Trial day five. I didn’t want to find myself there but, like some morbid car crash, I couldn’t help but take a closer peek at the carnage. I was at the COLDFORD CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT. Quietly and discretely Detective HICKES arranged for me to see the BOSS LADY, still held at CPD whilst her trial continued. I had passed AGNES in the hotel I was being held at but since she was also under police escort she could only offer me a pleading look. I thought about what Agnes had told me, so I started to look into some of the trouble TABITHA had been accused of when she was just a girl.
In order to get to the truth, I had no choice but to look into her cold, grey stare and ask her for her honest account of events. She had fought off a rapist as a child, she had stopped her parents selling her into a paedophile ring and she had watched her beloved aunt reduced to incarceration at HARBOUR HOUSE, but none of it gave her licence for what she did in response.
The KNOCK KNOCK club protected the innocent but it also brought carnage. When Hickes gave me entry to her holding, she was still wearing the confident expression she had when I first met her. The events that had occurred through the trial, the prospect of a death sentence that the LAW MAKERS were still fighting for, hadn’t completely removed her bravado.
“Well, well,” she said. “Look who finally decided to show up?”
I took the seat across the table from her. Anger and frustration was boiling over from everything that had happened to me since we first met. “I’m surprised you actually wanted to speak to me. The last time I asked you for an interview you told me nothing. I believe your words were, ‘your newspaper is a rag,’ ”
Tabitha laughed looking to the ceiling, as though remembering her comment made her chuckle all over again. “Well, circumstances have changed. I adapt to suit.”
“My friend is dead because of you,” I chastised her. “Why should I listen to anything you have to say?”
Tabitha frowned. “You mean the reporter girl? Mandy?”
“Her name was Madeline!” I snapped.
Tabitha was unmoved. “Whatever,” she replied. “Did I stab her though?”
“No but you gave her the opportunity. You caused it.”
“Did I stab her though?” She asked again. “As far as I saw it, you got a creepy killer look in your eyes and you went at her.”
I stood then. I had heard enough. “Officer!” I banged on the door and called to Hickes, “I’m leaving.”
Tabitha’s bravado dropped then. She reached out to grab my arm and hissed, “Sit down. Don’t get excited. You should be thanking me. The recording of her attacking you first is the only thing keeping your ass out of the room next to mine.” She grinned. “Wouldn’t that have been cosy?”
“Tabitha…” I warned like a father to a wayward child.
“Fine, maybe she wouldn’t be dead if she hadn’t put her nose in. She could have at least discussed it with you though. Not so much as a, ‘isn’t this weird Sammy? Why are we here in our undies Sammy? What does that gorgeous woman in red want with us Sammy?’ Nope, she was cold. I didn’t do that to her. This city did. I may have put the knife in her hand but she was a girl who knew what it takes to survive. At least she thought she did. It turns out you survived anyway so calm the fuck down. I have to be honest; I had hinged bets on you being long dead by now. REGGIE was rooting for you though. Bravo on proving me wrong. So you live to fight another day.”
I stopped her before she started rambling. “They are going to send you away for a very long time. As well they should.”
“I hear they are looking to have me executed. They wouldn’t have been able to if it weren’t for you sneaking about my club, aided by that rat-faced bitch from BOURNTON so the way I see it we are even, right?” TABITHA returned. “And I hope you are going to explain to the triplets’ dear mother that her precious boy is going down now too because of you.”
I folded my arms and shook my head in exasperation. “You expect me to have sympathy for MARCUS PENN?”
Tabitha shrugged. “I suppose not. He can be a bit of a prick.”
I needed to push forward. “Say what you have to say to me. I can’t stay here. I’m already risking a lot.”
Her expression changed then. There was something softer, something child like behind it. “Since you insist,” she began. “Yes, I murdered my parents but you cannot tell me that people willing to sell their daughter to a bunch of fucking pervos deserve to live.”
“They should have been reported to the authorities,” suggested I.
“Oh come on. You heard it from Aggie,” replied the Boss Lady with a laugh. “My Aunt Tee was sent away from Judge Cyclops’ court. They wouldn’t listen. So she took it into her own hands to let the city know how much of a creep Jerry Owen was. It turned out I wasn’t the only one he had tried it on with. There were hundreds of victims between Coldford and the Great States. This all must have happened when you were clearly living in a cave somewhere.”
This was news to me. I was only vaguely familiar with the OWEN family arriving in the city from the small suburb of JAMESTOWN where I grew up. The Owen propaganda machine had went into full force when the Knock Knock Club, led by the BARONESS, started making trouble for Owen Inc. on behalf of Tabitha and the other girls, so very little of the story reached public ears.
“So then what happened?” I pushed as though a reporter back on the story once again.
“Conveniently and surprising no one, my Aunt Tee’s petition to take me away from it all was refused. They should have just let me fucking go but those filthy Owen pricks play dirty. They had so many politicians, cops and lawyers in their pockets it didn’t matter what happened; they came out smelling like roses. Every one knew those roses were fertilised by bullshit but they were too afraid or too handsomely paid to do anything about it. They offered Aunt Tee money. She refused. She still wouldn’t stop calling them out so they burnt the whole fucking club down.
The Knock Knock Club was used to shelter the victims. Then it became a shelter for other victims of abuse, victims of corruption. Yes, the club isn’t exactly the Weir Hotel. Tits and booze and good times, but when you attract the filth of the city it gives you the chance to keep a closer eye on them.
Aunt Tee had a reputation in the Shanties. They loved her. They still do. She and Agnes did a great job but it was never going to last. Those dirty cunts attacked the club. They shot some of the dancer girls, some of the MACKS and even dear old Jack. He was just a compere for the club. What had he done? Just because he was on Knock Knock’s bill. He was an entertainer. He had nothing to do with anything. There was nothing I could have done. I hid out at Dennis’ for a while. Then when he started his shit it reminded me of why I was needed, why the Knock Knock was needed.”
I waited until she had finished. I listened quietly and noted her changes of tone, her true anger and outrage surfacing at the mention of the Owen name. Her true affections surfacing when she mentioned her aunts and even the old club emcee and the dancer girls.
“I’ll tell your true side of the story. I’ll make sure the public knows what you have told me today. It will be up to them to them to decide what to do with it.”
She shook her head and groaned. “Oh my God, with your holier than thou bullshit. Haven’t you been listening? Do you even know who owns the newspaper you work for?”
“You’re not suggesting …”
Tapping her skull she said, “Yes, fucking Owen Inc. Even without a gagging order down your throat they will never let you print anything that sheds light on how evil they are. Didn’t you think it strange that the mayor of the city went missing and the only outlet his wife would let report on it was the COLDFORD DAILY? It certainly wasn’t because of the high journalistic standard; I’ve read some of your shitty stories. Perhaps Madeline should have won the stab off. I’m sure she wasn’t as much of a naïve retard as you are.”
She must have realised she wasn’t going the right way about encouraging me onto her side. She changed her tone slightly. “The Owens wanted to keep the story running through their newspaper so they can control every little detail and get a closer look at what little old me was up to. Why do you think you were even in Knock Knock in the first place? You were an Owen stooge.”
“So what do you propose I do with what you’re telling me?” I asked her.
“I don’t expect you to take what I’m telling you in good faith. Whilst their focus is on me it gives you the chance to do a little digging. Speak to OLIVIA PLATT, Dennis’ ex-wife. She means well and had many Owen victims come through her office as a social worker.” That soft look came over her again, almost human behind the mask. “If you do find her and Milo is with her be discreet. He’s just a kid. He doesn’t have to know how much of a prick his dad is.”
It was a quiet night in the oldest part of town. Elmslie Court in KINGSGATE was taking a breath of cool night air. Micky Doyle had called around to his cousin at three that afternoon. The day had fallen into night. He and Karyn still discussed the spate of attacks that had occurred around the city, including an explosion at the Weir Hotel in City Main as well as the attempts on Karyn’s life. Before they knew it dinner was served.
“That’s why we need to take the hot seat and clean this city up,” Micky concluded. The reference he made was to the mayoral office in Coldford, at an intimidating building called City Face due to the large clock it bore.
Karyn was in complete agreement but given the danger she was in and Micky’s mentor – Derek Gainor – losing out on the election to Jim Feltz they had to be careful.
Feltz had declared himself a friend of the south and a saviour of the Shanties. ‘Regeneration; Rejuvenation; Rehabilitation’ was his campaign promise. At the time the Coldford Express had called him a hope for the south. The chronicle went with ‘a breath of fresh air.’ The Coldford Daily was in support of his competitor. I remember writing a profile piece on Derek at the time. But like many, Jim Feltz felt the heat of the hot seat burn too fiercely. With Tabitha warning him to make good on his promises and Owen Inc. looking to push their own agendas with the might of the north behind them he panicked. He used city money to appease his northern overlords and tried to run before Tabitha and her Headliners found out. When AMBER FELTZ, the mayor’s youngest daughter, came calling at the Knock Knock Club she confirmed her father’s intentions.
“When election time comes around again I’ll be ready,” Micky said over the soft tapping of silver ware on fine china plates.
“If you are going to run for office there is just one thing you should be wary of,” Karyn warned.
The darkness had crept on them so subtly through their discussions that when Cameron switched on the lamp in the corner the light was wild and harsh. It took some time for eyes to adjust and the light to settle into smooth warmth.
“The business with Reverend Owen,” she went on to explain. “It will be brought up if you make a move for City Hall.”
Micky cocked his head as he watched Cameron move vegetables around the plate. “It’s already a problem,” he said. “If I can get on the hot seat I can shut them up for good.”
“Tread carefully,” warned his cousin.
“Do you believe what they say about him?”
“Not without any verifiable evidence, no. What I’m saying is that it will cause a political minefield and so you will tread carefully.”
Cameron looked up and his eye caught something moving outside.
“Mum?” he said. “I think there is someone at the window.”
He looked to Micky who frowned in confusion. Micky looked back over his shoulder to the window behind him. Karyn was already on her feet. She strode to the window and glanced out onto the lawns. Through the glare of lights Karyn could see a man lying out on the perfectly kept grass.
Karyn and Micky went outside. Cameron followed close at their heel.
A blonde man in a priest’s collar stirred. He was mumbling something to himself but the words were nonsense.
“What’s wrong with him mum?” Cameron asked.
Micky looked to his cousin. She was observing the figure in great detail. She was remembering every tortured wrinkle on his face, every detail of his dress, and the smell of his breath and the position of his body for future reference. Her lips tightened.
“Do you know him mum?” asked Cameron.
“Help him up,” she ordered. “It’s Jerry Owen.”
Cameron grabbed the priest by his left arm and Micky took the right. As they eased him gently onto his feet he gargled. Drool leaked from the left corner of his mouth. Blood ran down his face.
“Wait,” Karyn’s voice snapped into the night. “Stop.”
She reached up and brushed his hair back to reveal a hole had been drilled into his skull by someone who intended on rendering him dumb but didn’t necessarily have the medical know how. His genitals had been removed.
Karyn growled. Cameron looked to Micky again. In the pocket of the priests shirt was a note written in a childish scrawl.
A cure for a pervo.
I took care of it myself.
“Get him inside,” ordered the Judge. “I’ll call for a doctor.”
So many had come forward with accusations against Jerry Owen thanks to the efforts of the Baroness of the Knock Knock Club – Tabitha’s Aunt Tawny – but there was no evidence, no medical reports and no police findings.
When Jerry’s elder brother, Charles ‘Chick’ Owen, found out he requested that he be given the chance to take care of the situation.
“Little kids? Shit. If I had the sick fuck I would castrate him myself but he’s one of my own, and you don’t go against one of your own on the word of some fucked up little bitch and her boozy clown aunt,” said the eldest Owen, better known as the Cappy, to Micky.
To The Judge he said, “My son, Buddy, has taken over the Kappa So Chapter House. He’s a little erratic at times but he may be just what you need. I’m sendin’ him ova. He’ll make himself useful to you.”
There was no evidence and no confirmation but Judge Doyle knew who was responsible for Jerry Owen’s crude lobotomy. She also knew who had ordered the attacks on her, the recent surge of slander stories in the press about the Owen’s that they had to close down quickly, and the Freefall Massacre. It all resonated from the newly reopened Knock Knock Club and soon the Boss Lady of said club would be made to pay for all of it.
#amreading the #thriller #graphicnovel #knockknock by @VivikaWidow
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.