“Come on, Dick. We simply must investigate those mysterious lights at the top of Cuckoo's Nest Hill tonight.”
“Oh, Julian, I don't want to. I say, can't you take Anne instead?”
Julian look scandalised. “Anne's getting supper ready. She's such a good little housewife, aren't you Anne.”
Anne gave a pleased giggle but muffled it quickly with her fingers. “Thanks, Ju. I've made us some hard boiled eggs, one each, and used the butter from Mrs Jones the farmer's wife on the bread she gave us. Then there are some biscuits, two each, as well as some for Timmy, so supper is all ready except for heating the cocoa.” She looked hopefully at her eldest brother. “I'd really like to go with you this time.”
“Timmy and I'll be there.”
“That's right,” chimed in Dick. “George is as good as a boy any day.” Timmy woofed in agreement. George assumed her usual boyish pose of standing with her feet planted firmly apart, hands folded into fists on hips and her chest puffed up with pride. Before she could speak, Dick continued, “Besides, my ankle is still rather sore from where I sprained it earlier, even with Anne's excellent job of bandaging. If you just go to look, everything will be all right and it will be perfectly safe for Anne.”
Julian considered the pleading gazes of the other members of the Five and then nodded. “All right, Dick. You stay here and rest up your ankle for tomorrow. Anne may come with George, Timmy and me and we'll have a look around.”
Anne squealed with pleasure and hurried to change her white cardigan for a navy one that was normally part of her school uniform. She slipped some chocolate and a clean handkerchief into one pocket and a torch and a piece of chalk into the other. It paid to be prepared when one was a member of the Famous Five. She reached for a ball of string, but left it behind when she heard Julian's voice urging her to buck up.
Dick waved good-bye to Julian, George, Anne and Timmy the dog as they set off and tried not to seem too eager for them to leave. He waited until they were out of sight and remained sitting by the little campfire for another five minutes to be sure they did not come back for anything. Never had the minute hand on his watch taken so long to travel between numbers. Finally it touched the seven. He scrambled up and hurried into the small tent he shared with Julian.
His torch was in a handy side pocket on his pack. He drew it out and promptly dropped it. He said something he knew he shouldn't and immediately clapped his hand over his mouth, but Julian wasn't there to disapprove, so Dick lowered his hand and daringly said the bad word again. Twice. He wiped his suddenly sweaty palms on his shorts and set about looking for his torch. Luckily it hadn't rolled far. He set it on his sleeping bag and reached into his pack. The blue striped pyjamas were conveniently on the top. They weren't what he'd been searching for, although he planned to get ready for bed directly so he put them next to his torch. An old woollen jersey that he counted on not needing lay beneath his other clothes. Hidden inside the folds was an exercise book. He managed to slide it out without dislodging anything. Manfully refraining from opening it straight away, he tucked it under his pillow and got ready for bed.
Other boys at school passed around picture post cards or books with bent page corners and underlined passages. Certain prefects were even known to let their fags look at special magazines they'd brought back if the fags did their job well. Julian regretted never being chosen as a fag by the captain of the cricket team. They'd talked about it coming home on the train as they had done at the beginning of every hols since they'd started school. Dick never complained. He didn't think anyone would want him and he really didn't mind not being picked as a fag when he had his exercise book. He'd put it together for himself and he shared it with no-one, not even Julian.
At last it was dark enough inside the tent to switch on his torch and make himself comfortable. He checked his watch. There was still an hour to go before the others were due back. He edged the book out carefully; the brown paper cover was getting worn. At first glance it might have been mistaken for a diary. Pages of untidy handwriting were interspersed with carefully taped in pictures This time he barely glanced at the pictures as he turned to the last page that contained writing.
The dancing shadows cast by the fire made Lord Brighton seem all the more menacing. Margaret pulled the bed linens closer to her chin. “Please,” she begged as she stared up into his dark eyes. He said nothing, but his lips curled in anticipation. Her eyes fell beneath his brooding gaze. She flushed as she took in his manly chest, lightly furred with dark hair that arrowed toward the fawn breeches he had not removed.
Dick sighed and let his fingertips wander over the smooth skin of his chest. At half term, which the boys had spent at school in quarantine thanks to an outbreak of scarlet fever, he'd rushed to show Julian the two hairs he'd found growing at just at the edge of his left nipple. Julian hadn't needed to be quite so condescending when he only had six himself. Dick's now numbered five, the beginning, he hoped, of his own manly chest. Still, smooth skin was nice to touch and he kept up the light stroking as he returned to the words he'd scrawled in his book.
"Please, Sir,” she whispered again, torn between wanting him to leave and wanting him to stay. "Michael." Margaret looked up uncomprehendingly. He sighed. “My name is Michael. You may call me that.” “Yes, Sir. Michael,” she added quickly as his brows drew together. “Very good,” he said, and his hands dropped to the fastenings at his waist. She eyed the bulge made by his manhood and trembled.
That was where he had to stop. It was all he'd had time to copy from Aunt Fanny's book in the two days the five had spent at Kirrin Cottage before leaving on their cycling holiday. 'Lord Brighton's Revenge' had caught Dick's eye as the hero had the same name as the captain of the swimming team, without the Lord. If juniors were allowed to chose anyone at school to fag for, Dick admitted to himself he would have been first in line at Brighton's door.
He had some other passages he'd copied from various books; some were others owned by Aunt Fanny, others had come from school. He skipped all of those in favour of reading the description of Lord Michael Brighton one more time, checked to see if his own manhood was bulging yet and then turned to the middle pages where he'd carefully glued the best of his collection.
On the left was a tinted photograph of Michael Brighton. He'd just exited the pool after performing what turned out to be the winning dive for the seniors at the swimming sports. Dick particularly liked the way Brighton's manhood was clearly shown by the wet, clingy material of his swimming costume. Of course, he liked looking at Brighton's shoulders and arms too. And his thighs and knees. And what one could see of his left hand. Even if his gaze kept returning to Brighton's swimming costume.
The right hand page was home to Dick's guiltiest pleasure. Here was a photograph of George, looking as good as a boy any day. George also wore a swimming costume, but a dry one. While it didn't cling like Brighton's, Dick had plenty of imagination, and George still had shoulders and arms. And thighs and knees.
Dick checked. Now his manhood was bulging satisfactorily. He slipped his hand inside his blue and white pyjamas. He stroked himself enthusiastically. It wouldn't be long until he felt the familiar tingle in his toes. There it was. His hand sped up. He clenched his teeth, forgetting he didn't have to keep quiet this time. This was better than catching crooks any day or night of the week!
Right when he was about to lie back and enjoy feeling on top of the world, an urgent cry of “Dick! Dick!” shattered his peaceful feelings.
That was Anne! He scrabbled for a handkerchief.
Anne's fair head poked itself into Dick's tent.
“What's up, Anne?” He tried to wipe his hands.
“Julian and George have been captured. They're locked in a room room on the first floor. They can't get out the window to climb down the tree due to it being barred, but Ju says the crooks have left the key in the lock. If we can get a piece of paper and some wire to them, they can do the getting-out-of-a-locked-room trick. Come on, Dick. Hurry up.”
“Where's Timmy?” asked Dick faintly.
“Back at the foot of the tree. I've got some wire in our tent if you can find a piece of paper.”
Thankfully, Anne left to get the wire and Dick performed a hasty clean up. He was about to stuff his exercise book into his pack, when he realised it was a handy source of paper. He sighed once and nobly sacrificed a sheet. He pulled on some clothes over his pyjamas and found his shoes.
Once up on Cuckoo's Nest Hill, Anne kept Timmy quiet with some dog biscuits she'd thoughtfully picked up. Dick fashioned a paper plane and slid the wire along the centre fold. Anne produced some tape to hold it in place. Dick shinned up the tree and spotted the worried faces of Julian and George at the window. To get their attention, he produced a creditable imitation of a barn owl. He grinned happily as they waved at him.
The plane sailed through the gap in the window on the second try. Dick watched anxiously as Julian straightened out the paper and slid it carefully under the door until only an inch remained in the room. He magnanimously let George jiggle the wire in the keyhole until the key fell onto the paper with a satisfactory thunk.
Back at the camp site, Anne heated up the cocoa and Julian regaled the others with the tale of how he and George had crept past the snoring crooks and escaped. When the tale had been told a sufficient number of times, the five turned into bed. Dick slid his hand down his pyjamas. His manhood was bulging again. Really, it seemed performing a little rescue was just as exciting as Michael Brighton.