I thought it was when I first crossed the threshold of the KNOCK KNOCK club that my life changed forever. The truth was it happened the moment I arrived in the Shady City.
“You’ll find some dark stories in Coldford,” my dad told me before I left the sleepy little suburb of JAMESTOWN.
It did have a reputation but then most big cities do.
MADELINE, my fellow reporter was the first person I met. She was friendly, intelligent and had the ravenous, wild ambition most reporters do. What happened to her is something I still can’t bear to write down. Seeing my name associated with the city’s largest newspaper blinded me. Being a journalist was all I ever wanted. I guess I had that ravenous hunger for a story too and it led to people close to me getting hurt.
There were whispers of the Knock Knock cabaret club being connected to the disappearance of the mayor. Having exhausted all other avenues and an invitation conveniently landing in my hands it was my next port of call.
I met a woman there. She had coldness in her eyes that told me she was going to be trouble. She was foul, vicious and knew more about what had happened to the mayor than she would tell. I couldn’t draw myself away from her. The story lay with her and the mayor was only just the beginning. You see, the Shady City was a dangerous place as my dad had warned and those dangers spilled out of the Knock Knock club but the real threat was far greater than anything I had anticipated.
Tragedy, jeopardy and deceit were all thrown as obstacles in my way. The story was too great. No matter the consequences to me it had to be told.
Luckily I had friends along the way to help. Without them I would have been lost.
What nights at the Knock Knock club taught me was that the true problem the city faces is much grander than sequins, feathers, booze and blood. Judgement is set to fall and the hammer of justice will crush anyone underneath it, even a BOSS LADY who would seem to have the world at her feet.
When the villains of the Shady City are all locked behind bars and the doors are closed on the origins of that villainy where will it leave the rest of us? What happens next? Well, that is where the true story lies.
Well folks that was a sum up from our Sam. Keep your eyes peeled for more from the Knock Knock club. In the meantime:
Complete season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to read HERE.
As the son of the City’s most feared High Court JUDGE, for Cameron discipline is a way of life. He knows to obey the rules. He is a good son because he is all too familiar with the consequences if those rules are broken.
Cameron is built strong. He has a long line of Doyle blood behind him and as such he is an athletic boy. he was sought for the KINGSGATE football team. However, a head injury sustained at home made it difficult for him to proceed. He still remains strong but it left him slower to react and more passive with the ball at his feet.
When looking at Cameron’s medical records one will find no mention of his father. His paternal information is sealed by the High Court only to be opened in the event of the death of his mother. The closest he has to a father figure in his life is his cousin MICKY who came to all of his games to cheer him on.
The outside world is a little daunting for Cameron. Like most people his age he likes to lose himself in video games. When he locks himself in his gaming room he is transported to various realms where he can be whoever he wants to be. He has friends there. They’ve never met before but they join him in his realms where rules no longer apply.
Complete season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to read HERE.
The KNOCK KNOCK club has closed its doors on season 1 so let’s take a look back at the story so far. It was a wild ride so here are 10 little details you may have missed. There are spoilers so click HERE to back off and catch up.
1 – MYSTERIOUS STRANGER
In EPISODE 1, SAM’S wife, THERESA, tells him that a woman came looking for him. She left warning that he should tread carefully on the story of the mayor’s disappearance and an invitation to the titular Knock Knock club. Have you figured out who that woman was yet?
Navigating a reporter to the Knock Knock club and protecting his every step sounds like a job for a Knock Knock girl who is far more than she seems, right?
2 – CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE
From the moment Sam enters the dressing room of the Knock Knock Boss Lady, TABITHA, in EPISODE 2 she is wowed by him. Later in EPISODE 5 she finds the reporter sharing a laugh with LYDIA. Already with a resentment against the pretty agent, Tabitha’s grudge is buried deeper when she sees that Sam is made it ease by Lydia and they even share a laugh at her expense. How dare they!
What you may have missed is that despite Tabitha being a villain of the piece there is a childish nature rooted in her character. This is shown when she takes Sam to his room and coos at her own poster. Like a love sick teenager she is hoping her glamorous photo will impress Sam more than the fun loving Lydia ever did. Maybe not Tabs …
3 – THAT KNIFE
Yes you’ve seen that knife before. In EPISODE 7 Tabitha wielded it in what has become ingrained in the audience’s psyche as ‘that scene with the parents’.
The knife was returned to Tabitha (she’s sentimental that way) because it appears again in EPSIODE 10 when our two reporters, Sam and MADELINE are challenged to a stab off.
4 – GUN POWDER
With a sneaky shot in EPISODE 9 we are first properly introduced to BUDDY OWEN of KAPPA SO in EPISODE 14. He is a little deranged, there’s no denying that, but that blood shot look in his eyes that suggests he’s three sheets from the wind? Well that comes from an addiction to powder as it is known on the streets of the Shady City, cocaine to the rest of us.
Not to worry though folks. As an Owen he has fire arms in his blood. Even if he’s snorted every last ounce of powder in the Chapter House, if he aims he will not miss his target. That is guaranteed.
He begs Chloe to fetch help from a DR WINSLOW. Yes you have heard that name before. Readers of MUSE know him as the most skilled surgeon in the Shady City and current owner occupier of HARVESTER FARM. Frying pan into the fire Dennis?
6 – MAKE AN IMPRESSION
In EPISODE 14 we are offered some insight into little Tabitha and her relationship with her lovable AUNT TEE. Nervous at the prospect of standing before the ominous JUDGE DOYLE , Tawny tries to ease the tension by putting on a pair of glasses and jesting with her niece about how it makes her seem like a business woman as apposed to a club owning good time girl.
This advice resonated in the mind of Tabitha because in EPISODE 4 when Tabitha removes Sam from the clutches of CPD she is dressed … well … appropriately we suppose …
7 – MATCHING NECKLACES
Speaking of aunts, did you notice the matching pendants that Tawny and her partner AGNES wear? Yes they match. Dawwwww. These little details seek to remind the audience that the Knock Knock club can be a place of love and not just the seedy cabaret club it first seems.
The Billionaire Beckingridge family are quite a big deal in Coldford and given Ernest’s witness testimony we doubt we’ve heard the last of him.
Also, in the beginning of Maestro, Vincent observes a couple leaving their beautiful mansion home, too focused on their day ahead to bid each other goodbye. That couple was none other than Mr and Mrs Heath.
9 – STILL SHE STANDS
She was spoken about a lot in volume 1, prior to her entrance in EPISODE 14. Judge Karyn Doyle has a reputation that not only resonates through the Knock Knock series but in other Shady City Thrillers too.
When Alice Beckingridge is accused of murder it is Judge Doyle who exonerates her.
When Addict artist, David Finn, falls to the needles again it is his girlfriend Laura who leads him astray. Laura just happens to be the youngest of the Doyle sisters and as a result of her bratty behaviour big sister Karyn cuts her off.
However, it’s not until we see her in the flesh we realise just why the entire city know her and know to fear being brought before her bench – better known as the rack.
She is immovable, unkillable and no matter who tries to stop her, still she stands.
10- WELCOME TO HARBOUR HOUSE
Speaking of things that get a lot of mention …
Throughout the events of the trial the unique rehabilitation facility located at Chamberlain Docks is mentioned quite a lot. It is where Tawny is recovering from an attack carried out on her beloved club.
However, what also should be noted is that it’s the same clinic David Finn checks into at the end of Muse as well as being where music teacher Vincent Baines is taken after the events of Maestro.
So as the Knock Knock club closes its doors don’t fret. You will always be welcome to recover at Harbour House.
So there you have it folks. We think we’ve covered just about everything. We are glad you came along to the Knock Knock club for some unforgettable moments and some moments that will perhaps scar you for life. (You’re welcome!) We will be back again soon but in the meantime enjoy this little demonstration as to why it still remains the hottest spot in the Shady City.
Complete season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to readHERE.
As the weeks went on the support for Tabitha outside the Court House began to gain traction. Those who were protesting against her and calling for her head began to hush. For the first time since the trial began it started to look as though there was a chance the jury would dismiss her of some, if not all, of the charges against her, putting her back on the street, furious at the inconvenience and more dangerous than ever. I heard that the Penn triplets were being set with their own charges but it would be some time yet before they would be held by Coldford Correctional – a large, gloomy prison at the tip of Bournton better known as The Boss because of the way it gazed down over the northern town.
Saving one of those closest to Tabitha for the last, Ronnie called Agnes to the stand. He hoped that a motherly perspective on his client would leave warmth in the Jury as his last bid for her freedom.
Judge Doyle: Presiding
Counsel for the Defendant: Ronald Owen
Defendant: Tabitha MC
Witness: Agnes Wilde
Clerks and Bailiffs
Ronnie Owen: “You have known the defendant for most of her life, correct?”
AGNES WILDE: “I was there when Tawny got the call to tell her she had become an aunt. She had been estranged from her brother Rob for a few years. We had just set up the Knock Knock Club at the time.”
RONNIE OWEN: “Have you ever seen the defendant become violent?”
Agnes Wilde: “She can have a bit of a temper but no I have never personally seen her become violent. What people fail to realise is that she needs help. Her parents cared nothing for her. If she didn’t have something of a temper, who knows where she could have ended up? She fought off predators, dirty dealers, embezzlers and filthy swine of all descriptions. That wasn’t just for her, but for others too. If she didn’t have something of a temper she would have been lost in the filth of this city and countless other lives ruined too.”
Ronnie Owen: “Are you saying she truly cares?”
Agnes Wilde: “I have never known a girl who cares so much. She just has her way of doing things. When the talk of the bid to take over the Shanties first came to light, Tabitha did what she could to help the people. Mayor Feltz had sold out on his campaign promises. Already Swantin was unaffordable for the people of the Shanties and they would have nowhere else to go. Tabitha did as her aunt would have done. She protested against it. She fought so that those people, families, weren’t without a home.”
Ronnie Owen: “And what was the response?”
Agnes Wilde: “Power to the Shanties was cut. They said it was a surge but we all knew it had been deliberate. We were the only area affected. Tabitha brought them together. She used the resources of the club to warm them and feed them. Without that, the elderly and young babies could have perished. She held against them until the power was restored.”
Ronnie Owen: “No further questions.”
The City prosecutor was like a ravenous vulture. He observed Agnes for a few moments before beginning his cross-examination in the hope it would set her on edge. The Broker maintained her composure.
City Prosecutor: “It’s a pretty picture you paint for the jury. A noble hero the defendant seems. ‘Just has her way of doing things,’ you say. Tell me; are fifty-nine people dead at Beckingridge Tower just her way of doing things? Is the brutal murder of her own parents just her little bit of a temper? What criteria does she use to decide who is innocent because from what I can see for every person she has ‘saved’ another is dead or beaten and tortured in a most horrendous fashion.”
Agnes Wilde: “You don’t understand.”
City Prosecutor: “I don’t think you understand Miss Wilde. She is a sadistic, psychopathic monster who needs to be punished. Neither you nor your partner was ever fit to do so.”
Agnes Wilde: “How dare you!”
JUDGE DOYLE: “Order! Counsellor you will not antagonise the witness.”
City Prosecutor: “My apologies ma’am.” Turning his attention back on Agnes. “Did you know anything about the deaths of Rob and Linda McInney?”
Agnes Wilde: “No. I heard they had taken off after the investigation and left Tabitha behind.”
City Prosecutor: “Strange. We have a recording from HARBOUR HOUSE in which you are speaking to your partner. TAWNY MC INNEY clearly asks you to go the house and fetch the defendant. Did you fulfill that wish?”
Agnes Wilde: “Yes but there was no one there when I got there.”
City Prosecutor: “So you visit the house. The parents are gone and Tabitha has disappeared off the face of the planet?”
Agnes Wilde: “That’s correct.”
City Prosecutor: “Did you look for her?”
Agnes Wilde: “Of course I did. Normally when she was in trouble she ran to the Knock Knock Club to me or Tawny.”
City Prosecutor: “But she didn’t this time?”
Agnes Wilde: “No.”
City Prosecutor: “Why not?”
Agnes Wilde: “Because it was not much more than a pile of ash and rubble. It had been burnt down and there are people in this court today who know why that was and who was responsible.”
City Prosecutor: “Let’s not get off track. We’ll get back to the issue at hand. Were you aware of what Tabitha had done to Court Clerk Melanie Wallace?”
Agnes Wilde: “No I was not.”
City Prosecutor: “In the video she clearly berates the victim before delivering a death sentence. How do you feel about that?”
Ronald Owen: “Objection! How Miss Wilde feels about it is irrelevant.”
Judge Doyle: “You have already been warned about this Counsellor.”
Satisfied he had countered Ronnie’s ‘Saviour of the Shanties’ pitch, the City Prosecutor turned back to his bench.
City Prosecutor: “No further questions.”
“You took your feckin’ time!” PADDY groaned to his brother Kieran.
Kieran drew on a joint. “Calm yar tits,” he said. “We got ya didn’t we?”
“Cutting it mighty fine.”
Kieran passed the joint to Paddy who took a drag and let the calm wash off the stress of the CPD holding.
“Ma wanted you to say hello to Uncle Michael if you went down. Block H I believe he’s in. Guess that reunion will have to wait,” jested Kieran. When Paddy passed the joint, Kieran had one more puff before stubbing it out and slipping it into his pocket.
“We had better go,” Kieran urged his brother.
Paddy stretched out the tension in his muscles that had gathered from being held in a CPD transport van. The van had been stopped en route north.
“Is he raging?” Paddy asked.
Kieran raised his eyebrows. “Oh he’s really feckin’ raging alright.”
The rooftop of an industrial unit that was closed for the night offered a panoramic view of the city, from the dregs of the south to the grandeur of the north. The wind was cool.
Whack! Whack! Whack!
The first hit had been hard but it wasn’t a killing blow. It would have been better if it were. The chain rattled as it whacked again.
Whack! Whack! Whack!
CPD officer Gabe had no choice but watch knowing he would soon follow in a similar fate. Perhaps worse? Either way it had all come down to this.
Whack! Whack! Whack!
Hickes was a good man. He had so much to give the city. He wasn’t even meant to be on shift that night. He only came to lend extra support in the transporting of Paddy Mack. When the transport left CPD behind that’s when it all went awry.
Whack! Whack! Whack!
He finally finished with Hickes. His breath was heavy. Now that the heat of the summer had broken, a mist escaped his lips. Gabe closed his eyes as the click, click, click of the finely crafted shoes drew closer. Paddy and Kieran Mack stood behind him watching. The bloodied chain that had beaten Hickes to death was clenched tightly around his fist. Gabe opened his eyes again as the chain jingled close to his face. A tall, formidable figure was Reginald Penn. He caught his breath and pointed the chain at Gabe.
“Where’s my fucking boys?!”
Lydia sat across from me in my usual booth in BOBBY’S LUNCH BOX. She watched on as I sat in quiet contemplation. I dare say the entire affair, from the moment I received the invitation to the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB, was starting to tell on me. I believed then it was reaching a conclusion. If I had known then all that was still to come, I don’t know if I would have found the spirit to carry on but carry on we must and carry on I did. The fate of Tabitha and all those who supported her was under the hammer of the LAW MAKERS and that hammer was set to fall soon, smashing everything within its range.
“I wonder how long the jury will take,” I mused to myself more than the agent. We had already been waiting an hour and a half. I didn’t suspect they would take long in deciding. Tabitha was after all guilty as sin by her own admission.
As though Lydia could sense what I was thinking she said, “She needs to be put away.” Her bouncy accent from the northern town of Bournton did a lot to cover any bitterness that should rightfully have been there. She did go through a lot to bring the Knock Knock Boss Lady in. Tabitha was a mean queen who needed to be locked away.
“I know,” I agreed. Even now I still have no doubt she needed to pay for her crimes. “It’s just how it’s being done. It’s not right.”
The Law Makers were pulling everything they could from the woodwork in order to solidify their hold on Tabitha. They were campaigning to reinstate the death penalty in Greater Coldford, they were punishing her for shedding light on the dirty deeds of their friends in high places, they were going to kill her for it and her only defence was a man who shared the same elite family name as the ones Tabitha was calling out in the first place. It wasn’t right. Justice in this case was a big bad wolf and she had blown down two houses already. The MACKS were still licking their wounds from the raid on the club and the only Penn not in custody, Reggie, had disappeared. Now they had hungrily set their sights on the final one. The bricks of the Knock Knock Club had already been smashed through so it wasn’t likely it would hold.
Lydia shook her head. “Don’t let her get to you. I’ve seen her manipulate people. She is a murderer.”
I could understand Lydia’s concern. Tabitha did have her way of getting to people. It was how she had managed to function so effectively. Lydia had learned from Detective Hickes that had I managed to get an interview with her where she gave me her version of events. My concern then wasn’t for Tabitha. It was for the countless people that the club had protected, fought for. My concern was for the many still in power that wouldn’t answer for corruption, murder, paedophile rings and exploitation of the poor. With Tabitha gone their power would only grow. I had as much reason to hate Tabitha as anyone, for the position she put me in with Madeline, for what happened to SARAH, for all of it. However, every time I looked at her with her childish attitude, her girlish gap tooth grin, all I could see was a scared little girl begging her aunt not to send her back to parents that would sell her into prostitution. Society failed that little girl and many like her. Until I revealed the truth, it was all I was ever going to see and time was running out.
“My job was to get the information they needed and to keep you safe. What happens beyond that is out of our control. She put the nail in her own coffin with the murder of a Court Clerk not to mention the other bodies she has left in her wake,” Lydia explained.
I couldn’t argue with the agents logic. Even Ronnie Owen couldn’t declare the witnesses as liars. Tabitha had done all of those things and was accepting her charges like it was her C.V.
“It’s not what’s happening in the court that bothers me,” I said. Although, if they had been so sure of a clean cut case they wouldn’t be shutting down every law firm that would opt to defend her and planting their own. “They came in heavy handed to the club. They were after Tabitha but they brutally beat their way to her. They have placed a gagging order on me. What are they worried I’ll say? The truth? They have left her with an Owen as her last line of defence. The very ones who are calling to hang her in the first place.”
Lydia had pursed her lips. She was taking what I was saying on board but she was still unmoved by it.
“Ronnie is different from his brothers,” she said.
“I know that. You know that. But the public doesn’t. That kind of atmosphere eats at a jury. The Cappy has cleverly made it seem like they are playing a fair game by having his brother defend her, but their fear and respect for the Owen name would shut them down – guilty, done, no more questions. That has been the Law Makers play all along. A farce of a trial to make an example of Tabitha and anyone who would question their running of the city, leading to a decision that has already been made.”
Lydia sighed. Her phone had been laid down on the greasy table in front of her face down so she lifted it to check if the jury had returned. With no notifications she laid it back down.
“She can’t be saved,” she warned me.
At first, I hadn’t understood whom she had meant. My mind initially went to Sarah, an innocent kid gunned down in the street. I never thought of Tabitha has needing to be saved. When I realised who she meant I scoffed.
“My sympathy for her stretches as far as those who she will leave behind. Her Aunt Agnes will be a sitting duck and her Aunt Tawny has suffered plenty already from what I can tell. You misunderstand what I mean,” I assured her. “If they can do this to someone like Tabitha then where does it end? Exaggerated charges against anyone who doesn’t bow to their will? The Shanties torn down? The Owen family owning the entire city? What happens to people like you and me?”
“You really believe that she had that much influence?”
“If she didn’t the Law Makers wouldn’t be going to the extent of pushing for the death penalty.”
Lydia agreed; I know she did but she was a logical, formulaic thinker and to her it was a matter of one monster at a time.
Lydia smiled. She could see the tension of the trial, everything that had happened to me personally was beginning to take it’s toll. When I first entered the Knock Knock club I had expected to find a seedy club hiding the mayor. I had no idea it would have come to what it had.
“I bet she’s already planning on having her prison jump suit made in red,” she teased.
I laughed despite myself. She was jesting of course but nothing would have surprised me as far as the Boss Lady was concerned.
“She’s probably asked for long cuffs so she can stand with her hand on her hip,” I added.
Lydia laughed heartily. Her laughed eased the tension a little. It made what was to happen next a little easier.
Her phone bleeped. The rattle of it on the table caused a shudder down my spine.
“Whatever happens next we’ll be ready for it,” she said. She checked the screen. “The jury is back.”
A cold breeze blew through the courtroom that day. All the talking, protesting and explaining had been done. All that was left was for the decision to be announced and so with that the hall sat in uncomfortable silence.
All that could be heard was the tapping of Sunday best shoes across the polished floors as the jury filtered back into their bench. Ronnie noted the concern on the foreman’s face. He had a fate in his hands and that can make some of us uncomfortable. The foreman was such a man but he dare not refuse the call of Judge Doyle.
Two large presences collided and only one of them would leave the Court House a victor that day. The stage was set but even with the odds stacked against her, Tabitha still fancied she would come out on top. She always did.
Judge Doyle: Presiding
Counsel for the Defendant: Ronald Owen
Defendant: Tabitha MC
Clerks and Bailiffs
The first to break the cold silence was the judge.
Judge Doyle: “Will the foreman of the jury stand.”
The foreman obeyed.
Judge Doyle: “Has the jury reached a verdict?”
Foreman: “Yes ma’am.”
Judge Doyle: “How does the jury find the defendant?”
Foreman: “On the charges of embezzlement of city funds we the jury find the defendant guilty.”
Tabitha rolled her eyes. That was the least of her concerns. The Judge chose not to chastise her for not taking it seriously enough. She knew the worst was yet to come.
Foreman: “On the charges of murder in the second degree of Melanie Wallace we find the defendant guilty”
This wouldn’t have come as a surprise with the clear evidence I had provided. Dennis had managed to find himself some leniency for his part having objected to it at the time and for providing his testimony.
Foreman: “On the charges of murder in the first degree of Robert McInney, Linda McInney and Lynn Wilton we find the defendant guilty.”
There was no statute of limitations on murder charges in the City of Coldford.
Foreman: “On the charges of inciting violence and orchestrating the event known as the Free Fall Massacre we find the defendant guilty.”
What happened next will forever be on my conscience. I wasn’t there but reading the transcripts I can see the scene unfold. It was a long time coming but like death it is something you will never be prepared for. The time for sentencing had come.
Judge Doyle: “Will the defendant rise.”
Tabitha obeyed this command. She had no choice. The room hushed in anticipation.
Judge Doyle: “For too long you have run amok in this city without any consequences for your actions. Today you will learn that if you break the law you will be punished. You wished to stand as a symbol. I’ll allow that. I will hold you as an example to anyone who thinks that they are above the law. I have been granted power by the city to punish you to the fullest extent. I hereby sentence you to death by lethal injection.”
The courtroom burst into a noisy rabble broken only by the rhythmic slamming of Judge Doyle’s gavel. When the noise dissipated she continued.
Judge Doyle: “You will be confined to the Monte Forte until your date of execution has been confirmed.”
As I read through the transcripts my heart began to race. I knew there was no way Tabitha would not attempt to have the final say. My thoughts were correct because as she was being escorted away to her final resting place before death she scowled at the Judge.
Tabitha: “You can prick me with all the needles you want. You and I both know this isn’t over.”
The Judge engaged her but she remained cool and steady.
Judge Doyle: “It is over. This is my courtroom and my word is final.”
Tabitha: “You’re a cunt. You were born a cunt and you will always be a cunt!”
The bailiffs moved to put pressure on her but the Judge stopped them.
Judge Doyle: “I am also revoking the care of Harbour House for Tawny McInney. She too will be brought before me to answer for her crimes.”
When the trial began I asked myself what it would take to break the Knock Knock Boss Lady. It seemed that was it. The Judge had her but broken things can have sharp edges. Tabitha grabbed a chair and launched it at the unkillable Judge Doyle. The immovable hand of justice didn’t budge as the chair crashed beside her.
TABITHA began screaming in a chilling, unprecedented display of fury.
Tabitha: “You fucking bitch! I will tear you apart if you hurt her! She has done nothing and you know it. I will rip your fucking lungs out!”
The tirade continued. The Judge allowed Tabitha to scream and attempt to shake off the bailiffs like a child in the midst of an extreme tantrum. When she stopped for breath Doyle finally addressed her.
Judge Doyle: “I told you that you do not get the final say in here. Sentence has been passed. Take her away.”
They thought they could hurt her but still she stands. They thought they could outsmart her but still she stands. They tried to kill her but failed. Justice is immortal and so still she stands.
#amreading the #thriller #graphicnovel #knockknock by @VivikaWidow
Thanks so much for joining us for Season 1 folks. We hope you have enjoyed the ride! Stay tuned, follow us on social media, set your reminders and prepare yourself for season 2! Coming soon. We promise …
Trying to protect her little Trouble has led Tawny to rehab!
Bring me your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me those that society can no longer cope with. They will always have a home at Harbour House.
The smell of chlorine was overwhelming. It stung BUDDY OWEN‘s eyes before he pulled on the sports goggles from Luen designer Marloe. It was only eight am and already he felt great. His father CHARLES ‘CHICK’ OWEN, better known as The Captain, was back in the Great States on business leaving his son with free reign in the Shady City. It was like a heavy weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
Ten lengths of the FILTON UNIVERSITY swimming pool and adrenaline was coursing through his veins. ‘Better than snorting powder,’ he thought – maybe. Filton had state of the art facilities, boasting one of the best sports science courses in the country. It was Buddy’s chosen field when he attended classes.
One of the brothers from KAPPA SO fraternity entered. He was a tall man in his mid twenties with a mane of brown hair combed into a trendy style expected of the country club sect. His name was Cooper and like Buddy he wasn’t a native of Coldford but also from the Great States. He was something of Buddy’s right hand man as far as the Kappa So brothers were concerned. As chapter leader Buddy was the man in charge. Copper kept him right.
“Bud!” he called. “Bud!”
Buddy kept swimming, tearing through the water with speed and agility. With his swim cap pulled down over his ears and the water rushing around him he didn’t hear. Cooper took one of the floating boards and threw it catching Buddy on the back of his head.
Buddy brought himself above the water. He pulled off the goggles and glared at the brother.
“What the fuck dude?”
“We need you. Hurry,” Cooper explained.
“Can’t it wait? You ruined my time. I was making great time,” Buddy complained.
“It’s a fucking reporter. You best come quick.”
‘Jesus H Christ balls,’ the chapter leader thought to himself as he swam to the edge and pulled himself out of the water.
“What do they want with me?” he asked pulling off his swim cap. Cooper had no answer.
He dried quickly and brushed his blonde hair back. He smiled into the changing room mirror. There was a ghoulish look to his eyes, a certain redness. He hadn’t snorted any lines that morning but he really could have used one then. Luckily the swim had flushed his face a little making him seem less zombie like. Pulling on a shirt and designer sweater vest he went off to meet his new reporter friend.
Cooper led him to the main lounge of the sports center. It was a regular hang out for Kappa So brothers, with most of them being part of a team of some kind. The intrigued reporter had been instructed to wait there.
“What do they want?” Buddy asked again as they crossed the corridor from the changing rooms.
“Wouldn’t say,” Cooper informed him.
Buddy rolled his eyes. “Probably some dumb ass student from City College looking for a story on your guy here,” he decided.
“I don’t think so,” muttered Cooper but before Buddy could respond they entered the lounge to find not a student but a fresh journalism graduate.
The lounge was a finely decorated study with leather sofas, a marble fire place in the corner and portraits of leaders past looking down upon them. Large windows allowed the morning sunshine to flood in. The journalist had rust coloured hair, a long face but pretty lips. What Buddy noticed most about her was the way her well kept body curved.
“Can I help you?” he asked.
The woman pointed to the chair opposite as though he had come to her office and she wasn’t in his domain.
The adrenaline from the swim began to settle as Buddy took a seat.
“We do so much in the community. The old people, the poor people, the homeless people …” Buddy began the speech that all chapter leaders rehearsed in the event of being confronted by press.
Madeline took a recorder from a leather bag that had been left at her feet. She placed it on the table.
“Do you mind?” she asked but she had already pushed the record button.
“The boys of Kappa So are good at keeping up appearances,” she continued. “I’m here about things that go on behind closed doors. There have been hundreds of claims of sexual assaults against your brothers over the years. Many of them occurred during your tenure as chapter leader.”
Buddy kept his expression neutral. He brushed his hair back, still sticky with chlorine, and leaned forward.
“Our sisters at Kappa Sy try to warn the girls not to let themselves get carried away, get too drunk, dress too provocatively or lead the boys to the bed rooms if they don’t want the attention. It happens. New students with a first taste of independence and they get all wild and regret it.”
Madeline looked up. “Or perhaps you are blaming the victims to protect your brothers?”
The accusation came so unexpected that Buddy was briefly rendered speechless. Madeline held his gaze. When he finally tried to respond she hushed him with a gesture of her hand.
“I’m not here about any of the girls as it happens. I’m here about one of your pledges. Daniel Weir. He was raped by several of your other pledges, urged on by you. A broken bottle was inserted causing some pretty serious injuries.”
Buddy frowned. “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Madeline reached into the leather bag again and drew out some notes. She flicked through them. “Really? Because I have copies of the medical report, signed and confirmed by Dr Lee at General. It seems one of your brothers did a piss poor job of patching him up. A bottle? Really?”
Buddy smiled this time.
“I still have no idea what your talking about,” he maintained. “Who the fuck would do something like that?”
Madeline noticed his composure was beginning to fall. “You for one,” she pointed out. “Daniel quoted you as saying, ‘he’s going to be shitting blood for days.’ Are you suggesting that was fabricated?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Buddy groaned. “That turd Weir just has something against me. I can’t help if he’s into some kinky shit.”
Madeline raised her eyebrows. “So you were there?”
“No!” Buddy insisted. “I don’t …”
Madeline took her chances whilst she had control of the interview. “Tell me Mr Owen are you a homophobe or are you just a sadistic monster?”
He became frustrated. He snatched up the recorder and switched it off.
“Listen up bitch and listen good. I own your news paper and I’ll have you out of a job by the end of the day if you carry on with this bull,” he snarled.
Madeline snatched her recorder back but kept it switched off.
“Actually the Daily is owned by your father, not you. I’m sure he is shrewd enough to know that if he has me fired it won’t be long before one of the many rivals in the city scoop up the story instead.”
“Get the fuck outta ma lounge,” demanded Buddy.
Madeline stood. A satisfied grin was on her lips. She stood strong. “This lounge isn’t yours either by the way. It belongs to the university.” Buddy glared at her. “I’ll chat to some of your brothers and get back to you.”
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Buddy exclaimed when he was left alone.
There was only two weeks before the Cappy returned. Something had to be done. There had to be a resolution. Never before had Buddy Owen been in more need of a line.
“What did you do Wendy!?” Rodney Weir balled down the phone at his wife from the HOTEL CHAIN’S main office.
“Danny was really hurt,” she sobbed. “I thought if I got the papers involved something would be done.”
“I was dealing with it,” he spat. “You dizzy cunt! You have probably ruined his life with your interfering.”
Rodney couldn’t listen to any more of her crying so he hung up.
The situation was beyond damage control. That afternoon a video had been uploaded to the internet, shared millions of times within minutes, comments from as far as the Great States. It seemed the newest star in amateur gay pornography was causing quite a stir. The video of Daniel’s rape had been cut and edited in such a way it would seem consensual, especially since the other boys were giving smiles for the camera.
At two o’clock that afternoon whilst Rodney was hosting a meeting of the board the video flashed onto his screen, cast from somewhere nearby. It was also presented on screens throughout the chain. Thousands of Weir Hotel patrons were treated to a screening of Daniel’s debut.
Before the close of business several of the Daily’s rivals in the city had ran a story on Daniel being the family shame.
SHAME ON THE CHAIN – said the Coldford Courier.
HOTELIER’S SON IN SEX TAPE SCANDAL – said City Express.
Not a single one had declared it rape. Daily stayed quiet on the subject. A simple call to editor, Eric Waddle, had taken care of that.
Just to be safe Madeline’s previous articles had been called out on as many online forums as possible for containing feminist agendas. Her credibility hung by a thread. She didn’t lose her job though. It wouldn’t be sensible to leave her with nothing. Desperate people can be dangerous. However, her assignments weren’t going to be as forthcoming in future. Buddy planned on having her report on cat shows and pissy old lady bake offs for the rest of her career.
It was all thanks to the help of Gerard ‘Jerry’ Owen, Thanks to Buddy’s favourite uncle he was able to put things right. Jerry was the youngest of the brothers so he knew what it was like to have the Captain’s shadow cast over you.
It was Buddy’s first time having to throw the Owen propaganda machine into motion. It was spoken of often but he was too young to have seen it in action before. He agreed he may have went a little over kill but he didn’t care. The reputations of those who would speak up were ruined, the hit that the hotel had taken financially would make negotiations with Rodney so much easier and to cap it all off Kappa So had waded the storm and came out the other end seeming somewhat clean. When the Captain returned from the Great States and saw how effective Buddy had been he would be proud.
By eight pm Buddy had his line to celebrate and another for good luck.
We did warn you the pledging for Kappa So was brutal. Have you checked out the rest of the story?
At first glance our club manager is a friendly, enthusiastic albeit full on man. Noticeably more interested in the female members of the club. Dennis is a serial womaniser.
Like most people in the Shady City he has a dark past. Something caused a well known man about town to leave his wife and child and find himself managing the seediest club in town. If you are willing to dig deep you will find a sordid history of prostitution, dark desires and a skilled con man.
He has a special connection with club owner Tabitha but if our reporter Sam is going to get to the bottom of the disappearance of the City Mayor he will have to look past Dennis’ flaws. His regrets could give Sam the story he needs.
Dennis is good looking, vibrant and has a way with people but with his predatory instincts would you trust him?
Dennis is a strong feature in the Knock, Knock graphic novel series which is free to read here or on Kindle Unlimited.
This post will contain some spoilers so if you are not up to speed on volume 1 click HERE to get yourself caught up.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s take a look at ten things you (probably) missed when reading Knock, Knock Volume 1.
1 – Amber’s Journey:
The seventeen year old daughter of the city’s mayor didn’t really have a great start in our opener EP 1 WELCOME TO THE CLUB did she?
We all know what happens next (#prayforamber) but what you may have missed is what brought her to that point in the first place. She is an impulsive girl and despite being warned against it by her more sensible elder sister, Amber just couldn’t stay away from the Knock, Knock Club.
Click HERE to follow Amber’s journey in the exclusive mini story MEMBERS EAT FOR FREE.
2 – Chloe’s Cameo:
In EP 3 SLEEP TIGHT SAM our reporter returns to the Knock, Knock club. Before he can get any information from our delightful club manager, Dennis is distracted by a call from a young woman. It is revealed that the girl calls often and she seems a little distraught about something (more details later).
Later in EP 10 CALLING LAST ORDERS we meet the cute but ill Chloe as Dennis tries to make a break for it. What you probably didn’t realise is that Chloe was the young girl who had been frantically calling Dennis. Her sordid relationship with Dennis was revealed in the mini story NO TOYS IN THE ATTIC which you can read by clicking HERE.
3 – City Stadium:
There are a lot of landmarks around the Shady City. Few of them stand out as much as the stadium of Coldford City Football Club (or soccer to people from certain parts of the world).
We met star striker, Andre Luis, in the mini story PLAY THE GAME which you can read by clicking HERE. What eagle eyed readers may have spotted is that Coldford City Stadium sits behind BOBBY’S LUNCH BOX where our reporter met his colleague and friend Madeline to discuss his findings in EP 3 SLEEP TIGHT SAM.
4 – Help Along:
It wouldn’t have been easy for our reporter to navigate his way around Knock, Knock without some help. Thanks to some assistance he was able to retrieve some pretty damnable evidence in EP 6: PICKING UP STRANGE WOMEN
It isn’t until EP 10: CALLING LAST ORDERS that it is finally revealed who has been helping and their reasons. It seems some thunder was brought after all!
5 – Knock, Knock Attacks:
In EP 7 NO KIDS ALLOWED and EP 8 KIDS THESE DAYS we are introduced to the origin of the Knock, Knock club. There is of course plenty more of this to come in Volume 2 but what you may have missed is that the club has been subject to attacks. It has been burnt out by a gang of youths (more on that later) and most of the members died or disappeared. Take note of this folks because there is a war brewing and it is going to escalate.
6 – Judge Not Lest The Be Judged:
In brief references the name Judge Karyn Doyle crept up in the following episodes:
It seems our Knock, Knock boss lady, Tabitha, has a personal resentment towards the elusive Judge but it has not yet been revealed what that is. It is suffice to say though beware of the judge lurking in the background. When the gavel falls it will fall hard.
Prepare yourself and check out our profile on Judge Doyle’s Law Makers by clicking HERE.
7 – Look A Likes:
In EP 9 SHOOTING THE BREEZE we meet sweet little Sarah. She is on the way to the park with her father, it is a beautiful day in the Shady City but like most things it won’t stay that way. Yes I know, #prayforsarah. Anyway, before she is taken towards the end of her part in the story those who are paying close attention may have realised that she has a remarkable resemblance to someone. We met bubbly Knock, Knock barmaid, Lisa, in EP 2 DON’T COME KNOCKIN’ and her connection to little Sarah is revealed in EP 10 CALLING LAST ORDERS.
8 – Olivia’s Whereabouts:
In EP 8: KIDS THESE DAYS in a flashback we have the pleasure of meeting Dennis’ wife, Olivia. She is kind, considerate and honest which seems a rare thing to find in the Shady City. However, by the end of the episode Olivia has left and taken Dennis’ baby son Milo with her.
Olivia still has a lot to say and a part to play in events so we won’t discount her just yet. Her whereabouts are sketchy at best but if you read between the lines it will become clear where she is and why she left in the first place.
9 – Maestro Reference:
The opening events in the series take place at the old building of the Beckingridge Financial firm. The Beckingridge family are the employers or our music teacher, VINCENT. It is through them the events of Maestro take place.
If a suspenseful psychological thriller sounds like your cup of tea then click HERE to read MAESTRO. It is free to download for kindle unlimited users!
10 – This Guy:
The Kappa So banner flies high.
He’s our gunman from EP 9 SHOOTING THE BREEZE but his appearance is so brief you may have glossed over him. Although we can’t confirm his persona just yet (all will be revealed in Volume 2 promise!) we can tell you that he is a member of the elite fraternity KAPPA SO. No one brings anarchy quite like the boys of KSO so we are sure of a blood bath. You can learn more about Kappa SO by clicking HERE. Oh and those youths who burned out the Knock, Knock club? Could they be frat bros? Find out in Volume 2.
So there you have it folks. If you enjoyed the Knock, Knock series please leave your comments. Let us know what you are looking forward to in Volume 2.
Volume 2 is coming soon. In the meantime Volume 1 is free to read on Vivika Widow Online or download for Kindle by clicking HERE.
Amber was thrilled. She had never been anywhere quite like the Knock, Knock club before. She was only seventeen so when the doorman stepped aside to allow her in she was exhilarated.
An invitation had come through the post. Her father was Mayor of the city so he was invited to all sorts of places. She brought the handsome Kevin with her. He was ten years her senior and she was sure Lacey – her elder sister – certainly wouldn’t approve. Lacey wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like the Knock, Knock club. She had aspirations of taking their father’s office one day. Being seen in the Knock, Knock club and with the characters that frequented wouldn’t fit Lacey’s picture. Amber was more daring though. She fell in love with the club instantly. Even with the smell of stale beer and sticky floors. The neon flashing lights and empty stage excited her.
“You folks are looking a little lost.”
Amber felt a long arm slip around her shoulders. The sleeve of the man’s well tailored suit brushed against her.
“We’re new,” Amber said lowering her head so the man wouldn’t notice how young she was. She and Kevin we led to a table for two close to the stage.
“Since you’re first timers you can have be best seat in the house.”
Kevin seated himself first. The club manager pulled Amber’s chair out for her, swinging it slightly so she could have a better view of the stage.
“My name is Dennis,” he announced. “I’ll send someone to take care of you but if you need anything give me a shout.” He said this directly to Amber.
Amber smiled, forgetting her caution under the lower lights. Dennis held her gaze. The manager role slipped momentarily and a brief flash of concern raised on his face. Dennis was older than Kevin but much better looking.
“Times must be tough in this city if this dump is the place to bring a pretty girl,” Dennis jested.
Amber giggled. Kevin was not amused.
“Enjoy the show.”
The lights dimmed further. An in house band called the Knock, Knockers gathered at their instruments.
A woman walked onto stage. The chatter quietened.
“Good evening,” the woman introduced. She walked across the stage with all the ease she would have in her own home. “I see a lot of familiar faces out there,” she continued in a husky voice. “You would you would be sick of our lousy food by now but we love having you,”
The audience reacted in good cheer.
“You didn’t come to listen to me spill my guts so let’s get started.”
She moved back from the edge of the stage in dance steps. The music fired up. The ground began to vibrate. The performer erupted into song.
A scantily clad serving girl brought them a watered down whiskey each and some meat and gravy. It wasn’t much but since the financial recession had hit the Shady City it was better than most people had that night. Kevin moved his meat around his plate with a disapproving sneer.
Amber was too busy watching the performance to eat. She was too busy enjoying herself to consider that her father – the mayor – had been responsible for the desperation so many people found themselves in. It was fine for Amber to enjoy the Knock, Knock when afterwords she could return to the large house she lived in in the Upper West. So many of the city didn’t have homes to go to.
When the performance finally ended the band changed their music to something a little more down key. The lights brightened, informing the patrons that it was time to leave. The performer came from backstage to mingle. She was wearing the same red dress but had tied her hair back from her pretty face. She stood at the bar with Dennis holding a gin and tonic, poured in a square glass. Kevin was impatient to leave but Amber wanted to meet the woman.
Her back was turned. She was in deep conversation with Dennis when Amber approached shyly. The manager notified her of Amber’s presence with a flick of his head. The performer turned. She greeted Amber with a grin. There was a large gap between her front teeth that offered her a girlish quality.
“It was my first time here,” Amber said. Under the woman’s gaze she found herself quite nervous. “I really enjoyed your performance.”
“Thank you,” replied the performer with genuine gratitude. She took the girl’s hand tight. “My name is Tabitha,” she introduced.
“I would love to be just like you,” Amber blurted with childish awe.
Tabitha laughed. Dennis remained stoic.
“Oh honey, there will only ever be one of me.” She pulled Amber closer to her. “Amber Feltz, right?” The Mayor’s youngest daughter?”
Amber tried to pull away but Tabitha kept a tight grip on her arm.
“I should go,” Amber tried pulling away again.
The club was clearing quickly and none of the patrons seemed to notice she was being held.
“So soon?” Tabitha asked. Her crimson nails started to dig into Amber’s flesh. “Join me for a drink won’t you?”
Amber was pushed onto a bar stool. Tabitha stared at her closely.
“It’ll have to be water for you though. You are too young for the hard liquor from what I read.”
Amber sobbed. Tabitha’s grin widened.
“Don’t worry.” Tabitha put her hand to her mouth as though speaking secretly. “Who am I to judge?” She turned to Dennis. “You like them young, don’t you?”
Dennis shook his head.
“I have to go,” Amber said. “Kevin is waiting.”
It wasn’t until then the mayor’s daughter realised Kevin had gone for their coats quite some time ago and hadn’t returned.
The door man closed the door on the last of the customers and left without a word. The club was now empty but for the manager, the performer and the mayor’s daughter.
“Please! I have to go,” Amber pleaded once more.
These were the situations she had been warned of. These people were the reason Lacey would never come to places like the Knock, Knock club.
“People will be looking for me.”
Amber could try to run but she would feel silly for doing so. She was a silly teenager. A silly girl indeed. Suddenly the club that was so fascinating at first was intimidating with its echo, it’s filthy, empty hall.
Tabitha leaned in close to her.
“Honey,” she said. “If you expect anyone to give a rat’s ass where you are right now you have come to the wrong club.
“She was missing for three weeks!” Sam Crusow gasped. He held a pad of yellow paper on his lap with a pen poised over it. “The police never said anything. When the mayor disappeared did no one thing to say, ‘Oh and his daughter has been gone a few weeks too.”
Eric Waddle, editor of the Coldford Daily crossed his arms over his chest. He glared at his best reporter.
“I’m warning you Sammy.” he said. “None of these details will be printed in my paper. If I see them elsewhere I will hold you responsible.”
Sam nodded hesitantly. He hated when his boss called him Sammy.
Eric went on. “I only tell you this because I’m a friend of the family and I want you to tread carefully. Mrs Feltz is speaking to no one else.
“How am I to cover the story when I can’t publish all the facts. How could no one care about a seventeen year old girl missing?
Eric ignored his first comment. “Amber always was an impulsive girl,” he replied to the second. “She was seeing some older guy. She’s probably sunning herself on a beach somewhere.”
“Do you believe that?” Sam put to the editor.
And so began our reporters journey.
The entire Knock, Knock is free to read right here at Vivika Widow Online
Across the city, detective Hicks of the Coldford City Police Department was surveying his case. Excitement was building around the station. Never had so much time and resources been spent on one case but finally it was proving fruitful. They had been chasing this for a long time.
“It’s been a while agent,” he said. “You’ve been to Hell and back for this but it looks like we’ve finally done it.”
Hell doesn’t even begin to describe it,” replied Lydia Lowe of the Inter City Task Force. “All that time undercover and it was that reporter who did the heavy lifting in the end.”
Hicks patted her shoulder affectionately. “I’m glad you got to him. He would probably have been dead now otherwise and we never would have gotten to her. When he was taken from here I thought for sure he was a goner.”
Lydia smiled. Hicks was pleased to see working undercover at the Knock, Knock club hadn’t dulled her humour.
“The last time I saw him he was leaving with Lisa’s girl. He was delivering her back to her home and then coming to here. I look forward to chatting to him when he comes in. I had to let him go. I couldn’t risk the kid getting hurt,” Lydia explained.
Lisa, the bubbly Knock, Knock bar maid would arrive at the club later that afternoon to learn of the tragedy that had occurred.
“She’s ran amok in this city for far too long,” Hicks said bitterly. Lydia wholeheartedly agreed. “I’ll call Judge Doyle at the Court House and let her know there is some solid evidence coming her way.” Hicks cheered. “Finally we’ve caught the bitch.”
Meanwhile, after divulging his story to me Dennis decided he was no longer safe at the Knock, Knock club. Either I was coming for him with everything I had or Tabitha was. He had backed himself into a corner leaving himself with few options. Men like Dennis have a way of working out of tight spots though.
He came to a familiar door. He knocked twice in an almost musical rhythm. A gaunt, skinny young girl answered.
“Chloe!” Dennis cheered. “I am so glad to see you.”
Chloe lowered her head. Her eyes fixed pitifully on the ground. “I can’t let you in,” she said meekly. “Please go away.”
She tried to close the door but Dennis stopped her.
“What do you mean? Come on, you have to let me in.” He flashed a handsome, charming smile.
Chloe shook her head, still not looking him in the eye. It seemed like tears were close.
“Come on kid,” Dennis pressed. “Please let me in. I’m in a lot of trouble here. People are going to be after me. Do you want me to get hurt?”
Chloe finally looked up. “I can’t Dennis,” she insisted. “Just go away.”
“Don’t you love me anymore?” he asked. His large, brown eyes pleaded with her.
Tears did spill from Chloe then. “Of course I do,” she sobbed. “More than the whole world.”
Dennis kept his expression soft. “Then let me in.”
He reached out to push the door open but someone else did it for him.
Dennis was greeted by the tall, imposing frame of Marcus.
“By all means Dennis,” he said. “Come in.”
Dennis dropped his head. He had no choice. Running would be no use. If Marcus was waiting on him chances were the other triplets would be somewhere nearby. The door locked behind him.
Over at the Knock, Knock club I was beginning to regain consciousness.
“You’re not a morning person are you?” Tabitha teased. “You look like shit.”
Everything that had happened came flooding back. The little girl lying dead in the street with a bullet wound in her head.
“What did you do to that kid!?” I roared
Tabitha raised an eyebrow. “What did I do?” she returned. “I was keeping her safe you stupid prick and you delivered her straight to the enemy.”
My stomach lurched. My vision was still a little blurry from the knock to the head I had received.
“There I was, standing there, carrying a bowl of ice cream, looking like a total fucking amateur and she was gone.”
“I thought …” I began but Tabitha didn’t let me finish.
“I know what you thought,” she said. “You know for a reporter you have no fucking clue. How long have you been in this city? Open your eyes to what is going on around you. Speaking of fuck wit reporters … “
“A friend of yours came looking for you.”
“You remember Madeline, right? Sure you do. All the men like Madeline,” Tabitha said.
Madeline growled. I hadn’t even noticed her being so focused on Tabitha, bleary eyed and possibly concussed.
“Would you listen to yourself?” Maddy snarled. “Do you ever shut up?”
Tabitha ignored her.
“Let us out of here you crazy bitch!” I yelled.
“I’m actually hurt that you still think I’m the bad guy here,” Tabitha laughed. I couldn’t tell if she was being ironic or if she truly meant what she said. “There are much worse things in this city than little old me. I do what I can to fight against it. Do you have any idea what would go down if I didn’t keep a check on things? I’m like a fucking super hero. Some might even be grateful.”
She kicked a knife at her feet between her captives.
“Here’s a little lesson for you. I’m going to close that door and you are both going to fight it out. Let’s see how moral you are when your lives are on the line. Maybe then you will have some idea of the shit I’ve had to deal with.”
Either of us could have grabbed that knife and killed her then but we wouldn’t have gotten much farther after that. Tabitha strode with confidence. Inside the Knock, Knock club she had nothing to fear.
“That’s why you’re both in your undies by the way,” she said as a matter of fact. “It’s less of a mess to clean up that way. It would be even easier if you were naked but I’m not that sick.” She laughed at her own joke. “When one of you are dead I pinky promise to open back up again. One less God damn reporter in the world. In the meantime, I have a little kid to bury and it’s not even noon. Thanks for that by the way. Toodles!”
At that she was out of the door. Maddy and I were sealed inside the Knock, Knock club’s hold. I ran to the door and cried through it.
“Let us out!” I called hammering my fists against the door as though it would do any good.
“It’s no use,” Madeline said behind me.
“We’ll get out of here,” I insisted.
“It’s over Sam,” Madeline said. “I’m sorry.”
#amreading the #thriller #graphicnovel #knockknock by @VivikaWidow
It was a blazing warm day in the Shady City. Sarah came to the north side of Coldridge park with her dad, Kev. Since the sun shone brightly she was promised they would have some fun together then go for ice cream but when they reached the park some of Kev’s friends called him over. Whenever Kev suggested they go to the park there were always friends waiting for them.
“I thought we were going to kick the ball?” Sarah protested. The friends Kev met always held him up until it was too late and they had to go home again.
“I won’t be long,” Kev said.
Sarah patted Ricky. The dog panted appreciatively. She tried not to pout. Her dad always got mad when she pouted. He would go off with his friends regardless. Maybe they would still get ice cream when he was done if she kept quiet.
“Stay here,” he warned.
“Kev!” one of the men called to him.
Kev smiled and raised two fingers to them before wandering off and leaving his daughter behind.
Sarah smiled at Ricky and kicked the ball for him to chase but the dog chased its owner instead. Sarah grumbled and sat on concrete steps that led to a supply shed.
As she watched her father exchange with his friends she realised he wouldn’t be returning any time soon. She picked up the shining red ball she had brought with her and started to play around with it.
She hadn’t made any team in school that year but the coach, Mrs Watson, told her that she showed promise and if she practised maybe she could the following year. Sarah kicked the ball. She flipped it up, trying to a move a Coldford City player had made famous. Unlike him it didn’t land at her feet. It rolled away. She chased after it. It was stopped by a woman.
The woman picked it up. She was pretty but not like Sarah’s mum. The woman had a movie star quality with long blonde hair and designer sunglasses.
“You ought to be careful,” she said. She had a warm voice, smooth like honey. “You wouldn’t want to lose your ball now would you?”
Sarah smiled at her. “Thanks Lady,” she said.
“Is that your dad over there?” the woman nodded towards Kev. He was still engaged in conversation. He hadn’t noticed the woman approach his daughter.
“Yeah the bald one is dad,” Sarah giggled. “That’s my dog too.”
“We’re going to get some ice cream,” Sarah divulged.
“He looks busy,” the woman replied. “Perhaps you and I can go get some while you are waiting.”
Sarah’s face lit up. She had been warned not to talk to strangers but the woman wasn’t at all like the strangers she imagined. She smelled of sweet perfume instead of alcohol. She was glamorous and pleasant. She was not at all like the rough looking, gin soaked men she had been warned of. The way she passed Sarah’s ball back to her was engaging and fun. She really did want that ice cream. It was still early morning but the temperature was soaring.
“I’m not supposed to leave the park.”
The woman ignored her statement. “You know, I don’t even have a favourite flavour. Maybe you could help me pick one out. We could get some for your dad too. His name is Kev right?”
Sarah was surprised. “You know him?”
“Of course I do,” said the woman. “I know you too, Sarah.”
Sarah beamed. “Yeah, that’s right.”
The woman pulled her sunglasses down and smiled at the child. She had a prominent gap between her front teeth that gave her a girlish, almost whimsical appearance.
“How do you know my dad?” Sarah asked.
The woman put her arms around the child’s shoulder and the started towards the north east exit.
“Let’s get that ice cream and I’ll tell you all about it.”
“What’s your name?” Sarah asked.
“Tabitha,” was the reply.
When Kev finished talking to his friends – one of whom he sold Ricky to – he returned to the steps to find his daughter was gone and all that was left behind was a shiny red ball.
I had been so angered by Dennis’ story of how Tabitha had come to own the Knock, Knock club and how he came to be involved I didn’t sleep at all that night. I locked the door of the room I had been given and lay on the bed to rest. I gathered my strength and waited for the morning when I could take the evidence I had to CPD. I gave myself some time to shake off any suspicion or watch the club had over me. It was early morning when I emerged again. I was glad to find none of the staff were there yet. Dennis would be nursing his wounds. I didn’t have to worry about him. He wouldn’t admit he had been talking to a reporter anyway. Tabitha on the other hand could make things very difficult for me.
It was when I reached the main part of the club I saw little Sarah sat at a table. She was completely unaware of the danger she was in.
‘Damn it,’ I thought to myself. I couldn’t leave her there.
“Hey,” I said.
She looked up and smiled back at me. She was cute kid, with blonde hair and warm eyes. She seemed familiar somehow.
“Hey,” Sarah replied.
“What brings you here?” I took a breath and tried to sound as casual as possible.
“The lady told me I was to wait here,” Sarah explained. “She’s getting ice cream.” I kept my distance, not wanting to scare her but I had a feeling I knew the lady she referred to. I was running out of time.
“Ice cream for breakfast? That’ll give you a stomach ache.”
Sarah shrugged with a smile.
“The lady that told you to wait here, was she tall, slim, gap in her teeth, kinda goofy looking?”
Sarah laughed. “Yeah, Tabitha,” she said.
Time was definitely running out.
“Listen to me kid,” I said, trying not to frighten her with my sudden seriousness. “My name is Sam. That lady is not your friend,” I said.
Sarah seemed confused. “I should wait here.”
I was filthy, unshaven and still stank of last night’s booze. I could see why the girl wouldn’t trust me over Tabitha.
“Where are your parents?” I asked.
“I was at the park with my dad,” she said. “Tabitha brought me here and told me to wait for her.”
“You can’t stay here,” I urged. Tabitha would be back any moment. “You are going to get hurt here. I’ll take you back to your dad but we have to leave now.”
Sarah blinked. She must have read something on my face because her instincts told her to believe me. She hadn’t felt quite right coming to the club without her dad knowing. She stood and followed me.
“Don’t worry,” I told her. “I’ll look out for you.”
We got to the exit of the club where we met Lydia.
“Going somewhere?” she asked. Her eyes locked on Sarah.
“I’m getting out of this place and I’m not leaving without this kid,” I said to the dancer.
Lydia remained calm. “You have to be careful, Sam,” she said.
I was exhausted and in no mood to argue. “You can’t keep us here,” I said referring to myself and the little girl.
“I’m not trying to,” Lydia replied. “I’m saying you need to be careful. When you get to the alley turn left. If you go right they will see you.”
I thanked her. My first priority was getting Sarah back to her dad and then I was going to CPD with everything I knew.
What I didn’t know was that as I made my way from the club, relishing daylight again, the pocket I had kept the evidence phone in was now empty. Lydia had retrieved it. “Where do you stay?” I asked Sarah as we got onto the street.
She pointed to the park entrance.
“Just at the other side of Coldridge,” she explained.
I took a firm hold of her arm. “We better hurry,” I urged her and we made our way to the park at a run.
We crossed the park to the south west entrance where a row of rundown buildings lay. “There he is. That’s my dad,” Sarah cheered. Kev was on the phone I stopped her before she could run to him. I started looking around. I couldn’t see anything amiss. “Okay, go to him,” I pushed.
I watched as Sarah and Kev were reunited. He lowered the phone.
“Where did you run off to?” he growled angrily. “I was trying to phone your fucking mother.”
“The lady was going to get us some ice cream but the man brought me back,” Sarah explained.
Before Sarah could point me out, a shot cracked from somewhere in one of the buildings.
Kev cried out. Before he could catch his daughter another shot rang out.
It had come from what seemed like nowhere. My knees weakened. I had the strongest urge to vomit. My attempts to protect the little girl had brought her straight into the line of sight of a gun man with pin point accuracy.
When I left the Knock, Knock club I swore I would never let another kid get hurt. Creeps, murderers, degenerates. The Shady City had them all and she didn’t like that I was trying to fight back.
I will never forgive myself for what happened to that little girl that day. I was so overwhelmed with the sight of Sarah and her father being gunned down I didn’t hear steps approach me. I turned but before I could register the person behind me I was punched. Solid knuckle dusters caught me on the side of the head knocking me out cold.
#amreading the #thriller #graphicnovel #knockknock by @VivikaWidow