Behind the Magic
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Will watched as Starr walked down the corridor in front of him. His eyes were glued to the ample firm boy butt in front of him. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't tear his eyes from the glorious globes just feet in front of him. Will's internal struggle to reject the feelings was rapidly becoming a losing battle. To make matters worse, his body was starting to react in ways that threatened to bring a protruded embarrassment. He tried to will it away, but the blood flowed freely and filled his boyhood to obscene proportions.
"Is this it?" Starr asked stopping in front of a door. Will blushed furiously as Starr glanced down at huge bulge in Will's pants. Starr smiled knowingly. "So, Will, is this Tom's flat?" Will looked up and saw the smirk on Starr's face. He blushed even more and nodded. "Perhaps it would be best if he saw you first. He doesn't even know me." Will nodded in agreement and knocked on the door. With his back to Starr, Will quickly rearranged things to appear a little less conspicuous and knocked on the door again. The boys heard some movement inside and then the door tentatively opened a bit.
The sight that beheld their eyes caused them both to almost openly gasp. The tosseled hair, the dark circles under the red, puffy eyes, the wrinkled tee shirt and pajama bottoms told much more of a story than their wearer wanted told.
"Yeah," Tom said softly, blinking into the harsh light of the hallway. Will's thoughts of Starr vanished in a second.
"T-Tom, are you all right?" Will stammered.
"Will?" Tom whispered. "Will!" Tom flew the door open and wrapped his arms around his friend. "Oh God, Will!" Tom pulled Will even tighter as fresh tears rolled down his cheeks. "What have I done? What have I done?" he whispered into Will's ear.
"Everything will be fine, mate. Come on. I've got someone for you to meet." For the first time, Tom looked in Starr's direction. Through the blurriness of his tears he could make out a quite handsome young man patiently waiting in the corridor. Tom relaxed his hug and stepped back. He quickly wiped his tears. The embarrassed blush was hidden beneath his already red cheeks.
"Hi, Tom," Starr said gently. "I'm Starr." Tom tentatively reached his hand to shake the offered one. "Glad to meet you." Tom nodded.
"Come on then, let's get inside," smiled Will. The boys made their way through the door. Starr was stunned. The flat was a proper mess. Clothes were strewn everywhere. Empty carry out boxes littered the tables. The drapes were drawn shut tight and the air smelled of someone that hadn't bathed in a few days.
Tom collapsed on the couch and drew a blanket up around him. The television blinked the only light into the room.
"Tom, what the hell is going on here?" stammered Will who immediately pulled the drapes open.
"Aaargh! Don't do that!" Tom wailed weakly.
"You stink. Take a bath, now!" The directive from Will left no room for negotiation. Tom reluctantly stumbled down the hallway toward the shower. Will started picking up clothes. Starr joined in and gathered the trash. After the dishwasher was loaded to its max, the cycle was started and the two boys went back to the living room. Tom emerged from the hall dripping wet with only a towel wrapped around him.
"Could you check the dryer for me please? I haven't a thing to wear." Will rolled his eyes and headed for the laundry room. He came back a moment later with a pair of wrinkled jeans, a wrinkled tee shirt and a wadded up pair of boxers.
"Here, now get dressed," he said as he handed the clothes to Tom. "And be quick about it. We need to talk."
"There's nothing to talk about," mumbled Tom as he walked back down the hall.
Allaoua stumbled back against the bunk and looked wide-eyed at the at the twisted metal that a moment before had been the door. He was too shocked to move. Even as the sound of footsteps approaching grew louder, he still could not move. His body was on hold. Even as his brain concluded that now was the time to run, his legs wouldn't cooperate. The cold steel frame of the bunk went unnoticed as the white knuckles of his hand gripped it tightly. His eyes were transfixed on the destruction before him. A man suddenly appeared at the door.
"What the hell?" the man stammered. He turned to look at the frail fourteen year old boy. "Who did this?" he demanded. Allaoua's face was alabaster white. His heart beat with the rhythm of a four cylinder engine at maximum rpm's. The man moved into the cabin and reached out his hand to grab Allaoua. Reflexes he didn't even know he had kicked in and the boy jerked back on to the protectiveness of the bunk.
"Stay away," he said.
"You little shit! I'll show you the meaning of stay away!" the man leered. The gnarled hand swung through the air with a foreboding swoosh. A split second later Allaoua slammed into the steel wall as pain shot through his face. Fear consumed the boy, but underneath the fear another emotion was beginning to make itself known. Anger. It slowly started to simmer and then turned into a full fledged boil. He looked up at the man and his eyes narrowed.
"NO!" Allaoua shouted. As the words left his lips the man flew threw the air and slammed hard into the bulkhead. The boy watched as the huge man slumped to the floor unconscious. Now it was time to move. He scurried out of the cabin and headed for the deck. Shouts of men behind him spurned him on. He raced up the last steps, threw the metal door back resulting in a loud clang and ran on to the deck of the ship. The lights of the harbor were no where to be seen. Allaoua panicked. The ship has set sail. He quickly ran toward the stern. There! There on the horizon were the lights! The lights of home! The lights of safety. Without a second thought, he jumped over the steel railing into the blackness of the night and the churning water some forty feet below.
The boy's lithe body cut through the surface of the cool waters of El Djazair Bay with ease. Even though the plunge had been from nearly forty feet, the youth had no problem. The strong swirling currents produced by the giant propellers of the cargo ship were a totally different thing. He felt himself first being pushed and then pulled. At first it was up and then it was down and then back up again. In the constant changing currents he lost track of which direction the surface was. The seconds clicked by rapidly and his lungs began to burn with their need of air. Allaoua's strength was dwindling. A warm blackness was slowly surrounding his mind as the currents slowly subsided. He thought of his father and the fun times they had had in these very waters. The memory of the laughter they shared in the glorious sunshine brought a sense of comfort to the fourteen year old as he drifted in the land between consciousness and the blackness of death. His father was his best friend and he loved him deeply. He wished he was being held in those strong arms, that the bad men would go away and he would once again be safe. He thought of his bed and the softness of the silk sheets. He longed to be there again … caressed and protected by the silky smoothness.
Tom emerged from the hallway wearing the wrinkled clothes. His kept his head down, looking at the carpet as he slowly made his way back toward the couch. Starr and Will watched as Tom sat down.
"Where's my blanket?" Tom mumbled.
"It's in the wash, along with all the other clothes that were strewn about," Will said hotly. "I can't believe you, Tom!"
"I-I was in love," Tom said softly. Then taking a deep breath, he continued. "Oh hell, I am in love but, but … he's a vampire! He kills people by drinking their blood! I-I just can't deal with that."
"Tom, not everything is as it seems," Starr said softly. "To be a bit cliché, you're judging the book by its cover."
"Sorry, ah …"
"That's right. Look, Starr, I haven't read anything about vampires that was good. You see red eyes and huge fangs. Then you feel the pain as those fangs rip into your neck and then you're dead. Open and shut. The end. Goodbye life," said Tom sullenly.
"Look mate, it's not like that. It's fiction. It's fantasy. It's someone's imagination."
"Imagination or not, I just can't clear my mind of the picture of Daniel and his fangs as he's about to take my life."
"Where'd that thought come from?" asked Will.
"I had a dream. We were making love and I cut my finger on the headboard. Next thing I know, I'm looking at two razor sharp fangs. Sorry, but I just can't forget it. I love Daniel with all my heart, but I want to live too."
"What you've described is called a blood thirst. That only happens when a vampire goes without blood for too long. As long as he feeds regularly, that will never happen," explained Starr.
"Feeds? Feeds!?! You mean bites innocent people and kills them so he can survive! There's no way I can be a part of that. No way."
"It's NOT like that!" Starr said forcefully, his frustration growing. Tom jumped up from the couch.
"It IS like that! And who the hell are you to tell me differently? This is bullshit. I want you out of my home! Get out, NOW!" Tom whirled around and ran down the hall.
"That went well," mused Will. Starr was in no mood for humor. He glared at Will.
"I'll be back. Don't go anywhere. When this conversation is over, we're having a little talk … straight boy!" Starr didn't wait for a response and headed down the hall after Tom. Will sat in his chair, mouth agape, wondering what that comment was all about.
Sarduri silently entered the room and gently cleared his throat. Ceenta and Don looked up and waited. Sarduri nodded at his masters.
"It is with great sorrow that I must inform you of some news that has reached us concerning some activity that is quite possibly attached to Malin," he said clearly. Ceenta looked at Don. The look of worry crossed both their faces at the same time. "It seems that a young boy was kidnapped. His father is an OPEC Oil Minister. No demands for ransom have been received. The boy was last seen going to bed. His father went to check on him before retiring and found his son's room to be in disarray. Further evidence indicates the boy was forcefully taken. Even though the police in Algiers are quite inept, they did manage to find witnesses that saw a old beat up car parked just outside the minister's compound." Sarduri sighed deeply and then continued. "And I've also received word from one of the law enforcement officers that the governors are quite upset over your indignance concerning the recent attack and your friendship with Daniel Radcliffe. He is, after all, quite popular in our world. Rumors are spreading that you've changed him into a vampire. That isn't sitting very well with the ministers." Ceenta abruptly stood up and glared at Sarduri. "Forgive me, master, but I am only the messenger." Ceenta seethed for a moment then relaxed slightly and nodded at Sarduri.
"I know old friend. The news of the ministers was the straw on the proverbial camel's back. It was the news of this boy being kidnapped that really got me going."
"Protecting youth has always been a priority with you, sir," Sarduri said with a bow.
"And that bastard Malin is pushing all your buttons, babe," Don said as he stood next to his love and wrapped his arm around his waist. "He's using them to get to you."
"Well, he got to me," Ceenta said defiantly. "Now it's time to get to him." Ceenta whirled around and took Don into his arms. "We've got a few scores to settle. Malin has gone unchecked for too long. It's time for action. Swift and unmerciful action." Ceenta turned to Sarduri. "Find out all you can about this boy that was taken. I want all the details. We need to get him out of harm's way as soon as possible. Then send a message to the governors. Tell them to keep their noses where they belong, in the pig trough. As for Malin …" Ceenta paused and thought carefully. "after seeing what he did to his own son and then to hear he's kidnapping kids, well, he's gotten out on hand. We're gonna need some help with Malin. Sarduri, put out the word. Be discrete and keep it within our close circle, but let everyone know what he's been up to and that he must be stopped … and if it should come to it … stopped permanently." Sarduri bowed and left the room.
As his head broke the surface of the water and fresh air rushed into his lungs, Allaoua counted his blessings, but his troubles were far from over. He watched as the huge freighter slowly shrank in size until it disappeared altogether. The lights of the harbor seemed even further away than they did from the deck of the ship. The fourteen year old quickly stripped down to his boxers and started to slowly swim toward the lights. He would have to conserve his energy to make the long swim. Moving slowly but surely through the dark waters, his thoughts turned to the unexplained things that had happened. He had been taken against his will. Why? What did those evil men want with him? And then the door to his room simply exploded off its hinges. What caused that? He remembered being really mad, more mad than he had ever been. That's when the door flew off its hinges.
The carefree days of romping in the sunshine, never being afraid, always being loved and protected and being … innocent … were gone. For the first time in his fourteen years, Allaoua found himself alone. He couldn't depend on anyone else right now. If he was to make it to shore … to safety … to life … there was only one person he could depend on … himself. A renewed determination drove him on. It consumed him, comforted him and gave him the strength to keep moving … keep moving toward safety. The days he spent in the family pool were paying off as his sleek frame moved like a well oiled machine, propelling him through the water. After what seemed to be at least an hour, he paused and looked up toward the lights of the harbor. Anguish consumed him. The lights seemed just as far away as they were when he first started swimming. Several emotions passed through him in quick succession … hopelessness, depression, loneliness, fear … and then … anger. Allaoua got mad. He got mad at the men who took him. He got mad that he couldn't swim any faster. He got mad that he wasn't asleep in his bed. His anger turned to rage. He closed his eyes slammed his fist down on the water.
"Home! That's where I want to be!" he screamed out into the night. In the blink of an eye, he no longer felt the cool waters of El Djazair Bay. Instead, he felt the smooth silk of the sheets on his bed. Delirious with desperation … he slammed his fist back down, but this time it hit a mattress and not the water of the bay. Allaoua quickly opened his eyes. He sat up straight and looked out into his bedroom! The feel of the cool breeze coming through the window and caressing his wet skin was the boy's last thought before he fell back on his bed. This was too much for him to comprehend.
On the Chapter Thirteen
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