A story by Ivor Sukwell

Norfolk, England

He threw a few lighthearted insults at his school mates, who dutifully threw some back, slipped a wink to the bus driver, a wink that, if it hadn't been completely innocent may have been taken as a lascivious invitation, the sort of wink that only a teenage boy who oozes sexual desirability from every pore and has not the faintest idea that he does so, can give, and hopped off the school bus.

The driver was neither offended nor encouraged to desire by that wink; he knew it for what it was; the wink of a boy who is engrossed in adolescence and has no inkling or understanding what that involves.

`Nice kid, that one,' the driver thought to himself as he checked his mirrors and eased the bus away, and put all thoughts of the boy from his mind as he concentrated on driving.

The boy hurried languidly along the two hundred yards of the straight track that led from the road to his parents' farm cottage, his gait a form of locomotion that can only be achieved by teenage boys, a unique mixture of unconscious grace and irritating awkwardness, long, fawn-like limbs not quite under full control, but displaying a delicacy and gracefulness that would be lost once there was full control.

He hurried slowly along the path, his stomach already anticipating the fresh-from-the oven scones, dripping with butter, that his mother would have ready for him, and he licked his lips at the thought of the anticipated taste.

The sun was bright, an early mid-May bright, though the breeze still came from the East, cool enough for him to keep his school jacket on, but not cool enough to make him hurry any faster seeking the enclosed warmth of the cottage kitchen where those scones would be waiting for him.

He couldn't resist the temptation of kicking one of the many stones that littered the earth path, to score an imaginary goal with it, and he drew back his foot, aiming at the top corner of an imaginary net.





Idly, he fingered the pale pink A4 sheet of thin paper, pushing it aside and then drawing it back again with an insistent index finger.

It was almost as though his finger was trying to tell him something, that his finger thought that flimsy sheet of pink paper was important; that his finger knew something his mind didn't.

There was no obvious reason why he, or his finger, should have been bothered by the flimsy copy of the report that had landed on his desk, but he was a man of instincts and something kept nagging at the edges of his consciousness.

Detective Inspector Daniel Cody, Norfolk Constabulary, didn't deal with the early stages of `Missing Persons' enquiries, that was a job for Uniform or perhaps a lowly DC. He only got involved if it seemed that `foul play' may be involved, but, as very little of import ever happened, his long term friend and colleague, the Inspector in Uniform, sent him `For Information Only' anything even remotely interesting.

This one was a teenage boy, a boy of just fifteen, and perhaps it was because fifteen year old boys did not go missing with any great frequency in remote Marshland, that had inclined uniform to send him a `FIO' flimsy, and made Cody's index finger reluctant to leave that thin sheet of pink paper alone.

Teenage boys did go missing, but rarely in this part of the world. There weren't all that many of them to start with, and there wasn't really anywhere convenient for them to go missing to, though God knows why any teenage boy should want to stay in remote Marshland.

In his more than thirty years as a copper in this wet backwater, DI Cody could only recall about ten or a dozen at the most.

Even when he'd been a teenager here himself he couldn't recall any boys doing a runner. But he had gone to the Grammar School, and Grammar School boys were different, more settled, more secure, than those who went to the Secondary Modern schools. Perhaps some of those had done one, but he'd never have known about it as a lad; even if they lived in the same street, Grammar School boys and Sec Mod boys inhabited different worlds.

Most of the ones who'd done a runner while he had been a copper, as far as he could remember, had been young teens, boys doing a temporary flit, soon returning or being returned, usually by Auntie or Granny, to their homes.

A couple had been older, mid-teen boys understandably pissed off to the gills with living in a wet wasteland with no obvious prospects, lured to the bright lights of Lynn or even as far as Norwich, and escaping for a month or two before they were found.

One, he remembered with a wry smile, had ventured further, been tracked down eventually in the south of France where he was blissfully shacked up with the guy who had been his French teacher at school. They had to be brought back, of course, though DI Cody had felt a bit bad about that because the boy hadn't been abducted, but had gone very willingly with his teacher lover.

None of those missing boys had ended up as a body in the morgue, though there was always a chance that one would, not as a result of any foul play, but because they'd fallen into a cut, one of the drainage channels that criss-crossed Marshland and Fenland, steep, slippery mud sided drains that, once in, a boy had almost no chance of getting out.

Missing boys were not Daniel Cody's problem; they only came to his official attention if foul play of some sort was suspected, and until then, they were a matter for routine Uniform enquiries.

Something was bothering DI Cody's finger though, the faintest of faint bells ringing somewhere in his mind, but not ringing loudly enough for him to be able to hear it properly, nothing that he could identify.

With a grunt, partly of frustration but more of dismissal, he put the flimsy aside and picked up a different report, this one a straightforward, understandable and undoubtedly solvable robbery of some minor bits of farm machinery; standard, everyday stuff in a rural, agricultural community.

Distant, nagging thoughts returned when Cody met, as he always did, his friend and colleague, Inspector Tansley of Uniform, for a late breakfast at Betty's Cafe across the road from the Station. They met there and breakfasted there because avuncular Bob Tansley, a copper with a year or two more service behind him than Daniel Cody, was an addictive and compulsive pipe smoker.

Though they'd been born and grown up only a few miles apart, they hadn't come into contact, become friends, till they met as policemen, stationed where they belonged, out in the Marshes.

Tansley had gone to the Technical School, only a few hundred yards away from Cody's Grammar School, but still on a different planet.

They became friends because they both had `webbed feet', the townie term for people who lived in the wetlands, and they merged together for mutual support in the face of the amused semi-contempt the townies had for the people of the Marshes and Fens.

In the old days, when such things were not only possible but commonplace, and Bob Tansley had risen through the ranks to the exalted status of Inspector, his cramped little office had been a blue fug of aromatic pipe smoke; even now, in this hyper politically correct world, he always had an unlit pipe clamped between his teeth. These days it was a pipe with a virgin, untouched by tobacco bowl, sufficient to irritate the ardent anti-smokers but, annoyingly for them, nothing they could complain about. At Betty's though, seated at the one outside table, a table Betty placed there specifically for the Inspectors' breakfasts, a different and definitely lit pipe was in use.

DI Cody took the other chair, he had a choice of one as there were only two and Bob Tansley was in the other, peered in the cafe window, gave a `thumb's up' to Betty signifying that he wanted his usual bacon sandwich and black coffee, and lit himself a much needed cigarette.

"Anything on that missing kid, Bob?" he asked as casually as he could, attempting mere professional interest, nothing more, though, even by asking, he betrayed to his friend that there was something more.

They'd known each other for far too many years for Inspector Tansley not to know that Daniel Cody never made polite, `professional interest' enquiries about anything.

"Young Luke Chambers?" he asked as though trying to recall the `miss pers' in question; "Good looking young lad, but nothing that puts him in your realm, Dan. Not yet anyway."

"I don't want him in my realm at all, Bob," Cody said fervently, "Believe me. I don't want to be hunting for the killer of a fifteen year old boy."

"Or be bringing him back from France," Bob Tansley smiled sympathetically, "That one hurt, didn't it."

That one had hurt! Yes, the boy had gone missing, his French teacher had gone missing at the same time, and it had hardly taken a genius to work out why that should have been so. They hadn't even tried to cover their tracks, just openly gone together, taken a ferry to France and set up home together.

"They were in France, the boy would have been legal if he had been French, and they were happy together, Bob, they were fucking happy!" Dan Cody glared at his friend across the breakfast table. "Didn't need the law brought down on them, just a bit of sympathetic advice."

"Was fortunate for them then, that someone made a mess of the arrest, wasn't it; got the protocol wrong or so I heard."

"Yeh, I really messed up there," DI Cody shrugged, "How was I to know the Gendarmerie couldn't make the arrest because nothing had happened that was against their law." He grinned a small grin, "I didn't know they had different ways of looking at things like that, did I?"

"Understandable mistake, Dan," Bob Tansley puffed on his pipe. "Fortunate really, that the French coppers never told you about that, so you could have done things differently. Fortunate for them, anyway. Went back to France after, didn't they?"

"On the boy's sixteenth birthday, I heard, and I know bloody well that you heard the same as me," Dan Cody grinned. "Lad's parents never objected. Hope they're still happy together."

"You know damn well they are," Bob puffed his pipe; "Off to France again this summer? Usually go there, don't you? Bump into them from time to time?"

The two nearing retirement Inspectors smiled conspiratorially at each other before Bob Tansley got the conversation back to the missing fifteen year old.

"Something nagging you about this one, Dan?" The question seemed off-hand, but the two men knew each other well enough for there to be understanding that the question was not at all casual.

Late Spring, almost mid-morning sunshine crept across the street, moving a yard closer to where the two senior policemen sat at the one table outside Betty's cafe while Cody sipped his almost hot black coffee and puffed on another cigarette.

"Nothing I can put a finger on," he said slowly, "A gut feeling, perhaps; a faint bell ringing somewhere."

Dan Cody's gut feelings were a source of slightly amused admiration in the enclosed, fact-dominated environment of the local, and not very imaginative world of the Station where he worked. It would have been taken more seriously had they still been based out in the Marshes where everyone knew that normal, everyday logic meant very little, but, even so, there was a general belief that DI Cody's gut had solved more criminal matters than ordinary, honest policing had, and it was also common knowledge that his firm belief that two plus two almost never made four that had prevented him being transferred to a busier, more crime-filled post in one of the towns or even to the city itself.

"Why don't you pop up to my office lunchtime?" Bob Tansley suggested casually, "Bring a sandwich or two and we can have an `off the record' chat. Nothing formal, you understand."

"Understood, Bob. Will do."


For the next three hours, the time until lunch, DI Cody did a lot of thinking, some research and one tiny bit of work. The `stolen' farm machinery was the only thing he needed to deal with, and that took him all of thirty seconds.

There never had been a robbery, that, to DI Cody was as obvious as the fact that he was sitting at his desk. Old Jacob Longsleeve had selected a few bits from amongst the piles of stuff he had lying around, parcelled them up neatly ready for dispatch, and put them up for sale on E-bay. He'd get a few quid from selling them and a few more quid from his insurance company; times were hard and a few extra quid always welcome.

Cody would get a DC to trawl through E-bay, find the things he was looking for and then pass that on to Detective Sergeant Morris to put the two and two together and pop out to Jacob's place and have a nice little chat about fraud and wasting police time. That way, the `crime' would be solved, and the entire Marshland CID force would have been involved and had something to do.

And all the time that distant, almost unheard bell was tinkling in his mind. Fifteen year old boys did not go missing, not from round here. Yes, they did in the city, and certainly did in those big, ugly horrible places like London and Birmingham, but not here, not out here in the Fens and Marshes.

Strange things happened in the Fens and Marshes, but fifteen year old boys going missing was not one of them. Not usually.

DI Cody didn't have a lot of time for computers, but he had to concede that they did make searching records a lot easier, faster and definitely cleaner. What came up on the screen didn't have to have dust blown off it before it could be read.

Meaningful records of missing persons only went back to around 1960, four years before DI Cody had been born; before that the record keeping had been simple, terse and brief. `John Smith, age 14, reported missing 23/6/57. Returned home 29/6/57' and that was all there was. Nothing more.

Cody, although he despised computers, knew how to use them nevertheless, and set a filter to select only boys of fifteen. That was not a logical decision, it came from his gut and that made it, as far as he was concerned, the right decision.


"You first or me?" Bob Tansley asked as the two men sank their teeth into tuna mayo sandwiches. The slim, manila folder that DI Cody had brought with him, along with the sandwiches, had not gone unnoticed.

"Show me yours first, Bob, if you would," Cody smiled softly, "And if it looks any good then I'll show you mine."

"Fair enough," Bob Tansley agreed, and began.

"Luke Chambers, aged fifteen years and two months, got off the school bus at the top of the path to his parents' bungalow not far from Terrington, and never made it as far as that bungalow."

Dan Cody paused mid-bite and raised a quizzical eyebrow.

"Five other lads, aged between thirteen and seventeen, were on the bus with him, saw him get off, said their farewells and see you tomorrows and continued on the journey to Terrington where they all live.
The track between the road where Luke disembarked from the bus and his parents' bungalow is, as you would imagine round there, dead straight and not a hedge or a tree anywhere to be seen. It's flatter than a pancake, and a worm sticking its head above ground would be visible on the horizon."

"Go on," Cody urged when his fellow officer paused to gauge the effect of his words.

"One of the boys turned to look out of the bus window when it pulled away, he reckons they were about fifty yards up the road, and says he was a bit puzzled because he saw no sign of Luke on the track to his bungalow, but thought nothing more about it."

"Hmm," Cody muttered, his gut giving the tiniest of twitches.

"Luke's mother saw him get off the bus and start up the track, then turned to get the scones that she'd just baked out of the oven, and when she looked back out from the kitchen window there was no sign of Luke.
She just assumed that Luke had hurried up the path and gone to the barn where his father was working on his favourite toy, an old International tractor."

"But he hadn't," Dan Cody said softly.

"Luke's father was underneath the tractor, covered in oil and grease, and was still underneath it when the mother went out to the barn to tell him, and she assumed Luke, that tea and scones were waiting in the kitchen."

"So the boy just disappeared somewhere on a perfectly flat and straight track with nowhere either side for even an ant to hide," Cody mused.

"So it seems; but that's not possible, is it," Tansley stated bluntly.

"So, obviously what happened is that the boy, because he had an interest in geriatric tractors, dashed up the path and into the barn, where he carelessly knocked over some bits that his father had carefully laid out. Dad, incensed with rage at the boy's carelessness, heaved himself out from under the tractor and fetched the kid one round the ear with the wrench he was holding.
The boy drops down dead as mutton and the father hides his corpse somewhere in the barn till he could later dispose of the body, and then goes back under the old tractor which is where he was when his wife reached the barn."

"Which is about as likely as the boy just simply disappearing," Bob Tansley finished his sandwich, wiped his fingers on his sweater and picked up his empty pipe.

"Likely or not, you know as well as I do that's the line of enquiry I'll be expected to pursue if it does come my way," DI Cody snorted with disgust. "Add two and two and no matter what the answer is, make it come out as four. The father was there, the boy disappears, ergo, the father killed the boy."

"But no body, Dan, so no way of proving that the answer is four."

"Don't matter these days, does it, Bob. Get hold of enough circumstantial evidence and get a guilty verdict anyway. All that matters is getting a result."

"I reckon it's time you retired, Dan. Getting far too cynical."

"You and me both, Bob," Cody agreed, wishing he could smoke in the building, which, of course, he couldn't.

"So what does your gut tell you?" Bob Tansley asked, sucking at his empty pipe. "Oh, and by the way, there wasn't enough time for the father to do the boy in, either."

"Tells me that you should have a look at these," Cody answered, pushing the slim manila folder across his colleague's desk, "And when you have, that we should say bollocks to lunch hour and go across the road for a pint and a proper smoke."

The `King's Head', the pub of choice for the local constabulary, was an imposing eighteenth century former coaching inn. Along with the other buildings, several of which were pubs, that enclosed the large market square, it had escaped the modernisation that the rest of the town had suffered some fifty years previous. Where once there had been streets of Tudor to Georgian buildings there were now glass and concrete constructions of absolutely no architectural merit.

The market square had escaped this vandalisation, not through any desire to protect heritage, but because the market square hosted a twice-weekly market of considerable size and attracted people from all the surrounding areas. It had been simply not economically viable to pull down all the historic buildings and replace them with glass and concrete.

The `King's Head' boasted a beer garden, half of which was roofed over to provide some partial shelter for those despised and reviled remnants of humanity who insisted on polluting the atmosphere with tobacco smoke, and it was at a table there that the two Inspectors sat, puffed at pipe and cigarette, sipped real, flat ale and contemplated the implications of the contents of that slim, manila folder.

"Unlike you not to have spotted something like this before, Dan," Bob Tansley said slowly, puffing out aromatic pipe smoke and closing the folder he'd leafed through.

"Never had no reason to," Dan shrugged, "Last one on our patch was in 1957, before even our time in the job."

"True," Bob conceded. The lack of communication between Divisions of the force was legendary, and often matters in one part of a Division never came to the notice of officers dealing with another part. "Our Uniform lot would have had these lads on their lists, but none of the details, and with no crimes suspected they'd not have even reached your desk."

"Take another look, Bob," Cody suggested, pushing the folder back across the table top, and taking another swig of his beer.

Tansley did, more than just scanning the six sheets this time, puffing thoughtfully on his pipe.

"Six, fifteen year old boys with, it seems very similar physical characteristics. All, fair haired and blue-eyed, all estimated or recorded as being around five foot nine in height, all slim or slender build, all athletic and sporty," he said, "And that makes seven now, not six. That description also fits Luke Chambers."

"There's more, Bob. You're a policeman, look at the evidence."

Again Bob Tansley read through the six pages, and this time he actually took his pipe out from his mouth to suck air in through his teeth.

"Ten years apart, but they were all reported missing in the first or second week of May; again," and he paused and breathed deeply before adding, "The same as Luke."

"Still more, Bob," Daniel Cody prompted and waited silently till his colleague spotted the thing that had leapt off those pages and grabbed his intestines in a violent grip.

"That can't be true, Dan, tell me that's not true!"

"I've only got those records so I can't vouch for their accuracy, but they are official police records, so there's a chance they may be correct." Cody emptied his pint and held up the drained glass. "Fancy another, Bob? I'm having one."

Tansley picked up his glass, emptied it in two swallows and handed the empty to his fellow Inspector.

"Think I'd better, Dan. Think I need it."

What Inspector Tansley did not want to be true was that each of the boys in those reports had been taken into the care of a Local Authority at the estimated age of five, an estimated age because not one of them had any recorded past, no birth certificate, no indication of when and where they were born, no known or identifiable parents or families. Two, the earliest two, had remained in the care of Local Authorities, the others fostered or adopted.

"Luke Chambers was adopted," he said bluntly when Cody returned with two full pints.

"When he was five, or thereabouts," Cody said as he sat down again, "After being taken into care by West Norfolk Children's Department and having no traceable background or origins?"

"I don't like co-incidences, and when they come like this, so many and so nearly identical, I like them not at all." Bob Tansley half-emptied his fresh pint in one go, as though hoping the beer would wash the coincidences away.

"Not finished yet, Bob, sorry," Cody apologised. "Not on these records, but I'll wager a month's salary that the date when each of these kids came to the attention of their varied Children's Services was, in each and every case, around the second week of May in the appropriate year. Almost at the same time as a boy ten years older went missing in unexplained circumstances, never to be seen again."

A minute or two pipe puffing ticked away before Bob Tansley spoke again, and when he did speak it was clear he didn't like what he was saying.

"When you showed me these at first, Dan," he said slowly and carefully, "I suspected that you were hinting at some sort of serial boy abductor. Some weird character who had a thing for boys of fifteen, but only went for one every ten years. Of course, if that was the case, then he'd be getting on a bit now, wouldn't he, so that alone makes it pretty unlikely, doesn't it."

"My first thought as well," Cody agreed, "Trying to make two and two equal four. But even if that were the case, it wouldn't explain the five year olds, would it."

"You suggesting what, exactly?"

"No idea, exactly," Cody sighed, "But I do know that the men in white coats would be coming for me if I mentioned a word of what I'm thinking to anyone but you.
It's ridiculous, it's fantastical, it's plain madness, but I'd bet another month's salary that 1957 wasn't the first. God knows how long this has been going on, Bob. Could be bloody centuries!"

"Bit fanciful, even for you," was Bob Tansley's response, though even as he said the words he was starting to wonder if it wasn't fanciful at all. Strange things happened out in the Marshes, they always had and they always would. Marshland wasn't like the rest of the world. "Your gut's got it wrong this time," he grinned weakly, "Must have eaten something you shouldn't."

"Could be," Cody agreed with no conviction, "But keep your eyes open for a five year old kid being found somewhere local in the next few days."

Inspector Tansley looked his colleague and friend of many years directly in the eye, hopefully searching for some sign that he was being wound up, but found no such reassuring sign at all. Instead he found bleak conviction that Dan Cody believed in everything he had said.

That gave him a nasty, hollow feeling in his own gut.

"If what I'm thinking gets out, Bob," Cody sighed, "I won't have to wait for the next round of cuts; I'll get a little brown envelope containing an invitation to retire on grounds of stress, and would I kindly do that within the week."

Both men knew that they were on borrowed time, that their services were surplus to requirements and that they were both only still in post because it had been cheaper to keep them employed than make them redundant at the last round of cuts. They would not survive again and they both knew it.

"Well," Tansley shrugged, resigned to hearing his old friend out, "If your gut's not playing you up, I reckon we need something a little more medicinal than beer to help digest what it's going to come up with."

He caught the eye of one of the bar staff who was wiping down the outside tables and called across,

"Four double scotches, please, Harry, and another couple of pints to help them down."

There was silence while both men downed a double each and helped it along with a decent swig of beer, before Tansley summoned up his courage to find out what he really didn't want to find out.

"Tell me, Dan," he said simply.

Dan Cody, his friend secretly believed, had more than just an intuitive gut. Dan Cody was from pure Marshland stock, well, as pure as it could be anyway. Dan Cody was one of those who didn't dismiss the regular "Thump, Thump" you could always feel beneath your feet out in the Marshes and the Fens as just the vibrations of far distant pumps as they shifted water from land into the dykes and cuts; to people like Cody, those thumps were the heartbeats of the Earth itself.

Dan Cody was `fey'.

Not that Bob Tansley, police Inspector, would ever say such a thing in public, even as a jest. Oh, no, Tansley had webbed feet himself, and though, rationally he didn't believe in `things like that', he had enough common sense, enough wetland sense, not to risk getting on the wrong side of Old Mother Donaldson, who, it was said, could turn people into pigs and make warts grow on little boys' willies.

He didn't believe in the pigs bit, but he'd always taken care that he didn't risk getting the warts.

"You're not looking for a bloke who likes fifteen year old boys once every ten years, Bob, you're looking for a found five year old kid. And when you've found him, then, you've found Luke Chambers," Cody said bluntly, his tone denying the impossibility of what he was saying.

"You know that makes about as much sense as you wangling things so that lad and his teacher friend didn't get done for doing a naughty runner to France, don't you?"

"That was an administrative cock-up and I got my wrist well and truly slapped for it," Cody grinned.

"No doubt about there being a `cock up' involved," Bob Tansley spluttered in his beer.

"More than that to it, Bob, as you well know. Those two were a right pair of love birds. Can't do people for that, can you."

"Can't," Tansley agreed, "Even though we're supposed to."

"I thought at first, when I glanced at that `For Information Only' flimsy you kindly sent over to me, that it might be a repeat performance, so to speak," Dan Cody began, slowly, to divest himself of the workings of his mind, or gut. "You know, fifteen year old boy and all that."

Bob Tansley did know. All his own instincts were that if a fifteen year old boy went missing in unexplained circumstances then there was a very good chance of a bedroom being involved.

"Not foul play?" Tansley prompted.

"Never occurred to me, Bob, not straight away. Did after a bit, of course, because I didn't want to have to deal with a dead fifteen year old boy. I'd rather have to try to work out a way of getting the boy and whoever it was whose bed he was in, off, than tracking down and arresting his killer."

"You and me both, Dan," Tansley agreed.

"But somewhere a little bell was tinkling away, that this lad wasn't the first. That somewhen before another lad of the same age had gone missing and never been found. Missing in strange, seemingly impossible circumstances; like this one," he jabbed a finger at one of the sheets of paper in the folder, "Seen walking down the lane to his place in Dersingham after school, in broad daylight, but never made it home, for example. There one moment, not there the next."

"Just like Luke," Bob Tansley breathed softly.

"So, as I had nothing else to do, I did some record hunting, and that's what I came up with," Cody finished, nodding towards the open folder.

"And then your gut started churning," Tansley prompted.

"It did, and it told me that those are not six different boys, seven now with your Luke Chambers. They're all the same boy. One boy, Bob. He's fifteen now, or he was a few days ago anyway, and he was fifteen back in 1957 and probably in '47 as well. And in 1847, and God knows how many years ending in seven before that. Don't ask me why I think that, Bob," Cody pleaded, "Because I don't know. All I know is that I know it."

"If it was anyone but you saying that, Dan, I'd be calling for the men in white coats right now," Bob Tansley paused in order to attack his second double scotch, but sipping it this time instead of throwing it back in one. "What you're telling me is that we'll find no trace of young Luke and never will, unless we can get a DNA sample from his hairbrush , dirty underpants or a reasonably fresh spunk rag, and compare it with one that we take from the five year old you say we're going to find."

"I guess that's exactly what I'm saying," DI Cody sighed heavily and contemplated his own remaining scotch morosely. "Perhaps the men in white coats might not be that bad an idea."

"Be a bloody awful idea," Bob Tansley smiled, "And, you know what? I'm gonna get those DNA samples. Perfectly ordinary routine enquiries, but Christ knows what we'll do when they match!"



He blinked his eyes rapidly a few times, getting rid of the sleep he'd woken from and trying to adjust to his surroundings.

It was always the same when he woke from one of the `long sleeps'; he supposed it was for the other boys as well. The dream he'd had in that long sleep had seemed so real; those dreams always did, and it took a moment or two for his brain to understand that it had been just a dream.

The bit where he'd moved from dream to waking was still vivid in his mind. He'd been walking down the track to where he lived with his parents, the land around totally flat, not a tree or a bush in sight. He spotted a stone, lifted his foot to kick it, and then, the next step, he'd been here, surrounded by bright flowers and with hills distant on the horizon.

He looked down at himself and smiled at the strangeness of what he saw, the clothes he was wearing. The Masters always did that, he grinned, dressed you up in weird clothes, the sort of clothes you wore in your dream, so that when you woke you weren't who you'd been before the long sleep, but who you'd been in your dream.

You were, of course, you couldn't be anyone else, could you, but it was weird the way they did it. You remembered who you'd been in your dream, remembered it in almost every detail, well, lots of it anyway, certainly the last parts, but you never remembered who'd you'd been before you went to sleep.

You did remember bits, but those bits seemed even more dreamlike than your dream. You remembered, or thought you remembered, that it was very different now you were awake again, different from everything in your dream. Of course, it looked different, very, very different with all the flowers and things. And those hills on the horizon! There were no hills anywhere in the place he'd been in his dream!

He thought he remembered that here he wouldn't have a family, a mother and father. No, here, some distant memory seemed to be telling him, here you'd serve a Master and be doing things that you'd really like doing; things you hadn't done in your long sleep dream even though you had some sort of feeling that you'd wanted to but they weren't allowed in your dream place.

You'd done them before, done them lots of times, he was sure of that.

`Master'? he thought. How did he know there were Masters? And what sort of masters were they? Not like masters at school, that he did know, or thought he did.

His eyes focussed now, he looked around. He knew, though how he knew he did not know, that he was in the `Waking Place', and all around were other boys, some just waking up, others who'd been awake for some minutes and had already adjusted, shedding the strange clothes they'd woken in and standing around naked, some, a few, obviously happy to be out of those clothes and naked, but most trying to cover themselves with their hands, nervous, embarrassed and even ashamed.

He took a few moments, staring at those naked boys, wondering why they had taken their clothes off, and trying not to be caught staring because even though you wanted to look at other boys down there, you knew you shouldn't want to do that. That bit of his dream was very clear. Those bits were private and should always be kept from the sight of others; that was how it had been in his dream, but even in his dream he had sometimes, many times, wanted to look.

Some boys, those few boys who weren't trying to cover themselves, made no attempt to hide their private bits behind hands. They were openly looking, trying to see what other boys had and showing off themselves to any who wanted to see.

He wanted to do that, but why did he want to do that? The memory of his dream where such things were forbidden, kept him covered for the moment.

Whatever world it was the Masters had conjured up for his dream, it was a world where boys did not get seen naked, a world where it was considered wrong and evil for a boy to be seen naked. But those few boys must have had different dreams, he thought, dreams where being naked and being seen naked was perfectly acceptable.

Here, now he was awake, he wasn't allowed to wear clothes. He didn't know how he knew that, but he did; something in his mind was demanding that he get rid of his dream clothes; though, and this was really odd, they weren't actually dream clothes because he was wearing them, and you can't wear a dream, can you?

Slowly and hesitantly at first he began to get rid of his real dream clothing. He dropped the bag he was carrying; it was a `school bag'; though as the seconds passed he was less and less sure what one of those was. Then the jacket he was wearing and after that the thing round his neck that he seemed to remember was called a `tie'.

His shirt followed and suddenly his body thrilled as air caressed it. He paused then, lost in the wonder of the warmth of the air and the ever so gentle breeze that brushed it all round his now uncovered chest and back.

With increasing haste he attacked the rest of the things that covered him, kicking off his shoes, undoing and pulling down his trousers, standing on them to kick his feet free, lifting one leg after the other to peel off his socks and finally, with a sigh of pure pleasure, shedding the last, modesty protecting garment.

If the air on his chest and back had felt wonderful, the air lower down was way beyond wonder. It stroked and caressed him down there and he felt an urge starting to rise in him, and, for a moment or two, he forgot to cover himself with his hands, forgot that those parts of him were not supposed to be seen and looked at because it felt so good to have the air on his skin.

He remembered that urge rising in his dream, in the last parts of his dream anyway. Mostly at nights and in the mornings and it had been a powerful urge, forcing him to use his hand to satisfy it in secret. That had happened often, he remembered, once he'd found out that it was for more than pissing with and it had felt so good in his hand when he'd done that secret thing.

Those other boys, he saw with astonishment, the ones who'd made no effort to cover themselves, were giggling and laughing as they showed off their hard bits, and even – he felt a hollowness in the pit of his stomach and a thrill of an excitement he knew it was evil to feel – reaching out and taking hold of each other's hardness and squeezing and fondling.

If he'd still been in his dream he would have been mortified now, standing naked and erect with other boys looking at him, and some boys openly holding and playing with other boys down there, but something inside him longed to be felt like that, and though he was still worried and nervous, he uncovered his swelling self and grinned with delight and revelled in the gaze of the eyes of other boys as they looked at him, just as he was looking at them.

This was how a boy should be, revealing himself totally in all his glory so the Masters could see him and think he was worth choosing as a servant.

Who were the Masters? Where had that thought come from? He had no idea, but somehow he knew that there were Masters and that he, and all these other boys, were here just to please them.

The Masters would be coming soon; they'd walk around inspecting the boys until they each found one they liked, and then that boy would be their servant and live a life of pleasure until it was time for the next long sleep.

He knew this would happen, but just like the other things he knew, he didn't know how or why he knew it. He just did.



Norfolk, England.


The summons to the Chief Constable's office came as no real surprise to either Inspector. Just as Dan Cody had predicted, a five year old boy had been found.

He'd been alone, sitting happily on the beach if you could call the pile of stones and pebbles a beach, at Snetisham, by a woman walking her dog.

"It was really very strange," she'd told the constable who had responded to her, for her somewhat daring use of her mobile `for emergencies' phone. "He was just sitting there as though he was waiting to be found."

The constable had been inclined to agree with the woman's assessment of the strangeness as the little boy appeared to be completely at ease, not in the least distressed that he was all alone on a pebbly beach. And he was also completely naked.

Naturally, all usual procedures had been followed; no such boy had been reported as missing, and, as he was naked, there was nothing to indicate where he had come from. DNA samples had been taken and sent to the UEA for analysis in the hope that they may provide some clue as to the boy's identity.

Those samples went to the same laboratory as the samples Inspector Tansley had been able to obtain from those left behind by the missing Luke Chambers, and to the shock and amazement of the lab technicians and the UEA professor, there was an identical match!

The lab technician and the prof may have been shocked and amazed, but Dan Cody was not. Now, he thought, if the shit has not yet actually hit the fan, it was certainly being drawn ever closer to the whirling blades.

"Gentlemen," the Chief Constable began the meeting, his face composed into an expression intended to convey the extreme seriousness of the situation, "Firstly, may I say that this case is not being treated as a normal Police matter, and that under no circumstances is anything that is said or disclosed in here to leave this office."

He stared, emphasising the importance of his words, finger tips steepled together to indicate considerable thought.

"Two DNA samples, taken from two different persons, were sent to the experts at UEA for analysis, and their conclusion is that these samples are not from different persons, but from the same individual. Naturally, since these samples were properly collected, meticulously labelled and sent to the laboratory at different times to ensure, as is normal procedure, that there could be no cross contamination, the conclusion that they were taken from the same person is clearly incorrect. Or, to be perfectly honest and accurate, we hope that this conclusion is incorrect."

"As you know, as everyone knows," a cheerful, ruddy-faced individual who happened to be Professor of Genetics at the UEA, chimed in with a big smile, "No two people can possibly have identical DNA's. But here we have one sample taken from, I was told and all the evidence leads me to conclude that what I was told is correct, a youth of fifteen. The other, and again I have been unable to find anything to contradict this, taken from a young boy of five years old.
We tested, re-tested and then re-tested the re- tests and each time we had the same results. The two samples are identical. But," he held up a hand to forestall any interruptions, "That's not the really exciting part. Oh, no," he beamed with academic enthusiasm, "The exciting bit is that these identical samples, one from a missing fifteen year old youth, the other from a five year old boy, both alive and well when the samples were obtained just over two weeks ago, indicate a genetic line, I won't use fancy language, just keep things simple and comprehendible," he smiled as though he was talking to a first year group of still ignorant undergraduates, "That is over ninety eight percent Brythonic Celt."

He paused, looking around, waiting for the looks of shock and disbelief, but was disappointed as none of his audience had the faintest idea who or what Brythonic Celts were.

"Let me enlighten you," he smiled again, not intending to be as condescending as he was, "Brythonic Celts were the people who inhabited this area, and most of the rest of these islands, between two and four thousand years ago.
Being flippant, given just the results of these samples and nothing else, I would have concluded that the donor of these samples was now some three and a half thousand years old."

He grinned with delight, excited by the impossibility of the scientific anomaly he had discovered.

Only Dan Cody was unsurprised. He sat, staring at his shoes and wishing he could have a beer and a fag to settle his gut and stop it from sending messages up to his brain.

"Something bothering you, Detective Inspector?" the Chief Constable enquired, a hint of irritation in his carefully urbane voice.

"Bothering me? No, not bothering me," Dan Cody replied, "Just wondering if you had any contacts elsewhere, say in Wiltshire or South Wales? So you could make discrete enquiries, like, see if they had anything similar in the way of boys being lost and found."

"Wiltshire, yes, certainly," the Prof enthused, "But South Wales? Not so sure about there. There would be a number of Brythonic settlements, of course, but the majority of that area would have been Silure back then. Different racial origins altogether. Well, not completely different of course, if we all came out of Africa in the first place, but the Silures were of Iberian origin, not from the Alps like the Brythonic peoples."

"Wouldn't that be even more exciting for you, though?" Cody asked, seemingly innocently, "If you found a three and a half thousand year old Silure kid as well?"

"Enough, Inspector Cody," the Chief Constable almost snapped, "This is a serious matter, not a parlour game."

"Just wondering," Dan Cody shrugged, "Nothing more."

"Wouldn't harm to make a few enquiries on the quiet though, would it sir?" Bob Tansley placated, "I mean, if they did have something similar they'd be keeping it as quiet as we are, wouldn't they, so we'd never get to know in the normal course of events, just like they'd never get to hear about ours."

"I'm perfectly sure that this is an isolated incident," the Chief Constable declared, "A freak of nature or something. A total and absolute one-off."

"It's not, though, sir," Cody said, looking up from his shoes, "Not in itself it's not. I've found six other cases in the County dating back to 1957. One every ten years, regular as clockwork."

His bombshell delivered, Cody sat back to observe the fall-out.


The two Inspectors supped their pints in silence for a minute or two. They'd been dismissed soon after Dan had dropped his bombshell, and warned in no uncertain terms to keep their mouths shut and their thoughts to themselves, and this they did for all the time it took to sink the first halves of their pints.

"What happens now, Dan?" Bob Tansley asked, puffing thoughtfully on his pipe.

"Nothing, I reckon," Dan Cody shrugged, "Not till they've come up with some convenient answer, and then we'll be offered some very generous early retirement terms and I'll go off to the south of France and you'll retire to Sicily."

"Can't say I'll be objecting to that," avuncular Bob Tansley permitted a small smile to cross his lips at the prospect, "A very fulfilling retirement it will be."

"Think you'll come across a case or two of missing fifteen year old boys there?" Cody grinned.

"Don't know about missing ones," Tansley grinned back, "But you can bet your life that I'll be finding one or two who aren't missing."

"You and me both, Bob," Cody agreed, "Something to look forward to, at least."

"So what do you think about this Chambers boy? Really think, I mean. What does that gut of yours tell you?"

"Same as yours, I suspect, Bob," Cody sighed. "What's your first thought when you learn a boy of fifteen has gone missing?"

"That we'll find him soon enough if we know whose bed to look in," Bob Tansley puffed out a huge cloud and waved it away with a hand.

"Exactly," Cody agreed, "Whatever else is involved, this, basically, is all about what boys of fifteen want. And what someone, or lots of someones, want with fifteen year old boys. What makes it somewhat special is that, if the prof is right, and my gut tells me he is, then young Luke has recently had his cherry popped for the three hundred and fiftieth time. And, I ask you, Bob, what boy could ask for more than that?"

"Couldn't," Bob Tansley snorted, "Not if he can remember the other three hundred and forty nine!"

"He won't be the only one, Bob," Cody said seriously, and got up to get two more pints. "I'll bet that there are others, all over the world, wherever there were some sort of civilisations three or four thousand years ago," he said, plonking down the two fresh pints. "Egypt, Greece, South America, India, Asia, China; every bloody where. Someone, somehow, somewhere, worked out a way of grabbing a boy of fifteen, shagging it blind and putting it back where it came from ten years younger than it was when they took it. Then, ten years later they grabbed him again and did him again.
I know it don't make any sense," he waved away the beginnings of a protest from his colleague, "But it's the only thing that makes any sense at all. As some detective or other once said, `Eliminate the impossible, and whatever's left, however improbable, is the truth."

"We don't know that they took him for shagging, though, do we. Might be some other reason."

"The boy, or let's say boys, are fifteen when they go missing," Cody said in a tone that implied there was only one reason why anyone should want to abduct a boy of fifteen.

"Point taken," Tansley agreed. "But why put them back? And ten years younger as well? Why not just grab a fresh one each time?"

"Haven't you ever wished that some young man, or perhaps not so young man now, was fifteen again?" Dan Cody asked, a definite twinkle in his eye, "I know I bloody have!"

"More than once, Dan, more than once," Bob Tansley agreed with a sigh. "Bad enough us getting older, awful when lads do," he puffed smoke from his pipe at the sky.

"I wonder how it affects the boys," Cody mused, sipping his pint thoughtfully, "Do they know? Do they have any idea, any memories of the other times, I wonder?"

"You never forget the time your cherry was popped, do you," Tansley smiled, "I haven't anyway."

"No, you don't. You never forget how much it hurt, and how much you didn't want it to stop." Cody sipped more beer, thinking out loud now. "And you never forget that first cock, do you. Stays with you for the rest of your life."

"I'd be fourteen again any time, just to have that happen again," Bob Tansley agreed, also lost in remembrance of time past.

His fellow policeman's words made Cody suddenly lurch out of his reminiscences of boyhood and lost virginity, the detective in him fastening on those words.

"Is that it, Bob?" he asked, "Is that's what's happening? These lads getting returned as little kids, having four or five years growing up again as normal, ordinary boys, then, as they near puberty, and `those thoughts' start creeping into their minds and they begin to realise that it's not just for making wee-wee with, some sort of memory that the bit at the back has other uses as well, keeps popping up in their young minds until they have an itch that just has to be scratched and, hey presto, they're back to wherever it is that itch gets scratched, and they're ready to be popped again?"

"And some guy has got his favourite boy back, ready to start all over again," Tansley concluded the thought.

"Always fifteen and always desperate to be bedded, and never knowing that his desperation is because he knows what it's all about." Cody lit another cigarette."

"Nice idea," Tansley shrugged, "But don't explain the ten year wait, does it? Boy of fifteen disappears, boy of five found, what, three days later? Time scales don't work, Dan."

"Do if time's different for whoever it is taking these boys," Cody, as he so often did, thought outside the box. "And it has to be in some way or other, because those boys come back ten years younger, don't they. And, remember," he emphasised with a cigarette pointed in his friend's direction, "They are the same boys. The DNA stuff says that, even though the prof don't want to believe it."

"So," Tansley followed the logic, "A boy of fifteen was taken from round here, three thousand or so years ago; forget all the others, just concentrate on our boy," he said. "And from way back then until now, that very same boy has been taken again every ten years." He shook his head, denying the possibility. "Just don't make any sense. Can't put that in a report. That, my friend, is one of the impossibles you have to eliminate."

"Not impossible, Bob, just a bit out of the ordinary, that's all."

"Too bloody far out of the ordinary for anyone to think anything but the obvious," Bob Tansley said, a warning in his tone, "And the obvious is that you've gone stark, staring bonkers. And," he warned even more strongly. "If you let even a hint out that you think all this is somehow sex related, then you'll be in big, big trouble. Up to your ears in the soft and smelly."

"What else could it be, Bob?" Cody sounded almost desperate, to him it was all so obvious. Not the how, but the why.

"My advice to you, my old friend, is that you forget all about it. Forget it right now. Dream about it if you like, but when you wake up, forget it again."





The black boy was fondling his now very hard cock, and he sighed with pleasure, grinning as he sighed. He'd missed this so much! Though how could he have missed it? No-one had ever felt his cock before, only his own hand had been there, doing the things that this boy was doing now.

"Nice, eh?" the black boy smiled at him and eased his foreskin up and down, "You been missing this haven't you."

The boy spoke with a twang that he recognised as being Australian, and his features were clearly Aboriginal, pure Aboriginal, no signs of any inter-racial breeding in his colour or complexion.

"Yes," he sighed, allowing the delightful feelings to flow through him. "I mean, no," he said, "It's never happened to me before. I know it hasn't. I'd remember it if it had," he grinned widely.

"No cock in your dream, eh," the Aboriginal boy smiled, white teeth gleaming, "Guess you white boys don't know how to dream properly."

"Dream?" he asked, confused.

"Yeh, the one you've just woken up from," the boy grinned again and did some more things with his cock, things that felt wonderful, much more wonderful than when he did things to it himself. "The dream you just woken up from," he repeated, "If it was a dream. Perhaps this is a dream. Who knows? My people dream all the time. Never sure what's real and what's dream time."

That was confusing, but what was not confusing was that the Aboriginal boy was playing with his cock and that his own hand was reaching out to grasp and hold the one that was sticking out so enticingly from the other boy's black, smooth young body.

"If this is a dream, then it's a dream I like," he grinned, relishing the feel of hard cock in his hand. "You can come into my dreams any time you want!"

There was something in his mind, something to do with cock, but it was far too vague and fuzzy, unlike the cock in his hand which was far from being vague and fuzzy!

"Most kids don't remember their dreams," the boy was saying as he switched his attentions from cock to balls, a switch that made him gasp, "Some do," the Aboriginal boy nodded in the direction of a lad who looked to be Indian, and another he thought was probably South American Indian, "And that one," he pointed with his spare hand at a boy who was obviously from the Middle East, "Just can't wait to wake up and get going again."

He looked at the indicated boys, all three were hard and happily demonstrating their erections to each other, and, equally happily, testing each other's hardness with their hands, just as he and the Aboriginal boy were doing.

"The Gypo boy still thinks this is the home of the Gods," the black boy grinned as he eased foreskin slowly up and down, "That he's been reborn yet again in the afterlife."

He shook his head, trying to make sense of this new reality and focus on the almost memories that lurked insistently in a part of his brain he couldn't get to.

"Just another dream time, to me," the Aboriginal shrugged, "Bloody good dream, though," he grinned and worked a little harder on the cock in his hand.

"Don't want to wake up in a hurry," he smiled in response, the hand on his cock feeling much more than an ordinary dream. "If this is a dream, then I want to stay asleep. At least until I cum," he said, being more daring than he could ever remember being.

"Oh, you'll cum loads of times here," the black boy said with a smile, "And that's a definite."

"How do you know that?" he asked, a slow churning beginning in his balls, "How can you know that?"

"My people never forget dreams," the Aboriginal boy said as though that was perfectly natural and normal. "I forget which order they came in sometimes, but not the dreams themselves. And they all involve lots and lots of this getting used," he grinned again and rubbed a little faster.

"I think I'm going to like it here," he almost panted as he was rubbed, the churning in his balls getting stronger with each stroke.

"You will," the black boy agreed, suddenly releasing his cock. "Sorry," he apologised, "But your master will want your first load. Not good form to spunk before he gets at you."

"My master?" There were masters, he knew he knew that somehow, and they'd be arriving soon to choose a boy, once all the boys had woken up properly. He couldn't remember who the masters were though, or anything about them, or why they chose a boy each, or what they chose one for. It was there, somewhere in his mind, but he couldn't make it come into focus, couldn't think clearly.

"They'll be arriving any second now," the black boy told him. "Keep it hard. Let them see what they'll be getting to play with."

No problem with that, he thought, he'd just been fondled almost to the edge and there was no way he was going to soften up for quite a while!

"Play with?" he asked suddenly, not fully understanding what the other boy meant.

"Jeez," the Aboriginal boy twanged, "You did have a bloody deep sleep, mate!"


Norfolk, England


"You're not serious, Bob," Dan Cody demanded, his breakfast black coffee poised, cooling, in his hand half way to his mouth. "For Christ's sake tell me you're not serious!"

"Dead serious, Dan," Tansley puffed out a cloud of smoke, "No longer a police matter."

"But it has to be!" Cody insisted, putting his no-longer-wanted coffee cup back on the table. "A fifteen year old boy has gone missing, for fuck's sake! How can that not be a police matter?"

"Only sort of half missing now, it seems," Tansley enlightened his colleague; "Seems he sent a text message to his parents saying he was well and where he wanted to be, and that they shouldn't worry about him because he was happy."

"Bollocks!" Cody snorted, "If he sent a text message then we have his phone details. Can locate him as soon as he turns it on again."

"Fraid not, Dan," Tansley sighed, "He sent that message from a public phone somewhere in Peterborough."

"Can you do that?" Cody asked, the finer points of 21st Century communication matters not being his strong point.

"Seems you can," Tansley sighed, "And seems he did."

"But he's still missing and he's still fifteen," Cody insisted, taking an interest in his coffee once more.

"Not now," Tansley puffed out another cloud, "Apparently his parents have said that they're perfectly satisfied that the boy is alive and well and they have no wish to interfere with the decision that he's made. Removed him officially from our missing persons list."

"They can't do that! He's underage!" Cody expostulated, just missing his friend with splats of coffee.

"Home Office says they can," Tansley said quietly, "Not in the public interest for us to pursue the matter against his parents' wishes."

"What the fuck's it got to do with the Home Office? How did they suddenly get involved?" Anger was brewing in Cody; this was all wrong!

"Want to take a stab at guessing the obvious, Dan?" Tansley sucked calmly on his pipe.

"That `not in the public interest' means the kid's run off with someone high up, and the people in high places don't want it to get out?" Cody peered questioningly over the rim of his coffee cup, almost wanting his fellow Inspector to agree with his conclusion.

"That's how it seems as though it looks," Tansley agreed, choosing his words carefully.

"But that's bollocks, and it's not what you think, is it Bob," Cody stated, putting his now empty cup down and reaching for his cigarettes and lighter, "You think something else, don't you."

"I'm Uniform, Dan, I'm not paid to think. Thinking's your job, not mine."

"So the thought that those DNA samples tell us something very different; tell us that the kid's not run off with some VIP or other, hasn't occurred to you?"

"Not now, Dan. Did flash through my mind, of course, but now those samples have been totally discredited, I can't think that anymore, can I?" Tansley puffed smoke again, waiting for the reaction he knew his words would cause.

"Discredited?" Cody knew nothing of this, nothing at all.

"Seems our tame prof got so excited about what he thought he'd found that he phoned a friend. Home Office got to hear about it, requisitioned the samples and the findings, took new samples and had them analysed. Apparently there'd been some sort of major mix-up, and the lab at UEA had been sent two samples from the same boy, not one sample each from two different boys. And, that's not all, Dan," Tansley paused to let his words sink in, "Seems that the 98% Celt bit the prof was so excited about was a mistake as well; should have been 9.8%, well within normal and expected genetic range for a boy with webbed feet."

"And you believe that, Bob?" Cody stared hard at his friend before lighting another cigarette.

"What I've been told to believe, Dan. Not only that," he said, carefully not looking in Cody's direction, "Chief Constable suggested that if I was serious about getting a place in Sicily when I retired, I should look at doing that as soon as possible. `Word to the wise', he said, `do it before the Brexit thing happens'."

"Quit now or get pushed out?" Cody interpreted.

"What I took it to mean, Dan. Expect you'll be getting the same advice sometime very soon."

"I expect I will," Cody sighed and looked at his watch. "Bit early, Dan, but the King's will be open. Fancy something a little stronger?"

"Something a lot stronger," Bob Tansley agreed.



The Masters were here now. He could sense them. He couldn't see them, but he knew they were there. All around.

He couldn't see them, but the flowers that grew all over the `waking place' moved, brushed by the invisible Masters as they walked among the now all awake and naked boys.

He wasn't frightened, or even surprised that he couldn't see them, that they were invisible. He could feel their presence and it wasn't a threatening feel. It gave him a warm and comfortable glow, a glow inside him that was as warm and comforting as the soft breeze that drifted warm air over his naked skin.

He could see that the other boys knew, as he knew, that the Masters were amongst them; they all looked happy and smiling, and even the ones who had been the shyest, kept themselves covered by their hands before, had now taken their hands away, most now proudly showing all they had, and only one or two of them still completely soft.

He wasn't soft. He thought he was even harder now than he had been when the Aboriginal boy had been feeling him. He wanted to be hard, to give the Masters something to look at that he knew they liked to see. He still didn't know how he knew that, but he did and he willed himself to stay hard.

"Did you have a good sleep?" a voice asked. He wasn't sure if he heard the voice with his ears or in his head, but it didn't matter. It was a kind voice, a voice he liked.

"And did you have a nice dream as well?" the voice asked.

"I think so," he said. Did he say it out loud or did he just think it? It didn't matter.

"Was it a dream that involved this?" the voice chuckled and he gasped, out loud and for real as he felt a hand he couldn't see close round his hardness.

"No," he said, a little sadly because he felt that his dream in his long sleep would have been a much nicer dream if it had involved that. "I dreamed that we weren't supposed to do things like that. Only bad boys, gay boys, did things like that, and no other boys would be friends with a boy like that," he said, truthfully but a little wistfully.

"So you had to do this for yourself," the voice smiled in his head and he gasped again and shuddered all the way through as he felt the unseen hand start to rub him slowly.

He looked down and he could see his foreskin moving as he was gently rubbed and sighed with pleasure.

"Yes," he admitted, feeling sad that he had been obliged to resort to that.

"But you did it a lot I hope," the voice smiled even more in his mind and he blurted out his answer, thrilled that he could tell someone about it.

"I think I did," he smiled himself, "Not at first, not in the early parts of my dream, but later, when I got closer to waking up again, I did it every morning and every night. And sometimes more often than that," he confessed.

"But you never dreamed about this," the voice seemed to laugh gently, and he gasped again, louder this time as his hardness seemed to go into something warm and wet and his whole body shuddered with the delight of it.

"No, not that," he managed to say when the wet warmth had gone and air brushed cool against the wetness of his hardness. "But I wish I had! That would have been wonderful!"

He felt a gentle kiss on his cheek and then the Master was gone.

Had he been a disappointment to that Master? Was that Master looking for a boy who had dreamed about doing those things? Were all the Masters looking for boys like that?

He looked around, suddenly fearful that he was the only boy a Master was not fondling.

He saw boys who obviously had a Master with them; boys who were leaning back, their hips thrust forward, their foreskins moving to unseen hands.

He saw other boys, boys like himself, boys just standing, waiting, hoping for a Master to come to them, talk to them, feel them and rub them.

He wanted to be talked to. He wanted to be felt, to be rubbed and whatever that other thing had been, the thing that made him wet down there. He wanted that a lot! No, more than a lot. He was desperate for it to happen again. He ached for it, he needed it so much, so badly.

"Someone want me!" his mind yelled, "Someone want me, please!"


Taormina Sicily


"Didn't take you long to get set up in paradise, did, it," Dan Cody observed, only a minor hint of envy in his voice as he lay back in the pink and pale blue striped recliner, carefully situated under a shade-giving tree in what was now his old friend's front garden.

The shade was vital, late summer though it was, the Sicilian sun was more than hot enough to burn skin more accustomed to the wetlands of English East Anglia.

"Had this place in mind for years," Bob Tansley puffed contentedly on his pipe. "Actually bought it a couple of years back, but I kept quiet about it in case the powers that be got the idea they could send me off here without a full pension."

"And a lump sum bribe to go with it," Cody sniffed, a shade more envy in his voice than before.

"True, wasn't going to say `no' to that was I! You didn't do so bad, though, did you?"

Both former Inspectors had been retired, or, in Cody's case, made redundant, shortly after the `official version' of fifteen year old Luke Chambers' unexplained disappearance had been delivered.

"Got my service made up to full pension," Cody agreed, "And a redundancy payout of course. Had to give me that, didn't they. No way they could avoid it. Nothing like what you got, though, Bob. Lucky bastard."

"Made a nuisance of yourself, didn't you, Dan." Tansley puffed out a cloud, the only cloud around – there were none in the perfect, blue sky. "Told you to leave it alone, didn't I? Told you no good would come of keeping on chasing it."

"I had to, Bob," Dan Cody sighed, "Too much of the copper in me to just let it go. I know that the whole thing has got "Do not disturb. Unexploded bomb" written all over it, but I wanted to at least get a glimpse of the bomb; try to work out what it was that was giving me guts ache."

"Never did though, did you. Just cost you money. Nothing more."

"Tell you what I wouldn't mind some more of," Cody held up his empty glass, "Rather have proper beer, but this red wine stuff's not half bad."

"Did go and look at where Luke disappeared from," he said when his glass had been filled again, "And that kid in Dersingham before him, and I'll tell you what Bob, neither of those two boys could have gone missing in the way they did. Just not possible."

"You mean they were something else? Parents, neighbours, school kids on a bus, all in on it? That makes even less sense that them just disappearing into thin air, doesn't it?"

"Of course it does, Bob, of course it does. And that's what I'm saying. Those boys disappeared, no doubt about that, and they both disappeared in broad daylight. There one moment and not the next. Can't happen, can it? Not in the normal, real world it can't." Cody took an appreciative swig from his refilled glass, savoured the taste, swallowed and returned to his theme. "And those DNA sample things. They weren't mixed up, were they Bob. What that prof found was right."

"Course he was, Dan. We both know that. And well done to him, I say," Tansley raised his glass as though in a toast, "Got me here two years earlier than I'd hoped for. Good on you, prof!"

He refilled glasses again and held up the now empty bottle.

"Can't have this, Dan, need a new one. Gino," he called, "Bring out another bottle, there's a good lad."

"And a glass for me, Papa Bawb?" an adolescent voice called in answer from inside.

"You know you're not old enough to drink," Tansley called back, his face a grin. "Just this once as we've got a guest."

Cody looked at his friend, his face a pure question mark.

"Wait, look, and eat your heart out," Tansley grinned. "Sicily has a lot to offer, my friend."

Cody did indeed eat his heart out when the owner of the adolescent voice appeared from inside the house.

A slender, tanned-skinned boy who appeared to be around fifteen emerged clutching a bottle of wine and a glass, but that wasn't what caused Dan Cody to feel nothing but jealous admiration. That feeling was prompted by the fact that the boy was wearing only a pair of impossibly brief shorts, his long, slender legs on show almost as far up as legs go.

"Did I do right, Papa Bawb?" the boy asked, fluttering his black eyelashes, "I put some shorts on because we have a guest."

"Quite right, Gino," Bob Tansley smiled at the boy, a smile that said far more than his words. "I think Zio Dan rather likes the look of you in those shorts."

Dan Cody had enormous difficulty in keeping his eyes from staring at the teenage apparition, who was now fluttering his black eyelashes in his direction, wearing shorts that made him seen more naked than if he'd not been wearing them at all.

`Can't be,' Cody thought, although he was certain it was. The tip of the boy's foreskin was just visible below the hem of his brief shorts, and those shorts were very obviously the only item of clothing on the boy's body.

"If you intend to have a glass of wine with us, Gino," Tansley smiled dotingly, "Then you have to sit with us."

"Okay, Papa Bawb," the boy agreed and promptly sat on Tansley's knee, easing himself into the former Inspector, who sent a protective arm around the boy's naked waist.

The boy wriggled a little, glanced across the their guest, wriggled a little more, decided he was satisfied and flashed Cody a look of pure and undisguised flirtation.

"You lucky, lucky bastard, Bob," Cody grinned, well aware that the boy's wriggles had been designed to confirm both that it was foreskin that was poking out from the leg of his shorts and that those shorts were, indeed, all he was wearing. "Did he come along with the house, or did you just find him in the garden one day?"

"Gino's mother does my cleaning," Tansley obliged with an explanation, "And, let's just say that she finds it very convenient not having him around their place. Only a small cottage, you understand, not really enough room for a growing boy."

"He could grow with me any time, you lucky sod," Dan Cody grinned. Neither man had made any secret to their closest friend that teenage boys were their favourite food, but both had confined their gastronomic indulgencies to their annual, continental holidays.

Tansley had put his glass on the table, even taken his pipe from his mouth, and now ran an appreciative hand up and down young Gino's slender, tanned thigh.

"Perhaps you should not do that, Papa Bawb," the boy said as his leg was stroked, "Perhaps our guest is a guest who does not like boys."

"It's my house," Tansley said, mock gruff, "And you're my boy. I'll do what I want."

"Okay, Papa Bawb," the boy agreed happily and flashed Cody another flirtatious smile.

"His mother ...........?" Cody started to ask.

"Obviously," Bob Tansley interrupted, "Long tradition here of boys being boys. And he's fifteen, so no worries about him not being legal, Fourteen here, you know."

"Lucky bastard," was all Dan Cody could summon in reply.

"Is Zio Dan going to stay with us for a while?" the boy asked, all seeming innocence.

"For a week," Tansley confirmed, his stroking of the boy's slender, and utterly smooth, thigh continuing uninterrupted.

"Perhaps Zio Dan would like Giorgio or perhaps Roberto to keep him company?" Gino suggested, adolescent innocence combined with adolescent worldliness.

"I think Giorgio is a little too young," Tansley stroked more thigh.

"But everyone says he has a very good mouth, Papa Bawb."

"Doesn't Roberto have a very good mouth as well?" Tansley nibbled a teenage ear.

"Very good, Papa Bawb," the boy somehow still maintained the facade of innocence, a considerable achievement as the little bit of revealed foreskin had now transformed itself into a fully on display adolescent erection, thrusting itself free of any restraint the boy's tiny shorts may have once had on it.

"Then Roberto it should be," Tansley pronounced. "Do tell him he won't need to bring his pyjamas, won't you."

Gino giggled delightfully, the thought of his teenage friend doing something as outrageous as wearing pyjamas appealing to his boy sense of humour.

"I don't think he has any, Papa Bawb," Gino tried, but couldn't prevent himself from bursting in to a fit of giggles.

"I think you'll like Roberto, Dan. Your sort of boy I suspect." Tansley let go of Gino's thigh, had a sip of wine and put his pipe back into his mouth. "Same sort of build as my Gino, and, of course, not a hair on him."

"You setting me up with a boy, Bob?" Cody had astonishment written all over him. He'd responded to his old friend's invitation `to spend a bit of time with him' readily enough, but he'd never dreamed that it was going to be anything like this!

"Not saying `no', are you?" Tansley smirked over the top of young Gino's head. "Wouldn't if I was you. The boys here are very, very friendly."

"So it seems," Dan Cody half-smiled, half-grunted in shock as his former colleague's spare hand reached down a little lower and engulfed the teenage erection that was clearly waiting to be engulfed.

"You think Roberto will be friendly?" Tansley semi-whispered in the ear of what was very obviously `his boy'.

The adolescent Sicilian lad gave Cody an appraising look, a look that did not shy away from an inspection of the front of Cody's tailored beige shorts.

"Zio Dan is a nice man, I think, Papa Bawb," said with flirtatious fluttering eyelashes, "I think Roberto would like very much to be friends with him."

"There you go, Dan, all sorted," Tansley grinned at his friend who was clearly having considerable difficulty in coming to terms with very unexpected events. "Different world, here Dan. Very different world. Turn of the last century Taormina was known as `the Sodom of Sicily' because the boys here are so friendly. Very long tradition of friendly boys here."

"I can certainly see why you chose this place," Cody nodded, "Bit of a dream, really, isn't it."

"What say we have a bit of a party this evening, Dan? Big barby, lots of wine, get Gino and Roberto's friends and families round. Make a night of it. Sound good?"

"Familes?" Cody croaked.

"Course," Tansley grinned. "Told you, Dan, different world. No-one's gonna bat an eyelid if you chum up with a boy while you're here. Look at one of the girls for more than about two seconds and you'll find a stiletto sliding in between your ribs, but boys are fine. No problem being friendly with boys."


"Sshhhh," a voice whispered in his ear, startling him. He'd been so lost in his longing to be wanted that he hadn't felt the presence of a different Master and the voice inside his ear took him by surprise.

"I'm sorry, Master," he said, his lip trembling, "I didn't feel you near."

"Can you feel me now?" the voice inside his head asked. It was a nice voice, a kind voice. An older voice, he thought, than that of the Master who had rejected him.

"Oh, yes, Master, I can feel you now," he sighed, his body melting as unseen hands caressed his shoulders and then moved down to gently stroke his chest.

He melted even more when those hands paused and fingers felt and brushed his nipples, nipples that suddenly became hard; as hard as that other bit of him that went even harder as his nipples were felt and teased.

"Oh, Master!" he sighed, his body an urgent mass of longing, a longing that grew stronger as the unseen hands of the invisible Master moved lower, down to the flatness of his stomach and then on, below that until his gasp was a moan of pure joy as his hardness was engulfed in a warm and gentle hand.

It didn't matter that he couldn't see the hand, that he couldn't and never would see the Master the hand belonged to. Masters were always invisible. He knew that. How did he know that? He didn't know and it didn't matter.

Invisible fingers were twirling the hair that grew down there. When he looked down he could see those hairs moving as fingers twirled and brushed them. He could see his balls lifted gently as a hand cupped them, weighed them and he sighed again with the delight his body felt.

"Do you like these hairs?" the voice in his ear whispered, "And the ones that are starting to grow on your legs and under your arms?"

"I don't know, Master," he said truthfully. Hair grew in those places as you got older, that he did know. It was part of `growing up'. "They just grow, Master," he said, as though that explained everything.

"Wouldn't it feel better if they weren't there?" the voice asked him, "No hair in the way of your hand when you play with yourself? No hair in the way of my hand when I play with you?"

"I don't know, Master". Again, he was truthful. He couldn't remember in his dream ever wanting those hairs not to grow, not to be there.

"Shall we find out?" the voice asked.

"If you want, Master. I will do anything you want if you want me to be your boy."

Why had he said that? Be his boy? What did that mean?

His body was giving him some idea of what it meant and, despite all the things he had learned in his dream, learned and still not quite forgotten even though he had woken from that dream now, he liked what his body was telling him.

"The last Master didn't want me because I don't know anything about why Masters want boys," he said without thinking. "In my long sleep dream nothing like that ever happened to me."

"Like what?" the kind voice asked kindly.

"Like the things you're doing to me now," he gasped again as the unseen hands fondled him where no hands had ever been in his dream. Except his own, and they had felt nothing like this!

"Then you are just the boy I am searching for," the Master said and held him down there in a way he liked a lot. "A boy I can lead to pleasure, not a boy who already remembers what pleasure is."

"Please take me and lead me, Master," he pleaded, "Please."

The unseen hands moved over him, over his groin and down his thighs, up and under his arms they went. A finger even traced its way into the crack of his behind!

And when he looked at the places he could see where those hands had been, he saw only skin, no hair. Not a hair grew on him now and when the hands went back over his body he felt them even more that he had felt them before.

"Oh, Master," he breathed, "That is wonderful!"

It was wonderful, full of wonder.

Memories of his long sleep dream were fading, it was hard to bring details of that long dream to the front of his mind now, but the ones that did remain, blurred a little but still clear enough, were memories of somewhere else, somewhere different, somewhere so not like this, somewhere so `other' that he knew they had to be dream memories.

Still they seemed real, though. Where he had dreamed he had been was flat, cool, often windy and always wet. Not rain wet, though he seemed to recall that it had often been rain wet, but wet all around, water everywhere.

There had been no grassy meadows full of flowers as there were here; the sun had not warmed his bare skin as it did here, and there were parts of his body that the sun had never touched.

And not just the sun!

No hand had touched him there in his long dream.

He could still remember that being touched there was forbidden, prohibited, and prohibited not only by others but by himself as well. In his dream he would never have allowed anything like that to happen.


It was so good to be touched there, and not just there but all over his body, gentle hands, the hands of his Master, stroking and caressing him.

This was real and his long dream had been a nightmare in comparison. He never wanted to have a dream like that again, to suffer the torments he was sure he must have suffered, wanting things like this to happen and knowing that they never would.

But they were happening now and it was wonderful!

The slightest touch of those invisible hands sent shivers of delight through his magically smooth now body; his flesh seemed to glow and melt as he was fondled.

This was what he was for, he understood that now. This is what boys were for, what boys were meant for.

"I am your boy, Master," he breathed, "Please make me your boy."

Eagerly he grasped the unseen hand that reached for his, followed where that hand led him, across the flower strewn meadow, flower scented meadow, towards the bushes, dark with prospects.


Taormina, Sicily

"Well, what do you think? Good setting for a party or what?" Tansley gestured at his large lawn, lit by guttering lanterns in the Sicilian late evening dark. The scent of jasmine, bougainvillea and hibiscus lay heavy on the dark air. The lawn was full of people, adults and boys; no girls, this was not a party suitable for girls.

A row of solar powered lights ran alongside a stand of Cyprus leading to a grove of bushes at the end of the garden. An idyllic setting, Cody thought, almost a stage set for an outdoor play or concert.

"Good, Bob," Cody said, "Very good." And so was the local fire water, he thought as he sipped, not too delicately at a balloon of the local brandy and looked at the milling throng.

Inconceivable really, his mind told him. A dozen, perhaps fifteen boys, mostly teenagers but with a sprinkling of younger ones, boys in tee shirts and shorts, shorts that were far too short to be decent, shorts that exposed lengths of slender adolescent thighs, and more than one who was just about wearing a tee shirt that hardly reached his navel. Boys who were deliberately and unashamedly on display.

That alone was difficult enough to get his head round, but what made it totally, utterly inconceivable was that the adults were the boys' parents!

"That's your one, that one there," Tansley pointed towards a slender lad who was running and performing somersaults, oblivious or not caring that when he did so his shorts concealed nothing that boys normally kept concealed, certainly when their parents were around!

"Bloody gorgeous," Cody whispered thickly, and indeed, to him the boy was the stuff that dreams are made on.

"That's his father, doing the barbeque," Tansley pointed across to where a variety of things were grilling away. "Oh, don't worry, Dan, lighten up. Boys here aren't a protected species and young Roberto's not going to be doing anything his father didn't do when he was fifteen."

"Not the Marshlands, is it," was Cody's still disbelieving reply to that.

"Same planet, different worlds," Bob Tansley grinned, "An' I reckon this world's better than the other one."

"Keep my gut from keeping me awake at night," Cody sighed, "Don't reckon I'll be getting too much sleep though if things are what you say they are."

"They are, Dan, believe me, they are." And Cody, watching the hardly dressed boys thought that they probably were.

"Gorgio's starting early," Tansley sniggered, nodding towards the Cyprus lined pathway where a little boy was almost dragging a quite elderly man along towards the bushes. "Can't wait for the food to be ready so he's going to help himself to a bit of grandad aperitif by the look of it."

"You what?" Cody squeaked, "Tell me you didn't say that, Bob!"

"Told you, different world, Dan. Completely different world."

Tansley refilled the brandy balloons, sucked on his pipe for a bit, thought, thought again, and decided.

"Your gut still troubles you, does it, Dan? Still can't get missing kids out of your mind?"

"I wish I could, Bob, I really wish I could. Boys don't just go missing and reappear a few days later ten years younger. It just can't happen. Yet it does, so there has to be an explanation. Christ, Bob, I've even thought about flying fucking saucers and alien abductions, but that's even more crazy than a boy just disappearing as if by magic in a conjuring show."

"Drink up, drink another one and then listen. I'm not going to promise to put your gut at rest, but I will give you an indigestion tablet. Okay?"

Tansley filled the balloons, waited till Cody, as instructed, downed the contents and filled them up again.

"See that lad there, that one with the almost tee shirt that hardly reaches his nipples? He's Luciano. He's fourteen. And this time next year he'll be five." Tansley waited for his words to sink in, waited for the inevitable shock that would follow.

It did.

"Christ, Bob, don't piss me about! I know I'm fucking obsessed with this thing, but there's no need to go taking the piss!!" Cody violently gulped down his brandy, coughed and spluttered and reached for his filled-yet-again glass.

"Calm it, Dan, calm it." Tansley wasn't in the least bit offended by his friend's outburst, he'd expected it. "Come with me. No, don't argue," he said as Cody showed every sign of refusing to move, "Come and have a word with his parents. I told you, it won't take away your gut ache, but it might just settle it for a bit."

Grumbling at what he was convinced was his friend's warped sense of humour, he nevertheless followed the cloud of pipe smoke that was Bob Tansley across the lawn to a local couple, who seemed in the uncertain, flickering light of the candle torches, to be a bit old to have a son of fourteen.


He followed where the unseen Master led him, across the flower strewn and scented meadow towards the dark green mass of bushes.

His heart was light, his mind happy. He felt no fear, no anxiety; he felt nothing but a sense of impending bliss, the invisible hand that was holding his was warm, firm and reassuring, the thumb of that hand softly stroking the backs of his fingers as he walked.

The hand was telling him that he was safe, that it wouldn't let him go, that he belonged now; belonged here, belonged to the Master who had chosen him.

The bushes, he realised as they entered them, were only a screen, because the other side of them was a garden, a garden that only a dream could create.

Flowers there were, hundreds of flowers, flowers that made him gasp in wonder. He'd seen flowers by the hundred, by the thousand, by the tens of thousands before, seen them in the dream he'd now wakened from. Seen them in row upon row, stretching to the horizon, yellow and red and white.

`Tulips', some vague memory of that dream told him, those flowers had been tulips and the place had a strange name. He searched for the memory of that name and it was `Spalding' and that place had been on the vast flat lands near to where he had lived in that dream.

Those flowers had not been pretty, not a delight to the eye; there had been too many of them, the rows too neat and organised, a sight that sickened more than it delighted.

These flowers did not sicken the eye although there were many. They were different, all different, and he knew not the names of any of them and they made his heart happy with their colours and their scents.

This garden was not flat, no rows of those tulip things stretched to the horizon. Here there were low mounds and concealed hollows, grassy hollows and mounds that made the garden not one garden but many, each a secret, a place where a boy could be alone with his Master.

And there was water, water like he had never seen water before. Water there had been in his dream place, but that water was dark and turgid, deep and with the promise of choking death always around and over it.

This water was in ponds and lakes, clear and sparkling, with fountains and fish, so many fish and all with colours as bright as the flowers around him.

"Come," the voice breathed in his mind, and he was led by the hand behind a mound and into a grassy hollow; soft grass, grass that was meant for a boy to lay on.

He could smell the scent of the flowers, he could hear the singing of birds and though he could hear also the hum and buzzing of insects, none came close, none bothered him, none gave threat to his exposed skin, skin that was warm and soft and smooth in the comforting sun.

"Here now," the voice in his mind said and his hand was released.

Without thinking he lay on the soft grass, knowing without being told that he should do that, and doing it willingly, for this he knew also, was the place where he would become a boy, a real boy, the boy he had been born to be.


Taormina, Sicily


"Oh sì, Signor Bob, Luciano è il nostro ragazzo. Tale ragazzo fortunato. Una tale cosa meravigliosa per lui a non crescere, non hanno mai a lavorare la sua vita fino all'osso. Sempre giovane, sempre un ragazzo."

"Is she serious?" Dan Cody asked incredulously when Tansley translated the incomprehenisble Italian for him. "She's happy that her son will never grow up? That he'll always be a boy?"

"Wait, Dan, there's more," Tansley shushed him as Lucian's mother was talking again.

"Ora è quattordici anni, allora sarà di quindici, l'età perfetta per un ragazzo di essere, e dopo quindici anni saranno cinque di nuovo e hanno di nuovo le gioie della fanciullezza, della crescente in un adolescente, un ragazzo che compirà uomini 'occhi e rompere alcuni cuori. Che ragazzo potrebbe desiderare di più?

She flashed her husband a knowing look as she said this, the man blushing and gruffly clearing his throat.

"She knows!" Dan Cody couldn't believe his ears when this was translated for him. "She knows he's going to disappear, get shagged and come back as a five year old and she's happy about it? Happy for him? What sort of world is this?"

"A different one, Dan, I told you that," Tansley answered and again held up his hand to quieten his friend.

"La prossima volta sarà l'ultima volta che è mio figlio." She looked sad when she said that, but brightened again when she continued, "Ma io sarà ancora felice perché sarà il mio nipote se Dio mi risparmia di vivere così a lungo."

"She said that after he's grown to fifteen again, and goes back to being five once more, he'll be her grandson, not her son," Tansley translated, "If God lets her live that long."

"She means it, doesn't she, Bob. She means it and believes it."

Cody headed back to his table – he needed more brandy.

"Every word, Dan, every word. Hold on a second, one more thing, one more thing that you'll want to hear."

He called out in Italian to the late middle-aged couple,and this time the answer came from the man, an answer that earned him a light punch on the shoulder from his wife.

"I asked if they knew what happens to him, how long it has been happening," Tansley said, "And the old boy said I ought to know what happens or did Gino sleep on his own?"

Cody's mouth attempted to imitate a goldfish.

"And he said that it's always been going on, that the Old Gods started it. More brandy, Dan?"

Dan Cody's world became even more confusing when he went over to where the barbeque was in full, smoking opperation. Roberto's father, busy creating grilled just about everything, speared a long sausage and handed it to Cody, an evil grin on his weathered face.

"Roberto's be more tasty," he leered, "But this do for now," and he burst into a guffaw of wicked laughter.

"What sort of a place is this?" he asked Tansley for the umpteenth time, "He obviously knows his son is going to be getting a bit friendly later on, and he equally obviously doesn't give a damn!"

"I keep telling you, Dan, that this place is a bit different. That here boys can be boys and men can be grateful that they are. And it's been that way for just about forever." Tansley shrugged, "And Luci's mother thinks he's going somewhere that he can be even more of a boy than he can be here. Now that's a place I wouldn't mind being in!"

"You knew. You knew all along, didn't you," Cody suddenly accused his long-time friend. "You knew from the very start that missing boy wasn't missing at all. You knew all about it and pretended that you didn't. Made a bloody fool of me!"

"Didn't Dan," Tansley sighed, sat down and filled glasses again. "Only really came to me when I moved in here full time. Wasn't until young Luci's mother showed me some family photgraphs one day because she was being friendly because they'd decided to accept me here. And that," he said with a wink and a smile, "Was because I'd managed to hit it off with young Gino and they knew I wasn't just here for the view. Lots of photographs, Dan, the old ones all faded with time, but every one that a boy was in, well, it was the same boy, wasn't it."

"Photo's of him? Photo's going back years?"

"Years and years, Dan, years and years. He looks the same now as he did over a hundred years ago. Not just a family resemblance, Dan, the same boy."

"Jesus, Bob. Why the fuck didn't you say something? Let me know? Put me out of my misery?" Cody drained his glass yet again and lit another cigarette. A copper, even an ex-copper, needed alcohol and nicotine at a time like this!

"One of the reasons I invited you to stay for a bit, Bob," Tansley gave a slow smile. "The other was young Roberto, or one of his mates. I thought a good dose of boy might do something for that gut of yours."

"Do wonders for other bits of me," Cody was forced to grin, "Can't deny that, Bob. Just one thing, though," he said slowly breathing smoke down his nose, "Luci, or whatever his name is, always gets back to the same family? How does that work?"

"Just the way it is, Dan. Boy goes younger boy comes. He's not found somewhere like the ones in Norfolk were, he simply pops up again in the same house with the same family. They know he'll be back, ten years younger and he always is."

Cody shook his head, not in disbelief now, more simply trying to understand.

"Alien abduction? Flying saucers? Could be, I suppose," Tansley spread aromatic smoke all around, "Keeps the mozzies away," he explained. "Could be what the old lady said as well, could be the Old Gods. Catholic this place may be, but the Church has only been here for a couple of thousand years and this boy thing, if the old wives' tales are to be believed, has been going on a lot, lot longer than that."

"For three and a half thousand years if that prof got his calculations right," Cody nodded.

"Lot longer than that here, Dan. I suspect that if you DNA'd young Luci, you'd end up with a figure twice that. Marshland people are newcomers compared with this lot."

"Let's hope no-one ever does," Cody sighed, "There's an answer somewhere, and I guess your Old Gods are as good an answer as any. Beyond me, anyway." Cody took a sip this time at his brandy and smiled, the first real smile he'd smiled for a very long time. "I guess I'll always have a nagging wonder, Bob. I hate never being able to work out a case, but I think now I might manage to live with this one. "And," he added, feeling a surprising lifting of gloom, an even more surprising feeling of being younger that he was, "Shall we enjoy the party now?"

"Enjoy the boys as well," Tansley grinned.

"Oh, yes," Cody beamed, "I've got young Roberto to look forward to. I've not forgotten him, don't you worry."

"It's a party," Tansley laughed, "Loads of finger food. Well, about a dozen of them anyway. Enjoy the party, Dan, that's what the boys are here for. And don't worry about Roberto getting jealous or upset. He won't mind at all if you've had a few snacks before you get at his main course."

"I just might do that, Dan. God, I do envy you this place." Cody sighed; the south of France was lovely, but it didn't come with all the same attractions!

"Few empty places around, Dan," Tansley tempted, "Need doing up of course, but this place is the nearest thing to paradise people like us are ever likely to find."

"There, my old friend you are most defintely right," Cody said fervently as a lad who's name was unknown to him gave him a wink, poked out his tongue and ran it very suggestively around his lips. "Paradise indeed," he said over his shoulder as he went to the boy, took hold of his hand and allowed himself to be led down the path by the cypress trees and into the bushes.


His teenage body seemed to melt as his Master stroked him. It didn't matter that he couldn't see the Master; not being able to see him made his other senses more intense, his flesh tremble and shudder with delight as he was stroked, felt and kissed.

Kissed! So this was what boys at school in his dream had meant when they said that kissing was horny! The unseen tongue in his mouth was making his cock jerk and twitch, and it mattered not at all that he couldn't see the Master who was kissing him because something in his mind told him that when you kissed like this you did it with your eyes shut anyway.

It wasn't just in his mouth that the Master's tongue went. Oh, no! It was all over him, all over the front of his body! How had he never realised in his dream that his legs were so sensitive? That it was so sexy having them felt, licked and kissed?

Especially the soft, inside flesh of his thighs!

That was magical!

Then he felt the Master turning him over and some instinct told him that he should put his elbows on the soft grass and lift his hips so his behind was up, and that same insticnt told him to get his knees as far apart as he could.

He didn't know why he did that, but he did.

And then he discovered why!

The warm, wet thing that went where only toilet paper had been before caused him to gasp in wonderful shock, caused him to arch his back, cause him to gasp in delight and amazement.

He knew it was his Master's tongue, and he knew as well that, soon, it would be not his Master's tongue but something else!

"Oh, please, Master," he begged in a gasping whisper, "Enter me. Make me yours. Take me to paradise."

"This is Paradise, Luke," the voice whispered in his mind, "You are already there."


Thanks for reading.