Go back to previous chapter
"We should've just had a beer in the bar and then left", said Hillyard.
"You've been away from civilisation too long", said Adam "You seem to forget that there's a certain commodity called money. The absence of which will make our lives impossible from now on".
"And we're hungry and exhausted", said Kieran "It'd take more than a beer to sort us out at the moment".
"But to get sent into the manager's office", said Hillyard "When we haven't even done anything".
"We didn't have to", said Ransey "Kieran's presence has caused the stir all by itself. It's not surprising the manager wants to see us. I expect everyone'd given the Vanquisher up for dead. It'll be good publicity for him from now on, the fact that Kieran returned by walking into his bar".
"Let's hope he's on our side then", said Joby "And not Gabriel's".
They were sitting nervously on a huge leather sofa in an office that stood in a separate building across a courtyard beyond the bar. The office was plush and comfortable, and looked completely incongruous as the working unit belonging to the manager of a bar in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly the door opened and a eunuch walked in, bearing a heavily-laden tray. The eunuch had certainly seen better days. He was tall and gaunt, wearing a red wig and a black leather outfit with fur trimming. An ensemble which looked horribly uncomfortable and inappropriate in the desert heat. The eunuch was so thin that his dark eyes appeared to be popping out of his head. He set the tray down on a table in front of them and departed without saying a word.
"Coffee, beer, wine, water", said Adam, inspecting the tray "They've thought of everything".
"Did you see the state of that?" said Hillyard, gesturing after the eunuch "I'd have to have been on a desert island a lot longer than a year before I fancied that. What a mess!"
"Some of 'em don't age well", said Ransey "Must be what the rest of us put them through".
"Go steady on the beer, Hillyard", said Adam "You've hardly eaten in days".
Hillyard finished downing his pint.
"Look", he said, wiping his mouth vigorously "Drink as much as you can in case they come in and ask us to pay for it. Then we can at least make out that we thought it was on the house. If we've drank it they can't take it away again".
"Whatever this fella really does it pays well", said Ransey "This sofa's real leather, and I wouldn't be surprised if that was real gold trim on his desk-set. He certainly didn't make this kind of money running a seedy little bar in the middle of nowhere. That's a front for something".
"There's summat not right about it, that's for sure", said Joby.
The manager appeared a few minutes later. By this time they had built up an imaginary image of an evil drug-peddling bone-breaking gangster with dubious sexual tendencies. His appearance only seemed to confirm this view. He was a thick-set man with a crooked nose, receding dark hair and restless eyes, as though he was constantly on the lookout for mischief. When he spoke his voice was quite educated and refined, which strangely only seemed to add to the chilling image.
"Well this is a turn-up for the books, as the old saying goes", he said, with a great show of affableness "The Vanquisher of Evil suddenly appearing in my bar. It's a rare honour. Doubtless you have many stories to tell".
"Not at the moment", said Kieran, not wishing to appear rude but he felt only an urge to sleep in a soft bed "Adam tends to be our spokesman anyway. He makes all the decisions".
The manager looked relieved at this, as though absolved from the responsibility of talking to such an ephemeral creature as Kieran.
"My name's Brenfar", he said, holding out a be-ringed hand to Adam "I'm the owner and general manager".
Adam shook his hand and introduced the others.
"Now as you can tell from looking round my office here", said Brenfar, when the introductions had been completed "The bar isn't my only line of business. That's really just a little watering-hole for weary travellers such as yourself. My real goldmine is the resort".
"Resort?" said Adam "Here?"
"Yes I'll show you round shortly. Resort makes it sound huge, but it's just a little holiday complex in the desert, for those wishing to put the strains of the City far behind them, and as I'm sure you know that's even more necessary nowadays! I won't make any bones about it. We are exclusive here, and tend to operate only for those with money who are prepared to pay for privacy. But I'm willing to throw three bungalows open to you, for your use and for as long as you wish. Things are quiet at the moment, so you won't be keeping out business. I'll be honest with you, things have been quiet for some time now. Father Gabriel's not good for business. And the few guests we have got have been here for some time. I think they intend to hibernate here until either the Vanquisher returns, or their money runs out. They'll certainly be pleased to see you anyway".
"It's a very generous offer", said Adam, cautiously.
"Think nothing of it", said Brenfar "Least I can do. The Vanquisher's return might mean business'll pick up again".
"I'm glad I'm good for trade at least", said Kieran.
"I can tell you're tired", said Brenfar "And you don't want to sit here listening to me. I'll get one of the staff to show you to your bungalows. Now remember, everything's on the house here, and you're welcome to stay as long as you wish. Before you go though it seems to me the boy could do with some proper clothes".
He was referring to Lonts, who had fallen asleep with his thumb still in his mouth. His ragged nightshirt was so ineffectual at covering his modesty that he might as well have been naked.
"Our kitchen-boy's about his size", said Brenfar "I'll get him to bring something over for him to put on".
The "resort" turned out to be a cluster of bungalows widely-spaced around a swimming-pool. The whole emphasis of the place was on privacy. Even the pool was bordered by a ring of bushes and palm trees. None of this area could be seen from the Great Desert Road, which lay on the other side of a wall of boulders, and the resort was reached by a tunnel chiselled through it. There were flowers and shrubs planted around the area, to try and dispel some of the austerity of the desert scene. The flowers looked unreal in the moonlight, making the whole place feel more surreal than ever. There was no sign of the other residents.
"I feel a bit sorry for Adam having to share with Lonts", said Joby, who was rifling through the complimentary fruit and biscuit basket in his and Kieran's bungalow.
"It's best that way", said Kieran, sitting on the edge of the satin-covered bed "He copes with him so well".
Kieran had been aimlessly flicking the bedside lamp on-and-off for some time. It was so long since he had seen electric light that he could only sit and marvel at it.
"Come on Kiel, eat some of this", mumbled Joby, after cramming two chocolate cookies into his mouth at once "You must be starving".
"I can't be bothered", said Kieran. He flopped back wearily on the bed and stared up at the whirring fan overhead.
"I don't understand", said Joby "We haven't eaten properly for days. I mean, even you've got to be hungry".
"Well I'm not", Kieran snapped "So stop going on about it".
"Kiel, you're not going funny on me again are you? Oh don't do this to me, please! Not now we're having some good luck for a change".
"Oh good luck is it?" Kieran exclaimed "Some bastard waves a few goodies at you and you're his devoted slave!"
"Bollocks. I don't trust him anymore than you do, but I'm tired and I'm hungry, and at this moment I couldn't care less if he was Attila the Hun. I just want a rest from worrying about dying", Joby touched Kieran's arm, but the Irishman flinched as though he'd been scalded "If you don't eat something Kiel, I'm going to tell Adam".
"You would as well you little sneak!" Kieran screamed "You do any such thing and I'll break your neck".
"I'd like to see you fucking well try!" Joby yelled "Right, that's it. I'm not putting up with you going funny on me again. I'm going to fetch Adam, and I hope he gives you what-for!"
"Where's Joby?" said Kieran.
"Minding Lonts, whilst I sort you out", Adam selected an apple and banana from the fruit-basket "There's still quite a bit of yours left. Lonts and I have decimated ours. So, what's got into you then? Why are you upsetting poor Joby after everything else we've been through?"
"I feel bad about that".
"So you should".
"It's just that I don't trust our host", Kieran sighed "I mean, really don't trust him".
"Do you think he's in league with Gabriel?" said Adam "It seems an unlikely alliance".
"No, I don't think it's Gabriel. But Brenfar's up to something, and it bodes ill for us, whatever it is".
"We've proved we can take care of ourselves. We just have to stay alert and distrustful that's all. Let's just take one thing at a time Patsy, and please stop giving Joby a hard time", Adam picked up the half-eaten packet of biscuits Joby had left on the bed "Come on, eat a couple of these".
Kieran snatched the packet and crammed a handful of biscuits into his mouth at once. He was so hungry he could barely get them down quick enough.
"That's a bit more like it", said Adam, approvingly "Now how about I give you a bath? Then you just might be human again".
Lonts's new clothes arrived. The ragged nightshirt came off for the last time, and Joby helped the boy dress in shorts and a tee-shirt. He then sat him down in the en-suite bathroom and trimmed his hair with a pair of complimentary manicure scissors.
"There you are", said Joby, when he had finished "You almost look civilised".
"Am I good-looking?" said Lonts.
"You're alright", said Joby, grudgingly "Why don't we go and show Adam the magical transformation?"
They ran across the compound in the dark, the air heavy with the scent of tropical flowers and the buzz of the cicadas. There was the sound of soft music and the tinkle of cutlery issuing from the small restaurant on the far side.
"Weird place this isn't it?" said Lonts, as they neared Kieran's bungalow.
"Yea", said Joby "Somehow I hope we don't have to stay here long".
Inside the bungalow Kieran was sat in the bath, whilst Adam languidly soaked his back for him.
"Shame you haven't drowned him yet", said Joby, as he and Lonts burst into the room "Anyway, what do you think of Lonts's new look?"
Kieran glanced up through a curtain of wet hair and gave an approving whistle.
"What lovely long brown legs you've got, Lonts", he said.
"Those shorts are too tight", said Adam.
"Nonsense", said Kieran "The tee-shirt's just about long enough to cover his bum. You sound like a disapproving father".
"That's because I feel like one", said Adam "There'll be men exploding with lust wherever he goes. I'll end up having to tie him on the end of a rope for my own peace of mind".
"It's a darn sight more decent than that nightshirt he wore", said Kieran "Has he cut his hair too?"
"I did that", said Joby, proudly "Well as best I could with a pair of poncy nail-scissors".
"Not half bad, Joby", said Adam "You can trim mine sometime. It's all over the bloody place. That just leaves you yourself to sort out".
"I've been busy doing him haven't I!"
"Those clothes need a wash", said Kieran, and deftly hooked Joby backwards into the bathtub with him.
They all despatched their clothes to the laundry, and then slept solidly until late afternoon the following day when the clothes were returned, washed and pressed. Adam was disturbed to hear from the steward who brought them back that Brenfar wished to see him in his office. He left Lonts with Hillyard and Ransey, and set off with trepidation.
The first thing he noticed when he reached the office was Lonts's old nightshirt lying on Brenfar's desk. They had put it out for the rubbish, and Adam was disconcerted to see it again so soon.
"Sorry to have to summon you like this", said Brenfar "But we couldn't help noticing something about this garment here".
He passed it over to Adam, with it folded so that his grievance was instantly noticeable. Stencilled on the underside of the fabric were the words 'PROPERTY OF CITY MENTAL HEALTH CENTRE'.
"I didn't think he was all there when I saw him yesterday", said Brenfar "What's wrong with him?"
"Nothing", said Adam, feeling irritated by Brenfar's high-handed attitude "He's not violent or anything. He just gets confused easily. He's slightly out-of-kilter with the world that's all. He doesn't always grasp what's going on. He's simply a little boy in an adult's body".
"You must understand Adam that I have my other guests to think of", said Brenfar "I'm not prejudiced myself, but some of them ... well they get frightened of things they don't understand, and insanity is frightening for those who don't know much about it".
"He's retarded, not insane. Anyway if they're that nervous I'll keep him in my bungalow all the time", said Adam, waspishly.
"There'll be no need for that. I just want your word that the boy isn't likely to run amok, or attack any of the guests".
"I've just told you, Lonts isn't violent", said Adam "Occasionally he might have a tantrum, but that's all it is. A child's tantrum. He's more likely to harm himself at those times by drumming his heels on the floor than hurt anyone else. Do you want us to leave, is that it?"
"No!" said Brenfar, rather sharply "No ... um ... as I said yesterday, you're welcome to stay as long as you wish. The boy too of course. I don't want to cause offence, but I am a businessman ..."
"Alright, don't explain again", Adam sighed "I'll make sure Lonts behaves himself".
"Did you arrange for him to escape from the hospital?"
"No. He was put on a convict-ship like a common criminal. They had no right to do that to him. Lonts must have been completely terrified the whole time. When we found him they'd strapped him down in a most brutal fashion, so we took him away".
"Father Gabriel did have the mentally-ill rounded up", said Brenfar "Your boy was lucky. Recently they've been putting the insane in cages along the City walls and leaving them to rot. That could have happened to him".
"Who the bloody hell does he think he is!" said Adam, pacing up and down Kieran and Joby's bungalow "What kind of host goes through his guest's rubbish for crying out loud?"
"A host that's a shifty bastard like him", said Joby, pouring out a cup of coffee and curling Adam's fingers round it "Now sit down and drink this".
"It makes me wonder what his game is", said Kieran.
"So do I", said Adam "He was very anxious indeed that we didn't leave. I'm also worried about Lonts. It seems that being mentally-ill is a capital offence these days. I wouldn't trust Brenfar not to tell someone in authority that he's here".
"We should be alright", said Kieran "As long as we keep Lonts under control. As you say, Brenfar seems desperate to keep us here".
"I've assured him Lonts isn't violent, and he doesn't attack people".
"What about the time he went for your jugular?" said Joby.
"But he hasn't done it since has he?" said Adam "Nor has he attacked anyone else. The tantrums tend to just come out of the blue, and then all I have to do is threaten him with a spanking and he stops".
"He doesn't always", said Joby.
"And on those occasions he gets his butt smacked, and then he soon calms down again", said Adam "He's not psychotic by any means. A psychopath is someone like Angel for God's sake, and you couldn't have subdued him that easily".
"Of course Lonts isn't dangerous", said Kieran "We'll go out for dinner in the restaurant tonight and prove to them how civilised we can all be".
"That'll be the day", said Joby "I hope they don't stint on the portions".
In the foyer of the restaurant they found a map of the world in a glass case. The 'You Are Here' arrow pointed at a spot rather too far down for everyone's liking.
"I wish we hadn't found out", said Hillyard "It'll take us years to get back".
"There only seems to be one place of any notable size between here and the jungle", said Kieran, peering at the map closely "Pepuaah I think it's called".
"Old walled desert town", said Ransey "Very famous for its archaeological digs".
"Really?" said Adam "They might have found some things from our time there?"
"I dread to think what!" said Kieran "It's still a bloody long way to that place even. Makes you wonder how Brenfar ever did manage to make this a going concern, being stuck all the way down here".
"I wouldn't mind seeing Pepuaah", said Ransey "It's reckoned that's where a lot of intellectuals and academics fled during the vampire's reign. Fascinating place".
No one in the restaurant stood up when they entered, although all conversation abruptly ceased and everyone turned to stare at them with unbridled curiosity. The restaurant was large, white and airy, filled with tropical plants. The customers were much less easy on the eye. The few of them that there were dotted about were mainly elderly or ugly, or both. They stared at Kieran's party with so much curiosity that they couldn't have looked more obvious if they'd walked over and inspected them with magnifying-glasses.
"They're all staring", said Lonts, as they reached their table "Why do they all keep staring?"
"Because they're a bunch of jerks with more money than sense", said Joby.
"I don't like the way they all keep staring".
"Lonts, you promised you'd be good and not panic", said Adam.
"Is Brenfar paying for everything?" said Ransey.
"Why, are you planning to eat your way through the menu?" said Adam.
"Wouldn't be such a bad idea", said Ransey.
"Will you get a look at that!" Joby exclaimed, as an elderly man swept across to the table next to them and sat down. He was a flamboyant-looking character in a fedora hat "Looks like some ancient actor. He should be wearing a cape as well and carrying a cane".
"He's old isn't he?" said Lonts, in a loud voice "I don't think I've ever seen anyone that old before".
"Oh lor, I think he heard that", said Adam.
"There was never anyone that old in Kiskev", Lonts went on.
"Too fond of topping themselves that's why", Joby muttered.
"There was no need for that, Joby", said Adam.
"It's only what you'd have said at one time".
"Very true", Adam sighed.
"Look at this bunch of wankers", Kieran snarled over his brandy glass "Makes you want to start a custard pie fight with the pudding trolley. Has no one ever told them that it's rude to stare?"
"Cheer up Patsy, at least we're getting real food".
"Humph", said Kieran "I bet none of this lot know what it's like to go hungry".
"Oh distract him someone, before we get today's sermon", said Adam "It'll only give me indigestion if I have to listen to it".
"It's funny", said Ransey "Sometimes during business lunches in the City, I used to get this insane urge to start chucking my food and drink about. I think it's because everyone used to take it all so seriously. If it wasn't that I liked my grub so much I probably would have done".
"Don't give this lot ideas", said Adam "They need precious little encouragement as it is".
"It'd be a bit of fun though", said Hillyard "And we're all owed a bit of fun after what happened in the desert. I bet Lonts has never had any fun in his life".
"He's always picking on Lonts", said Kieran "I think he's jealous of you Adam".
"I'm not picking on him", said Hillyard "I'm trying to be kind. Make it up to him for all the rotten times he's had".
"Were you really happy in Kiskev, Lonts?" said Joby "I find it hard to believe".
"I spent a lot of time alone when I wasn't helping the old man", said Lonts "But occasionally the whole village got together and ... and got drunk".
"Was that it?" said Joby "You just got drunk?"
"I don't know what you're sneering at, Joby", said Adam "You and Patsy would have fitted in very well there".
"So would you", said Joby "I bet it was gut-rotting moonshine they had as well".
"I only drank it once", said Lonts "I was sick for three days, so I never had it again. Anyway, you're always saying I don't know how to have fun but I do".
"Did you have friends in Kiskev, Lonts?" said Kieran "Of your own age I mean, to muck about with?"
"No", said Lonts "The fur trapper apprentices were all friends, and so were the cigar apprentices. The two gangs used to get into brawls occasionally. But I was apprenticed on my own to the old man, so I didn't fit in with either of them. I used to watch them sometimes when they were mucking about in the street, but I never saw the point of their games. But I do know how to have fun, because sometimes they used to dare me to do things. And when I did they let me mix in with them for a while, but I'd always go and mess it up by saying something odd. They thought I was weird".
"I told you", said Joby, with his mouth full "He's always been mad".
"He was a lonely child, Joby", said Adam "That didn't mean he was mad".
"Take no notice", said Kieran "If we'd grown up there Joby would have been in one of the gangs that's for sure".
"I was in one at school", said Joby "Except I kept getting beaten up because I was the skinny one with spots who was never quick enough on the uptake. Being with Gabriel was a bit like being back at school in that sense".
"I bet no one dared bully you at school, Adam", said Ransey.
"Bullying was an ancient and solemn tradition at my school", said Adam "Beginning with the ritual of being flogged senseless by a prefect during your first week".
"You're joking!" said Joby.
"No I'm not. And it always had to take place in front of your entire form, and you had to say 'please' and 'thank you' for it as well. Occasionally you got summoned to see the prefect alone for a private thrashing. In my case I usually got on the receiving end of Julian. That's how we met".
"How romantic", said Kieran, sarcastically.
"Sounds rotten", said Hillyard "And you got that, whether you did anything wrong or not?"
"It was all custom and ritual".
"But you got your own back when you became a prefect I expect", said Ransey.
"I never gained those dizzy heights. I was the artistic poofter you see, the school tart, so they weren't going to risk putting me in charge of anything".
"It's not surprising you grew up with some funny habits", said Joby "I mean, it's all bums isn't it? The emphasis on the arse all the time".
"Well you should know", said Adam "You're English too. And anything to do with the butt tends to be our national obsession. The English Malaise is what the French used to call it".
"Like Joby with his bowel movements", said Kieran "The only topic of conversation that can keep him riveted for hours".
"Fine dinner-table conversation this is turning out to be", said Adam "I thought we were going to show everyone how civilised we could were".
"Nice weather we're having for the time of year", said Ransey.
Lonts suddenly picked up a cold potato from his plate and flicked it at the next table, where it landed with a satisfying splash in the old man's consomme. The old man calmly fished it out with his spoon and brought it over to their table, where he laid it ceremoniously back on Lonts's plate.
"Yours I believe", he said, grandly.
"Apologise, Lonts", said Adam.
"Sorry", said Lonts "I was just having a bit of fun".
"Just be grateful none of it went over me, or you'd have got my laundry bill", said the old man, and returned majestically to his table.
"Lonts, you are the giddy limit", said Adam, trying to smother a laugh "Don't do that again, or I'll send you to bed".
"Brilliant though wasn't it?" said Kieran "If I'd tried it I'd have missed the entire table by a mile".
The waiter came over and asked them if they'd care to look at the sweet trolley.
"Certainly not", said Adam "You don't know what you'd be letting yourself in for".
"Oh go on Adam", said Ransey "We're spoilt for choice for targets in here".
"Ransey, I had expected better from you. God knows why, but I did".
They had decamped to the bar afterwards, although Adam and Kieran sloped off early. Ransey also turned in soon after, leaving Hillyard and Joby to mind Lonts. Unfortunately they got distracted by a dice game, and didn't realise for some time that Lonts had been adopted by a trio of commercial travellers, who had been feeding him a steady drip of gin. By the time Joby realised what was happening Lonts was shrieking and exclaiming excitedly over nothing in particular. Even the commercial travellers were starting to look uneasy.
"What have you been doing to him?" Joby exclaimed.
"Just a little drink", the ringleader cried, a middle-aged man who had lost any expression in his eyes years ago "He's a big boy now".
"He's ill", said Joby "Can't you tell that?"
"All I can tell is that he's very cute", said the rep, which reduced his colleagues to giggling hysterics.
"Come on Lonts", Joby hauled the boy to his feet.
"Now just you hang on a minute", said the rep "He doesn't look to me as though he wants to go with you, and I can't say I blame him. I mean, you're not exactly a great catch are yer?"
"Maybe not", Joby retorted "But I'm the best offer he's going to get this evening, by a long way!"
The rep rose unsteadily to his feet, but relaxed his aggressive attitude when Hillyard appeared.
"Having a spot of bother Jobe?"
"You took your fucking time!" said Joby "Help me get Lonts out of here with his virtue intact. Not as easy as it sounds".
"There's a word for blokes like you", Hillyard shouted at the rep and his friends "And it ain't a pretty one".
Hillyard smacked the man in the mouth, and he fell sprawling against the torn plastic chair, blood spurting from a gash in his lip.
"I thought you was never gonna come over", said Joby, as he and Hillyard frogmarched Lonts towards his bungalow.
"You had nothing to fear from that cretin", said Hillyard "He couldn't see straight for a start. Adam's right to be worried about the boy though. If he can get himself in enough trouble in an out of the way place like this, I dread to think what the City'll be like".
"We've got a while before we need to worry about that", said Joby "Adam's gonna go apeshit when he hears about this".
"Don't tell Adam!" Lonts exclaimed "He'll blame me for it all".
"Good!" said Joby "I hope he beats the shit out of you".
"He won't, will he?" said Hillyard.
"I'm not taking the blame", said Joby "It's this pillock's fault that he can't stay where he's told to stay".
"No harm was done Jobe", said Hillyard "Lonts won't do it again, will you?"
Lonts shook his head vigorously.
"Oh alright", said Joby "I don't fancy getting a lecture anyway. This one's between us, right? On condition he behaves himself".
"He will", said Hillyard "Frightening what some blokes'll do. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd left Lonts half-dead".
"Were they evil?" said Lonts.
"Yea", said Hillyard "Don't trust any unknown men who are keen to buy you drinks in bars".
"God, it's like explaining the birds and the bees to him", said Joby.
"I suppose we are", Hillyard paused outside his own bungalow "Sometimes I wish I knew what the right thing to do was. Goodnight".
After Hillyard had gone inside Joby sighed and leaned against the railing on the verandah.
"Would they have shown me sex?" said Lonts, quietly "Those men, I mean".
"You wouldn't have liked it", Joby grabbed his wrist and hauled him along "Not all sex is good, you know".
"But at least they took me seriously when I said I wanted it".
"Did you tell 'em that?" Joby cried "You fucking stupid little git! You've got no idea have you?"
"If one of you lot'd kiss me sometimes I wouldn't want to ask strangers", Lonts stamped his foot.
"You wouldn't have got many kisses off them, Lonts! They're not interested in a snog and a cuddle".
"What then?" Lonts shrugged.
"You really don't know?" said Joby, faintly.
"Only that it's to do with the strange feelings I get down there", Lonts gestured below his waist "Were you never confused, Joby? Don't you know what it's like?"
"Yea I was confused. For years", Joby pulled Lonts towards him and cradled his head against his neck. Lonts instantly relaxed and put his thumb in his mouth "I don't know what we're going to do with you, Lonts. But for God's sake stay away from blokes like that. You're just got no idea of danger have you, in spite of all your panicking?"
Lonts straightened up and kissed Joby on the lips. It was a light, nervous kiss, uncertain of the reaction it would get.
"You don't mind do you?" said Lonts.
"Not now I understand", said Joby "And if it'll stop you trying to get them from strange men ..."
"It's all I want, is that. Kissing. I like the feeling it gives me".
"For the moment", said Joby "Until the next urge starts and you want to go further".
"I don't understand".
"You really are crazy aren't you?"
"I'm not evil though", said Lonts "Please don't tell Adam about any of this, Joby. He'll punish me".
"Not if I explain it to him properly. Then he'll understand, and he won't punish you for kissing us", said Joby "But I'm not telling him about the men in the bar. Or we'll both be for it".
"I just want to be friends like the rest of you are. I mean, you and Kieran are always kissing".
"I'm not explaining it anymore tonight Lonts, I'm too tired", said Joby "But I understand, alright? I understand".
Go forward to next chapter
Return to Sarah Hapgood's Strange Tales and Strange Places web site