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Something had to be done. After her sister – in – law, Alice, died, Elizabeth had stepped in to help her brother take care of the two children left behind. The eldest, Catherine, was no longer a problem. She had been sent to boarding school in the city. George, a boy of seven, was proving to be more than she could handle. Elizabeth wasn’t long home from the hospital after losing her leg in the alleged accident and should have been resting.

She had no children of her own so she wasn’t prepared for the emotional strain. Alice always complained about how difficult motherhood was and how her children were uncontrollable at times – especially George. She even said there were times she hated the blonde haired, blue eyed child she had bore. Elizabeth didn’t believe her. Whenever she saw her nephew at holidays or on short visits throughout the year he seemed a normal boy to her. He was a little spoiled perhaps but that was to be expected from his privileged upbringing.

When Elizabeth moved in she quickly realised there was a distinct difference between seeing the children on holidays and providing full time care for them. She begged Ernest to take his son in hand more but her brother showed no interest in the boy. He was consumed almost completely with the running of the investment firm that their father left to him.

One afternoon at the club she overheard her neighbour, Mrs Peterson, discuss a local music tutor. They spoke amongst themselves with barely a smile to offer Elizabeth. She didn’t blame them – not after what George had done to Oliver, one of Mrs Peterson’s twin boys. The news of the music tutor was helpful to her though. Piano concertos were all that seemed to calm George down some days.

‘Perhaps music lessons would give him something more positive to focus on,’ she reasoned.

Hesitantly Mrs Peterson gave Elizabeth the number where the tutor could be reached. He had been teaching her twins for some time now and she vouched that they were making remarkable progress on piano and cello.

He may refuse to teach George,” Mrs Peterson warned with a slight sneer crinkling the bridge of her long nose. Elizabeth ignored her and noted the number in the small silver notebook she always carried with her. “Don’t tell him it was my recommendation,” the neighbour added. The sneer became more prominent. Elizabeth’s first instinct was to protect her nephew but having been the one to find Oliver Peterson covered in so much blood it was difficult to argue George’s innocence.

Later that afternoon she tried the tutors number.

Good afternoon. Vincent Baines speaking. Can I help you?” asked a polite voice.

Good afternoon, Mr Baines. I was just wondering if you were accepting any new students?”

The voice on the other end drew away for a few moments. “I have room for one or two more,” he replied.

He’s seven years old and he has a fondness for piano,” explained Elizabeth.

Yes…” Vincent said as though writing something down.

We were hoping for perhaps two hours a week. We have our own piano at home.”

That’s fine. I can stop by Wednesday around five.”

Elizabeth bit her lip. She couldn’t understand why the thought of the tutor refusing her nephew made her so nervous. Perhaps because she felt Vincent was her last hope.

Actually, would you be able to come tomorrow at eight? Before school? It’s not for a lesson, it would be just to meet him. He doesn’t do well with strangers and he will find it easier if he meets you first,” she hoped she sounded more confident than she felt.

Of course,” said Vincent. “I look forward to seeing you then.”

Vincent’s voice had a delicate balance of warmth and formality that was well practiced. Elizabeth gave the address of the Beckingridge Manor and rang off.

She didn’t know what she would tell George about his new lessons or how he would take the news. He would just have to accept it. She was the adult and was doing something proactive. She couldn’t have another death in the house or another police investigation.

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Lot’s of people say that porcelain dolls are creepy. I always disagreed. I was given my first doll for Christmas back when I was eight and I loved it so much people kept flooding me with more and more. I’m now thirteen and I still love my dolls.

Their horrid. How can you sleep at night with all of them staring at you like that,” my best friend Otto says. He’s not the free spirit I am. He thinks I don’t notice but he tends to turn them to face the wall if we happen to be watching TV at my house. I can see his eyes dart every now and again to them to check they haven’t moved on their own.

The bright pink walls of my room are lined with various porcelain faces. My favourite one is one that always sits in the middle. She wears a purple dress. Her eyes are beetle black and she has a thick head of spiral curls like my own. Dad brought her back from a trip to the lesser known country of Mergovia. He was on a photography assignment from his newspaper when he saw an old woman who easily looked like she had seen one hundred years. She was selling the dolls so he brought one home for me. He said that the woman had tried to usher him some kind of warning but he didn’t understand the language. He always did have a flair for the dramatic.

I named her ‘Hate’ because of all my dolls – their faces normally serene, shiny eyes vacant – she looked like she was scowling a little. Given her stern expression and crazy hair I always imagined her angry. I would tell Hate all of the things that were bothering me. She wouldn’t dismiss them or tell me that I was over reacting like most people did. She listened. She scowled on my behalf and I felt better. I had a good thing going with Hate. That was until the night I woke her up.

It had been a particularly bad day. I had failed a Spanish test, I dropped my lunch tray in view of everyone and I had been walking around all afternoon with toilet paper stuck to my shoe. Rather than telling me this the girls felt it better to giggle at my expense. It wasn’t until I met Otto after school and he told me was it finally removed. My name being Tally, it lead to the new nickname ‘Toilet Paper Tally’. I will now bear this new name until I can talk dad into letting me move school.

I was relaying all of this to Hate, spilling my inner nastiness. She stared down at me with her scowl like she felt the pain of each of my words.

I smiled, content that I had managed to shoulder my humiliation. I switched my lamp off and laid my head on my pillow. I gave one last look at Hate and could have sworn she was angled more towards me than she had been. Anyway, off to sleep I went.

In the middle of the night I heard a soft singing. It was a tune that seemed familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. It was a soft little voice that sounded younger than my own. There was someone else in my room! I looked up. This time Hate definitely had moved. She was staring straight at me.

Well look who’s awake,” she said in a sharp, shrill shriek that wasn’t as soft as her singing voice.

I could only stare at her. How often does a doll come to life? Too often I’d say.

Aren’t you going to lift me down from here or are you just going to keep staring at me like a dim witted moron.”

You’re not real,” I gasped.

Hate shook her head. “You can bet your ass I’m real.”

Dolls don’t come to life.” I tried rubbing my eyes. My brain told me I was dreaming.

Hate shook her head slowly. It a slow moment that required a lot of effort from her. “This one does. Now get me down from here. We have work to do…”

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We are so pleased to present a painting of King Henry of Ravensedge. Thank you for the submission. We think His Majesty would approve of his portrait showing him gallant upon his horse ready for any challenge.


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Henry is not of royal blood. Only a black magic could secure his throne. To check out Vivika Widow’s MYTHS AND TALES for the full story click HERE .

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The land of Susiname lies the south. It takes a strong minded adventurer to wander along the silver coastlines. To delve further into the deep forests Is a quest not for the faint of heart.

It was a land of monsters. Giants, trolls and other monsters of the unspeakable variety roamed deep inland.

Susiname was also a kingdom of great division. King Desmond died. It is told that he faced the great Malwock Beast in protection of his kingdom but the beast had the better. With it’s poison the king was turned to stone. A monument was erected in his memory at the gate of the Genya Estate (home of the Susiname royalty). Some say it is merely a monument. Other’s believe that it is the petrified king himself who lies beneath.

The kingdom erupted into a civil war. A new king could not be chosen. Desmond’s daughter, Asana, was but a child of six. Blood was shed but before a full scale war was declared among the Dukes, King Roman of Navaria, a powerful neighbouring kingdom to the North and King Benjamin of Elgany, another powerful neighbour stepped in and brought peace to the troubled land.

Control of Susiname was given to those who owned the respective lands within the kingdom. It kept peace for a time. Beneath the glorious sun kissed surface, beneath the noses of the powerful benefactors, lay a horrific injustice. The Counts were unsatisfied with their gains. They wanted more. They needed labour to toil their lands and the labour was expensive. A trade began in human lives. Sold into slavery were those who had nowhere else to go, those deemed lower in caste and those who had no means of paying their debts.

Susiname had its monsters, but for each new child born into slavery there was a desire to escape into the unknown, no matter what they would be up against.

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Tabitha opened the door. She stared at Maddy’s body like a famished fox in a hen house.

Clever boy,” she said. “You shot her. I knew you could do it.”

I was still in a state of shock. “I didn’t,” I ground. “She shot herself.”

Tabitha’s expression changed quickly. The fox had now learned that it wasn’t the hen house after all but the hound’s kennel.

Don’t say that to anyone else if you want to survive,” she warned. “She is dead, that’s all that matters.” Her vixen like smile returned. “Besides, watching her put the gun to her head without trying to stop her is as good as murdering her.”

I was going to tell her that I did try to stop her but I sensed it would fall on deaf ears.

My wife was gone, my best friend was gone and even the mayor of the town was gone. The bodies were piling up at the Knock, Knock club and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

When I was finally allowed to leave the room they had locked me in until Maddy was dead. I found Dennis still looking more morose than usual. There was no paying customers in the club at that time. Tabitha distracted herself with some of the girls who were begging her for advice and trying to win her favour.

I felt my body tense. I stood beside Dennis with one eye still on Tabitha.

You can forget what help I was going to give you. You can rot in here for the rest of your life for what it is worth to me. The body of your boy can be thrown in the alley with the rest of them; along with my wife and my friend,” I spat. They were harsh words but the club was beginning to drain my humanity. Maybe I was a Crusow after all.

Dennis stole a quick glance at the others. “There was nothing I could have done. She came here looking for you and it was Tabitha who greeted her.”

I had heard enough. I wasn’t really interested in anything more that Dennis had been telling me.

Why don’t I tell Tabitha about the little visit we had from Milo. I’m sure she could easily track him down,” I snapped.

I tried to walk away but he snatched me back. Tabitha craned her neck to examine the commotion closer. Dennis patted my shoulder with a smile as though we were having a brotherly scuffle.

He lowered his voice. “You wouldn’t do that.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Wouldn’t I?”

You wouldn’t put an innocent child in danger. Milo has nothing to do with any of this. Unfortunately the same can’t be argued for Madeline. If I could have stopped her coming here I would have.”

I shook my head again. My temples were aching with anger. My emotions were beginning to burn in my eyes.

If you don’t help me get out of here tonight, I will happily show the way to Milo. In fact, I will happily plunge the knife into him myself.”

Don’t say things you can’t fulfil,” Dennis warned.

Try me,” I urged. “After weeks trapped in this club who knows what I have become capable of. I am Sam Crusow after all. My grandfather started this whole nonsense. Since my arrival I have been pushed to be more like him. So there you have it. I’m now willing to murder a little boy to get some satisfaction.”

Tabitha called me over. I left Dennis with my threats to his estranged son.

You mustn’t blame Dennis for the state Madeline found herself in,” said she, sensing the reason for my frustrated frown. “The club doesn’t need to look far for it’s next kill. Greed, desperation and jealousy are all reasons we are given by our members to rid of their nuisances. But don’t fret. It’s not all bad. Everything that Madeline had will now be shared amongst us and so the club continues.”

I’m getting used to it,” I lied.

Cheer up.” She patted my cheek. “It could be a whole lot worse. If it weren’t for you carrying your grandfather’s name you would be dead already.”

I am grateful,” I said sarcastically.

Tabitha laughed. “It strikes me as odd that you seem more upset at the death of the lovely Madeline than you did your poor wife.”

I had no answer for that comment.

In my time at the Knock, Knock club I had witnessed them kill for money, kill as a warning and kill for fun. As night fell, I watched the body of my long time friend being removed to the alley from my window. She lay amongst the city’s waste where no police officer would care. The desperate residents of Coldford would remove anything on her person that was of value or could be made of use. This wasn’t very much after the club were done with her. I kept clear of the window after that. I couldn’t bare my view being the corpse of Madeline staring up at me. The horror and desperation of her final moments still remaining in her dead eyes.

Little did I know, the worst was yet to come.

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Check out the story from the beginning!

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

Knock, Knock (episode 2): Don’t Come Knockin’

Knock, Knock (Episode 3): Sleep Tight Sam

Knock, Knock (Episode 4): Take A Bow

Knock, Knock (Episode 5): Big City Kid

Knock, Knock (Episode 6): Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock (Episode 7): A Night Cap At The Club)

Knock, Knock (Episode 8): Just A Quick One

Knock, Knock (Episode 9) The Daddy Of Them All

Knock, Knock (Episode 10): Calling Last Orders

Knock, Knock (Episode 11): A Room with a View

Knock, Knock (Episode 12): It’s not Me it’s You

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Age: 58
Nation: Ojibwi – Chief
Warrior Name: Thundering Horse.
Little is known of Sonyo’s exact origins, although he appears to be of native American decent has was found abandoned as a baby outside a temple Morioka, Japan by a member of the brothers of light. Raised and trained by Master Yamagati, Sonyo mastered his techniques and used them well during many Makri attacks.
It was Sonyo who first established relations between the brotherhood and the Ojibwi giving them much needed protection. Eventually becoming an Ojibwi warrior himself he was hailed a hero by the Brothers of Light. Sonyo went on to use his skills to help Prime Minister Grimsby combat Makri forces during the southern hemisphere war. His various victories eventually saw him become one of the greatest Ojibwi honours, chief of the Americas which saw him take up seats in Washington placing him as an advisor to Tribal matters.
Sonyo believes that one day he will find the light to eternal peace but often wonders which form it will take and fears that it could be born in blood. As a Purple feather meaning wisdom Sonyo is rarely seen to be wrong and combined with his fighting styles of jujitsu, jeet kune Do and judo proves that he can be a very powerful ally or a very deadly enemy.

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Join the Conflict and prepare yourself for the much anticipated graphic novel. With heroes and villains on all sides get ready to decide which one you are on!

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The world is a stage they say and there is nowhere quite like the theatre. When you step into that building you know there is a whole world of possibilities ready to unfold before you. The light on that empty state, ready and waiting for its eager audience.

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I am so excited to share with you that one of my own tales will be getting the stage play treatment!

THE GIFT first appeared as a short story in the MYTHS AND TALES COLLECTION (2014). It tells the story of an old man named fletcher who accepting his end is near wishes to leave his wealth to a worthy cause so that his legacy of generosity will live on long after he is gone.

As he lives out his final days he meets a struggling author named Nathaniel. Fletcher is touched by Nathaniel’s story and his kind spirit so decides on Nathaniel being the one he would like to support. Fletcher’s family worry that he Nathaniel isn’t all that he seems. We are all equal when we knock on Death’s door. It is up to us what impression we wish to leave behind.

I was overwhelmed by the amazing reception this story received. It means a lot to me that it would speak to so many people. It will be coming to a stage near you in 2018 in support of Ragdolls UK (Reg: SCO43805).

Check back here for announcements and I’ll see you at the theatre!

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Click HERE to read the MYTHS AND TALES collection!

Coming soon as a web series from Torrance Media