Posts Tagged ‘vivika widow’

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.

Enjoy this?

Subscribe to the page for the next exciting episode!

Check out the story from the beginning:

Knock, Knock (Episode 1): Welcome to the Club

Knock, Knock (episode 2): Don’t Come Knockin’

Knock, Knock (Episode 3): Sleep Tight Sam

Knock, Knock (Episode 4): Take A Bow

Knock, Knock (Episode 5): Big City Kid

Knock, Knock [Episode 6] Picking up strange women

KNOCKKNOCK_vivikawidow_Blurb

There once was a princess who lived far away.

She was in love with a prince so they eloped one day.

On the way to the church, they received terrible news.

A dragon was loose so the prince had to choose …

PNB

The much loved poem, The Princess and the Beetle, joins the Myths and Tales web series and we couldn’t be more excited.

The official release date of the web series will be released soon so don’t forget to check back.

Enjoy this?

Subscribe to the page for more images, news and stories from the Myths and Tales collection.

Click HERE to read the full poem…

Meet some of the principal players from Vivika Widow’s hit novella MAESTRO.

They say behind mansion walls is where you will find the most skeletons. That was true for music teacher, Vincent Baines, when he accepted the job tutoring little George Beckingridge. When a music teacher with a sketchy past meets a disturbed little boy there will surely be blood.

 

Enjoy this?

Subscribe to the page for more images, news and stories from Vivika Widow’s thrillers.

MAESTRO_blurb_PROMO

 

 

The gulls cried and the waves crashed. The island kingdom of Alnwick had been consumed by two weeks of mourning. King Robert had passed and now his eldest son Malcolm was the rightful ruler. Malcolm was preparing to abdicate his throne. His birthright was a burden he had never wanted. In the cover of darkness he would depart to the East to live in quiet simplicity with Mae Ling, the woman who had stolen his heart.

Malcolm was strong and kind. He had all the attributes of a great king but since he wasn’t fully committed to his duty he felt the task lay better with his younger brother, Edmond. Edmond was equally as kind but he was but a boy of sixteen and not ready to rule a kingdom.

Malcolm looked out onto the sea. The salty air washed across his face.

Are you sure about this?” asked Edmond.

Malcolm lay a gentle hand on his brother’s shoulder. “The throne of Alnwick should only be occupied by a ruler who is wholehearted. My mind is constantly driving me elsewhere. I can think of no one better for our people than you, little brother.”

Edmond had always looked upon Malcolm with admiration but his decision to abandon his people was difficult to understand.

If you leave you can never come back,” Edmond reminded him.

Malcolm offered a smile, filled with warmth but lacking in intensity. “I leave today because I never wish to come back.”

Edmond opened his arms, wrapped them around his brother and embraced him. He lowered his voice and whispered in his ear. “You are a coward. You are running away from your responsibility and I will never forgive you. The moment you leave these shores you become an enemy of this real and as its king I will bring you to call.”

Malcolm stepped back, pushing Edmond away from him. He seemed a little shaken at first but then he laughed. “Save some of that fire in your belly for your council. You are going to need every last drop of it.”

Mae Ling approached them. “We have to go,” she urged. Her long emerald robes trailed in the soft white sand. A boat lay in wait for them.

Malcolm embraced his brother again. “Forget your childish tantrums,” he said. “If this is to be our last, we will not part in such a way.”

Edmond’s shoulders depressed. He clasped his hands together in front of him. “I’m sorry. I’m just upset.”

Malcolm sighed. “You will be king. You apologise to no one,” he said. “Learn that and you will be a greater king than I would ever have been.”

Will you not change your mind?” asked the younger.

The time for that is gone. For us this is goodbye.”

Mae Ling kissed Edmond on both cheeks. She took Malcolm’s hand and they crossed the beach to their waiting vessel.

Edmond returned alone to Eccleshall to face his people and accept his new place as king.

***

When Eccleshall was alerted the abdication of Malcolm, the mother of the princes – Jane – wept herself dry of tears.

I have buried a husband and today I lose a son,” she had said to her youngest, clutching his hand gently. She had aged rapidly in a short space of time. Deep lines had formed around her eyes which leaked despair. Her copper coloured hair had dulled.

You still have me mother,” Edmond kissed her hand. “You will always have me.”

The Queen Regent took a sharp intake of breath. She caressed her cheek. “You are a darling boy Edmond,” she said. “ Alnwick needs you.”

The Royal Council of Alnwick brought together noblemen from all round the island to the capital city of Harborough where Eccleshall lay. Not crowned yet, Edmond had chosen not to occupy his father’s throne but instead sat on a high backed wooden chair next to it.

The behaviour of Prince Malcolm is disgraceful,” uttered Lord Miley, a very stern man from the upper shores. He took no notice of Edmond. Edmond sat quietly and allowed the Lords to conduct their conversation.

We need to make this change as quickly and as smoothly as we can,” stated Lord Pilrick of the lower coast.

Lord Miley rang his hands in frustration. “What will the people say when it isn’t Malcolm occupying the throne?”

An argument erupted. Edmond stood. The Lords were too busy bickering over something they had already agreed they couldn’t change.

If I may,” Edmond called over them.

Lord Pilrick rubbed his ample stomach and bowed low. “Of course, his Highness must have his say.”

The Lords of the council stared at at them. Most of them had known him as a baby in his mother’s arms. He was an adorable, fair haired prince who they enjoyed seeing playing in the yards of Eccleshall and learning the princely traits but they would never see him as more than that. He was much beloved but none of the Lords took Edmond seriously as a king. Now that he had their attention Edmond had forgotten what he had wanted to say, if he had had anything to say at all.

I’ll do my best,” he muttered and sat back down.

Lord Miley said, “Of course you will.” His condescending tones where as good as a roll of his eyes. He was disgruntled that the little boy would play king whilst the adults attempted to conduct the true business of Alnwick.

Edmond had watched his father conduct the council before. Robert would never have allowed them to rattle on they way they were. Edmond knew he was failing before he had even been given the crown. He cursed Malcolm for his selfishness. He cursed his brother for even thinking he deserved to leave. Mostly, he cursed Malcolm for not taking him with him.

A heavy bell chimed alerting the council to a visitor. It was only with that the Lords silenced. An Alnwickian guard pushed open the door. He stood tall, stared straight ahead and bellowed, “His Grace, Justus Vosoloo, Royal Council of Navaria!”

In stepped a man with a looming presence. His fingers were laced in gold and his towering, muscular frame was clothed in the finest of red and black fabrics. His strong, square jaw was set in bemusement.

Alnwick welcomes Your Grace,” began Lord Miley, “But I must say, your timing doesn’t serve you well.”

Justus removed a golden handkerchief and wiped his forehead. The warmth of Alnwick bathed his soft, black skin in the dew of perspiration. “King Roman of Navaria has requested my presence here. He received word from Prince Malcolm that he no longer wished to be king of this great realm. He was instead leaving the duty to Prince Edmond.”

Lord Pilrick’s brow had knotted in a severe frown. “With respect, Your Grace, but what business is that of Navaria?”

None,” replied Justus. “My king just wished me to offer respect to His Highness. He was concerned that in the bounds of great knowledge of this council his little cousin may find himself overwhelmed. I’m here to observe and offer advice if called upon, nothing more.”

Lord Miley grunted. “This is a very difficult time for Alnwick. We do not need some foreign devil making it worse.”

Justus raised his voice slightly. His resonating tones danced around the walls of the hall. “I beg to differ, My Lord,” he answered. “This situation will only be difficult it you allow it to be. Of course I can only go by what I hear but I’m sure Prince Edmond will make a fine king.”

Justus crossed his arms over his chest, observing closely. Edmond stared at a portrait of his father that hung on the wall. It had been created early in his reign. Robert was a pillar of masculine strength. He was broad shouldered, strong armed and with a full beard. Edmond pushed himself to be something of the man his father was.

I want to speak to Justus,” he cried out. The Lords slipped into stunned silence once again. “Get out!” he called.

The looked at each other for approval before finally granting the prince his request. When they were alone Edmond gasped, the pressure from the council lifting from his chest.

I can’t do this,” he admitted.

Justus pulled him from the wooden chair and onto his feet. “Of course you can,” he said. “It’s in your blood.” He pushed Edmond onto the throne. “Don’t let them bully you.”

I still can’t believe what Malcolm has done,” Edmond stated.

Justus took the wooden seat. “Sometimes we take a path different from the one others think we should. A lot of responsibility has fallen on you but I’m here to help, Your Highness, or should I say, Your Majesty.”

***

The Alnwickian Lords did what they could to keep Justus at bay. His powerful presence at Edmond’s side had made things difficult for them.

With Malcolm gone they would have Edmond as a suitable figurehead on the throne. He would smile and wave at the people whilst they made the true decisions. Justus was encouraging Edmond to have more opinions of his own which was dangerous.

Edmond had been summoned to the hall. He tried carrying an air of superiority but it only resulted In his shoulders hunching. He tried to keep strong eye contact but every time he was addressed he would tremble. As a prince he had had no fear. He had given public addresses and he had held the crowd to his opinion but as a king it was more difficult, more real.

He noticed that Justus was absent. “Where is His Grace?” he asked. Some of the Lords looked up but none of them answered.

His Majesty would like to take a walk,” said Lord Miley.

Edmond had not made any such request, “Would I?”

Of course,” Lord Miley insisted. “It’s such a nice day and we would love to hear your thoughts on the future of Alnwick.”

Edmond was flattered. He was making progress with his council. Their true intentions were not apparent to him.

If he can form opinions, let him form ours,” Lord Pilrick had said earlier that morning.

They pulled the boy away from his Navarian guard dog. They were confident that by the end of the day they could have Edmond dismiss Justus and have him sent back across shore where he belonged.

As they were heading towards the gardens a young girl tried to push through. “Your Majesty! Your Majesty!” she cried, waving a note above her head. “I must give this to you,” she insisted.

Edmond felt a sharp tug on his arm. He was dragged away from the girl. “Who was she?” he asked.

Lord Miley and Lord Pilrick shared a stare.

She’s no one, Your Majesty,” said Miley.

Pilrick dismissed it as though it were of no consequence. “Just a silly girl, nothing to be concerned about.”

The reign of the puppet boy king began. Edmond never forgot the girl. She wasn’t seen around the castle and he worried that he would never learn the urgent message she carried until the of her return when the kingdom of Alnwick would erupt into war.

Enjoy this?

Subscribe to the page for more images, news and stories from Vivika Widow’s fairy tale world of Red Snow.

Granny was one hundred and four years old. She wasn’t actually my gran. She was my mother’s, mother’s mother and Granny agreed that that made her pretty great.

I’ll live forever!” she quipped on her ninety eight birthday. When she reached one hundred and two people started to agree with her.

When she turned one hundred and four she thought enough was enough. It was high time she had a funeral.

Give me my favourite blanket though. It will get cold in the winter.”

We all thought Granny was crazy but she insisted. When this particular matriarch had made up her mind there was simply no changing it.

It wasn’t the most orthodox of ceremonies. Granny waved from her casket with a great big smile on her face.

Granny, you aren’t going to have them screw that casket down are you?” I had pleaded before hand.

Now that wouldn’t make much sense now would it?” she returned with a wry smile. “How am I supposed to get up and walk about? An eternity locked down would get a little tedious.”

And so the funeral service went ahead. No one shed tears. It wasn’t what Granny wanted. Truthfully, I don’t think people quite knew how to feel, especially when Granny climbed from her casket to give a few words on her own behalf.

At ninety eight she had claimed she would live forever. She is now one hundred and twenty four and still going strong. She will fight for her rights as an otherwise deceased. She had a nice funeral and she chose a beautiful spot for her final resting place where I can visit her anytime I please. She still gives me tea and biscuits.

Enjoy this?

Subscribe to the page for more images, news and stories from Vivika Widow’s Myths N Tales collection. Now a hit web series!

Click HERE to read more!

Myths N Tales is a collection of short stories and poems from Vivika Widow. Now a hit web series directed by Leo St Paul (The Walk, All Rained Off).

Subscribe to the Torrance Media channel for all the latest episodes coming your way soon. For now here’s a sneak peek at This Place.

All roads lead to the same place in the end but don’t take the bait. For this little boy it may be too late!

THISPLACE_vivikawidow_webseries.jpg

Enjoy this?

Subscribe to the page for more updates, images and stories from the Myths N Tales collection.

Click HERE to read Vivika Widow’s Myths and Tales collection of poems and short stories!

Following my wife’s death I lived at the ‘Knock, Knock’ club. I spent most of my time in the spacious but neat apartment at the top of the building they had granted me. Someone had placed a photograph of the club founders in it. I only knew this was my grandfather, having never met the man, because of the striking resemblance he bore to my mother. From what I could understand of the club I was now at the mercy of, they paid homage to him as one of their founding members. I hadn’t gathered enough nerve yet to ask more than they had already told me. The club was no more than a cult. When my mother gave birth to me – the son of a lowly fisherman – she ran to the city of Coldford from her island home in Westcliff. As the last remaining member of the Crusow family, half of The Group wanted me dead and the other half, like the Knock, Knock club manager Dennis and the cabaret performer Tabitha, were striving to keep me alive.

Since my first visit my wife, Theresa, had been murdered by those trying to flush me out. Tabitha had put a bullet through the Mayor of Coldford’s head because his wife was a member of the club and his affairs, gambling and general wasting of the city’s money was beginning to bother her. I should have left then but I had nowhere else to go and that until I embraced the club’s protection I wouldn’t be safe anywhere. I didn’t fear that. I guess what kept me there so long was that I was a reporter by trade and this was a story too rich to let go. The club spread to very high places and if I kept quiet long enough I could blow the whole thing open. I realise now how naïve I was in thinking this but I had nothing else.

According to Tabitha, the club allowed protection for its members even through depressions like the one that Coldford was experiencing at that time. Times were desperate and the members need not suffer the indignity of poverty when there was so much of the flesh, blood and belongings of non members to go around.

I couldn’t really tell if I was being held prisoner or not. After all, having the same name as my grandfather, Samuel Crusow, they held me in such high regard. I never tried to leave. Tabitha – niece of The Group’s co founder, Tawny – made it quite clear that there was no point. Their influence spread far and wide. The police had already suspected me as being responsible for Theresa’s murder. All the club had to do was to call into their members at Coldford police department and I would snapped up and put in a cell for the rest of my life. Given the choice, my room at the club was much more comfortable.

The girl’s at the club kept me kept me supplied with food and drink.It wasn’t great quality. The meat was gritty and the cider was on the turn but it was better than anything outside and there was enough of it to feed a large family. When I looked out of the window I could see men, women and children scrounging in the alley for a decent meal. The Coldford depression being so severe even the soup kitchens couldn’t stay open. I had taken to putting what food I could into plastic bags and dropping them from the window so the wretched homeless would be able to find something to eat.

I started to become familiar with the patrons and staff at ‘Knock, Knock’ without actually getting to know them. I didn’t like being on my own so much so I loomed about the club like the ‘Knock, Knock’ mascot. One afternoon I wandered down into the main club floor. The last stragglers from the matinee sessions were beginning to clear out to make way for the dinner visitors. Dennis was leaning against the bar, overseeing the rush of staff, preparing for the biggest show of the day.

Take a load off Sam,” he instructed.

Normally only people who know me well enough called me Sam but Dennis was one of those types who treated everyone like they were life long friends. It didn’t matter if he had known them five minutes or five years. I had come to expect it from him.

The girl behind the bar, A flaming haired beauty barely out of her teens named Lisa, poured a whiskey and slid it over to me.

What’s happening?” I asked.

Nothing more than the usual,” he replied.

Tabitha came tearing from backstage. She wore gents trousers, white shirt and black waistcoat. Her lips were tightened with fury. She was clutching a blood stained shirt in her hand which she threw at Dennis. Dennis barely flinched.

One life for another. It’s only fair don’t you think?” he remarked.

Am I missing something?” I asked. My reporter mind was ready to take note. If there was some division between Tabitha and Dennis I could exploit then perhaps getting away from them would be easier than I thought.

Tabitha just sneered at Dennis. “He was mine!” she snarled before storming backstage again.

Dennis turned into the bar. He threw the bloodied shirt to Lisa. “Trash that will you kid?” he instructed. The girl disappeared through a narrow door at the end of the bar that led onto the alley. No doubt the spot where the Knock, Knock club disposed of its evidence.

Tabitha told me her story. She was born into this. How did you come to be involved?” I asked. I hoped Dennis would assume I was enquiring as a friend and not a nosey journalist.

***

Dennis relayed his tale to me. Before the ‘Knock, Knock’ club he lived in the small town of Millefort, outside of the city, towards the coast. It would have been the first piece of civilisation my mother would have met when she carried me in her arms from Westcliff.

Dennis and his father, David, were traders who thrived on their ideal location between the docks where exciting food, clothes and trinkets would arrive from foreign lands and the city of Coldford where there were (at that time) plenty of customers willing to spend on such treasures. They had a happy life – at least that was how Dennis described it. He was married to a beautiful, if not a little neurotic, woman named Julianne. She was carrying their first child. Perhaps a boy? Perhaps a girl? They didn’t care as long as the baby was healthy. David Platt had bid Dennis’ mother a heartfelt farewell as she ended a long suffering year of a disease doctors couldn’t combat but whilst David had his son and a grandchild on the way he wasn’t ready to join her yet.

As Dennis set the scene it made me consider that this kind of contentment was only the pleasant, sun drenched calm before the storm. After all, he had went from family man with everything most people would covet to a grotty back alley club in Coldford where murder is all part of the entertainment.

Ships had been arriving with new products and Dennis had been at the Millefort Harbour to greet them. As the deliveries were being carried from the ship to the waiting ‘Platt and Son’ van, one of the helpers allowed the crate he was carrying to slip from his fingers.

Woah!” Dennis cried as some of the coffee beans it contained spilled out from torn packets. “Be careful with that or I’m going to have to charge you.”

Sorry sir,” murmured the helper.

Just get it loaded into the van,” said Dennis, checking his watch to see how much time had been wasted.

As the delivery men busied themselves loading the van, Dennis spied a girl sat at the edge of the pier. She had pulled her heavy fur coat close to her chin. Her white stockinged legs dangled over the edge.

Are you okay kid?” he asked, approaching her slowly so she wouldn’t be frightened by the sudden appearance of a stranger.

She looked up at him. Her rich attire and the diamonds that sparkled in her ears were unusual for Millefort. It was a laid back town, with earthy people. Her eyes were a pale grey, her lips painted a vibrant red. “I need to get to Westcliff,” she said.

They don’t have any passenger ships here,” instructed Dennis. The girl looked solemnly out across the water. “What is your name?”

Tabitha.”

Where have you come from?”

Filton. I’m looking for my aunt. She’s in Westcliff.”

Dennis, looking back at the delivery men who were closing the van up, said to Tabitha, “A boat ain’t going to magically appear kid.” He reached out and helped her onto her feet again which were clad in crushed velvet shoes. “Why don’t you come home with me and we can get you sorted.”

Dennis had expected Tabitha to resist climbing into a large blue van with a man she didn’t know but she thought nothing of it. She rode in silence beside him. Dennis had many questions that he wanted to ask her but he followed her lead and said nothing.

When they reached his home he finally said, “Don’t worry, I’ll smooth it over with my wife.”

The van crawled in front of a whitewashed bungalow. It was early evening by then. Darkness was smothering the sun underneath a pillow of stars. The lights in the houses were beginning to illuminate the narrow street. A large window at the front bathed the dark, tidy lawn in an azure glow.

A woman came charging into the light of the headlamps. She was dressed in a thin nightdress and was barefoot despite the chill in the air. She was heavily pregnant.

Dennis grunted, brought the van to a complete stop and rolled down the window. He leaned out and called to her, “Julie, what the Hell are you doing? I could have ran you over!” He climbed out and Tabitha followed.

What kept you?” asked Julianne. “I was worried.” She linked her arm through her husband’s and stared at the stray girl he had brought home.

You know its a long drive. I found this girl. She was lost.”

Julianne reached her free hand out and took Tabitha’s in hers. “Who are you?”

My name is Tabitha. I need to get to my aunt in Westcliff.”

This is the wrong direction,” said Julianne coldly. “You won’t get far tonight. You had better come inside.”

Tabitha’s grey eyes clouded. She pulled her coat closer to her frame. “I wouldn’t want to inconvenience you,” she said as she followed the couple heading towards their front door.

My husband has brought his fair share of strange women into my home.” Julianne pulled her arm away from Dennis and entered the house first.

Despite Julianne’s obvious discomfort at having her there, Tabitha remained with them. The days rolled on and the weeks went by. Julianne avoided her where possible. Dennis managed to decipher that her parents whom she lived with in Filton had died in a terrible accident. The details of this accident were too painful to discuss. The only living relative she had left was an aunt (her grandfather’s sister) who lived on the island of Westcliff. The only worldly possessions she had were the expensive clothes she had been wearing when Dennis met her and a bankers note that would allow her to draw on her parent’s accounts which were extensive. She was hesitant to do this. She settled into the home of the Platt family and despite her eagerness to get to Westcliff on the first day, she never mentioned it again.

What age do you suppose she is?” Julianne asked as she and Dennis watched the stranger from a distance. The stranger they had invited into their home for a night was now sat comfortably in their sofa – blue leather with delicately carved wooden trimmings that was Julianne’s pride and joy – watching their television.

I don’t know. Sixteen, seventeen maybe?”

Julianne groaned and rubbed her swollen womb. “She said she was going to board a boat to Westcliff weeks ago. Why is she still here? The baby will be here any day now and we will need the room back.”

Tabitha’s explanation of her life in Filton was sketchy. She wouldn’t draw on her parent’s accounts to pay for her upkeep or find somewhere more luxurious to live. Judging by what clothes and jewellery she had with her she was wealthy. Filton was a haven for the rich. She did what she could to earn her board by helping David – who lived next door to his son – with the accounts for their trading. She did this with the meticulous detail of an expert. She didn’t pay for her food but she fetched whatever they needed and cooked it so that Julianne didn’t have to. She told them that she had written to her aunt, inviting her to the mainland to help her sort her parent’s affairs and was awaiting a response.

More time went by. A little baby boy with Dennis’ dark eyes and the soft wisps of Julianne’s chestnut hair was brought into the family. He was named Milo and even Julianne had to admit that Tabitha’s help in dealing with the infant was invaluable. Tabitha held Milo in her arms a lot. She sang to him, she danced around the room with him. Whenever he saw her face he would break into an adoring, gummy grin. David adored her too. At the end of the day Tabitha was quiet and solemn but when it came to people she was a vibrant performer. Times were bliss for the Platt family. Life was complete.

That baby of yours must be keeping you up all night,” quipped one of the Coldford buyers when Dennis struck a deal much lower than he normally would.

You’ve just caught me in a good mood,” Dennis laughed. “Don’t expect the same next month.

Don’t let him kid you,” piped up another. “It’s that young girl writing the accounts that’s got him in such high spirits.” Dennis shrugged off the comment and made his way back home.

The house had been surprisingly quiet. Milo wasn’t crying. There was no bickering between Julianne and Tabitha. Tabitha was alone in the den. She was sat on the edge of the sofa wearing her coat. There was a large deep crimson blood stain across the wall as though something or someone had been whacked hard with a heavy blunt object.

What happened? Where’s Julie?” asked Dennis.

She’s gone,” murmured Tabitha. “She tried to hurt me. She tried to hurt Milo but I stopped her. She took him and now she’s gone.”

Dennis was breathless. His wife and child were gone. A thick blood stain was all that remained. He checked Milo’s room to see with his own eyes if what Tabitha told him was true. His instincts then drew him towards his father.

David’s gone too,” Tabitha called after him as he darted next door.

Dennis found his father’s door open. His television was blaring loudly as it always did. There was a bullet hole in the back of his head. His eyes were wide. The image of the assailant still printed on the whites.

Tabitha had followed behind him and laid a consoling hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “It’s time I cashed my parents accounts. We can get out of here.”

Dennis shook his head, forcing back the sobs in intense breaths. “She murdered my father. She took my boy.”

There’s nothing here for either of us. Come with me to Coldford. My aunt has written to me. She will meet us there. She will find Julianne faster than the police ever could.”

Dennis finished his story. I leaned back against the bar. I realised I was still holding the same empty glass I had had at the beginning of his tale.

So you came to Coldford with Tabitha. You believed that your wife suddenly went crazy, murdered your father and ran off with your boy? Didn’t it occur to you that it was probably Tabitha – you know, the member of this ridiculous group who believe they have licence to murder.”

A smile crawled across Dennis’ lips. “Of course it did. It still does.”

Then why come here?”

I believed her when she said she could find my son. She loved Milo. I had no reason to think she would hurt him. Like you, I had nowhere else to go. The club replaced the family I lost. Now I can’t be without them. Whatever happened to Julianne, Milo is still alive. I know it.”

How long ago was this?”

About eight … no ten years ago. Milo will be ten now.”

How can you look her in the eye? She could have been responsible for it all,” I felt the need to remind him.

Dennis emitted a cold peal of laughter. “Did it occur to you that she may have had something to do with the death of your wife too?”

I hadn’t really considered it before but Dennis’ words hit me like a bolt of lightening. “I guess she could have …”

Like me you will always have that at the back of your mind but you will never leave this club. I am no founding member,” Dennis explained. “I don’t have any family name to hold on to. The club would rather see me dead than expend any effort in keeping me sweet. I have no choice but to play their game.”

Enjoy this?

Subscribe to the page for all the latest episodes in the series!

Check out the story from the beginning:

Knock, Knock (Episode 1): Welcome to the Club

Knock, Knock (episode 2): Don’t Come Knockin’

Knock, Knock (Episode 3): Sleep Tight Sam

Knock, Knock (Episode 4): Take A Bow

Knock, Knock (Episode 5): Big City Kid

knockknock_vivikawidow_blurb