Soulbound ‡ waif

by Wes Leigh

Chapter 9

How good and thoughtful he is; the world seems full of good men--even if there are monsters in it.

-- From Dracula by Bram Stoker

Zavy felt extremely uncomfortable. Wearing a new coat over fancy clothes, he looked like he belonged in the bank. But he couldn't help feeling out of place, like every person who glanced at him knew he was a poor waif from Hanbury street who had no place walking the polished marble floors of an institution of high finance.

Reggie held his chin high, trying to smile arrogantly at everyone around them, thinking that was the way to appear to be a rich, young lad, coming down to the bank on an errand, perhaps to withdraw a few shillings for his meal at a nice restaurant that day. Reggie's walk had a bit of swagger about it. He could get used to this.

Jack kept his eyes on the floor. He was intimidated by the dark wood walls, the rich paintings, the high ceilings. Was this a bank or a bloody cathedral? He tugged at his shirt. It was uncomfortably tight around his neck. A bloody nuisance, really. He couldn't wait to finish what they'd come for and leave. Then he could peel himself out of these fancy clothes and get back into his old trousers and shirt.

The three lads walked slowly to the far end of the bank. A thin man with shifty eyes adjusted the lapel on his gray suit as they approached, studied them, then sniffed and asked, "May I help you?" From the tone of his voice, it didn't sound as if he was actually hoping to help them so much as find out what they were doing there and send them on their way.

Zavy took a deep breath and said, "We're looking for me dad. He said to meet him here and then he'd be taking us to look for a new house. We're here from Glasgow, you see, to buy a place."

The thin man curled up his lip. There was something out of place about these boys. They looked well enough dressed, but the accent wasn't something he'd expect from well-bred lads from Glasgow. He sneered and asked, "What is your father's name?"

Zavy blinked. He hadn't expected that. "It's… McCoy. Will McCoy."

"The McCoy who owns the stables on Wentworth Street?"

"Nah, he's me uncle," Zavy replied. "Our dad is Willie McCoy. He owns the coal mines south of Glasgow, but we're buying a house here in Whitechapel so we can visit our uncle McCoy at the stables every summer."

Reggie tried not to snicker. Zavy was doing a good job, thinking fast on his feet.

The thin man shook his head. "I'm sure we haven't any coal magnates here by that name. Perhaps you'd like to wait in the foyer until he arrives?" The man pointed back at the entrance to the bank.

Zavy shrugged. He turned and motioned for the other two to follow him.

The thin man watched the three lads head for the foyer, where they walked out the front door instead of finding seats. Odd.

Outside on the street, Zavy turned to the other two and asked, "Did you get a good look?"

They both nodded.

"You think you'll be able to see it in your mind tonight?"

More nods.

Pop. Pop. Pop. All three lads appeared in the middle of the dark bank, each one with eyes glowing a soft bloody hue, peering around them at the empty room.

Zavy pointed at the nearest counter. "Check over there, Reg," he whispered. "Jacko, look in those rooms over there. See what you can find."

Reggie nodded and trotted around the counter, searching through drawers. Shaking his head, he whispered back, "Nothing. All the drawers are empty."

Jack began opening doors and peering inside, finding small offices for the most part.

Zavy continued to the end of the main hall to where the large vault door was closed and locked.

"There ain't nothing in any of these," Jack hissed.

Zavy shrugged and motioned for the others to come. "Thought they'd put it all in the vault overnight." Zavy looked first at Reggie, then Jack. "Did either of you lads get a good look inside?"

Reggie shook his head. "That snooty fellow who was asking all the questions was between me and the vault. Couldn't see a bloody thing."

Jack frowned. "Me neither, Zavy."

Zavy grunted. "Well, I saw inside. Got a good enough look, I expect." He smiled jauntily and said, "Be right back, lads." He disappeared.

Jack and Reggie waited, watching each other nervously.

A minute passed. Then Zavy reappeared next to them, holding a stack of pound notes in one hand. He handed the money to Reggie, who began stuffing his pockets, grinning at Zavy the entire time.

Zavy smiled back and disappeared, reappearing inside the locked vault. His glowing eyes illuminated the dark corners of the vault for him, enabling him to search the wall shelves where he found trays filled with cash. Grabbing a large handful, he pictured the empty lobby and his two mates. Pop.

Pop. He reappeared next to Jack and handed him cash. "There's a lot more, lads. Might take a few trips." He disappeared again.

Jack grinned at Reggie as he stuffed the notes in a pocket. "Butter upon bacon, Reg! Butter upon bacon."

With the fancy clothes stowed in a chest and the money stashed under their sleeping pallet, the lads dropped down, exhausted after their busy night.

"I'm buying Mum a new dress," Reggie mumbled.

Jack giggled. "We could buy Mum a whole dress shop. A new dress every day of the week."

"No, lads," Zavy said. "Much as I'd like to buy new things for Mum and the family, we can't go overboard."

"No dress for Mum?" Reggie asked.

Zavy turned his head and looked at Reggie. "Maybe one dress, Reg. Nothing too fancy. Just the kind of dress she always wears, but new and a pretty blue color, I think."

Jack rolled on his side and dropped his arm across Zavy's chest, snuggling against Zavy's side. "But why shouldn't we treat Mum to a right proper wardrobe, and get her some new pots and pans too?"

Reggie snorted. "We oughta buy her a house filled with furniture and paintings and the like. That's what we oughta do."

"We can't do any of that, lads," Zavy insisted.

Jack pulled Zavy into a hug. "Why not? She does so much for us, we should do everything Reg said and more, now that we can get all the money we want."

Zavy shook his head. "What do you think will happen in the morning when they discover all that money missing from their vault? You think they'll start looking for it?"

Jack chuckled. "They won't come looking for it here."

"No," Zavy admitted, "but they will look. And they'll keep an eye out for anyone spending a lot that didn't have much to spend before. If we go down and buy a mess of new things for Mum, word'll get around that three Hanbury lads suddenly have a load of money they didn't have last week, and that'll get folks thinking and asking questions like, 'How'd they come by that, eh?'"

Reggie sighed. "I suppose you're right, Zavy. But what was the point of taking it if we ain't gonna spend any of it."

"Oh, we're spending it," Zavy said, with a grin. "Just not all at once. We'll buy Mum one dress tomorrow. And maybe another in a few weeks. From a shop over on Saint George Street maybe. Far enough away that folks don't get suspicious. And we'll help folk out around here. A little at a time. With food and blankets and things they need. Not beer. They don't need beer."

Jack pouted and said, with an impish grin, "I guess that means we ain't gonna find ourselves some whores and get drunk and screw all night."

Zavy laughed and ruffled Jack's hair. "You don't want a nasty, old whore, do you, Jacko?"

Jack slid his hand down inside Zavy's pants. "Not when I have this to suck on!" He found Zavy's cock was half hard, pointing to one side. With Jack's fingers squeezing, Zavy was soon fully erect, taking deep breaths as he enjoyed the feeling of Jack rubbing him down there.

Reggie took Zavy's hand and slid it inside his own underpants, urging his cousin to stroke the hard cock Zavy found there. Reggie had been horny all day and looking forward to a bit of relief that night. Zavy's hand was warm and soft, and Reggie's cock throbbed under the gentle caress.

Jack saw what Reggie had done, and not wanting to be left out, placed Zavy's other hand on the outside of his own underpants, on top of his now-hard cock. Zavy grinned and started squeezing Jack's cock through the fabric, reaching down to massage his balls too. Jack had big, heavy balls to go along with his thick cock. He might never have a long cock like Reggie, but Jack had nothing to be ashamed of. Zavy whispered, "You wanna bugger me again, Jacko?"

Jack nodded and wriggled out of his underpants.

Reggie laughed. "Someone's horny tonight."

Zavy squeezed Reggie's cock. "Yeah. And he's not the only one."

Reggie grinned and pulled his own underpants down to his knees to give Zavy easier access. "After he buggers you, do you think I could have a go?"

Zavy nodded and rolled on his side, facing Reggie, and kissed Reggie on the lips. "You can both have a go at it. We'll rub each other a bit while Jacko's busy with me arse."

Jack wasted no time sliding up behind Zavy and positioning his cock at Zavy's hole. Jack's cock was oozing a bit, so a quick rub around the puckered opening made it slippery enough for Jack to slide inside halfway.

Zavy grunted once, surprised by how quickly Jack had thrust up inside him. His guts cramped a bit, but he clamped down and waited for the pain to subside. His mind felt fuzzy and the room seemed to glow red. The pain he felt from Jack's cock being up inside him seemed to stir a hunger in Zavy, a need for more pain, for deeper penetration, for passion. Zavy felt his fangs extending slightly as he kissed Reggie and was surprised to find Reggie's fangs touching his own. Both of them were gasping for air, tongues dancing, mouths pressing together. The kiss seemed to set them both on fire. Reggie began thrusting his hips into Zavy, his cock colliding with Zavy's, one hard shaft sliding along the other, mashing and pressing together.

Jack felt Zavy's body lurching back into his own with each thrust of Reggie's hips. Zavy's body seemed to open up and welcome Jack's thick cock inside, so Jack matched Reggie thrust for thrust, hammering Zavy's helpless body between the two of them. Jack's vision turned blood red and his own passion overwhelmed him. He wanted to bite into the side of Zavy's neck, piercing him as deeply as his cock was now impaling Zavy's body, but instead he extended his fangs and breathed in, satisfying a hunger deeper than any craving, any lust he'd ever felt before. Unexpectedly, his body quivered and his cock began throbbing, launching wave after wave of cum up into Zavy. He pulled Zavy back against his chest and closed his eyes, breathing deeply of the passion emanating from the other two lads.

Reggie felt his mind racing with desire, much like what he'd felt in the presence of the pale lady. His body quivered with the same intensity. His heart pounded and he frantically sucked in each breath, but this time, the air he breathed was laced with sexual tension. Each breath curled into his lungs and seeped throughout his body, causing his back to arch and his muscles to strain. His throbbing cock, trapped between their bodies, began pulsing as it ejected his life's seed between them.

Zavy felt heat on his chest from Reggie's explosion and delicious pain in his bowels from Jack's thrusts. Reggie's breath caressed his lips as they kissed. Jack's fangs scraped across the side of his neck, making him shiver with anticipation, hoping Jack would bite into his neck. Zavy moaned and shook, allowing his own orgasm to sweep over him and release his juices to join Reggie's.

All three lads lay still, breathing hard and sucking in air, eyes closed, hearts pounding, amazed at the power and depth of their passion.

Jack was the first to catch his breath. "Bloody hell," he whispered, causing Reggie and Zavy to chuckle.

Zavy shook his head slightly to clear it. "So that's what it's like for vampires to make love." He wiped a stray drop of cum off Reggie's cheek. "Is that how it was with your pale lady?"

Reggie grinned and nodded. "But this time I was awake for the entire thing."

Zavy patted Jack's hip. "Pull out, Jacko. I promised Reggie a shot at me arse."

The bank manager shook his head in frustration. "It was all locked up. Tight as can be. The front doors. The vault door. Everything. I personally checked it all last night at closing and again this morning when I arrived to open up."

The woman standing in front of the bank manager was obviously quite upset. Her fingers danced along the string of pearls she wore, the only adornment in her otherwise bleak attire. Her dress was black, sweeping to the floor. Her hat was also black, with black lace covering her face for the most part.

Her companion was also in black, from his shoes to his top hat. His face was stern, with a neatly trimmed beard, and he wore dark eyeshades. He studied the bank manager, detecting no deception in the man. "Think back to yesterday. Anything odd or unusual about the customers who came in that day?"

The bank manager shook his head. "Not that I recall. Perhaps one of our employees noticed something. I haven't had a chance to ask them yet." He knew better than to try to deceive the woman or any of her associates, and he was eager to share the blame with the other employees for such a catastrophic loss.

"We'll use your office to interview each of them," the bearded man said. He walked around the bank manager's desk and sat down. "Send them in. One at a time."

The bank manager nodded and scurried out of the office.

The woman stared at the bearded man. "What do you think, Abram?"

Abram shrugged. "I pushed on his mind briefly. He's telling the truth."

"Then how did it happen? How did the Covenant lose five hundred pounds overnight?"

"I would like to hear what each of the employees have to say, but I think it's fairly obvious, Minerva, don't you?"

Minerva sighed. "A rogue vampire."

Abram nodded. "Or vampires. There was the incident with Abigail."

Minerva snarled, "Don't remind me. And speaking of that, have you made any progress in your investigation."

Abram tapped his fingers on the desk. "There are indications that a group of young men living on Hanbury street may have some vampiric abilities … superior strength and the ability to translocate, to name two."

"And they might have used translocation to enter a sealed vault late at night?" Minerva asked.

Abram nodded. "That is a possibility."

Minerva's eyes glowed red briefly. "Find them," she growled. Then she disappeared.

Abram took a small notebook from his breast pocket and waited patiently. The bank manager soon returned with the first employee, a thin fellow with shifty eyes, who could recall nothing in particular until Abram's eyes glowed red, which helped the man recall three lads who visited the bank, searching for their father, Will McCoy. Not the McCoy who owns the stable on Wentworth Street. A different McCoy, though no one by that name entered the bank all day. There were no other peculiar customers that day, except for the lads, who were dressed smartly, but sounded like gutter trash when they talked.

Abram jotted down a few notes, then sent the man out of the office and asked for the next employee to enter.

Reggie and Zavy argued playfully over which dress to buy Mum. Reggie wanted to get a white dress with yellow lace. Zavy preferred a light blue dress. They eventually decided to get both, though Zavy knew it would be hard enough convincing Mum to take one dress, not to mention two.

As he paid for their purchase, he noticed for the first time that Jack was missing. He looked around and asked, "Did you see where Jacko got off to?"

Reggie began searching the store. "No. I thought he was right here with us."

"That's odd," Zavy replied, handing over two pounds to the dressmaker.

She took the money and carried the dresses into a back room to box them up.

"I wonder what he's doing?" Zavy mumbled.

Jack eventually caught up to them as they climbed up the hill to Hanbury Street. There was a dark stain on his new coat, and Zavy was able to detect a faint odor that his mind somehow recognized as blood.

"What have you been about, Jacko?" Reggie asked, punching the shorter lad in the arm.

Jack shrugged. "Nothing you need be concerned with, Reg. My own affairs."

Reggie frowned. It wasn't like Jack to be so secretive. He looked at Zavy, but Zavy simply shook his head slightly, as if to say, 'Let it be.'

"We decided to get Mum both dresses. The white one and the blue," Zavy said, lifting the lid on the box to show Jack.

Jack smiled. "She'll like those."

"She'd better," Zavy said with a grin. "Cost two whole pounds, they did."

"Bloody hell!" Jack exclaimed. "They making dresses for the queen in Whitechapel now?"

Reggie laughed. "You should've seen what they wanted for shoes. Fifteen shillings for boots and ten for slippers."

Jack shook his head. "Glad I ain't a lady."

Zavy slid his hand onto the front of Jack's pants and squeezed gently. "That you ain't, Jacko."

Jack slapped Zavy's hand away. "Not now, but you can have all you want tonight, Thomas Xavier Gibbs."

Reggie laughed. "After I go first. Your arse dripped all over me last night when I had my turn. So I go first this time."

Zavy shook his head. "I think I'll go first." He pointed at Reggie. "First up inside you. Then up inside you." He pointed at Jack.

They continued down the street, laughing and arguing about who would be doing what to whom when the family finally bedded down for the night.

The three Wentworth lads had the terrible bad luck to stumble out of the alley right into the path of a constable.

"Hold it right there, boys. Where you be heading in such a hurry?"

The young men turned slowly and faced the constable.

He squinted and leaned in for a closer look. All three had been horribly beaten. Their faces and clothing were covered in blood. One was missing several teeth and stood on his right foot, unable to put his full weight on the left. Another lad held his arm awkwardly, grimacing in pain. The third was bent over slightly, one hand holding his crotch, the other wrapped around his ribs.

"And how did this happen? Eh?"

The three bloodied lads looked at each other, but didn't answer the constable.

"You don't have to tell me how it happened," the constable said. "You were jumped in that alley, no doubt. How many were there? Five? Six other lads? Pure cowardice, in my honest opinion, but I'm certain the three of you have been on the other end of it a time or two, ganging up on others. And it'll happen again, because the lot of you don't learn."

One of the boys shook his head. "Wasn't like that at all, sir."

"Oh? Then how was it?"

"Well…" The boy paused, embarrassed to admit how a Hanbury lad had single-handedly beaten the three of them. He couldn't believe it himself. He'd never seen anyone move so fast or have such power.

At first, it had looked like a golden opportunity. A single Hanbury lad, wandering the street by himself, running in fear when they shouted at him and gave chase. Then he'd run into the alley and turned, trapped in a dead end, and strangely enough, no longer afraid but instead smiling. That was when he'd seemed to move quicker than the eye could follow, grabbing them and slinging them through the air, smashing them in the face with a fist or a knee, tossing them aside and standing over them, gloating as they groaned in pain. Then he'd just walked away, laughing.

No, they couldn't tell the constable what had happened back there in the alley. And to be honest, they weren't exactly sure what had actually occurred.

The constable waited, but when none of the boys spoke up, he shook his head in disgust. "Be on with ya'. And warn your mates to stop this tomfoolery before someone gets seriously hurt."

Zavy sat in one corner, softly playing his piccolo, watching the rest of the family.

Mum was caressing the fabric of her new dresses, lifting them up every so often and showing them to Rachel and Becky.

Reggie was helping Danny and Micah build towers with the blocks he'd insisted on buying for their little brothers.

Jack leaned against the wall next to the window, looking out into the night, with a faint smile on his lips. He seemed unexplainably happy for a change.

Zavy blew across the mouthpiece of the piccolo, playing a melancholy song. It fit his mood. He was pleased that Mum had accepted the gift of the dresses without questioning them on how they could afford such extravagance. He was excited about the family's future prospects, now that they could get whatever money they needed. But he was anxious for some reason, fearing a vague danger that had yet to make itself known. There was nothing specific he could point to as the source of that danger, only that extreme caution was needed.

But most disturbing of all was the sense of unease he felt each time he looked at Jack.

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