The Born Again Australian
"Goliath was screaming while he tried to extinguish his clothing. The
lighter fluid had leaked through his jacket pocket and down his right
side. Now ignited, it burnt away his clothing and was searching for
the skin below."
"The fire had succeeded in destroying the building's internal walls
and half the roof structure, and as the fire engines arrived the roof
started to collapse, making it impossible for the fire-fighters to
enter the warehouse. The building was listed as disused, so the order
from the officer-in-charge was for his men to contain the fire and not
take any unnecessary risks. It was only in the morning light that the
standby crew charged with the mopping up operations found Sandy's
"The hairline crack had opened along the inner side of one hydraulic
line just after the plane had taken off from Parafield....the red
warning light that confirmed that the wheels were down and locked had
flickered and died the trip before last and hadn't been fixed. As the
port wheel touched terra firma the lowered landing gear simply gave
way, causing the port engine to eat into the red dirt of the sheep
"The force of the gelignite erupting in the carefully drilled hole
caused a fracture in the subterranean ground. This explosion was
followed by five more in quick succession, each in turn sending its
own force to further weaken the tunnel face. Tons of the hard
sandstone were blown outwards to land in a pile on the tunnel floor."
"Usually the truck would have stopped sufficiently to allow the car a
clear passage, but the truck's tortured brakes failed to perform and
its combined gross weight of forty-two tonnes hit the other vehicle's
side, changing it into a misshapen mess of tangled steel and flesh."
"How he had survived, the doctors had no real idea, but now he lay a
prisoner in the worst prison on earth, his own broken body. This jail
had a torture chamber like no other, which was his own mind. A mind
that still retained unusual clarity. A mind that worked continuously
around the clock, driving him endlessly into a living hell of torment
"There was a smell of urine in the hot humid atmosphere. As the noose
settled on his shoulders, he felt the hand of death temporarily leave
his side. Now, in the silence, time stood still, and then he was
For those who have suffered the loss
of a loved one, they know the pain within has no control. It is
wrenched from the very soul and bursts forth in audible sorrow. It
is so unlike the normal crying child or a person in physical pain.
This grief builds up with such agonising intensity that it will
often erupt without prior warning.
Stand on a beach and watch a piece of wood washing in with one wave
and out with another. Such is the natural healing process of the
soul. Just as the lunar pull directs the tides, it comes and goes,
slowly dealing with the sense of loss, the loneliness and above all
the undying love.
She clutched the infant to her bosom, rocking gently on her heels,
and then briefly bent down to kiss the child, and in doing so her
tears fell lightly upon her little son's face as if in a baptismal
caress. The glistening light of the cold early morning air
accentuated the dampness of her sorrow on his cheeks.
The words on the note read, "Please love my child for he is a
casualty of war."
Nineteen fifty-seven was only a few weeks old and, as is usual,
England's January had seen both snow and rain together in the form of
sleet. This day had surprised even the greatest optimist by its calm
dry start complete with pale blue sky. How cruel a trick to play on
the unsuspecting populace of London, for the wind hit with driving
rains just before noon, with a chill factor that tore through the soul
and left a heavy depression on every living thing in its wake.
Two boys, one twelve and the other thirteen, stood looking up at the
tower above them. So great was their attention that they seemed
oblivious to the latest climatic conditions.
The tower was one of many that marked the corners of the tall grey
building. This building was not unlike other architecture in the
greater London area that dated back to the eighteenth century. To some
extent it resembled a castle, which undoubtedly the original
architects had intended.
As the boys gazed up at the tower's battlements both were dealing with
totally different emotions.
Charlie Windzor couldn't believe his luck. How the ageing nun, Sister
Lillian, had managed to persuade the Holmhurst Board of Directors to
accept him he supposed only God knew. It must have been the doing of
the good Sister, for she, not they, spoke daily with the Almighty.
Charlie had no real recollection of his first years of life and had
only known the convent as his home and the nuns as his family. The
"Sisters of the Blessed Trinity" had fended off both the government
bureaucrats and other members of the church that wanted in the
beginning to move the young infant to the care of the State. Sister
Lillian had played an important part in this, for it was she who had
found the child and the note that she felt was intended for her and
her alone. She was well respected by the Reverend Mother who shared
her concern for the State's ability to care for a child so young. For
the nuns, Charlie was in some way temporary consolation for the
extreme sacrifice placed on them by their vows and commitment which
denied them motherhood. For Charlie had awoken, within most of them,
their maternal instinct.
Just after Charlie's sixth birthday, the Sisters finally succumbed to
State pressure and acknowledged that Charlie must now leave them to
commence the normal education program at a school. Charlie was placed
in a foster-home with a loving old couple, George and Martha Bentley,
who had lost their two sons in the Second World War. He missed the
convent and particularly Sister Lillian, but, unlike many other
children who went out to the care of strangers, found his new
environment acceptable. He spent the next two years with the Bentleys
and attended a local school, but at eight he was removed from their
home when George Bentley became very ill and Martha could barely
manage her husband's needs.
The next five years were spent between three temporary foster homes
and three schools. These foster parents were used to the "problem
child" and were quite surprised at Charlie's apparent indifference to
his change of habitat.
Charlie now entered his next stage of life with the excitement of
adventure. To him, the building stood over him as a palace and the
extensive grounds surrounding the school his estate.
Tobias Wendell Carrington the third was the younger of the two boys.
The bubble of his life had burst just five months previously when his
mother died in a car crash on the road below Hindhead, and considering
her absolute faith in the Almighty it seemed incongruous that her
early demise occurred in an area known as the Devil's Punchbowl.
Toby's father had died not long before the Second World War ended,
when after a week's leave in late 1944 he returned to his ship which
took him to the Pacific Ocean and his death. After the Japanese
torpedo had killed the ship, the surviving ship's company of
forty-seven clung to the inverted lifeboat, taking it in shifts
between the boat and the sea. The sea had been extremely calm and the
men in the water would often drift a few yards before rousing
themselves and struggling back tiredly to the boat. Toby's father had
given up his turn on the boat and was some fifty feet from it,
shepherding in some weary sailors who had gone adrift, when shouts
from the boat warned of danger. The shark, according to the reports
taken later from the survivors aboard the rescue ship, had been
extremely large, and in a frenzied panic the men in the water fought
and struggled for a place on the boat. Toby's father, who was urging
his charges to a greater speed, suddenly turned and with undeniable
gallantry struck out towards the shark in self sacrifice, allowing the
other men another chance at life. The men on the boat distinctly heard
him shout, `It's fish for tea, boys,' before the shark took him. He
left the world with a sample of his great humour and to his wife, a
gift of their love, a son.
Toby was a slight boy with an immature pretty face that did not make
him good looking, but only young. His hair was honey blonde and his
eyes, although grey-green, had a friendly warmth that spread out to
his temples in crinkling lines of hidden mirth. His mother had brought
him up with impeccable manners, a frightening fear of the Lord and
much motherly love. In short, he was completely unprepared for the
life he was now to enter. Toby thought the building was a prison and
that he was a victim of a crime of which he was innocent. In fairness
his Uncle Mike had gone to a great deal of trouble in gaining Toby
entrance to this well respected school. Holmhurst Boarding School for
Boys had a noble background with quite a few exceptional scholars to
boast about. Their names were inscribed on the Roll of Honour board
which was displayed proudly in the main hall. This board also listed
the school's fallen heroes of the First and Second World Wars, these
names, sadly, far out- weighing the literate few.
The two boys were worlds apart. Toby, with his genteel upper- middle
class background, had always known real family love, but Charlie, with
his structured but not unpleasant upbringing, had yet to feel the
touch of this type of love. From that first day when they stood
beneath the east-wing tower, the boys had formed an alliance, not of
words, but of each understanding the other's silence.
Charlie was a tall lad with a strong muscular build for one so young.
His dark black hair fell down across his forehead, almost disguising
the mischievous sparkle in his bright blue eyes that spelt certain
trouble for the teaching fraternity at Holmhurst.
As the term commenced, Charlie soon asserted himself among the other
boys of his academic year. His former background had given him all the
training necessary to survive. From his life's experience he had also
learned to escape the attention of his guardians and tutors and
although a natural at most sports and a confident scholar he was at
pains to avoid the limelight of first place either in sport or
Toby, on the other hand, started life at Holmhurst badly. He tried too
hard to be accepted and in doing so became very conspicuous. His
eagerness to please was exploited by the other boys and he became the
"gopher". He also became an easy mark for all the school's bullies and
with his "turn the other cheek" attitude, a legacy of his nurturing
mother, the little confidence he possessed was rapidly eroded.
It wasn't the actual beatings, for in reality these were few, but the
constant fear in Toby's mind was real. The headaches began and then
the recurring illnesses that allowed him entrance to the school
However, Toby still had spirit and by luck the ability to tell a story
and make people laugh came easily to him, and so began Toby's defence.
As with a lot of story tellers prone to exaggeration, he found that
telling the truth was instantly disbelieved but the most outrageous
lies accepted without question.
Toby did not like sport, due mainly to the possibility of receiving a
large dose of pain. His academic prowess was non-existent. Last in the
class became synonymous with Tobias Wendell Carrington the third. He
had now by necessity developed the guise of obscurity.
Charlie and Toby shared one other need and that was money. Neither of
them had the pocket money that most other boys seemed to have in
Surprisingly, it wasn't Charlie who initially came up with the first
money-raising scheme, but Toby, who had borrowed a penny from six
different boys. This was not a lot to lend or to owe, but Toby did now
have sixpence which was a definite move in the right direction.
`Toby, how many boys do you think are enrolled at Holmhurst?' asked
`Probably about three hundred, why?'
`Supposing you and I were to borrow a copy of the school roll and then
you worked from the end of the alphabet and I worked from the
beginning. How many of the school would remember over a period of time
a loan of say, one half-penny?'
`You and I certainly won't, mate,' grinned Toby. So their first
With his new found wealth Toby could afford to buy the odd packet of
ten cigarettes. The older boys tolerated him occupying a cubicle in
the gym toilets, this being the haunt of nicotine addicts, providing
he parted with the odd smoke or two. Charlie would smoke anyone else's
but shied away from actually purchasing his own.
At Holmhurst the rules allowed for only three outings a week, one hour
each on Wednesday and Saturday afternoon and two hours on Sunday. To
be caught outside the school gate without permission at any other time
would leave the offender in no doubt what "six of the best" meant.
Pocket money was only given out in weekly subscriptions, set at a
maximum of three shillings per boy. This in turn reduced the
temptation for some to acquire by less honest means the pocket money
of the more fortunate.
The compulsive smoker would purchase his needs from a High Street shop
once a week, generally Saturday, and by Tuesday his nerves would be
subdued by cadging a drag from the few that still had stock. By
Thursday, their cravings for the proverbial nicotine stick was
absolute. The payment for one cigarette dictated by school mandate was
between sixpence and one shilling depending whether it was the
beginning or end of term, pocket money being more scarce towards the
Charlie Windzor summoned Toby for an audience. `Today you stop
`Now listen,' began Toby, until Charlie grabbed him around the neck.
`You were saying, Toby?' asked Charlie.
`Good! I have, old son, a plan.'
To the profits from their previous ongoing scam they added two-
shillings and sixpence, gleaned weekly from Toby's prestigious
position as altar boy, whose job it was to take the collection from
the altar to the vestry after each Sunday service.
Charlie had tried to persuade Toby that five shillings would be hardly
missed, but Toby was still suffering from his religious upbringing and
dared not provoke the wrath of God by doubling his sin.
Charlie's plan was simple. By investing their profits once a month
they could well afford one hundred cigarettes. They set the price for
one cigarette at nine pence for the first third of the term and one
shilling for the remainder. To avoid easy detection Charlie and Toby
set up a distribution system. They paid a commission of one penny per
cigarette to their sales staff.
The English Boarding School is run to a high degree by the students
and they learn very quickly that the tutors are on a need-to-know
basis only, the less the better. It is considered poor manners to
inform on any other student and to do so would result in some horrible
reprisal. This code of honour helped safeguard Charlie's enterprise.
However, the older boys started to buy cigarettes on the tab,
promising early payment but never delivering. Charlie withdrew all
sales and shut down distribution. The last debt was paid exactly
fourteen days later and Charlie re-commenced business. Profits after
six months were looking good, not surprising when the mark up was
close to three hundred per cent.
As in all institutions of its type, Holmhurst introduced to the
adolescent struggling with the early throes of puberty its own type of
education. Homosexuality. To the young boys the first introduction
would generally come from the older students. Very few pupils would
react verbally or physically against their assailant for two reasons.
The school ethics of silence had already been instilled at an earlier
stage and secondly this was physically and emotionally an interesting
The next stage of this type of sexual awakening was gradual depending
on the individual's physical maturity. In general, the homosexual
activity involved was quite mild, that of mutual masturbation only.
Like most sexual drives it can become habitual, and often became
widespread between students of the same school year. These students in
the main were very conscious of their rapidly growing heterosexual
urges and with more maturity stopped this extra-curricular activity to
pursue their natural trait.
Charlie and Toby had both been participants in this form of sexual
enlightenment. Charlie, being twelve months older than Toby, was much
more physically mature. He had already tried to gain the affection of
the female patrons of the local ten-pin bowling alley, when the
opportunity presented itself.
The incident which planted the tiny seed in Charlie's sub-conscious
mind happened when the Principal of Holmhurst stood in front of the
assembled students to warn them of the severe consequences that the
practice of masturbation in any form could have on them. He informed
the gathered boys that the guilty parties were instantly recognisable
by the dreamy look on their faces. This caused a ripple of movement in
the crowd to shake off any tell-tale signs of lethargy.
As Charlie told Toby later, `I looked around when he said that, and
they did look like a room full of wankers.'
When Charlie first met Maryanne and her sister Sue they were thirteen
and fourteen years respectively. Charlie, now fifteen, but looking a
good two years older, was in the young girls' minds the most beautiful
person in the whole wide world or at any rate, the greater London
The girls spent a lot of time hanging around local milk bars, the
bowling alley and the occasional dance hall. Their mother seemed to be
pre-occupied with her endless string of men friends. This left the
girls without the guidance they so desperately needed at this stage of
Charlie found it nearly impossible to separate the girls, which
restricted his advances toward Sue and/or Maryanne. The girls were
quite receptive to his attempts at petting, and as both declared their
degree of love for him to be equal, it was a matter of course that as
sisters they should share him.
Charlie was quite aware of how his body not only reacted to sexual
stimulus but also how to prolong the pleasure. Not wanting the
butterflies to take flight too early is how he expressed it. The
girls, both at varying degrees of maturity, managed to show Charlie
the secrets of their needs and how to waken their arousal. Until now
their love-making had been restricted to heavy petting only and so
Charlie had become quite adept at the art of foreplay. The girls
remained technically virgins despite Charlie's persistence.
Toby had remained remote from Charlie's relationship with the two
sisters. He not only was by age much younger but more importantly by
maturity. However, some six months had elapsed since Charlie had first
met the girls and there was after all the next step in their
relationship to overcome. Charlie's perception of the true reason
behind the girls' hesitancy to relinquish their maidenheads was their
need for individual privacy.
Charlie had met the girls as a rule in a local cafe and later their
amorous adventures generally took part in the back seat of a wrecked
car in a nearby disused quarry, not the most romantic or comfortable
place for a budding Romeo to woo his Juliets.
On impulse Charlie decided to take Toby with him the next time he had
a rendezvous with Sue and Maryanne. Toby was becoming more and more
independent and with this change of character he had gained some
confidence and a lot more maturity.
Toby had been very nervous when Charlie introduced the girls. However,
he soon had them both laughing at his quick-witted humour and by the
end of their first meeting had managed to achieve two things. Firstly
to fall desperately in love with the older sister, Sue, who was
extremely flattered by his obvious infatuation, and secondly to make
Charlie Windzor extremely jealous, the latter not being the most
desirable of achievements.
Charlie refused to take Toby on the next two visits which caused Sue,
the normally sweet Sue, to say some pretty unlady-like things. When
the sisters withdrew all sexual favours Charlie instantly relented and
promised to bring Toby along with him the next time they all met.
Within a few weeks Toby's education was advancing at a most
respectable rate. That is to say his study of human anatomy and the
reproductive system was literally in the safe and by now experienced
hands of his own private tutor Sue.
Choosing their individual partners, the girls no longer administered
joint favours to Charlie alone. However, as their battered
accommodation in the quarry was somewhat cramped, they all shared an
Some months later, Charlie and Toby met the girls as usual in the cafe
but immediately knew from their behaviour that this meeting was to be
different. The girls' mother apparently had gone to Brighton for a
lustful weekend with her current beau, leaving the girls alone in
As they entered the girls' home the four of them were highly excited.
Here at last they could as couples find their own privacy. The boys
were not to know that both girls had decided the night before to take
the final step towards womanhood.
To the boys it was to be a completely different emotional experience.
Charlie found himself swimming in a mist of longing. This intense
build-up of mental anxiety began immediately he felt the incredible
internal warmth of Maryanne. As she guided and coaxed him her hands
stroked the back of his head, at first slowly and then more quickly,
helping him to understand her needs. Afterwards lying quietly in her
arms Charlie felt the first tears stinging his eyes and then
unashamedly let nature wash the pain of his loneliness away. Maryanne,
with great intuition for one so young, remained silent.
Toby had surprised Sue by his gentle assertiveness and his skilful
love-making. It was the first time he had taken the initiative since
she had started his tuition. Toby's emotions were in a turmoil, and he
felt more powerful now than he had ever done before. His feelings of
love for Sue were in danger of brimming over and yet he wanted
something more, something strangely intangible.
The following months only improved all their individual expertise at
love-making. Charlie and Toby had bought with money earned from the
cigarette racket two bicycle raincoats with large hoods. On rainy days
this allowed them to go "absent without leave" with little danger of
being caught, as it would hardly have been polite for any of
Holmhurst's teaching staff to peer around the corner of these
disguises to enquire who was within.
Maryanne and Sue had talked often to the boys about their school life
and were highly interested in the form of sexual relief practised by
many of the students.
Toby had started to fall in love simultaneously with three other girls
that frequented the bowling alley and, although still faithful to Sue,
he felt the need to explore other friendships. Had his love for Sue
not dwindled somewhat, the enormity of Charlie's new plan would never
have passed first base.
The tiny seed in Charlie's mind had born fruit only when the girls had
brought up for the fourth time the subject of the school's
masturbators. The girls had first feigned horror when Charlie had
suggested that they could, for a price, provide a service for these
frustrated boys. He hastened to add that their role in this could be
compared to the clinical approach of caring and not at all that of
The girls thought it over and made some demands. They would reserve
the right to provide only the service the individual deserved based on
their initial appraisal of the interested party. For the most part,
this would only involve hand manipulation and no more. The interested
party could not touch them without their express permission. They
would keep eighty per cent of all profits and not as Charlie had
suggested, forty per cent.
Charlie took on the financial management of this new venture, setting
the tariff for each probable service. As the average boy still only
had a weekly subscription of three shillings it was inevitable that
this figure represented the cost for the girls' cheapest service.
To help boost the clientele Charlie closed down the cigarette
distribution. The next six months would see two marked changes at
Holmhurst. Firstly, half the nicotine addicts at Holmhurst would
miraculously quit smoking and secondly the school Chaplain would
become most disappointed with the size of his collection. This
apparently surprised the six altar boys too.
For security, the girls provided their service at ten different
locations selected by Toby at random. Toby interviewed each
prospective new client to ensure the fee was paid in advance and to
see that the individual presented himself with a high degree of
Business picked up quite dramatically after the following school
holiday as the returning boys secreted pocket money on their persons
in order to win the girls' special favours.
Two records were broken that term. Homosexuality took a down turn and
personal theft went up alarmingly.
The rest of that term passed smoothly and the girls had kept things in
hand literally without having to expand the scope of their business.
They had learnt that the spoken word, full of exotic paraphrases, cut
their work down considerably.
Charlie was very aware that his status among the other students had
risen dramatically, to the detriment of his previous desire to be
virtually anonymous. Toby and the girls found it difficult at first to
understand why Charlie wanted to close down such a successful
business, but soon realised that as usual he made sense. If they
continued, their chances of detection would surely escalate. They
closed their business at the conclusion of the school year.
Toby spent the school holidays plus another two weeks in hospital
having his tonsils and adenoids removed and also in quarantine for the
mumps, which thankfully did not eventuate.
On his return to Holmhurst he was greeted by a swarm of boys from his
class, all eager to impart the latest news. Charlie Windzor was in the
sanatorium recovering from a nasty fall, which had hospitalised him
with concussion, two broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder.
Toby waited impatiently for visiting hours, sitting outside the "san"
with his back to the door. Sister Llewellyn let him in promptly at the
appointed time and cautioned him as a well known patron on the correct
form of behaviour.
`You awake?' asked Toby, looking at Charlie's ashen face.
`With you bellowing in my ear how could I be asleep?' answered
`What the hell happened to you?'
Charlie did not know how it had happened, all he could recall was
leading the rush of boys up the stone steps of the circular stairs
which led to the third floor dormitory. Just before reaching the dorm,
all the boys put on a last minute dash which in turn caused such a
squash that it momentarily stopped them until one of the new students
had added his weight. They were propelled forward like a cork leaving
a champagne bottle. During the pushing and shoving that followed,
Charlie felt his ankles tap together. Then suddenly his body lifted
upwards, his back caught the banister rail and he found himself
falling backwards and then downwards. Luckily, his jacket had snagged
momentarily on the banister newell which broke his fall.
Every term sees the enrolment of some new boys and this term had been
no exception. One boy stood out among the other new entrants. His huge
body belied his age of fifteen years, he had red hair and his facial
features supported a big nose and small piggy eyes that gave him a
spiteful look which suited his bullying personality. He came with a
ready made nickname from his previous school, "Goliath".
During his first three days at Holmhurst Goliath had listened to all
the stories of Charlie's and Toby's exploits from the previous terms.
As his plan for school supremacy did not allow for any opposition,
they became, to his mind, instantly expendable. Toby's temporary
absence narrowed Goliath's prey down to one.
It took just three more days of term before his opportunity came. In
the commotion at the top of the third floor stairs, nobody noticed him
reach down and flip Charlie's feet sideways. It was such a simple
manoeuvre. Charlie's centre of gravity and body weight had done the
Toby had left the sanatorium and gone in search of other friends. He
entered the middle day room to find three of his class mates sitting
at one of the tables.
`Watch it, Toby, Goliath's looking for you,' they informed him.
`Who the bloody hell is Goliath, when he's at home?' asked Toby,
already feeling the apprehension building.
`Bad news, Toby, bad news.'
Toby managed to avoid Goliath for two days, due mainly to his superior
knowledge of the school and its surrounds. However, his mental state
was one of extreme nervousness and his head ached badly.
One of Toby's favourite spots at Holmhurst was a small copse of trees
on the east side of the grounds. The stream ran into a small pond
which was reed bound. The male Mallard with its vivid colours of blue
and green kept pretty much apart from his mate and her fledglings. The
new born ducklings were pale golden fluffy balls with large oversized
beaks. They played in the wash behind their mother, occasionally
straying until a stern "quack" brought them once more into line. As
the ducks had been spoilt year after year by the children at Holmhurst
they no longer displayed their natural caution but ventured close to
where Toby lay on the grass bank.
Toby had managed to sneak some bread from the dining room and this he
now fed to the hungry ducks. The bread soon disappeared and Toby was
just about to leave when he heard some people approaching. To be on
the safe side, he did not rise but simply edged across until he could
see through the reeds. He knew the first boy as a minor trouble maker,
but it was the other boy that caught his attention, a big hulk of a
lad. He knew without doubt that this had to be Goliath. The adrenalin
surged through his body making him feel instantly nauseous. Toby
turned and snaked through the grass on his knees and elbows until he
came to a thick outcrop of reeds. Once in hiding, he turned to watch
the approaching boys.
Goliath took three cans of cigarette lighter fluid out of one of his
jacket pockets and put them on the ground. From the other pocket he
produced some loose Swan Vesta matches which he pushed into his
trousers pocket. Shrugging off his jacket, he flung it on the ground
behind him. It landed only two feet from where Toby lay, scared
Goliath turned to the other boy and asked `You got the bread?'
`Yes, here it is,' he answered, extending his hand.
`Don't give it to me, you moron, break it up and give it to the ducks.
Goliath picked up all three cans and turning, threw one onto his
jacket. The ducks had started to feed now and the baby ducklings were
very active, though not really participants in the feast. Goliath held
a can in both hands and as the little ducks came near he dosed them
liberally with the fluid. He was careful to maintain a stream of light
pressure which landed on the little bodies as a fine spray.
Toby still had not grasped the situation fully and waited for
Goliath's next move which came almost immediately.
`Now to play sink the Bismarck,' he informed the other boy, who from
his expression did not want to play.
Goliath reached into his trouser pocket and produced a match which he
scratched quickly across the seat of his pants. It ignited at first
strike and as he flicked it out towards the ducklings the flame
`Bugger it,' said Goliath as he repeated the procedure with no more
success than before.
On the sixth attempt the match seemed to go safely past one of the
ducklings but then suddenly it arced and fell. There was a sudden
burst of flames which incinerated the little body instantly.
`Thar she blows!' shouted Goliath.
Toby felt the tears of pity streaming down his cheeks. This pity was
not just expressed for the ducks, but for his own inadequacy.
`Come on you bastard, grab some matches and have a go.' The other boy
shrank back visibly from Goliath's proffered hand.
`You wet prick! I'll need some more fluid if the next matches miss.'
The next match fell short but in doing so attracted one duckling's
curiosity. It darted towards the spot where the match had landed, only
to be enveloped in flames as the second match found its mark. The
third little bird to die suffered terribly as only a small amount of
feathers ignited. In an effort to avoid its pain the duckling drove
faster through the water, beating its under-developed wings. This
increased the flames' fury until they became the little mite's funeral
Toby knew if he could just empty the other can and make it look like
an accident the surviving ducks may have a chance. He slowly moved
forwards and reached for the can of lighter fluid. He picked it up and
tried to unscrew the top spout but it was built into the can top. As
he struggled with the spout it suddenly broke off. Panicking, Toby
dropped the can on top of Goliath's jacket and retreated once more
behind the reeds.
The male duck broke first, followed immediately by the female. With
flapping wings they beat a path through the thick reeds until enough
clearance was available for a flight path. Once in the air, they
circled overhead sounding their anguish in a continual call.
The two remaining ducklings had managed to hide among the reeds on the
opposite side of the stream. Goliath grew bored with the chase and
turned back to get his jacket. He picked up the can and as he donned
his coat, thrust it into his right pocket.
Goliath saw Toby the moment he started to unbutton his fly. With the
intention of relieving himself temporarily forgotten, he let out a
foul expletive and reached down and grabbed Toby by the hair, yanking
him to his feet.
`Who the hell are you then?'
`That's Toby Carrington,' exclaimed the other boy.
`So, I've found you at last, you little worm,' said Goliath, as he
transferred his grip to encompass Toby's throat.
Toby knew that this was not to be the usual bashing-up that he had
received on numerous occasions but something much more sinister. He
was petrified and tried to break Goliath's grip. He lashed out with
his feet at Goliath's exposed legs but this just enraged the big brute
and the grip around his neck increased.
Goliath removed his right hand from Toby's neck and reached into his
pocket. Bringing out a Swan Vesta he held it before Toby's terrified
`I'm going to fix you like I fixed that weak mate of yours, Charlie
bloody Windzor,' bragged Goliath.
Although shocked, Toby knew without doubt that this loathsome creature
had manufactured, in some way, Charlie's fall.
`You bastard,' croaked Toby.
`We'll start with your hair - from blonde to flaming redhead in one
swift move,' gloated Goliath as he dropped his hand in readiness to
strike the match across his backside.
`Don't, please don't Goliath.' This cry did not come from Toby but
from the other boy who was appalled by the brutality that he was
`Piss off, go on piss off, you yellow bastard. I'll fix you later,'
shouted Goliath. The other boy did not move, temporarily paralysed
with the enormity of the situation.
Goliath's hand moved across his seat pants. There was a loud "whoosh"
and the grip on Toby's neck instantly released. He tumbled backwards
and this saved him from the searing heat. Goliath was screaming while
he tried to extinguish his clothing. The lighter fluid had leaked
through his jacket pocket and down his right side. Now ignited, it
burnt away his clothing and was searching for the skin below. Goliath
turned, still screaming, towards the pond. His eye- brows had burnt
and the flames had fanned his face and started on his hair.
The other boy, until now transfixed, turned and ran, his nerve finally
gone. He didn't look back and soon had disappeared from sight.
Toby stood up and slowly moved forward to where Goliath crouched on
his knees in the water. The flames were now out and he seemed to have
escaped serious injury. Toby was looking intently at Goliath's face
for he had seen something in his eyes that fascinated him. Goliath
pushed himself up and started to leave the water, holding his hands up
to his burnt face. He was not aware of Toby standing there and pulled
up with a start when he saw him. As soon as their eyes met, Toby saw
it yet again.
All his school life he had lived in the shadow of his own fear and had
never associated it with something that others shared. Here for the
first time he saw it clearly mirrored in Goliath's cruel eyes.
Something snapped in Toby's mind and all the years of pent up fury
exploded in one mighty swing of his leg into Goliath's unprotected
groin. Goliath's knees sagged and his legs splayed apart. Although
badly injured he managed to stay on his feet. Gone now was the fear
that had been prominent in his eyes, and in its stead was hate and
`You're dead meat, you and Charlie Windzor both,' hissed Goliath
through clenched teeth. He sucked in deep breaths of air in an effort
to alleviate the pain.
Toby was frightened again, but now he used this adrenalin surge to
promote his next action. He stooped and picked up a small rock and
threw it at Goliath's face, who reacted by lifting his hands from his
groin to protect his face. Toby moved in and kicked him quite
deliberately twice more in the balls. Goliath fell forward and lay
Toby knew that Charlie had to be protected from an early reprisal. He
searched around and found a large flat rock. Because of its weight he
could not lift it but managed to work it over to where Goliath lay.
Reaching down, he took Goliath's right arm and extended it over the
rock with the elbow and the palm of his hand turned face up to lock it
in position. Toby walked backwards three paces and then took a quick
leap forwards, landing with both feet on Goliath's upturned elbow.
The crack seemed to echo across the water for a long time before
fading away. Toby lent down and got a hold on Goliath's unbroken arm
and pulled the unconscious form away from the rock. He then turned
Goliath onto his uninjured side.
Toby took two paces back and sank down on the ground. He began to
shake uncontrollably as the reaction set in. However he did not feel
either nauseous or tearful, which under the circumstances would have
been natural for him. Goliath started to moan and this brought Toby
instantly to his feet. He turned away towards the school building and,
at a trot, made his way to his dormitory.
Toby packed a small bag with his personal belongings. He opened the
poetry book that no longer contained the works of Keats but had been
hollowed out to provide room to secrete a packet of cigarettes. Taking
out the packet Toby removed, not cigarettes, but his remaining share
of the previous term's profits. Just over five pounds in loose change,
not a fortune, but enough for his immediate needs. He placed the money
in the bag and zipped it shut.
He left a note for Charlie in the safe hands of one of their former
As he left the school grounds he felt extremely happy, realising that
his destiny was firmly in his own charge from now on.
It took him just under two hours to reach his Uncle Mike's home in
Guildford. He let himself in after retrieving the spare key from under
the front mat. The house smelt of his Uncle Mike's pipe tobacco which
always made Toby feel at home.
Toby opened his uncle's desk and removed the envelope with his name on
it. He had been shown the contents some months earlier during a
holiday visit. Inside the envelope was a photo of his mother taken
just before her death, and his birth certificate and bank book.
Opening the bank book he found the total amount had changed by four
pounds in his favour. Thanks Uncle Mike, he thought. He was rich,
thirty-five pounds plus the money in his bag.
He returned the contents to the envelope and left it in the desk. It
was now approaching seven o'clock in the evening which indicated that
his uncle should be home at any time. His Uncle Mike, who had never
married, normally worked late at his small travel agency in Aldershot.
He opened the door for his Uncle Mike before he had time to insert his
`Good grief, Tobias, you scared the hell out of me,' he exclaimed.
`Sorry Uncle Mike, I heard you shut the car door and thought I'd
better show myself before you came inside.'
`That's OK, let's get a drink each and then you can tell me why you're
Toby faced his Uncle Mike across the table where they sat. His uncle
sipped his sherry and smoked his pipe in silence, waiting for Toby to
speak. Toby fiddled with his ginger ale that sat on the table before
`Uncle Mike, I've never lied to you before.'
`So don't start now,' said his uncle with sudden perception.
Toby took the hint and changed his tactics. `Something happened today
that will not allow me to return to Holmhurst.'
Toby sketched around some details without actually having to lie. He
told of his general dislike for Holmhurst and that he now wanted to
leave school altogether.
His uncle busied himself lighting his pipe that was quite obviously
already well alight.
`That's all very well, Tobias, but what form of career do you have in
`I thought the Merchant Navy, sir. I have read about the stewards on
overseas liners and think I'd quite like that sort of life.'
`Well, if you're serious I can probably give you some help, as my work
brings me into contact with many people in the shipping industry.'
The next morning Uncle Mike rang the school to let them know that Toby
was with him and that he wouldn't be returning to Holmhurst. He
promised to send a letter confirming this as soon as possible.
Next he arranged through a friend at P & O-Orient Lines for Toby
to have an interview.
Things moved very fast from that first interview. Next was a trip to
Prescott Street for another appraisal and to join the Union, then a
medical check which thankfully he passed. Two weeks later he was
informed by post that he should report to the National Sea Training
School at Gravesend for eight weeks of training. On the favourable
result of that course, P & O-Orient Lines would employ him.
Charlie heard the increased activity in the "san" and as Sister
Llewellyn passed the ward door he queried, `What's up, Sister?'
`None of your business, Charlie Windzor,' she replied with no real
heat, for Charlie had already won a place in her heart.
At visiting time one hour later he received Toby's note:
Charlie, I'm leaving school today. The new boy Goliath confessed that
he organised your fall. I have stopped him from hurting you, as you
will soon hear. Thankyou for being my friend. Yours Toby Carrington. -
P.S. I will write to you as soon as I can.
`Silly bastard,' said Charlie, swallowing back his emotion.
Goliath returned from the hospital endowed with facial bandages and
his right arm encompassed with a large plaster cast. He was wheeled
into the same ward as Charlie and transferred to the bed opposite him.
Hells bells, thought Charlie, what had overcome little Toby to inflict
injuries such as these.
Charlie had to answer the call of nature several minutes later, and as
he made his way to the toilet he passed a trolley that contained many
various bottles. His attention was caught by a label which proclaimed
the contents to be Hydrochloric Acid. Picking up the bottle which
appeared empty he continued on his way. Not about to take any chances
he rinsed the bottle in the toilet before proceeding with the business
in hand, so to speak. When he returned to the ward the marked bottle
contained a sample of his urine.
Charlie waited patiently for Goliath to awaken and when he did Charlie
was standing over him, the Hydrochloric Acid bottle clearly visible in
Goliath was having difficulty focusing on his new surroundings but
gradually his vision returned and he found himself staring at a bottle
label. Charlie waited for Goliath to fully comprehend the value and
connotation of the marked bottle in his hand and then he said,
`You let the weakest kid in school beat the shit out of you today.
Now, here is a message from me!' Charlie tipped the entire contents of
the bottle into Goliath's eyes.
Goliath was still screaming fifteen minutes later.