drew me aside.
“Philip, my son,” he said. “Now is the time when boy turns to man and children put away their
childish toys. Now you must learn the arts of love.”
He took me to his chamber and after dismissing the servants, bade me approach. My father stands
tall and proud, his coal-black hair wild and unruly, bearded and with eyes like steel. His chest is broad his
arms and legs thick and strong, like the trunks of mighty oaks.
“Come closer, son” he says in a kindly manner to me as he pours two cups of malmsey for us. He
strokes my still beardless cheek, his calloused fingers rough against my smooth skin.
“Drink a cup of wine with me, my pet” he says, “you will feel less nervous and more at
I must say I am in awe of my father, a giant among men, the lord of all he surveys. His anger
can be ferocious and yet I know he can be tender and most loving. I have seen how he is with my
I drink the slightly bitter wine. My father strokes my face, my hair, and before I know it, he
has leaned down and placed a loving kiss on my forehead. I feel one of his hands as he strokes my back, and
lower. His touch is gentle, yet his eyes seem urgent.
“Come, my boy, a kiss for your father!”
His beard tickles me. I smell the wine on his breath and the other odours of a
“My son. Now is the time you must trust your father completely in everything. You must know how
I love you, now I need to show you how much I care for you. You and I must share a bond that is unlike all
others. It is more scared even than the bond between husband and wife. The love of a son for his father must
be complete and unconditional. Can you love me thus?”
“I trust and hope, my lord, that I can” I replied, my mind all awhirl. I knew what was surely to
come. My tutor, the monk Ambrosius had been dropping hints for weeks now. Clucking over me like a mother hen,
he had shown me the delights of self gratification – he called it the ‘sin of Onan’ but, as he slept in my
chamber also, I knew how often brother Ambrosius sinned when he thought I was fast asleep in my bed!
Ambrosius had been pleased with my member, calling it a ‘veritable Rod of Aaron’ and when I started to
produce seed of my own, he pronounced it ‘sweet as honey’ – I let him teach me the various ways a man can
bring pleasure to himself and another. It was Ambrosius who told my father when I was ready for my interview
and initiation ito the world of man-love.
“Come, then, my boy, put off thy garb and help me do the same.”
I fumbled with the buttons on my doublet, untied the silk cravat about my neck and untied the
strings of my blouse. As I removed my shirt, I saw how my father gazed at me, as if under a spell. His eyes
were wide, his mout half-open, his breathing heavy. As my fine lawn shirt fell from my shoulders, he reached
over and stroked my chest, making the flesh rise in goosepimples. His touch was light as a feather, almost
reverential, as when he took the sacred relics in the chapel to his lips to kiss them.
His hand wandered over my upper body, sending shivers through me. I felt my manhood rising
beneath my drawers and pantaloons.
I began to untie the drawstring, loosening my hose. My slippers I kicked off, as my hose fell to
the floor. My drawers stood out in front, betraying my state of arousal. I saw my father’s eyes fixed on the
outcrop made by my boyflesh and as if he had no control over his actions, his hand gently reached out and
caressed my throbbing hardness. His great ham-fist so unlike brother Ambrosius’ feminine hands, I felt the
strength of my father in his grasp, so much so that a small cry left my lips. Instantly, my father withdrew
his hand, his eyes wide in abject apology. “Forgive me my son, I did not mean to harm you!”
“No harm,” I replied my voice quavering slightly, not through pain, but by the feeling of
excitement I felt coursing through my veins. “I did not expect your great strength, that is
By way of reply, or perhaps reparation, my father leant down and kissed me full on the lips, yet
so gently, ‘twas like the sigh of a breeze on my mouth. My legs felt as if they would not hold me up any
longer. I reached over and held on to my father’s arm, for fear of falling. His hand returned to my staff and
gently caressed me through the material of my drawers.
“Come, show your father thy pride and joy!” he whispered into my ear. I untied the bow and eased
my undergarment over my stiff, hard tool until I stood before my lord and master – my father – as naked as
the day I was born.
The fire burned brightly in the grate, the autumn sun poured through the diamond panes of the
window, the tapestries hung on the walls, the silence was like that in a cathedral. I stood before my father
as he gazed upon me with what can only be described as wonderment. He knelt before me as if I were a holy
statue, his eyes feasting on my naked flesh. Standing there, alone with my father, I suddenly knew what power
was. I had this great man, my lord and master, the King’s favourite, on his knees worshipping me – my body –
and I knew that I had but to state my wish and it would instantly be granted. I also knew that this was the
time to hold my tongue. I would not willingly break the atmosphere of near-holiness which was here. It was as
if Time itself had ceased to move forwards, frozen in a moment of eternity.
Then I felt my father’s breath on my throbbing member, then his lips, as they kissed the purple
head thrusting out from the skin encasing it, already a few drops on it to show the state of arousal and
excitement I was in. I felt my father’s wet, warm tongue, tasting my aching member. Brother Ambrosius had
never presumed to perform such an act on me – it would not be right. I had let him lick the seed from my
belly after I had pleasured myself, or after he had brought me to climax with his womanly hands, so soft from
his potions and prayers.
My father, therefore, was the first to perform this act upon my person and the feeling it
produced in me was like a thunderbolt from the blue skies. His mouth, so warm, so wet, engulfed my rod, right
down to where the few hairs which grew at its base. I felt my father’s moustaches gently caress my belly,
where he suckled on my flesh. I could hardly support myself, my legs shaking like saplings in a gale. I leant
towards my father’s kneeling form, resting my weight on him as he sucked my rod. Unable to control myself, I
found I was thrusting as far as I could into my father’s mouth, it seemed it went right down his throat. As
my moment of expulsion grew near, I called out, to warn my father, so that he could release me, but my cries
only made him suck the more, as if he would suck the very life from my body. And then my crisis was upon me
and unable to control myself, I cried out as I shot my seed into the warmth of my father’s throat. Five, six
times did I eject my seed with such a force, I thought I would faint – I am sure that at the height of my
passion I swear I did see the stars and all the heavens exploding in a myriad of colours.
Spent, I fell across my father’s broad shoulders, gasping for air like a trout out of water. My
father suckled some more until I could no longer bear the almost painful ecstasy and I withdrew my deflating
member from that warm cavern. Not yet trusting myself to stand unaided, I remained leaning over my father’s
shoulder, the hairs on his chest tickling my cock. In the throes of my crisis, I must have scratched my
father’s back; there were marks made by nails and even a few drops of his blood.
Gently, my father’s hands on my slim waist, he eased me upright and leaning back on his massive
haunches, hungrily surveyed my nakedness. I saw specks of white in his black beard – some of my seed had
escaped the corner of his mouth.
“Ah, Philip, my angelic boy!” My father seemed not yet to be wholly in this world; his eyes were
glazed o’er, his speech almost slurred as though he had drunk too much wine.
“My lovely, beautiful boy!” His massive hand stroked my chest, belly, soft cock and hanging
orbs. He reached down between my legs and stroked behind the hanging balls, inching closer and closer to my
most secret place, my “hidden treasure” as Ambrosius called it. The monk had hinted that this place was for
some men – he did not to say whom, I guessed already by the state of his arousal beneath his cassock – that
this secret place, the ‘holy-of-holies’ was the sweetest of all and that when the time came, I should give my
father free and willing access to it. “It will hurt,” he warned me, “but after the pain, which shall be
shortlived, shall come such pleasure that neither you nor your father will ever forget it.”
The time was approaching, I now knew, for that moment. My dearest wish was that the pain would
not make me cry like a girl and that I would be able to please my father, my Lord and Master and also that I
would find and enjoy the great delights that brother Ambrosius said I would.
It was a with not a little fear and some trepidation that I gazed down into my father’s ice-blue
eyes. He said nothing, only nodded gently as his finger found my deepest, most intimate place and he began to
push gently at first with his finger until I felt him push past my barrier. I coulds not help but gasp. There
was a brief shot of pain and as the digit moved further, I found myself leaning down upon it. Without any
warning, the finger found an obstacle, it seemed right at the root of my member, but within me. It was as if
I had been struck by a bolt of lighning and another involuntary cry issued from my lips. My father glanced
hastily up with concern, but seeing the smile on my lips, he too smiled and stroked the spot some more. I
writhed, pierced upon his finger, unable to speak, unable to think any thoughs save that of feeling pure
pleasure. Wave upon wave swept over me and my body glistened under a sheen of sweat. I was amazed to see my
cock rise up again, so soon after disgorging its seed. My father slowly withdrew his finger from my very
private place and I immediately wanted it back there; I felt empty. My father smiled at my sad
“Do not despair, Philip, my beautiful boy! What I shll give you now will far outdo my poor
finger’s ministrations!” He rose to his feet, towering over me. “Help me disrobe, boy!” he ordered as he took
a large swig of his wine.
For the first time in my life (but not the last) I helped my father divest himself of his
garments until he finally stood before me, a giant of a man, the thick black hair matted on his chest, thighs
and calves. His powerful chest and flat belly, below which such a monstrous organ – to me at any rate – rose
thick and solid, curving towrads his belly. The head of my father’s rod poured forth great quantities of
clear fluid, which ran down the throbbing, blue-veined shaft, gathering in the copious amounts of hair about
the base and around his vast balls, which hang low – I was reminded of my favourite horse, who, before he
mounted a mare, would rear up, his vast cock hard and the balls swinging.
I must have gasped at the sight, for my father, chucking me neath the chin gave a great guffaw
as with the other hand he fondled his manhood.
“Tis verily a mighty member!” He laughed again, before his expression became serious again.
“Philip, my boy, are you ready for this?”
It dawned on me what my father meant – this was what was awaiting me; my father’s mighty rod,
like iron and velvet to the touch, would be put where his finger had just been. I think I must have gone
pale, for my father, wiping his great cock across my lips, said to me, “Taste it first, my little plover!
Then, you shall have plenty of wine and before you know it, you shall have my joint in your sweet arse and be
calling for more!”
Again, he became serious and looked me straight in the eye. “Fear not, my darling boy. It shall
not go ill with you. I shall go most carefully. Come! Have some wine and then lie with me upon the
Hardly being able to tear my eyes away from my father’s great manhood, and as naked as the day I
was born, I went to the pitcher and filled my beaker, drinking it down in almost one gulp. Lying on the bed,
my father resembled more a Goliath than a man and I wondered how he could possibly let his rod fit my private
place. Looking down, I saw that my own boyhood was rampant and leaking great gouts of clear fluid ‘the
ladies’ friend’ as Ambrosius called it. He told me that this clear, slightly sticky fluid would help to ease
my cock into the dry cunt of any a maid and heighten her pleasure. I only hoped that my father produced
enough of it so that I would feel no pain. His member rose from his body, a good two-handspans, glistening in
the autumn sunlight, throbbing to his heartbeat. I poured another beaker of wine which I quickly finished
off. With slightly unsteady steps, I headed for the bed and my father’s rampant manhood.
“Come, sweet Philip and taste your father’s pride” murmured my father as I crawled on to the bed
“Lie atop me, boy, with your sweet pole at my face and go down upon me with your fair
I climbed on to my father’s great barrel-chest, his coarse hairs rasping aginst my smooth skin.
I felt his tongue lick my cock and nuggets as my nose was filled with the almost overpowering aroma of my
father’s organ as it throbbed in time to his heartbeat. I was minded of the smell of my hounds when the
bitches were in heat.
My lips reached the head of my father’s mighty club ans as I moved in closer. The purple crown,
glistening reared to meet my boyish mouth. With some hesitating, I licked upon the musky helmet and, finding
that its taste was sweet and much to my liking, I ventured a little further down the mighty rod of my father.
My jaw was stretched and I could only manage a thumb’s length of his rampant member before I had a fit of
choking and had to relinquish my prize. Meanwhile, my father’s tongue licked my balls, his juices mingling
“Tis time!” my father murmured. I felt a greasy substance rubbed on to my arse, and one, then
two fingers gently probing into my rosebud. The odour was at once familiar and foreign. My father must have
sensed my curiosity. He laughed as a third digit stretched my hole.
“Mutton grease with cinnamon” he said as his greased fingers churned in my hole. I shall never
forget that sweet yet slightly pungent smell.
“You are ready, my angel,” whispered my father. “Turn around, Philip and straddle me. Lower
yourself slowly. Do not worry, I shall hold you so you do not go too fast.” I turned and saw as my father
anointed his throbbing pole. I trusted my father with my life, but at that moment, I could not possibly
imagine how that great, rampant throbbing piece of manflesh could possibly fit into my arse. My father must
have seen my trepidation and, as I was slowly impaled upon that massive organ, he whispered sweet words of
encouragement. He held me tightly, as he promised and every time I winced or gave a cry as his massive cock
seemed to split me in two, he held me motionless so that I could grow accustomed to him. It seemed to take
for ever, being lowered down on to my father’s massive manhood. Luckily my father was as strong as an ox and
not once did he let me slip too fast. His cock inched deeper and deeper into me, stretching my hole – it
seemed to me – as wide as a grown man’s forearm. How long it seemed to take! However, finally, I felt the
coarse hairs of my father on my fundament, and it seemed I could breathe again. “Good boy, my sweet Philip!
So tight! So hot!”
My father’s massive manhood was as hard as iron, I felt it surely must come out of my
“Now my lovely boy, ride it, like your favourite pony” said my father, his breathing ragged, his
brow beaded as if he had a fever.
I felt his strong hands on my slim hips as he pushed me gently up, then down again, an inch, no
more. I felt momentary pain with each thrust, but gradually the pain subsided as another emotion overtook me.
My whole world seemed to be centred on my father’s cock and my hole and the sensations I was beginning to
Gradually the discomfort vanished and I ventured longer, deeper strokes, raising myself higher
up my father’s shaft and allowing myself to come back down faster. Before I knew it, I was bouncing up and
down on his pole with such speed and length of stroke, I knew not where I was. All I wanted was my father’s
rod in me, deeper and deeper, longer and longer. My own cocklet rose again, throbbing, harder than it had
ever been, juices pouring from its tip and down the shaft, down past my balls, down to where my father’s
piston pushed and pulled. My juices lubricated the mighty organ, as it slickly pounded in and out of me. I
felt faint, I was seeing stars, when all at once my father pushed me down on to himself and I felt his cock
enter deeper than ever and I felt it engorge yet more as my father growled and yelled and shouted, like a
All at once, my father went quite still and silent, his arms about me like iron bands. His face
was fixed in a rictus of passion, rather like the images of the Holy Catherine in my father’s private chapel,
as she felt the living God move within her.
I could hardly breathe, the tears sprang to my ears through a mixture of pain and extreme
pleasure, the like of which I had never before experienced. I thought this would be my last moment on this
good earth and that within one short breath, I would be face to face with my Maker.
As it was, my ‘maker’ had his body pressed close to mine and then, with a mighty roar, I felt
him release his seed deep into my entrails, in great surges like a mighty ocean wave. His eruption triggered
another of my own as, untouched, my own organ spewed forth yet again like a mighty fountain, spraying my
thick white seed in great ropes, high into the air, to land heavily upon my father’s face, chin, chest and
belly. Our shouts mingled; my own piping like a broken reedpipe and my father’s deep, rich and sonorous, like
All at once, I felt as though the wind had been knocked out of me, and I fell forward, on to my
father’s prone, massive chest, the hair matted with sweat and my seed. I felt as his mighty club slowly
diminished in size, before pulling out of my fundament with a loud obscene squelch. Unable to control myself,
I broke wind and felt a mass of my father’s juices expelled through my hole and down my thighs. Our hearts
beat violent tattoos – mine like the skittering of rats in a granary, my father’s like the cannonfire from
Slowly, our breathing slowed, the trembling earthquake receded and I lay upon my father’s great
naked body, content and fulfilled.
My father called for his manservant. I hurried to cover myself, but my father stopped me. “You
will be his lord and master one day, Philip. Remember this! Show no fear, no shame, no cowardice. Be yourself
and be proud of who you are and what you represent. Learn this lesson well, my little plover and you shall be
a great Lord!”
We lay back on the great bed as the manservant, with two lackeys, washed down our sweatridden,
seed-covered bodies with warm cloths and sweet-smelling unguents. We climbed off the massive marriage-bed and
my father bade me kneel at his feet. I thought perhaps he wished me to suckle upon his great member again and
leant forward as if to take his limply hanging flesh into my mouth, but my father stopped me with a hand
under my chin.
“Not now, my sweet boy! Perhaps later. First, You must be marked as a true Montagu! Offer me
your breast, boy!”
Still naked as the day I was born, I threw back my head and arched my back, kneeling at my
father’s feet, so that my breast was offered to him. The two servants came forward and placed a white shirt
over my head and a noose of finest silk about my neck. The noose was heavy and one end of it was placed in my
hand. There were barbs there and as I clenched it, I felt them pierce my skin and the blood ran down my
wrist. Then I saw my father take his great sword from its sheath and, still naked, he placed the point of the
razor-sharp blade above my heart on my proffered breast.
“Philip, my son and heir! Be it made known that today thou hast begun the path to manhood and
thus doth a father mark his son with this wound of pride, the scar of honour which thou shalt bear unto thy
dying day! Let it be known, that I, thy Lord and Master, do endow thee with this mark as a sign to all that
thou art to be Master here after my day!”
With that, he pushed the point of his sword into my breast, so that it did truly pierce the skin
and my blood did freely flow. I gave a short, sharp cry, not from the pain, for it was a mere scratch, but
more from the surprise. My father then knelt before me and suckled at my wound.
“Now I have tasted thy seed and thy blood, Philip my son! We are one!”
He gave a sign to the squires and we were clothed again in rich apparel and my father let the
trumpets be sounded and the armaments fired to announce my ‘true’ coming-of-age.
“Let the musicians play sweet songs for my sweet boy!” commanded my father. “Tonight we feast
and in three month on Michaelmas shall my Philip be wed.” He turned to me and whispered, his whiskers
tickling my ear – “until then, my little plover, we shall have such sweet times together and I shall teach
you all I know!”
All this took place three days since and as I write these lines, I am preparing to go to my
father’s chamber again – this time I am to plough his furrow. I am most excited.’
* * *
This story left me feeling exhausted. I did not feel as sad as I had after having read the story
about poor Tom, but even Philip, despite seeming to have been his father’s willing sexual partner, had still
been exploited, this time ostensibly as part of a ‘rite of passage’ but in reality just another underaged boy
for his father to abuse. I presumed that, if he survived, and had
sons, the young Philip, in his turn would do the same to his offspring – so the cycle continues. Maybe even
to this day, I mused, there was a descendant of this Montagu, doing exactly the same as his forbears before
him. It seems that sexuality was much freer in times gone past, despite all the talk we have today about
Power, strength, dominance. Those were what called the shots in earlier ages. A man like
Philip’s father would not understand the word – and probably not even the concept of homosexuality. His
behaviour was ruled by power and dominance. What we might call ‘feelings’ in these touchy-feely times just
didn’t enter into the equation back then. Sex was a tool for domination and subjugation. Men like John
Montagu and poor Tom’s tormentor could get away with molesting little boys, because they were lord and
master. Through status, money and position, they owned them, like
so much furniture or grain. John Montagu might use his son’s coming of age as an excuse, but that’s all it
was; an excuse to fuck a little boy and know that there was nothing the lad could do to protect himself. In a
way, the boy could be called lucky, if lucky is the right word, for the young aristocrat was in a better
position than poor Tom, who, when his pederast tormentor had tired of him, he would be cast aside and
murdered in cold blood without a second thought. Philip Montagu kept his life and status – but he also went
on to repeat the actions he had undergone on his own sons, if he had any. What goes around, comes around. How true the old adage.
The book had slipped from my hand and I suddenly didn’t have the will, or the urge to pick it up
again. As I looked at the small object on the carpet, it appeared to telescope far away into the distance,
finally disappearing altogether.
(SUNDAY LATE AFTERNOON - EVENING)
I awoke with a start and a severe crick in my neck. It was dark. I looked at my watch; six
o’clock. I had slept for almost two hours – an unusually long time. I occasionally snatched a ‘power-nap’ in
the afternoon, usually no more than about twenty minutes, which was enough to revitalise me if I was
I eased myself off the sofa, rubbing my sore neck. My sleep had been deep and dreamless, but I
wondered why I had awoken with such a start. It was as if I had heard a loud noise and that had woken me. But
as I listened to the deep silence around me, I could not recall whether I had in reality heard the sound or
just dreamt it.
The traffic outside was light, the shoppers and tourists mostly left the area, a few dropping
into the Crown for a drink before going to their homes. Seven
Dials was very quiet in the evenings and there were very few people out and about at night around here. I was
one of very few residents; most of the houses on my part of the street had long been converted into offices.
Ground floors had been turned into either swish specialist shops or businesses, of which Sebastian’s was an
On summer nights, one could hear the crowds at Covent Garden, but as winter drew in and the
tourists stopped coming in such large numbers, even that faded away. I looked out of my window. I noticed the
black van drawing up in front of the house. It was unable to use its usual parking-slot down the side of the
house because of the imminent roadworks, so it had to park in front of the building. Without knowing why, I
drew back slightly into the darkened room, keeping my eyes on the van. I was curious, yet did not want to be
seen to be spying.
Two men got out, a driver and another from the passenger side. They wore duffle-coats and black
woolen caps, so it was very hard to see any details or what they might look like. One, I noticed, however,
had a very pronounced limp. Both men went round to the back of the van and after a short conversation, the
driver disappeared down towards the basement entrance at the side. The other waited by the van. After a short
time his partner returned and they opened the double doors at the back of the van and they removed a long
bundle, a carpet by the look of it. It seemed very heavy. I watched as they struggled the few steps to the
side of the house, before disappearing from view. A few moments later, the driver (the one without a
limp) came back and closed and locked the van before disappearing again into the basement of this house, I
presumed. I wondered idly if they were smuggling Persian carpets into the country, then admonished myself.
“Why on earth do you immediately associate them with criminal activity?” I asked myself out loud. Leaving my
own question unanswered, I turned back into the room to turn on some lights.
Even today, months after the event, I am convinced that what I saw was real; although my
rational side says it was a trick of the light, the reflection of the streetlights coming into the darkened
room. As I said, my rational mind tells me that, but I am convinced that I saw what I saw. I still get a
frisson when I recall what happened.
As I turned from looking out of the window, I saw the figure of an extraordinarily beautiful
young person standing in the room.
In that short fraction of a second in which I observed the figure, I took in long brown hair,
wide brown eyes, pale features, a white lace collar and dark clothes disappearing into the darkness of the
room. Whether the figure was a boy or girl, I could not be certain, but I had the distinct impression it was
a boy. A boy with exquisitely fine-boned features and such a look of sadness on his face, I felt such a pang
of grief that I almost cried out loud. As I said, the image was so clear, so detailed, I was – and still am –
convinced that I witnessed an apparition.
Before I could do anything, the vision disappeared. It must have lasted a second or less, but it
was so vivid, so real. I will swear to my dying day that it was
not a trick of the light and that what I saw was the figure of a young adolescent standing in my room, with a
look of such sadness, it tugs at my heart even today.
Without even thinking, I quickly went to my workdesk, where I keep a sketchpad and watercolours
ready and did a hasty impression of what I had just seen. As I feverishly worked, my mind recalled more
details of the vision I had just seen, such as a gold anchor, or perhaps a cross at the boy’s neck (I am now
convinced, in the light of subsequent events that the visitor as
I shall call it, was a boy – it could not have been
He seemed to have a gentle kindness about him, yet at the same time, there was a certain
haughtiness in his manner. But the overbearing feeling I got was that of sadness.
This is what I sketched in haste that dim November evening, immediately after having witnessed
I looked at what I had created and am satisfied that the likeness is as accurate as I witnessed
As I worked, it seemed as if a name kept repeating itself in my head. James … James…
I finished the hasty sketch and all at once, the shock set in and my legs felt very weak. I
plomped down on to the nearest chair, wondering how I had managed to have the presence of mind to sketch the
boy seconds after having had such an experience – or thinking I
had had such an experience.
What a day this was turning out to be! First the strange episode in the imaginary bookshop, then
the strange texts in the book I had mysteriously acquired, now a supernatural apparition in my own
I had to call Jeremy, if only to be able to talk to someone else, another human-being, but I
knew he would be boarding his flight to the States about now. We had arranged to talk tomorrow. Suddenly, I
felt very alone and now, for the first time, more than a little scared. I needed to get out, find other
people, if only for the indirect companionship that would offer. I decided to go over the road to the Crown
for a drink. Grabbing my paper, I hurried out of the flat, making sure to leave all the lights on. Somehow I
didn’t relish the idea of coming home to a darkened home.
Seven Dials is a junction of seven roads, which during daytime are snarled up with traffic.
However, at weekends and after the offices and shops close, the area quietens down. Now, on this cold and
damp Sunday evening in November, the roads were practically deserted, save for the ubiquitous black cabs
shunting around the small monument in the centre of the junction, going off in all directions. The theatre
crowd, going into the West End for an evening at the theatre, or the opera at the Coliseum or perhaps a
concert at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Tourists returning to their hotels after a long day sightseeing and
unable or unwilling to risk using public transport in a strange city. Taxis going to and from nearby Charing
Cross station, ferrying travellers far and wide. All of them driving around the old monument at the middle of
Seven Dials, hardly giving it a glance, knowing nothing of the history of this strange, unique little
confluence of roads.
In years gone by, there had been a public house on every apex of the junction, but the ‘Crown’
was the only one left. It did good business at lunchtimes and immediately after the offices and shops closed,
but round about seven, the place was very quiet, just a few silent locals, some of whom I had seen often
around the area, but never spoken to. The lunchtime menu was good, but the pub did not serve food in the
evenings, so only the local hardened drinkers were to be found scattered throughout the cavernous
In the Victorian and Edwardian times, the public house, as with just about every such
establishment in Britain, had been divided into two separate areas; a ‘saloon-bar’ with carpets,
comfortable chairs and even a good fire for the more well-to-do customers in the times when there was a
sharper divide between the classes. On the other hand, the ‘public’ bar usually had bare floorboards covered
in sawdust and minimal comforts, maybe a coal-fired stove and the odd bench and table. Working men usually
stood at the bar in the times when it was unheard of for a woman to be seen in a public house, accompanied or
no, it was just ‘not done.’
Now, the pub had been opened up, the two bars now just one general drinking area, with tables
and chairs dotted around. The emphasis had shifted towards a lunchtime restaurant and the evening clientele
was thin on the ground. The established ‘regulars’ had their own favourite places where they would sit and
hold court or just mull over their drinks in silence and God help any unsuspecting stranger who came into the
bar and sat in a ‘regular’s’ chair. The unfortunate would be literally stared down by the aggrieved regular
until he slunk away, vowing never to return. The landlord, who was happy with the takings from the lunchtime
and tourist crowds did not admonish his regulars, preferring to work there in the evenings himself and have a
good chinwag with his cronies from roundabout.
The landlord, a large, loud man and, according to the small painted wooden sign above one of the
entrances, George Edward Smith was ‘licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption ON or OFF the
premises.’ In fact, the Crown served a dual purpose as far as I was concerned. If it happened that I
needed a bottle of something after the delicatessen had closed, then I could always nip over to the Crown and
take away whatever it was I needed. There wasn’t an off-licence close by, this being more of a working-area
than a residential one, so the Crown was very handy indeed in case of emergencies. Of course, if I ran out of
whisky or wine after closing-time, then that was my own silly fault, but that has, so far at any rate, not
Not only did George Edward Smith purvey the above-mentioned wines, spirits and tobacco, he also
allowed smoking in one part of the bar, but in the evenings only. Being a smoker himself and one who enjoyed
a large Havana cigar of an evening, I suppose he felt he was entitled to break the law just ‘a wee bit’ as he
put it. Also, and probably more importantly, a couple of the older cronies also smoked, so I assumed Smith
didn’t want to lose his oldest and probably most valuable customers in cash terms, so he was prepared to
flout the law prohibiting smoking in pubs. Being a quiet establishment, the pub was obviously not on any
police list as one which needed watching or raiding, so the smokers enjoyed their vice in peace.
Although a non-smoker myself, I have to admit that an old-established pub such as the Crown (an
inn has stood on the site since the 17th Century, according
to a large, rather crudely-done painting hanging on one of the walls) lost much of its character after the
smoking-ban was introduced. The point about pubs was that it was a place where one went to relax, talk to
one’s friends, enjoy a drink – or several … and smoke, if that’s what you did. What fun was it to be in the
middle of an interesting conversation – or even argument – if one had to break off in order to go out for a
fag? If smoking bothered me, then I could always go to another, more law-abiding establishment, but as it
didn’t and the smokers at the Crown were anyway usually congregated in one place up at the bar, then I really
didn’t mind. After all, George Smith ran the gaffe, not me.
Another thing which acted in the Crown’s favour as a place to spend time, was the fact that
Smith did not have any so-called ‘entertainment’ in his pub. No
one-armed bandits pinging away, with flashing lights and annoying beeps and buzzes to advertise when some
lucky punter hit a jackpot. Nor was there any canned muzak - the
aural wallpaper which in so many establishments was turned up so high as to make any form of communication
impossible except for shouting. No dartboard, no bar-billiards, nothing.
For me, this was the pub’s greatest redeeming feature. Here one could relax one one’s own if one
chose, with one’s own thoughts for company, or else be able to hold a conversation with the next man in
normal tones, without going hoarse. I would sometimes go into the pub with my sketchpad with me and be able
to work on the illustrations of my current project with the knowledge that I would not be distracted by any
‘atmosphere’ nor interrupted by unwanted conversation from anyone there. If I wanted to join a conversation,
then it was I who initiated it. The great British tradition of not putting oneself forward, not mixing
oneself in another’s business held true here. I knew that if I chose, I would be left entirely alone for the
whole evening, even though there were people there with whom I had spoken before. It was is if all the
regulars were there at the pub on their own terms, deciding for themselves if they felt sociable or not. This
might be intimidating to someone who did not understand the English character, but seemed quite normal to me
and those others who drank in the evenings at the Crown.
I was still a ’newbie’ even after three years, but I knew that I was tolerated. I was always
careful to observe the etiquette of ‘buying one’s round’ if I got involved in a conversation with a couple of
the locals and I felt that, if not totally ‘one of them’ at least I was a good regular customer and (to my
knowledge at any rate) had never made the dire mistake of occupying a seat belonging to a regular.
By now, I even knew one or two of the cronies by name and if I felt so inclined (or they) then
it was now not so much of a problem to get into conversation with them. As I said, the usual form was that
one or other of the older regulars would ‘hold court’ and offer their opinions on what was going on in the
world and the pub seemed to subtly divide into two camps, the men – for it was exclusively a male company –
choosing which ‘leader’ they would support. Very tribal and as ancient as mankind itself, really.
This evening, I was more than glad of the fuggy atmosphere and restrained ambience of the Crown.
Just to be among people was enough for me, at the moment anyway. I needed a bit of time to try and get my
head around the day so far. I went to the bar, nodding to the few regulars who had already arrived, receiving
the usual grunts in return.
Behind the bar, the lofty landlord, cigar clamped between his teeth asked me what I wanted.
Since my first appearance at the pub, I had always had the same drink, a large Chivas Regal, no ice. I had never varied my order, never broken the mold. Yet,
as if to imply, in a not so subtle way, that I was still a ‘stranger’, George Smith always asked what I
wanted to drink. I let him do it, it didn’t matter to me. ´Mine host’ was just letting me know that I was on
his territory, I suppose. I let him have his fun. I knew the ‘real regulars’ would have their drinks placed
before them without having to utter a word.
As Smith got my drink, I idly wondered how many years it would take for me not to have say
anything in order to get my drink. Not that he was impolite or rude, but it was simply the way these things
worked in England. It took time to become a member, one of the gang. The Old
Boy mentality, I suppose. Neither Smith nor the regulars had any real idea about who I was, where
I came from, what I did. Or rather, they knew as much as I chose to reveal.
It’s not as if we were all from the same neighbourhood, grew up together, went to the same
schools, worked in the same places. I was an outsider and in subtle ways such as having to re-order the same
drink every time, I was not allowed to forget it.
As I waited for my change, I wondered what the assembled drinkers and Smith would think if they
knew I was gay. I didn’t think it would go down well. I had been into the pub on a couple of occasions with
Jeremy, who does not act in an effeminate manner, and is just about always dressed soberly in suit and tie on
weekdays at any rate and at weekends his clothes are sober, earth colours. Nobody appeared to notice or if
they did have any suspicions as to my sexual preferences, they did not voice them.
That was what this little society was; a collection of individuals who kept themselves to
themselves and only spoke in the most general of terms. Once or twice, the more dominant regulars, the
‘ringleaders’ as I called them, those who seemed to lead the conversations, would become more personal,
especially towards the end of the evening when it was the drink speaking rather than the man, but on the
whole, everyone kept out of each other’s business.
Smith placed my drink on the bar before me.
“Chilly out,” he said, as I paid him.
“Yes, and more rain on the way, they say,” I replied as I took my change.
A good, safe topic for noncommittal conversation, the weather. Time-honoured way of saying
something without really saying anything.
Pleasantries over, Smith moved back to his usual place at the end of the bar, the large Havana
clamped between his teeth. I sat on the high stool and opened the paper, but couldn’t focus on what was
written there. I kept seeing the face of the boy who appeared to me in my flat – the boy I had, for some
reason given the name of James.
I don’t know why I had fixated on that particular name, it just popped into my head as I
sketched and seemed to repeat itself insistently all the time I worked. Who was this boy? Was a ghost or just
a trick of the light? Maybe I had still been half asleep and was dreaming after reading those stories in the
book. I had lived at that flat for three years and never seen or heard anything remotely strange, so why
today? I must have been under the influence of the odd occurrences in the bookshop, the book with its sad
stories. That had to be the explanation.
Yet the vision had been so vivid, so detailed. I was certain the sketch I had made was a very
good likeness of the boy. So who was he and how did he relate to me? Was he trying to get a message across?
Was I being warned? I have never had any reason to believe in the supernatural, spirits and ghosts and all
that, I’m a down-to-earth person and would be the first to say I was a sceptic. Yet I had definitely been
confronted by something and that ‘something’ made me feel very uneasy.
The whole day had been unnerving and I was grateful for the albeit, silent company of the other
regulars and to a slightly lesser extent, the glass of whisky, although I knew I didn’t really need it, but
one couldn’t go into a pub without ordering a drink, now could one?
I thought again of the unfortunates I had already read about; Tom and Philip. Was James’s story
going to appear in its pages? Had something similar (or worse) happened to him? In my flat even? What other
horrors would the book reveal to me? What was its purpose?
Use it wisely, do no harm. What did that mean? My mind was going round and
round in circles, trying to make sense of the day’s events, the purpose of the book, its origins – what my
place was in this whole puzzle. One thing was certain; someone or something was crying out to me, either across the centuries or as a result
of an elaborate setup.
Which was it? And what was I meant to do about
“Penny for them?”
The quiet voice startled me out of my reverie. The owner of the light baritone, slightly raspy
voice belonged was Albert Pennyweather, a tall, thin man, one of the regulars with whom I had perhaps spoken
most often and, if it can be said, the one I was best acquainted with. I knew more about him than anyone else
in the pub. He had a slightly lugubrious air, almost a parody of an undertaker. I knew he wasn’t an
undertaker, though. He was a retired accountant, who had spent his entire working life employed by the same
company in the City. “Fifty years, man and boy, to the day!” he would say with an almost triumphant glee
accompanied by a broad, nicotine-stained smile as if it were a huge joke. Albert was one of the few smokers
in the Crown and I had often observed his dexterity as he deftly and quickly rolled his almost match-thin
cigarettes between long, yellowed fingers.
He still dressed as if he were at work; a suit (admittedly somewhat well-worn) a well-ironed
shirt, well-polished, though obviously old, shoes. His only concession to being retired was his lack of a
His thinning grey hair was at odds with his bushy black eyebrows and was carefully combed and
held in place by Brylcreem. He was clean-shaven and had a typical smoker’s face; wrinkled, pale and
slightly cadaverous, adding to the undertaker-quality of his appearance. Yet his eyes seemed to be youthful
still, a light, bright blue. He wore a dark grey overcoat and a wide-brimmed fedora, which to me seemed, for
some reason, a little incongruous on him. I would have expected a bowler hat, or even a top-hat with
From our previous conversations, I had learned that Albert was a widower, had been exempted from
military service due to his flat feet, had been involved in some ‘hush-hush’ operations during the war and
that he was a keen crossword enthusiast. In fact, that’s how we first met; over a particularly annoying clue
in The Times.
I also garnered the facts that he had travelled widely and had a broad and extensive
general-knowledge. He once admitted to me, in a most modest, almost apologetic way, that he had reached the
semi-finals in the TV programme Mastermind. It was interesting to
talk to the old man and he, in his turn, seemed grateful for our occasional chats.
We didn’t often coincide at the Crown – it couldn’t
be said of me that I went there on a regular basis – but we enjoyed each other’s company and would
often talk for at least a couple of hours about all kinds of things when we did meet.
I was genuinely glad to see him.
“Good evening, Albert! Oh, nothing really,” I lied in answer to his query. He gave a quick look
at the barstool next to mine and then raised one of his bushy eyebrows at me in a quizzical way.
The unspoken language of the bar: is this seat taken. Do you
mind if I sit next to you? I won’t be disturbing you, will I? All this with one raised eyebrow! My
reply was just as succinct. I gave a small smile and nodded my head in the general direction of the empty
seat. By all means! Do sit! No problem!
If only all communication was that simple and unambiguous! However, my not minding him sitting
next to me was not an open invitation for him to start speaking to me. The unspoken etiquette had to be observed and followed through. As the invitor as opposed to
the invitee, it was my job to let it be known whether conversation was or was not welcome. I had to be the
one to start speaking. Unwritten rule, but a very important one. It had everything to do with personal space,
privacy. If I didn’t speak, Albert would know I wasn’t feeling sociable and he would read his evening paper
or continue his wrestling with the crossword. He wouldn’t take offence; indeed he might even quietly move to
another stool – and neither of us would be offended. The old nursery rule about speaking and being spoken to
still held good in these circumstances.
“It’s been a while, Albert!”
The invitation to social intercourse had been made and we would now sit and chat contentedly,
buying each other a drink each and then one of us, (it was usually Albert) would make his excuses, thank the
other for an interesting ‘natter’ and leave.
I was grateful for the company, our conversation would help put the other, more disturbing
matters out of mind, at least for an hour or two.
Albert put his copy of that day’s Sunday Times down
on the bar. “Can’t seem to figure out 19-across,” he said as he reached into his pocket to pay for his
Guinness which George had placed before him; Albert didn’t have to order his drink, I wryly noticed. But
then, he had probably drunk here for as long as he had worked at his accounting firm. He had certainly
outlived several landlords of the Crown!
I had completed today’s puzzle with Jeremy this morning, so I teased Albert a bit as we usually
did, if one had got a clue which eluded the other.
“Remind me of the clue,” I said, as Albert removed his hat and coat and settled down on the
stool next to mine.
“For whom spring rapidly follows fall, 6,6” replied
Albert, his brow furrowed.
Have you got most of the letters? “ I asked, peering over Albert’s shoulder at the crossword. I
noticed he had got one of the adjoining clues wrong, putting an erroneous letter into what was to be the
answer to 19 across, so he would never be able to guess the one he was stuck on. I pointed at the offending
answer. “You sure about that one?”
He looked doubtful, then his brow cleared. “Of course! What an idiot I am! It’s suck it and see, not lick it…so that makes 19 across… he paused for a
moment…”Bungee jumper!” He almost crowed.
“Thanks Peter. It was really beginning to annoy me!”
Crossword completed, he folded the newspaper and took a long swig of his Guinness.
As we settled into our chat, I wondered whether I should tell Albert about the strange incident
in the bookshop this morning and the subsequent happenings, but decided against it. Part of me thought I
would sound like a raving lunatic if I did, so I reckoned that discretion was the wisest course. There was no
harm, however, in maybe mentioning the subject of ghosts and hauntings, sound Albert out on his point of view
on the subject.
“What’s the average age of houses here in Seven Dials?” I asked Albert after we had exhausted
the topic of the weather and the latest political scandals.
Dexterously rolling one of his thin cigarettes, Albert replied, “well, as you know, Peter, the
area was started to be built up at the end of the seventeenth century, but there are very few original
buildings left. It’s a bit of a mish-mash now; some of the houses are Georgian, say early to middle of the
18th Century, a lot of Victorian buildings and then, after
the Blitz some of that hideous stuff they put up, all that functionalism!” He visibly shuddered. “Mercifully,
there’s not too much of that, so I suppose the average age of the area is two to three hundred
“Old enough to collect their own ghosts, then,” I replied with a slight laugh.
“Oh most certainly! Take the Crown as an example.
There’s been some sort of inn or hostelry on this site since the earliest days, just look at that
hideous painting over there!” He grimaced
The story went that the painting was done about seventy years ago by a then regular at the pub,
a minor artist, who offered to pay for his tab with a painting of the pub. The landlord, like an idiot,
agreed and was stuck with the garish job which he had the further poor taste to hang on the wall. Luckily for
him, the painter died shortly thereafter (probably from cirrhosis) and it was thought to be disrespectful to
the dead painter’s memory to take it down.
And there it has hung ever since. It portrayed a thatched building in front of which a
horse-drawn dray, loaded with barrels had stopped. There were figures in ragged clothing dotted here and
there and a sign proclaimed the establishment to be “Ye Crowne”. It really was a bad painting. However, years
of it hanging in the bar had muted its colours to a great extent and it sort of blended into the wood
paneling of the wall. Now, it was as much a part of the pub as the bottles behind the bar or the handpumps
for the beer.
Albert continued, “so there’s been a pub here for over three hundred years and they say that the
Crown is haunted.” He paused to hold out his empty glass for
George to refill it. “And whatever Peter is drinking,” he added. “I’ve heard so many different stories, I
don’t know what to believe any more!”
George delivered our drinks. “Few stories about ghosts in this place,” he said as he dealt with
Albert’s change. “Some people have sworn they’ve seen the ghost of a potboy in the corridor on the way to the
Ladies’ and there’s meant to be a woman in grey who haunts the upstairs function room. Can’t say as I’ve ever
seen or heard anything odd here…although…” he leaned forward over the bar in a conspiratorial manner,
lowering his voice. “Some people have said that when they go downstairs to the Gents’ they find themselves in
a completely different place, the old cellars. They say it’s very creepy! However, they always seem to find
the toilets and relieve themselves, so I reckon it’s a case of a pint too many!” He gave a great guffaw and
went back to the end of the bar, where Sidney was holding forth on whether or not a famous actress was indeed
a lesbianist. I caught Albert’s eye as Sid was spouting his
nonsense and he just rolled his eyes to heaven.
“So why the sudden interest in ghosts, Peter? Witnessed a haunting?” If Albert was having a joke
at my expense, he had a perfectly straight face as he asked. He seemed genuinely interested. I took a deep
breath and plunged in, telling Albert the story of the apparition I had seen earlier that evening. I
deliberately did not tell him about the book; that was altogether too weird and were I Albert, I would most certainly think I had a screw or two
So I told him about the fleeting appearance of the boy I called James and how I had managed to
make a quick sketch of him after the event. Albert listened to my story and when I had finished he remained
silent for a while.
“And you say you’ve had no previous hauntings or strange feelings in your flat?”
“You say there were no lights on in your room, but that there was enough reflected light from
the streetlamps outside. Did the figure seem substantial, or did you get the impression you could see through
“He looked pretty solid to me,” I replied. “He was pale, but I got the feeling he was real –
(the image of another boy flashed before me, the one I thought I saw in the bookshop).
“Could you tell, roughly what era this ghost was from? Clothes, hair, that type of
“I don’t really know,” I paused to think. “It certainly wasn’t a boy in modern clothes, you
know, shirt and jeans, and stuff…he had a large white collar and long hair – not hippie-like. He looked about
thirteen or so, hard to tell the age. I suppose his clothes were old-fashioned, but nothing really definite.
He had some sort of brooch or pendant on the collar, either a cross or an anchor, I can’t be quite
“And he didn’t say anything, or look as if he were about to speak?”
“No, but I got the feeling of sadness, a kind of proudness, but deep sadness as well. I’m still
not really sure it was a boy, but my instinct tells me it was.”
I didn’t say my ‘instinct’ was born of years of studying boys that I saw around me, in the
park, on the train, walking along the street. I always had my eyes open for a good-looking specimen of male
Albert nodded slowly as he took another sip from his glass.
“Well, it’s not impossible that it was some sort of visitation from the other side,” he said,
turning thoughtful eyes on me, “have you been under any strain recently, stress or feeling under the
weather?” I felt his gaze intensify.
“No, not really… no not at all,” I replied, wondering if Albert thought I had gone
“Remind me, Peter, how long ago is it since you lost your parents?” Albert’s voice was quiet,
almost gentle. He had a concerned look on his face.
“That’s over three years ago now,” I replied. “It’s not that…”
“No, I didn’t mean to offend, but sometimes grief has a way of lying hidden and then
re-surfacing when one least expect it to…”
“No, Albert, I’m sure it’s not that. You’re probably right…maybe I’m just tired.”
Suddenly I didn’t feel like continuing the conversation and now regretted bringing the subject
up in the first place.
Albert, tactful as ever, was quick to change the subject.
“I see that Sydney is back on his favourite subject yet again!”
We looked over to the end of the bar. Sydney, obviously a little bit drunk, was hectoring
“Dammit old man! Don’t you see? Of course it’s a plot to bring down the institution we all feel
so strongly about! Of course he should be King when Her Majesty pops her clogs. You damn
Albert and I smiled as we prepared ourselves for the next round in the George vs. Sydney endless
argument as to whether the UK should become a republic.
Shortly after, feeling strangely tired despite my long sleep earlier on, I made my excuses and
made to leave.
“Get a good night’s sleep, you’ll feel better in the morning!” Said Albert, touching my arm
lightly and solicitously.
“Thanks, Albert. See you soon! Goodnight.”
I left the pub and found everything as I had left it at home, all lights blazing. Still feeling
very tired, I switched off the lights and went straight to bed.
I was awakened by my mobile chirping. It was Jeremy, calling from the States.
“Hi babe! Just to let you know I’m in one piece, settling in at this amazing apartment. Bitch of
a journey, but they’re very efficient over here; limo at the airport and this great place to stay – all mod
cons and what a view! Private condo with a swimming-pool, sauna, gym you name it! Don’t know how I’ll be able
to tear myself away from here to go to work!”
It was so good to hear from Jer. He sounded happy and excited; this was a big break for him, a
big-time case, high profile. I knew how much he had worked to prepare for this and how much it meant to him
and his career.
We chatted for a few more minutes. I consciously decided not to tell him about yesterday’s odd
happenings and the book. Jer needed to focus on his work and didn’t need to have to worry about me. Something
in my voice, though must have sounded false, out of the blue Jeremy asked,
“You okay, Pete? You sound a bit distant!”
“Well, you are the other side of the Atlantic!” I jibbed, “I’m fine Jer. Just missing you.
“Why don’t you go and fins a nice teen hunk to keep yourself amused while I’m away? Keep the bed
“Not missing you that much yet,
“Seriously, Pete, you remember the deal?”
We both knew what he meant. Ours was an open relationship, just as long as we were honest with
each other – which, so far, had worked out just fine.
“Yeah, Jer. I remember, but it hasn’t got to that yet!”
We chatted some more, said our fond farewells, promising to keep in touch via all the electronic
means we had at our disposal.
As I showered, I thought of Jeremy and what we meant to each other. One thing led to another and
I ended up having a good, long solitary wank, thinking of how Jeremy and I made love.
As I reached my shuddering climax though, it was James’s face I suddenly saw before me in my
mind’s eye – not Jeremy’s.
I dried myself off and went to make my morning coffee and the two slices of toast and marmalade
which made up my breakfast. Just as I sat down, the pneumatic drills started up outside; the roadworks
outside my flat had begun. Sighing, I wondered how long the din would be going one. One thing was sure; I
couldn’t stay at home while they were digging up the road. I had some errands to run in town anyway, my
publisher to meet with, some shopping I needed doing, that sort of thing. I thought that seeing as the house
would be unlivable in during the day, I might even go to the Tate Modern and catch an exhibition I wanted to
I thought over our conversation from last evening and wondered whether Albert was right and that
my ‘haunting’ had just been a trick of the light and some deep buried image had resurfaced in my mind’s eye
just as I turned back to look into the flat. Maybe I was
suffering from some malaise that had been buried since my parents’ death but I didn’t quite buy that
At Jeremy’s suggestion, I had had some sessions with a therapist about two years ago and after
six months’ treatment, I had been told that I had worked everything out of my system and that I was in ‘fine
nick’ as my therapist, Dr. Highwater had said at the time.
Personally, I felt fine, in control and in good balance. Jeremy and I had a good relationship, I
had no financial worries, my work was going well. I had nothing to worry about. There had to be another
explanation for those strange occurrences yesterday. The only one I could come up with was that what I
thought happened did happen and that I had stumbled upon the most
amazing set of incredible circumstances. My eye sought out the book which had dropped to the floor before I
fell asleep yesterday afternoon.
It wasn’t there.
I distinctly remembered I had seen it fall to the floor and I was sure I hadn’t touched it
since. I peered under the sofa. Not there. I looked around the drawing-room. No sign of the small leather
volume. I went to my desk.
There was James, gazing solemnly out of the page. I took another look at the portrait. He really
was an extraordinarily beautiful boy.
As I looked, I felt a kind of shiver go through me. Last night, I had done James’s portrait in a
rush, using only black watercolour paint. As I looked at the picture now, it seemed to have gained some
colour… how was that possible? The answer was, it wasn’t
possible. I took the portrait to the window to see it better in natural light. There was no doubt
about it. The picture was now no longer just a pen and ink wash.
There was colour there. A hint of ebony to the cheeks, brown hair, a red hue to the lips. The
background was also a soft sepia tint. I had not sketched in
colour last night. The jar of water on the desk testified to that; it was quite black and only the black ink
had been used. What was going on? The thought came to me out of the blue that it was as if the boy, James,
was taking on a life of his own – coming back out of the page, becoming solid – real. Despite myself, I felt
my cock give a little twitch as I recalled my recent copious orgasm.
I felt my hand tremble as I turned to replace the picture.
There was that bloody book! It had been lying under the sketchpad. How had it got there? I was
convinced I hadn’t touched it. Or had I and I was losing my mind?
James gazed out of the page – I felt as if he had a secret to tell me.
I looked long and hard at the boy’s face.
“Do you need help, James? Are you one of the ‘lost boys?’ What can I do?” I found myself speaking aloud as I gazed at the likeness of the
extraordinarily beautiful androgynous face.
The drills outside impinged upon my consciousness. I couldn’t stay here today. I felt uneasy and
there was a familiar headache beginning to build. I deliberately avoided touching the book as it lay on my
desk. I must have moved it myself yesterday, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember doing it.
I collected my materials that I would need for my editorial meeting, put on a nice warm
camelhair coat, wrapped a scarf around me to keep the bleak November chill out and left my flat. I almost
felt a sense of relief as my front door closed behind me, the evidence of yesterday’s mysterious events
remaining there, while I escaped, it felt to me, into fresh air and freedom.
A watery November sun was struggling to shine down on the still damp streets. The roadworks
outside the house necessitated me to skirt around the black van which stood right outside the
As I passed it, I glanced through the window of the van; the cab was filled with a vast amount
of fast-food packaging of all sorts; pizza boxes, hamburger containers, paper cups, plastic cutlery and a
vast array of sachets of ketchup and mustard. Whoever used this van wasn’t concerned about what he ate and
keeping his immediate surroundings clean. I winced at the thought of all that junk food, clogging arteries,
destroying the stomach, killing brain-cells. The Cokes and other soft drinks eroding teeth, burning through
the stomach wall. Added to that, the ashtray was full to overflowing.
Various newspapers in a language I didn’t recognise made up the rest of the unholy mess there.
The partition between the cab and the rest of the van was solid wood, painted black, with just a narrow
grille at the top. I noticed the van was left-hand drive, but the numberplate and tax-disc were British. The
van was as grimy on the outside as it was inside, but there were no dints or prangs to the bodywork, so the
driver was careful at any rate. The lights were also all unbroken, implying that whoever drove the vehicle
did so well and with some care. He just didn’t bother to keep it clean.
Well, none of my business. I skirted around the van and seeing a taxi coasting around the corner
took the opportunity and hailed it.
The day passed. Meetings with my agent, lunch with a client at a favourite little Italian place,
the new exhibition at the Tate Modern, a call from a friend so an early evening drink, then, still not
feeling like going home just yet, on impulse I bought a ticket to a concert at St. Martin-in-the-Fields;
string music by Bach and Vivaldi.
As the austere counterpoint washed over me, in my mind’s eye, for the first time since the
morning, my portrait of the boy I had called James appeared before me. This time though, he was facing
straight at me, not into the middle distance, as I had seen him last night, but right at me. I felt the intensity of his gaze. I got the impression that this was no
image, but a real face and that the boy was on the verge of speaking to me.
The image faded, and Bach’s disciplined lines weaved their counterpoint, almost physically
seeming to soothe me, bring order into my chaotic thoughts. The grave notes of the slow movement of the Sixth
Brandenburg Concerto brought some sort of peace to me and the rhythmic finale cheered me up a
Yet James’s sadness seemed to cling to me, like an Autumn mist.
I felt weary by the time I got home. The hole in the road in front of my house was surrounded by
a fence with flashing yellow lights. The house was in darkness.
However, I thought I discerned a faint light through a chink in the grimy curtains of the
basement’s front window.
There were no letters for me in the dark entrance hall. The atmosphere in the empty hallway was
almost brooding. It was very quiet. It was then that I heard it; a quiet, tapping, very faint. I
couldn’t work out where the sound was coming from. It sounded like someone was tapping one of the radiator
pipes somewhere in the house, but I couldn’t get a certain bearing. Maybe it was next door, or even outside.
The tapping was rhythmic, but kept stopping and starting, with longer and longer pauses in between. I
wondered if the plumbing was playing up. Then it stopped and didn’t start again.
All the time I had been listening, I had been standing in the downstairs entrance hall. There
was only Sebastian’s studio on this floor. I fished out the spare key and opened the door, just in case the
plumbing had been playing up and Seb’s studio was being flooded.
I went into the back of the studio, where there was a small lavatory and cubbyhole of a kitchen – no signs of
leaking radiators or dripping taps. The darkroom was also in order.
I left the studio, locking the door behind me and went upstairs. Pausing outside the
middle-floor flat, I listened out for any sounds coming from within, but heard nothing.
There was nothing out of the ordinary in my flat, though it did feel a little chilly; the
radiators were only lukewarm, so I turned up the thermostat a couple of degrees. I found myself almost
tiptoeing around, and I purposefully switched on all the lights in the flat, dispelling the November gloom. I
peered through open doors into the other rooms, not sure whether I did or didn’t want to have another
visitation. I poured myself a glass of wine and picked up the picture of James.
He stared calmly out of the picture, as before, sideways out of the painting. The colours
appeared to be getting a little stronger, but it was hard to tell in the electric light. Still studying the
portrait as I replaced it on my desk, I reached for where the book had lain that morning.
It wasn’t there.
It was not
I looked around in panic, expecting I don’t know what to happen next. Where was the damn book?
Was I asleep? Were these whole two days just a dream? What the FUCK was going on?
I groaned out loud. I knew now that I must be losing my mind, going stark staring crazy. The
bloody book, if it existed at all, had been on my desk this morning under James’s picture. I knew I had seen
it there. I hadn’t touched it before I left the house. So where was it?
I stared wildly around the sitting-room. Armchairs, coffee-table, bookcase, sofa…SOFA! The
bloody thing lay on the floor by the sofa where I thought I had dropped it last time. Then I couldn’t have
seen it on my desk this morning! It didn’t make sense. I searched for it, by, on and under the bloody sofa and it had turned up on my desk. This was too
I went over towards the sofa. I had made up my mind. That damn book had to go! I would chuck it
away, take it downstairs to the bins, get it out of my house and throw the bloody thing away. Then, perhaps,
I would get some peace.
Do no harm! Use it wisely!
The words echoed in my brain. Now, to me, it sounded like a young boy’s voice – a voice still
unbroken, yet with that slight breathless quality to it – a voice on the cusp of breaking – a boy on the
verge of manhood … James?
Do no harm.
I let myself drop into the sofa, head in hands. I knew I wouldn’t be able to throw the book
away. What had the man in the shop said?
“You might not have chosen the book, but it chose you! Take it, young man!”
What was the purpose of this book coming to me? What was the importance of the two accounts I
had read so far? What, if anything, was I meant to do? How was I
supposed to know? I had the overwhelming feeling that I had landed in a situation over which I had no
control, I was just a helpless worm on a hook, wriggling, not being able to escape. Now I felt that a
presence in my own flat was also beginning to take control of me; the boy I saw (or thought I saw) last
night. Just at the time when I needed him the most, Jeremy was away. Coincidence? What could I do but wait
and see what happened next?
I felt myself leaning down, reaching for the book. All my self-will gone, my fingers wrapped
around the leather object and I opened the book. The pages flipped over, opening by themselves. When it at
last seemed to decide where I should start reading, the book lay flat in my palm, as if inviting me to read.
As before, I couldn’t seem to retrace my steps, I was led onwards by some invisible, small but insistent
force. I looked down at the pages before me. At first they appeared blank, but as I looked, an image began to
form, followed by words. Unable to help myself and now in its thrall, captured by the book, like so much bait
on a hook, I resigned myself to its power and read.
Unsurprisingly, another picture. This time, however, it was a photograph and it seemed to me
that it had been taken sometime in the fifties or sixties, although it was hard to tell as choristers’ garb
of cassock and surplice could have come from any era. The hairstyle seemed the giveaway, ‘short back and
sides’ with perhaps some Brylcreem to keep it in place. The
serious youth stared out at me, frozen in time and place. I felt a knot in my stomach. What sad story would
this turn out to be?
November 8th 1963
Help me! (I read)I don’t know who to turn to. My Mum won’t believe me, they would accuse me of spreading terrible
lies and send me to the Rector to apologise.
I couldn’t do that. I can’t speak to anyone. And certainly not him. No-one would believe
me and I would just get into worse trouble than I’m in now. I’ve tried praying but I know God doesn’t hear my
prayers because I am a wicked sinner.
I am impure, unclean. Unworthy to share in God’s communion here on earth. I have been damned and
I will go to eternal hellfire.
It’s all my fault. I should have said no to him. But I couldn’t. He’s bigger and stronger than I
am. He says I should do what he tells me and that God understands. He tells me that I am doing His
Now every time I see him, he smiles at me and tells me what a good boy I am. But I know that am
not a good boy. I am wicked, dirty– full of sin.
I can’t even trust my choirmaster, Mr. Robertson. He and the Rector are friends.
I’ve seen them when they think they are alone, when I’m hiding in the church, on those days when
I have had enough and need to get away. I’m in my secret place in the cupboard in the sacristy, behind the
I see what they do. I hear them. They drink whisky that Mr Robertson brings and they laugh and
joke and do things to each other. I’ve even heard them talking about a couple of the other boys, Charlie
Mason and Paul Hunter, Simon and me, ‘young Will Fremantle’ and how they’d like to do things to me
God hates me for what I’ve done. My Mum will hate me. I know that Mr Robertson and the Rector
want to do things to me that I don’t want. But they are bigger and stronger than I am. I’m only thirteen.
They’re grown men. If I don’t do what they ask, they’ll hurt me and only do it anyway.
Mr Robertson got me once, after choir practice. He smelled funny and started to stroke my
tummy and then he told me I was a little tease and he made me touch him ‘down there.’ He hurt my wrist.
He pushed against me and started to rub my privates. I managed to wriggle away and he was very cross. He
shouted at me but I escaped into the church. I bumped into the Rector, who was so surprised that he didn’t
have time to grab me. He started shouting at me as well.
I’m trapped. Nowhere to go. No-one to turn to. It’s better this way. Better that I vanish, then
they can’t hurt me. No one can hurt me. Better that I roast in Hell than stay here near them.
I’ve got the key to the tower. I stole it off its hook the other day. One day, soon, I’ll climb
up there and jump off. It’s very high. Then it will all be over.
The worst thing is that I can’t tell anyone. They’d never believe me. The Rector is liked by
everyone here. He’s been here for ages. But nobody knows what I know about him or Mr
And I don’t expect anyone ever will.
Unless you find out and tell my story for me, Peter.
I’ve left my diary in the church tower, behind some loose bricks under the west-facing window.
I’ve made a list of what they did to me.
You have to help me! Set me free!
I need you to do this for me, Peter! Please….
I suddenly felt nauseous and only just made it to the bathroom before I retched up my
He had used my name. Will Fremantle, a dead choirboy from 1963, had used my name, asked me for
Coming back into the sitting room, feeling more than a little shaky, I sat back down on the
sofa. The book now lay open at a picture:
It must be the church the young choirboy, Will Fremantle was referring to. I knew where it was,
it was not far away.
If there had been any doubt in my mind before, there was none now. This book had been sent to me
– somehow – call it Divine Providence if you will and it became clear to me that it was my duty to try and
right some of the wrongs I had seen listed here.
Of course I could do nothing about the young 17th Century lad, Tom Thatcher, who had been abused by his Lord and master, but
maybe I could do some research on the Montagu family, see what I could dig up there.
Concerning Will, that should be easy; gain access to the belfry, find the hiding place he
described and take the evidence to the police. I wasn’t sure what that would achieve, but it might go some
way to solving the mystery of the boy’s suicide – that is if the story were true and the book was genuine. I
had no real reason to doubt it, yet no-one would believe me if I said my evidence came from a book written
three hundred years ago and addressed to me personally. I would need to martial my resources, gather my
thoughts and work out a plan of campaign.
Then there was the question of how many more stories I would be told – how long would this go on
for? Would I be expected to solve tens, hundreds, thousands of crimes against young boys? Had I been picked
for some sort of crusade – or was I just going out of my mind? Was this all an overactive imagination run
My head whipped round at the voice. Had a figure just been standing there, by my shoulder? Had
it spoken, out loud? Did I see the residual image of the young boy, James?
I shivered. The flat was ice-cold.
I’m not sure how long I sat there, my thoughts all jumbled, trying to make some sort of sense of
what was happening to me. Was all this just a very elaborate practical joke – though who would be so twisted?
Was I dreaming? Would I not wake up in a minute and find myself in my warm bed, next to Jeremy?
Or was I going slowly mad?
Albert hadn’t said it, last night at the pub, but his eyes were so eloquent he didn’t need to
say anything… or maybe that was a dream as well.
And James? Another manifestation of a sick mind?
I sat on my sofa in the quiet flat, unaware of everything around me.
I felt as if I were lost in a thick grey fog, with nothing to give me my bearings. Lost in a
Like those poor boys, lost beyond hope…
It didn’t even register that the drilling outside suddenly stopped and did not start
I don’t know how long I sat there, almost trancelike, but when I roused myself, came back
into myself, as it were, it was if I had been asleep for a
Suddenly, I felt more alert, alive. During my – for want of a better word – limbo, it seemed as if I had found a new purpose, almost a need to try and do
something, anything, to have some sort of effect on the fates of
those poor boys as I perceived them in the little book. And I wasn’t alone in that flat. Somehow I felt a
presence – close by, willing me on. It wasn’t evil or malign. It didn’t feel oppressive or threatening, it
was more as if someone was urging me on, encouraging me, giving me confidence and reslove.
I felt both elated and not a little scared. I knew
who the unseen presence was.
It had to be James.
I looked at the sketch I had done and was now totally unfazed to see it was in full colour. He
still looked pensive, but the sadness seemed to have diminished; he was calmer, more self-possessed, if that
was possible. And very, very beautiful.
I felt my groin stirring again. “Wouldn’t turn you
out on a cold night!” I whispered half to myself, half to the picture. It might have been my imagination, but
did I not detect an extra glint to his eye? A hint of a smile on those ruby lips?
A brief image of James, naked in bed with me, his sweet cock, inches from my waiting mouth
flashed before my inner eye. I shook the delightful vision off. I must be going mad, having lewd thoughts
about a ghost I thought I might have seen! I was losing it! I needed to concentrate.
I now realised there was something I could do. At
least I could investigate the local church, see if what Will the chorister had written was true and that
there was ‘evidence’ against the Rector and choirmaster as the boy had said, behind the bricks in one of the
As I put on my outdoor clothes, I thought I sensed James’s presence, very close by. I almost
felt that if I reached out, I would be able to touch him. The atmosphere in my flat seemed expectant, as if
the world was holding its breath. I found myself talking out loud as I donned my overcoat.
“Don’t worry, James!” I said, “I will try what I can – at least to belp where I can. But what
happened to you, James? What’s your story? Will I be able to help you?”
Of course there was no reply, but I felt a stream of air on my cheek – hardly noticeable, it was
like brushing past a spider’s web, yet somehow I knew it was James – and that he had kissed me. My heart gave
a great surge and for a moment I thought it might burst in my ribcage. For a fraction of a second, I felt an
unbounded love for everything and everyone.
Then it was gone and suddenly my flat was warm again.
As I went downstairs, I heard the tapping from last night again. It seemed faint and not as
regular as then. I decided to knock on the door of the offices in the basement, in case anyone was there and
ascertain that their plumbing was in order.
Outside the house, a makeshift tent had been put up over the hole in the road and there seemed
to be quite a lot of people milling around and going in and out of it. There was also a police car pulling
away. I idly wondered what was wrong, probably a dodgy gas-main or something. Maybe the knocking I heard was
someone in that hole in the road, checking the pipework. The black van, I saw, was gone. All the same, I went
down the side of the house to the door to the basement. I knocked and waited. No answer. I made a mental note
to try again later, if the strange banging persisted, just in case.
There are very few churches left in the area around the Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court
Road; mostly due to massive rebuilding after the Blitz. The area is not as residential as it had been in the
past, so the need for churches and spiritual needs has been replaced by Mammon and the overriding call of
commerce. However, there has been a church or place of worship on the site of St. Giles-in-the Fields since
medieval times. In the twelfth century, there had been a leper colony here and it was in this parish that the
Great Plague began in London. The small churchyard is said to be stacked several layers deep with the unnamed
dead and unmarked graves of the victims.
The surviving building is from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and it was here that
convicts on their way to execution on Tyburn Hill made their last stop. They were given a free beer at the
inn next door, so that they met their Maker with both spiritual and corporeal refreshment, with the smell of
alcohol on their breath.
The church has an unprepossessing air about it, both outside and in; clean lines and the minimum
of decoration – almost Spartan in its severity. I had often walked past it, but never been inside. My
thoughts went to poor Will and the torments he must have suffered, most likely within these very walls and my
heart went out to him. “I will try and give you peace Will, if I can,” I muttered to myself as I pushed open
the heavy oak door to the building.
The church was built on the plain pattern of 18th century classicism; a long, wide construction, with only hints of
side chapels. The building was not cruciform like the great Gothic cathedrals, but shaped like a large
shoebox, with pleasing proportions. A gallery ran round three walls, with a carved oak and gilded organ
towering above the west door. Large latticed windows, plain on either side, but filled with stained glass in
the chancel at the east end.
Down the centre of the barreled ceiling hung three large chandeliers, which led the eye to a
large, plain altarpiece with gold crucifix and candlesticks on the high altar which stood up against the east
wall of the building.
On one side, half way down the aisle, against a pillar stood a pulpit and to my right as I stood
at the west door, was a plain marble font, with a wooden cover. A table on the left held a collection
of pamphlets, a collection box and a pair of ladies’ brown kid gloves. There were no statues of saints, no
sacred images on the walls, just a few carved memorials to the former Great and the Good of the
A tablet behind me listed the names of the former rectors of the parish. I wondered which of
those names carved there had been the boy’s tormentor. Another plaque listed the organists of the church.
With a lurch of my stomach, I recognised Robertson’s name. I was now sure that at some time, there had been a
choirboy here, of the name William Fremantle. I saw the dates of Robertson’s tenure and compared it to the
relevant rector. Stanhope Robertson had been organist at the church for five years, between 1958-1963. I
checked the rectors.
There was one listed as being at the church for twenty five years, leaving in 1963:
L.W.Cruickshank DD. He was the author of one of the pamphlets on the small table: “The Way to God Through
Love.” Oh you cynical bastard, I thought. I looked at the picture
of the author on the front of the booklet; a grainy black-and–white photograph of a middle-aged, rather
plump, balding man with dog-collar and white surplice standing on the church steps, with choirboys around
him. Dr. L.W. Cruickshank looked past the camera at something to the left of the lens. He had a slight
squint, but that may have been the sun in his eyes. The boys looked solemn. I couldn’t see a boy that
resembled poor Will - I wondered when the photograph had been taken – before, or after…
Was this the man who abused Will Fremantle to such a degree that he felt he had no other choice
open to him but to kill himself? In the silence of the austere and empty parish church, I felt myself growing
both angry and sad at the same time. That poor boy! If it were in my power to do something to ease his
spirit, then I would.
I found that without knowing it, I had ripped the slim pamphlet into two. What an almighty
cynic, this Dr. Cruickshank had to be, to write something like that at the same time as he was sexually
assaulting God knew how many boys, leading to the death of at least one. I hoped he had at the very least, a
I wondered how old he would be now. In the picture he looked to be about forty, but that could
have been taken at any time during his tenure here. No later than 1963. He would have to be dead by now, I
thought. Rot in Hell, you bastard! Without really thinking about
it, I took the rest of the pamphlets and stuffed them into my coat pocket. I’d take them home and burn them.
It was the least I could do. I didn’t want his name to live on while Will had been so cruelly mistreated and
I needed to get into the tower and find the evidence that Will said he had hidden up
I went through a door further along the back wall, which led up to the gallery and organ-loft. I
wasn’t at all sure that I would be able to get into the tower, but I had to at least try. I would get the lie
of the land and if I couldn’t get any further, then I would have to regroup and rethink my strategy, such as
From the organ, I looked down into the large space of the church. Despite it being built in a
busy part of London, the noise from outside was muted, I could only just hear the sound of the traffic
outside. The silence within the building was profound. Again, I got the feeling that the whole world was
holding its breath. Including me. I exhaled noisily, my nerves jangling, ears alert to any sound. Not that I
was doing anything wrong; the church was open to all and sundry. I wasn’t trying to steal the silverware or
force open the poor box.
Yet I still felt as if I were an intruder. The light seemed to fade. I looked around me, seeking
the door which would lead me up to the tower. It was behind the large organ, in a small room, more a
cubby-hole really, which is where the organist could keep his music and which also provided a place to sit
while the sermon was going on. I saw the stacks of hymn books, organ music as well as an electric kettle and
some instant coffee. I wondered if it had been here that Will had been assaulted along with countless other
boys. Once the thick door was closed, a stronger man could well overpower a smaller boy. I tried to shake off
these thoughts as I tried the handle of the door which obviously led to the tower.
At first, to my bitter disappointment, I thought it was locked, but as I turned the handle with
more force, I realised that the lock was only stiff. Slowly, I turned the handle and the dark door swung
creakily open towards me. I saw the beginning of a spiral flight of stone stairs, snaking upwards.
I began to climb.
The stairs were worn smooth, slightly concave from nearly three hundred years’ use. They wound
round a central pillar, darkened by the thousands of hands which had rubbed along its smooth, cool surface.
An iron rail fixed to the outside wall followed the stairs. I’m not very keen on heights, so I didn’t look
out of the narrow windows as I passed by, keeping my eyes fixed on the stairs immediately ahead of me. There
were exactly one hundred and twenty six stairs before I reached a trapdoor above me. Pushing hard, I emerged
into a large space; wooden floorboards, large windows – the old bell-ringers’ loft. The wooden ceiling had
holes for the ropes from the days when the bells were hand-rung, but there were no ropes there now; the bells
had been modernised to be run by electricity and operated from somewhere else in the church.
There were some old, faded framed photographs on the walls, images of strong men, shirtsleeves
rolled up, bulging biceps – bellringers from years ago, standing in a semicircle, with strong hands on their
ropes and looking solemnly out of the dusty frames.
A plain wooden bench ran round three of the walls and on the fourth wall was fixed a large
trestle which had obviously supported a barrel of some kind; a bellringers’ job was thirsty work.
Just above the trapdoor entrance, six hooks were fastened to the wall, with faded labels beneath
them: Old Bob, Big Jack, Tall Tom, - I realised these were not
the names of the bellringers, but the bells themselves. Once in here, each man was assigned his bell and
assumed its name for as long as he worked in the belfry. I imagined the generations of tough men, calloused
hands, bulging muscles as they waited, pulled, released, listened and counted – the patterns emerging,
stabilising, melding into another pattern, all in time to the senior bellringer, who usually rang the deepest
bell, the so-called tenor, while calling the changes, his great booming bell holding the others together,
each peal according to age-old tradition.
I knew that some great churches had their own special changes, or patterns which generations of campanologists, the bellringers, had
kept alive. Evocative names like Grandsire Triple, Bobs,
Stedman. Sadly, the art was a dying one, particularly in London and the other large cities. People
did not have the time any more to devote to practicing the complicated art of campanology and more and more
of the so-called ’rings of bells’ in churches were disappearing, either having been destroyed during the
second World War and never replaced, churches demolished, the bells dismantled, or else, like here,
The feasts of the Anglican calendar, most notably Christmas and Easter, weddings, days of
national celebration, great victories won, monarchs crowned – all the occasions when these bells would peal
out, pulled by the dedicated men who gathered in this high, cold loft and worked up a sweat – and a thirst –
while the results of their exertions rang out over all and sundry in the neighbourhood.
It was quiet up here – and cold. The room was now used as a storeroom for old hassocks, the
stuffing leaking through the patched needlework. Ancient-looking carved chairs, a lectern shaped like an
eagle, candlesticks of all shapes and sizes. Stacks of old parish magazines, dog-eared hymnals,
motheaten cassocks hanging on iron rails. There was a musty smell in the air, emphasising the abandonment
here. The bellringers had gone for ever and silence and decay now reigned up here in the tower.
I looked around, searching for the window Will had written about in the book. The message he had
left for me, personally. I shuddered. Would there be anything there, or was I suffering from delusions? I
would soon find out. Will had said he had hidden the ‘evidence’ against the Rector and the organist behind
some loose bricks under the west-facing window of the tower. I assumed he meant here, in this loft, rather
than in the belfry itself. Looking around, I saw a ladder disappearing up to the floor above, a gap in the
ceiling offering a partial view of the belfry itself. I wondered if I had to go up there. I decided to start
my search down here. If there was nothing to be found, then I would have to climb the rickety ladder to the
next level. I didn’t relish the idea.
Most of the junk was piled up against the west wall of the tower, but I was able to worm my way
between the mothball-scented racks of cassocks and some pews lined up on end. The window was almost
completely concealed, but by pushing through, I was at last able to reach the wall. To my disappointment, I
saw that the wall was plastered, no loose bricks anywhere. I cursed to myself. What on earth was I doing
here, following the writings in some weird book which most likely was either a prank, or a delusion? Again I
found myself wishing that this dream would end and I would wake up in my nice warm bed.
Crouching inbetween the mouldering cassocks, teetering pews and piles of parish magazines, I
silently cursed myself for being an absolute idiot. It was then that I heard the sound of a distant
“Hallo! Anybody up there?”
The voice sounded as though it came from the tower’s spiral stairway. I must have left the door
to the tower open. I heard steps and the voice drew nearer.
“Hallo? John, is that you there?”
I shrank back into the debris around me, keeping as still as I could, hardly daring to
Steps on the ladder up to the trapdoor. Only a matter of feet from where I crouched.
“Is there anybody here?”
Silence. I held my breath.
Then, to my immense relief, I heard another voice, fainter, answering my invisible interlocutor.
I couldn’t make out the words, but it seemed as if ‘John’ had turned up and was downstairs. I heard the
trapdoor close and the sounds of retreating steps, growing fainter.
I let out my breath in one long gasp, like a diver after being too long underwater. I felt
slightly dizzy and was sweating, despite the cold. I thought I was going to faint. Putting out a hand to
steady myself, I came in contact with the wall below the bench which ran around the room. I felt bricks and
Loose bricks and mortar.
Trying to work as quietly as I could, not sure how much sound travelled in this old building, I
pulled at a brick and worked it loose. I did the same to its neighbour, laying the bricks gently on the floor
under the bench. With a deep breath, I reached inside the cavity, fingers searching for anything that might
be concealed there.
I felt the outline of a thin book. Will’s diary. It was in actual fact a cheap exercise-book,
with the year written in large, childish letters on the front: 1963 and the legend: MY DIARY! PRIVATE!! DO
NOT READ!!!! and a crude skull-and-crossbones sketched below. Despite the circumstances, I could not help but
give a small smile, as I recalled my own childhood and my ‘journals’ which no-one else was to read on pain of
death or plagues of boils or somesuch horrible punishment. Will Fremantle’s innocent voice echoed down the
years and I felt a lump in my throat.
As I held it, I was again conscious of a heavy, profound silence all around me, as if I had gone
deaf. All I could hear was the rushing of blood in my veins and the pumping of my heart. The small cheap book
lay there, a mute testament to the story I had read, the cry for help. I had in my hands the proof I needed.
For what? It was most likely that the Rector, Dr. Cruickshank was dead, so how would this discovery help
Will’s cause? That would have to be a question I would answer later. For now, I had the proof that the book
had somehow lead me here for a reason. What that would be would surely become clear later, of that I now had
My most pressing problem was how to get out of here without being observed by the two people I
certainly knew to be here – possibly more, I didn’t know. I reached again into the small gap in the wall,
just in case I had missed anything. I had missed something; at the back, my fingers felt a ribbon. When I
pulled it out, I saw it was attached to a chorister’s medal. Silver, with an image of St Cecilia on the
front. Will Fremantle had been head chorister.
“I will get justice for you, Will. I swear!” I whispered to the small medallion on its red
ribbon, before I tucked it away in my pocket, along with the diary.
Not bothering to replace the bricks, I slowly began to edge my way through the piles of junk,
back into the centre of the room. After waiting a while, alert for any noise close by, I slowly lifted the
trapdoor and descended the stairs, making sure I closed it behind me. Far away, it seemed, I could hear the
sound of the organ.
I slowly went downstairs, my nerves jangling, legs shaking like jelly. The door at the bottom of
the stairs was ajar. The noise of the organ was louder here. Peeping trough, I saw that the small room was
empty. If I was lucky, I just might be able to escape
I left the organist’s small sanctum and was able to edge behind the organ casing. As I crept
past, I heard the most beautiful treble voice singing – soaring with ease over the organ’s mellifluous notes;
it was Mendelssohn’s “Oh for the Wings of a Dove” – it seemed to me at that moment that it was a
message from Will. His spirit would now be free to soar, freed from his limbo – his soul could now go to the
Oh for the wings, for the wings of a dove
Far away, far away would I rove
Oh for the wings, for the wings of a dove
Far away, Far away, Far away, Far away would I rove.
In the wilderness build me a nest
And remain there forever at rest
In the wilderness build me, build me a nest
And remain there forever at rest.
In the wilderness build me a nest
And remain there forever at rest
Forever at rest
Forever at rest.
And remain there forever at rest
And remain there forever at rest.
Tears filling my eyes, I crept away, down the stairs and out of the door, the exquisite voice
following, like a benediction.
The invisible ‘John’ – who, without even being aware of it – had, for a brief moment
assumed the persona of his poor, sad forbear to let me know that I had done right.
(TUESDAY LUNCHTIME & 1963)
My mind was a whirl as I left the church. The discovery of the diary had confirmed two things
for me; I was not going mad and the book and its contents were real.
However difficult to explain it, the stories in the book – or at least the latest one – were
real, they had happened and somehow or other, the cries for help by these poor misused boys had reached out
over time and space to me and I now saw that it was, for want of a better word, my sacred duty to these poor
forgotten boys that they be remembered, their sufferings made known and their tormentors condemned and if not
brought to justice, then at least their crimes recognised. As yet, I had no idea how I was going to set about
this, but I assumed that as the book had come to me in mysterious circumstances, then I was sure to be shown
a way as to how to act upon the evidence portrayed therein.
I walked on, neither knowing nor really caring where I was going, until I decided I was now
ready to sit down somewhere and read Will’s diary. I was still half afraid that there would be nothing of
interest there, just the usual jottings of a young teen boy, whatever they might be, but the fact that there
was a roll of film as well made me suspect that there was damning evidence against Cruickshank and Robertson
in the diary.
I wondered how I would be able to present this evidence and, not least, to whom and how I could
get redress for Will, all these years later. I wondered about the choirmaster, Robertson; how old he was now
– if he was still alive – and if so, whether he was still involved in his paedophile activities. There might
be a slight chance that Will’s diary and the film might at least be enough to get Robertson punished, and, by
association, condemn Cruickshank also. I had no idea whether or not whether what the Americans called the
Statute of Limitations applied in cases such as child molestation – I hoped it didn’t. If what Will had said
in the book was true and was confirmed in this diary, then I really hoped it would be accepted as
I needed to sit down, digest all of this. I saw a small cheap-looking café and went inside. It
was practically empty. I took the cup of tea I ordered and found myself an empty table near the back of the
I was struck by a chilling thought. What did that make me, then? Hadn’t I just this morning been
drooling over the picture of a teen boy? Didn’t I check out teen boys? Wasn’t I not interested in sexual
relations with what the law called ‘minors’?
I was no better than these two men who had abused Will – with one big but. I had never, would never
assault a teen boy against his will or coerce him to do anything he didn’t want to. I had never done that –
Not only that, but I had never had sex with a boy younger than sixteen, which ‘normal’ people
would still condemn, but the fact remains I had never seduced a boy younger than that and indeed, all my teen
sexual partners – and there had been very few, perhaps about four of five during the past eight years or so
since I had become a sexually active homosexual – had been at their instigation. I had never made the first
overt move, although I might have made it obvious I was interested and/or available, I had never been the
first to instigate the sexual side of things – at least I’m fairly sure I’m right, but wasn’t I still a
hypocrite? Swearing vengeance because of the actions of men, to whom, let’s face it, in the eyes of the world
at large, I was very similar?
Although, to date, I hadn’t been guilty of assaulting an underaged boy, how could I be sure that
I wouldn’t do that in the future? How could I guarantee that my ‘preferences’ wouldn’t change and that I
might be suddenly wildly and uncontrollably attracted to a younger boy?
Even if he were a week younger than sixteen, and I had sex with him, I would be called a sexual
offender, a predator, pederast, pervert, criminal. My name forever on the Sexual Offenders List, no better
than the men I was condemning, the Dr. Cruickshanks and Robertsons of this world, whose crime was that they
were unable to control their lusts. The phrase, There but for the grace of
God, go I came to mind.
But where can the line be drawn? Can suddenly being sixteen turn you into an adult? One day you
are jailbait, the next it’s all alright? I do not have an answer to this problem. It has to depend on so many
There is a prevailing school of thought which says it is never alright for an adult to engage in sexual relations with a young person –
but what do they mean by ‘young’? There is an age below which it is a criminal offence, but if the young
person involved is older, then, by law, it is permitted but society thinks otherwise. And what about the
stories one reads about multimillionaires aged in their seventies or even much older, falling for and
marrying girls a third or even a quarter of their age? Society says ‘tut-tut’ but there are no laws broken,
and whatever the motives are on both sides they are allowed to
continue to live together in matrimonial bliss til death do them part and the Will is read. Who is taking
advantage of whom?
While the human species exists, there will always be a percentage of it which will not conform
to the ‘norm.’ There will always be gay men and women, men who are sexually attracted to young boys, women
attracted to young girls and some attracted to both, or none at all. However, it is my belief that such words
as ‘deviant’ or ‘pervert’, ‘normal’ in the context of sexual behaviour be erased from the language. They
infer judgment, crime and punishment.
Is it possible for there to be a good ‘healthy’ sexual relationship between a boy and a man?
Where are the borders? When would such a relationship become unacceptable – not only to ‘society’ but to me,
personally? The fact that I have these desires infers that I am not in agreement with society in general as
to acceptable sexual behavior. Society decrees that it is not acceptable to have sexual feelings for your own
gender and it is certainly not acceptable to have sexual relations with members of the same sex who are
considerably younger – or indeed of the opposite sex come to that.
If the sexual side of a relationship between two people is consenting and each party enters into
that relationship of their own free will, then I say it is good and healthy and should not be condemned. If,
say, a sexually active thirteen year-old boy has sexual relations with a man ten, twenty or even thirty or
more years older than he is and they enjoy a close, loving relationship with mutual respect then I can see
nothing wrong with it.
However, if the boy is too young, is not sexually active, does not understand the implications
of a sexual relationship, then the situation is very much different. The older man is really using the young
boy’s body for his own sexual gratification, a living masturbatory tool, if you like and the young boy’s
immaturity prevents him from understanding how a loving relationship works. He is just literally being used –
So, what is ‘too young’? Mental age, or physical development? Most boys enter puberty around the
ten to twelve year old mark. Is it then acceptable to have sex with them? Other boys don’t develop sexually
until much later and a very small percentage might be sexually developed at a younger age. What is the
What about intelligence? Should that be factored in? Is it alright to have a sexual relationship
with an intelligent boy who has passed puberty but is only ten, for example? Conversely is it a crime to
engage in sexual relations with a boy who is fully-developed physically, above the legal age of consent, but
with a diagnosed mental age of someone much younger, say nine years old? The law says no and most sane,
rational, intelligent people would agree, but some would not.
The question is complicated, the motives of the older individual must always be questioned and
the individual cases must be examined from every angle. There is always the question of the right of the
individual to their own dominion over their own person. No-one else has the right to violate that person’s
right to themselves.
The ‘normal’ heterosexual can never understand the feelings of a gay person and even less so,
the feelings of a gay person who is attracted to persons younger than themselves.
A double whammy. It’s bad enough being gay. It’s even worse being attracted to young people as
well. Society cannot understand it and what it cannot understand, it condemns. The gay – the paedophile
is an object of derision, fear and ultimately hate.
Of course, I oppose sexual abuse and I am certain the vast majority of gay men would too. But
there is a percentage of the population who would see nothing wrong with it. Using superior strength, or
intellect, threats or bribes in order to gain physical and sexual submission over a weaker (usually smaller
and younger) person has to be wrong and has to be condemned by gays and straights alike. Even though they
themselves might have sexual feelings for younger people, the line has to be drawn somewhere.
It is difficult for me to take the moral highground, I have to be convinced that I am not
similar to the universally accepted view of the gay pederast, stalking young boys, grooming them, and
ultimately raping and abusing them. I don’t. But say the words ‘gay man’ and ‘boy’ in the same sentence and
99.999% of the population would immediately say ‘pederast’ to themselves. Tarred with the same brush. A
I stared into my cold tea, a feeling of desolation overwhelmed me. I was the same kind of
pervert who forced poor Will to his death. I was the same sick man who found small boys as sexual toys,
before disposing of them in a cruel and callous manner. I was the same as the father raping his son as a sort
of twisted rite of passage. I was the scum of the earth, despicable, worthless.
Because I had sexual feelings for teen boys, I was no better than those who I had read about in
that hateful little book which had come into my possession. I didn’t deserve happiness. I was a hypocrite.
Saying one thing while thinking another. Disgusted by other men’s acts whilst at the same time almost doing
the same thing.
Almost but not quite. I had to believe in my self control, my ability to tell right from wrong, my
social conscience. Without it, I was no better than the animals I condemned.
What a fragile difference! A slippery pole indeed. My sexual preference for teen boys and my
moral outrage at paedophiles – strange dichotomy.
I ordered another cup of the overstewed tea, deciding against ordering any of the ‘choice’ items
on the menu; death by frying.
Back at my table, I fished Will’s diary out of my pocket. I had to physically steel myself
before opening it. I didn’t know what I would find there, but my heart suspected the worst.
On the front page, written in a boyish hand, name, age, address. I recognised the street. It was
mostly offices now. I decided I would walk back home via that way, just to see for myself.
The first entry was in February:
Thursday 13th More snow! First meeting of St. G’s boy’s club at the rectory.
Not many turned up. Tea and biscuits. Dr. C. told funny stories. Mr. R there too. Played ping-pong with
Charlie Mason. I won.
There was a gap of about five weeks before the next entry, although the intervening Thursdays
were marked St.G.B.C. which I took to mean St. Giles Boy’s Club.
The next entry was in March:
Dr. C says he’s going to take some of us to the seaside on the Whitsun Bank holiday. Looking
forward to it already! He’s very friendly and Mr R. has made me head chorister! Not many boys left in the
club, Charlie, me and about four others. The older boys left saying the Club was for cissies and that Dr. C
was ‘creepy’. I think he’s nice. He says I’m a very polite and charming boy.
Another couple of weeks without an entry and then:
Dr. C has asked me to help him catalogue his library. He says he’ll pay me half a crown for
helping him on Saturday afternoons. It’s as much as I get for my paper round! Mum says I can. I’m going there
The entries became more regular and the whole, sad saga gradually unfolded through the accounts
left by Will in his diary.
Helped Dr. C today. Funny to see him not wearing his cassock! He looks just like an ordinary
bloke in his corduroys. He has thousands of books. I don’t really know why he needs my help, all I seem to be
doing is taking them off the shelves and moving them about a bit. He gave me a Coca-cola, saying I shouldn’t
tell my Mum - we don’t have pop at home. Dr. C said it would be ‘our little secret’. He gave me half a
crown and I’m going back there next Saturday.
Did hardly any cataloguing today. Dr C and me just chatted. He had a beer and gave me a sip! I
didn’t really like it, but he really wanted me to taste it. Next week he says I have to put on my oldest
clothes because we have to go up into his loft and clear out all the old books there. Another half a crown!
I’m going to be rich! I’m saving up for a new locomotive for my train-set.
Dr. C was a bit strange today. We were up in his loft. It was really hot and cramped. He said I
should take off my shirt. I didn’t feel hot, but he sort of told me to, he got a bit bossy about it, so I had
to. He seemed very pleased after that and said I had a ‘nice physique’ whatever that means. He kept saying
how fit I looked. I didn’t really like the way he kept staring at me, but maybe it’s because he’s a bit
shortsighted and it was a bit dim up there in the loft. He gave me four shillings this time ‘for the
inconvenience.’ He wants me to come twice a week. At this rate I’ll be able to afford loads of coaches for my
train-set. I don’t think Mum will mind.
Went to Dr. C’s yesterday after school, like we agreed. It was a hot day and it was funny to see
Dr. C in shorts! He suggested we sat in his garden. He gave me a Coca-Cola and said I should let the
sun ‘do its work’ on my chest and back. I must say, I did feel hot in my school uniform, so it was good to
get rid of my blazer and shirt. Dr. C had a camera with him and said he wanted a few snapshots for his
collection. I didn’t know what collection he was talking about, but I didn’t mind. He had lent me a good book
to read, “Biggles” and I really enjoyed sitting there in the sun reading and didn’t take much notice of Dr.
C. He said I should have some sunburn lotion on in case and that he had some handy. He offered to put some on
my back. It felt a bit funny, Dr. C putting this cold stuff on my back and rubbing it well in. He tickled me
a bit and then said he would do my tummy. I said I could d it myself, but he sort of got a bit tetchy, so I
just let him. It felt funny and I got a funny feeling while he was doing it. Dr. C was really red in the face
and breathing hard while he stroked my tummy for an awful long time. I began to feel a bit odd and asked him
to stop. I could tell he didn’t really want to, but he did, pretending to smile. I began to think about what
the older boys had said about him being ‘creepy’. But then the ice-cream van stopped outside the garden and
Dr. C treated me to a double 99, so I forgot about how odd I had felt. We chatted for a bit and he asked me
all sorts of questions about me and my friends and what I like doing in my spare time, that sort of stuff. He
gave me half a crown even though I hadn’t helped him at all with his books!
Dr. C made me work quite hard today, probably to make up for last time. Went through
heaps of books! While Dr. C was making some tea, I saw a few magazines behind some books, right at the
top of the shelves at the back. There seemed to be lots of pictures, but I couldn’t see well enough. I
climbed up on to a chair and tried to reach, but they were too high for me. But they seemed to be
pictures of muscly men. I suppose Dr C was interested in bodybuilding, he is a bit podgy. I couldn’t
see any more, so I climbed down. I wondered why they seemed to be hidden away. I suppose being a rector, Dr.
C shouldn’t really want to be a Mr Atlas! Funnily enough, when Dr. C came in with the tea, he said something
like I should maybe put on a bit of muscle, so Isuppose he is keen on bodybuilding. When I asked
him, he seemed to get a bit cross and asked me why I said that. I said I had noticed his bodybuilding
magazines on the top shelf. I thought he was going to be really angry, but instead he just smiled and asked
me if I wanted to see them. I didn’t really care, but I didn’t want to make him cross, so I said I didn’t
mind. Dr. C said he would have them ready next time. We didn’t speak much after that, but did tons of
books. Dr. C said he didn’t have any change and could he owe me my half-crown and he would give me five bob
next time. I said it was OK, but I don’t know how I am going to remind him, it seems a bit rude. But an
agreement is an agreement after all!
Lots of extra choir-practices for Easter. I have to learn loads of solos, so I couldn’t go and
help Dr. C last week. Mr Robertson, (we call him Golly because of the jam,) says I have a very special voice.
He calls me his little angel, which is a bit embarassing in front of the other boys. They call me Golly’s
pet, though I’m not. I wish he wouldn’t do that, but I don’t know how to ask him. Anyway, he says I need
extra vocal training and I have to go to the church next Saturday. When I explained that I was meant to help
Dr. C he said it would be alright and that he would sort it with the Rector. Not sure Dr. C will be too
pleased and he owes me half a crown. He’ll probably forget now. Really annoyed.
Golly was really odd today. When I turned up for my extra coaching he acted really strange,
saying he was so glad to see me and that I was such a talented boy and that I had such
good looks. It was quite embarassing. We practised my solos over and over again. I don’t know why I had to do
them so often, I know them inside out, but Golly kept saying ‘Once more for luck, my little angel!’ I began
to feel heartily sick of him! Then he started to show me how I was supposed to breathe, using my diaphragm (I
just looked up the spelling in the dictionary). He kept stroking my chest and tummy while I was singing. It
was really awkward! His breath smelt funny, too and he kept standing behind me and leaning over me, while he
pushed my tummy. I began to feel a bit odd and I didn’t like him so close, so I wriggled away, saying I was
thirsty and needed some water. I think he was trying to touch me up. Some of the other boys say Golly is a
queer and say he’s been looking at them funny. I must say, I did not feel comfortable. Then suddenly, like he
was cross, or bored with me, he just tells me to go away. (Actually he said a naughty word, he said ‘bugger
off then Fremantle’) which is a naughty word, though I don’t know what it means. So I went and I
was rather glad to get out of there, I can say.
Easter services were good, my solos went really well and everyone was pleased with me. My Mum
really embarassed me when she was talking to Golly, saying stuff like I was a little cherub and how proud she
was of me. Golly just smirked and ruffled my hair saying I was ‘his star chorister’. Mum was really glad, I
just felt a bit sick. I don’t know whether it was an accident or not, but just before the morning service, he
came up to me a put his hand on my bum and kept it there while I was trying to get my surplice on. He kept
saying what a good boy I was and how he liked me. The other boys didn’t notice, because Golly had sent them
into the rehearsal room for warm-up. Golly kept his hand on my bum for ages and was sort of stroking it. Now
I know what the other boys mean. Golly’s a queer and he wants to touch me up. I am going to have to be
careful. Then he started telling my Mum that I should try for a scholarship and he was grinning all
over his stupid face. I think I want to leave the choir. But now Mum thinks I’ve got talent and I bet she
won’t let me leave the choir. Really annoyed. I’ll have to try and keep out of Golly’s way from now
Dr. C showed me the photographs he had taken of me in his garden. He had taken a whole roll! I
don’t know why he wasted so many on me, I think I look so scrawny, reading that book. Dr. C said I looked
‘wonderfully innocent’ and ‘delightfully nubile’ whatever that means. He also had a pile of magazines
on the table, saying they were the ones I had spotted last time and if I wanted to I might look. I must say,
I had forgotten all about them, but seeing as he had taken all that trouble, I couldn’t really say no. They
were boring, really, loads of muscly men, looking at the camera and smiling, showing their bulging muscles. I
don’t see the point, really. Dr. C kept on pointing ones out to me, saying that they were ‘wonderful examples
of the masculine Helennic ideal’ and stuff like that. I had no idea what he was talking about. He asked
me if I liked them. I said I didn’t mind. He asked me not to tell my Mum, or anyone else that he had those
magazines, saying he was a bit shy about people knowing about how he liked bodybuilding. I said I wouldn’t
tell anyone and Dr. C seemed very pleased with me. Quite honestly, I thought the men looked a bit silly,
bulging muscles everywhere made their heads look so small!
Dr. C asked me if I had any shorts, as the weather was getting warmer. He told me to wear them
next time, if the sun was out and we might do some work in the garden. He hadn’t forgotten; I got five bob
for that visit!
Because it was sunny, I remembered to wear shorts, as Dr. C had asked. When I got to his house,
Dr. C already had a glass of pop for me and said we should go to the garden and perhaps look at more
magazines. I was enjoying getting money for not doing anything, so I didn’t mind if Dr. C wanted to show me
more pictures. I got a bit of a shock, though, because some of the pictures showed men wearing no clothes at
all. Dr. C explained that they were Greek and Roman statues and showed how the ancient civilisations
worshipped the male form, as he said. I thought they looked a bit cissy and some of the men’s willies were
really small, like mine, even though they were grown men with beards and all. I drank my Cocoa-Cola, which
tasted a bit funny, but I supposed it was the slice of lemon Dr. C had put in it. I felt a bit dizzy as he
showed me more and more boring pictures of statues.
Then he showed me some naked women statues, with their bosoms all showing (Charlie says they’re
called tits, but that sounds really rude). Dr. C asked me if I liked those pictures. I thought they were
better than the ones of the men and said so, but Dr. C said they were not nearly as perfect as the
Then he started lecturing me about the ‘sins of the flesh’ and whether or not I was having
‘impure thoughts’. I think I knew what he meant; I had been thinking about Susie Butler from next door a few
times and once I dreamt she had no clothes on and she let me touch her between her legs. I remember I woke up
with wet and sticky pyjama-bottoms. Then Charlie told me his Dad had talked to him about ‘self-abuse’,
he called it and how it was ‘normal’ and perfectly natural. I’m not sure what he was getting at, Charlie
wasn’t really sure either. But it was something to do with touching oneself ‘down there’.
Once or twice recently, my willie has got really hard, I don’t know what’s wrong with it. I just
lie on top of my bed til it goes down again.
Dr. C said he would talk to me next time about ‘the facts of life’. Because I had no father, he
said he would ‘take it upon himself’ to ‘enlighten’ me. He said I needn’t worry my mother with this
information, it was to be another of our ‘little secrets’.
Then he took lots more photos of me in his garden, basically just standing around or playing
with a football. He offered me another Coca-Cola, but I said no and said I had to be getting back. Dr. C
stroked my back and chest and said I was a ‘wonderful creature’ and that he looked forward to seeing me next
Another half a crown! This is money for nothing, I could get used to this! I just have to
remember to tell Mum that we are working very hard on Dr. C’s library, but there are thousands of books to
get through, so it might be for the whole summer. I don’t think Mum would be very pleased if she knew that I
was getting money from the Rector without working for it, so that’s what Dr. C and I agreed would be our
story – another ´little secret - just an ‘embellishment’,not a lie’, said Dr. C as he said
I don’t think Dr. C is as nice as I thought he was. When I turned up today he said he had been
looking forward to ‘our little talk’. We went into his study. Even though it was daytime and very sunny out,
he had the curtains drawn and had one of his reading-lamps switched on. He told me to sit on the sofa and
then he sat down next to me, really close. He smelt funny. Anyway, he was sitting right up next to me, which
was a bit uncomfortable. I had my shorts on, because I thought maybe we would be in the garden again, it
being sunny and warm. Dr. C looked a bit red in the face and he must have had a temperature or something,
because he seemed to be sweating a bit. I could see dark patches under his arms.
He started asking me whether I had a girlfriend or not, (he actually asked if there was a
‘special girl I was sweet on’) I told him, no, I didn’t have a girlfriend yet, but I liked Susie from next
door. The he started asking me all sorts of embarrassing questions, about how I thought of Susie, and what we
could do together. I said I didn’t know, but he kept asking me, getting really personal, like if I had kissed
her yet and whether I liked it and whether she and I had ‘taken it any further’ – this was getting creepy,
how interested in Susie he was getting. I just told him I didn’t know what he meant, which I didn’t really
and hoped that we could get on to going through his books, but Dr. C just seemed to get even closer to me and
then he started asking me whether or not I ‘played with myself’. I wasn’t sure what he meant. Dr. C laughed
at me, which I didn’t really like and asked again if I interfered with myself ‘down there’ and he put his
hand on my willie! He took it away again very quickly, but he definitely touched it. I was really
embarrassed. He said that it was alright to tell him, my secret was safe with him. I just said I didn’t know
what he meant, though I think I had an idea.
Then suddenly, he started talking about Charlie, my best friend. He asked me if Charlie and I
ever wrestled. I said that we did, sometimes. Dr. C asked me if I liked wrestling with Charlie. It was OK, I
said. He asked if Charlie and I had ever talked about girls. I said, not much. Then he asked me if me and
Charlie had ever stayed over at each other’s house. I said that we had. Dr. C seemed to get really interested
and asked all sorts of questions like where did I sleep when I stayed at Charlie’s and where did he sleep
when he came to mine. I just told him that we had our sleeping-bags with us when we went to stay.
I didn’t like all these questions and the room was dark and getting stuffy and Dr. C was too
close and smelling funny. He had his hand right close to my leg, resting half on his leg and half on mine. I
was so squeezed up against the end of the sofa, I couldn’t move my leg away. Then I felt like my willie was
getting hard again. I was sure Dr. C could see the lump in my shorts. I was getting embarrassed. I made
an excuse and said I had to go to the loo and asked for a glass of water.
When I got back, Dr. C had opened the curtains and we did some book-sorting. I was very glad.
While I was in the loo, I had been trying to find an excuse to go, I felt uncomfortable with Dr. C so close
and asking such personal questions. I didn’t understand why my willie suddenly got hard, but when I was in
the loo, it went soft again.
After I got back, Dr. C was like he normally was and we chatted about the cricket and the trip
to the seaside at Whitsun. He told me to practice my swimming, so that I could go into the sea, and
also to ‘put some meat on those bones’.
When it was time to go, he asked me if I was alright and if I trusted him. I didn’t know to how
answer him, so I said I did, but secretly I was very glad that he had stopped asking me awkward
questions. As I was leaving, he stroked my cheek and said that he hoped he and I would ‘remain good
friends’ and then he gave me three shillings, because he said he didn’t have half a crown on
I was rather glad to go, I think Dr. C asks too many personal questions and I don’t understand
why he was asking so much about Susie and Charlie. I didn’t know if that was ‘the talk’ or not; somehow
I thought there was more to come and that Dr. C hadn’t said everything that he was going to say.
I hope he didn’t notice when my willie got hard. I don’t think he did.
I said I’d be back next week, but would have to miss Saturday, because Charlie and me are
going to the cinema.
The next time I went to see him, Dr. C had his camera with him. He said he would like to take
some more photos of me, if I didn’t mind. I wondered why he wasted so much money on taking pictures of me,
but I said it was okay. Then he asked me if I remembered those pictures of the statues he had shown me. I
wondered what he was thinking. Then he said he would like to take some snaps of me, posing like a Greek god’
like he said. I really didn’t know what he meant, but he quickly said that it would be alright, that he had
some fun costumes for me to wear and that I would enjoy it. He said he would give me five shillings! He
showed me a few of the statues, to give me an idea of what I would look like and then said I should choose
what I wanted. There was some material, a sword, a helmet and some funny sandals. Dr. C said he would leave
me alone to change into the costume and then I was to call.
Actually, the costumes weren’t up to much; a kind of small kilt and a few leaves tied together
like a sort of crown. There was some sort of scarf thing, I suppose and a bit of old sheet by the look of it.
The best bit was the sword and a helmet with a plume on it and a large sort of fork thing and a big round
shield. I got undressed down to my skivvies and put on the costume. The kilt thing was really quite short,
with pleats round it and a leather belt for the sword. The sandals were quite tricky to put on, but I managed
There was a knock on the door and Dr. C asked if I was ‘decent’. He came in and said I looked
wonderfully ‘archaic’. My chest was bare and the only other clothes I had on was this kilt thing and my
underpants underneath. Dr. C noticed and said that my underwear ‘ruined the effect’ and would I remove them.
I felt a bit shy, because the kilt thing was really quite short, like those miniskirts the women are wearing,
but Dr. C assured me that it was alright and that I was perfectly decent. He didn’t have a mirror in there,
so I had to trust him. He put the helmet on my head and a couple of heavy bracelets on my arms and asked me
to hold the sword high in the air. He said I looked ‘divine’.
Anyway, he must have taken at least three rolls of film; me with a sword, then with the fork (he
called it a ‘trident’) and then with a shield and spear. I felt really exposed, I was sure he could see my
willie under the kilt, but he didn’t say anything so I suppose he didn’t. He kept coming up to me and
changing my pose, moving my arms and legs, and stroking me. He kept saying things like ‘divine’ and
‘exquisite’ and what a ‘wonderful physique’ and how ‘alluring’ I was. I didn’t understand half of what he was
Though I must say, once I got into it, I was enjoying myself, waving the weapons, imagining I
was at the siege of Troy and being a hero in battle. Dr. C then took the weapons and helmet from me and put
the leaves on my head and gave me a kind of churchy cup to hold (he called it a ‘goblet’) and said I looked
like ‘Ganymede, cup-bearer to the gods’. He kept telling me how handsome I was. Anyway, he finished all his
photographs and said I could change back into my clothes while he made the tea.
When he got back, there was biscuits and Battenburg cake. Dr. C said he was very grateful
to me for being such a ‘good sport’ and a ‘willing accomplice’, whatever that was and that he would
develop the photos himself and that if they were any good he would show me some.
He said he thought it best not tell anyone, in case they ‘got the wrong idea’. I didn’t quite
know what he meant, but I knew that maybe Mum wouldn’t like it if she knew how short that kilt thing was, so
I agreed that it would be another of our ‘little secrets’. We seem to have quite a lot of those, but I have
to tell someone, that’s why I’m writing it all down in my diary. Anyway, Dr. C was really nice to me and told
funny stories and we had a good laugh and he gave me five shillings and told me to ‘spoil myself’- so I
bought myself an ice cream on the way home.
I am so confused. Dr. C was really mean to me today. He even shouted at me and called me a
‘stupid little tease’, whatever that is. I don’t know why.
We were stacking some books and I was up on a chair while he passed them up to me. He
began to touch my leg a lot, every time he passed a pile of books up to me, his hand would rub up against my
leg. Sometimes his hand got really close to my willie and it was getting uncomfortable. All the time, he was
talking about something or other, but I wasn’t really listening, because I was not liking his hand on my leg.
Then I just jumped down and said I had to go. Dr. C grabbed me and said I was being a silly, immature boy and
that I should grow up. He held me really tight and he hurt my wrists and that’s when he called me a little
tease. When I started to cry, he suddenly got all kind and nice again and kept saying how sorry he was
and that he was just carried away and ‘overwrought’. He kept begging me to forgive him, saying that he hadn’t
been feeling well recently. He looked so pathetic, I just said it was alright, but that I wasn’t happy
standing on the chair and that I felt uncomfortable. Dr. C seemed to recover and told me to sit down and we
would have a nice cup of tea.
Anyway, he made the tea and I began to feel a bit better. Maybe I was being a bit silly. Maybe
it was all an accident and a misunderstanding and that Dr. C wasn’t really feeling me up. I decided I would
apologise to him.
When I said I was sorry, Dr. C seemed so happy. He stroked my cheek and said it was all alright
and that he hoped I would forgive his ‘little lapse’. I didn’t know what he meant, so I said it was okay. But
I must say, I’m not really sure I like being alone with him so much, he’s getting a bit creepy. Charlie
doesn’t even know about Dr. C and I think he’s a bit cross with me, because we don’t see as much of each
other as we used to. He’s even left the SGBC, saying that Dr. C and Golly are creeps. He said I should leave
as well, but I don’t want to stop being head chorister and I’m sure Golly would do that if I left the club. I
think maybe Charlie is a bit jealous, but I didn’t tell him that. Anyway, he and Susie are getting very
chummy, which is annoying.
Anyway, I like the money I’m getting from Dr. C. I’ll just make sure that things don’t get ‘out
of hand’, as my Mum sometimes says when my room needs tidying.
I’ve been practicing my swimming. Charlie and I go to the public baths twice a week now and it’s
good to be friends with him again. We share a cubicle, which is sort of against the rules, but nobody
checks the changing-rooms; the old man who is supposed to just sits in his little cubicle reading the
Charlie says Susie has chucked him because after she finally let him stroke her tits, she
wouldn’t touch his willie and called him a ‘little pervert’. Charlie says she is a slag. Charlie’s willie is
a bit bigger than mine, I suppose it must be about two or three inches long and he’s getting a few hairs down
there as well. Mine’s only about two inches, I suppose, but when it gets hard it’s bigger, but not much. I
still haven’t got any hairs there yet, but Charlie says I will, I’m just a ‘late developer’. He showed me
under his arms; he’s getting hairs there as well, but my armpits are still hairless. Charlie’s voice is
breaking, sometimes it sounds all squeaky and then it goes deep and then high again. Golly has moved him into
the altos and says he’ll soon be singing with the men. I’m still a treble, which I’m glad about, because it
means I’m head chorister. Only trebles are head chorister, so I hope my voice doesn’t break for a long time.
Charlie says his willie gets really hard and stiff and then he says it’s five inches long! I think he’s
fibbing, but there’s no way of finding out whether or not he is, so I have to take his word for it. Mine’s
about two and a half inches when it gets hard. I hope it will get bigger soon.
Charlie doesn’t seem to unhappy about not having a girlfriend, but he does say he can’t wait to
get another one. He’s already tried chatting up Naomi, but she’s too good for him, her friends say. Charlie
says he’s getting all frustrated. He says he thinks about Naomi when he tosses himself off. He asked me if I
ever got a hard willie. I told him I did and then he asked me how often I tossed myself off. I said I didn’t
know what he meant. He just laughed at me and told me I was a sad case. I asked him what tossing off was. He
said if I didn’t know by now, then I was a poor old sod. Then we went to the pool and started a diving
competition and dropped the subject.
I think tossing off must be something you do when your willie is hard. I’m going to try after I
finish writing this and just see what all the fuss is about. I can feel it getting hard now, just thinking
about Susie’s tits.
When I got to Dr C’s today, Golly was there as well. I wasn’t too happy about that. Golly’s been
very odd since Easter. Sometimes he’s really nice to me and tells me how much he likes my voice and how I’m
‘very special, and then other days he bites my head off for next to nothing. I’ve managed to steer clear of
him as well, so he hasn’t got me alone – maybe that’s what’s been annoying him. Last choir practice he hardly
talked to me and spent the break talking to the new boy, Simon. I noticed how he kept looking over at Simon
during practice and smiling. I think Golly’s a creep and got the hots for Simon. Well at least he won’t be
trying to grope me any more, so that’s probably a Good Thing.
I could tell that Golly and Dr. C had been drinking when I arrived, their breath smelt funny and
Golly sounded a bit slurry when he spoke.
“Ah, Lancelot, your willing little helper has arrived” he said as I followed Dr. C into his
study. Golly was sitting in the armchair, a glass of something in his hand. I didn’t like the way he looked
me up and down, it felt like he was staring through me and I could see him staring at my fly. He even licked
his lips. He reminded me of a snake, his eyes half closed like that. I felt really uncomfortable and decided
I was going to go, but just then Dr. C gave me a small soft package, wrapped in brown paper and tied with
“Open it, dear boy, open it!” he said. It would have been rude not to, so I tugged at the string
and opened the package.
It was something made of material and it was a few seconds before I realised it was a pair of
swimming-trunks. They were blue and made of some shiny material and looked really small.
“Just a small token of my gratitude,” said Dr. C and he ruffled my hair. “Something for you to
wear on the beach at Whitsun. Now, try them on and see if they fit.”
I started to leave the room, when Dr. C caught hold of my arm. “Where are you off to,
“I’m going to the lavatory to change,” I replied. I felt Dr. C’s grip on my arm grow a little
“Oh there’s no need for that, young William! We’re all men here. Nothing we haven’t seen before!
I’m sure you’re not ashamed of the body God gave you are you?” He looked for a moment so severe and my arm
was beginning to hurt, I only managed to stammer something, I don’t even remember what I said. Dr. C went on
talking, his hand stilll holding my arm really tight. He bent down to look me straight in the eye. His breath
“You must learn to rejoice in the body that God gave you, young Mr. Fremantle. You remember the
hymn we sang last Sunday? “God who created me, nimble and light of limb” You must give thanks for God giving
you such a fine body, Will and be glad that you are whole and not deformed or twisted. You have been endowed
with a fine stature and you should be only too glad to enjoy displaying yourself! You remember when you tried
on the Roman costumes? That was a true rejoicing of your fine young form, Will. Surely you won’t mind though
Mr Robinson and I are here, do you? We praise the Lord through his wondrous works and you, Will, are one of
God’s masterpieces. So no more talk about being ashamed, or shy or embarrassed! Come on lad, don’t be afraid,
it’s just us here. Our little secret. Try them on, Will.”
Dr. C let go of my arm and gave me a smile. Suddenly I was reminded of the wolf in a fairy story
and I felt uneasy. But Dr C had been really clever. If I didn’t change there and then, it meant I was being
unthankful to God and He would be angry with me and I would be punished. I had no choice. Dr. C had sat down
next to Golly and they both looked at me expectantly.
I felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment as I slowly changed.
“Good lad,” said Dr. C as he stared at me as one by one, my clothes came off; shirt, vest,
socks. I began to get more nervous as I clumsily tried to unfasten my snake-belt. I wished I had kept my
shirt on til last – at least that would have given me some cover, but it was too late for that now. The belt
buckle came apart and I opened the buttons on my fly, one by one, until my shorts fell to the floor round my
ankles. Golly and Dr.c seemed as if they were hypnotised, they didn’t move, just stared at me. I knew what
they were staring at – my underpants. My willie felt as if it was about to shrivel right away. I even think
my knees were knocking together.
“Go on, boy,” whispered Dr. C “try on those lovey swimming trunks. I’m sure they’ll suit you to
I thought I might try and get the trunks on over my underpants and reached for the flimsy
garment, but Dr. C interrupted me.
“Stupid boy!” He sounded and looked cross, but quickly started to smile again, but his eyes
stayed hard. “People don’t go bathing with their underpants on under their trunks, now do they?” He was
right, of course. I felt myself go even redder as I slowly began to pull down my pants. I was wishing the
earth would swallow me up. Why hadn’t I just gone when I saw what was happening? I could have outrun both of
them. But the problem is what stories they would tell my mother. It was probably better for me to do what
they asked. Anyway, Dr. C was a priest. He wouldn’t do anything to me. It was Golly that I was more worried
about. I hoped that Dr. C would not let Golly do anything to me. I felt the cooler air around my willie and
marbles as the pants fell finally to the ground. I tried to cover myself, but Dr. C said, “Remember what I
said about not upsetting God with your silly shyness, William! Enjoy your young body! Revel in His creation.
Delight in His perfection! Praise the Lord!”
Dr. C was beginning to sound a bit mad and Golly just stared at me, his hand in his pocket, I
think he was feeling himself up. I stood there, naked as the day I was born in front of these two men and
could see how they looked at me. Neither man moved. I felt as if I were rooted to the spot, caught in their
stares. I even think I heard one of the men groan quietly.
I reached again for the trunks which had fallen to the floor. As I bent to pick them up, I heard
a click. Dr. C had produced his camera from somewhere and was snapping away. I got confused and a bit angry.
He hadn’t said anything about taKing pictures of me with no clothes on. I managed to stammer something about
not to do it, but Dr. C and Golly just laughed. “Come along, William, don’t be such a prude! Remember to
rejoice in your body which is a gift from God, like your beautiful voice! You like singing don’t
I nodded, I did like singing.
“Well this isn’t any different really,” said Golly. He looked very red-faced and seemed to be
panting like he had been running. Meanwhile Dr. C was still clicking away, so I hurriedly put on the trunks,
getting them all twisted as I rushed to pull them up over my willie.
“Don’t rip your nice new present, William!” Dr. C sounded a bit cross. That’s no way to show
appreciation for the kind thought behind your gift! Now do it properly!”
I adjusted the flimsy material, pulling the drawstrings and tying them in a bow, but my fingers
were shaking too much.
“What’s that? A grown boy crying like a little girl?” Golly sounded like the boys in the
playground, when they picked on someone samller than themselves, using a sing-song voice. For a moment I
really wanted to hit him, but I kew I never would. One small boy against two grown men, I didn’t stand a
chance and I realised that they knew it. I was at their mercy. In that moment, I realised into what trap I
had fallen. Dr. C wasn’t being nice to me because he wanted to be my friend. He had only paid me to come to
his house so that I would be under his power. I realised, too late, that I wouldn’t even be able to tell
anyone about what had happened at Dr. C’s house and at choir practice. It was only the word of a small,
stupid boy against theirs.
Now I knew why Dr. C had given me money, won my trust. He was a dirty old man, and so was Golly.
I couldn’t believe how dim I had been, not to have realised sooner. But now I realise that, deep down, I had
guessed about them but didn’t want to see it. I thought it would be alright, that they wouldn’t actually do
anything to harm me, but now, standing infront of them, practically naked – well I had been
naked, then these men might actually do domething bad to me.
“Don’t worry, young Will” Dr. C sounded coaxing, but I could see through his act. “Don’t worry,
my boy! You needn’t be afraid or anxious! We’re your friends, Mr. Robertson and I. We wouldn’t do you any
harm, sweet William!” He reached over and put a hand on my shoulder, letting it rest their. His hand felt
warm, large, heavy.
“Nothing bad will happen to you, I promise! Do you believe me, William?”
I didn’t know what to say. I just looked at the carpet, the faded pattern breaking up through
the tears which were forming.
“We wouldn’t do anything you didn’t want, Will. Do you believe that?”
He sounded so kind and his voice was so soft, I found myself nodding my head.
“Good boy! Sensible lad, William! You can trust me. I won’t let anyone do any bad things to you,
The room went very quiet. I couldn’t see Golly, Dr. C was kneeling in front of me, his hand
gently stroking my shoulder, chest and tummy. He was murmuring something like it would all be alright and
that I would enjoy myself. H put the camera on the floor and gathered me into his arms, hands stroking me all
over. I had lost all sense of me, I seemed to go all limp and I remember thinking that there was nothing I
could do about anything any more. I had fleeting memories of me as a child, Mummy, playing on the beach,
conkers, my best friend Charlie, singing in the choir. I thought I heard God telling me I was a good boy. I
felt as if I were a puppet and someone or something else was making me move.
I don’t know if I dreamt it or if it really happened, but I felt the mens’ hands all over me,
stroking caressing me. My new swimming trunks disappeared. I felt my willie being stroked. Something wet and
warm seemed to engulf it. I couldn’t help myself, my willie got hard. The hands and wetness continued until I
felt spasm after spasm and it was like stars popped in my head. Everything went dark, then very bright again.
It felt new, strange and after the first shock, very good. I heard a voice cry out and realised it was me.
But it wasn’t a sound of pain, but of pleasure. Release.
I don’t know how much time had passed, but I seemed to wake up, lying on the sofa. I was naked.
Golly was standing over me. He must have thought I was still asleep. He had his fly open and his willy was
sticking out and he was rubbing it up and down very fast. I pretended to be asleep, but watched through
half-closed eyes. Golly was moaning as he rubbed himself. I didn’t know where Dr. C was, I didn’t dare open
my eyes to look. Golly kept rubbing his willie until, all of a sudden he groaned and stuff shot out of the
end of his willie. It was a white gooey liquid, in ropes, reminding me of snot. I felt a few gobs land on my
tummy. It was warm. Golly groaned some more and more of the white stuff leaked out of his willy, running over
his fingers and on to the sofa and carpet. He bent down and I quickly shut my eyes hard, pretending to be
asleep. I felt Golly’s breath on my tummy and he must have stuck his tongue out because I felt him licking
the white stuff off me. He played with my willie a bit, but I didn’t get hard. Then I heard him get up and
leave the room. I opened my eyes. There was Dr. C with a video camera pointing at me. He had been
filming Golly and now he was filming me. I covered myself.
“I want my clothes now” I said, before I could think.
Dr. C smiled at me, turned off the camera and handed me my clothes. I couldn’t see the swimming
“There you are, William. You’ve been a very good boy, but you know this must be one of our
little secrets, don’t you? You don’t want to upset your mother now do you? It would be most unfortunate for
you if she found out that you were not able to control your animal lusts. But I’m sure you won’t say anything
will you, dear boy? You see, God doesn’t like little tale-tellers and telling fibs is just about the biggest
sin there is and if you tell fibs, you go to Hell. So you see, you must forget everything you think you saw
and heard and did here, William. Everything. If you do that and behave yourself, then I’m sure you’ll get a
reward. You’d like a reward, wouldn’t you?”
While he was speaking, I was getting dressed again, I just wanted to get out of this house and
was ready to do or say almost anything to get away.
“Yes,” I replied. “I won’t say a word. Scout’s honour.”
Dr. C ruffled my hair. It cost me all my self-control not to recoil from his touch. I felt
dirty, used, wicked.
“Good boy, good boy.” Then he handed me a ten-shilling note. It was more money than I had ever
had, except from a postal order from my Granny on my birthday.
“That’s for you, William. For our little secret. Don’t forget your promise! And if you want
more, then you know where to come! Our little secret!”
I got out of the house as quick as I could. I don’t know exactly what had happened, not in
detail, everything seemed jumbled up, disjointed, like a dream, but I did know that I never wanted to go
there again. All I knew was that I had been a wicked, sinful boy and that Dr. C and Mr Robertson had somehow
defiled me and God was angry with me. I can’t tell anyone. No-one. Not Charlie, certainly not Mummy. No-one.
That’s why it’s written here, so that I know it happened. How am I going to keep out of their way? If I don’t
do what they say, they might tell Mummy what a dirty boy I am and I don’t know what will happen to me. Will I
be sent away? What would they do to me? I have to go along with them. They’re grownups and too clever for me.
They’re stronger than I am and I know that they haven’t finished with me.
This will never end.
There were no entries for a few weeks.
I felt numb. There, in Will Fremantle’s diary was catalogued the cold, cynical and calculated
destruction of a poor defenceless boy’s will. Those two men, devils incarnate – and one of them a priest, for
God’s sake – had, in the most despicable and vile way betrayed the trust and innocence of a young mind; a
mind confused enough as it was. Easy prey for the two evil men to exploit for their own perverse
Then followed the extract I had read in the book. I began to dread what would come
I don’t know who to turn to. My parents won’t believe me, they would accuse me of spreading
terrible lies and send me to the Rector to apologise.
I couldn’t do that. I can’t speak to anyone. No-one would believe me and I would just get into
worse trouble than I’m in now. I’ve tried praying but I know God doesn’t hear my prayers because I am a
I am impure, unclean. Unworthy to share in God’s communion here on earth. I have been damned and
I will go to eternal hellfire.
It’s all my fault. I should have said no to him. But I couldn’t. He’s bigger and stronger than I
am. He says I should do what he tells me and that God understands. He tells me that I am doing His
Now every time I see him, he smiles at me and tells me what a good boy I am. But I know that am
not a good boy. I am wicked, dirty– full of sin.
I got Dr. C to give me some of the pictures he had taken of me. They’ll be proof. He told me I
had to be very careful and keep them well hidden. I promised, but I’m glad I’ve got them. If anything happens
to me, they will be proof. No-one but he and I knew about them, he said. I’ve stuck one of them in this
diary. The others I have put into ‘safekeeping’. I know where they are, who has them, but I have made them
promise never to tell anyone or show anyone, unless they absolutely have to. They are my insurance.
Some people might say there’s nothing wrong with them, but I know how I felt while he was taking those
pictures and now I know why he did. Dr. C and Mr Robertson are perverts. They like feeling up boys and they
tricked me. I hate them.
Yesterday was the worst day of my life. My mother made me stay in the choir, even though I told
her I wanted to leave. She said Mr Robertson had been adamant that I stay in the choir and she thought it was
good for me. It would “keep me off the streets and out of mischief”, she said. She doesn’t know
After choir practice yesterday, Mr Robertson cornered me. I wasn’t quick enough to get out and
he caught me before I could get away.
“Young Will! A moment of your time please! Head-chorister matters!” I think he only said that in
case any of the other boys were still hanging around. He told me to go to his little cubby-hole behind the
organ, where he kept his music. I had no choice. He made me wait ages for him. Then he came in and closed the
door behind him. He told me to sit down, while he made a couple of cups of tea. I could tell he was trying to
act all nice and friendly, but I knew that I couldn’t trust him. I mustn’t let my guard down for a
“Why the long face, William? What’s bothering you, dear boy?” He was all smiles, but I still
didn’t trust him. Not after what he had done at Dr. C’s house, though he had more or less left me alone since
“Come along William! Don’t be such a sourpuss! All’s well that ends well, eh?” He gave me a cup
of tea. I didn’t want to drink it in case he had drugged it, so I put it on the table.
“I think it’s time we had a little chat, William my lad. Sit yourself down over there!” He more
or less pushed me over to the chair furthest from the door. He stood in front of me, looking down like he was
a judge or something. I felt very small and a bit afraid. I was wondering if he tried anything, how I could
get past him and down the stairs and out of the church. I was a quick runner, but Mr Robertson was bigger and
stronger than me. If I wasn’t quick enough… I didn’t want to think any more about that. I listened to what he
“William, you’re not upset by our little… ‘adventure’ are you? Let me tell you, dear boy, that
you really didn’t do anything wrong. It’s quite natural for a boy your age to be curious about, … you know
He was twisting everything, making out it was me who had started it all, when it had been him
and Dr. C and those swimming trunks.
“You see, William, some people, some men are very fond of boys like you; handsome, young,
curious. Dr. Cruickshank and I like to nurture the enquiring mind, we are only to keen to help young
lads like yourself who might be a bit confused, or curious. You could say it is our sacred duty to try and
help boys find their way in life.
God made us all different, William. Some people have red hair, others are blonde or dark. Tall,
short, thin, fat. It is a great tapestry we are weaved into and there are so many colours in that tapestry.
Or think of it like music. Sometimes it is fast and jolly, sometimes slow and sad. Think of the solos you
have been singing; Stanford’s ‘Magnificat’ or Bach’s ‘Komm süsser Tod’ – different pieces with different
messages. Well, William, people are like that too. Some boys like to play rugby, others like to draw. Some
boys dream of being adventurers like Edmund Hillary or Scott of the Antarctic, others want to paint
masterpieces or write great music like Tchaikovsky. Some men like to marry and start a family, others prefer
the company of other men. Dr. Cruickshank and I understand this, William and we see it as important to guide
the young boys in our charge, so that they reap the full benefits of what God gave them. Are you following
I thought I was and nodded my head. Mr Robertson seemed to be making sense, but I still didn’t
understand fully what he was getting at.
“William. William,” he lowered his voice and smiled at me. He almost looked human. “Don’t you
see what I’m saying? I just want you to know how special you are. Special in the eyes of God – and in my eyes
too. You are a very sweet boy, William and I am very fond of you.”
He must have seen the look of surprise I gave him because he repeated, “Really, I am. Very
He put a hand on my leg and stroked my thigh. “Drink your tea, young William and tell me what’s
I tried to get out of the chair, but Mr Robertson pushed me back down. No more smiles. He looked
“Oh no, you little cocktease. You’re not going anywhere! Not until I’m finished!” He raised his
arm as if to strike me. I gave up. He was so much bigger and stronger than me.
He pushed me back into the chair while with the other hand he fumbled with his fly-buttons. I
was pinned down, his hand pushing hard against my chest as he pulled down his trousers and underwear and his
enormous willie sprang into view. It was long and hard and had blue veins on it. His nob stuck out, all
purple and shiny. There was some stuff leaking out of it. Mr Robertson stroked it a few times, licking his
lips and staring right at me.
“You know what this is, boy?” He looked like a madman. I froze in my chair, unable to
“This is a man’s cock, young William. This is no ‘willie’ or ‘winkle’ this is all man, my cock,
penis, rod of iron. And do you know what it’s for, boy? It’s for young pretty boys like you to suck on, feast
on, worship. Go on little boy! Take this offering!” He was shouting by this time and still held me firmly in
the chair. He leaned closer and closer, bringing his monster willie right into my face. I felt the soft,
slick and spongy head stroke my cheek, lips.
“Open your mouth you little whore. Take my rod in that sweet mouth and keep your bloody teeth
out of the bloody way or I will give you such a beating! Now suck on it like you do on your mother’s tit, you
little slut! Suck it!!!”
He was screaming almost out of control and I could nothing as he pushed the great smelly thing
into my mouth. I felt the ridged pole pushing into my mouth, the large red nob prising my jaws apart. He kept
on pushing, I felt like I was going to be sick, I even gagged.
“Stop your snivelling little catamite! Take it like a man!” He did stop pushing though and left
it there in my mouth, throbbing.
“Now use that sweet little tongue of yours, Will. Work it boy! Suck me, lick me!”
He kept pushing and pulling his cock in my mouth. My jaws ached, I felt the tears running down
“Don’t stop, boy! Suck me like there’s no tomorrow! Suck it!”
I don’t know how long I sat there, Mr Robertson’s cock in my face, but after a while, he began
to push and pull even more. I felt his cock get even bigger. Then, with a last push, it seemed like he
just peed in my mouth: Hot, salty liquid everywhere, pumping out of him into my mouth. It overflowed , it
went up into my nose and without knowing what I was doing, I swallowed and I felt the slimy juice go down my
throat. He kept pumping more and more of the stuff into me and I just kept swallowing, coughing and crying
all at the same time.
Finally, I felt it go soft. Nothing more came out and he pulled it out of my mouth. I couldn’t
look. I was sobbing. Snot and other stuff his stuff running out of my nose, leaking out of my mouth.
My mouth hurt, the taste on my tongue was like salt. The smell was like at the swimming-pool. I thought I was
going to be sick. He eased the pressure on my chest and began to adjust his clothing.
“Good boy. Good, good boy. See! It wasn’t so bad was it?” He kept repeating himself, in a soft
voice. He was still breathing heavily. I felt his hands fumbling with my belt. I had no resistance in me. I
closed my eyes and let him do what he wanted. I felt him pull down my trousers and underpants. His large,
sweaty hand stroked my willie. To my shame, I felt it go hard.
“You see! Young Willie likes his willie stroked doesn’t he? Young willie is a slut, a
cocksucker, a whore. But he’s oh so sweet. Delicious boy!”
He stroked me, teased my foreskin, juggled my balls. My little cock was very, very hard and
without warning, it spurted two or three squirts of juice all over his hand.
“Oh delightful nectar! Sweet Jesus!”
I just let it happen. Then he stood up and took a step backwards.
“Look at me William. Look at me!”
I looked up at him, afraid of what was coming next.
“You tell anyone about this, anyone at all, and I will give you such a beating!
Understand? Not even Dr. Cruickshank. No-one. Is that clear?”
I nodded. How could I tell anyone? No-one would believe me anyway. I am just a boy and they are
“Say you promise not to tell a soul, so help you God!”
I promised. I had no choice.
Then he was all nice and smiles again. “Get yourself cleaned up, lad!” There were stains on my
pullover and some of my stuff running down my still bare leg.
“Get yourself dressed and sorted and then you’ll feel better. Take this.”
He handed me a handkerchief to clean myself up with.
“Now I’m sure a good boy like you should get a reward! How about a shilling?”
I didn’t have the strength to refuse and was frightened to, so I took the small silver coin he
“We must do this again, young Willie. Very soon. I’m sure you’ll get to like it a lot! Now
bugger off, boy. And don’t forget. Not a SOUL.”
The entries after that were brief; a sad catalogue of abuse.
Mr. R. same as lat time
Dr. C made me feel his cock 2/6d.
Choir practice. Robertson made me suck his cock.
Dr. C tossed me off and I felt his cock, 5/-
Choir practice. Robertson sucked me. Tossed him off.
Dr. C took more photos. Me no clothes. 2/6d.
Choir practice. Simon there too. Mr Robertson made us toss each other off.
Sucked Dr. C. Had to spit it out. He told me I would get used to it by the time he had finished
Dr. C tried to stick his cock in my bum. Hurt a lot. Hit me. Called me a ‘little
Dr. C and Mr Robertson tossed me off. Put their fingers in my bum. Had to suck them both off.
They made me swallow. Felt sick. They poured vodka down my throat.
They made me toss myself off while they took pictures of me. Drank vodka. They tossed off all
Simon there as well. Lots of pictures. Me and Simon tossing and sucking. Got vodka and
lime to drink. Simon sucked Robertson, Dr. C pushed his cock up my bum. Hurt a lot. I was sick when I got
home. Mum thinks it’s the ‘flu. She knows nothing!
Still ill. Bum sore. Tried to pray, but I know God isn’t listening.
Don’t feel like going to school. Told Mum I was still ill. Can’t face going back to choir
practice. Don’t ever want to go there again.
Had to go to school. Charlie ignoring me. He’s with Naomi now. Someone told me they had ‘done
it.’ Susie ignoring me. She’s hanging out with McGregor, the captain of rugger. He’s a twat.
Mum forced me to go to choir practice. Robertson ignored me. Simon not there. No-one talking to
Bunked off school and hung around the ’rec. Saw lots of sad old men going in and out of the
public toilets. Now I know what they do there. One even came up to me. Told him to piss off. Went to the
Wimpy bar and had three burgers. I can afford it now. Thought I saw Dr. C going into the local fleapit. Hid
for the rest of the afternoon. When I got home, Mum told me thay had ‘phoned from school and asked if I was
still ill. Mum furious. Told her to bog off and went for a walk. I’m in real trouble now. Wish I could get
away from here. Maybe I’ll run away.
Mum kept me in my room all day. She says she’s ‘very disappointed’ in me. What about me? I’ve
got no-one to talk to. Don’t want to go to church again. Don’t want to sing in the choir. Don’t want to see
Dr. C ever again. I want my Dad to come back. But he’s dead.
Bad day. Mum dragged me to church. Said I had ‘responsibilities’. She doesn’t know what’s
happening to me. No-one does. Just Robertson and Dr. C and they’re mean perverts. I’m frightened. I don’t
want to do anything more with them, but they’ll tell on me, or beat me, if I don’t do what they
The list went on until the final entry which was sickeningly
familiar; from the book again:
I’m trapped. Nowhere to go. No-one to turn to. It’s better this way. Better that I vanish, then
they can’t hurt me. No one can hurt me. Better that I roast in Hell than stay here near them. I’ve got
the key to the tower. I stole it off its hook the other day. One day, soon, I’ll climb up there and jump off.
It’s very high. Then it will all be over.
The worst thing is that I can’t tell anyone. They’d never believe me. The Rector is liked by
everyone here. He’s been here for ages. But nobody knows what I know about him or Mr
And I don’t expect anyone ever will.
The dreadful, sorry journal had no more
entries. I sat in the almost deserted café, the images summoned up by Will’s sad story in my mind’s eye. I cursed
Robertson and Cruickshank for what they had done, literally destroying a young life. They took advantage of a
thirteen-year-old, playing terrible mindgames with him, using their strength and the threat of physical violence in
order to subjugate the boy and have him comply with their every perverted whim.
How many other boys like Will Fremantle had
suffered at their hands? How many other young lives thrown away were on their consciences? I wasn’t sure these evil
men had any consciences at all. Seizing on vulnerable boys, boys who were still struggling with their identities,
or like Will, on the cusp of becoming fully-fledged members of society, only to be tormented to the point of
The fact that I had found the diary where the
book had said it would be confirmed it once and for all – if I had had any doubts until that time – that somehow or
other, in some supernatural way the book was genuine and that the information it held was real. Cries from the past
for my help. The book’s foreword named me and Will’s appeal had also been made to me, by name. Somehow or other, he
had communicated to me from beyond the grave and it was my duty to somehow get justice for him.
If I were to be able to help, I would need to
get facts. If I could find out exactly where Cruickshank and Robertson had got to, whether they were even still
alive and if I could have a shot at someone in authority listen to me and read Will’s diary, maybe I could at least
try and get an admission of guilt. I didn’t even know if too much time had elapsed for charges to be brought. I was
sure forensic tests would show that the diary was genuine. Either way, for me it would be enough just to confront
either Robertson or Cruickshank with their wicked misdeeds and somehow get justice for Will Fremantle and perhaps
more of their victims.
I looked at my watch; it was well into the
afternoon and outside, the November light was beginning to fade. I decided to go over to the London Library
and research the local paper from 1963 and see if I could find any reports of a teen suicide or accident outside
St. Giles’ Church. I could narrow down my search to the latter part of the year, maybe from July onwards. I left
the café and hailed a cab and made my way to the London Library.
I am a member of the London Library and it was
easy enough to get access to microfiches of the local paper from 1963, but a lot more difficult to trawl through
every one, looking for the report I so both wanted and didn’t want to see. Luckily, the paper was a weekly, so it
meant there were fewer numbers to go through, but they were also jam-packed with all sorts of news items, page
after page of all kinds of reports from dog-shows to local council reports.
July: no mention of a teen death either
accidental or suicide. However, there was a report about St. Giles’ Choir winning a competition, there was even a
photograph. The grainy snap showed the twenty-or-so strong choir and their choirmaster, Mr Robertson. At last I
could put a face to him. He was a stocky man with a florid complexion and sour expression. He appeared to have a
large birthmark on the left side of his forehead, which spread half-way down his cheek. I guessed his age to be in
the thirties, but it was hard to tell as the clothes he wore, along with the haircut made him look any age. I made
a quick calculation in my head. If the man was in his early thirties in 1963, over forty years ago, then he would
be in his seventies or early eighties now. He could still be alive somewhere. I scanned the boys’ faces looking for
one that might be Will’s as I remembered him from the book.
With a shock, I recognised him. There he stood,
at the end of the second row, his head chorister’s medal around his neck. He looked tired, almost haunted, with
sunken eyes and drooping shoulders, in complete contrast to the other boys, who looked chirpy and lively. I gazed
for a long time at the boy, seeing him now with the knowledge of what he was going through. With a pang I realised
in this photograph the poor boy only had weeks left to live. There was the face of a poor tormented soul who could
find no other way out but to end his own life and standing only a couple of feet from him was one of the men who
made him do it. I cursed Robertson under my breath and fervently hoped he was still alive and that I would find him
and be able to punish him for what he did. I wanted to strangle the bastard with my bare hands.
I wondered if the other boy, Simon, was there
also, but if he was, I had no way of knowing who he was. Perhaps he was the one standing next to Robertson, the
man’s hand resting on his shoulder. Pure conjecture on my part. Knowing what I now did about Robertson, it could be
any boy he had taken a fancy to. Perhaps this one too, would be the paedophile’s next victim.
August: The Great Train Robbery dominated the
paper after the Bank holiday. I remembered the sensation at the time and the almost unheard-of sum of money the
train robbers had got away with.
No mention of Will’s death in that paper nor
any others from that month.
I ploughed on, through September, October and
then, in November, there was the report I was looking for. It was tucked away on one of the inner pages, a very
short piece indeed, under the same picture of the church that I had seen in the book:
BOY IN FATAL FALL
Fourteen year-old William Freemantle fell to
his death from the bell-tower of St. Giles Church where he was head chorister. The boy’s body was discovered
in the early hours of Saturday morning. It is not yet clear exactly how or when the accident occurred and
police say they have ruled out foul play. The key to the tower was found in the dead boy’s pocket and police
say the boy had probably been in the tower after the church had been locked for the night. Organist and
Master of the Choristers, Mr Stanhope Robertson, said yesterday he was ‘shocked’ by the ‘terrible’ accident
adding that William Freemantle had been a promising member of the choir. He said the accident was probably
the result of ‘horseplay or a dare’ among the choristers. Members of the choir said they had lost a ‘popular’
member of the choir, but refuted the theory of a dare, saying that the tower was strictly out of bounds.
Rector of St. Giles, Dr. L.W. Cruickshank, said he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the boy’s death, adding that
Freemantle’s ‘exceptional’ voice had brought ‘light and joy’ into the church.
I read and re-read the paragraph. They had
misspelt Will’s surname throughout, which angered me enormously. Why hadn’t whatever hack who had written the
piece, or the news editor, whose job it was, bothered to check his facts? I pictured both Cruickshank and Robertson
adopting suitably serious demeanours, making sure they said the right thing, appearing to be sad. The cynical
bastards! They had killed William just as surely as if they had pushed him out of that window with their own hands!
It was because of them that the boy ended up dead on the pavement outside the church. Shame on you! I spoke out loud, eliciting harsh looks from readers close by in the
I printed out a copy of the article after
checking through the rest of that year’s papers, just in case there was a follow-up story. There wasn’t. William
Fremantle was dead. Cruickshank and Robertson had got away with it. Life went on. Will got forgotten, the older men
probably carried on their disgusting abuse. Sic transit.
That was the year Kennedy was assassinated. How
much press did that death engender? That was the year Will was, to all intents and purposes, murdered and that
single factually incorrect paragraph was all he got. Well, I would do
my damndest to make sure that Will Fremantle wouldn’t be forgotten.
The nebulous strands of a plan were already
forming in my mind.
My first step, was the most obvious one: the
names Stanhope Robertson and Lancelot W. Cruickshank were uncommon enough and if either, or both, were still alive,
I might be lucky enough to trace them, or at least get a good lead.
I went to one of the computer terminals in the
library and Googled Cruickshank first.
It didn’t take long to find him: Lancelot
Wystan Cruickshank, born 20 April 1920, Edinburgh Scotland, died 13 September 1999, in Bournemouth. So, the bastard
was dead and beyond my reach. I only hope he met his just desserts in the hereafter that he professed to believe
in. The sad thing is, he probably saw nothing wrong in what he was doing.
As far as he was concerned, William Fremantle
killed himself by accident or else because the boy was ‘unbalanced’. It probably never even crossed the Rector’s
mind that being the victim of sexual abuse could have been – was –
traumatic enough for the boy to want to end it all. As his diaries plainly showed, Will was both upset and confused
by the actions of the two older men.
I was convinced that Lancelot W. Cruickshank,
like most child abusers, convinced himself that he ‘loved’ the boy and that he was not doing the lad any harm,
indeed the boy seemed willing and co-operative.
Of course he was. The boy was frightened by the
two men; their positions of power and authority as well as their superior physical strength. How often had
Cruickshank drummed into him that what was going on was ‘good’ in the eyes of God? How could a thirteen year old
boy understand that? For him it was not good, it was unnatural, a sin, yet the Rector and organist both said he was
angering God by not participating.
In the end, the poor boy seemed to have been
totally brianwashed and succumbed to his tormentors’ abuse as if he were an automaton. By switching himself off
emotionally, he was trying to distance himself from the torture he was undergoing. The two men just thought the
boy’s passiveness was acquiescence, when in fact it was a way the boy was using to try and survive.
Even that failed him and William Fremantle
ended his short life by throwing himself from the tower of the place which should have been a sanctuary for him. To
him, even God must have turned his back on him and the boy met his death afraid and alone.
I hoped Cruickshank was burning in the eternal
hellfire that, in life, he professed he was trying to save souls from.
I turned my attention next to Stanhope
Robertson. I had hoped his unusual name would make him easier to trace, but my initial searches threw nothing up. I
would have to try a more circuitous route. Being a church organist, I assumed he had studied possibly at the Royal
College of Organists or one of the other music colleges. I would begin my search in London and work from
It seemed a daunting task; this Robertson could
have read music at a U