It’s been a few months since Crunch and his comrades liberated the mob-run prison camp HoneyHill. But content as he is, Crunch can’t forget Victor, the beautiful prisoner with whom he shared a brief affair. Taking a leap of faith, he shows up at Victor’s door, but will it turn out he really was missed?
This short story is set a few months after the events described in our novel, ‘Stung’. It could be read separately, but we advise to read the novel first, as it is not a stand alone.
The book contains explicit M/M erotic content.
Crunch was pushing through the snow that kept sneaking into his eyes. He never thought he’d be grateful for a blizzard, yet here he was. End of January, middle of London, pushing to a house he only knew by address. If it wasn’t for the ghastly weather, he wouldn’t have been able to get any time off from his duties. With the bone-chilling wind roaring through the narrow streets, he was thankful for the thick woolen scarf Victor sent him for Christmas. They have exchanged letters over the weeks since Honeyhill’s liberation, but he was still surprised to receive a box of gifts that contained mostly luxurious food and tobacco, but also a bottle of fine cologne with a copper canary head on the stopper. It seemed fancy in comparison to what he usually used, but hoping to see Victor tonight, he used it.
He only got short notice on the possibility of leaving for a few nights, so he didn’t even bother sending Victor a message, instead wishing to surprise him. Deep down in his heart lingered the thought that maybe he would be an unwelcome guest. Following the directions a local shopkeeper gave him five minutes ago, he walked deeper into one of those new, affluent neighbourhoods built on steel platforms over the slum. Walking up the street, he carefully watched the numbers on identical copper plates. The houses here were twins and villas with small gardens, and each had its own style. Unlike the tidy quarters preferred by the former gentry, the Terrace of Tomorrow was the top residential area for the nouveau-riche, and its occupants were keen to display their wealth with complicated architecture.
Crunch stopped in his tracks, raising his head to gape at house number forty three. Victor’s house. It looked like something from a fairytale, with a huge clock with female-shaped hands and two tiny towers topped by pointy roofs. So, would his prince be at home?
He smiled to himself and took the goggles off before knocking on the door. He didn’t want to seem threatening and since the recent riots in the East End, people weren’t exactly welcoming.
He waited for an answer in front of the grand, wooden doors, but nothing happened. Crunch sighed and looked around for the doorbell only to spot a metal lion’s head with a button embedded between the animal’s jaws. He pressed on it in resignation and blinked, startled by a loud tweet from inside. It sounded remarkably realistic, as if there was a live bird on the other side of the door. He looked up to the tower once again, feeling inadequate. Prince and the Pauper, huh?
The clang of an opening lock brought him back to the present, and Crunch found himself facing a white-haired middle aged man in a bottle green uniform.
“May I help you, sir?” It came in the most proper accent Crunch had ever heard.
“Yeah, I kinda… I’m lookin’ for Victor Sheppard?” Ridiculous. He killed more zombies than he could count but was intimidated by a butler? A butler who managed to keep his face a mask of polite indifference even when his eyes flashed with understanding.
Christy Duke, Rainbow Book Reviews