Paulek

                                            By 

                                         Arthur 

 

CHAPTER 2


Wolenski, aka Hawk, looked down at the boy he had rescued, even under the blood that covered the small body, Hawk could see a beauty that could be easily missed under the rough and blood encrusted clothing, Hawk shook himself as a picture of his Pavlik came to mind, he had other things to do right now and it could be some time before he was again held in the arms of Pavlik, his protector.

Hawk looked again at the young boy he had now placed on the smooth table top, it was the only place he had for the boy to lay in peace as he tried to fight off the fever and infection, Hawk went to the wooden box in the corner of the room, it had been given to him by Pavlik some time ago just in case this very situation turned up.

Hawk got what he needed from the box and went back to the thrashing boy, he worked quickly and soon had the small farm boy safely held on the table, he knew that it would be some time before the fever gave up, or that the boy died from its effects, all hawk could do was sit, wait and watch, it was what Pavlik would have done, it was the right thing to do, for now, all Hawk could do was go back to the front room and curl up in his own rough bed and try to get some sleep, there were going to be many rough days ahead.

Hawks eyes popped open before he had properly returned to sleep, he still had to try to rescue the boys possessions before the town Marshals got them, if the boy survived he would need his effects and, by what Hawk had seen so far, the boy had very little as it was, in the back of his mind he knew that there was one thing he would not be able to return to the farm boy, his missing brother, that boy was now long gone, Hawk did not know if he could tell the boy, he would have to wait and see what happened first, he so desperately needed his Pavlik here right now.

Hawk got back on his feet and made for the small town park, the first towns people were starting to stir as he led the pony with the cart attached, back to the old bakery shop, there was a small stable at the rear, the boys pony could stay there and it would be out of sight of the townsmen or nosy Marshals.

Hawk unhooked the cart and led the pony into the old stable, there was a little musty hay from long ago when Pavlik had his old horse here, a small tear dribbled down Hawk’s cheek as he thought of his one and only boy friend, those days had been like heaven to the young boy that Hawk had been then, it was now over a year that Pavlik had been taken and he missed him so much, even though he got too see Pavlik every few nights, sometimes it was a few weeks in between visits, he still missed those strong arms holding him in the dark of the night.

Hawk returned to his bed to get a few more hours sleep before he had to meet another lonely day of scavenging to keep body and mind together, his new guest would also need constant watching, the next five days and nights were going to be a strain on him and his limited resources, at least he still had the old bakery, that was one thing that could never be taken away from him, even the high and mighty Duke, could not take it from him.

Hawks father had told him the story of how they had come by the bakery, it was now very old and, at the death of his mother and father, it had come to him, he could not work it as a bakery as, at that time he was only twelve years old and the two years since their deaths, he was unable to reopen the shop.

Hawk was well aware that there were those in the town that wanted him to give up the building so they could make a profit out of it but, Hawk would not give it up so easily, it was given to the family by the Crown Prince Alexander Nevsky in the year of our lord 1240 for his ancestors devotion to duty in the attack on the Swedish forces that had held St. Petersburg in the name of the Catholic Pope Gregory the 9th, the small piece of land and the building of the bakery was the ancestors reward, it was even noted by deed that the land and buildings would remain in Hawks family in perpetuity, only by order of the Tsar himself, could this be taken from the Wolenski family.

Hawk was well aware that the Mayor and a few others of the towns wealthy had their eyes on the prime spot, it was all that kept Hawk here, once he abandoned it, anyone could lay claim to it, it was all he now had, he was not going to give it up regardless of what he had to suffer, he was now fourteen, he was old enough to hold onto what was his by right.

As he lay propped up on one elbow, he looked at his small heritage, the bakery had been one of the few buildings in this small town to be constructed mainly of stone, the room at the front was the shop, its wide wooden shutters were thick and could be opened out to make for shoppers to view the contents of the days baking, Hawk had turned it into his bed and living room, at the rear were the large stone ovens where the bread and pastries had been baked, it was totally enclosed and had no windows or doors to the outside world, it was a place of work, this was where he had laid his new responsibility.

As he lay thinking of the past, there came a sudden knock on the door, Hawk groaned as he remembered what day it was, he was not really in the mood for this today, with another groan and a shrug of his shoulders, he did have to eat after all and now he had an extra mouth to feed, he lifted himself from the small bed and went to the door.

Opening the door he was not surprised to see the fat figure of the Mayor standing there waiting impatiently, his small feet tapping the cobbles as he shuffled about, his sweating face was more from the exercise than the nerves that he should have had.

“Come on boy, I’m a busy man and I don’t have all day to wait for the likes of you.”

Hawk stepped back as the short fat man pushed past him and into the small room where he took the only stool and sat down with his back against the wall as he spread his short thick legs wide; already his tight breeches were around his thin ankles, his large belly almost covering his short little- boy manhood.

There was little Hawk could do but continue as he had for the last year after he lost his protector Pavlik, Hawk knelt down and felt the Mayors hand grasp the long hair at the nape of his neck then force his head forward, the rank smell of sweat and piss filled his nostrils, the Mayor was not known for his hygiene, Hawk tried his best to ignore it and got too work with his mouth as quickly as possible, the Mayor was notorious for being a quick shooter.

It was only a few minutes later and Hawk was washing his mouth out to get rid of the foul taste, he heard the tinkle of a few copper coins hit the floor as the door closed with a thud behind the retreating back of Mr. Mayor, Hawk spat again for good measure, at least now he had a few coppers to keep starvation at bay.

There were others in the town that liked to make use of Hawks talents, it was the only way he could keep body and soul together, he was thankful that it would be at least two more weeks before the Captain of the Marshals would want to be serviced again, he was the worst of them all, a big brute of a man who liked to inflict pain on any and all that crossed his path, after a few hours with him, it would usually take Hawk days to heal and be able to move around.

Hawk felt a tear roll down his cheek, he missed Pavlik so badly, when they had met, Hawk was just gone twelve, Pavlik was closer to seventeen, they had made plans to reopen Hawks family bakery until Pavlik had made the mistake of staying until shortly after curfew, Hawk had only seen him twice since then, another tear slipped out and he sniffled as his nose began to run, swearing violently, Hawk swiped away the tears and turned to the door, he had to get something to eat.

Paulek tried to open his eyes, it was gloomy and a little misty, the first striking thing was the aromas around him, he tried to look around and sit up but he was held by something heavy on his chest and waist, shaking his head he took another sniff of the air, there was the faint smell of old bread dough and pastries, also a mustiness of old stone and a closed room, he became aware that he was very hungry, somewhere in the distance was the heady smell of spiced apple pastry, it was over powering and his mouth watered at the thought of biting into it.

He also became aware of the hard surface below him, his skin and fingers could feel the rough wood of the surface, every grain of the timber was like a small ridge to his touch, he felt neither hot nor cold and only the stillness of the room gave him any confidence that he was still alive, he had beaten the fever that had come on him so quickly, his ears picked up the sounds of someone moving in another room, again the spicy aroma of apples and pastry hit his nose, the need to feed on it was becoming overpowering now but he could not move, somehow he was restrained on the rough wood table.

Paulek tried to call out but his throat was so dry it came out only as a gasp and groan, suddenly the room was lit as a door opened and the smell of the pastry got so strong that his mouth watered at the smell, he was now able to make out every nook and cranny of the stone room, even into the darkest corner, it was obviously an old bakery, the three large stone ovens plain to see, Paulek looked towards the door in time to see his saviour walk in, it was the street boy Wolenski, or Hawk as he liked to be called.

“Hello farm boy, I see you survived the fever and the change, I see you’re hungry, just wait a minute and I’ll get something for you, don’t try to move just yet, I’ll be back soon and we can talk after you’ve eaten.”

Paulek could only nod and watch as the boy disappeared, the strong smell of spicy apple pastry going with him, Paulek really wanted to eat that pie, it was almost a craving he could not get rid of, Paulek relaxed as much as he could as he waited, the rough wood under him now becoming annoying and what ever was holding him to the table began to make him angry, as he flexed and pulled, he heard the thick timber below him groan with the strain but he couldn’t get free, he really wanted a bite of that apple pie.

The return of the boy made Paulek settle down a little, this time he could also smell the thick iron smell of meat, it was as though it was one of his mothers rarely cooked stews but this one had a richness far beyond any his mother had ever made, it had a tang of something overpowering in it, this too, Paulek had to taste, his mouth was dry and yet it watered from the anticipation of eating what the boy had in the large wooden bowl, even this though, did not lessen the smell of spicy apple pastry, it too filled the room with its scent, Paulek was torn between the two aromas, in the end he decided he would like both of them, his hunger was endless as he watched the boy come closer, he really did want to chew on that apple pie.

Paulek was surprised when the boy got closer, he seemed to glow with health, even under the thin layer of grime and the ragged clothes, the boy positively glowed, the smell of spicy apple grew as the boy got closer to where he lay on the rough wood, it was only tempered by the heady smell of thick meat stew that was held in a bowl in the boys hands.

“Now this should help to ease the hunger pangs, I’m going to lift your head up so you can drink, don’t try to move, let me do it all.”

Paulek felt the boys arm go under his neck, his eyes glazed over with the smells in the room, the boy had a delicious smell about him, suddenly, the bowl was at his lips and the overpowering smell of iron rich meat filled his nostrils, the bowl was tipped further and the first dribbles of the soupy stew touched his parched lips.

The texture of the soupy stew was at first strange on Paulek’s lips but then, the aroma hit him again and he pushed his small tongue out to take the first true taste, it was all that was needed, with an urgency he did not know he had, Paulek tried to get more of the soupy stew inside himself, slowly the boy tipped the bowl up until it was empty, Paulek tried to lick the bowl but it was impossible.

“Don’t worry, I’m going to get more, just wait here I’ll be back in a minute.”

Need and desire filled Paulek with urgency but all he could do was nod his head and wait for this strange street boy to come back with more soup, the hunger pangs had begun to recede as the warm soup worked its way into his empty belly, Paulek looked around his small prison like room, he could now see everything in detail and every sound near or far could be heard with ease, smells he had never known before, assaulted his nostrils, his touch was now so sensitive that the rough wooden table became a real annoyance on his tender naked skin, even the thin blanket that covered his nether regions, was rough and coarse to the touch.

Finally the boy returned with another bowl of soup, Paulek sucked in the soup with ease as the boy held his head, too soon it was also finished but now Paulek felt full and replete, he let his head fall back to the table top while the boy took away the bowl, when he returned he looked down at Paulek with something much like pity, it was time to talk and the look of apprehension on the street boys face told Paulek it was not good news.

“Do you remember me?”

“Yes, you’re the boy who met us at the gate, Hawk?”

“That’s right, now do you know what happened to you?”

“No, nothing, I just woke up and had a fever and my little brother was missing, well, that and all the blood in the cart, the rest I don’t remember”

“Ok, well I’m not sure I should be the one to tell you what happened, look, it’s only half an hour to sundown, I have a friend who could probably tell you better, Will you wait till he gets here, it’s not long?”

“It looks as though I don’t have much to say about it as you have me tied to this table, can I get up now?”

“I really think it would be best to wait for my friend, are you uncomfortable, can I get you something to make it better?”

“Just let me off this damn table.” Paulek found he was getting short tempered, all this talk of some mysterious friend and still he was tied to the table, his naked skin could feel every ridge in the surface and he was now becoming uncomfortable.

“Please understand, Paulek, it’s for your own good, well that, and it’s also for my own good at the moment, just wait a few more minutes and then I can let you go, ok?”

Paulek sighed in resignation, there wasn’t much he could really do about it anyhow, might as well wait for this mysterious boy to arrive, Paulek rested his head back on the folded cloth under his head and sighed.

Just after dark, when Hawk lit a small stub of candle in the corner, there came a soft knock on the outer door, Hawk looked at Paulek and smiled.

“That’s him, wait, I’ll be back in a minute.”

From his table, Paulek watched as Hawk ran out of the room to open the door, as promised, within seconds, Hawk was standing at the door with another older boy, the new arrival had one arm tenderly wrapped around Hawks thin shoulders and had pulled him in close, Hawk spoke for both of them.

“This is my friend Pavlik, he looks after me, I’ve asked him to tell you everything, he’s the only one that can help you, I’ll wait in the other room.”

So saying, Hawk left Paulek with the new boy.

“So, you’re Paulek, must be confusing for you being just made and no one to call on?”

“Made? What do you mean?”

“Paulek, I have to tell you straight out, there’s no other way, that’s why you’re tied down on that table with special chains, to protect Hawk and you, can you handle that?”

“I’m not sure, what’s all this really about, why am I here tied down like this and, where is my little brother?”

“Hawk said he told you the day you arrived here, about some things that were worse than animals, is that right?”

Paulek thought back to when they first met the street boy and recalled the conversation, “Yes”

“Well, now you’re one of them.” Pavlik watched as a look of confusion came over the young boys face, he had seen that look before on other young faces over the last year.

“One what?”

“A drinker of blood, we are a special people, part human and part something else, we have more speed than humans and are a lot stronger, it’s nearly impossible to kill us except for two ways and, those ways we keep from the humans, you’ll live for a long time and never get older than you are now.”

“So what do they call us?”

“We have no real name, they call us night devils and other less nice names, there’s one thing you have to know, it’s for your own safety, you can never go out in the full sun again, you must find a place to hide before the sun rises at dawn, the half light before the sun is ok, but any direct sunlight will do you real harm and too much will kill you, at night you must never get up before the last rays of the sun have gone below the horizon, at that time you are weaker than normal but the light won’t hurt you as much, to have your full strength and speed, you must wait for full darkness, do you understand all this?”

Paulek lay stunned as he took in what was being said to him, all he could do was nod his head as Pavlik laid out the reasons for him.

“Now, the worst part is this, while you can eat a little food, preferably red meat, but not too much, your main diet is blood, fresh animal blood will get you by from day to day but, for a real boost and to regain your full strength or heal any injuries, you need fresh human blood.”

“I couldn’t do that to people, it’s not right.”

“For us Paulek, there’s no right or wrong, did you drink the soup Hawk had for you?”

“Yes, it was delicious, it filled me right up and I felt a lot better.”

“What do you think the soup was made from, in fact, who do you think it came from?”

The shocked look on Paulek’s face almost gave Pavlik and sense of guilt as he watched the new boy try to reconcile what he had just been told.

“It was human b....b...blood, who did Hawk get it from, did he have to kill someone for it?”

“No Paulek, it was his own blood, that’s why he’s very tired now, he gave too much from his body, don’t worry, he will be alright, he just needs rest for now.”

“Why am I tied down?”

“To keep you from hurting yourself while the fever of change was doing it’s thing, when you woke up you might have attacked Hawk and killed him, if you think you can stop yourself, I will release you but, remember that if you try to hurt Hawk, I will have to really hurt you.”

“I wouldn’t hurt someone who helped me.”

“When you were in the throes of the fever, you wouldn’t have known and you certainly could not have stopped yourself, it’s one of our curses, now have your teeth started to hurt?”

“No, they seem fine, why?”

“It will probably happen tomorrow night, watch.”

Pavlik opened his mouth and Paulek watched as a pair of long sharp fangs dropped from his upper gums, they looked deadly and also strange in the boy’s mouth.

“Wh...what are they?”

“That’s how I feed, they are my fangs, you’ll get them soon, they are hollow inside and, when you sink them into a humans vein, your natural instinct will take over and draw their blood into you, one thing you must never do is to feed on someone already dead, you won’t die but you will be very sick for a long time and that, is very dangerous for you.”

“So from now on I have to kill others to stay alive?”

“No, but sometimes it is best, if you find a willing person, you can just feed a little from them each day, if you do go for the kill and drain them completely, you won’t have to feed for weeks, I’m sorry, but that’s the way of your life now, unless, of course, you want to end it now, you can just walk out into the sun tomorrow morning and end it all.”

Paulek thought about his options, the thought of living off other peoples blood scared him, on the other hand his little brother was out there somewhere, he had to find him, deep inside his belly, Paulek began to realise that, if his little brother was still alive, he might very well be like him now, and he was not there to help him.

“Do you know anything about my brother?”

“He’s the smaller version of you, right?”

“Yes, he looks just like me but is younger.”

“He’s safe, well as much as he can be, he was taken by the one that changed you, Baron Salvich likes very young boys, your brother is safe for now, the Baron likes to keep them for a while and then he sets them free and takes another boy.”

“You mean he is now like me and is being used by some Baron as a bed boy?”

“Yes, that about sums it all up, look, don’t worry, your brother has also gone through the change, he can’t be hurt now, it looks as though the Baron took pity on you, he has a habit of killing any next of kin of the boys he takes, he must have liked you to let you live and just change you, your little brother will only be with him for a few years and then the Baron will look for another boy.”

“Years, a few years, I am not going to wait years for my little brother to come back.”

“You’ll have to, you’re not strong enough to fight the Baron, he is many hundreds of years old and very powerful.”

“Hundreds of years, impossible, no one can live that long.”

“That’s nothing, there is one called, The Old One, he is so old they say he can remember when the Christian Jesus walked the earth.”

A sudden sense of loneliness overtook Paulek, without realising it, a small trickle of bloody tears ran down his pale cheeks as he thought about his little brother being held by some Baron just so he could be used in bed, from deep inside Paulek came a hot burning hatred of this Baron, any fear he may have felt disappeared at the though of his little brother being used in such a way, the hatred increased and his eyes turned a dark crimson red as he struggled against the chains.

“Let me out of here, I’m going to get my brother back.”

Pavlik looked at the struggling boy, this was not the time to let the boy free, while Pavlik could easily hold him back, he didn’t want to hurt the boy anymore than he had been so far.

“You have to settle down, there’s nothing you can do just yet, you don’t even have your fangs yet, the Baron would just drain you them put you in his dungeon, feed you a little each day and then drain you over and over again, remember you will not die he can to do that to you and, even to your brother for many years, you have to be patient, a couple of years to us is like nothing.”

Slowly the words began to sink into Paulek’s head and he began to settle a little.

“Now you see why you’re in those chains, if you go out there without your fangs you’re as good as dead, now, I’m going to release you and Hawk will bring you your clothes, he washed them for you, just remember, don’t hurt him, you may think you have control but you don’t, you’ve just been made and it’s a very dangerous time for everyone, especially a human boy with hot blood in his veins.”

Paulek lay back as Pavlik started to release the padlocked chains, slowly the pressure was eased on his midsection and chest, finally he was able to sit up and look around the sparse room, he could now see why there had been so many unusual smells, this had been a bakery at some time in the past, the three large clay ovens stood open and unused, Paulek shook himself as Pavlik handed him his old clothes back, now clean of blood and dirt, Paulek struggled into the rough pants and pulled the once bloody smock over his head, the first thing he took note of was the roughness on his now very tender skin.

Pavlik watched and smiled, he knew what the boy was feeling, the new sensitivity he now had would make anything feel rough a coarse, he would soon learn to look for the new fabric that came from across the far seas, it was softer on the skin although very expensive, not that any of the changed ones worried about coins when they needed something.

Paulek looked down at himself, he could not believe he was wearing clothes that were so uncomfortable, he had not noticed it when he was out on the farm but now he hated the feel of them.

Pavlik watched in full understanding.

“Do you want to come outside and say thank you too Hawk, just remember what I said about your conduct.”

“Why are you doing this Pavlik?”

“Because a year ago, I was where you are now but, I had no one but my little Hawk to watch over me, I nearly killed him the first time I woke from the fever, had I not been so weak and he so fast, I would have done that, it took days for me to be forgiven and find a way to still be with him, I finally found out about the Baron and now I work on the Estate for him, I have plenty of time to myself so I get to see my Hawk most nights, I gave him those special chains in case it ever happened again.”

“Where does this Baron live?” Paulek asked as he tightened his rope belt.

“For us, about an hour away, for a human, about one full day’s walk.”

“Can I get too see him?”

“I don’t think that would be a good idea.”

“Why not?”

“If he wanted too see you he would have taken you with him, this way he can tell your brother you are still alive, it is like a silent threat to the boy to do what the Baron wants or he will come back and hurt you, it’s best if you just bide your time and wait for the right moment to see your brother again.”

Paulek shrugged his shoulders as though agreeing but, he had no intention of waiting years to see little Milac again, he would find a way to get him back, change or no change he was his little brother and no one hurt him, besides which he was now all the family he had, he would get Milac back or die trying, Paulek followed Pavlik back into the other room where the boy known as Hawk sat waiting with his eyes closed as though asleep.

Pavlik coughed quietly and Hawks head lifted and he gave the older boy a beautiful smile before running into his open arms to be cuddled closely, it was a tender scene and Paulek almost felt jealous of the two boys, it was then that the strong smell of fresh blood hit his nostrils and he started to look at Hawk in a different light, one glance from Pavlik brought Paulek out of his rising desire to taste the boy.

“I think it’s time for us to go out for a walk, Paulek”

Pavlik released his hold on his boy and led the way to the front door of the old bakery, opening the door he ushered Paulek through into the night, leaving Hawk alone in the house, they both knew that the boy would be in danger outside at this time of night.

Pavlik led Paulek through the town, there were no people about after curfew except for two of the town Marshals and one gate guard, Pavlik led the way with confidence towards the small wooden office of the Marshals at the edge of the central park land, Paulek began to notice things he had not seen or heard before, the blackness of night was not black but a light shade of grey, every nook and cranny showed up its secrets as he looked about, as they moved over the cobbles, he also began to notice that both of them made no sound, not even a whisper, it was as though they were floating on the very air around them.

Next, Paulek realised he could smell every odour for miles around, his nose began to twitch at some of the more odorous of the smells, his hearing was now so attuned to every sound he could hear people snoring in their beds and mice walking over a wooden floor that was hundreds of yards away, slowly Paulek began to realise what he had been given although, in the back of his mind was also the realisation of what had been taken from him, there was no way he would ever forgive or forget the Baron, there would come a time when he would be paid back in full.

The two boys stopped at the door of the Marshal’s office, from inside they heard the scraping of a chair as it was pushed back from a table or desk, while Paulek could not hear any footsteps, he was suddenly looking up into the eyes of a very tall, broad man, this was the Chief Marshal, in the room behind him, Paulek could see another man who was as equally as large.

“Hello Pavlik, who’s the new blood, pretty little thing he is.”

Paulek saw the man open his mouth to smile at him in such a way that brought shivers to his spine, the smile soon turned to a leer as the large Marshal looked over his smaller body with obvious lust, the Marshals eyes turning red and his very long fangs protruding from his mouth, Pavlik stepped in very quickly to ease the sudden tension.

“Evening Sergei, I wouldn’t take the boy yet, have a good smell of his blood.”

The Marshal took Paulek’s arm so fast the boy did not even see him move, the next thing he knew was that the Marshal held his forearm close to his own nose and took a deep sniff, suddenly the Marshals eyes glared out into the darkness with fire in his eyes as he released Paulek’s arm.

“The Baron, that bloody ponce coming down here into our lands to steal boys, I’ll have that bastards head on a plate if I catch him here again, what’s happening up that way, Pavlik, that that old reprobate would come down here?”

“I think he is just bored, Sergei, it seems he is less inclined to hunt his own lands or territory for boys now days, before he would find them in the big cities, but now he doesn’t want to travel that far.”

“He made this boy, why didn’t he take him then?”

“He took his little brother instead.”

“He did; WHAT? He knows we never take all the family, it’s against all our laws, it would have been better to have killed this one than make him, now the old fool has left an enemy behind, serves him right if the boy gets too him in time.”

“Paulek’s no match for the Baron yet, perhaps in time he will get his revenge but not now, can you help him, I have to go back to the estate before I’m missed, I told the Baron I was coming to see my boy for only an hour or so, I have to go and Paulek really needs your help to adjust.”

“Hmm, has he fed yet?”

“Yes, Little Hawk fed him not long ago.”

“Animal or human?”

“His own blood, Paulek should be alright for at least another two weeks with fresh human blood in his veins, he can use animal blood after that, I’m not having him take anymore from Hawk.”

“Alright Pavlik, I’ll take care of the new blood and keep him safe as well as teach him what I can, you get back to that bloody Baron and keep your eyes open.”

“Ok Sergei, and thanks for helping Paulek, he deserves a little luck right now.”

“Go on, get going, better see to your boy friend before you go, by the by, have you let Hawk drink from you?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Well he does seem to be hard to catch by the day Marshals, he’s just that little bit faster than them and seems to disappear with ease when he does not want to be found, only one thing could do that.”

“What?”

“A smidgeon of your blood mixed with his own.”

“Well, last year, not long after the Baron made me, Hawk cut his arm badly and was bleeding very heavily, I did let a few drops of my blood touch the cut to heal it, but he had no fever or any change.”

“It wouldn’t change him, but there would be enough of our blood in only a few drops to infect him enough to make him faster than normal as well as stronger, have you asked him about being made fully?”

“No, but he asked me to change him, I told him I was too young to be able to do it safely and that it was only older drinkers that had the strength to do it, I think he wants too, but I can’t take the chance in killing him during the fever of change.”

“Well, if you like and, he is in full agreement, I will change him for you, I can guarantee he will survive, after all, I’m older than even the Baron, you bring your little Hawk to see me when and if he wants it.”

“Thank you Sergei, I wouldn’t want the bloody Baron near him, I’ll let you know what we decide next time, I have to go, I want to say good bye to him for now.”

Too Paulek’s eyes, Pavlik just seemed to disappear into the very air, he turned and looked up into the eyes of the man mountain before him, the leer of sexual hunger had gone and was now replaced by something softer, something that made Paulek feel a little more confidence in the Marshal.

“So, Paulek, tell me how you came to be a target for the Baron?”

“I don’t know, Marshal.”

“You can call me Sergei, I’m only the Marshal to the townies, this lazy guy here is Lanslo and the guard on the gate is Jorge, we run this town, the Mayor thinks he does, but at night it is ours and has been for a number of centuries, now you are one of us, so, when did it happen?”

“It was about five days ago, my little brother and I came here to find a place of our own, our family was killed and the farm taken away from us by brigands, we thought we could start again, we camped in the park for the night and I was going to find some work to feed us, during the night the Baron must have come and, when I woke in the morning, there was blood everywhere and my brother was missing, then I felt the fever and it all went black after that, I woke up today and Hawk was looking after me, then I met Pavlik tonight, that’s all I know.”

“Ok, look, there’s an easier way for me to find out what happened, can I see you?”

“You’re looking at me now.”

“No, no, when one of us asks to ‘see’ you, it means he wants to look inside your head for your memories, all of us can do it, even you, but we have to ask because we also have a natural wall that makes it impossible for others to look into your mind, if you say yes, then I can gather all your memories and see how best to help you but, it is your choice, don’t do it if you are not sure of someone.”

“Uhm, well ok, but you promise not to hurt me or take any memories away?”

“Of course I wouldn’t, they are yours, but remember that not all of us blood drinkers are as honest as I am, do not let anyone into your mind unless you trust them completely.”

“Well, ok then, I trust you now.”

Paulek watched as the large marshal’s eyes glazed over while he held Paulek’s chin in his large rough hand, it took less than a minute before the Marshal opened his eyes again and looked at Paulek.

“Yes, I see now, for such a young boy you have had to live a hard life, all your family gone and now your only brother taken, ok Paulek, tomorrow night you come back here and we will begin to teach you what you need to know, are you going to stay with little Hawk, if so you should be aware that his hot blood will tempt you but, you have fed and should be ok for a few weeks, you have to resist the temptation of taking more from him though, you don’t need it even though you have just woken, it will take your own honour not to touch him again, any time the temptation rises, you must leave the house, during the day you will sleep so you only have to worry about the night when you are awake, remember, he belongs to another and that other is now your best friend, if you have problems, you come to me quickly, little Hawk is out of bounds for the likes of us.”

“Ok, and thank you for your help, I’ll go now and come back tomorrow night.”

Much to his own surprise, Paulek reached up and hugged the larger man as though he was his father, it was a heart felt and genuine hug, Sergei responded with a hard hug of his own, any other time he would have taken the boy on the table top and ravished him for the rest of the night but, for some unknown reason, this boy seemed different, oh yes, he had seen in the boys mind that he would like nothing better than to have a boy between his legs but, as yet the new blood was not aware of his feelings, it would come in time, Sergei released him and watched as he walked into the darkness, in an hour it would be dawn and he would be asleep in his old house up on the hill above the Mayors house, that silly old fat man had no idea who lived among them.

Paulek made his way quickly back to the old bakery, when he entered, he saw Hawk asleep on his thin narrow bed, Paulek resisted waking him and went back to the rear room where he had spent the last five days and nights in his fever of change, stripping off the uncomfortable clothing, he settled down onto the table and pulled the old blanket over his bare skin, his eyes were already growing heavy as the first rays of the sun rose outside but, Paulek could see no one of this, his bakery room had no windows or doors to the outside, he was safe here from the hot sun and a slow death.

TBC

Artcart65@vodafone.co.nz


 

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