Rent
by Taran Geary

 

Chapter Four: Rescue

Pavel was exhausted. He was cold, he was wet and he was hungry. He came from a mountain village so he was used to the cold – but this was a different cold, a damp cold that seemed to get right in behind his bones and chill him from the inside out; sitting on a damp floor had made his pain flair up. The smell of dustbins and cat piss made him gag and the ammonia from the cats was making his eyes and nose burn. And did it ever stop raining?

If he’d had any tears left he would have cried.

The wet had got up inside his Mac and his clothes were damp; he began to wish he was dead. He started to pray “Oh God please take me. I must be a very bad boy”.

Mick had been very particular about what he had bought and he had fussed about for what, to Shaun, seemed like hours before finally settling on his ingredients. He said it was because he wanted everything to be “Just right.”

They didn’t say much on their way back to Sam’s (Neither of them called it home yet); both were deep in thought following Shaun’s outburst. Mick knew that Shaun was right; neither of them wanted to go back on the streets and this might just be their escape route-If they played their cards right. But then he’d already played the sex card to no avail; so what next?

“I need a piss”, Shaun announced; and he ducked into an alley between two shops. Mick followed and Shaun winced at the sting from his infection.

Mick went further into the yard that lay behind the shops and was merrily spraying one of the big plastic skips that stood there, he delighted in the sound it made.

Pavel jerked his head up; someone had come into the yard! He heard voices, men’s voices. He tried to make himself even smaller in his corner. Then one of them started pissing against his dustbin! Some of the urine splashed off the bin and on to Pavel. He couldn’t help himself, he let out a groan.

“What was that?” Mick asked.

“What was what,” Shaun was concentrating on controlling his flow to minimise the burn.

“I heard something; I think there’s something behind this bin.”

“Just a rat.”

“No. it’s something else.”

Mick started pulling the big bin away so that he could get behind it.

Pavel screwed himself up tighter into a ball-he knew what was coming: A beating and then back to those men.

“It’s a kid!” Mick exclaimed.

Pavel felt a hand grab his arm and start pulling him up. The man was talking to him but it didn’t sound nasty. He felt his hat being pushed back from his face and he allowed himself to be dragged to his feet; he wanted to pass out and he had about reached the end of all hope but then he heard a surprised shout.

“Fucking hell! Pavel?”

Pavel perked up at the sound of his name, he dared to look up and in the dim light he vaguely recognised the face.

“Mick”, the man said jabbing himself in the chest with his finger. He pointed away to where an astonished Shaun was watching events open mouthed “Shaun,” Mick said pointing at his friend.

Realisation started to dawn in Pavel’s exhausted mind and he jumped at Mick and put his arms around him and hugged him tight. He found tears from somewhere and they flowed. Mick put his arms around the smaller boy and patted his back.

“Oh fuck,” Mick said. “What are we going to do now?”

“Take him back to Sam’s; we’ve got no other choice.”

“I’m sure he’ll like that. He’ll probably kick us all out.” Mick replied darkly.

“Well, let’s see, shall we? If he’s the kind man he seems to be, he wouldn’t expect us to leave this poor little fucker out here, would he? It’ll be a test for him.”

Mick managed to untangle himself from Pavel’s grasp and the two older boys picked up the shopping and started to walk back to Sam’s they indicated that Pavel should follow them which he did eagerly.

As they walked the short distance back to Sam’s both the older boys felt a small hand working it’s way into theirs and Shaun gave Pavel’s hand a gentle squeeze and he felt his eyes start to water.

They approached the shop and they made for the side door which led to Sam’s flat, Pavel stopped dead, shaking his head and refusing to go any closer. Both boys tried to urge him on but Pavel was steadfast.

“He thinks we’re taking him round the back.” Shaun said; and he let go of Pavel’s hand and walked to the door and opened it. He indicated that they should go through and after some thought Pavel moved forward he followed Shaun up the stairs and into the flat.

“Hi Sam, we’re back!” Shaun called.

“Ok, lads,” Sam replied.

Sam was watching tv when Shaun came in and sat beside him.

“I’ve got something to tell you,” he said. “We got something else besides the food.”

A look of alarm crossed Sam’s face. “Not drugs. Please tell me it’s not drugs”

“No, it’s not drugs.”

“Well what, then?” Sam was getting very nervous.

The door opened and Mick walked in with Pavel. Sam’s mouth dropped open as he took in the image of a small person in a huge Mac with a trilby hat pulled tightly down over his ears and eyes. Mick went to lift the hat off but Pavel pulled it back down tight again.

“This is Pavel,” Mick said. “He doesn’t speak English and he’s escaped from Roger.”

“Poor little sod,” Sam said. “But he can’t stop here.”

“Why not, you let us stay?”

“Yes, but you’re older. A gay man and two teenage ex rent boys living with a boy his age? Social Services would pillory me.”

“Where’s he going to go? If we left him out there, he’ll either be dead or worse, back with Roger.”

Sam went quiet and Shaun smiled as he saw Sam’s face going through contortions similar to when he was deciding whether to let Himself and Mick stay. He appeared to come to a decision.

“Mick,” he said. “Have you got enough food for four?”

The two older boys high fived and went to Sam and gave him a hug. Pavel, not to be left out, joined in.

 

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