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Soulbound ‡ waif

by Wes Leigh

Chapter 12

Denn die Todten reiten Schnell. (For the dead travel fast.)

-- From Dracula by Bram Stoker

Zavy popped into a dim corner of McCoy's stables, startling the horses in the back stalls. He dashed down the main aisle between the stalls, frantically searching, finding no one. Then he ran to the ladder leading up to the loft. "Jack? Reggie?" he called as he climbed the ladder. The loft was empty.

Zavy panted, trying to catch his breath and slow his panicked heartbeat. Where could they be?

He had searched along the river, in the park at Tower Wharf, and all around London Hospital. They hadn't been in any of the usual spots where the three of them usually mucked about in their spare time.

The Gray Fox? He paused for a moment, focusing on the alley behind the tavern, and disappeared, causing straw to drift down through the cracks in the loft flooring and the horses to dance in fear in the stalls below the loft.

"Have you seen my brothers?" Zavy asked Martha, who was carrying plates of mutton cutlets to a table in the far corner of the main dining room.

The harried woman shook her head. "No, love. But I've been so busy this morning me arse hasn't caught up with me head yet." She set the plates of mutton on the table in front of the dock workers and asked, "Another pitcher of the dark?" The men nodded their heads for more stout as they began cutting into the mutton.

Zavy grabbed her arm. "Please, Martha. I've been looking all morning. They're both missin', and I can't think where else they might be."

"I haven't seen 'em, dear one. They haven't been in here, not that I know." Martha picked up the empty pitcher and slipped around Zavy. "Did ya' check t'other room? Ya' know how they love watching the men play darts."

Zavy shook his head and ran through the crowded dining room, headed for the back hall.

Martha stopped at a small table. "I'll be right with you, dear. I'm terrible sorry I've been taking so long. It's been a busy day, as you can see."

Abram Schreiber removed his eyeshades and smiled at the sweating woman. "I'm in no hurry, dear woman. Take your time."

Martha curtsied her thanks and rushed off with the empty pitcher in her hand.

Abram stood up and followed Zavy into the other room, where the youth was asking the men there if they'd seen his mates. Receiving nothing but head shakes, Zavy rushed out the back door.

Abram trailed behind.

Zavy looked up and down the alley, then paused for a moment and disappeared.

Abram watched from the open tavern door, waiting for a second before going back inside the tavern and returning to his seat.

Martha swept up with a tattered menu and dropped it on the table in front of Abram. "What can I get ya' to drink?"

"A pint of your best bitter, if you would," Abram replied.

"Coming right up."

"Oh," Abram added, "and that lad you were just talking with. I believe his name is Jack, isn't it? He works down at McCoy's stables, doesn't he?"

Martha shook her head slightly. "No, sir. You're thinking of his little brother. He's Jack. That one is Zavy. Zavy Gibbs."

Abram nodded his head. "Ah, yes. That's right. I remember now. Zavy Gibbs."

"Yes," Martha said with a grin. "Jack's the short blonde one. Zavy and Reggie are both dark haired lads. They're not really brothers. Cousins actually. But they all live together in Crawley's place just down on the corner. Jack's not related, but they love 'im just the same."

"Yes. I can see that." Abram pulled out his notebook and jotted down names while Martha scurried off to get Abram his drink, completely unaware of the mistake she'd just made.

"JACK!" Zavy shouted, seeing the shorter youth walking down the street headed for their apartment.

Jack turned around and saw Zavy. His face lit up in a huge smile and he waved.

Zavy ran up and grabbed Jack by the arms, shaking him slightly. "Where've you been all morning? I've been searching everywhere!" Zavy was furious, and his questions were sharp with barely controlled anger.

Jack's smile disappeared. "I was taking care of something, Zavy."

Zavy shook Jack hard. "Taking care of what? Jack, no more secrets! I'm bloody well fed up with that, and I wanna know where you've been!"

"He's been with me."

Zavy turned around and saw Reggie coming up the street. Reggie was frowning, unsure what was going on between Zavy and Jack. "Jack's been with me all morning," Reggie repeated.

Zavy blinked and asked, "You were in on it too, Reggie?"

Reggie nodded. "Of course, I was. I wasn't about to let Jack do it on his own."

Zavy looked like he was going to be sick. He released Jack and bent over, clutching his stomach.

Reggie and Jack looked at each other, concerned and confused.

"What the hell is going on, Zavy?" Reggie asked.

Zavy stood back up and asked, tears falling down his cheeks, "Why are you lads doing this?"

Jack pulled a long box from inside his coat. He handed the box to Zavy. " 'cause we love you. Happy birthday, Zavy."

Zavy took the box and opened it. Inside he found a beautifully polished metal piccolo. He lifted it out, tears pouring down his cheeks.

"I don't WANT THIS!" he shouted, his eyes glowing red, bending the instrument in his hands and throwing the crumpled piccolo to the ground. "I want my brothers back. Not murderers. Not thieves."

Jack stared in shock at the bent piccolo, unable to speak.

Reggie turned red and shoved Zavy hard. "What the bloody hell are you going on about, Zavy? Why'd you do that?"

Zavy shoved Reggie back, throwing his cousin into a wall with a hard crunch. "I'm trying to help Jack stop, and now I find out you're doing it too? And the two of you think you can steal a birthday present for me and that makes up for everything!"

Reggie pushed off the wall and got into Zavy's face. His voice was low and menacing. "You'd best stop shouting and start explaining just what fuck you're going on about, cousin. And I ain't gonna ask you twice."

Zavy snarled, "You tell me, Reg. You tell me why you and Jack are off killing more women."

Reggie shook his head in confusion. "What?"

Zavy looked at Jack. "I thought you were going to stop, Jack. You said you were. You said you wouldn't do it again."

Jack nodded. "I haven't, Zavy. I swear."

"Then why were the constables knocking on every door this morning?" Zavy asked. "Why were they asking if anyone knew anything about another woman getting killed over in Castle Alley?"

"I don't know, Zavy, but Reggie and I didn't have nothing to do with it."

Zavy swallowed hard. "You didn't?"


Reggie put his hand on Zavy's shoulder. "We was looking for a birthday present for you, Zavy. We spent hours looking for a new cap, a new coat, maybe some new shoes. Then Jacko remembered the piccolo."

Jack picked up the crumpled musical instrument. "We didn't steal it, Zavy. Honest we didn't. We paid good coin for it."

Zavy gasped and fell to his knees on the sidewalk, weeping. Shaking his head from side to side, Zavy mumbled. "I was so worried when I couldn't find you both. Worried Jack was off getting in trouble again. Worried you were trying to find him, Reggie." Zavy looked up, tears rolling down his cheeks, and whispered, "I'm sorry, me lads. So sorry."

The both fell to their knees and took Zavy in their arms, hugging him tight and reassuring him.

Zavy sniffed and cursed. "I'm a fucking idiot. Thinking you boys were somehow involved in the woman's murder. Searching all over the bloody town for you. And then … crumpling up the present you lads bought me. I'm so sorry."

Reggie squeezed Zavy hard. "Forget it, mate. And forget the piccolo. They have another one just like it at the mercantile. But I'm out of coin, so I'll have to nip that one for ya'."

Zavy laughed bitterly. "Nah, Reg. Don't do that. Me old wooden one will do just fine. Besides, having me brothers safe is all the present I want."

Alice McKenzie had been gruesomely murdered, and yet it wasn't quite the same. Inspector Spratling studied the body carefully. Her throat had been cut, but not ripped open, so that was one key difference. He knelt down and checked the body. No cuts. No torn limbs. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but this murder felt different from the others.

He sighed. Just what he didn't want. A copycat killer, mimicking the other murders. The gossip about town had been bad enough. This would make it worse. Everyone had been talking about Jack the Ripper, and no doubt some lunatic had heard about the slain women and decided to join in the fun, turning Whitechapel into the birthplace of a gruesome legend.

Some days he hated his job.

Mum roasted a goose for supper that night. For dessert, she'd baked a plum pudding. "Happy birthday, Zavy, me love."

After the meal, the other children wished Zavy a happy day as well, hugging him and kissing his cheeks.

Reggie and Jack were the last to give him birthday kisses.

Reggie wrapped Zavy in his arms and lifted him into the air sixteen times. Then he lifted Zavy three more times, saying, "One for luck. Two for luck. And one more for the old man's coconut!"

The younger children laughed and danced around them, swatting at Zavy's rear.

Jack pulled Zavy away from Reggie and wrapped Zavy up in a tight hug. Leaning in, Jack whispered, "Do vampires get birthdays? They ain't supposed to grow old, so maybe you're still only fifteen. I'm thinking I won't give you any birthday bumps, Thomas Xavier Gibbs. Instead, I'll give you something special when we're all in bed tonight."

Zavy pulled away and studied Jack's face, but the younger lad wasn't giving away his plans. Zavy smiled. Whatever Jack had in mind, he was up for it. In fact, his cock was beginning to swell in his pants just from having Jack holding him tight.

"Plum pudding for everyone," Mum called.

The little ones cheered.

Mum began spooning pudding out into bowls. "I would've made a cake, Zavy, but this old stove is dratted unreliable."

Zavy took the bowl of pudding she offered him. "This is wonderful, Mum. The best birthday I've ever had."

Reggie picked up several blankets and walked to a far corner of the room, making a bed for himself there. Zavy watched him, confused at first, then realized that his cousin was giving the two of them what little privacy they could find for that night.

Jack stood in front of Zavy, running his fingers along Zavy's jaw, stroking Zavy's earlobe with one finger, moving back to Zavy's lips and rubbing with his thumb. Standing on the tips of his toes, Jack touched Zavy's lips with his own. Soft and warm, their lips pressed together. Jack's breath washed over Zavy's face, gentle, caressing.

Jack's hands slid down Zavy's naked sides. His fingers danced along Zavy's ribs, rubbed his stomach, moved slowly upward to lightly pinch his nipples. Jack's arms slid around Zavy to pull them into a gentle hug, then his hands stroked up and down Zavy's back, caressing the silky skin.

Their hips pressed together, hard lumps pushing against each other, demanding they move faster.

Jack slid his hands down Zavy's back, slipping them inside the underpants to grip Zavy's butt cheeks and squeeze, pulling Zavy into him, forcing their swollen cocks to rub together with only the fabric of their underpants separating them.

Jack reached up, grabbing the waist of Zavy's pants and tugging them down. The light cotton pants caught on his cock, pulling it down with them, then freeing it at last. Jack sucked in his breath, grabbed Zavy's cock in his hand and stroked it quickly a few times.

Zavy moaned softly and leaned in to kiss Jack, passionately now, sliding his tongue inside Jack's mouth and searching for Jack's tongue.

Jack touched his tongue to Zavy's, wriggling, teasing, pleading.

Zavy slid one hand inside Jack's underpants and held his cock firmly while Zavy yanked the underpants down out of the way with the other hand. He began stroking Jack, pulling the lad's foreskin up and over the end of his hard cock with each pass.

Jack gripped Zavy's hand with own, stopping him. When Zavy began to ask why, Jack pressed a finger across Zavy's lips, then gently pushed Zavy back slightly. Jack sank to his knees and took Zavy into his mouth, sliding down, licking, sliding farther, gulping, swallowing convulsively, taking the last inch of Zavy's cock into his throat, pulling off a bit and pushing back down, swallowing more, then pulling completely off, sucking on the tip as he came away.

With a slight pop, Jack pulled off Zavy's cock and motioned for Zavy to lie on his back on their sleeping pallet.

Zavy complied, wondering what Jack was planning.

With Zavy stretched out, his hard cock pointing at his chin, throbbing, Jack straddled him and sat down on Zavy's stomach. Zavy grinned and took Jack's thick cock in his hand, stroking it slowly as Jack reached behind him and positioned Zavy's cock at the entrance to his ass. Pushing back slightly, Jack grunted and felt the tip of Zavy's cock slide inside. Jack pushed back more, sliding Zavy deep inside, gripping him, enveloping him in warm, silky flesh.

Squeezing down, Jack slowly slid up until only the tip of Zavy's cock was still inside, then pushed slowly down until his butt was pressed against the wiry hair on Zavy's belly. Jack grinned and softly whispered, "One."

Ever so gradually he pulled off, then achingly slow he pushed back down. "Two."

Zavy grinned as he realized what Jack was doing.


And as if the Fates willed it, Zavy exploded, filling Jack's bowels with his seed as Jack whispered, "One more for the old man's coconut."

Mum surprised them all with a breakfast of kippers and Easterhedge pudding. As they gobbled down the delicious food, Mum asked what their plans were for the day.

"Well, it being Sunday, there won't be any work at the stables," Zavy replied.

"Nah," Reggie added, "Old Man McCoy won't let us work on Sunday. Says even the horses get the day off. He never misses church on a Sunday morning."

Mum nodded. "Might do the lot of us some good to join him." She gave the boys a serious frown, then grinned and laughed. "But the church might collapse if this bunch passed through the door."

Zavy nodded. "Might be right about that, Mum."

Jack leaned over and whispered to Reggie, "More like we'd burst into flames."

Reggie snorted. "Bloody right, we would. Three horny vampire boys walking into a church?"

Jack sniggered. "The priests don't burn up when they walk inside. We'll probably be safe."

Zavy heard their whispers and tried to kick Jack under the table. Jack gave Zavy a smirk, then snaked his leg over to caress Zavy's.

Zavy smiled and reached down to rub Jack's knee. After the incredible night they'd had, he couldn't stay mad at his impish lover.

"You boys go find some mischief while I clean up," Mum said, standing and gathering dirty plates. "Just not too much mischief." She tilted her head and winked.

"Thanks, Mum," Reggie said, standing up and kissing her on the cheek.

The day was overcast and a cool wind was blowing, so the boys put on warm woolen shirts and their new overcoats, then shoved their twill caps on their heads.

Out in the hall, they stepped over folks resting here and there and made their way down to the stairs at the front entrance. It wasn't bright out, so they didn't need the eyeshades, but Jack insisted on wearing his. "It makes me look proper toff, don't you think?"

Reggie laughed. "Makes you look proper daft."

"I don't care. I like wearing 'em," Jack replied.

Zavy stopped suddenly, causing Reggie and Jack to collide with his back.

"Oy, mate. Why'd you stop?" Reggie complained.

Standing before them next to a black carriage were two people, both dressed in black clothing. A bearded man with a stern face. Next to him, a tall woman, toying with a strand of pearls around her neck.

She turned to the man and asked, "Is this the one, Abram?"

He nodded his head. "Yes, m'lady."

She looked at Zavy and said, "Zavy Gibbs, I presume. I would like a brief word with you, young man."

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