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
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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“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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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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I couldn’t take it any more. I had to get away. Killing the Mayor had been one thing. I decided to hang around and let the story unfold after that but for my own souls sake I had to escape Tabitha’s murderous intent. I had to distance myself from the ‘Knock, Knock’ club.
Tabitha insisted that killing those chosen by the club was the kindest thing to do. “Much like an antibiotic for society.”
I wasn’t swayed. “These people have lives and families. They have fallen on hard times. They need help.”
Tabitha rolled her eyes like I had said the silliest thing in the world. “Since the dawn of time we have operated on a ‘survival of the fittest’ basis. They are suffering and there are others out there who could benefit quite strongly from what little they have. Would you allow a lame dog to suffer or would you put a bullet in its head? On the way to the streets the people we dispose of through this club would have dragged the rest of us with them. With each kill we make, each death request our members put forward, society is now one step closer to functioning again. That’s what we do. That is what this club was set up to do. It’s what your grandfather aimed to do,” she had said.
I still wasn’t entirely sure what the club felt they were achieving. To me it seemed they were a bunch of wealthy psychopaths who felt their titles and positions gave them licence to murder. They seemed to think that were providing Coldford a great service. They believed it wasn’t murder, it was euthanasia. Tabitha enjoyed it way too much.
“It’s not for me or you to make those kind of decisions,” I stated.
Tabitha shrugged her shoulders. “If you truly believe that then you are nothing like your grandfather.” She looked at her watch. “I’m due on stage in five.”
“I’m leaving,” I said immediately regretted disclosing my plan.
Tabitha gave a throaty laugh. “The moment you step outside this door you will die. Someone will get to you sooner or later. Even if you make it a week, a month or even a year it will be just because our enemies are biding their time. We are better off sticking together.”
Tabitha walked off to the stage. The last I heard was her warming her singing voice.
That night I gathered what little belongings I had brought to the ‘Knock, Knock’. I had some ratty old clothes and a photograph of my wife, Theresa, that had been taken on the eve of our wedding day. That seemed a lifetime ago. In fact it didn’t seem like my life at all. That was someone else who had been happy. That was another man’s wife. He was a different Sam Crusow. I was a miserable wretch who knew nothing but the ‘Knock, Knock’ club.
The club was never empty. In my time staying there, no matter what hour I climbed out of my room at, there was always someone lurking around. I didn’t have much to carry so I shuffled to the bar as though a drink was all I wanted. I planned to slip out the door I had seen the bar tenders use often that led onto the alley behind the club.
The lights were out except for the low stage lighting. Dennis was talking to one of the girls, the red headed beauty named Lisa. I got the impression that she worshipped the ground that Dennis walked on. To him she was a pretty young girl deserving of attention but to her he was an all knowing deity that had chosen to walk among lesser mortals. Dennis looked up as my footsteps scraped across the ground. He squinted through the darkness, noticed it was me and waved. I waved back, not wanting to seem suspicious. I yawned – thinking I had missed my calling as an actor – and lifted one of the bottles. It was gin which I never drank but I had to create a distraction so they would carry on their conversation without paying me any further attention. I stole a quick glance at them. Lisa seemed to be sobbing. Dennis had his hand on her shoulder. I tried the door but it was locked.
‘damn it!’ I groaned. The rattle of the lock had caught Dennis’ ear. I had no choice. It was now or never. I leapt from behind the bar and dashed to the club’s main door. That door was locked too. I felt Dennis’ hand on my shoulder.
“Not tonight bud,” he said, pulling me back. “There’s nothing out there for you,” he added.
I went to bed with no further protest. Drowsiness overcame me and my last thoughts were how to escape the clutches of the ‘Knock, Knock’. What I didn’t realise was they had plans of their own. They were going to make sure I would never leave.
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