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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Tabitha opened the door. She stared at Maddy’s body like a famished fox in a hen house.
“Clever boy,” she said. “You shot her. I knew you could do it.”
I was still in a state of shock. “I didn’t,” I ground. “She shot herself.”
Tabitha’s expression changed quickly. The fox had now learned that it wasn’t the hen house after all but the hound’s kennel.
“Don’t say that to anyone else if you want to survive,” she warned. “She is dead, that’s all that matters.” Her vixen like smile returned. “Besides, watching her put the gun to her head without trying to stop her is as good as murdering her.”
I was going to tell her that I did try to stop her but I sensed it would fall on deaf ears.
My wife was gone, my best friend was gone and even the mayor of the town was gone. The bodies were piling up at the Knock, Knock club and that was just the tip of the iceberg.
When I was finally allowed to leave the room they had locked me in until Maddy was dead. I found Dennis still looking more morose than usual. There was no paying customers in the club at that time. Tabitha distracted herself with some of the girls who were begging her for advice and trying to win her favour.
I felt my body tense. I stood beside Dennis with one eye still on Tabitha.
“You can forget what help I was going to give you. You can rot in here for the rest of your life for what it is worth to me. The body of your boy can be thrown in the alley with the rest of them; along with my wife and my friend,” I spat. They were harsh words but the club was beginning to drain my humanity. Maybe I was a Crusow after all.
Dennis stole a quick glance at the others. “There was nothing I could have done. She came here looking for you and it was Tabitha who greeted her.”
I had heard enough. I wasn’t really interested in anything more that Dennis had been telling me.
“Why don’t I tell Tabitha about the little visit we had from Milo. I’m sure she could easily track him down,” I snapped.
I tried to walk away but he snatched me back. Tabitha craned her neck to examine the commotion closer. Dennis patted my shoulder with a smile as though we were having a brotherly scuffle.
He lowered his voice. “You wouldn’t do that.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Wouldn’t I?”
“You wouldn’t put an innocent child in danger. Milo has nothing to do with any of this. Unfortunately the same can’t be argued for Madeline. If I could have stopped her coming here I would have.”
I shook my head again. My temples were aching with anger. My emotions were beginning to burn in my eyes.
“If you don’t help me get out of here tonight, I will happily show the way to Milo. In fact, I will happily plunge the knife into him myself.”
“Don’t say things you can’t fulfil,” Dennis warned.
“Try me,” I urged. “After weeks trapped in this club who knows what I have become capable of. I am Sam Crusow after all. My grandfather started this whole nonsense. Since my arrival I have been pushed to be more like him. So there you have it. I’m now willing to murder a little boy to get some satisfaction.”
Tabitha called me over. I left Dennis with my threats to his estranged son.
“You mustn’t blame Dennis for the state Madeline found herself in,” said she, sensing the reason for my frustrated frown. “The club doesn’t need to look far for it’s next kill. Greed, desperation and jealousy are all reasons we are given by our members to rid of their nuisances. But don’t fret. It’s not all bad. Everything that Madeline had will now be shared amongst us and so the club continues.”
“I’m getting used to it,” I lied.
“Cheer up.” She patted my cheek. “It could be a whole lot worse. If it weren’t for you carrying your grandfather’s name you would be dead already.”
“I am grateful,” I said sarcastically.
Tabitha laughed. “It strikes me as odd that you seem more upset at the death of the lovely Madeline than you did your poor wife.”
I had no answer for that comment.
In my time at the Knock, Knock club I had witnessed them kill for money, kill as a warning and kill for fun. As night fell, I watched the body of my long time friend being removed to the alley from my window. She lay amongst the city’s waste where no police officer would care. The desperate residents of Coldford would remove anything on her person that was of value or could be made of use. This wasn’t very much after the club were done with her. I kept clear of the window after that. I couldn’t bare my view being the corpse of Madeline staring up at me. The horror and desperation of her final moments still remaining in her dead eyes.
Little did I know, the worst was yet to come.
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Check out the story from the beginning!
We were locked in the room together. There was only the faint light from a single high window.
“What are you doing here Maddy?” I asked.
“I was worried about you,” was her reply. “The police were asking about you. Theresa is dead and suddenly it was though you had vanished into thin air. I had a sense you would be here. I had to find you.”
When I had told Madeline that I was investigating the Knock, Knock club she had said very little about it. Even after I had brought Theresa here just before her murder.
“Do you know what goes on here?” I had to ask.
“They use their connections to get away with murder. They make themselves rich by killing people and sharing the spoils. Usually they are also paid handsomely for it too.”
I was furious. Anger had been building in me given recent events.
“Why didn’t you say anything to me? Why didn’t you warn me? If you had said something I never would have brought Theresa here and she might still be alive.”
Madeline gave a heavy sigh. “I wanted to warn you but I couldn’t say anything.”
I was still frustrated. “Why not?”
“I’m a member,” she explained.
I had known Madeline for years. I considered her one of my closest friends as did Theresa but even when you are so close to someone there is still a deeper part were the true person lies that no one will ever know. Its that same part that in the absence of any rules or laws would run amok. The club played on this part of people, flattering them into believing they could get away with anything the wanted.
It had happened before I met Madeline. She was a young girl on her college path towards a career in journalism. Her life plans were upset when she found herself in the family way. Whilst she pondered over her future the father never gave so much as a backwards glance. Madeline’s prayers were answered when out of the blue she was approached by a handsome, charming man named Dennis.
“I know a girl in trouble when I see one,” he had remarked with a smooth smile she found quite appealing. It had been the only kind words anyone had uttered since discovering her pregnancy.
“It’s quite unfair that the father would get to trot off whilst the mother shoulders the responsibility alone. It is an injustice that even in today’s modern society stands to be corrected.”
Madeline was so drawn to him she found herself discussing her predicament with a stranger she had only met a few moments before when he joined her on the bench at the park where she had gone to clear head.
Dennis explained, “I’m a member of an exclusive club. If you were a member your baby would be taken care of until such times as you were ready to take her back. We’ve only just managed to pull ourselves out of a financial recession and it looks like we are headed towards another. It hits everyone hard but it must be an especially powerful blow to a single mother.”
Maddy sobbed and ran her hand softly over her womb. “I can’t.”
Dennis leant forward. She caught the scent of tobacco and whiskey from him. “Do the sensible thing kid,” he urged. “You won’t be giving up any rights to the child or anything. You would simply be making sure they were sufficiently taken care of.”
He gave her an invitation to the Knock, Knock club and a lot to ponder. Madeline was alone, desperate and financial straits. Giving her baby up was her only hope. She became a life long member that day. I met her the following year and no word of the little girl passed her lips.
“Do you know where your daughter is now?” I asked.
She shook her head. Tears were beginning to form in the corners of her eyes.
I asked, “What did they want with a new born child?” I wished I hadn’t because the thoughts of what could be possibly happening to the babies flashed into my mind. It sent a violent shiver down my spine.
“I’m so sorry,” Madeline cried.
“You should be,” I groaned. “Because of what you did Theresa was murdered and a little girl who didn’t ask to be born has probably been subjected to a life of unimaginable cruelty. That is if she is unlucky enough to still be a alive.”
“Take that gun. Kill me. It’s the only way out.” She pointed a shaking finger at the table.
I shook my head. “We’re getting out of this,” I assured her.
“It’s impossible,” she insisted. “You couldn’t shoot your way out. They will have only loaded one bullet.”
“Neither of us are dying in this hole,” I stated, hoping that my words would be final and she would stop feeling sorry for herself.
“I don’t deserve to leave this place. I handed my child over and never looked back. The things I did. The things they made me do.” She stood and began to pace the small room.
“What else aren’t you telling me?”
She became hysterical. “You can get out of here. Make sure everyone knows what goes on here!”
She was screaming. I tried to grip her shoulders to calm her down but she lifted the gun and leapt back before I had the chance to. She put the gun into her mouth.
I tried to stop her. She pulled the trigger and her body fell limp to the floor.
Madeline had known about the Knock, Knock club. If her daughter was still alive I would find her. My wife, my best friend and any future I ever had were all gone. It made me more determined than ever to expose the club for what it was and all of its members.
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July 9, 2017 | Categories: Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock EP 12: It's not me; It's you! | Tags: author, blog, blog series, crusow, cult, Knock, Knock, murder, noir, sam, suspense, thriller, vivika widow | 2 Comments
“I’ll get you out of here,” Dennis said. “Tonight. Just make sure Milo is safe.”
My mind fogged with many unanswered questions. “Where is his mother?” I asked. “Did she send him here?”
My old reporter self came racing to the surface. So many lines of investigation I wanted to open. Dennis was as calm as ever. Even his large eyes didn’t betray him but I could tell from the strong heave of his chest it was feeling the thud of his heart.
He hadn’t seen his son since his wife, Julianne, killed his father and ran away with him as a baby. Julianne wasn’t a particularly stable woman from what Dennis told me but if I were to hitch a bet I would say it was Tabitha who had murdered Dennis’ father and Julianne had taken their boy to escape her. Dennis had come to Coldford because he had no one and nothing else. Tabitha was his only life line. He probably agreed with my conclusion but would never admit it. He was keen on making sure that no one but me knew that Milo had found him.
“What you boys talking about?” Tabitha joined us. She had no doubt seen the commotion at the door from the stage during her performance. I had noticed her grey eyes follow us to the door.
“Just that your performance was a triumph as always,” Dennis replied with his usual nonchalant air.
The girl behind the bar brought Tabitha a glass of water with a wedge of lime and some ice. Tabitha hadn’t had to ask for it.
“What was the trouble at the door?” she asked. She had directed the question at me. As a journalist I was trained in not giving my game away too soon.
“Just someone trying to get in out of the cold,” Dennis answered for me. “Didn’t have an invite. They were told to take their business elsewhere.”
Tabitha sipped her water. She wasn’t giving up so easily. “That’s the doorman’s job isn’t it. Why did he call for you?” Tabitha hadn’t missed a trick from the stage.
“They had asked for me personally but I didn’t recognise them. Probably knew me from my sales days,” Dennis explained. He was playing by the old code that the best lies are formulated from half truths.
Tabitha finished her water. Her nose wrinkled in disgust. She laid the glass on the bar and called to the girl, “That tastes like toilet water,” she said. She hadn’t forgotten about our conversation though. She turned her attention back to Dennis. “That’s not good,” she stated. “If someone managed to track you down here, who knows what else they can find out about you.”
Dennis appeared little fussed by the whole affair. I had to admire his acting skills. “It’s fine,” he said. “I doubt they’ll be back.”
One of the patrons interrupted. “I love you T!” he gasped in a drunken slur. He stumbled forward, leaning too much into Tabitha’s personal space. “Your performances is what I come here for.”
Tabitha pushed him back. She wore a look of disdain that the patron hadn’t seemed to notice. “Compliments don’t pay the bills,” she said. She pulled the tip jar that sat on the bar. “Empty your pockets into there and maybe they’ll stop feeding me toilet water.”
The man returned to her with a laugh but he did reach into the inside pocket of his jacket and filled the tub with notes.
Later that night I walked into my room. It had been a pleasant little ray of hope after my own wife’s murder when I first came but as time drew on it was seeming more like the dank prison cell it actually was.
Dennis had told me to wait for his instructions. At three the club finally cleared. I was sat on my bed with my oversized coat on. I couldn’t help but worry that Dennis had changed his mind. I looked from my window. The alley was empty save for a couple of stray cats trying to salvage a meal. I was close to giving up when a soft knock came at the door.
I answered expecting to be met with Dennis or one of the girls. Instead Tabitha stood waiting. Her brunette hair had been bundled on top of her head. The make up had been removed leaving her with a fresh faced, natural beauty.
“Going somewhere?” she asked, noticing I was dressed.
I said simply, “I was cold.”
“Come with me,” she said. A slight sardonic smile traced her lips.
“Where are we going?” I asked but I she didn’t answer. I followed her through the club to a door. I had never been behind before. Dennis was stood in the corner. He was silent and pale. He had a lit cigarette between his fingers. He was holding it at his lips but he wasn’t smoking. He was staring blankly in front of him.
I stopped. Tabitha removed a bundle of keys from the pocket of the thin, grey silk shirt she wore.
“What’s going on?” I wondered out loud. I was watching Dennis but he wasn’t taking anything or anyone around him.
She unlocked the door but before she opened it she said, “We have a surprise for you.”
She finally pulled the door aside. The room was dark. It took some time for my eyes to adjust but then I saw her. A woman huddled in the corner. She was sobbing heavily. Her face was terribly beaten from what I could tell.
“Madeleine?” I gasped, recognising my former colleague from the Coldford Chronicle. “What happened to you?”
Maddy couldn’t answer. She had been bound and gagged.
Tabitha gave a sharp laugh behind me. “She came looking for you. She came at the right time actually. It’s time to find out what you’re really made of.”
I looked at Maddy. My long term friend was in distress. Who knows what they had done to her. I had never seen such horror in the eyes of another. When Theresa was murdered I hadn’t witnessed any of it. I had just woken up next to her lifeless body. Now, Maddy was tied in the corner of some grotty back alley club.
“Let her go!” I insisted. I hoped my name could still carry some authority.
Tabitha’s lips tightened. “You’ve been with us for a while now and all you have done is watch. It is time to live up to your Grandfather’s name. Kill this girl.”
“You can’t be serious?” I gasped. Maddy whined. She struggled against her binds. The truth was, Tabitha had a wicked taste for games. I couldn’t tell if she was playing around or not.
“I’m deadly serious,” she replied. “Everyone has to do it. It’s our way of making sure what happens inside the club stays inside the club.”
Before I could rush at her, Tabitha closed the door again. The lock clicked. I was stuck in a dark room with one of my oldest friends. There was a gun on the table. Either one of us was leaving the Knock, Knock club alive or neither of us were.
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Catch up from the beginning:
Knock, Knock: Episode 10
“You’re Dennis Platt,” repeated the little boy. “I’m Milo, your son.”
Dennis’ eyes widened in shock at first. He looked back at me. I could only shrug my shoulders. I didn’t know Dennis’ family. I couldn’t confirm. Finally the club manager emitted a hearty laugh.
“Nice try kid,” he said. “I don’t have a son.”
He started to push the door closed. The boy stepped in the way. The door man stepped forward and placed his hands on the boys chest. He shoved him back into the alley. The boy stumbled and fell into a pile of trash bags.
“I am your son!” he cried as the door was closed over. “Julianne Platt is my mum!”
Before the door came to a complete close Dennis pushed aside the door man.
“Get out of here kid!” he warned. “It isn’t safe here.”
The boy was locked out. He had had such a striking resemblance to Dennis If it wasn’t his son he was at least a close relation. I couldn’t believe Dennis hadn’t seen it.
“I didn’t know you had a son,” the door man commented off handedly.
Dennis was frowning. Temper was not suiting him. Anger told in his dark eyes and it was like the amiable mask he wore for the public had been torn off exposing the true person underneath.
“I don’t,” he replied with frustration. “I don’t know him.”
The door man crossed his arms across his chest as he resumed his post. “He seemed to know you.”
This only heightened Dennis’ anger. “Don’t breathe a word of this to any one. Do you understand me?” The door man backed off. “Especially to Tabitha.”
As he turned round he came face to face with one of the regular patrons. The mask was back on. “Oh hey bud,” he said. “Having a good night?”
“Any messages left for me?” the patron asked.
Dennis put his arm around the broad shoulder of the customer and started to lead him away. “Not that I know of but if you go back to your table I’ll check with the girls.”
The customer seemed satisfied with that. He hadn’t overheard Dennis’ exchange with the door man and if he had he wasn’t interested.
I followed Dennis towards the bar. “What if that boy is your son?” I said.
Dennis stopped. He glared at me. I think it was the most honest exchange we had had in our time knowing each other.
“Do you think I wouldn’t recognise my own son? Even after all these years?”
Before I could speak again Dennis added, “That boy was Milo but it’s far too dangerous for him to hang around here.”
“Anything could happen to him out there,” I pleaded.
Dennis shook his head. He rested a hand on my shoulder. “I need your help.”
I raised my eyebrows. “My wife was killed, I was accused of murder, I’m being kept a prisoner here in this dank hole of a club and I find out my grandfather was responsible for every wretched run of bad luck I have ever experienced. I turned to you to try and help me – help us both – get out of here and you told me no. Now you want me to help you?”
Dennis narrowed his gaze. “You won’t be helping me. I’ve made my bed. You would be helping an innocent ten year old who has nothing to do with any of this.”
Damn it! Dennis always had an answer for everything. Tabitha was off stage and would be there any minute.
“Fine,” I relented. “But you have to get me out of here.”
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Follow from the beginning:
Travelling home from anatomy class in my second year of medical school I was musing to a friend about how beautiful the city of Aberdeen was and yet how grey and atmospheric.
“Just pretend you are in a Stephen King book,” she suggested.
This was great advice. I mean who doesn’t love Stephen King books? Perhaps wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle of one but you get the gist.
With building stories and characters never far from my mind, as I skipped down the rain lashed streets the premise for ‘Knock, Knock’ started to brew. It was a slightly different story then and some earlier drafts are best kept to myself. Needless to say my love of cheesy old horror movies played a huge part.
Thankfully after a lot of development, advice and more rainy day pondering I am excited to see ‘Knock, Knock’ be enjoyed.
It took eleven years for it to finally be penned and as much as I would have loved to have made it available as a book I felt that it wouldn’t be served much justice so it was broken up into an ongoing blog series.
I hope you have enjoyed reading it so far and look forward to where Sam’s adventures will take him next. For those who haven’t read it yet it is available exclusively on vivikawidow.com from Episode 1.
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