Blessed Be the Merciful

by Rafael Henry

Chapter 1

'Can I talk to you please?'

A pause while I look up from what I'm doing, and then…….

'Yes of course Peter. Here, or somewhere else?'

'Can we go for a walk somewhere?'

'Ok. Give me a moment to clear this up. Where were you thinking of?'


'Oh. Is it a sort of…… personal thing you want to talk about?'

'Kind of.'

'Right. Is it about someone in particular?'


'Someone I know?'

'Not really. It's about my friend.'

'Ok. What's his name?'

Jamie has been aware of Peter's existence since he first appeared in this place a bit less than two years ago. When I say aware, that's a slight understatement if I'm honest, and in this account of events, I'm going to be honest, even brutally so. When we reach around thirteen or fourteen, most of us start thinking about girls, but a few of us continue a train of thought that has the boys as its focus rather than the girls. Peter stood out from the crowd, and that wasn't just my opinion but that of a close-knit group of fourteen-year-olds I count as friends here. But with a strict moral code in force which doesn't approve of unhealthy friendships between the boys, contact between a Fourth Former and a Lower Fifth boy would be regarded as highly irregular. So, if a conversation takes place for whatever reason between a younger and a noticeably older boy, it needs to be conducted in a public place and be concerned with some item of everyday trivia. Anything like……'How did you acquire that tan Peter?' or, 'If you're at a loose end anytime Peter, we could have a wander out onto the School Field.' Or, 'Those short trousers really suit you Peter.' No, what an older boy says to a younger one has to be carefully considered, if problems and unenviable reputations are to be avoided. Make no mistake about it.

Thus we all, well about half a dozen of us who have 'come out' to each other, trundle along admiring our fellow beings from a safe distance. Sometimes that distance can be minimal. If you're lucky your morning shower time might coincide with a boy like Peter's shower time, and you may be treated to the grand sight of his naked body leaving or entering the showers, or if you are even luckier, you might catch a glimpse of the common sight of an erect penis that was excited ten minutes earlier and then unceremoniously rousted out of bed and has yet to subside. Yes I have seen it. It was about six weeks into his first term here. I was just leaving the room when his group appeared, hung up their dressing gowns and towels, and walked past me on their way to the showers. As bold as brass it marched, straight as a die, as hard as a nail, circumcised, long and slim, and very very beautiful. The rest of him is just as pretty, what with his flaxen hair all over the place, green eyes that would encourage the straightest youth into an act of gross indecency, slender arms with a pair of fine hands at the ends, long fingers, and coltish legs that left a gap where they met at the top. Turned around, he was just as perfect, standing beautifully upright with the poise of a ballet dancer, buttocks firm and sculpted like something Michelangelo created. So that's the body. Intellectually, according to some reports, he fell a little short, not that that was of any concern to me.

I managed to hide my admiration for Peter, longing even, pretty well. I heard no obvious and crass comments like…..'Jamie fancies that Peter Thompson boy', or……'I heard that Peter Thompson's let Jamie into his pants last night'. We might have exchanged the odd word from time to time in the Games Room……..'Are you next on the table tennis table Peter?', or something like that. Our eyes met frequently, but I was always careful not to linger too long looking deeply into his eyes and saying with mine……..'I love you more than I can possibly tell you Peter.'

But you learn to live with these things, knowing that it can never be. I tried very hard not to use him as stimulation material in bed, but often failed miserably, especially after seeing the young man's hunting horn that morning. At the time it blew me away, rendering me completely senseless for the rest of the day……and night. I kept a watchful eye on who his friends were, always fearful that some older lad might win his affections, but as far as I could tell, no one did, or has. In my group of the likeminded, Peter would get a mention from time to time, which was another way of keeping tabs on the light of my life. As I've mentioned, Peter is no brain box, but he is not without talents. Like me, much to my pure joy, he's interested in the Arts and like me, he's puzzled by the sciences. A friend, older than me, takes some evening prep sessions. He tells me Peter often stays behind after the others have left the room [suspicious in itself] to ask him for help with his science and mathematics homework. Peter's interest in the Arts is primarily in drawing, as is mine. Peter has known for a while now that I frequent the Art Room in the Creative Arts Centre after hours, pursuing the art of painting and modelling in clay. It's the only thing I really want to do if I'm honest, but I'm realistic enough the know that I have to be reasonably competent in other disciplines if I'm going to get anywhere in life. That's the reality. I think Peter sees me as a sort of kindred spirit and we have had rather unfocussed conversations about art in general when he has wandered in to see what anyone might be doing of interest. I have always resisted the severe temptation to delve deeper into his mind to forge a friendship, but as I've explained earlier, that course of action spells trouble for me, and in the end, for the adorable Peter too.

Peter had made a good friend, a nice boy called Spencer. This friendship became well known by the middle of his first year here, very often seen in each other's company. Sometimes those kind of strong friendships become sexual liaisons. Sometimes their friendships begin that way. They sleep in the same room, their beds are next to each other's, and they instigate a mutual coming-togetherness, as many of us have done at some point or other. Our view is that the authorities accept that as inevitable, and not a crime, and just something that happens which they can't really prevent. I have never had any suspicions that Peter and Spencer do anything like that. They have always slept in different rooms, and have never according to my spies, been seen in dark corners together or fiddling with one another in the changing rooms. Spencer, in his way, is also an attractive boy, especially if your preference if for the Mediterranean type. He and Peter are visual opposites, and in other ways too. Spencer is all maths and science, and not the least bit gamesy. Peter makes the House athletics team, and the school swimming team. No prizes for guessing what he looks like at the annual swimming sports with his navy blue swimming knickers stretched tightly across his buttocks, and disappearing into that endearing gap between, exciting some faintly audible comment from my friend sitting next to me. 'That Peter Thompson can't possibly be a virgin looking like that. Somebody must have had him surely?'

'Don't be disgusting Simon.' I answered.

I was genuinely outraged at Adrian's lascivious comment. The thought of my paragon of boy's beauty could ever lower himself to such physical degradation with a mere boy was totally abhorrent to me, unless of course I was the one doing the love-making. That would be quite a different kettle of mackerel. No, as my lover reaches the heights of orgasmic joy with one hand, and tearing into the flesh of my back with the other as I relentlessly plunge my slender pubescent sex between his closed thighs filling them with my warm, milky and earthly seed, we are one in heavenly passion. That would be quite a different thing, holy, and high in the spiritual firmament.

But meanwhile, back on earth, Peter has touched me, not only with his supplication to confide in me, but physically. I'm building, or trying to, a clay model of a standing figure. I have one piece of reference material……..a photograph of a boy standing at the edge of the school outdoor swimming pool about to assume the diving position to start a race. He's looking straight ahead with his arms to his sides waiting for the command to be barked out by the race starter, 'Take your marks……'

At the time I thought that the line of boys looked so perfect, their faces full of concentration, their heads full of the expectations of the rows of boys lining the sides of the pool willing on the little heroes that might bring glory and honour to their House. Peter was one of them. I had cut him out from the bigger picture that I had 'acquired' from the pile of old photos taken down from the Games notice board and apparently abandoned in a pile that should have found the waist paper basket but didn't mercifully. I happened to pass by, saw them on the table nearby, and picked up the one I wanted, and hurriedly slipped it into my blazer pocket and kept it in a safe place. I knew exactly what purpose I would put the image to.

'What is it Jamie?' Asks Peter in a quiet enquiring tone that sounded as soft as velvet, silky smooth like the skin of his arm that touched mine so gently. I answer as my clay covered hands slop a little more water from the small white enamelled bowl onto the soft yielding grey material, slimy to the touch, and hellishly difficult to control…….

'I'm trying to construct a standing figure Peter, as you can see.' I say with a note of very mild sarcasm.

'Oh. Why is it so tall?'

'Because I have just started to build it over the armature. That's why it looks so tall and thin…….at the moment.' I say with undue emphasis on the words started, and at. I'm already regretting that my irritation might have registered with Peter, but it had not.

'Can I watch?'

'Get a chair then.'

Peter drags a chair and sits close to me on my left. I can hear his breathing which makes me stop work for a moment.

'Why have you stopped?'

'I'm thinking Peter. This is actually very difficult.'

'Who is it…..the person?'

'No one in particular.' I say as I wipe my hands on a rag and cover the clay with the plastic sheet to prevent any evaporation and therefore, shrinkage. With my hands washed and my apron placed back on the hook with the others, I look back at Peter, still sat on the chair.

'Why did you stop?' He asks.

'To talk to you.' I reply as I return to my chair behind the small table on which stands my inept attempt to model my perfect boy. I turn towards Peter, who sits knees apart, bare thighs half milky white and half faintly tanned, tieless pale blue shirt detached and loose, bare arms resting in his lap. The boy is looking straight back at me, unblinking, and asking……

'Will you then?'

'Will I, what, Peter?' I say smiling.

'Talk to me. It's about Spencer.'

'So, you had better tell me about Spencer then……and you.'

Peter and Spencer had been best friends for almost two years now. In a childish way, one might easily call it love, but of course a child would never think of it that way. But as Peter reaches the threshold of puberty, thoughts begin to enter his head…….thoughts about exactly how he would like to express his affection for his friend. When the two boys lay on Spencer's bed together, Peter would dearly loved to have touched Spencer in that special way he dreams about, and the one time he did, Spencer recoiled, dismayed and shocked at Peter's uninvited and unwanted physical gesture of affection. But their friendship, despite Peter's lapse, has endured, albeit with strings attached.

'That's quite a difficult thing to talk about Peter, so well done. It might help you to know that what you are feeling and thinking, I have too. It was just the same for me…….exactly that.'

'So what did you do Jamie?'

'I wanted to find someone that could help…….who thought the same way as I did. Someone who wanted the same things as me. Someone with whom I could express myself as I needed to… he needed to. When I reached the stage you are at now Peter, I tried to find someone to love.'

'And did you?' asks Peter, open mouthed, eyes alight.

'I'm afraid not. Not yet.'

As you might imagine, that statement from Jamie ends the conversation for a couple of minutes while Peter deals with his thoughts. He glances down at the embryonic model of the figure and sees the fragment cut neatly from a much larger photograph, and recognizes the image of the standing boy in the briefly cut swimming pants as himself. More thoughts suddenly enter his head….

'Is that me Jamie…….in the photograph?' He asks, as Jamie wanders back from the sink where he has finally rinsed the clay residue from his hands.

'Yes it is. Do you mind my using it?'

No answer because Peter is not listening. The idea that Jamie would want to base his model on him has excited him. For a few moments that's all he can think about.

'Why Jamie? Why did you want me?' Peter asks, staring at Jamie, who has sat down next to the boy.

'That's quite a complicated question Peter. I need to be a bit careful how I answer it. The simple answer is that you were one of a line of boys and I picked you out as a suitable example to work from.'

'Is that why?'

'Put simply, yes it is.'

'But you said it was more complicated than that?'

'It is, but……..'

'So why can't you say?'

'I could but………you might not like the answer.'

'Why wouldn't I?'

'Because it would mean something to me, but not to you…..perhaps.'

'Don't you trust me then?'

'Can I?'

'Yes. Please tell me why you want me.'

'I wanted you for several reasons Peter. You could solve a problem for me. As you can see.' Jamie gestures towards the clay figure under wraps. 'It's the way you look Peter……..everything about you. I thought you would be perfect for the job.'

'Perfect for you?'

'I suppose you could put it like that. Yes, you would be perfect for me.'

'And would that solve my problem too?'

'Well in a way you are helping me, aren't you?' Jamie says, picking up the image of the boy standing at the edge of the pool.

'So it's fair then?'

'Yes, that would be fair. May I see you hands please?'

Peter puts out both of his hands, and Jamie takes them in his.

'You have lovely hands Peter. Did you know that?' Jamie says quietly, still holding Peter's hands in his.

'Just my hands?'

'No. Not just your hands Peter.'

'What then? What else?' Peter demands.

'Everything I can see. Everything I have seen.'

Jamie looks at the image once more.

'But this is feeling isn't it……..what we are doing now?'

'Yes it is. Do you mind?' Jamie asks as his hands grasp the boy's hands more firmly. With his fingers he feels for the bones in them, and the soft texture of Peter's skin. The he feels for his wrists, and then his forearms and the downy hair that covers them. Both boys know that this might not be the beginning, but could be the end of the beginning, as someone once said. And then as if by magic, Peter says……

'It's lovely isn't it………feeling. Feeling like this.'

'I think so, with a nice person.'

'Is that me?'

'Of course it is. Is this solving your problem Peter?'

'Yes, if it's solving yours too.'

'It is.'

When they left the building it was getting quite dark. Jamie said he would escort Peter back to his House which was a five minute walk between this building and that building with a few places where one might stop and not be seen by others. Both boys knew what they need before they parted this evening, given the revelations of the previous hour together. Standing in the corner away from the light that lit the pathway Peter stood close to Jamie asking for Jamie's arms to enclose him, which after a few seconds, they did. They were blissful moments for Peter, desperate for another boy's tender loving care, and Jamie is desperate to provide it. But part they must, and as they do, Peter asks…..

'You won't leave me will you?'

And Jamie answers…..

'No, I won't.'

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