I was awoken by the noise of a gun shot somewhere deep in the club. It was faint but enough to wake me from my unsettled sleep.
My inner voice debated.
‘Stay where you are,’ the rational side said.
‘Go and investigate you coward!’ the bolder side teased.
Never one to shrink from a challenge, I got up and followed the noise. I found Dennis in the main room of the club. He was holding a gun and was as drunk as ever I’ve seen a man. He was sat on a stool, raised the gun with an unsteady hand and fired. Luckily the bullet hit the wall beside me.
“What the Hell!” I cried.
Dennis laughed. He put the gun to his head. He squeezed the trigger but the empty barrel clicked. He grimaced and threw the gun to the floor. I picked it up and laid it on the bar.
“You shouldn’t waste bullets on the wall,” I reminded him.
“I was trying to shoot you,” he growled.
I raised my eyebrows. “Good job!” I stated. I stepped behind the bar and poured us both a glass of very watered down whiskey.
I tried to stay calm but truthfully my heart was racing. The whiskey did little to help.
“So why am I on your hit list?” I asked. “What have I done?”
Dennis sighed. I knew he was stifling a sob and trying to bring his jack-the-lad persona back to the surface.
“I just can’t get away from her,” he said. “From the moment I felt sorry for her and brought her into my home It’s been like a curse. She won’t let me leave.”
I raised my shoulders and clutched the whiskey glass in both hands. I sat on the stool next to the club manager.
“She’s not an easy woman to run away from. I’ve tried,” I reminded him.
Tabitha was a vibrant personality. She had her way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the world. She could convince you to do anything – even murder. Although most times I think she preferred to do the killing herself.
“It isn’t my fault you are stuck here,” I said. “I don’t want to be here any more than you do. I didn’t start this damn club. So why try to kill me?”
Dennis spun his stool and left his glass on the bar. He focused back on me. His stare was like that of a father trying to determine if I was good enough for his daughter.
“I found something out about you,” he said.
I wasn’t surprised. Ever since arriving at the Knock, Knock everyone seemed to know more about me than I did.
“Really?” I rolled my eyes, quite exasperated at this point. The missed sleep was starting to feel like sand on my eye lids.
“She loves you,” Dennis said.
This I hadn’t expected.
“She’s playing you, man,” I replied. “Tabitha only loves herself.”
“She does,” he insisted. “She told me.”
I took Dennis’ whiskey. Suddenly I felt I needed another drink.
“So that’s what your problem is? You think I’m going to steal her away from you? Trust me, I have had my fill of crazy bitches to last me a lifetime. Tabitha tops the lot.”
Dennis frowned. For a few moments he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.
“I don’t care about her,” he spat. “She took something from me. She took my whole life. I am going to ruin hers.”
That was when Dennis explained what happened earlier that night that had caused him to spiral into this mania.
The customers of the club had started to filter out after Tabitha’s show. A few hung around to speak to the performer herself and she moved among them like a Goddess among mortals, relishing in their adoration. I had went upstairs at this point to be alone. The smile Dennis kept aside for the customers had fallen away. His colourful small talk became grunts and groans.
“If you’re not going to play your role you might as well leave,” Tabitha had spat at him when she pulled him aside.
“Where’s Milo?” the manager asked after his son.
“I’ve let him have a few moments with his mother,” the performer replied. “They’re downstairs.
She stopped and turned to the group by the door who were bidding her goodnight.
“I’ve had a great night!” said the man holding the arm of the girl who accompanied him tightly.
“We just love your show,” the girl agreed.
Tabtiha kissed her finger tips and blew it at them.
“You’re too kind,” she said. “Do come back soon.”
The man pulled his jacket tighter around himself.
“We’ll be back. It’s the only place in town where you can still get a decent meal.”
“Come back tomorrow and we’ll really cook things up,” Tabitha replied with a wink.
The couple departed. Tabitha slapped Dennis’ thigh.
“Take your sour face out of here before you bring the whole God damned place down.”
It wasn’t like Dennis to be so morose when the club was alive. Ever since his estranged son had turned up he had found it more and more difficult to keep up the act.
Tabitha wandered away to share a drink with some of the patrons who were still hanging around. Dennis went in search of his wife and son.
Julianne was more of a prisoner of the club than I was. I could at least wander around within its walls as much as I pleased. The red headed wife of Dennis’ had been confined to one of the small rooms below the club. Trying to attack Tabitha had been a huge mistake on her part.
Dennis tried the door of Julianne’s room but it wouldn’t budge.
“Dennis, is that you?” she asked. “I’m locked in.”
Dennis slid down and sat with his back against the wood that separated him from his wife and child.
“Did they hurt you?” he asked.
There was a lingering silence that made Dennis feel uncomfortable.
“Is Milo okay?” he followed up.
The silence continued. Dennis turned and banged his fist against the door.
“Jules!?” he called. He repeated his question. “Is Milo still in there with you?”
The silence on the other side of the door was broken by petrified screams.
“What have I done?” she cried.
“Where is Milo?” Dennis asked for a third time. “Where is our son?” Emotion began to tremble through his voice.
“He’s dead,” she sobbed.
Dennis climbed to his feet in a swift move. He tried the door again but it only confirmed it was locked. He threw his shoulder against it a couple of times but it made no difference.
Julianne’s sobs became uncontrollable shrieks.
Tabitha wouldn’t have left Dennis too long, especially
Julianne. As soon as she was politely able to politely break away from the customers politely she followed him. She gripped his arm and pulled him back.
“What are you doing?” she demanded to know, assuming he was trying to break his wife free.
“Where is Milo?” he roared, gripping both of her shoulders and pushing her back against the wall of the corridor.
Tabitha pointed at the door. He’s in there with his mother. I had to lock him in. We couldn’t let our little Jules out.
It was then Tabitha shared Dennis’ concern. She reached into the pocket of her black waistcoat she wore and removed a key. She unlocked the door. Her hand struggled to place the key at first.
“Damn it!” she growled to herself.
Finally the door gave way. Julianne crawled along the floor away from the light of the hallway.
“Get a hold of yourself,” she screamed with a kick into Julianne’s side.
Dennis’ wife curled herself up and drew into the wall. Her long auburn hair fell into her face in matted strings.
Tabitha was pushed aside. Dennis grabbed Julianne.
“What have you done!” he roared. He gripped her by the hair and pulled her to her feet.
Tabitha looked behind her. Milo’s body was lying on the small metal cot Julianne had been given to sleep on. His skin had a bluish tint. He was dead. She knew this all too well. She had seen skin like that before.
“You killed him!” Dennis was distraught. His long fingers had looped into Julianne’s hair.
Tabitha had knelt beside the ten year old but all signs of life were gone.
“She straightened back up and drew closer to the husband and wife.”
Julianne pushed the hair away from her face. Her chest was rising and falling heavily as she tried to get her breath back.
“I had to,” she said. “I would never see my son end up in the hands of the likes of you.”
She pursed her lips and spat on Tabitha. Tabitha’s freckled nose crinkled. Sharp frown lines formed. On the milky skin of her forehead. She bore her teeth with the girlish gap like a ravenous wolf.
“Kill her,” she snarled.
Julianne stumbled backwards reaching a hand out to the wall to steady herself. She spat again at Tabitha.
“Kill her or I will,” Tabitha made the ultimatum.
Dennis was overcome with rage. He wrapped his fingers around his wife’s throat and began to throttle the life from her. Her tongue protruded from lips. She gargled and tried to tear her husband from her. She dug her nails into Dennis’ hand but two of the nails broke. Dennis didn’t even seem to notice the blood from the would she had inflicted. He bashed her head against the wall once. She gave an unintelligible moan. He did it again and her skull cracked. After a third time, life departed from her eyes and she breathed her last.
Dennis gave a sigh of despair and let her fall to the floor. Tabitha tried to console him but he turned on her.
“You did this!” he said. “You locked him in here with her and now he’s dead.”
Tabitha used her foot, clad in purple velvet, to flip over Julianne’s body onto its back.
“I didn’t think the manic bitch would kill her own son,” she replied.
Dennis growled but Tabitha still stared at him in the eye.
“I never would have allowed him in here if I thought she would hurt him,” she said. “You know I adored the boy.”
It was probably the most honest thing she had ever said to him.
“Have you ever lost someone you love?” he asked. “Do you even know what it is like to love someone more than your own life?”
Tabitha’s lips spread into a smile but before the did her grey eyes gave an involuntary glint.
“Sam!” he said. He began to laugh despite himself. “That’s why you’re going out of your way to keep him here. You love him.”
“You’re losing your mind,” Tabitha returned cooly. “He’s here because of his name. You know how important the Crusow name is to the club.”
Dennis continued laughing. He was almost hysterical. He wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand, leaving a trail of blood from the scratch Julianne had made.
“One day,” he said. “I will make you feel what I feel right now. I will force you to endure what I have had to endure. I promise you that.”
That was when he left them. He trusted Tabitha would give Milo a dignified burial. She was fond of the boy after all. He found the gun and that was where I met him.
“I’m sorry about Milo,” I said sincerely. “Killing me isn’t going to solve anything. Tabitha would no more mourn me than she would anyone else.”
Both our wives were dead. His son was gone. My best friend took her own life. Our entire lives had been turned upside down and one woman was responsible – Tabitha.
“When Julianne came here she told you that she knew how to end it once and for all. Was she serious about that or where they the ravings of a mad woman?”
Dennis seemed a little calmer now. His voice was hoarse like he had been crossing a desert land without water. The emotions must have dehydrated him.
He said, “She was sincere.”
I pressed, “Did she tell you?”
He nodded. “You’re not going to like it,” he warned.
What could possibly be worse than letting the club continue?
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Knock, Knock (Episode 20) – The Final Curtain will be live 17.12.2017
“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:
November 19, 2017 | Categories: Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock (Episode 18): No Kids Allowed, Vivika's Musings | Tags: am reading, author, blog series, Knock, Knock, murder, mystery, tabitha, thriller, vivika widow | 1 Comment
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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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
November 12, 2017 | Categories: Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock EP 17: Behind Closed Doors, Vivika's Musings | Tags: author, blog series, club, episode, Knock, Knock, reporter, sam crusow, tabitha, thriller, vivika widow | Leave a comment
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.
It was a novel idea (no pun intended) when it first began and thanks to the success there will be more coming your way.
It is a story that is special to me. It began on a cold, winter Aberdeen night as I travelled home from med school and has been a story I have been itching to tell ever since.
To those of you who have subscribed, commented and simply tuned in to read I am extremely grateful. For those of you who haven’t read it yet Episodes 1 – 15 are now available on the site in handy little drop down menu so you can go straight to your favourite EP or read it from the very beginning.
We are reaching the conclusion of the story now so I look forward to hearing your responses to the ending.
Episode 16: Shots in a Glass will be live 6pm (UK ST) on Sunday 8th of October exclusively to vivikawidow.com
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It was late at night when a soft tap at my door stirred me awake. I hadn’t even realised I had fallen into the swamp of my dreams until I stirred awake. I shuffled across the bare wooden floor. I opened the door and Dennis was stood in the shadows like a great ominous bird.
“If you are going, you have to go now,” he said.
I pulled a pair of oversized boots on. My coat hung on a stand by the door. I pulled it off and the coat stand came with it. Dennis snatched it before it toppled completely.
“Quiet,” he warned in a screaming whisper.
I was silent and still a little sleepy. Dawn’s early light was beginning to show. I followed Dennis down into the main body of the club.
“Promise me you will find Milo,” he urged.
I nodded my head dumbly. At any other time I would have said something along the lines of, “the boy will come to no harm under my charge,” but I was so taken aback by finally leaving the ‘Knock, Knock’ club I couldn’t find the words. We made our way across the shaky floor. Freedom was imminent. The outside air was going to be so crisp and so sweet.
A lock shuffled. A door handle shook. Dennis pushed me back from the main door . At the farther end, by the stage a little girl came skipping. She was followed by Tabitha.
“Now take a seat,” said Tabitha. The little girl – Sarah – obeyed. She pulled out a chair and sat at a table nearest the stage.
“Would you like some ice cream?” Tabitha asked. She leaned closer with a warm but mischievous smile.
The little girl wrinkled her nose. “I’m not allowed ice cream for breakfast.”
Tabitha’s smile widened like a great python ready to strike. “You are here.”
The kid’s eyes lit up then. It was like she had been told her birthday was coming twice that year. She had no idea the danger she was in. Her life was in the hands of Tabitha and if I left the little girl would surely die. If I stayed I could do something to keep her alive.
“See,” Tabitha continued. “It’s not so bad here is it? All that crying earlier was for nothing.”
Tabitha crossed the floor towards the bar, behind which lay the kitchens. As she passed she muttered to Dennis, “Watch her.”
She stopped and did a double take when she noticed I was wearing boots and a coat.
“Going somewhere are we?” she laughed.
I knew then I wasn’t.
When Tabitha was out of sight Dennis pushed me back towards the door.
“Go now. Hurry!” he said.
“I can’t,” I stated. “If I go now you could get hurt or that little girl.”
Dennis growled. “What about Milo?” You said you would help him.”
“I did and I will,” I said. “But before I do I have to make sure no harm comes to that kid. You told me that if I left they would be watching me. I could lead them straight to Milo. That would be two dead kids on my conscience. Right now, Tabitha doesn’t know Milo is near. He is safe.”
I couldn’t believe my own sentiments. Since arriving at the club I had been seeking a way to escape its grasp. Seeing Sarah changed everything in an instant.
Although no one had ever said the words I was a prisoner at the Knock, Knock. If Dennis were to orchestrate my leaving, they would kill him, the little girl and then hunt me down. I couldn’t risk it. At least not yet.
Dennis stormed away. I could understand his frustration. I had been pushing him to help me. I even threatened to tell the club about his son if he didn’t. I didn’t have any time to worry about that. The only reason I was still alive was because my grandfather was one of the club’s founding members. I was walking a very thin line as it was.
Tabitha returned with an over flowing bowl of strawberry ice cream.
“Changed your mind?” she laughed when she saw I was pulling my coat off
“I was just a little cold. I’m fine now,” I replied.
“That’s just as well,” said Tabitha. “You would have been dead before you reached the end of the alley. Do you think it would be so easy as to walk out the front door? Even if Dennis opened that door for you? And without so much as oodbye? A girl could be insulted.”
She dropped the plate of ice cream down to the little girl. She gripped the spoon and immediately set to digging in.
“Don’t hurt her,” I warned for as much use as it could be.
Tabitha raised her eyebrows. “What kind of monster do you think I am?”
We paused. Tension rose. Her steel grey eyes stared right through me. Then her teeth began to tear through her ruby lips as a smile spread.
“It all really depends on her father cooperating now doesn’t it.”
When I first came to the Knock, Knock I was an enthusiastic journalist in search of a new story line. I had no idea the nightmare that lay behind the closed doors. Now, I was in deep. As the bodies began to pile around me I had to do something!
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September 10, 2017 | Categories: Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock EP 15: Down in the Dumps | Tags: author, blog series, club, cult, Knock, Knock, reporter, sam crusow, subscribe, thriller, vivika widow | Leave a comment
“We are still having problems with him,” I overheard Tabitha tell Dennis as I sat at the bar sipping a whiskey quietly.
“What do you want me to do about it?” Dennis leaned back further along the bar from me.
Tabitha didn’t seem to care if I was listening. She knew I was pretty powerless against the whims of
the Knock, Knock club. Dennis was pretty guarded though. He had asked for my help in getting his ten year old son, Milo, to safety in exchange for his helping me escape the Knock, Knock club so he always kept me discretely informed. After luring my best friend, Madeline, to the club and to her death I wasn’t sure how much help I was willing to give him, even if it were for the sake of an innocent child. Still, I had to keep my options open.
“I don’t think you understand how big a problem this is,” said Tabitha sternly to the club manager. “He isn’t taking us seriously and if we let him away with it others will think they can get away with it too.”
“So what do you suggest?” Dennis hadn’t looked looked at her the whole time. His focus had been on the empty stage behind her. “Take him out?”
Tabitha laughed, a cold, callous cackle. “What benefit would he have to anyone dead?” She pursed her lips and her grey eyes shone with delight. “He has a daughter. Young girls are your speciality.”
Dennis sighed. “What age?”
“Six or seven,” answered Tabitha.
Dennis shook his head. His eyes finally rested on her for a few moments before he stood up straight, turned his back to her and leaned over the bar.
“Far too young,” he stated definitely. “The kid isn’t her father’s problem.”
“No but her father is our problem. He needs to know we aren’t messing around.”
“Maybe Sam could do it,” Dennis suggested.
They book looked at me. I almost spat the whiskey out like I had been caught doing something I shouldn’t have.
Thankfully, Tabitha dismissed the idea.
“He hasn’t the stomach for it. Besides, if the doors of the Knock, Knock were open to him do you really think he would come back?”
She cackled again. “Like everything else, if I need a good job done I will just have to do it myself.”
It was a pleasant enough day with a dry chill in the air. The Coldridge Park in the centre of the city was playing host to hundreds of children playing, their parents and chaperones standing close by, perhaps not paying as much attention as they should have been.
Tabitha sat alone on a wooden bench. She scanned through the crowd and spotted the little girl she was looking for.
Blonde pigtails, blue jeans and a pink sweatshirt with a sunflower logo, Sarah looked like something straight out of a children’s book. She was kicking a red ball back and forth, giggling excitedly as a golden retriever chased it. A boy in his early teens, her brother Kevin, was busy talking on his phone. He had his back turned to his sister. One hand was holding the all important conversation to his ear and the other was tucked into the pocket of his own sweatshirt.
“Rufus!” screamed a woman’s voice across the park.
The ears of the golden retriever perked up at the sound of his mistress’ voice. It took one last look at the shining red ball but quickly decided obedience was more important. It trotted along towards the voice that called it.
Sarah gave the ball another kick and it came rolling towards the bench. With a foot clad in a purple velvet, kitten heel shoe, Tabitha stopped it. As Sarah drew nearer she began to hesitate.
“You need to be careful,” Tabitha said to the little girl. “You wouldn’t want to lose your ball now would you?”
Sarah picked it up and hugged it close to her chest. “It’s my brother’s ball,” she admitted.
“Well you don’t want to make him mad do you? Losing his ball?”
Sarah nodded in agreement. “He’s going to take me for ice cream,” she volunteered casually.
Tabitha looked up. The boy was still on the phone. “That’s nice but it looks like he is still busy.”
It was Sarah’s turn to look back. She had so been looking forward to a bowl of strawberry ice cream.
“Why don’t we go and get the ice cream and maybe he’ll be done by the time we get back.”
Sarah stepped back. Alarm bells began to ring for her. “I can’t go away with strangers.”
“Very wise indeed, but I’m not a stranger,” said the woman with the grey eyes. “I know you, Sarah, and your brother’s name is Kevin. Your dad and I are old friends.” Sarah still looked at her suspiciously. “My name is Tabitha, so now we are friends.”
Kevin was still paying no attention. He was in the midst of on of those dramas that only teenagers can understand.
‘It can’t be bad,’ thought Sarah. ‘A stranger wouldn’t know my name,’ was her childish logic. Besides, the strangers she had been warned against were men in dark clothes who drove white vans and smelled of alcohol. The woman she was talking too had a kindly, round, maternal face. Her smile was pleasant, with a gap in her front teeth. She carried the scent of vanilla. The ice cream parlour was just across the street.
“We had better hurry before it closes!” Tabitha reminded her.
Sarah made up her mind. “Kevin likes mint,” she said.
Tabitha stood and took the little girl’s hand. “I know he does,” she said. “We’ll get him a big bowl.”
Kevin finished his phone call. He slipped his phone into his pocket. He turned to discover little Sarah was gone. The shiny red ball sat on an empty bench.
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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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