It was tough going. From the best seat at the Coldford Daily newspaper to packing up my make shift home at the Weir Hotel. A lot had happened in between then. I had witnessed murder, pleas of innocence and I had watched justice fall hard. Some would argue too hard but, in a city filled to the brim with murderers, thieves, rapists and drug addicts, what was too hard?
I had seen the city quiet before on walks through the streets in the early hours but this was different. There was a chill in the air and not just because of the rapidly changing weather. Sure, summer had closed its door with a slam and cold winter opened its embrace, but the brittle air resonated from the discarded banners outside of the Court House.
JUSTICE FOR TABITHA.
FREE OUR QUEEN.
The Boss Lady of the Knock Knock Club was gone, sentenced to death for her crimes. The club itself was now in the hands of the office of Law Makers and their Bailiffs.
Justice was served swiftly but it wasn’t the justice the south of the city had wanted. Tabitha had fought for them. The blood she shed was for them.
The CLOSED sign over the entrance of the Penn Auction House struck fear in City Main too. Two of the Penn triplets, Marcus and Simon, were resident of Coldford Correctional, better known as The Boss because of the way it loomed over the northern town of Bournton. The third triplet, Reggie, had slipped Law Maker custody and was currently missing. Their father, Reginald, was rumoured to have returned to Coldford. The man who many addressed as the King of City Main was set on retrieving his sons regardless of the consequences.
Fear in the city was but a prelude to the fear felt in the western town of Bellfield when the gates of the Mack and Sons Distillery closed. This was something that hadn’t been known since the days of the Great Wars of previous generations. Second eldest Mack son, Paddy, had also escaped CPD leaving behind several dead officers including Detective Hickes, a good man caught in the middle of a deadly face off.
Then there was Tawny, the old Baroness of the Knock Knock Club and Tabitha’s beloved aunt. She had been a resident of the Harbour House rehabilitation clinic after an attack on the club caused a complete mental breakdown. Being treated for trauma she had been safe within the clinic until Tabitha’s trial. As the Law Makers moved in to take her into custody she was gone. Owner of the facility, Dr Winslow, refused to give statement until he had placed himself in the good graces of the Law Makers. Beckingridge Financial Firm had funded a campaign which sent missing person’s reports all around the city and displayed on the screen at Beckingridge Tower, in the hopes of shaking whoever had her or knew of her whereabouts. Thanks to the financial muscle there was not a corner of Coldford that didn’t show an image of Tawny’s smiling face, as all those who knew her and loved her would remember her.
I wasn’t sure what Elizabeth Beckingridge’s thinking had been behind this. At the helm of the financial giant it would have been her decision, but Tabitha had caused the death of 59 of her clients and staff at an event known as the Free Fall Massacre. Elizabeth had no reason, nor loyalties to Tawny. I could only surmise until her part of the story became more apparent.
I spoke with a fellow resident of Harbour House, drug addicted artist David Finn. Time in the clinic for his addiction seemed to have done him well. He had been close to Tawny, was fearful for her safety and adamant that the Owen family where responsible for taking her due a long held grudge they had with her. He was willing to tell me all she had ever told him about the Owens and the club but the word of a recovering addict was little for me to go on.
The room at the Weir was comfortable enough. The red and gold décor matched the hotel colours. I had been housed there ever since Tabitha was taken into custody and my own home became a crime scene. I couldn’t feel safe there though, locked in the centre of City Main. I would much rather have returned to my home in the sleepy suburban spot of Jamestown. But the story still lay in the Shady City and I wasn’t quite ready to abandon it when there was still so much to be told.
My phone rang in a video call. Answering it brought me the pretty, warm and friendly face of Agent Lydia Lowe. She had been by my side and taken great personal risk to keep me safe throughout. It comforted me that she rarely allowed voice calls. She always requested video, forcing me to open up to her.
“Hey roomie,” she smiled. “I just wanted to check on you and see how you were doing.”
“Good,” I said. I tried to hold the camera steady offering her nothing but unflattering angles and a view of the roof. “Just packing up now.”
Lydia giggled as I tried to hold the phone steady.
“I’ll be back by the time you get here. I’m just wrapping things up with Kim at CPD.”
Kim was the leader of Lydia’s agency team sent in to bring down the Knock Knock Club and its Boss Lady. She had kindly offered me sanctuary at her City Main home, giving me time and space to clear my own where the perfume of my dead wife, Theresa, still resonated.
“We’ll get a pizza, a cold beer and figure out our next move. How does that sound?”
I grinned. It sounded much better than another night alone at the Weir.
“Sure,” I agreed. “I’ll be there soon.”
“See ya!” was her cheery sign off.
I took one last look at my room. I wasn’t sad to leave it.
I pulled my suitcase into the old-fashioned styled elevator. Bell Boy, Ralph, was on duty wearing the gold and red uniform.
“Allow me,” he offered, taking the burden of my case. “You might want to get checked out quickly. Things are getting a bit crazy downstairs.”
Before I had the chance to ask him what he meant the lift doors opened again.
The main foyer had been swamped by Kappa So brothers, a fraternity based at the University of Filton and founded by the Owen family. It was accusations against this brotherhood and its founding members that caused the city to be split in two in the first place.
An excitable Kappa So brother leaping around bumped into me, almost knocking me from my feet.
“Watch out the way, brah!” he yelled in a strong Great States accent even though he was the one who had fallen into me.
He must not have liked the scowl I gave him in return because he shoved me with a scowl of his own. Luckily one of his brothers screamed over to him and motioned for him to join them in the bar where more of his brothers were harassing a bar maid. Glasses had been smashed and cheers rang out. Chairs were over turned in the foyer. The receptionist looked terrified.
“We are Kappa So!” chanted another group just arriving from a bus that had pulled up outside.
Rodney Weir himself was filtering among them. He was wearing his Kappa So blazer to show he too was a brother, but was trying to bring some order to the chaos.
I handed my key to the receptionist. She was a heavy set girl, mid-twenties with a sweet face but completely out of her depth when it came to dealing with the chaos that was coming her way. She accepted the key gratefully but before she could say anything a jeer erupted in the foyer where one of the brothers had climbed on a sofa and knocked it over. He was now lying on the ground. His brothers fell into peals of laughter around him. A storm hit the hotel that day and I was caught in the middle of it. Trying to speak to the receptionist was difficult through the noise.
“What’s the name?” she asked.
I hadn’t heard her at first. I was hit on the head with an inflatable penis, the kind one may find in a hen party. One of the brothers, without apologising, grabbed it and waved it as though it was his own penis. He launched it back across the foyer like he was pitching a baseball. The group that had just alighted from the bus were now pushing into the reception desk. The one who had tipped the couch hadn’t gotten back up. A drug cocktail, it seemed, was keeping him down. One of them kicked him. The rest of them sauntered to the bar.
“What’s the name?” the receptionist asked again.
“Sam Crusow,” I explained. “Room 415.”
She started to check the computer. Her manicured nails tap, tap, tapped on the keys. There was a scream from the bar. On a dare, one of the brothers was trying to french kiss eighty-year-old Mrs Riley. He was pushing into her with his tongue protruding and his hands reaching out for her breasts.
“Thank you, Mr Crusow,” the receptionist said having checked there was no cost left on my room. “I hope you enjoyed your stay.”
“Hey fatty boom boom we need a room room,” said one of the new arrivals.
“Excuse me?” she replied. It would have been much easier if she had just given them the rooms.
“No drama,” the brother cheered. “Can’t smell it.”
The other brothers laughed.
“Just give us our damn room,” groaned another, more irate brother. He was high on cocaine, or powder as it was known in the Shady City.
“I’m just finishing with this gentleman,” she said.
“It’s fine,” I assured her. “I’m done.”
“Don’t piss her off, brah. She gonna eat ya,” said another, also high on powder.
“Mr Weir?!” the receptionist called to Rodney.
The hotelier’s attention was caught. It didn’t take much explanation for him to deduce what was happening.
“It’s fine, darling,” he said. “Open up the fifth floor.”
I checked out. I left the bedlam behind. I could still hear the screams as I stepped onto the streets of City Main. The anarchy and all the new arrivals were because Robert ‘Bobby’ Owen was touring the Kappa So Chapter Houses and his next stop was to be Coldford.
I am reporter, Sam Crusow and my story is far from over.
“Listen up bitches. My Pops is comin’ so this place better be ready to receive!” yelled Buddy Owen to his Kappa So brothers who were busy getting the celebrations started at the Coldford Chapter House located on the Filton University Campus.
The excitement of meeting Bobby Owen wasn’t just Buddy blowing hot air. Despite Buddy’s father, Charles ‘Chick’ Owen – or The Cappy as he was respectfully titled – being the current CEO of Owen Inc, the grandfather was still seen as a deity among the Kappa So brothers. His portrait hung prominently in the main lounge of the house. His reputation as a founder and pioneer spread throughout all the Chapters across the world.
“I’ve been buzzing all day brah,” stated Chad, one of Buddy’s closest brothers at the top of the Kappa So chain. He wasn’t the only one.
Buddy went on to address the others. “We’re talking about the Commander in Chief himself coming to visit ya’ll! The great, the legendary, the much admired Bobby fuckin’ Owen. My pops. They sing songs about him in the Great States you know. He’s going to be walking in here any minute and the place smells like a vaj factory!”
He addressed the lesser brothers, ”Ya’ll better recognise just how lucky you are to have him even want to look at ya. The world out there has gone to shit. You can’t call a nigger a nigger. You can’t call a whore a whore. People are changing gender like their fuckin’ dirty drawers and no one cares about tradition anymore. Our brotherhood survives because the monumental Bobby Owen said it was so. He gifted us our Chapter so we could follow tradition. He set foot in this shitty city so that the people here would see our yellow and black and know it meant something.”
“We are here so that we can remind people of tradition. Thanks to the awesome and spectacular Bobby Owen we will let the Shady City know that there is an order in life and we are top of that order. We take our place at the top of that order before things get out of hand and we can’t say fuck noodle without offending some vegan, cross-dressing, feminist asshole who identifies as a fuckin’ tree. I am sick and tired of people telling me my words offend them. They should be offended. I got shit to say that people ain’t gonna like. The incomparable Bobby Owen didn’t make this brotherhood what it was so we would have to care about other people. Am I right my brothers?”
A cheer rang out from the fraternity. Buddy grinned. His cocaine high buzzing even harder as he absorbed his brothers’ excitement.
“The man in charge himself, my pops, will knock all ya’ll bitches into line. You better be ready to bow because the man is royalty. He is a God here at Kappa So and you should be thanking your mamma she had the good sense to open her legs in time for ya’ll to be here to witness this marvellous…fucking awesome occasion. And don’t forget, contained within his God balls is the essence that created me, your other God.”
Here Buddy gave a raspy laugh and the other brothers cheered some more.
“Those are great balls, Buddy,” Chad said, caught up in the excitement.
”Thanks Chad,” he said.
”Got your back, brah, ” Chad replied.
On his right side, Dale Cooper, son of the legendary racing family, Cooper Garages, folded his arms across his chest and waited for Buddy to continue.
Cheryl, a Kappa So cheerleader, honours student in the first year at Filton, now scraping by, was brought forth. She was so high on powder she could barely walk. She grinned as she was ushered forward and kneeled before Buddy.
“Go forth,” he ordered, “and let all the whores know that there will be rich old cock to be sucked tonight.” He reached his hand out to Chad to summon him. “Chad?” he called. “Fetch me the golden cock!”
Chad leapt excitedly. “I’ll get your cock, Buddy.”
He turned his focus back to Cheryl. The aptly titled ‘coke whore’ was swaying. Her eyes were burning red with the blood vessels bursting through the whites.
Chad returned and placed a penis made of gold into Buddy’s hand. It was generously proportioned and as anatomically correct as could be found gilded from precious metal.
A sombre silence fell over the Kappa So hall as Buddy held the golden cock out.
“With this cock you will summon the best whores,” he said as though a priest delivering mass.
Cheryl bowed her head. “I will, Buddy,” she agreed.
“You will treat it with the appropriate respect,” he said.
“I will Buddy,” she replied again dutifully.
He passed it into her outstretched hands as though she was accepting communion.
Buddy pointed to the door.
“Now go forth. Your task has been assigned.”
Cheryl climbed onto her feet. Her drug addled stupor made it a bit of a task. She certainly wasn’t as agile then as she was on the cheerleading squads of the university. When she finally did get onto her feet she skipped off, taking the golden cock to the Kappa Si house. The sorority would see the penis etched in gold and the sisters would know that there was a sugar daddy available to please.
The fresh air as she stepped outside hit her so hard she almost stumbled but the powder pushed her forward. She ran excitedly.
Harsh headlights came charging towards her like a bull.
Cheryl collided with a black van. The van continued on its charge.
Kappa So Chapter House received a blow to its west side as the van crashed through.
Before they could react – most of them too drunk or drugged to do much anyway – the brothers of Kappa So were swarmed by thugs from the Coldford City football team. They called themselves the loyalists and they descended upon the brothers under the leadership of Reginald Penn, head of the Penn dynasty and the one they hailed as King of City Main.
In an unprecedented coupling The Fleet from the Bellfield team had joined them. Normally fierce rivals, these two groups had put aside their differences in order to tackle a common enemy.
Paddy Mack and his brother Kieran were among them.
“Get the feckers together,” Kieran was calling. “They got some explaining to do.”
A struggle, violence, bloodshed ensued. Buddy and his brothers were taken to the lawns of the Chapter House. On their knees, beaten badly and sobering fast the brothers looked about themselves, still trying to comprehend what had just happened.
The loyalists were wrecking the house, whilst the Macks and their Fleet held the brothers to account. The air was tense. Buddy could only hear the noise of the search and the screams of some of the brothers they had found hiding upstairs faintly from the outside. He was in a dream like state and only taking things in in small captions.
“The king!” cried out a City Main voice.
“Yer fecked now,” Kieran Mack cheered.
Buddy tried to focus through his powder high. Through the sea of bodies emerged a commanding presence. Tall, greying fair hair and with an Olympian magnetism, Reginald Penn’s patience was wearing thin. Buddy Owen and his brothers were a pestilence in his way.
“I will speak to the one in charge,” Reginald said.
The Kappa So brothers, including Chad and Cooper looked to Buddy. Buddy stared straight ahead and said nothing. Reginald took note of Buddy’s particular discomfort.
“I’m here because rumour has it you took a friend of mine from Harbour House. A good woman. They call her the Baroness. If she is here we will find her so you might as well make it easier on yourself.”
Still no brother saw fit to respond. Chad kept looking between Reginald and Buddy. Buddy still made no move.
A Loyalist brought a thick chain to his king. Reginald accepted it.
“I call this Belta,’” he said. Some of the loyalists were giddy with excitement. Paddy Mack was expressionless. “She’s going to bash in the brains of every last fucking one of you until you tell me where Tawny is.”
“Bud, bro,” Chad whimpered, trying to urge Buddy to speak up for them.
Reginald circled in on Buddy. He pointed Belta at him. She hissed through her coils.
“You must be an Owen,” he said. “You’ve got that inbred look.”
The Loyalists chuckled. Buddy still said nothing. “Where is Tawny?” Reginald snarled.
He raised Belta. Buddy’s sordid life flashed before his eyes. The drugs, the whores, the chaos.
“I believe, sir, your quarrel is with me.”
Robert ‘Bobby’ Owen arrived on scene, fresh from the Filton University spa. He had come as a matter of urgency. His shirt still hung open.
“Leave the boys alone,” he ordered.
Buddy had never been so glad to see his pops.
“Bobby Owen,” the elder introduced. “This is my Chapter House you are trespassing upon and I do not care for the intrusion.”
Reginald remained stationed. Buddy watched Belta swing from his hand like a hypnotist’s time piece.
“If you are saying you are in charge then we have a problem,” Reginald warned.
Bobby shook his head. “Your hooligans will not find what they seek here.”
The elder Owen was surrounded by Loyalists. They took him into custody but Bobby didn’t resist.
“He’s an old man,” Paddy protested but it did little good. With two of his boys contained within The Boss, another missing and now word spreading that the Owens had taken a good friend of his, the Penn father was intent on blood.
Bobby Owen was pushed to his knees before the king.
“Your maniac children belong behind bars. It isn’t afore long. You will join them soon enough. Your friend? I have no idea where she is and I care not. She and her lying whore of a niece are a stain on this city that needed to be wiped clean,” said Bobby.
Reginald growled. Paddy clutched his arm.
“Reg …” he warned but Reginald shook it off.
Reginald took a deep breath.
The first blow of the chain sent Bobby Owen onto the grass. Loyalists lifted him back onto his knees. Already his consciousness was waning.
Some of the brothers cried out seeing the skull of the God among them reduced quickly to a bloody mess. None of them saw fit to try and help. Paddy Mack turned away. Kieran laid a hand on his brother’s shoulder.
Reginald gasped, catching his breath again.
WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!
The highly respected Bobby Owen, the one the people of the Great States sang songs of, was dead. His blood dripped from Belta’s fangs.
“You are an Owen, ain’t ya,” Reginald hissed at Buddy. “What’s your name?”
“Buddy,” the Chapter leader replied, trying not to look at the body of his dead grandfather.
“He’s the son of The Cappy,” Kieran Mack confirmed.
Reginald swung Belta as he gave it some thought.
“Get me a phone.”
One of the loyalists passed a phone to their king who in turn threw it to Buddy. The KSO brother didn’t make a move to catch it. It bounced off his chest and onto the grass.
“Pick it up,” ordered Reginald Penn.
Buddy obeyed. He clasped the phone in a trembling hand.
“Get your father on the phone. We need to talk,” the king proclaimed.
“Mr Owen’s office. How may I direct your call?” the secretary’s light voice answered.
“Put me through to The Cappy right away,” said Buddy, still on his knees, still with a wary eye on Belta clasped tightly in Reginald Penn’s hand.
“May I ask who is calling?” the secretary asked. She seemed distracted by something that was going on in her office.
“It’s Buddy, you dumb bitch. Get The Cappy on the phone now.”
“Oh Bernard. I’m so sorry. I didn’t recognise your voice. You sound a little different. Is everything okay?”
Buddy was losing breath and losing patience. “Tell my father I’m in a bind.”It was a phrase Buddy had been taught as a youngster. It would let his father know immediately he was being coerced.
The secretary fell silent. Reginald scowled at Buddy.
The secretary rang off. Within seconds the phone screamed a reply in the form of a video call directly from Chick Owen.
“Answer it,” Reginald ordered.
The screen opened to show the face of Charles ‘Chick’ Owen. He was in his office in the Great States and aggrieved at the disturbance. Buddy’s words to his secretary had placed him on alert.
“Buddy?” he asked initially. “Are you hurt?”
“No,” Buddy replied. “Pops!” The screen was turned to the battered and bloody corpse of Bobby. Reginald snatched the phone from Buddy and addressed Chick directly. The Cappy’s gaze burned through the screen.
“I was wondering how long it would be before you reached out, Mr Penn.”
“The old man didn’t have to die. My hand was forced. All I ask is that you hand over Tawny.”
Cappy raised an eyebrow. “Who?”
Reginald snarled. “You know who she is and word has it you know where she is.”
Chick Owen remained calm. “If you are referring to the bar clown who owned the Knock Knock Club then I am somewhat familiar but as for where she is…her current location alludes me.”
“You talk shite!” Kieran spoke up. Reginald turned to him with a warning stare. Kieran stepped back.
“You have her and if you hurt her it’s going to be the last thing you ever do,” Reginald warned.
The corner of Chick’s upper lip raised. “You take the word of some junked up artist? I thought you were much smarter than that. I heard the rumours too but I challenge you to find any foul play in my Chapter House.”
“If I find you are lying more of your blood will be shed.”
Here Chick smiled but it was icy. “You realise we do not recognise any monarchy here in the Great States, self proclaimed or otherwise.”
Reginald gripped Belta tighter. “This isn’t the Great States. Welcome to fucking Coldford. Have I made my point?”
The Cappy raised his chin. “Loud and clear.” He reached over and closed the call. The screen fell to darkness.
The night chill was setting in. It was sobering. The high Buddy had felt earlier was but a memory. He believed he had never felt so sober. The city was behind him. As they headed north they must have taken a wrong turn on the way to Owen Estate. The true north they called it. It was an expanse of farmlands and empty space. His feet were cold and wet as he and his bros skipped across open fields. None of them had the energy to complain anymore, except Buddy whose irritability was driving him on.
“That son ‘a’ bitch is gonna pay,” he growled. “Him and his three stooge sons. Fuckin’ triplets. That’s fuckin’ weird.”
Cooper stopped him.
“We’ve taken a wrong turn, Bud. Where’s the estate?”
“How should I know?” Buddy returned with a groan. “C’mon Coops, I’m freezing my balls off just as much as the rest of ya.”
“I saw a barn about a mile back,” Chad stated. “Maybe we can rest up there and find out where we are.”
Suddenly beaming lights spotted on them with a booming noise as though the Lord himself was laying down judgement. A voice echoed through the blinding shine.
“You are trespassing,” it said. It was a deep voice, a man’s voice. It had the bounce of a Bournton accent.
How far north had they come, Buddy wondered.
“In these parts we have permission to shoot.”
Buddy made a move to step forward. The crack of a gunshot warned him to stay where he was.
Buddy reached his arm up to shield his eyes from the beams.
“My name is Buddy Owen,” the Kappa So leader spoke up. He was at the end of his tether by then. “I’m having a really shitty night, brah,” he sobbed. “My pops died. One of our whores is in pieces in the street. We had to walk here all the way from City Main.” He was almost sobbing then. “I lost my golden cock!”
Cooper laid a comforting hand on Buddy’s shoulder.
Silence fell. Two men walked towards them; their frames silhouetted in the bright light. One was a large burly man with swept back blonde hair. The other was shorter, dark hair and a long face. The both wore shirts with a Harvesters logo.
The smaller one looked to his companion.
“Did he just say he had a golden cock?”
“I’m Glenn,” the blonde one explained. “You are on Harvester Farm.”
Buddy whined, “I just want to go home, brah. I was trying to get to Owen Estate. It’s my family’s place.”
Glenn still didn’t seem so sure.
It was Cooper who made their plea next. “Dude,” he said. “We gotta get some help. We gotta get some clothes man. We’re freezing our asses off.”
Buddy turned to Chad. “Will you stop flicking your dick? I can hear you tap, tap, tapping away.”
Chad lowered his head. “Sorry, Bud.”
“What do you say, man? Give a bro a break here.”
“What the fuck was that about a golden cock?” asked the other farm hand.
Glenn scowled at him. “Leave it, Curtis.”
The one named Curtis shrugged.
Glenn sighed. “Follow us up to the east acre. I’ll see what I can do.”
Grateful for the sanctuary Buddy and his brothers followed the truck deeper into Harvester Farm. Curtis spun the wheels throwing mud onto the the already distressed brothers.
Glenn laughed and punched his arm.
“Leave them,” he said. “They’ve been through a lot. He said his grandad died.”
Curtis shook his head. “The spoiled little cunt seemed more upset at losing his golden cock, whatever the fuck that was.”
Glenn laughed again. “Let it go.”
The brothers skipped across the gravelled pathway, yelping at the pain in their feet but they were presented with a large farm house. A light was on in the lower floor.
Buddy beamed as he made his way towards the house. Glenn pulled him back.
“Oh no you don’t,” he said. “None of you go anywhere near that house. Do you hear?’
“Yeah I hear you, brah,” Buddy relented. ”I need a phone,” he pleaded. “I need to call my dad. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Chick Owen? They call him the Cappy.”
Glenn shook his head, not really listening. “I can’t say we’ve met.” He pointed towards a barn. “Take your brothers to the milking sheds. It will be warm enough in there. I’ll get some blankets and clothes to you.”
Buddy’s powder high was well and truly gone by then and every pain in his body was magnified. The stench of the farm was already giving him a headache.
Holding himself up on the fence, Buddy led his brothers to the milking sheds. Curtis was waiting on them, holding the door open.
A scream ripped through the night breaking the solemn silence of the brothers.
Buddy had a blow to the side as he was knocked away from the fence he was trying to hold himself up on.
“What the fuck is that!?” He yelped with despair.
Sharp horns and small, glowing eyes charged at the fence again.
The fence rattled.
“What the fuck is that!?” Buddy asked again, almost in tears.
“It’s a goat,” Chad explained calmly taking a look over the fence at the animal beyond. “A Pygmy of an old Hathfield breed by the looks of it. Genus Caspar aegugrus.”
The brothers were now staring at Chad, perplexed.
Chad Perry was the heir to the Perry Zoo chain. Despite that, being a frat brother, it could be assumed his university degrees had come from special treatment. However, Chad had actually learned quite a bit about his field of zoology.
“Well do you know how to shut that god damn thing up?”
“Fuck you, brah,” Buddy screamed at the animal. He stuck his leg through the fence to try and kick it but it skipped away. “You son ‘a’ bitch. You better run!” He yelled but this leg was caught. He tried to pull himself free again but fell into the mud.
“Aaaah!” He screamed in frustration. “This night sucks dead dong!”
Cooper helped Buddy up.
“C’mon bro. They’re watching us.”
As Glenn had said there was a warmth to the milking sheds. Having grown up on Owen Ranch the bros looked to Buddy as their authority on what to do next. All their leader could do though was kick over a bucket. Forgetting he was bare footed the pain rang through his toes.
“Medic!” he bawled.
A short while later the shed door opened and a woman came to them carrying a bundle of blankets in her arms. Buddy’s eyes lit like the beams from the trucks. A beautiful woman, firm bodied, healthy. Her brunette hair was tied back, serving to highlight her shining blue eyes and soft, naturally rosy lips.
“Welcome to Harvester Farm, boys,” she said. “I’m Julia Harvester.”
Complete Season 2 of Knothe Knock Knock series is free to read here on Vivika Widow. com or click below download for Kindle
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Being on lockdown has given me a lot to think about. Mostly I’ve been thinking about what I would love to do when we are able to move about freely again. So let me introduce you to my bucket list. The ideal situation would be to strike all of these off before I reach the age of forty.
SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL This is something I’ve had in mind for a long time. Despite being a strong swimmer I do realise that in order to do it safely I have some training and preparation to do. One day will be greasing on the pig fat and running into the sea with the aim of reaching France. It seems lucky that I’ve never minded cold water then, doesn’t it?
VISIT PARIS Of all the places in the world with all the fascinating histories, sights and draws, Paris is one city I would love to visit. Again this is something I have been aiming to do for along time. In the course of a short flight I could be ready to experience the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and a whole host of other things. Over so many other places in the world, Paris has just had a draw for me.
VOICE A CARTOON This sounds like a strange one. I’m not an actor by any stroke of the imagination but ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to provide a voice for a cartoon, especially a musical one like a Disney flick. I’m not saying I have the talent for it (speaking or singing) but I know I would be a very happy woman if I was given the opportunity to be part of an animated movie. Perhaps one day …
GET A DRIVING LICENCE This isn’t so much a bucket list item as it a necessity that my family keep begging me to do. It’s not that I have an aversion to driving I’ve just always managed to get wherever I need through public transport so I’ve never felt I need it that much. I’m a bit of a clumsy B at the best of times so I can only imagine what kind of menace I would be on the road. Besides, I do love just lying back on the train with my headphones on and losing myself in my own head. Can’t do that when driving. Can you? Ok mum and dad, I’ve added to my list.
BUY A BOAT Who needs a car when you can have an boat, right? This one is cheating a little because I did have a boat before but cutting a long story short it sunk (see above clumsiness). On my bucket list is to have one again, perhaps bigger, prettier and it would be named the Cooper Mare (see KNOCK KNOCK). The adventures I would have! The places I would sail to!
HAVE A PLAY PERFORMED I’ve been a writer/ author pretty much my entire life in greater and lesser extents. I have had written plays and I have been in discussion with the productions of plays and I have had performances but I am still yet to see an entire stage performance. I love the theatre and I would love the opportunity to see an entire play of mine performed.
So that is my list. What about yours? As you are held at home have you been thinking about what you plan on doing afterwards? What things do you miss the most? What are your dreams and ambitions?
Quiet. The noise of the workers on Chamberlain Docks faintly resonated in the distance. The ferry from the Island of Hathfield Bay would be arriving in soon. The 11:15. It always left port on time and the crossing was always a precise 56 minutes. What would it be bringing? Who would be returning? It didn’t matter because all of that was behind the tall hedges obscured from view. You see, it wouldn’t do good for the residents of Harbour House to look at what went beyond the safe little world that had been created for them. No that wouldn’t do at all, according to DR WINSLOW. Harbour House was a place of rehabilitation. Maybe seeing what was beyond the hedges, fences and walls would do them some good? Maybe it would give them some hope of returning to normality, but they weren’t there to hope. They were there to get better. They were there to shed all kinds of ailments.
One such resident was music teacher, VINCENT BAINES. 1105 was the number he was given and obsession was his reason for being confined to Harbour House. The air of the place was fresher than he had ever sampled deeper in the city and for that he was grateful. The noise of the birds chirping formed a pleasant little melody to accompany the blossoming rhododendrons. He had circulated the gardens three times when he came to a stop again. The door leading back into the facility slammed as a woman joined him. She looked a little surprised at first to see that she wasn’t alone but she smiled at Vincent and wandered to a bench and sat herself. She was slim of face and body. Her soft eyes were like clear blue pools of water. The way she had hunched nervously gave Vincent reason to deduce that she was new to the ways of HARBOUR HOUSE. She had been crying. She was still in clothes one would have worn outside. An intervention staged perhaps? Her family refusing to return for her until she was ‘normal.’ What was normal? No one was normal. Especially not in the city of Coldford.
“It will take a while to settle in but you’ll get there,” Vincent decided to say to her.
The girl looked up and smiled. “Thanks. I’ll be fine.”
Vincent nodded. She wasn’t a drug addict. She wasn’t a victim of trauma. Something else had brought her to them. He checked himself though. Ever since he was a little boy he had been drawn to the vulnerable, to those who needed help. His obsession meant that he was in no position to help. His obsessions just made things worse. The girl just needed to be left alone. At least Harbour House was helping him with something.
“How long do you have to stay here?” The girl asked just as Vincent was preparing to make another stroll of the gardens.
Her face was soft. She was pleading to him. She wanted his help. He could help. He had to help. She needed him. What was her name? Should he ask? If they shared their names that connected them. That made them a pairing and when you know someone who needs help you should help, shouldn’t you? Her watery blue eyes were begging him. ‘Help me, please!”
Vincent took a deep breath. “As long as it takes I suppose.”
The girl nodded. “I thought so.”
Vincent pushed his spectacles further up his nose. “You’ll get the help you need here.”
That much was true and that was all he would have to say on the matter. He had to leave it at that. If he thought about it more and started to question her as to what brought her there he would set himself back and Harbour House had been doing him good.
The door was thrown open again. TAWNY, an a old show girl and fellow resident leaned out. She had a cigarette dangling from her lips.
“C’mon honey!” She called to Vincent. “We’re going out to the roof.”
She giggled as the artist, DAVID FINN, also a resident, pushed beside her in the doorway.
“I painted my walls with pudding and they think its shit!” He laughed.
Vincent shook his head. “Very mature, David,” he replied but he was laughing too.
He made his way to join his friends. He stopped at the girl on the bench. “You’ll be fine,” he said.
The girl smiled in return. “You think so?”
Vincent didn’t dare allow himself to ponder the question.
A matron of the facility, Beverly, was making her way to the gardens.
“I know that was pudding!” She barked at David, slapping his arm.
David and Tawny fell to laughter. “Had you going though!” David teased.
The three made their way to a quiet spot on the roof. Beverly called to the girl.
“Emily?” She said. “I need you on the floor.”
The girl nodded, took a deep breath and stood. Her family had left her there. They wouldn’t return until she was better but she wasn’t a resident. She was a nurse. Just like the residents she would be there as long as it took.
Vincent thought he had his life together. A loving partner, a thriving career and all the blessings life can offer. When he accepts a wealthy new pupil his obsessions threaten to derail everything.
Celebrating 4 years! Read the hit novella that brought Mr Baines to Harbour House.
Those little mind worms can wriggle deep. But you have an public persona that you need to keep. They wriggle, the squirm and they embed. You can’t get those thoughts out of your head. There’s one place obsession can meet its cure. In Harbour House, that I can assure.
Located in the CHAMBERLAIN DOCKS area of SWANTIN in the south of the city, Harbour House Clinic is a stand out feature in the area. With a beautiful expanse of gardens to one side and the main port to the Hathfield Bay islands on the other, Harbour House is the perfect place for recovery.
At Harbour House the residents can enjoy peace and serenity. Most of them are survivors or trauma or recovering from surgery.
Some of the residents are once pillars of the community who have grown tired. At Harbour House they will find the motivation they need.
Longer term residents of Harbour House require special care. The caring and committed staff are all too happy to provide.
Despite having the best psychiatric nurses and doctors on staff, CEO DR G WINSLOW states that it is not an institute but a rehabilitation clinic.
What do a drug addicted artist, a disgraced former music teacher and a night club owning show girl have in common? They are all residents of Harbour House.
REGGIE pulled open the box excitedly. It was the thirteenth birthday the triplets had celebrated at their Penthouse apartment in City Main. Born and raised there they knew no other place as home. The triplets were always given their gifts in order of age. First was MARCUS. That year he had been given a painting by an artist named Favon. He or perhaps she was from Luen but not much else was known about them. Marcus had taken an immediate shine to the work when the agents brought it into the AUCTION HOUSE. Seeing the joy in his son’s face the father – Reginald – had acquired it for himself, compensating the agents and the artist handsomely.
Marcus was already making plans for the appropriate place to hang the piece – which showed a sun lit scape with an ominous fleet of boats approaching a peer – when SIMON – the second born triplet – was given his gift. He was delighted with a set of boxing gloves along with a new punch bag. Simon had a lot of frustration their parents observed. It was good for him to have a hobby that could put his anger to good use. The warehouse would be a great place for Simon to train when he wasn’t at the gym.
Finally came the baby of the group. As Reggie opened the box a black nose with long whiskers peeked out. Reggie laughed with joy and pulled a fully grown, black rat out by the scruff of it’s neck.
“Oh God,” the boys’ mother, Rita cried in dismay. She had an aversion to rodents. “Keep that away from me.”
Still holding it by the scruff of the neck Reggie looked into it’s beetle black eyes with a smile. It’s nose twitched at him. He turned to Marcus sat on the floor by the fire just to the left of him.
“What do you think?” He asked, seeking his brother’s approval. He dropped the rat into his lap.
Marcus lifted the creature into his hands and examined it. He adjusted his spectacles on his nose to assure he was getting the best view possible. His lip curled.
“Rodents carry disease you know,” he said. He threw the rat back to Reggie.
As Reggie caught it the rat squeaked. He turned to Simon. He lifted the rat so it was facing his brother, squeezing it’s body so that it squeaked at him. “What do you think Si?”
“You’re a fucking freak,” was Simon’s reply. He gave a sardonic a smile.
“I’m going to plant him in your bed so he can crawl up your arse,” Reggie teased.
“Please boys,” Rita interrupted them. As she passed by Reggie she tousled his thick blonde hair, in desperate need of a comb. “My baby is just interested in nature, aren’t you baby?”
“Sure am mother,” Reggie agreed turning the rat back to face him again.
“So what are you going to call that thing?” Simon asked as he slipped from the wine coloured arm chair onto the floor beside his brothers so he could get a closer look.
Reggie shook his head. “You don’t give them names. You grow too attached then.”
Reginald and Rita watched the triplets.
“A rat? You brought him a rat?” She asked her husband.
Reginald shrugged his shoulders. His mind was still occupied with work and the party that the triplets would be having at the auction house later that night. More gifts and well wishes from the auction house staff and benefactors.
“It’s what he asked for,” he reminded her.
She shivered, watching Reggie let the rat crawl along his arm from his hand to his shoulder, it’s worm like tail wrapping around him.
ALBANS school was an exclusive, privately taught facility in the city was where the triplets attended. It wasn’t quite the breeding ground of success that the PETTIWICK school in Filton was but it had produced mayors, business owners and some of COLDFORD CITY’S most prestigious names such as the HARVESTER brand.
The school provided boarding facilities which Rita would never have the triplets use. They were dropped off each morning if not by their parents then by a driver. Marcus was the one to lead them inside. The boys and girls were taught in separate areas and it wasn’t until recess time they could mix in the central courtyard.
That morning, Jill Danver saw Reggie stood by himself. His black back pack was hanging over one shoulder, his attention focused on a hand held electronic video game called Yeager Falls that was popular at the time. He was normally never too far from his brothers so she saw the opportunity an approached him.
“Happy birthday,” she said.
It was now the day after his birthday but the sentiment was appreciated all the same. He switched off the game and looked up at her. She was a skinny thing, a couple of years older than him. She had long brown hair which hung in straw like strands. Her teeth seemed too large for her mouth and her nose a little too small for her face. She had something of a rodent like quality Reggie noted. She lifted the grey pleated skirt of the Albans uniform, flashing lacy pink panties underneath.
“Want a little birthday present?” She teased suggestively.
Reggie raised his eyebrows. He had read how rats, attached to electrodes that stimulated an orgasm, would continuously push the button. They would forget their young, forget food and water, they would forget all else until they died. Humans weren’t much different, Reggie surmised as she took his arm and started to tug him towards the gym hall, a square grey building that stood alone from the rest of the school. It was known as the place to go for amorous students.
Reggie pulled back. “Wait,” he said. “There’s something I want to show you first.”
“Really?” She was intrigued. She had already seen Reggie’s penis. It was a little crooked from what she could tell but she didn’t have many others to compare it too.
Reggie swung his back pack gingerly round to his front. It was open slightly. He pulled open the zip and reached inside. When he pulled out the black rat she cried out.
“Don’t you like him?” Reggie mocked. “At least I think it’s a him,” he said turning the rat over and inspecting its genitals.
Jill gasped. “That’s disgusting. You shouldn’t have that here. You are disgusting!” She was starting to become hysterical as Reggie held it out to her. “You’ll have that damn thing taken off you. You are such a creep.”
Reggie grinned. “If you say anything to anyone I’m going to give you the mother fucking plague,” he cheered.
Jill tried to step away from him but he lunged forward and pulled up her skirt. First she felt rat’s tiny claws on her legs. She shrieked again. Her terror caused the rat some anxiety so it did the only thing it could do and sunk it’s teeth into her thigh. Now Jill’s cries became that of pain. She managed to pull away and shoved Reggie as she ran off to the girls’ bathroom.
Reggie learned that day that a rat’s sharp incisors could tear human flesh quite easily.
The crowd goes wild whenever the middle PENN TRIPLET steps into the ring. A champion boxer, Simon is passionate about keeping in the best shape he can be. But don’t let that fool you, he also has great head for numbers and is the accounts keeper for the AUCTION HOUSE. Whilst big brother MARCUS takes the lead, Simon has been known to get into altercations with his little brother REGGIE. They were as close as any brothers could be but they did play rough.
As young scoundrels growing up in City Main, their mother Rita had to rush her darling baby to Coldford General after Simon beat Reggie so badly he was knocked out cold. Father, REGINALD, felt it good for the boys to be prepared for the violence around them but Rita couldn’t bear to see any of them hurt.
Simon’s anger issues became a real problem in his teen years so his strength and frustrations were turned to boxing. Starting in the small ‘Junior City Boxing Club’ north in Bournton, Simon quickly showed promise and before long was bringing home all kinds of trophies and medals.
Outside of the Auction House Simon takes to the ring. Most of his training is carried out at the Punchline Gym in City Main, a gym brand in his fighter name of which there are others at many convenient locations around the city if you fancy taking your chances.
From the tip of the Shanties to the top of the north COLDFORD DAILY has the news.
The largest newspaper in the area they have been first to inform the people of some of the most significant events the Shady City has ever seen such as the kidnapping of Billionaire Ernest BECKINGRIDGE’s son, George. They also were first in line to report on CONFESSIONS killer Tracey Campbell after she murdered half of her anatomy class. If it happens within the Coldford City district you will read it first at Coldford Daily.
Boasting some of the best journalists such as SAM CRUSOW (winner of the prestigious PENN prize for literature) and MADELINE LOWER who despite facing discrimination in the Daily offices because of gender has proven time and time again her worth as an investigative journalist.
Owned by the OWEN family it can be said that although they are first to bring news to the people they are also in control of what the people are allowed to hear. This is perfect when you want to hide skeletons back in the closet and the Owens have many of those.
The mayor is missing and Sam is covering the story. Volume 1 is free to read on Vivika Widow Online or download for Kindle by clickingHERE.
Occupation: Manager Mack and Son’s whiskey distillery
One of five Mack children born to Brendan and Anne Mack. Paddy is the second eldest of his three brothers (Kieran, Aiden, Alfie) and his sister (Siobhan). He is seen as the most competent to lead the Distillery. He is the most level headed of the Macks but he isn’t without the skills and endurance it requires to run such a tough industry in the Shady City. The MACK DISTILLERY has been supplying the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB since it’s founding and as a result Paddy (AKA Patrick) has a steady working relationship with the Boss Lady TABITHA.
Paddy is a good looking, kind natured man but with the roguish charm one would expect from the Bellfield area. He and his brothers are the biggest supporters of football club BELLFIELD FC. The fans of the club had gotten such a terrible reputation after riots started at an away match it was up to Paddy to step in and shut the violence down so that the team that his distillery sponsored wasn’t removed from the league completely.
The explosions around the city linked to the HEADLINERS are rumoured to have been assisted and in fact provided by the Mack’s and their factory workers. Although, Paddy is attempting to bring them into a more peaceful era things in Shady City won’t improve unless he is willing to show a little strength through violence.
Paddy will be making his entrance in Volume 2 of the Knock Knock series.
Can’t wait? Volume 1 is free to read here on Vivika Widow Online. Also, available to download for Kindle by clicking HERE.
Since they were first built, the Shanties of Coldford City was home to the poorest people. Most of them worked low income jobs and even spending all the hours they could it was still difficult to make ends meet. Some gave up, turning to booze and drugs to fill their days instead, hoping it would help them forget they were stuck in a poverty trap.
As the north of the city thrived and the COLDFORD CITY football club came to be, a man named Roger Crane decided the people of the South should have their own team, a team they could cheer and support. No one in the Shanties could afford the fees it took to join the youth program of Coldford City so Coldford Athletic was established. Roger swore that it would always be open for the youth of the Shanties. The children there had idols to turn their attention to and aspire to be like. Idols they became. Coldford City and Coldford Athletic became fierce rivals. Despite their humble beginnings Athletic had one thing to boast that City never could – Golden Boot winner Samuel Connelly. City poured money into purchasing players from Luen and further but none could compete with Sam Connelly’s natural skill.
Shanties born and raised Sam showed the youth of the area that anything was possible, even with every social disadvantage weighing you down. Money couldn’t buy that golden boot – inter city football’s most prestigious prize – only hard work and perseverance could gain that, something the people of the Shanties have in abundance.
Our Shady City thriller’s most notable fan of Athletic is artist, DAVID FINN. Having grown up in the Clifton Alley part of the Shanties he has seen it at its worst.
Sometimes the escape of football comes a little too late. As David spirals down a pit of drugs and alcohol he loses the inspiration for his art. His latest Muse offers him the fresh vision he needs but first he must address a childhood trauma if he is to really feel the art.