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Vivika’s Musings

The High Five; Part 1 – The Nanny

We have a global crisis on our hands! The elite force known as Rogue Battalion are tasked with hunting down a criminal group labelled the High Five. First up we have Laura Goodman AKA The Nanny.

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Criminal Profile:

Name: Laura Goodman

Alias: The Nanny

Age: 52

Build: Average

Height: 5’6”

Weight: 119Ibs

Eye Colour: Brown

Hair Colour: Grey

Scars or distinguishing marks?

None

Charges:

  • Murder: first degree
  • Infanticide
  • Indecent act with a child under 16
  • Introduction of drug dependence in the body of a child under 16
  • Drug trafficking
  • Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Making false reports to police
  • Obtaining financial advantage by false reports
  • Production of child pornography

Psychological Report:

A clear sociopathic personality. Shows no remorse for her crimes giving cause to believe she hasn’t been properly familiarised with the charges brought against her.

Needs to maintain control at all times. Shows no outward hostility but instead reverts to a display of gratitude in her demeanour that could appear charming to those not familiar.

With the murder of her daughter in order to gain attention shows a clear Histrionic Personality disorder.

The Conflict is about to erupt!

Subscribe to the page, visit Torrance Global or follow @ConflictGnovel for all the latest updates, images and stories from the Conflict Era.

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Knock, Knock (Episode 18): No Kids Allowed

“Tabitha darling, we’re leaving now,” called Mrs McKinney to her daughter. “Come and kiss Pa goodnight.”

The ten year old little girl had been sat in front of the television in the lounge. A mindless old show played. The heroine was being pushed towards the cliff edge. In a feat of strength she was pushing back against the hysterical villain but it looked like the heroine’s luck was coming to an end.

Tabitha had no interest in Pa. She barely knew the man. She barely knew Ma either. The days they were at home were spent dressing for parties to which Tabitha was never invited. Nanny Lynn was good enough company but Tabitha learned quickly that neither of her parents were really interested in their daughter. She was dressed in pretty dresses and told to sit quietly like she was part of the décor of their mansion home in the privileged town of Filton.

The show ended. The audience were left to ponder over the heroine’s fate until the next episode. The screen replaced the show with an advertisement for Queen Corn cereal. A woman was singing and dancing on a beautifully illuminated stage. Her voice was sultry yet fun. The eye catching leotard she wore underneath the grey gentleman’s blazer sparkled. The way her back up dancers flocked around her she looked as though she could rule the world. Tabitha’s heart began to flutter watching her and enjoying the music. The performer gazed at the camera with her smokey eyes as though addressing the little girl directly.

‘You can have it all,’ her eyes seemed to say.

“Tabby!” Ma screeched this time.

Tabitha sighed. She switched off the television.

Ma and Pa were in the hallway. Nanny Lynn was adjusting Pa’s tie. She stepped beside Tabitha and rested her hands on the little girl’s shoulders with a gentle squeeze.

“Don’t pout girl,” Ma barked when she noticed the thunderous mood forming on her daughter’s face. “We’ll see you in the morning,” Ma started to explain but Pa snatched her arm and pulled her towards the door.

“Stop fussing,” he groaned. “I don’t want to be late.”

There was no kiss for Pa anyway. The little girl couldn’t understand why she had been pulled away from her shows just to watch them walk out the door again.

By the time Tabitha returned to the lounge the dancing woman was gone. It was during those lonely times Tabitha missed her aunt the most. Aunt Tawny was a quirky woman with black hair and a laugh that always erupted from her stomach. She had a musical accent from the islands where she and Pa grew up and she still lived. Pa had lost his striving to fit in amongst Filton society. Tawny wasn’t her aunt’s real name but that didn’t matter. Tabitha saw her aunt more often than her parents until one day Pa got mad at Aunt Tawny. They had a terrible row and Tawny left never to return. Tabitha never found out what caused the fight but she knew it would be through Pa being difficult. He was always stubborn and unreasonable. Tawny was warned never to darken their doorstep again.

A few weeks later, Nanny Lynn brought Tabitha a letter that Ma and Pa weren’t to see. Tabitha recognised Tawny’s hand writing immediately. It was a messy scroll with lots of loops. The letter didn’t explain what the fight with Pa had been about either. Tawny wished to assure her beloved niece that her leaving didn’t mean any affection between them was lost. Tawny also mentioned that she wanted to take Tabitha with her to the islands but Ma and Pa wouldn’t allow it. She was living back on West Cliff in the ancestral home of the McInney family. Her parting words on the letter were: ‘I’ll find you one day.’

Tabitha missed her aunt terribly. She couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t be allowed to go with her when she was such an inconvenience for Ma and Pa to keep. It wasn’t like they would miss her. Would they even notice she was gone?

That evening Tabitha kept singing and dancing like the woman from the cereal advert. As she did a memory of Tawny came to her and the reason why her aunt made her smile so. Tawny always had a song on her lips. She wasn’t a graceful mover but there was a skip in her step that was enchanting.

‘I will find you one day.’

Tabitha couldn’t stand it any longer, she and Nanny Lynn alone in the big house, Ma and Pa never there.

‘They wouldn’t let me take you with me.’

Tabitha would make them.

Going to bed she gave Nanny Lynn just enough fuss so as not to seem suspicious. She heard Nanny Lynn open the door after midnight. Tabitha closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep with some light breathing through her nostrils. The door clicked closed again.

A few hours later she heard the raised voices of her parents. Their slurred words were heavily laced with gin. Nanny Lynn sounded concerned. Tabitha couldn’t decipher their words but the tones were clear. Pa gave a hearty laugh. It was soon followed by stumbling footsteps up the stairs like a stampeding herd of cows. Ma was giggling.

“You’ll wake the child,” Nanny Lynn warned.

The door along the hall closed. Ma and Pa had gone to bed.

Tabitha climbed onto her feet. She danced across the room like the woman from the advert. From the top drawer of her dressing table she drew a kitchen knife she stored away after dinner.

Quietly she crept along the hall to Ma and Pa’s bedroom. It was the one room in the expansive house that was forbidden to her. That wouldn’t stop her that night.

She opened the door as quietly as she could. There was movement from the bed. A lot of satisfied moaning filled the air. Pa was sat up. His bare back faced his daughter. Clutching in at his side was Ma’s leg. Tabitha recited the tune from the cereal advert in her head. It slowed the charge of her heart. No one was paying attention to her. They hadn’t even noticed her come into the room. Ma had a camera phone and was filming Pa mounted onto Nanny Lynn like a breeding dog. Finally Ma looked over. She shrieked when she saw her daughter. Tabitha ran at them. She embedded the knife into Pa’s back. He didn’t scream. He emitted a gasp of air as though something heavy had fallen on him. Ma screamed again as her husband tumbled back onto the bed. Tabitha wielded the knife and stabbed her in the left breast so deeply it was difficult to pull the blade back out. Nanny Lynn, who’s naked frame had almost been fully concealed in the stained bed sheets, tried to climb out but Tabitha slashed her throat. With one last surge of strength Pa tried to grab at his daughter but Tabitha curbed his enthusiasm by stabbing him ten more times. Ma still gasped. Her lips parted slowly. Her lungs had been punctured so she held on for a few moments like a fish out of water. Her last gaze upon her daughter showed she was smiling.

There was nothing stopping Tabitha. Now she could find her aunt.

She switched on the lights. The blood stained sheets were a tangled mess around the occupants of the bed. Tabitha found it quite comical actually. It looked like a sketch from a comedy show. She stifled her giggles.

A ten year old little girl wouldn’t get very far on her own. She had to make herself seem older. She put on a plain black dress and black heeled shoes she had been given in the event she should ever have had to attend a party of some sort. She took Ma’s favourite fur coat from the closet. Ma had been a petite little thing so it was only a little oversized on the ten year old. She pulled Ma’s make up out of it’s usual hiding place. It spilled onto the floor. She sat at the vanity mirror. The image of her parents and their reluctant lover reflected in the glass. She giggled again. She painted her face with the make up, a little heavy on the rouge and the red lips but it made Tabitha seem older. With Ma’s fur coat she could pass for at least sixteen.

As she made her way to the front door her shoes clicked on the marble floor. This pleased her. She danced along it, singing the cereal song again. With her dress, heels and make up little Tabitha could easily be the woman from the advert.

With only the cash Ma had in her purse the ten year old girl ventured into the night not really sure of where she was going or how to get to West Cliff.

***

“That’s when I met Dennis,” Tabitha explained to me. After Milo had gone to bed she poured herself a gin and I decided to join her. She hadn’t spared any details on the demise of her parents. She seemed oddly proud.

“Did you ever find your aunt?” I asked. My reporter nose was getting the better of me. You can take the man out of the news office and all that.
I had a special interest in Tawny, given that she was one of the founders of the club along with my grandfather.

“She wrote to me once. She told me to come to here to the city. She dealt with my inheritance and covering my parents’ death. I read in the news that Nanny Lynn’s husband had been arrested. The police assumed him to be jealous. He tried to resist and was shot.” Her grin widened. The girlish gap in her front teeth seeming malevolent. “They’ll never know the truth. Tawny told them they needn’t bother to look for me.” She shrugged off any morbidity that was starting to gather. “I haven’t heard from her for years now. She is most likely dead. So it goes on.”

“How did you get all the way from Filton to Millefort Harbour?” I asked. The harbour was at the coast. It had been where she met Dennis.

Tabitha laughed but this time it seemed a little nervous.

“You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help a little girl dressed like a whore.”

Dennis had been one of them. It certainly sealed his fate.

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Episode 19: Back Stage will be live 26/11/2017

Check out the story from the beginning:

Knock, Knock (Episode 1): Welcome to the Club

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Knock, Knock (Episode 17): Behind Closed Doors

There it was, that familiar door. A dark spot in the loneliest alley way in the city. You wouldn’t even notice it if you weren’t looking for it. They told me I would never get away and like a fool I refused to believe them. Now the little girl – Sarah – was dead. Perhaps Tabitha was right when she told me she would still be alive if it weren’t for me. I took her away from the club and in my misguided heroism they were both gunned down. I as good as pulled the trigger on the innocent kid and her father.

“Just kill me,” I groaned when I was back in familiar surroundings.

Tabitha slammed a crystal glass onto my hand and poured a generous serving of whiskey. She gave a laugh more guttural than her usual.

“You will insist on ignoring my advice won’t you? Now that little girl’s blood is on your hands,” she said. She took a long drink from the neck of the bottle. She pulled it away from her full lips with a satisfying sigh. “You have a will to live in you yet,” she stated, narrowing her gaze on me. She flicked the brim of the grey hat she wore so it pushed back from her face and revealed more of her round features. “If you just play the game for a little while you will learn I’m not your enemy,” she said in a curious way. It was almost as if everything she had said until then had been a rehearsed line. In that brief moment the act ended and her true self stepped onto stage.

“If you aren’t my enemy, then who is?” I asked.

She smiled. The gap between her front teeth lent a girlish, innocent quality. Her grey eyes focused on mine like a snake charmer catching a serpent. The door behind the bar that led onto the back of the alley opened.

“Dennis!” Tabitha cheered. “Come and have a chat with our Sam,” she said. “After all this time and all of our hospitality he still doesn’t quite understand how things work around here. The club does a lot of good too,” she added. “We may have to shed some blood from time to time but we look after our own and we can the last thing standing between a family and complete destitution.” She pointed to Dennis. “We even reunited Dennis here with his son. Can you believe that? After all those years apart Milo has come back to where he belongs.”

Dennis gave a vacant stare. It was the cold stare of a man already dead but continuing on with the formalities of living.

His gaze dropped when the door from backstage opened and an eleven year old boy came bounding out bundled in an oversized black sweatshirt and the grey shorts he was wearing when I first met him.

Tabitha wrapped her arms around his shoulders and pulled him closer to her planting an affectionate kiss on his head.

“He just loves his Aunty Tabby,” she said.

Dennis didn’t speak but the cloud that had gathered in his long face spoke volumes.

“Get off of him!” came a screeching voice.

A woman came tearing from back stage. Her fingers were splayed like the claws of a cat. A mane of auburn hair flowed behind her. Her teeth were gritted. Milo was pushed aside, bumping his shoulder on the bar. The woman grabbed Tabitha and dug her nails into the club performer’s face.

It all happened so fast. Before I could react I was also pushed aside. Dennis wrapped his arms around the attacker and lifted her away. She was still trying to scratch at Tabitha. No one had to tell me, I had already guessed who she was. From her appearance and her hatred of Tabitha I could only assume her to be Julianne – Dennis’ estranged wife and Milo’s mother.

“Mum, stop!” Milo cried as Dennis wrestled the woman behind the bar.

Tabitha reached two fingers up to her face. She checked them for blood.

“I ought to have that rabid bitch put down,” she said. She snatched Milo by his sleeve. “He stays with me,” she stated. Even Julianne didn’t argue.

Something was about to happen, something that all this had been leading to from the beginning. Tabitha took Milo backstage to prepare for the evening show.

“Help me,” Dennis called from behind the bar. He was holding Julianne’s head against his chest. She was convulsing in a seizure. Foamy saliva was escaping from the corner of her mouth. I had never seen anyone have a fit before. I gripped Julianne by her shoulders and restrained her so she wouldn’t hurt herself.

“What’s wrong with her?” I asked her husband.

Dennis shook his head. There was always a certain distance in Dennis’ face. Sure he would strut about the club like he was on top of the world but that wasn’t his true self, not really. The husband and father who had mistakenly took in the strange girl resulted in his father being killed and his wife fleeing with his son. That was the true him and it was lost that day. Milo had come looking for him but to what end? Julianne already knew what Tabitha was capable of. She had kept her child safe for so long. Why would she return now?

“What is wrong with her?” I asked again as the fit began to fade.

“I don’t know,” replied the club manager. “They gave her something.”

“Why would she come here?” I hoped Dennis could shed some light on his wife’s sudden arrival.

“She knows how to stop them, every last one of them.”

***

Like the ghost that haunted the Knock, Knock club I was left to wander around. I was given my own room back at the top of the building. Thankfully my attempts to escape hadn’t caused my privileges to be withdrawn so that was something. I was brought a plate of greasy meat and a warm mug of lemon tea. It was a better meal than most people in the city could find.

“I heard you had quite a night,” said Lisa, the girl who worked in the club with the flowing red locks. I must have been privileged for her to have brought me food. She rarely left Dennis’ side so smitten with him was the girl.

“Well I’m back now,” I said as the greasy smell danced under my nose causing my stomach to groan.

Lisa said nothing else. When she left the door lay ajar. The last crowd of the evening were gone. All was quiet. I ignored the protests of my yearning hungry body and decided to try and find out more about Julianne. My reporter’s nose was bothering me.

They wouldn’t leave her just to wander around the club, not after attacking it’s star. Dennis would know where she was.

A night club can be a surreal place after the patrons have gone home. Stepping onto the sticky floors and seeing those empty chairs that had been filled with bodies not moments before. It was truly like stepping into an apocalypse. Milo was sat at the bar. He was swirling a neon pink straw around a glass of watered down orange juice.

“It’s late,” I remarked. Truth be told I didn’t actually didn’t know what time it was but as the club was closed it had to be approaching dawn.

“My aunt asked me to wait here,” the boy replied. “She’s going to get me a room.”

“Mind if I join you?” I asked pulling the stool out beside him and not really giving him much of an option.

“It’s your club,” he said.

I hadn’t thought of it like that before. In a lot of strange ways the club did belong to me, thanks to my megalomaniac grandfather. I didn’t know how much had been explained to Milo.

“Where is your dad?” I asked. Milo shrugged his shoulders. A little more delicately I asked, “Where is your mum?”

For all I knew Julianne could be dead by now and Milo could have been there to witness the brutality of her final moments but I suspected Tabitha wouldn’t expose him to that.

He just shrugged her his shoulders again and went back to stirring with his straw.

“This isn’t a good place to be,” I tried to explain to him. He didn’t know me from the next man. I was a stranger to him so why should he listen to me?

“My aunt will take care of me.”

Tabitha had really gotten inside his head. He didn’t even seem to consider his dad. He spoke of her as though she were some kind of Almighty. To someone in the clutches of the Knock, Knock she may very well be.

He would have only been a baby in Julianne’s arms at the time she fled so he wouldn’t remember Tabitha but the still had a bond. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the club had known where he was this whole time and Tabitha had been keeping in touch with him.

Tabitha joined us from backstage. He put her arms around both of us an kissed Milo’s cheek.

“Isn’t this cosy,” she commented. “Two of my favourite boys.”

Milo’s face lit up. I was bemused.

“It’s getting late,” she said to Milo. Sun will be coming up soon and you need to get some sleep.”

Milo dropped the straw and slid off the stool.

“Come say goodbye to your mother first,” she instructed.

Milo didn’t seem worried by this but I knew that goodbye would be a final one.

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Read the story from the beginning!

Knock, Knock (Episode 1): Welcome to the Club

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COMING NEXT WEEK: We find out what makes Tabitha tick and where her blood lust comes from.

Knock, Knock (EPISODE 18): No Kids Allowed – Live 6pm Sunday 19th of November


Status

The Trusty Pencil Case 

This pencil case has been a companion of mine for over ten years (how time does fly). I purchased it on my first day of med school and it has travelled with me ever since. It seems like a strange thing to become so attached to but it has been such a part of my life for such a long time I couldn’t part with it. It has been at my side through so many writes, rewrites, tantrums and tears. 

He isn’t much to look at and his job is simple – carry a ready supply of pens. In this I can verify he has never failed. 

It’s strange how attached we can become to inanimate objects even without realising. When Laptop failed and technology was not my friend, Pencil Case was always there to pick up the slack.

Share your beloved object in the comments below and let’s give a shout out to those inanimate objects that are always there 😀 


Knock, Knock: Episode 16 (Shooting the Breeze)

I gripped the little girl by the shoulder.

“There isn’t much time!” I warned.

She stared back at me with uncomprehending brown eyes. She was afraid. Not because she had been kidnapped. I don’t think she even realised that. She was terrified of me. Even after Tabitha dragging her abruptly away from the park whilst her older brother was distracted she still had no idea the danger she was in. Tabitha’s round, motherly face had managed to pacify the kid. The kid had been stuffing her face with as much cake and ice cream as she could. The girl had been so engrossed in indulging her sweet tooth, she hadn’t noticed how closely Tabitha was watching her with cold, grey eyes, filled with malice.

There was a brief window of opportunity when the girl was alone. It was also my time to escape the Knock, Knock club. I had promised the club manager, Dennis, that I would find his estranged son, Milo and see him to safety too.

There was a small camera peering down from the corner. I had to pull one of the bar stools over and climb on top of it to reach it but it smashed with ease. Our time was even more limited now. If someone noticed the camera broken they would descend on us an army.

“I don’t want to go!” Sarah shrieked. “The lady said I was to stay here.”

I tried to gently coerce her from the table but she resisted. She swung her silver ice cream spoon at me.

“The lady told me I was to wait here until my daddy finds me,” she insisted.

I snatched at the girl with more force. “The lady lied to you,” I tried to explain. “She will hurt you if you don’t come with me now.”

Time was running out. Tabitha would be back soon. I wrapped my hand around the girl’s mouth to stifle her screams as I bodily lifted her from the table. She kicked and flailed in my arms but in the end my comparatively larger size and strength won. I couldn’t just walk out the door with her. My only chance was to hide and wait until someone made a mistake.

“Please,” I whispered. “I’m not going to hurt you. That lady is bad. She is going to keep you here and you will never see your family again. I will get you out of here but I need you to listen to me.”

The girls eyes blurred with tears. My rough, whiskey sodden breath, matted hair and unshaven face couldn’t compete with Tabitha’s in winning over a child but I had to try. I hid the girl in a small adjoining closet kept for bottles. Since the depression had hit hard it was empty. I broke the window and joined her. There was just enough room for the both of us. I watched Tabitha return through a crack in the wood. A vehement anger washed over her grey eyes. Sarah must have seen it too because she writhed beside me. I hadn’t expected my last minute plan to go off without a hitch but Tabitha saw the empty room, spied the broken window and assumed I had escaped into the alley with the little girl.

She growled at herself. She tore across the room to the main door. It was still locked. Only the key she kept on her person could open it. The ice cold chill of outdoors contrasted the stuffiness of the club so heavily it flushed through the room so completely I could feel the chill on my face.

She stepped outside but when she saw no sign of us she returned. Dennis joined her from backstage.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

I had never seen Tabitha so angry.

“I should have killed the little bitch when I had the chance!” she snarled. “She’s gone,” she admitted. “Sam is too.”

Sarah sobbed beside me. I tried to console her as best I could. We were still in a lot of danger and her sniffs would give us away.

“He can’t have gotten out,” Tabitha reasoned with herself. “Someone would have stopped him. He must still be in here somewhere.”

Dennis obviously agreed with her because immediately his stare fixed on our hiding place. He didn’t point it out.

“They won’t get far,” he said. “The alley is on constant watch. He would have to have went round the front if he wanted to get away without being noticed.”

Tabitha took this as a flippant statement of the obvious but I saw it for what it was. He was giving us a way out.

Tabitha stopped suddenly. She looked behind her towards the hiding spot. A wicked smile traced her lips. Dennis wrapped his long fingers around her arm and pulled her back before she had the chance to move any closer to us.

“They won’t get far,” he repeated. “Right now you are needed upstairs.”

Tabitha looked at him suspiciously but she did leave. As soon as the door closed Sarah tried to climb out of the hiding place. I pulled her back, put my finger to my lips and bid her to remain hidden until a few minutes passed and we could be sure we were safe to leave.

When I was certain that we were alone I ushered the little girl back out into the hall. I couldn’t be certain if I could trust Dennis but I had to take my chances. He may be distracting them and affording me the opportunity to escape or he was playing a cruel joke. It didn’t matter which. It was now or never. If had to at least try. I was as good as a dead man anyway.

First, I helped Sarah climb through the broken window. I followed after her. I pushed myself through the small space which was barely big enough to fit through. I was conscience more of time than of the broken glass tearing in at me. When I dropped into the alley of the Knock, Knock Sarah was inspecting the cuts on her filthy hands. I gripped her arm and we both started towards the front of the building. A busy street ran past so I hoped we would find some kind of refuge in a large crowd. I could hear voices calling out behind us as we ran. I couldn’t tell the emotion of them or distinguish any of the words clearly.

“Where are we going?” Sarah asked.

“I’m taking you home,” I told her. “Do you know how to get to your home from here?”

She nodded. I was surprised. Perhaps we don’t give enough credit to kids or maybe she was smarter than your average one but I couldn’t have found my way home at that point.

Coldridge Park was where Tabitha had taken her so her home must have been close by.

If Dennis had truly aided my escape I owed it to him to check if Milo was safe. I didn’t know where to begin looking for him. I was hoping Sarah’s father would offer me some sanctuary in exchange for bring back his daughter and from there find Milo.

***

“It’s just down here,” Sarah pointed excitedly.

“Wait,” I warned. “We’re going to have to get your dad on his own.

She lived in a terraced block of beautifully kept town houses. Just at the other end of the park. Most of the homes were empty but for a single room on the lower floor.

We waited at a distance. The shadows of night were beginning to fall. The main door of the home opened and a burly, middle aged man stepped out.

“That’s my dad,” Sarah said.

He collected a silver cigarette case from the pocket of the cardigan he wore. He extracted one and placed it between his lips. He lit the tobacco and sighed as he drew.

I instructed Sarah to wait. I approached her father.

“I have your daughter,” I said by way of introduction.

A guilty look sparked across him and the cigarette was left dancing on his lips.

“What do you want now?” he growled. “I’ll get your money.”

“Wait, you don’t understand,” I tried to explain.

His shoulders tightened and he loomed closer to me. He was a big guy. Much bigger than I was.

“You are from the Knock, Knock right? I’ve seen you there.”

“I am but I have your daughter,” I told him. “She’s safe.”

He shook his head. His strength dissolved. “I couldn’t tell anyone. Who could I tell?” he sobbed.

“Sarah!” I called. “You can come over.”

Her father looked out into the darkness. The light from the porch only illuminated so much of the lawn. The pressure the club was putting him under was beginning to show on his face.

Sarah’s nostrils flared as she ran to him. Her father’s lips widened into the most relieved smile I have ever seen on a man. He lifted her into his arms and showered her face with adoring paternal kisses. Content that I had reunited Sarah with her family safely I turned and left them to their reunion. I began to wonder what life would be life outside the club and how far I would have to go to be free of them.

A crack of a gun sparked. This was closely followed by a small scream from Sarah. Her father dropped her onto the porch. A red fountain began to spring from his forehead. Sarah tried to pull him to his feet but the shot had been too precise. He was gone. Throwing all caution to the wind I dashed to Sarah to pull her away but another shot fired. This time it was the little girl who slumped down. Her lifeless little body lay beside her father.

I looked in the direction of the gunman but there was no way I would be able to see them.

“Bastard!” I screamed at the unknown assailant. A third shot fired. Luckily it hit the ground at my feet. I was left with no choice but to run. A couple more shots came after me.

Running in no particular direction with no particular destination in mind and no hope I found myself back on the street. Someone snatched at me.

“Come with me.”

It was Tabitha. She was dressed in black trousers and an oversized red coat. She had pulled her brunette hair away from her shoulders into a pony tail that cascaded on her shoulders. She looked a completely different person away from the Knock, Knock stage. I began to follow her down a pathway that led through a small play ground before I even realised it was her.

***

Tabitha sat on a swing. She looked up at me and smiled. There was a hint of laughter on her lips. Without her make-up she looked much younger than I assumed her to be.

“Why don’t you just kill me,” I groaned. “I don’t want anything to do with you or the Knock, Knock. I never did.”

“After everything I have done to keep your ass alive this is how you repay me?” she replied.

“That little girl didn’t have to die…” I began.

Tabitha pushed herself back, kicked out and began to swing.

“If you had listened to me and left her where she was then she would be back at the club

safe and sound, gorging herself on ice cream,” she said.

I hated to admit it but she was right. The kid was dead because of me. Theresa and Maddie were dead because of me. Hell the whole damn thing started because of my megalomaniac grandfather.

Tabitha must have sensed what I was thinking.

“Cheer up, Sam,” she said. “You’ll always have me watching out for you.”

Something about those words left me feeling cold.

“I know something else,” she added. “I know where Milo is.”

‘Damn it!’ I thought. They really were everywhere.

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Danger in Transport (A Conflict Chronicle)

Harbour County Sheriff, Thomas Robinson, had awoken early that morning and expected everything to be like it always was. He was a small town man, always had been. He and his wife had been keeping up to date with the ‘Chaos Killings’ and the news had been regurgitating information on the New York attack. He never expected it to be a situation to reach his sleepy little town.

He had been in the office. His feet were on the desk and he was bouncing a ball on the ground that he had had since his college football days. He didn’t anticipate any trouble. Old man Granger getting drunk or chasing some of the local children from the reservoir was about as difficult as things got for him so the moment two men in black suits, flashing official badges came crashing into his office his feet were planted on the ground.

“We are from the FBI,” they explained. “We are transporting a high profile prisoner and we need to take control of your facility,” said the first agent.

Sheriff Robinson stammered for a moment. “Who is the prisoner?”

The second agent looked at the cell in the corner of the room. Drunks sleeping off their hangovers and petty thieves were all housed there but never before had he ever had a true prisoner. “We are not really at liberty to discuss that,” the agent told him. The second agent pushed papers the thickness of a book into his arms.

“They are heading to Hodlam prison,” Sheriff Robinson gasped to his young deputy.

The fair haired adolescent, Chuck Holden, shuddered, “Surely not!”

Sheriff Robinson put on his hat and smoothed his greying whiskers. “What about our own prisoners? If we pick someone up where will be put them?”

The first agent had lifted his communication device but before he spoke into it he said to the sheriff, “We have arranged with the local bank. They have cleared some secure rooms which can be used for the next twenty four hours. We will be on our way again at six am.”

“What do you need me to do?” asked the sheriff.

The first agent became impatient. “We must move fast. Keep the perimeter secure as best you can and our men will do the rest.”

“Bring him in,” said the second agent into the device with a slight crackle.

Most of the residents of Harbour stopped and stared as a convoy of five official FBI cars trundled slowly through their streets surrounding a heavily secured van. When they reached the sheriff base the FBI agents poured from their vehicles and formed a line from the van to the entrance of the station. They all had ear pieces and one hand was placed on their guns. Two stepped forward and opened the van door. More FBI agents spilled out before the prisoner was pulled into daylight.

“Who is that?” Chuck asked. “Who is this we are going to be housing?”

The sheriff laid his hand gently on the young boys shoulder. “That is Andrei Borkov, the Yugasov who killed all those soldiers,” the sheriff said. Some people may have been mistaken but there was no fooling good old Tom Robinson. He had seen Andrei Borkov’s face so many times on the news during the Russian conflict. He couldn’t blame anyone for being surprised though. The media had reported that he had been killed in Minsk.

Harbour had never been a highlight for tourists and the most exciting thing ever to happen was when the fair visited in the summer, but Thomas Robinson did his job and did it well. All the people of Harbour knew him and he had been elected Sheriff every year since he first ran. He had never expected to be faced with such a task. With his heart condition it was likely his wife, Beth, would have protested against it.

There was little movement Andrei Borkov could make because his hands and feet were shackled. Four of the agents stood close beside him with one hand on him and the other on their guns. As the Yugasov was moved past the Sheriff and the deputy, his gaze met theirs. He said nothing.

“Prisoner secure,” one of the agents announced when Andrei had been locked in the sheriff station cell. The FBI agents remained at the station and around the perimeter on high alert, swapping for fresh new eyes every hour or so. They were keen to keep curious onlookers, vengeful vigilantes and possible supporters at bay. So Harbour went about its normal simple routine with one eye constantly darting towards the sheriff office.

When Sheriff Robinson returned home his wife had a warm pot of soup waiting for him with freshly baked bread.

“What is all the fuss at the station Tom?” she asked right away. She had been so eager for him to return home so she could find out. The cell phone she had been given by the kids had never been used but that morning she had tried to call.

“They are moving a high profile prisoner and they needed a secure stop off point,” he told her feeling proud at being privy to such importance.

“I saw all the cars and agents … FBI aren’t they?”

By six am the following morning the agents and their prisoner were gone from Harbour and although things would return to what they always were, Sheriff Thomas Robinson would be left with a story to tell the grandkids.

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Knock, Knock: The story so far!

 

It’s been a great run so far and I am thrilled to see so many people tune in, enjoy and follow the Knock, Knock series.

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