Category Archives: KK Volume 2

Knock Knock: Episode 18: Taking Care of Business

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Trial day five. I didn’t want to find myself there but, like some morbid car crash, I couldn’t help but take a closer peek at the carnage. I was at the COLDFORD CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT. Quietly and discretely Detective HICKES arranged for me to see the BOSS LADY, still held at CPD whilst her trial continued. I had passed AGNES in the hotel I was being held at but since she was also under police escort she could only offer me a pleading look. I thought about what Agnes had told me, so I started to look into some of the trouble TABITHA had been accused of when she was just a girl.

In order to get to the truth, I had no choice but to look into her cold, grey stare and ask her for her honest account of events. She had fought off a rapist as a child, she had stopped her parents selling her into a paedophile ring and she had watched her beloved aunt reduced to incarceration at HARBOUR HOUSE, but none of it gave her licence for what she did in response.

The KNOCK KNOCK club protected the innocent but it also brought carnage. When Hickes gave me entry to her holding, she was still wearing the confident expression she had when I first met her. The events that had occurred through the trial, the prospect of a death sentence that the LAW MAKERS were still fighting for, hadn’t completely removed her bravado.

“Well, well,” she said. “Look who finally decided to show up?”

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4

I took the seat across the table from her. Anger and frustration was boiling over from everything that had happened to me since we first met. “I’m surprised you actually wanted to speak to me. The last time I asked you for an interview you told me nothing. I believe your words were, ‘your newspaper is a rag,’ ”

Tabitha laughed looking to the ceiling, as though remembering her comment made her chuckle all over again. “Well, circumstances have changed. I adapt to suit.”

“My friend is dead because of you,” I chastised her. “Why should I listen to anything you have to say?”

Tabitha frowned. “You mean the reporter girl? Mandy?”

“Her name was Madeline!” I snapped.

Tabitha was unmoved. “Whatever,” she replied. “Did I stab her though?”

“No but you gave her the opportunity. You caused it.”

“Did I stab her though?” She asked again. “As far as I saw it, you got a creepy killer look in your eyes and you went at her.”

I stood then. I had heard enough. “Officer!” I banged on the door and called to Hickes, “I’m leaving.”

Tabitha’s bravado dropped then. She reached out to grab my arm and hissed, “Sit down. Don’t get excited. You should be thanking me. The recording of her attacking you first is the only thing keeping your ass out of the room next to mine.” She grinned. “Wouldn’t that have been cosy?”

“Tabitha…” I warned like a father to a wayward child.

6

“Fine, maybe she wouldn’t be dead if she hadn’t put her nose in. She could have at least discussed it with you though. Not so much as a, ‘isn’t this weird Sammy? Why are we here in our undies Sammy? What does that gorgeous woman in red want with us Sammy?’ Nope, she was cold. I didn’t do that to her. This city did. I may have put the knife in her hand but she was a girl who knew what it takes to survive. At least she thought she did. It turns out you survived anyway so calm the fuck down. I have to be honest; I had hinged bets on you being long dead by now. REGGIE was rooting for you though. Bravo on proving me wrong. So you live to fight another day.”

I stopped her before she started rambling. “They are going to send you away for a very long time. As well they should.”

“I hear they are looking to have me executed. They wouldn’t have been able to if it weren’t for you sneaking about my club, aided by that rat-faced bitch from BOURNTON so the way I see it we are even, right?” TABITHA returned. “And I hope you are going to explain to the triplets’ dear mother that her precious boy is going down now too because of you.”

I folded my arms and shook my head in exasperation. “You expect me to have sympathy for MARCUS PENN?”

Tabitha shrugged. “I suppose not. He can be a bit of a prick.”

I needed to push forward. “Say what you have to say to me. I can’t stay here. I’m already risking a lot.”

Her expression changed then. There was something softer, something child like behind it. “Since you insist,” she began. “Yes, I murdered my parents but you cannot tell me that people willing to sell their daughter to a bunch of fucking pervos deserve to live.”

“They should have been reported to the authorities,” suggested I.

“Oh come on. You heard it from Aggie,” replied the Boss Lady with a laugh. “My Aunt Tee was sent away from Judge Cyclops’ court. They wouldn’t listen. So she took it into her own hands to let the city know how much of a creep Jerry Owen was. It turned out I wasn’t the only one he had tried it on with. There were hundreds of victims between Coldford and the Great States. This all must have happened when you were clearly living in a cave somewhere.”

This was news to me. I was only vaguely familiar with the OWEN family arriving in the city from the small suburb of JAMESTOWN where I grew up. The Owen propaganda machine had went into full force when the Knock Knock Club, led by the BARONESS, started making trouble for Owen Inc. on behalf of Tabitha and the other girls, so very little of the story reached public ears.

“So then what happened?” I pushed as though a reporter back on the story once again.

“Conveniently and surprising no one, my Aunt Tee’s petition to take me away from it all was refused. They should have just let me fucking go but those filthy Owen pricks play dirty. They had so many politicians, cops and lawyers in their pockets it didn’t matter what happened; they came out smelling like roses. Every one knew those roses were fertilised by bullshit but they were too afraid or too handsomely paid to do anything about it. They offered Aunt Tee money. She refused. She still wouldn’t stop calling them out so they burnt the whole fucking club down.

The Knock Knock Club was used to shelter the victims. Then it became a shelter for other victims of abuse, victims of corruption. Yes, the club isn’t exactly the Weir Hotel. Tits and booze and good times, but when you attract the filth of the city it gives you the chance to keep a closer eye on them.

Aunt Tee had a reputation in the Shanties. They loved her. They still do. She and Agnes did a great job but it was never going to last. Those dirty cunts attacked the club. They shot some of the dancer girls, some of the MACKS and even dear old Jack. He was just a compere for the club. What had he done? Just because he was on Knock Knock’s bill. He was an entertainer. He had nothing to do with anything. There was nothing I could have done. I hid out at Dennis’ for a while. Then when he started his shit it reminded me of why I was needed, why the Knock Knock was needed.”

I waited until she had finished. I listened quietly and noted her changes of tone, her true anger and outrage surfacing at the mention of the Owen name. Her true affections surfacing when she mentioned her aunts and even the old club emcee and the dancer girls.

“I’ll tell your true side of the story. I’ll make sure the public knows what you have told me today. It will be up to them to them to decide what to do with it.”

She shook her head and groaned. “Oh my God, with your holier than thou bullshit. Haven’t you been listening? Do you even know who owns the newspaper you work for?”

“You’re not suggesting …”

Tapping her skull she said, “Yes, fucking Owen Inc. Even without a gagging order down your throat they will never let you print anything that sheds light on how evil they are. Didn’t you think it strange that the mayor of the city went missing and the only outlet his wife would let report on it was the COLDFORD DAILY? It certainly wasn’t because of the high journalistic standard; I’ve read some of your shitty stories. Perhaps Madeline should have won the stab off. I’m sure she wasn’t as much of a naïve retard as you are.”

She must have realised she wasn’t going the right way about encouraging me onto her side. She changed her tone slightly. “The Owens wanted to keep the story running through their newspaper so they can control every little detail and get a closer look at what little old me was up to. Why do you think you were even in Knock Knock in the first place? You were an Owen stooge.”

“So what do you propose I do with what you’re telling me?” I asked her.

“I don’t expect you to take what I’m telling you in good faith. Whilst their focus is on me it gives you the chance to do a little digging. Speak to OLIVIA PLATT, Dennis’ ex-wife. She means well and had many Owen victims come through her office as a social worker.” That soft look came over her again, almost human behind the mask. “If you do find her and Milo is with her be discreet. He’s just a kid. He doesn’t have to know how much of a prick his dad is.”

***

It was a quiet night in the oldest part of town. Elmslie Court in KINGSGATE was taking a breath of cool night air. Micky Doyle had called around to his cousin at three that afternoon. The day had fallen into night. He and Karyn still discussed the spate of attacks that had occurred around the city, including an explosion at the Weir Hotel in City Main as well as the attempts on Karyn’s life. Before they knew it dinner was served.

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“That’s why we need to take the hot seat and clean this city up,” Micky concluded. The reference he made was to the mayoral office in Coldford, at an intimidating building called City Face due to the large clock it bore.

Karyn was in complete agreement but given the danger she was in and Micky’s mentor – Derek Gainor – losing out on the election to Jim Feltz they had to be careful.

Feltz had declared himself a friend of the south and a saviour of the Shanties. ‘Regeneration; Rejuvenation; Rehabilitation’ was his campaign promise. At the time the Coldford Express had called him a hope for the south. The chronicle went with ‘a breath of fresh air.’ The Coldford Daily was in support of his competitor. I remember writing a profile piece on Derek at the time. But like many, Jim Feltz felt the heat of the hot seat burn too fiercely. With Tabitha warning him to make good on his promises and Owen Inc. looking to push their own agendas with the might of the north behind them he panicked. He used city money to appease his northern overlords and tried to run before Tabitha and her Headliners found out. When AMBER FELTZ, the mayor’s youngest daughter, came calling at the Knock Knock Club she confirmed her father’s intentions.

“When election time comes around again I’ll be ready,” Micky said over the soft tapping of silver ware on fine china plates.

“If you are going to run for office there is just one thing you should be wary of,” Karyn warned.

The darkness had crept on them so subtly through their discussions that when Cameron switched on the lamp in the corner the light was wild and harsh. It took some time for eyes to adjust and the light to settle into smooth warmth.

“The business with Reverend Owen,” she went on to explain. “It will be brought up if you make a move for City Hall.”

Micky cocked his head as he watched Cameron move vegetables around the plate. “It’s already a problem,” he said. “If I can get on the hot seat I can shut them up for good.”

“Tread carefully,” warned his cousin.

“Do you believe what they say about him?”

“Not without any verifiable evidence, no. What I’m saying is that it will cause a political minefield and so you will tread carefully.”

Cameron looked up and his eye caught something moving outside.

“Mum?” he said. “I think there is someone at the window.”

He looked to Micky who frowned in confusion. Micky looked back over his shoulder to the window behind him. Karyn was already on her feet. She strode to the window and glanced out onto the lawns. Through the glare of lights Karyn could see a man lying out on the perfectly kept grass.

Karyn and Micky went outside. Cameron followed close at their heel.

A blonde man in a priest’s collar stirred. He was mumbling something to himself but the words were nonsense.

“What’s wrong with him mum?” Cameron asked.

Micky looked to his cousin. She was observing the figure in great detail. She was remembering every tortured wrinkle on his face, every detail of his dress, and the smell of his breath and the position of his body for future reference. Her lips tightened.

“Do you know him mum?” asked Cameron.

“Help him up,” she ordered. “It’s Jerry Owen.”

Cameron grabbed the priest by his left arm and Micky took the right. As they eased him gently onto his feet he gargled. Drool leaked from the left corner of his mouth. Blood ran down his face.

“Wait,” Karyn’s voice snapped into the night. “Stop.”

She reached up and brushed his hair back to reveal a hole had been drilled into his skull by someone who intended on rendering him dumb but didn’t necessarily have the medical know how. His genitals had been removed.

Karyn growled. Cameron looked to Micky again. In the pocket of the priests shirt was a note written in a childish scrawl.

A cure for a pervo.

I took care of it myself.

XOXO

“Get him inside,” ordered the Judge. “I’ll call for a doctor.”

So many had come forward with accusations against Jerry Owen thanks to the efforts of the Baroness of the Knock Knock Club – Tabitha’s Aunt Tawny – but there was no evidence, no medical reports and no police findings.

When Jerry’s elder brother, Charles ‘Chick’ Owen, found out he requested that he be given the chance to take care of the situation.

“Little kids? Shit. If I had the sick fuck I would castrate him myself but he’s one of my own, and you don’t go against one of your own on the word of some fucked up little bitch and her boozy clown aunt,” said the eldest Owen, better known as the Cappy, to Micky.

To The Judge he said, “My son, Buddy, has taken over the Kappa So Chapter House. He’s a little erratic at times but he may be just what you need. I’m sendin’ him ova. He’ll make himself useful to you.”

There was no evidence and no confirmation but Judge Doyle knew who was responsible for Jerry Owen’s crude lobotomy. She also knew who had ordered the attacks on her, the recent surge of slander stories in the press about the Owen’s that they had to close down quickly, and the Freefall Massacre. It all resonated from the newly reopened Knock Knock Club and soon the Boss Lady of said club would be made to pay for all of it.

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Coming Next:

Judge Doyle promised to break the Knock Knock Boss Lady and she will start by removing those closest to her.

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In the meantime, the series is free to read HERE on Vivika Widow Online or you can download for kindle by clicking HERE.

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: A Room With A View

Knock, Knock: Episode 6: Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock: Episode 7: No Kids Allowed

Knock, Knock: Episode 8: Kids These Days

Knock, Knock: Episode 9: Shootin’ The Breeze

Knock, Knock: Episode 10: Calling Last Orders

Knock Knock: Episode 11: Shady City Blues

Knock Knock: Episode 12: Going Down

Knock Knock: Episode 13: Got the Fever

Knock Knock: Episode 14: Laying Down the Law

Knock Knock: Episode 15: Still I Stand

Knock Knock: Episode 16: Start Spilling

Knock Knock: Episode 17: High Fliers

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Knock Knock: Episode 20: All Rise

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As the weeks went on the support for Tabitha outside the Court House began to gain traction. Those who were protesting against her and calling for her head began to hush. For the first time since the trial began it started to look as though there was a chance the jury would dismiss her of some, if not all, of the charges against her, putting her back on the street, furious at the inconvenience and more dangerous than ever. I heard that the Penn triplets were being set with their own charges but it would be some time yet before they would be held by Coldford Correctional – a large, gloomy prison at the tip of Bournton better known as The Boss because of the way it gazed down over the northern town.

Saving one of those closest to Tabitha for the last, Ronnie called Agnes to the stand. He hoped that a motherly perspective on his client would leave warmth in the Jury as his last bid for her freedom.

ATTENDANCE:

Judge Doyle: Presiding

City Prosecutor

Counsel for the Defendant: Ronald Owen

Defendant: Tabitha MC

Witness: Agnes Wilde

Clerks and Bailiffs

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Ronnie Owen: “You have known the defendant for most of her life, correct?”

AGNES WILDE: “I was there when Tawny got the call to tell her she had become an aunt. She had been estranged from her brother Rob for a few years. We had just set up the Knock Knock Club at the time.”

RONNIE OWEN: “Have you ever seen the defendant become violent?”

Agnes Wilde: “She can have a bit of a temper but no I have never personally seen her become violent. What people fail to realise is that she needs help. Her parents cared nothing for her. If she didn’t have something of a temper, who knows where she could have ended up? She fought off predators, dirty dealers, embezzlers and filthy swine of all descriptions. That wasn’t just for her, but for others too. If she didn’t have something of a temper she would have been lost in the filth of this city and countless other lives ruined too.”

Ronnie Owen: “Are you saying she truly cares?”

Agnes Wilde: “I have never known a girl who cares so much. She just has her way of doing things. When the talk of the bid to take over the Shanties first came to light, Tabitha did what she could to help the people. Mayor Feltz had sold out on his campaign promises. Already Swantin was unaffordable for the people of the Shanties and they would have nowhere else to go. Tabitha did as her aunt would have done. She protested against it. She fought so that those people, families, weren’t without a home.”

Ronnie Owen: “And what was the response?”

Agnes Wilde: “Power to the Shanties was cut. They said it was a surge but we all knew it had been deliberate. We were the only area affected. Tabitha brought them together. She used the resources of the club to warm them and feed them. Without that, the elderly and young babies could have perished. She held against them until the power was restored.”

Ronnie Owen: “No further questions.”

3

The City prosecutor was like a ravenous vulture. He observed Agnes for a few moments before beginning his cross-examination in the hope it would set her on edge. The Broker maintained her composure.

City Prosecutor: “It’s a pretty picture you paint for the jury. A noble hero the defendant seems. ‘Just has her way of doing things,’ you say. Tell me; are fifty-nine people dead at Beckingridge Tower just her way of doing things? Is the brutal murder of her own parents just her little bit of a temper? What criteria does she use to decide who is innocent because from what I can see for every person she has ‘saved’ another is dead or beaten and tortured in a most horrendous fashion.”

Agnes Wilde: “You don’t understand.”

City Prosecutor: “I don’t think you understand Miss Wilde. She is a sadistic, psychopathic monster who needs to be punished. Neither you nor your partner was ever fit to do so.”

Agnes Wilde: “How dare you!”

JUDGE DOYLE: “Order! Counsellor you will not antagonise the witness.”

City Prosecutor: “My apologies ma’am.” Turning his attention back on Agnes. “Did you know anything about the deaths of Rob and Linda McInney?”

Agnes Wilde: “No. I heard they had taken off after the investigation and left Tabitha behind.”

City Prosecutor: “Strange. We have a recording from HARBOUR HOUSE in which you are speaking to your partner. TAWNY MC INNEY clearly asks you to go the house and fetch the defendant. Did you fulfill that wish?”

Agnes Wilde: “Yes but there was no one there when I got there.”

City Prosecutor: “So you visit the house. The parents are gone and Tabitha has disappeared off the face of the planet?”

Agnes Wilde: “That’s correct.”

City Prosecutor: “Did you look for her?”

Agnes Wilde: “Of course I did. Normally when she was in trouble she ran to the Knock Knock Club to me or Tawny.”

City Prosecutor: “But she didn’t this time?”

Agnes Wilde: “No.”

City Prosecutor: “Why not?”

Agnes Wilde: “Because it was not much more than a pile of ash and rubble. It had been burnt down and there are people in this court today who know why that was and who was responsible.”

City Prosecutor: “Let’s not get off track. We’ll get back to the issue at hand. Were you aware of what Tabitha had done to Court Clerk Melanie Wallace?”

Agnes Wilde: “No I was not.”

City Prosecutor: “In the video she clearly berates the victim before delivering a death sentence. How do you feel about that?”

Ronald Owen: “Objection! How Miss Wilde feels about it is irrelevant.”

Judge Doyle: “You have already been warned about this Counsellor.”

Satisfied he had countered Ronnie’s ‘Saviour of the Shanties’ pitch, the City Prosecutor turned back to his bench.

City Prosecutor: “No further questions.”

***

“You took your feckin’ time!” PADDY groaned to his brother Kieran.

Kieran drew on a joint. “Calm yar tits,” he said. “We got ya didn’t we?”

“Cutting it mighty fine.”

Kieran passed the joint to Paddy who took a drag and let the calm wash off the stress of the CPD holding.

“Ma wanted you to say hello to Uncle Michael if you went down. Block H I believe he’s in. Guess that reunion will have to wait,” jested Kieran. When Paddy passed the joint, Kieran had one more puff before stubbing it out and slipping it into his pocket.

“We had better go,” Kieran urged his brother.

Paddy stretched out the tension in his muscles that had gathered from being held in a CPD transport van. The van had been stopped en route north.

“Is he raging?” Paddy asked.

Kieran raised his eyebrows. “Oh he’s really feckin’ raging alright.”

The rooftop of an industrial unit that was closed for the night offered a panoramic view of the city, from the dregs of the south to the grandeur of the north. The wind was cool.

Whack! Whack! Whack!

The first hit had been hard but it wasn’t a killing blow. It would have been better if it were. The chain rattled as it whacked again.

Whack! Whack! Whack!

CPD officer Gabe had no choice but watch knowing he would soon follow in a similar fate. Perhaps worse? Either way it had all come down to this.

Whack! Whack! Whack!

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Hickes was a good man. He had so much to give the city. He wasn’t even meant to be on shift that night. He only came to lend extra support in the transporting of Paddy Mack. When the transport left CPD behind that’s when it all went awry.

Whack! Whack! Whack!

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He finally finished with Hickes. His breath was heavy. Now that the heat of the summer had broken, a mist escaped his lips. Gabe closed his eyes as the click, click, click of the finely crafted shoes drew closer. Paddy and Kieran Mack stood behind him watching. The bloodied chain that had beaten Hickes to death was clenched tightly around his fist. Gabe opened his eyes again as the chain jingled close to his face. A tall, formidable figure was Reginald Penn. He caught his breath and pointed the chain at Gabe.

“Where’s my fucking boys?!”

12

***

1314

Lydia sat across from me in my usual booth in BOBBY’S LUNCH BOX. She watched on as I sat in quiet contemplation. I dare say the entire affair, from the moment I received the invitation to the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB, was starting to tell on me. I believed then it was reaching a conclusion. If I had known then all that was still to come, I don’t know if I would have found the spirit to carry on but carry on we must and carry on I did. The fate of Tabitha and all those who supported her was under the hammer of the LAW MAKERS and that hammer was set to fall soon, smashing everything within its range.

“I wonder how long the jury will take,” I mused to myself more than the agent. We had already been waiting an hour and a half. I didn’t suspect they would take long in deciding. Tabitha was after all guilty as sin by her own admission.

As though Lydia could sense what I was thinking she said, “She needs to be put away.” Her bouncy accent from the northern town of Bournton did a lot to cover any bitterness that should rightfully have been there. She did go through a lot to bring the Knock Knock Boss Lady in. Tabitha was a mean queen who needed to be locked away.

“I know,” I agreed. Even now I still have no doubt she needed to pay for her crimes. “It’s just how it’s being done. It’s not right.”

The Law Makers were pulling everything they could from the woodwork in order to solidify their hold on Tabitha. They were campaigning to reinstate the death penalty in Greater Coldford, they were punishing her for shedding light on the dirty deeds of their friends in high places, they were going to kill her for it and her only defence was a man who shared the same elite family name as the ones Tabitha was calling out in the first place. It wasn’t right. Justice in this case was a big bad wolf and she had blown down two houses already. The MACKS were still licking their wounds from the raid on the club and the only Penn not in custody, Reggie, had disappeared. Now they had hungrily set their sights on the final one. The bricks of the Knock Knock Club had already been smashed through so it wasn’t likely it would hold.

Lydia shook her head. “Don’t let her get to you. I’ve seen her manipulate people. She is a murderer.”

I could understand Lydia’s concern. Tabitha did have her way of getting to people. It was how she had managed to function so effectively. Lydia had learned from Detective Hickes that had I managed to get an interview with her where she gave me her version of events. My concern then wasn’t for Tabitha. It was for the countless people that the club had protected, fought for. My concern was for the many still in power that wouldn’t answer for corruption, murder, paedophile rings and exploitation of the poor. With Tabitha gone their power would only grow. I had as much reason to hate Tabitha as anyone, for the position she put me in with Madeline, for what happened to SARAH, for all of it. However, every time I looked at her with her childish attitude, her girlish gap tooth grin, all I could see was a scared little girl begging her aunt not to send her back to parents that would sell her into prostitution. Society failed that little girl and many like her. Until I revealed the truth, it was all I was ever going to see and time was running out.

“My job was to get the information they needed and to keep you safe. What happens beyond that is out of our control. She put the nail in her own coffin with the murder of a Court Clerk not to mention the other bodies she has left in her wake,” Lydia explained.

I couldn’t argue with the agents logic. Even Ronnie Owen couldn’t declare the witnesses as liars. Tabitha had done all of those things and was accepting her charges like it was her C.V.

“It’s not what’s happening in the court that bothers me,” I said. Although, if they had been so sure of a clean cut case they wouldn’t be shutting down every law firm that would opt to defend her and planting their own. “They came in heavy handed to the club. They were after Tabitha but they brutally beat their way to her. They have placed a gagging order on me. What are they worried I’ll say? The truth? They have left her with an Owen as her last line of defence. The very ones who are calling to hang her in the first place.”

Lydia had pursed her lips. She was taking what I was saying on board but she was still unmoved by it.

“Ronnie is different from his brothers,” she said.

“I know that. You know that. But the public doesn’t. That kind of atmosphere eats at a jury. The Cappy has cleverly made it seem like they are playing a fair game by having his brother defend her, but their fear and respect for the Owen name would shut them down – guilty, done, no more questions. That has been the Law Makers play all along. A farce of a trial to make an example of Tabitha and anyone who would question their running of the city, leading to a decision that has already been made.”

Lydia sighed. Her phone had been laid down on the greasy table in front of her face down so she lifted it to check if the jury had returned. With no notifications she laid it back down.

“She can’t be saved,” she warned me.

At first, I hadn’t understood whom she had meant. My mind initially went to Sarah, an innocent kid gunned down in the street. I never thought of Tabitha has needing to be saved. When I realised who she meant I scoffed.

“My sympathy for her stretches as far as those who she will leave behind. Her Aunt Agnes will be a sitting duck and her Aunt Tawny has suffered plenty already from what I can tell. You misunderstand what I mean,” I assured her. “If they can do this to someone like Tabitha then where does it end? Exaggerated charges against anyone who doesn’t bow to their will? The Shanties torn down? The Owen family owning the entire city? What happens to people like you and me?”

“You really believe that she had that much influence?”

“If she didn’t the Law Makers wouldn’t be going to the extent of pushing for the death penalty.”

Lydia agreed; I know she did but she was a logical, formulaic thinker and to her it was a matter of one monster at a time.

Lydia smiled. She could see the tension of the trial, everything that had happened to me personally was beginning to take it’s toll. When I first entered the Knock Knock club I had expected to find a seedy club hiding the mayor. I had no idea it would have come to what it had.

“I bet she’s already planning on having her prison jump suit made in red,” she teased.

I laughed despite myself. She was jesting of course but nothing would have surprised me as far as the Boss Lady was concerned.

“She’s probably asked for long cuffs so she can stand with her hand on her hip,” I added.

Lydia laughed heartily. Her laughed eased the tension a little. It made what was to happen next a little easier.

Her phone bleeped. The rattle of it on the table caused a shudder down my spine.

“Whatever happens next we’ll be ready for it,” she said. She checked the screen. “The jury is back.”

24

***

25

A cold breeze blew through the courtroom that day. All the talking, protesting and explaining had been done. All that was left was for the decision to be announced and so with that the hall sat in uncomfortable silence.

All that could be heard was the tapping of Sunday best shoes across the polished floors as the jury filtered back into their bench. Ronnie noted the concern on the foreman’s face. He had a fate in his hands and that can make some of us uncomfortable. The foreman was such a man but he dare not refuse the call of Judge Doyle.

Two large presences collided and only one of them would leave the Court House a victor that day. The stage was set but even with the odds stacked against her, Tabitha still fancied she would come out on top. She always did.

ATTENDANCE:

Judge Doyle: Presiding

City Prosecutor

Counsel for the Defendant: Ronald Owen

Defendant: Tabitha MC

Clerks and Bailiffs

The first to break the cold silence was the judge.

Judge Doyle: “Will the foreman of the jury stand.”

The foreman obeyed.

Judge Doyle: “Has the jury reached a verdict?”

Foreman: “Yes ma’am.”

Judge Doyle: “How does the jury find the defendant?”

Foreman: “On the charges of embezzlement of city funds we the jury find the defendant guilty.”

Tabitha rolled her eyes. That was the least of her concerns. The Judge chose not to chastise her for not taking it seriously enough. She knew the worst was yet to come.

Foreman: “On the charges of murder in the second degree of Melanie Wallace we find the defendant guilty”

This wouldn’t have come as a surprise with the clear evidence I had provided. Dennis had managed to find himself some leniency for his part having objected to it at the time and for providing his testimony.

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Foreman: “On the charges of murder in the first degree of Robert McInney, Linda McInney and Lynn Wilton we find the defendant guilty.”

There was no statute of limitations on murder charges in the City of Coldford.

Foreman: “On the charges of inciting violence and orchestrating the event known as the Free Fall Massacre we find the defendant guilty.”

What happened next will forever be on my conscience. I wasn’t there but reading the transcripts I can see the scene unfold. It was a long time coming but like death it is something you will never be prepared for. The time for sentencing had come.

Judge Doyle: “Will the defendant rise.”

Tabitha obeyed this command. She had no choice. The room hushed in anticipation.

Judge Doyle: “For too long you have run amok in this city without any consequences for your actions. Today you will learn that if you break the law you will be punished. You wished to stand as a symbol. I’ll allow that. I will hold you as an example to anyone who thinks that they are above the law. I have been granted power by the city to punish you to the fullest extent. I hereby sentence you to death by lethal injection.”

The courtroom burst into a noisy rabble broken only by the rhythmic slamming of Judge Doyle’s gavel. When the noise dissipated she continued.

Judge Doyle: “You will be confined to the Monte Forte until your date of execution has been confirmed.”

As I read through the transcripts my heart began to race. I knew there was no way Tabitha would not attempt to have the final say. My thoughts were correct because as she was being escorted away to her final resting place before death she scowled at the Judge.

Tabitha: “You can prick me with all the needles you want. You and I both know this isn’t over.”

The Judge engaged her but she remained cool and steady.

Judge Doyle: “It is over. This is my courtroom and my word is final.”

Tabitha: “You’re a cunt. You were born a cunt and you will always be a cunt!”

The bailiffs moved to put pressure on her but the Judge stopped them.

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Judge Doyle: “I am also revoking the care of Harbour House for Tawny McInney. She too will be brought before me to answer for her crimes.”

When the trial began I asked myself what it would take to break the Knock Knock Boss Lady. It seemed that was it. The Judge had her but broken things can have sharp edges. Tabitha grabbed a chair and launched it at the unkillable Judge Doyle. The immovable hand of justice didn’t budge as the chair crashed beside her.

TABITHA began screaming in a chilling, unprecedented display of fury.

Tabitha: “You fucking bitch! I will tear you apart if you hurt her! She has done nothing and you know it. I will rip your fucking lungs out!”

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The tirade continued. The Judge allowed Tabitha to scream and attempt to shake off the bailiffs like a child in the midst of an extreme tantrum. When she stopped for breath Doyle finally addressed her.

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Judge Doyle: “I told you that you do not get the final say in here. Sentence has been passed. Take her away.”

They thought they could hurt her but still she stands. They thought they could outsmart her but still she stands. They tried to kill her but failed. Justice is immortal and so still she stands.

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And so season 1 has ended not don’t worry folks. We’ve got plenty more where that came from. We’ll be back so keep your eyes peeled …

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In the meantime, the series is free to read HERE on Vivika Widow Online or you can download for kindle by clicking HERE.

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: A Room With A View

Knock, Knock: Episode 6: Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock: Episode 7: No Kids Allowed

Knock, Knock: Episode 8: Kids These Days

Knock, Knock: Episode 9: Shootin’ The Breeze

Knock, Knock: Episode 10: Calling Last Orders

Knock Knock: Episode 11: Shady City Blues

Knock Knock: Episode 12: Going Down

Knock Knock: Episode 13: Got the Fever

Knock Knock: Episode 14: Laying Down the Law

Knock Knock: Episode 15: Still I Stand

Knock Knock: Episode 16: Start Spilling

Knock Knock: Episode 17: High Fliers

Knock Knock: Episode 18: Taking Care of Business

Knock Knock: Episode 19: Take the Edge Off

ut wait, there’s more!

Coming 2020

Check in to Harbour House for relaxation and recovery in the explosive new novel.

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Knock Knock: Episode 19: Take the Edge Off

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Trial day eight. They had covered the Free Fall massacre extensively. Ronnie argued that Tabitha had been there purely as a guest. He even presented an invitation as evidence. The time came to return to the issue of TABITHA’s parents and the video of the murder of MELANIE WALLACE that Lydia and I had risked our lives to obtain. The prosecutor took the lead. On a large screen at the front of the hall, a screen grab of the murder of Melanie was shown. She was on her knees, Tabitha holding her and MARCUS ready to deliver the killing blow. Dennis stood idly by, unable to do anything to stop it – lest he join her. Melanie Wallace was a clerk of the Court. She had been instructed to deliver a note of intent to the Knock Knock club and its supporters. Apparently Tabitha had taken it personally. ‘Send her back to Cyclops in a fucking box,’ she had said at the time. Mel had been nothing more than a runner in this on-going war. Her only crime had been declaring herself on the side of the Law Makers, whilst Tabitha declared herself to be fighting the good fight on behalf of the good side of the Shady City. I wasn’t sure there was such a thing as the good side.

ATTENDANCE:

JUDGE DOYLE: Presiding

City Prosecutor

Counsel for the Defendant: RONALD OWEN

Defendant: Tabitha MC Clerks and Bailiffs

City Prosecutor: “Please excuse the delay ma’am, but my next witness wasn’t present in court. I am to understand he has arrived now.”

Judge Doyle looked to the back of the room where the doors were being opened to allow a new arrival.

City Prosecutor: “The prosecution calls DENNIS PLATT to the stand.”

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Dennis looked weary in morose clothing with blood shot eyes. Without his signature hat he seemed smaller, thinner. He gave a fleeting glance to Tabitha who scowled back at him. As the trial pressed on she was beginning to lose her composure more often. She was worried. Dennis took the witness bench.

City Prosecutor: “Can you state your position with the Knock Knock club for the court.”

Dennis Platt: “I was acting manager.”

City Prosecutor: “Did you try to stop the murder of Miss Wallace?”

Dennis was shaking his head.

Dennis Platt: “Not as much as I should have. I did warn her but she wouldn’t listen.

The prosecutor stroked his chin. He turned and observed the expressions on his jury.

City Prosecutor: “How did you come to meet the defendant?”

Dennis Platt: “I was organising some importing/ exporting at the time through Chamberlain Docks. One night I was coming home from a late delivery and I saw her. She was young, alone and in a dangerous area. I took her to my ex wife, who is a social worker, for some help.”

I had heard testimonies like it so many times over the years as a reporter. Dennis’ response was fixed, detailed just enough to avoid further question but limited to the point of not really telling anything. It was very rehearsed.

City Prosecutor: “What was she doing there at such a late hour?”

The prosecutor asked this as though that was the issue with the statement.

Dennis Platt: “She told me she was looking for her aunt. She was trying to get the ferry to Hathfield Bay.”

Dennis kept his focus ahead, without looking at anyone in particular.

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City Prosecutor: “Just to be clear, her aunt being Tawny McInney? The Baroness of the Knock Knock club, correct?”

Dennis Platt: “Yes, that’s correct.” He nodded in agreement.

This time the prosecutor looked for the expressions of the gathering.

City Prosecutor: “Did she mention her parents?”

Dennis Platt: “Not at first. She wouldn’t tell Olivia why she had left home. All she would say was she wanted to find her aunt.”

The prosecutor interrupted him then, turning to the jury and addressing them directly.

City Prosecutor: “Would the jury please note that the aunt referred to is the elder sister of victim Rob McKinney and sister in law to victim Linda McInney,” Returning to Dennis and urged him to continue. “Please carry on.”

Dennis Platt: “She stayed with us for a while. Olivia tried to get her some help but she wouldn’t let her call Child Services.”

The prosecutor leaned on the witness bench and observed Dennis closely.

City Prosecutor: “She eventually admitted to you that she had murdered her parents and her nanny. Correct?”

Ronnie Owen: “Objection Ma’am, the prosecution is leading this witness.”

Judge Doyle: “Over ruled,” said she but she continued, “I do ask the prosecution choose their wording more carefully.”

The prosecutor stood straight, his spine like an iron rod.

City Prosecutor: “I do apologise ma’am.” He returned his focus to Dennis. “So what did she tell you about the night her parents died?”

Dennis Platt: “She gave me every detail.”

City Prosecutor: “She admitted to murdering them and the nanny?”

Dennis Platt: “In cold blood.”

Dennis went on to explain the event as he had told it to me. When he had finished the City Prosecutor gave a satisfied grin.

City Prosecutor: “No further questions.”

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Tabitha whispered something to Ronnie. She was frowning severely. The lawyer remained focused. He stood and with a clear of his throat he took his turn to address Dennis.

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Ronnie Owen: “Mr Platt, can you please tell the court how you came to be the manager of the Knock Knock Club, leaving a wife and young child behind?”

City Prosecutor: “Objection ma’am!” He barked. “Irrelevant to this case.”

Ronnie Owen: “It is very relevant ma’am. If the jury are to take Mr Platt at his word, they need to understand his connection to the defendant.”

Judge Doyle: “Over ruled. The witness will answer the question.”

Dennis Platt: “She was desperate to re-open the club. She threatened my wife and child if I didn’t help her.”

Ronnie Owen: “I find it difficult to believe that a young girl could hold you under duress and for so long, just by a threat.”

Dennis seemed to gather from a well of strength. He growled and snapped back at the lawyer.

Dennis Platt: “Then you ought to ask your brother what she’s capable of. Jerry, isn’t it?”

Ronnie ignored the statement. He had his angle for removing any legitimacy in Dennis’ statement and he wouldn’t be detracted from pulling on that thread.

Ronnie Owen: “Isn’t it true that you weren’t such a noble rescuer but simply took a shine to a young girl you found on the docks? What way was she dressed that night? Looking promiscuous, was she? Did taking her home seem like the sensible thing to do?”

Dennis Platt: “I told you, Liv was a social worker. She had experience with little girls in trouble.”

Ronnie had his bite. It was time to start reeling in the rod.

Ronnie Owen: “Little girls, troubled girls, you had experience in that too, didn’t you?”

City Prosecutor: “Objection! Counsellor is badgering the witness. He is not the one on trial here ma’am.”

Judge Doyle: “Sustained. Do get to your point counsellor.”

Ronnie shrugged.

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Ronnie Owen: “Apologies ma’am.” Returning to the witness. “Is it true that the only reason the defendant was able to coerce you into staying at the Knock Knock Club was because you attempted to assault her and she threatened to tell your wife?”

Dennis was becoming irate.

Dennis Platt: “She needs to be locked away.”

Ronnie still stayed calm. Dennis didn’t have anything to lose at that point but Tabitha did. Her best chance rested on a statement from a man who hated her, pulled forward from a man who shared the name of the one’s who had put her there in the first place.

Ronnie Owen: “Is it true that your business, the business at the docks, was bringing girls into prostitution?”

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Dennis immediately denied. He may not have anything left to lose but it would take a long time for the virus coursing in his blood to destroy the survival instinct.

Ronnie Owen: “I could name some of your clients.”

Dennis’ eyes widened. He was deciding whether or not Ronnie would throw his own brother Jerry under a bus in order to bring an end to the Headliners. He had had dealings with Jerry in the purchasing of girls, foreign girls looking for a new life in the city, young girls, under age girls for particular parties with particular tastes, boys too. Ronnie wouldn’t want that kind of dirty laundry aired in court surely? The Cappy had fought hard to make sure that that kind of knowledge of his brother didn’t become public. Dennis wondered then how far Ronnie was willing to go to win the case for his client. Now that he had Dennis pulling back in fear Ronnie ended his questioning before the City Prosecutor could raise any objections.

Ronnie Owen: “No further questions.”

It seemed Ronnie wouldn’t bring it up. It was unlikely Judge Doyle would let it stand anyway but the expression on Dennis’ face was enough to plant doubt in the jurors. The women on the jury carefully selected by Ronnie were glaring at Dennis. Ronnie went on to detail Dennis attempted assault on Tabitha and how she overthrew him. It was now time to play another hand in the hopes of swaying more onto Tabitha’s side.

Ronnie Owen: “If the court will indulge me, I call CHLOE GROVER to the stand.”

Led by a surprisingly gentle Bailiff the nineteen-year-old girl, Chloe, took the stand. Her head was bowed and her shoulders hunched.

Ronnie Owen: “Good morning, ma’am. We’re going to discuss some things that may be a little difficult for you but we’ll keep it as brief as possible. Is that okay?”

Chloe Grover: “You can call me Chloe. That’s my name.” She smiled at Ronnie but bowed her head again when she noticed the jury were watching her.

Ronnie Owen: “What is your relationship with Dennis?”

Chloe looked up as though she didn’t understand the question so the lawyer rephrased.

Ronnie Owen: “How do you know Dennis?”

Chloe Grover: “I love him. I love him so much. Is he okay?”

Ronnie Owen: “He’s fine but I need you to tell the jury what he made you do.”

Ronnie spoke softly. Chloe responded well to him.

Chloe Grover: “You mean the friends he sent to my room?”

Ronnie Owen: “Exactly. What did those friends want from you?”

Chloe looked a little confused. She was a soft hearted, simple-minded girl.

Chloe Grover: “I had to give them special cuddles. Dennis needed money and I wanted him to be happy.”

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Ronnie Owen: “Did you make money from the friends?”

Chloe Grover: “I didn’t need money. Dennis took care of me.”

Ronnie Owen: “How many of those friends came to your room?”

Chloe shrugged like a small child being chastised by a teacher.

Chloe Grover: “I don’t know. The man with the pony tail and glasses said it was five hundred but that’s a really big number.”

City Prosecutor: “Objection ma’am! Dennis Platt is not the one on trial here.”

Ronnie Owen: “It is relevant to the case here. I need the jury to fully understand the circumstances in which he met the defendant and his actions that brought them both to the Knock Knock Club.”

Judge Doyle: “Over ruled. I urge you to keep your questioning relevant though counsellor.”

A recess was called to allow the jury to catch their breath. The day was far from over.

***

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With Tabitha’s words still ringing in my ears I went in search of Olivia. Word had it that she was at CPD working closely with them on some youth projects. I got a confused look from the receptionist when I asked for Olivia Platt. It seemed she no longer used her married name and I didn’t know what her maiden one was.

“Do you mean Liv Hickes? The social worker lady?” She asked. I smiled. “That’s right.”

I didn’t want to seem like Olivia and I had never met. Visiting the social worker to check on Chloe gave me some cover should the Law Makers question why I was at CPD.

On instruction of HICKES I was directed to the second floor at the end of a long narrow corridor where Fullerton Construction were adding renovations. It was well lit and inviting. It left the feel of a police station behind.

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I knocked on the door. Olivia’s soft voice invited me in. She sounded calm and composed. When I opened the door I found Hickes was there too. He greeted me with a smile.

“Sorry to interrupt,” I said. “I was hoping to have a quick word with Olivia.”
Olivia was the handsome, polite woman Dennis described.

“You’re alright Sam,” Hickes confirmed, easing Olivia’s suspicions of me. He turned to Olivia. “This is the reporter I was telling you about.”

Olivia still said nothing. Hickes laid a hand on her shoulder. “He’s been through a lot.”
“I heard some of what you’ve had to deal with Sam,” Olivia spoke up. “I’m so sorry about your wife.”

“I hear you haven’t had it easy either. Dennis told me.”

Olivia’s eyes widened at the mention of her ex husband so I changed my angle.

“How is your son, Milo? Is he doing okay?”

Olivia eased off. “He’s fine. Thank you.”

“Speaking of,” said Hickes. “I had better go get little mister. He’ll be getting out of school.”

Olivia smiled as she looked up at him. “Thanks sweetie,” she said.

“I’ll see you tonight,” he offered her a quick kiss.

Leaving the room he stopped beside me.

“Get straight to your point and don’t upset her,” he warned. “The only reason I’m letting you in here is because Lydia trusts you.”

“I just want a quick word,” I assured.

“Just be careful,” he finished before leaving Olivia and I alone in her office.

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“It’s not my intention to upset you,” I began. “I realise that I am putting us both at a lot of risk by being here but I wouldn’t if I didn’t think it was important.”

“Would you like some coffee?” Olivia asked pointing to a coffee maker in the corner.

“No thank you,” I replied. I had been drinking so much coffee from the hotel that I was starting to feel a little jittery.

“So you spoke to Tabitha?” It was the social worker that opened the dialogue.

“Yes,” I admitted. “She only has warm regards for you. It was she who urged me to speak to you.”

Olivia shook her head. “What happened to that girl was …”

I wasn’t sure if she meant the forced induction into a paedophile ring by her parents or the attempted rape by her ex husband so I tread carefully.

“When Dennis left with her did you know where she had gone and why?” Olivia’s brow tightened. Her swimming eyes clouded.

“I went to the Knock Knock club when it reopened. A dancer girl threatened me with a knife. She told me if I ever came back looking for Dennis or Tabitha, she would open my throat.”

“Believe it or not I think that was Tabitha’s way of protecting you,” I said.
Olivia seemed to agree.

“She was a very troubled little girl. One of my biggest regrets in life was failing to help her.” It was time. I had to ask.

“Do you know what Dennis tried to do to her?” Olivia sighed. She was close to weeping but she held back.

“I had my suspicions that something had happened between them. I guess that was confirmed when they left.”

“Dennis was a prolific paedophile,” I confirmed. I was conscious of my limited time and as painful as it was for her I had to break through barriers quicker. “He tried to rape her and she enslaved him as a result. She took him away from you and Milo to protect you.”
Here Olivia did become emotional.

“Those girls!” She cried. “I wanted to help them and instead I delivered them into the hands of a predator.”

I spoke softer. “You weren’t to know.”

Olivia would hear none of it.

“It was my job to protect those girls and I failed them. I failed Tabitha and I failed others. There was a girl in my care. Alana her name was. She was a sweet girl from the Shanties trying to improve her life. She was trying to leave drugs behind. She had been an addict since age twelve. At first she got along with Dennis really well. I remember being so proud of how good he was with her. They became so close. They had their own inside jokes and little skits they’d play out. Alana was such a loving girl. Her circumstances hadn’t broken her spirit but one day it all changed. She was fifteen. She had been clean for a while. She even began a course at City College. She was doing so well but something between her and Dennis changed. They were no longer close. When I asked Dennis about it he told me that she had come on to him strongly, mistaking his affection for lust. I tried to talk to Alana but she became angry with me and violent. She had to be moved on. She had a history of that kind of behaviour. When I think of what could have happened to the girls in my care, girls even younger and more vulnerable…”

“You mustn’t blame yourself,” I put in.

Olivia disagreed. “Why shouldn’t I? I was supposed to be their protector. Where does the blame stop if not with me?”

“We can’t change the past but we can learn from it and better equip ourselves to stop things like that happening again. The city needs people like you, people with compassion. It’s not for cold hearted monsters like Doyle or even lunatics like Tabitha to make changes, it is for people like us.”

Olivia gave it some thought.

“What is it you want to know?”

“I would like to know any details you have of Owen victims that came to you. Tabitha is likely going down for a long time but we can still find justice for the others. Will you support me?” Olivia smiled. “Of course.” I wanted to end on a more positive note. The discussion would have given Olivia a lot to think about, leaving a sour taste in her mouth. “As despicable a human being as Dennis was, there is something in his words that ring true. He loves his son.” Olivia took a deep breath. Her eyes glanced towards the window, which gave view of the wider city. “In the interest of telling the whole truth I would like to hear anything Tabitha told you about her parents.” “You can’t write anything just now,” Olivia reminded me. “No,” I agreed. “But when the trial is over there is nothing that will stop me.” Olivia smiled warmly. “Maybe you’ll take that coffee now then.”

***

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PADDY MACK – head of the Mack clan since his father Brendan slipped into retirement – had heard from the CPD officer who brought him cigarettes that the LAW MAKERS were campaigning for the death penalty for Tabitha. The officer watched for Paddy’s reaction but he said nothing. His expression remained vacant. The CPD officer assumed he was worried about his own dynasty. If the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB fell, the DISTILLERY wouldn’t be far behind it. The closed sign across the Auction House was already sending chills resonating to the Shanties. The Mack leader was in the perfect position for negotiations to begin.

It was four pm, Paddy guessed. His room in CPD holding was windowless so it was hard to tell for certain. When the CPD officer stopped by he began to make arrangements to call home.

“It’s just for ma ma,” he told the officer. “She’ll be worried. I just want to let her know I’m still alive.”

The officer groaned. “Fine,” he agreed. “As long as it’s just your mum.”

The officer escorted him to the phones. He stood beside him the entire time.

“What’s he doing Frank?” asked another officer passing.

Frank grinned, leaning on the wall beside Paddy. “He’s phonin’ his ma,” he said, imitating the harsh BELLFIELD accent Paddy had. They both chuckled.

Paddy rolled his eyes and shook his head. “I really need you two cunts right now,” he mumbled sarcastically.

The phone only rang a couple of times before Annie Mack answered.

“It’s Paddy, Ma,” he said.

“Oh sweet baby Jesus! Are you okay?”

“I’m grand. I just wanted to let you know I’m fine.”

Annie was close to tears. He could hear it in her voice.

“I’ll be out soon enough,” the son replied.

“Yer father is just about going spare. He’s been calling CPD but they won’t entertain him.

He gave Kieran a right hiding for letting you get lifted.”

“It’s all going to be sorted Ma. I’ll just have to behave meself,” Paddy injected some humour and confidence to help raise Annie Mack’s spirits.

CPD officer Frank pointed to his wrist.

“Listen, Ma, I have to go but I’ll be home soon.”

Paddy took note of Officer Frank’s raised eyebrows, which suggested ‘not in this lifetime boyo’

Annie sobbed. “Are ya sure yar alright?”

Paddy smiled. “I told ya I’m grand. Tell Da to stop phonin’ or the filth are gonna have him too.”

Frank glared at him. Paddy smiled and raised a finger.

Annie giggled. “He won’t be happy until they wheel him in beside ya.”

Paddy was warmed at the image of his outspoken yet wheelchair bound father being brought in to CPD still shouting the odds.

“Ya bunch of wankers!” he would be yelling. “I’ll take the lot of ya!”

After hanging up and being taken back to his holding cell Frank made a phone call of his own.

“He wants back to his family,” he said. “The time is now.”

At five Paddy received another shadow. He rested his eyes on the doorway where a shadowed figure in a Law Makers blazer loomed. They were one of what was known as the Sharp Suits. They were special members of Judge Doyle’s Law Makers, authorised to dispense justice as they saw fit.

“Good afternoon, Mr Mack,” a cold, emotionless voice said.

“I’ve already told your lot I’ve nothin’ to say,” Paddy returned.

The figure was unmoved. “Then allow me to do the talking,” they suggested. “The Mack Distillery is a big concern in Coldford. We would hate to see it shut down.”

“You can’t do that,” Paddy retorted.

The figure continued to observe him.

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“I’m afraid we can. With criminal activity flowing through the Knock Knock Club and your brand being one of its biggest suppliers we would have no choice but to shut the distillery down pending further investigation.”

“You would put hundreds of people out of work,” pleaded the Mack owner.

The shadowed frame loomed a little closer. A cold breeze charged in from the corridor outside.

“The unemployment situation in the city isn’t Judge Doyle’s priority at the moment. As head of the Mack Clan it is really up to you to protect those people and you can’t do that in here.”

Paddy scoffed. “This is were ya put me.”

Long arms spread from the figure, across its chest. “It doesn’t have to be that way,” they said. “You don’t have to sacrifice your own future and that of your own people. You do realise the club wouldn’t offer you the same courtesy if it meant saving themselves.”

“I’m in a bit of a hurry. I got places to go. Could you get to your point?” Paddy said with minimal amount of jest.

A citation was laid on the floor at Paddy’s feet.

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“You are called to provide evidence against Tabitha and the Knock Knock Club.”

“You want me to take the stand against her?”

“It’s been a long time coming. Consider what would happen if the shoe were on the other foot.”

“She’d never let the distillery fall,” said Paddy, but he wasn’t sounding as confident.

“Are you sure about that? She’s already pointed fingers at your brother Kieran for violating licences in the hope of some leniency.”

Paddy refused to believe that. “You talk shite,” he said.

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“It seems you don’t know your Boss Lady as well as you think you do. The south is in enough upheaval. The distillery is bigger than the Knock Knock Club. If you cooperate it can continue to produce the finest whiskey in the Shady City. Testify against Tabitha and you can return home to your family. You can continue to run the distillery and we all raise a glass of Macks in your honour.”

“You would let me go?” The hook was set. There was a bite.

“For your sake and for the sake of your workers it would be best. Call it letting one fish go to make a bigger catch. You’re not the one Judge Doyle wants at this point. Don’t put yourself on the rack.”

Paddy read over the citation.

“Fine,” he agreed.

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***

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As the trial drew on Judge Doyle sought to put the final nail in Tabitha’s coffin. She opened her courtroom with the promise that the Boss Lady would be broken before her bench. Despite the overwhelming evidence against Tabitha and the strong likelihood that she would be behind bars for a long time, the Judge was still not satisfied. She wanted to break Tabitha of the bonds she had in the Shanties. She wanted to show the people their queen was nothing more than a murdering sociopath who was leading them to lawlessness. She would start from the strongest top branches of Tabitha’s alliances and work her way down. The Auction House snapped. Next up was the longest spanning bond between the Headliners and the Knock Knock Club. The agreement between the Mack Distillery and the Knock Knock Club was the first one reached when the club opened. A photo of Agnes, Tawny, Brendan and Annie hung in the balcony area of the club. That was a different generation though. That was a long time ago. Things had changed. A lot had changed since those photos had been taken. A lot had transpired since the four smiled and the lens flashed. Tawny and Agnes were not their niece. Brendan and Annie were not their son. As Paddy was led to the stand, he offered Tabitha no eye contact.

ATTENDANCE:

Judge Doyle: Presiding

City Prosecutor

Counsel for the Defendant: Ronald Owen

Defendant: Tabitha MC

Patrick Mack: Witness

Clerks and Bailiffs

City Prosecutor: Your family brand has been suppliers to the Knock Knock Club for a generation now.

Patrick Mack: That’s right. Agnes Wilde struck the deal with the distillery when the club first opened. My da was good friends with the Baroness. Tawny, I mean.

City Prosecutor: That arrangement continued when the defendant took over.

Patrick Mack: No reason that it wouldn’t.

City Prosecutor: Having such a close relationship with the club and the defendant I assume you saw a lot of the comings and goings.

Patrick Mack: I saw everything.

The City Prosecutor couldn’t help but grin. Never before had he had such a dish served up on a case. He could taste the verdict and it was sweet on his tongue.

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City Prosecutor: Could you detail for the jury exactly what you saw?

Paddy did look over to Tabitha. She maintained his gaze but her expression was difficult to read.

Patrick Mack: I saw your lot ruin good people and Tabitha was the only one to pick up the pieces.

The City Prosecutor turned. He was frowning severely. This was not the statement they had prepared.

City Prosecutor: Mr Mack you are making a mockery of this court.

Patrick Mack: No. What is fecking funny is you think I will sit here and tell you that

Tabitha had no reasoning behind what she did. She’s a feckin animal yes, but you need an animal to fight against cunts like you.

City Prosecutor: Enough!

Judge Doyle slammed her gavel.

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Judge Doyle: If you do not take this seriously I will hold you in contempt.

Patrick Mack: Then hold me in fecking contempt. I swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and that truth is you are all cunts. Especially you.

Paddy leaned forward and dared to address the Judge directly.

Patrick Mack: I saw Tabitha open up the club to the homeless, stop a deal that would see countless others on the street and protect those who needed it, which is more than you feckers ever did.

The gavel was slammed again.

Judge Doyle: Hold him in contempt.

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The Bailiffs escorted Paddy from the stand. He tipped Tabitha a wink as he passed. Her lips formed a smile. Breaking the Mack bond with the Knock Knock Club was going to be harder than Judge Karyn Doyle thought.

Coming next: The verdict is in and as season 1 comes to a close we just have one final question – Guilty or Not Guilty?

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In the meantime, the series is free to read HERE on Vivika Widow Online or you can download for kindle by clicking HERE.

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: A Room With A View

Knock, Knock: Episode 6: Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock: Episode 7: No Kids Allowed

Knock, Knock: Episode 8: Kids These Days

Knock, Knock: Episode 9: Shootin’ The Breeze

Knock, Knock: Episode 10: Calling Last Orders

Knock Knock: Episode 11: Shady City Blues

Knock Knock: Episode 12: Going Down

Knock Knock: Episode 13: Got the Fever

Knock Knock: Episode 14: Laying Down the Law

Knock Knock: Episode 15: Still I Stand

Knock Knock: Episode 16: Start Spilling

Knock Knock: Episode 17: High Fliers

Knock Knock: Episode 18: Taking Care of Business

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Knock Knock: Episode 17: High Fliers

70084617_511760469651288_3672858763691294720_n.jpgIt was a bleak day. Not just weather wise. I was watching from a window that looked out upon the entrance of the COURT HOUSE as day one of the trial dawned. It was like waiting for the hearse to arrive at the graveside. The crowds had already begun to gather in front. Some of them were morbidly curious onlookers. Some of them were protesters. A violence was brewing between those who were there in support of TABITHA and those who wanted justice to be done quickly and efficiently. The toxic mixture of outrage and revolution was flowing through them.

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“You want to see her put on the performance of her life?” asked Lydia.

I smiled at the idea. Even then both of us expected Tabitha to arrive with airs and graces. I wanted to get a close observation but, as a witness, I had to be kept under lock and key with Lydia, who had been instructed by her superiors to accompany me at all times. I was glad to have her with me. At night in the hotel room I was contained in, my mind gave way to lonely thoughts.

To my surprise, although there were many calling the Boss Lady a murdering psychopath and baying for her blood, there were so many others who still hailed her as some kind of hero. She was a hero to the people of the Shanties for being bold enough to provide them with what they needed to survive. She was a hero to victims of sexual assault and violence given her own story, and her willingness to do whatever it took to open people’s eyes to what was a huge problem in the Shady City. That was no excuse though. In the eyes of the law two horrific crimes do not cancel each other out. She wasn’t in the Shanties any more. She was in the north, and there she was seen as a monster.

I was busy watching a woman screaming angrily, “Just take her out and hang her!” She had a child of about eight by her side doing the same thing. They could have been genuine but there was something set-up about those particular protesters, something that didn’t look quite right to me. Their clothing, positioning, banners and dialogue was all too neat. It wasn’t beyond the OWEN family to have set up stooges among the protestors to deliberately heighten the emotion.

“Here she comes,” said Lydia with a hand on my shoulder, pulling me from my thoughts.
Cries of blood lust rang out as the crowd pushed forward.

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Clang! Metal shuddered as someone outside hurled something heavy at the transport van. It caused Tabitha to jerk forward feeling as though it would hit her head. She could hear the angry voices outside, although slightly muffled. They called her the slut of the Shanties. They wanted to hang her. They wanted to burn her like a witch of old. Mob mentality had consumed them completely. More bangs against the walls as the transport drove through the crowd to the entrance of the Court House.

Fists were pounded against the sides. There was a splat as someone threw the rest of their latte at the narrow windows. She would never admit it to anyone but Tabitha had never felt so alone. There was no one around to support her. No Penns, no aunts and not even DENNIS. It had all come to being enclosed within a metal box. The rabble of hatred heightened and the venom became more potent.

BANG! BANG! BANG!

The crowd had pursued the van to the door.

“Get her out!” they chanted. “Get her out!”

Tabitha wanted to remain within the metallic tomb but the van shuddered to a halt.

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The two escorting Bailiffs took their time from the slam of their doors to walk around the van and open up the back doors.

Clank, twist and suddenly the rabble became roars. As Tabitha’s eyes adjusted to the light she could see the sea of hatred she was cast into.

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Without saying a word the Bailiffs fetched her and pulled her onto her feet. She was dragged out of the van. They slapped at her, the pulled at her hair and they kicked at her.
There was a plant though. There was one among them on Owen Inc. coin to deliberately keep the crowd irate. It was he who threw the can of soup – full. It hit Tabitha across her face causing her to fall over. The Bailiffs halfheartedly pushed the crowd back but whilst they were lifting Tabitha onto her feet, another – feeling bold because of the rabble-rouser – ran at her and kicked her in the face.

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Before the violence of the crowd escalated further the Bailiffs finally rushed her inside to await her trial.

It was a long and painful walk from CPD custody into the hands of the Law Makers. The wounds were not nursed. She wasn’t even checked for damage. Judge Doyle wanted Tabitha to remember she was now in her domain.

Many a broken spirit had entered the draughty, emotionless halls of the Court House. Even more were broken before the bench of JUDGE DOYLE. The question on my mind then was how long would Tabitha’s spirit stand under the scrutiny of the Judge’s icy gaze.

***

Being unable to attend the trial personally until it was time for my own statement the following account is made up of the statements of those in attendance and court transcripts.

The hall was awash with nervous energy as Tabitha’s trial came to session. The only one who seemed unaffected by it was the lady herself who sat on her bench as though ready to watch a production play out before her.

ATTENDANCE:
Judge Doyle: Presiding
City Prosecutor
Counsel for the Defendant: RONALD OWEN
Defendant: Tabitha MC
Clerks and Bailiffs
Clerk: “All rise! Court is now in session. Judge Doyle presiding.”

In a flurry of black robes, The Judge entered the room and for a moment the slightest breath could be heard. Karyn Doyle took her bench; her terribly scarred left eye and the wound on her neck on full display. Tabitha glared at her but The Judge didn’t respond.
The trial was opened under the proper procedure. The charges were read:

Embezzling city funds.
Inciting violence.
Murder in the second degree.
Murder in the first degree. Three counts.

Judge Doyle addressed the murder charges first.

Judge Doyle: “Murder in the second degree of Mel Wallace – a clerk of this court.”

Mel had been the woman I had gotten the video of. Tabitha and MARCUS PENN had taken her to Clifton Alley running along the side of the club and had slit her throat. The video footage of this incident had been the final piece of evidence the LAW MAKERS needed to bring Tabitha in. It was second degree because the eldest Penn triplet had been the one to wield the killing blow.

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Judge Doyle: “Murder in the first degree of Rob and Linda McInney, as well as Lynn Watson.”

Rob and Linda were Tabitha’s parents. It had been Dennis who had told me of their demise at the hands of their daughter as well as the nanny who had been put in charge of the wayward girl.

The Judge addressed Ronnie Owen as Tabitha’s counsel.

Judge Doyle: “How does your client plead?”

Ronnie Owen: “Ma’am, I would like to ask the court to allow us more time to prepare for this trial. There are extenuating circumstances and my client warrants a proper defence.”

The City Prosecutor stepped forward.

City Prosecutor: “Ma’am, the defendant was read her rights upon arrest. She was informed of all charges and my colleague has had ample time to prepare.”

Doyle addressed Ronnie.

Judge Doyle: “Is your client ill informed?”

Ronnie Owen: “No ma’am but on the charges of first degree murder there was an investigation at the time. John Watson, husband of Lynn confessed to the murder of Rob and Linda McKinney as well as Lynn Watson.”

Judge Doyle: “The confession was revoked and further evidence found. There is no statute of limitations on those charges.”

Ronnie Owen: “Ma’am I call for a mistrial until I can be properly prepared for this new evidence,” he tried.

The man with the Owen name really did try.

Doyle’s lip curled.

Judge Doyle: “I suggest, counsellor, that you make your client aware that there are consequences for her actions. The charges stand. If you are under prepared then you need to familiarise yourself with your client’s case history.”

It seemed Dennis had tried to navigate his way around CPD by telling them everything he knew about the death of Tabitha’s parents, including where they were likely to find the remains. His testimony gave the Law Makers reason to add the murder to Tabitha’s charge sheet, potentially sending her away even longer. The coroner’s report confirmed stab wounds. The nanny’s husband was pardoned and released. He suddenly had a solid alibi for the night in question.

Ronnie was not done.

Ronnie Owen: “As far as the charges of inciting violence, the so-called Free Fall Massacre was not a massacre at all. It was declared a terrible, drug induced accident at the time.”
The Free Fall Massacre was an incident that occurred at the Beckingridge Tower just as the Knock Knock club reopened. There were whispers of Tabitha being the cause of the deaths of 59 people.

Judge Doyle: “How does your client plead?”

Ronnie Owen: “Ma’am I do urge the court to approach this matter with a clear head.”

Judge Doyle (unmoved): “How does your client plead?”

Ronnie Owen: “Not guilty, ma’am on all charges.”

Judge Doyle: “Return to your benches counsellors, and we will begin.”

Both lawyers gave their opening statements. The City Prosecutor as expected painted Tabitha as a monster. He described her as spoiled, murderous and lacking moral conscience. He asked the jury to consider that she didn’t care for the people of the Shanties the way she would have it seem. He asked the jury to consider the bodies she was responsible for but not yet charged with.

Ronnie called objection on this.

The Judge sustained. The trial was to be kept to the matters at hand.

The City Prosecutor mentioned my own part. He also discussed the death of Madeline and the statement I had given to the police at the time, discussing Tabitha having put the knife in Maddy’s hand, forcing me to defend myself against her.

Throughout the statements, Tabitha kept her gaze forward to The Judge. Doyle ignored her. During the City Prosecutor’s statement she was seen whispering something to Ronnie. I found out later that she was asking, “Where the fuck did they find Ma and Pa?”
In Ronnie’s opening statement he asked the jurors to keep an open mind. He urged them to remember the shelters, food programs and support the Knock Knock club provided.

“That wasn’t that psycho bitch that did that. That was the Baroness,” someone in the audience called out.

Doyle slammed the gavel down. The noise of its fury echoed.
Judge Doyle: “I will have no outburst in my court room. Do that again and you will be removed.”

(She turned to the sea of judging faces that were the jury). “The jury will disregard that comment.”

Ronnie continued. He played the angle of desperation anyone who had been to the Shanties would be familiar with. I wasn’t sure how much the jury would buy the rags to hero, standing for the little man story of Tabitha’s. She was, after all, a girl from Filton with every possible advantage that money could buy.

Even if he stood there all day explaining Tabitha’s reasoning, what her aunt tried to do for her, and those she had protected in her own sordid way; her parents were still butchered, the Free Fall Massacre had still happened and Mayor Feltz and his seventeen year old daughter Amber were still missing. This was all at Tabitha’s hand. The trial was going to be sticky.

I was most curious to find out Chick Owen’s thinking behind allowing his brother to defend her. It would have been so easy to put an Owen in there and watch her fall but from what I could see Ronnie was defending her to the best of his ability. Being kept in confinement at the time prevented me from calling on The Cappy to find out.

And with that Ronnie was pulling every lawyer trick he could, starting with a little public relations damage control. The trouble was, Tabitha was as guilty as sin. How long would the crowds outside calling her name stand in solidarity when the final hammer fell?

***

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A chilling breeze blew through the Court Room. There was no comfort to be found in the dungeon of mahogany benches. Even the thick wine-coloured curtains that hung over the windows offered little cheer. The Boss Lady herself watched from the defendant’s bench like some wild animal in a zoo. There was anger in her grey eyes, that much was obvious but there was something else there too. It was something deep rooted. Fear perhaps? Like most cornered animals her first thoughts were escape.

ATTENDANCE:
Judge Doyle: Presiding
City Prosecutor
Counsel for the Defendant: Ronald Owen
Defendant: Tabitha MC
First Witness: EB
Clerks and Bailiffs

City Prosecutor: “The city calls their first witness, ma’am.”

Judge Doyle urged him to continue.

City Prosecutor: “We call ERNEST BECKINGRIDGE to the stand.”

There was a shuffle from the benches and a murmur of voices as a middle-aged man with greying, fair hair, dressed in a grey pin stripe suit crossed the aisles and was first to step up to the witness stand. He had warm features but great bags underneath his eyes. He was a man who had seen a lot. His shoulders were hunched like he had the weight of the world on them.

City Prosecutor: “Mr Beckingridge, you are CEO of the Beckingridge Financial Firm correct?”

Ernest Beckingridge: “Yes sir, that’s correct.”

City Prosecutor: “Can you please tell the court what happened the night of the Free Fall

Benefit held at BECKINGRIDGE TOWER in City Main? In your own words.”

The prosecutor looked back at the jury and scanned their faces for reaction.

Ernest looked to Tabitha.

Ernest Beckingridge: “My partner and I weren’t in attendance. We were going to LUEN on an early flight the next morning.”

Ronnie stood and raised an objection.

Ronnie Owen: “Ma’am, I fail to see what relevance this witness testimony has when he wasn’t there at the time.”

City Prosecutor: “The witness has a keen insight into what happened. Not just on the events of the Free Fall but also what happened afterwards.”

Judge Doyle: “Overruled. Mr Beckingridge you will answer the question.”

Ronnie sat back down as Ernest cleared his throat. He took a sip from the glass of water that had been provided for him.

Ernest Beckingridge: “I was awoken around eleven pm by my secretary Bernadette. She informed me that clients had been leaping from the top of the tower.”

City Prosecutor: “Did she explain as to why?”

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Ernest Beckingridge: “A number of years ago an employee of the firm embezzled a large amount of money from the company. The case is still ongoing. We were lucky to have a new investor pull us out of the water as it were.”

The City Prosecutor stroked his chin.

City Prosecutor: “And these replenished accounts were the ones the defendant stole from?”

Ernest Beckingridge: “Yes sir.”

The prosecutor raised his voice so that it boomed across the hall.

City Prosecutor: “Could you please tell the court who had been this guardian angel for the firm? Where had this rescue investment come from?”

Ernest Beckingridge: “OWEN Inc.”

***

“We’ve got a great chance here,” said Mr Heath to his wife.

Mrs Heath agreed. It was a huge opportunity for them. It was one of the biggest investment accounts they had ever handled but her mind had been elsewhere. “Have you heard from Taylor?” she asked.

Their son, a 21-year-old finance student at FILTON University, was supposed to be coming home to their City Main apartment for the weekend but he never turned up that afternoon. They had of course tried contacting him but received no response.

“He’s a man now,” Mr Heath reminded her. “He’s probably gone off with his friends for the weekend instead.”

“But it’s not like him not to call and let us know,” replied she.
Mr Heath glared at his wife. She was thinking of checking her phone again.

“This is the fifth time,” he barked. He was counting. Mrs Heath reached into the Luen designed clutch bag she carried, encrusted with real diamonds and removed a silver device. Still no notifications.

“Albert is waiting at home for him in case he turns up. He will be fine,” assured Mr Heath. What his wife didn’t know was that Taylor and some of his uni friends had been tasked with couriering some poor quality heroin into the Shanties – ‘needles’ they called it locally, because it was mostly injected. Mr Heath was beginning to think Taylor and his friends hadn’t taken the proper precautions. Their instructions had been to wear old clothing, not to wear jewellery or carry expensive items and speak to no one but their contact. Mr Heath didn’t like involving his son, but a group of youngsters could blend in better at Kirkton Apartments – where the exchange was to take place – than a business man from the north would. Besides, one day Taylor would take over his father’s business and so he had to learn all aspects of it. Taylor was no stranger to it anyway. He had been an effective courier since age twelve. He enjoyed the money and unlike many of his peers he didn’t have everything handed to him. He had to take on his share of the work. He earned his lifestyle and at great risk sometimes. Taylor Heath was not pampered through life – no sirree. Still, the Shanties were dangerous and it had been the first time Taylor and his friends had taken goods that far south. But it was also where the call for needles was highest. The people of the Shanties didn’t want to escape the poverty trap. They wanted to hide themselves and lie in it.

But they had bigger concerns. They had brought in Lynette Fullerton, of the Fullerton Bridge and the construction company that handled the biggest projects across the city. A stern old bitch with a real nasty bite Mr Heath observed, but with enough money to make life very sweet indeed. There was also Joshua Coby. New money. The young man was a software developer and when his apps and game designs went big he made more money than he’d ever seen in his life. More money than he could handle suggested Mrs Heath. That’s where the husband and wife team came in. They would be able to help him manage such a big fortune.

The Beckingridge Financial Firm had set sights on a project in the south that would brighten the area; make it a trendy spot for good time folk rather than a den for thieves and whores. It had been done before in Swantin. The Chamberlain Docks still belonged to prostitutes and traffickers at night but during the day there was a buzz in the place and the fashionable walked the streets.

To do this the firm needed investment in construction and design. That’s where the mismatched team of Fullerton and Coby would come in. The Heaths were experts at forming relationships.

Tabitha stood watching over the meeting. They were losing the support of Lynette Fullerton.

“Your family brought the city together. They built bridges Mrs Fullerton. We would love for you to be a part of connecting the north and south,” Mr Heath was saying, linking his fingers together to demonstrate his point. Fullerton was still sneering at the very idea of being associated with the Shanties. Now it was Mrs Heath who was making the plea.

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“All the way to City Hall there have been cries to rejuvenate the south. On his campaign trail Mayor Feltz has made great strides in showing what improvements it could make to the poorest in the city.”

Lynette scoffed. Mrs Heath bit her lip. She probably shouldn’t have brought politics into it. She chastised herself. How likely was it that a Fullerton was a Feltz supporter anyway?
Joshua took over. “I can see what you are trying to do,” he said thankfully. “The Fullerton Bridge worked wonders for the Cardyne area. It made us part of the Coldford community.”

Mr Heath beamed. “Yes and we can do the same again. We could be at the forefront of a new, modern Coldford.”

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The door to the balcony opened briefly, allowing loud music and screams to enter briefly. The meeting downstairs continued uninterrupted. The door had closed again as quickly as it opened.

Tabitha rolled her eyes. “What a fucking douche bag,” she said referring to Mr Heath.

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REGGIE PENN crossed the overpass carrying a woman over his shoulder. Drugged? Drunk? Probably both. She was one of the BECKINGRIDGE FIRM workers from the party upstairs. Reggie’s skin was ghoulishly pale in the low light compared to Tabitha’s darker complexion.

“It’s going to break,” he said.

Tabitha raised an eyebrow. “I bet you it doesn’t.”

Reggie looked down at the meeting below. “Drink says it does.”

Tabitha smiled. “You’re on.”

Reggie carried the woman to the ledge and launched her over the side. She plummeted down and crashed onto the table below.

“Huh,” Reggie shrugged. “The table didn’t break.”

“Told you,” replied Tabitha. “No cheapo shit in here. It’s reinforced.”

Meanwhile, downstairs shock had captured the meeting as the four stared at the body.

“What the?” Mr Heath recognised her. She was one of the client support team. They assumed she had gotten too drunk and accidentally fell from the over pass.

“I’ll call an ambulance,” said Mrs Heath. All Mr Heath could think of was that there was no way they were getting their investment now.

“Well, hello cunts.”

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The meeting was interrupted once again. A young woman, probably in her early twenties had entered from the upper floor. She was wearing an expensive red dress and grinning at them with a gap-toothed smile that seemed more chilling in its whimsy.
“What’s going on here?” Mr Heath demanded to know.

Tabitha looked at the body of the client support girl. “I’d say it looks like you’re fucked. All four of you.” She turned to Joshua Coby. “Well, except maybe you. I actually kinda like you.”

“I’m calling the police!” Lynette announced.

“Oh shut the fuck up you ugly old troll,” Tabitha growled.

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Mr Heath raged. He charged across the room to the girl. He drew himself closer to her but she was not intimidated. Instead she wrinkled her nose.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” she said. “What have you sprayed yourself with?”

Mr Heath growled, “You’re dealing with a very dangerous man here.”

Tabitha chuckled. “Is that so?”

“You’re done!” Mr Heath yelled. “You’re done!”

Before he could strike Tabitha there was a firm grip on his hair, tugging at the roots and his head was pulled back so sharply pain fired through the muscles of his neck. He had made an insurance claim for whiplash before. It seemed this was what it actually felt like.

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“Who’s done?” asked Reggie, scowling at him.

“I was just getting started,” commented Tabitha matter-of-factly. “This fucker is killing my groove.”

Mr Heath began to sob. He lost care of looking like he was in control for the sake of his wife and clients. Beckingridge was so large and vast it was unlikely anyone could hear him.

“Please,” he begged. “What do you want?”

Tabitha shook her head at Reggie. She opened her arms and shrugged.

“Now he asks.”

Reggie laughed. He flicked Mr Heath’s bottom lip.

“Bluh bluh bluh. Help me!” Imitated the youngest triplet in a high-pitched voice.

Tabitha turned to the others at the table.

“You may want to listen up because I have my own pitch to give.”

Still with a firm grip of his hair, Reggie led Mr Heath back to his spot at the table. Lynette recognised Reggie. He was one of Reginald Penn’s triplets but she wasn’t sure which one. Not that it really mattered.

She had had dealings with the Penns before, or at least her son did. Francis was leading the Fullerton Construction team and they had just bought a prime piece of land in the north of Coldridge Park. It was the same area the Faulds Building, within which the Penns lived in the penthouse, looked onto.

“That’s a shame,” Rita, the mother, had mused when she saw the construction signs go up. “I really like that part of the park. It is always kept so nice and it’s so lovely in spring.”

The beautiful garden she had started a committee to plant was to be bulldozed over to make way for industrial units.

Reginald wouldn’t stand for Rita looking onto grey buildings that would no doubt lie empty for some time attracting the artist youth and their spray cans. He wouldn’t have her beautiful view from the top of the city spoiled. She would keep her gardens.
Reginald approached Francis with request to move on but he refused.
The equipment was brought in. The area was blocked off.
Reginald made another bid for him to move on but the Fullerton blood was thick and stubborn. Francis still refused.

Then, the day before construction was to begin the fences, signs and pop up office were taken down. By noon that day it was as though Fullerton construction had never been there. Lynette received a call from Francis’ wife Hannah. He had been taken to Coldford General Hospital. His right arm and four fingers on his left were missing. He said it had been an industrial accident but Lynette knew that wasn’t true.

“You may want to take a seat,” Tabitha urged. “I’m heading this meeting now.”

The table was set.

“Who are you?” Asked Lynette.

“I’m just a simple girl who wants to make you a counter offer. You see the so-called rejuvenation project these fucktards are talking about is a crock of shit. It would raise property prices in the area but in doing so put thousands of people out of a home. The houses would become unaffordable for the poorest like they did in Swantin. Where else are they going to go?”

“What else do you suggest?” asked Joshua. He was trembling but he tried to remain focused.

He spoke to the Boss Lady but he kept his eye on Reggie Penn, who was now pushing Mr Heath into his chair so forcibly his head was almost in his lap.

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“Either you splash the cash or give your life.”

“You cannot threaten us!” Lynette sneered.

“Who’s threatening?” Tabitha asked. She turned to Reggie. “Did you hear me threaten anyone?”

Reggie shrugged his shoulders with a smile.

“I don’t threat. I make promises and I promised the good people of the south I would bring them compensation.” She sharpened her attention to the party-goer. “Did you know that your granddaughter is befriending girls in my neck of the woods, deliberately getting them hooked on drugs and coercing them into starring in porn films? After she makes money from them she leaves them high and dry, addicted, and humiliated without a pot to piss in. You will pay for the lives you and your like have ruined one way or another. You could say I’m collecting for charity. I just happen to be a little aggressive in my fundraising.”

“Why should we give anything to you? Get out of here!” barked Lynette.

Reggie snarled at the construction heiress but Tabitha shook her head signalling for him to take no action. He kept his eyes on Lynette but he was patting Mr Heath’s head and stroking his hair so roughly he was pushing his head into his lap again.

“It’s a pity this place is so damn big you can’t hear what’s going on upstairs.”

‘The party?’ Mr Heath thought. ‘Did those upstairs get started on the closing deal festivities already? Did they know what was happening?’ He had heard some music earlier and raised voices but it was a party. That was to be expected. As their captor said Beckingridge Tower was large and a company on such a grand scale needed their walls thick enough and ceilings high enough so that no one could overhear the decisions that were made in that room that affected millions of lives.

Reggie produced a phone from his back pocket and threw it across to Tabitha who caught it in her well-manicured talons. She pushed buttons and switched on the loud speaker. The ring echoed around the hall, much like being caught inside a church bell.

Rrrrrrrrrring!

It rattled.

Rrrrrrring rrrrrrring!

All eyes were on Tabitha. Even Mr Heath who Reggie had allowed to straighten his back but had wormed his fingers around locks of his hair so that his head was held in place.

“Hello?” Marcus’ cold voice, absent of emotion, came through the speaker.

“Hello handsome,” Tabitha said as though they were having a pleasant conversation elsewhere. “How are you?”

“Fine,” was the eldest triplet’s cool reply.

Things were not fine. Men, women – colleagues of the Heaths – were screaming and crying out. Above the music they could hear a woman’s gargling shriek that sounded as though she was being gutted.

“Negotiations here are starting to get a bit sticky so could you show these people just how fucking serious I am?”

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“Alright, take a look to the window there and you will see what your other option is,” said Tabitha.

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This time, as mighty as the Beckingridge Tower stood screams could be heard as bodies fell past from the upper floor of the penthouse suite.

A wave of confusion washed over the meeting room. They found it difficult to believe what their own eyes had just shown them.

“So?” Tabitha asked. “What’s it to be?”

***

Bodies rained from the tower that day. The rich elite of the city were given the choice. Their lives or their money. Most chose to go broke.

“Maybe having nothing will teach them a bit of humility,” Tabitha had said at the time, which was an ironic statement from one of the most egotistical people I’ve ever met.

“Well there’s some cheques that won’t bounce,” said Reggie with a sardonic grin.

Allow me to offer some rational thinking. Most of those affected by the massacre were owners of corporations and large firms. To give away every penny wouldn’t have just left themselves in dire straits, it would shock wave into their workers and clients, and so some brave souls would have chosen not to let that happen. It was this shock wave Tabitha had been hoping for. She wanted to hit Owen Inc where it would feel it most.

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Refuse or not. Donate or not. Support their poorer neighbours in the south or not. Either way, blood stained the courtyard of Beck Tower. No charges were brought at the time against Tabitha because she wasn’t in the same room. The Penns avoided arrest because the team they had brought with them served witness that the party was drug and alcohol fuelled and things got out of hand.

Toxicology reports confirmed this. No one who survived dared point the finger. Life was going to be difficult enough without their wealth to prop them up though hard times. The police couldn’t do anything because no physical coercion could be proven. Forensic accountants couldn’t do anything because the funds that had been taken were officially registered as charitable donations. As the Beckingridge Firm stock prices plummeted too, Owen Inc. who had invested heavily were almost brought to financial ruin.

Quickly following the Free Fall Massacre were the attacks on Judge Doyle. Three times the Headliners tried to kill her. They cut the brakes of her car and watched as it rolled into the lake. She didn’t drown. She crawled back out of the lake and still she stood. An assault in City Main as she left her offices slit her throat but she managed to escape, seek help and still she stood. Finally, with help from the Macks they tried to catch her in a car bomb. The explosion detonated as expected. They managed to take her eye but The Judge lived. After all was said and done still she stood. The newspapers at the time reported on the assaults. They started to refer to her as the unkillable Judge Doyle.

And so with a political candidate in Mayor Feltz and the Beckingridge Firm at heel, Tabitha had a vice like grip on the city. But politics are dirty and Beckingridge Tower could fall in so many different directions. Enter an iron judge to remind the Boss Lady just how the rules were made.

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Coming next: Whilst we catch our breath we’ll let the Law Makers take care of business.

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In the meantime, the series is free to read HERE on Vivika Widow Online or you can download for kindle by clicking HERE.

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: A Room With A View

Knock, Knock: Episode 6: Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock: Episode 7: No Kids Allowed

Knock, Knock: Episode 8: Kids These Days

Knock, Knock: Episode 9: Shootin’ The Breeze

Knock, Knock: Episode 10: Calling Last Orders

Knock Knock: Episode 11: Shady City Blues

Knock Knock: Episode 12: Going Down

Knock Knock: Episode 13: Got the Fever

Knock Knock: Episode 14: Laying Down the Law

Knock Knock: Episode 15: Still I Stand

Knock Knock: Episode 16: Start Spilling

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Knock Knock: Episode 16: Start Spilling

Whilst I digested the information that I was uncovering and as the city readied itself for the trial of the KNOCK KNOCK BOSS LADY, the lady herself was still in custody at Coldford City Police Department. She wouldn’t be transferred to the MONTE FORT women’s correctional facility until after she had been served justice. The Monte Fort had homed such women as the Confessions Killer, Tracey Campbell, who murdered half of her anatomy class in a series of brutal killings throughout her second year at Filton Medical School. It was also where RUTH BROWING still resided. Ruth had slaughtered her daughter, born of incest to her father, and fed her body through a wood chipper.
Tabitha was set to make home among such women and I dare say she would fit right in, but as always other plans were in motion.

She looked around her four bare walls and grumbled. She was angry, thirsty and loathed that they had taken her signature red dress from her to put her in prison garb. She noticed something small, black at her feet. She flicked it with the toe of the most hideous shoes they could ever find for her. It was the body of a roach. She wrinkled her nose in disgust and unnecessarily stepped on it, listening to the sound of it crunch underneath her foot. The door began to unlock.

HICKES popped his head in.

“You gotta visitor Tabitha,” he announced free from expression.

“About fucking time too,” she groaned.

Hickes led her along a corridor. She was surprisingly quiet.

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“Just five minutes, mind,” Hickes warned as he opened the door. “I’m taking a huge risk as it is.”

Inside the room sat a middle-aged woman with greying black hair and a stern expression on an otherwise attractive face. She was Agnes Wilde, the Broker and co-owner of the club, lover of the old Baroness and, to Tabitha, Aunt Aggy.

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Tabitha smiled excitedly but she kept her movements slow and easy. She didn’t want to give any excuse to pull her away. Hickes stepped outside and left them alone.

“You took your sweet time,” complained Tabitha.

Agnes pursed her lips. “Believe it or not, no one in this city is willing to defend you. The LAW MAKERS are shutting down and revoking licences of anyone who even considers trying. This is a fine shitty mess you’re in. They are appointing someone of their own choosing.”

“So, whom have they got?” she asked.

“I’ve only heard through the grapevine but RONNIE OWEN seems to be the top contender.”

Tabitha gasped. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me! An Owen? The last time an Owen came anywhere near me I just about cut his cock off.” She could see Agnes’ expression was not changing. “They think they’ve got me backed into a corner but when have you ever known me to not come out fighting.”

Agnes softened. Her eyes glazed. She tried to remain strong but seeing Tabitha in her current predicament wasn’t easy. “They could put you away for a long time Tabs. They are looking to bring back the death penalty.”

Tabitha shrugged. “They don’t frighten me,” she said with some childish impetuousness.

“Tabs!” Agnes shot her a warning glare.

Tabitha raised her eyebrows. “I’m not afraid of those fuckers,” she maintained.

Agnes’ frustration began to show. “Then maybe you should give some thought to those who are frightened for you. Do you think I like seeing you like this? What about Tawn?”

At the mention of the BARONESS Tabitha’s usual self-confident air clouded over.

“How is Aunt Tee?” She asked.

“I know this isn’t easy for you, but I need you to sign these,” said the Broker.
She was surprised when Tabitha gave little resistance. If there was anything in the world precious to her other than Tawny, it was the club. That was how Agnes knew what she had to say next was not going to be received well. She waited until the signature – a curly, childish scrawl – was on the page.

“I’m thinking of selling the club,” she said.

Tabitha’s eyes widened. “Over my dead fucking body!”

Agnes returned the tension. “Yeah? Well carry on the way you are, lady, and that might just be exactly what happens. I’m not having that on my conscience. Enough is enough. I’m ending this.”

Tabitha folded her arms across her chest and pouted. She growled but her eyes pleaded in a way that was rarely seen.

“I’m stuck in here with those fuckers trying to do everything they can to get to me and you’re pissing your granny panties?”

Agnes shook her head. “I’m being cautious. We’ve already lost enough.”

Hickes interrupted. “Time’s up,” he announced.

Tabitha was still frustrated. “There’s no way that was five minutes, you bald sack of shit.”

Hickes refused to let himself be drawn in. “It’s as long as you’re getting.”

Agnes stood. “I wish I could convince you to be cautious,” said Agnes.

Tabitha returned her self-confident smile. “Just don’t sell my fucking club.”

Agnes stopped by the door and raised an eyebrow. “It’s our fucking club.”

Tabitha shrugged. She thought about it then she asked of The Broker, “talk to that reporter, Sam. If anyone is going to help, it will be him.”

She had a lot of faith in me. I just wanted to get to the truth. I wasn’t sure that would leave Tabitha in the best of lights.

Leaving, Agnes said to Hickes, “look after her. Please.”

When half the city wanted to throne her and the other half wanted to throttle her that would be no easy task.

“Oh, and Hicksey,” she called down the hall after them. “Call the exterminators. You’ve got a bug problem in here and it’s fucking disgusting.”

***

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AGNES had been at the Knock Knock Club since its founding. It was she and the BARONESS who began the club. So, to me she was a person of great interest. With the gagging order issued by Judge Doyle’s office I was holding back on pressing her for an interview. Therefore, it came as a shock to me when she contacted me first on an unknown number. With Tabitha expressing an interest in opening up to me I couldn’t resist the opportunity in spite of the danger of the Law Makers.

There were a few topics she demanded stayed off the record. One was Tawny and another was the whereabouts of the mayor. “I don’t know where he is and I don’t much care,” she said over the phone. “If you can’t agree to those terms, I have nothing to say to you.”

She was tough. I couldn’t expect anything less from someone who brought a place like the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB to life. Tabitha claimed she had reasons behind her madness. My main objective was finding out what they were and if there was any truth to her claims.

I had been waiting in Bobby’s Lunchbox for about fifteen minutes. I decided to arrive early so that if any Law Makers surveillance were on me it would seem natural. I was watching through the window and sipping a cup of coffee when a middle-aged woman with greying, dark hair entered. She had a pretty face, vacant of expression.

***

The Mid East of the city seemed a whole world away from the rest. It was quiet, untouched like it had no idea what had just happened down in the Shanties. The Mid East folk didn’t care that Knock Knock club had been burnt out. Why should they care about a filthy cabaret club in a part of the city that was home to drug addicts, car thieves and whores? Perhaps if they read about it in the newspapers they would sigh a ‘that’s a shame’ when they learned that Jack, the old compère, had died along with several of the dancer girls. They might shrug a shoulder of pity if they read that many of the MACK workers from the DISTILLERY had perished in the fire. The dead included Orla Mack – cousin to the then head of the Mack clan, Brendan. That was, of course, if the papers printed the story – the proper story. The DAILY sure as Hell wouldn’t. None of them would tell that those dancer girls were gunned down on the stage. They wouldn’t tell that Jack – dear old Jack – caught a bullet in his right temple as he rushed to protect them. That was when the petrol bombs were thrown in.

‘KAPPA fucking SO,’ Agnes thought to herself bitterly. They were responsible but no one would ever know. She couldn’t tell anyone. She had already lost too much. She remembered screaming at TAWNY to get off the stage as bullets rained in from expert marksmen. The BARONESS was holding a dead dancer girl named Jill in her arms, refusing to move as the carnage intensified.

Now it was quiet. Apart from the occasional steps of the Macks, who had accompanied her to her Mid East apartment, it was silent. She had been sat on the sofa, trying to ward off a migraine when the phone rang. She sat up with a start and lifted the phone from the floor. The sofa and the phone were the only pieces of furniture there. The apartment was being leased out whilst she and Tawny lived at Knock, Knock. It took a little persuading from Agnes but luckily the tenant was able to vacate at short notice.

“Yes?” She answered. “Hello?”

She had only given the number to a few. She swallowed to contain her nerves. She was met by an automated voice.

“You have a interior call from HARBOUR HOUSE. Do you accept?”

“Yes,” Agnes declared. “Yes,” she added again for extra clarification. Holding the phone in one hand she reached up to her forehead with the other to continue easing her headache.

“Hello?” Came the musical tones of a HATHFIELD accent. “I can’t hear anything on this bloody thing,” Tawny complained to someone beside her.

“I’m here Tawn,” Agnes spoke up.

“Oh, thank God,” she declared. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I’m just a little shaken up. Some of the Macks are with me.”

“Listen, I need you to go and fetch Tabby,” she requested.

“I’ve tried to reach her,” said Agnes. “Rob wouldn’t allow her to come to the phone.”
“No,” Tawny said urgently. “I mean I need you to go and fetch her. You have to bring her to the Mid East with you.”

Agnes shook her head. “After what happened the last time you took her away from that house…”

There were three things important in the life of the Baroness. One was Agnes, who she would give her life for, the second was the wretched club that she adored, and the third was her niece, Tabitha, who she saw as the most precious thing in the world.
Agnes learned quickly that Tabitha was a handful. She was strong-willed, foul-mouthed and with all the makings of a sociopath, but one thing was clear; her aunt was everything to her. Through this, Agnes came to see a loving side of the would-be Boss Lady that not many others did. Whilst she couldn’t condone her behaviour, they grew close through their mutual love of Tawny and the damned club. Because it couldn’t be denied, Agnes’ blood flowed through Knock Knock too. Where most people only saw a seedy cabaret club, to her it was life. Kappa SO knew this; the Owens that sent them to destroy the place knew this also.

“Rob and Linda are never going to let me take her away,” Agnes tried to explain.

Tawny was sounding much better, much more like herself but she still wasn’t seeing the practicalities. Her worry intensified. “Please,” she cried. “You have to get her away from them. They will kill her. Offer them money if that’s all they really want.”
Agnes sighed. “They aren’t going to murder her Tawn.”

“You don’t know that. If those filthy Owen pricks want to silence her, they will.”
Agnes had grown used to Tawny being on the eccentric side. It was part of her charm. The BROKER was the sensible counter balance but given the lives lost already, it wasn’t complete paranoia that was speaking. It wasn’t outlandish to consider that something unfortunate could happen to the little girl who called the OWEN family out on their bullshit.

“I’ll go and speak to her and her parents,” Agnes offered.

“When you see my brother, tell him I’m going to string him up by the balls,” stated the Baroness.

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Agnes laughed. “I’ll be sure to let him know.”

“As soon as I know you and Tabby are safe, they can do whatever they like to me in here. They can stick an electrode up ma arse or plug me into the national grid if they like.”

Agnes found herself shaking her head but with a smile on her lips. “They aren’t going to give you electro shock.”

“They think I’m off ma rocker,” replied Tawny.

“You are,” Agnes teased.

Tawny laughed. It was a comforting, melodic sound. “Maybe a little.”

A bleeping sound signalled the call was to end. “Oh, come on now,” said Tawny away from the receiver. “It looks like I have to go,” she added, her voice coming back clearer.

“It’s so good to hear your voice.” Agnes’ migraine was starting to ease off.

“Recorded for quality and training purposes,” Tawny imitated the automated voice. The phone bleeped again. “Alright. I hear ye,” she said to it.

“I’ll be in to see you soon,” said Agnes.

“Bring Tabby with you,” requested Tawny.

Agnes’ heart began beating a little faster. “I’ll do the best I can.” It was all she could promise.

“Love you, bitch,” Tawny teased.

Agnes returned. “Love you too, bitch.”

***

Agnes didn’t visit Filton much. She was a Mid East girl through and through. Even when she gave up the apartment to reside about the club, she was still an artsy woman at heart. Even for a Mid East girl, living in a fabulous place like Filton was like a dream. The beautiful mansion homes were like fairy tale castles. But fairy tale castles could be oppressive, even to foul-mouthed, uncontrollable little princesses like Tabitha.
It didn’t matter what trouble she had gotten into, Agnes owed it to Tawny to at least discuss with Rob letting Tabs visit her aunt in Harbour House. But Rob was an unreasonable man from what Agnes could deduce – completely different from his sister. Agnes had brokered some tough deals over the years but this was going to be the most difficult. There was so much to ask for and so much at stake. Things were becoming worse for Tawny. Sometimes she would call and she would laugh and joke as though nothing had happened, other times she would sound so subdued and slurred from the medicine they were giving her to keep her calm, other times she would just weep.
Rob’s home in Filton was a two-story building in a quiet corner. It wasn’t as elaborate as some of the mansion houses but the Beckingridge family lived not so far away. She didn’t want to arrive unannounced with some Macks in tow. It would only be met with aggression and deals aren’t made easily with angry people. This required a sweetened approach. So, she asked the boys to stay nearby. It was likely the Owens were watching.
The last time Tawny had been at the house to check on Tabby, Rob and Linda had called the police. It was all Agnes could do to stop Tawny from going back and physically removing the girl with as many of the Macks as she could when the official notice from JUDGE DOYLE came through stating her petition for custody had been denied. It also stated that any investigations into the claims of a paedophile ring run by Jerry Owen were closed and wouldn’t be taken any further.

Trouble or not, no little girl deserved to be sold like property to sleazy old men as far as Agnes was concerned. Tabs was no angel but she was like a daughter to Tawny, and for that Agnes loved her too and would do anything she could to remove her from such a home life.

As beautiful as the homes in the northern town of Filton were, it was in the grotty little cabaret club that Tabitha was safest and most at home. The Knock Knock Baroness had a reputation in the area. She was loved but not really what most people would consider a stable guardian. However, if things had been different for Tabitha she would never have been without the love and support a troubled little girl sorely needed. As it happened, Doyle’s refusal of the custody petition had been the beginning.

She rang the bell but someone had left the door open having pulled it closed behind him or her. It likely hit off the lock and bounced back open without them noticing. Filton was a safe area. People rarely locked their doors but Agnes felt it a little strange to be left ajar. She didn’t know if Rob and Linda had staff. Most Filton people did but from what Tawny had said they were merely playing posh. That could have been a little bitterness talking. Linda had lived in Filton her whole life. Her mother was an executive assistant at BECKINGRIDGE FINANCIAL FIRM. It wasn’t the top floor of BECK TOWER but respected enough to be a part of the family. Her father was a driver for the Owen’s. The father was handsomely paid and led the team of drivers required to carry the family from point A to point B. Linda had even made friends with some of them. It was how Rob and Linda had come to know Jerry.

Filton life suited Rob McKinney. According to his sister, to be hob-nobbing with the rich folk was all he ever wanted. When he and Tawny first came to the city from the Hathfield Bay island they parted on bad terms. She went south to the Shanties busking for her supper and he north, glass collecting in some of Filton’s most exclusive restaurants until opportunity presented itself with Linda and her family as they dined in Delphine – the finest Luen cuisine in the city. They didn’t speak again until an early morning call came to the club from Rob to tell her she had become an aunt. As Linda’s family flocked around, he must have realised his sister was all he had.

Agnes pressed the bell again. Its knell echoed inside the bell of the large house. A breeze charging through pushed the door open further.

“Rob? Linda?” Agnes announced her presence with a light knock on the door. “Agnes Wilde. I’ve been trying to call.”

She stepped inside a long, dark hallway listening for voices or life within. There was none.

“Tabs?” called Agnes up the large, open staircase for the Baroness’s niece.
She first made her way to the Den. A television had been left on paused on the Jolly Shopper show. The remote control was discarded on the floor. The cushions from the sofa had been cast across the room. Agnes’ heart started to race.

“Tabs?” she called out again. “Tabs? Rob? Linda? I don’t want to cause trouble. I just want to take her to visit her aunt. I will bring her straight home.” Agnes attempted but there was no response.

In the kitchen a drawer had been pulled free of it’s resting place. A clutter of cutlery lay discarded on a shining, freshly mopped floor.

Agnes clamped her hand to her mouth. Something had happened. The cold house had the ache of death about it.

In Linda’s dressing room the wardrobe of expensive dresses had been left open. Some had been pulled from the hangers and they lay discarded on the floor. Tabitha was nowhere to be found

Now Agnes was really concerned.

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The door of the master bedroom was open. There were three bodies. The slim, toned, naked frame of Linda lay across the bed. Her ear had been ripped off. The bulky frame of Rob with a knife wound in his ribs had fallen on the floor. There was a third Agnes didn’t recognise. She had a knife wound in her chest.

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A large knife had been left behind. It almost looked ceremonial. Agnes, without thinking, lifted the weapon and hid it in her purse. She called the Macks in. They helped her dispose of the bodies and clean the scene to make it look as though Rob and Linda had gone on a trip.

Coming Next:

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In the meantime, the series is free to read HERE on Vivika Widow Online or you can download for kindle by clicking HERE.

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: A Room With A View

Knock, Knock: Episode 6: Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock: Episode 7: No Kids Allowed

Knock, Knock: Episode 8: Kids These Days

Knock, Knock: Episode 9: Shootin’ The Breeze

Knock, Knock: Episode 10: Calling Last Orders

Knock Knock: Episode 11: Shady City Blues

Knock Knock: Episode 12: Going Down

Knock Knock: Episode 13: Got the Fever

Knock Knock: Episode 14: Laying Down the Law

Knock Knock: Episode 15: Still I Stand

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Knock Knock: Episode 15: Still I Stand


“PLEDGE TIME MOTHER FUCKERS!”

Whoops, cheers and spilled drinks. A KAPPA SO party was well underway. The KSO chapter house was located just a short walk from the campus of FILTON UNIVERSITY. Like most nights at the CHAPTER HOUSE things were heating up.

Chapter leader, BUDDY OWEN was pledging some new recruits. Most of them were sons of bankers, property developers, and politicians. They all had that in common – powerful parents. Famous names in the city like the financial giants BECKINGRIDGE and the WEIRS of WEIR HOTEL were just some of the elite who had pledged KAPPA SO. There were of course the OWEN family who had set up the fraternity in the first place as a means of connection between the Shady City and the Great States where they came from. A former pledge described the gruelling and sometimes ridiculous rituals. The brothers were anarchic, using their powerful names to get away with all kinds of debauchery. It was a system of too much power and too little responsibility that suited men like BUDDY well. If you were a brother you would never fail an exam at the university. The principal was also a brother. Job interviews, money and satisfying every whim. None of it would be a problem for the boys of KSO because they protected one another. The former member I spoke to wouldn’t give any details and he was visibly nervous when he mentioned it but pledging KSO was never easy. When it fell into the hands of BUDDY it became downright horrific. The fifth generation of Owen to be Chapter Leader from its original founder no one could argue Buddy’s place in the chain of command. It was this kind of establishment that TABITHA sought to challenge. She wasn’t exactly the person to advocate for what was right but it did shed light on a bigger problem. Those in power had become so comfortable in their place over the generations it left little room for the average person.

KSO brothers didn’t care. They had always gotten along without consequences. Why should they worry then?

In some kind of sadistic homage to that principle Buddy had some of his pledges at heel. A group of boys, probably encouraged by their parents to endure the torture of pledging, now found themselves under the control of one of the most horrific people I have ever had the misfortune of meeting.

What began as games we all played as students – drinking games, quizzes – quickly became sinister. Then violence was introduced. The boys were forced to beat on one another, cut one another. They were humiliated. There was never anything fatal, they were all potential brothers after all. It they managed to endure the torture an easy life with every possible advantage was theirs to have and they would have the eternal support of their fraternity.

“Listen up bitches! Useless pieces of shit that ya’ll are, do you still think you got what it takes to pledge Kappa So?”

“Yes master,” the pledges replied in synchrony.

Buddy was dressed in a summer dress. Holding two black sex toys in his hands.

On his right stood COOPER. He was Buddy’s right hand man in Chapter House. He too was from the Great States. On his left, wearing a crash helmet from an earlier drunken game and a bra was Chad.

Chad leapt forward. “Yeah!” he cried out. “We’re gonna tickle your balls!” He waved his arms at his genitals. “Then you’re going to suck our balls!”

Buddy’s cocaine fuelled gaze narrowed on his brother. “What the fuck?” He turned to Cooper. “What is it with him and the faggy shit?”

Cooper shrugged.

Buddy turned back to his pledges. “We are going under cover at a feminist rally. Some hippy skank dyke is trying to get us shut down. So y’all are going put on your mamma’s best Sunday Dress and beat the ever loving shit out her with these,” he waved the dildos. “Cock smack the shit out the lotta them. Do you hear me?!” His voice becoming like that of a boxing announcer.

The pledges cheered.

“Bud?” cried a female voice over the top of them. A cheerleader named Cheryl waved a phone at him. “Phone call.”

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Buddy rolled his eyes and sniffed. “I’m busy. Tell them to fuck off.”

“It’s The Cappy,” she said. The title of respect given to Buddy’s father caused a wave of hush to wash over the room.

“Take care of those bitches,” he instructed his brothers who closed in on the pledges.

“Yeah?” He answered, tucking one of the sex toys under his arm.

“Please hold for Mr Owen,” his father’s secretary announced.

Buddy pursed his lips. “Yeah, whatever,” he replied.

The soft voice was replaced quickly by the harsher tones of his father. CHARLES ‘CHICK’ OWEN was head of the Owen family. He was better known as the Captain or Cappy to his friends.

“I need you at the Court House early tomorrow,” said Chick without waiting for introductions.

“Yeah?” was Buddy’s challenging reply. Chick ignored it. There wouldn’t be too many allowances. “Be here at nine,” he ordered.

Buddy looked at the time on his wrist but he hadn’t worn a watch for years. Old habits died hard he supposed.

“Judge Doyle wishes to discuss the future of your internship.”

“Cool,” Buddy replied. The bell of the Chapter House rang.

“Bernard?” This time the Cappy addressed him sternly. “I’m not going to be disappointed, am I?”

‘Probably,’ thought Buddy. ‘Nothing pleases you anyway, you old fucker.’ But he thought better of voicing that opinion. He just needed to take another line of powder.

“No, sir,” he replied in his most innocent-sounding voice.

One of the brothers looked over and laughed as one of the pledges were being carried away. It seemed they were not good enough for KSO. The doorbell rang again. It was opened to a group of prostitutes, or maybe they were girls from the university. It was difficult to tell. They all dressed like whores as far as Buddy was concerned. Either way, it would provide the nights entertainment and an extra incentive for the pledges still standing.

“Dad, dad, oh father dearest. Can I say something?” Buddy tried to break through the torrential lecture he was receiving on the other end of the phone.

Chick Owen growled, “What?”

“It’s gonna be a busy one. An all-nighter, in fact. Paperwork for the office and all that.I really should go.”

Chick didn’t rule as head of the Owen family through being naïve though. He had been KSO himself. Sure, he was the eldest and afforded authority on that account but compared to his brothers JERRY and RONNIE, he commanded respect. He knew his son well enough to be able to cipher through his nonsense.

“Be here at nine tomorrow and not a minute later. You and I are going to talk. If you are not here on time, I will send someone to fetch you proper.”

“Looking forward to it. Just all this damn paperwork first,” Buddy continued his pretence.

“Cuss me again, boy, and work will become the least of your concerns.”

“Yessir.” This time Buddy wondered how satisfying it would be to cock bash the old man.

The Cappy rang off. Buddy turned to his party. The girls were already being fed alcohol at an alarming rate.

Buddy waved the dildos. “Party time baby! Who wants cock smashed?”

***

A private estate in the north, adjacent to HARVESTER FARM, was where the OWEN Estate in Coldford lay. It had been their first purchase when the family came over from the Great States. Since then they had built golf courses all over the area as well as snatching up other land for use later. DR WINSLOW, who owned Harvester Farm since the old Harvester himself fell ill, was still standing strong against the Owens’ buy-out of the area. He was one of few to do so. It was used as a personal retreat for Chick when he was in the city, which was becoming more and more often. His driver had brought him to the office of the LAW MAKERS.

Charles ‘Chick’ Owen was fair haired and long faced. His once blonde hair was lighter in tone than his dark eyebrows. The warm weather was continuing so he wore a cotton shirt underneath his well-tailored, Luen-made, pin stripe suit. As expected it was not ten past the hour of nine and Buddy was late.

Judge Doyle closed the door on a rabble of voices outside.

“Good morning Chick,” Karyn greeted first.

“I hear there is good news on the KNOCK KNOCK front,” he said. “It’s been a pain in my ass for too long.”

“Tabitha’s trial will be pushed through as quickly as the LAW MAKERS can. We want it done cleanly and we want it done now,” said Karyn to the Cappy.

“It gives my heart some mighty fine relief to hear that,” he grinned. “The sooner the little bitch is put out of her misery the better.”

“We’ve also managed to bring in the PENN TRIPLETS,” added the judge with pride.

“I do not care about those hammer-slamming weirdos. The little bitch is the only one I’m concerned with. Just make sure you have her on heavy lock down,” he added, his Great States accent pronouncing it as shoo-ah.

Karyn informed him, “We’ve already taken steps to put the Knock Knock under seizure.”

The Cappy grinned. “Music to ma ears,” he said.

“There’s just one more thing,” Karyn put to him. “I took Bernard into my service in good grace. I’m almost certain a little girl has died at his hand. I want your assurances that that will never happen again.”

The Cappy leaned forward. “I heard. Some drug dealing scumbag named Kev and his daughter were shot. They were under Ron’s office.”

Chick growled. “I’ll have a word with Bud. I already have Ronnie breathing down ma neck about it.” He looked over the judge’s shoulder. “Speaking of the do-gooding son’a’bitch.”

Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Owen – the Cappy’s younger brother joined them, accompanied by Karyn’s cousin Micky Doyle and her son Cameron. Cameron was a strong, hulk of a young man just a few years Buddy’s junior. Shy, retiring. Chick surmised that couldn’t be helped, having such a dragon of a mother to contend with. Cameron was an intimidating size but it would be hard to find anyone of a gentler spirit.

“Good afternoon, Mr Owen,” Cameron nodded respectfully. Ronnie was taller than Chick but a few years younger. He had the same jutting Owen chin but seemed more pleasant of face.

“No time-wasting with the campaigning then Mick?” teased the Cappy.

“The hot seat is open and it waits for no one,” Micky replied cheerily enough.

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The previous mayor, FELTZ, was still missing. The Law Makers were all but certain that Tabitha’s hand was in it but she was refusing to cooperate. Until such times as he could be retrieved from wherever he was, the Hot Seat, which referred to the mayor’s office, had to be taken control of. It was located in a building in the north called City Face, because of the large clock face at the front. If anyone had the bite to hold the hot seat it was Micky Doyle. No stranger to politics, he was as merciless as his cousin when it came to his pursuits but unlike the cold hand of justice, he was more personable. In a lot of ways that was more dangerous in taking control of a city.

“You okay there, Cam?” Micky clapped his cousin’s son on his shoulder. Cameron looked up from his game with a smile.

“You are being ignorant Cameron,” his mother barked.

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Cameron’s eyes dropped to his feet, rather than back onto his game. “Sorry mum,” he said simply.

“We were just talking about the hard work you are doing keeping our city clean,” Chick was saying to his brother. Ronnie Owen was a lawyer and had taken over the Child Services Committee when Karyn Doyle became a high court judge.

“I do my best,” Ronnie agreed modestly.

“All heart and no brains this one,” Chick laughed, putting his arm around Ronnie’s broad shoulder. He turned towards the clock, “Speaking of no brains.” He addressed one of the staff. “I’ll call Buddy and tell him to get his ass out here on the double. Pardon ma cussing ma’am,” the Cappy apologised to Karyn.

“We should have a drink to celebrate a job well done,” he said.

Karyn politely declined, “I’d rather not.” Chick looked to Cameron. “He won’t either.”

Cameron’s pocket began to bleep. He smiled as he began to content himself with an online game he had become engrossed in. He and user name REG3 had started to become quite a team but REG3 hadn’t been online lately. Still he played on alone.

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Ronnie Owen observed Cameron. He had seen the look of abuse many times before.

***

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The house was cold. Cameron hadn’t wanted to adjust the thermostat after what happened the last time. Things needed shaken up at Coldford General. The doctors there didn’t seem to know what they were doing.

“There’s going to be a pretty heavy scar,” the young attending physician had said. “I could look into skin grafting.”

He was at least ten years Karyn Doyle’s junior. He was barely a day out of Filton Medical School. A real doctor wouldn’t have had to ask. A real doctor would have known she was going to wear her scars with pride. She would show the world what they tried to do to her and they would quiver because still she stands.

She rubbed the scar across her neck. It was like a noose that her skin had burned through. They told her that she could wear a patch over her eye, but she refused. She would never hide, and cowering behind an eye patch was hiding as far as she was concerned. When they looked her in the eyes they would see the damage that had been inflicted. They would see how much they had tried to hurt her and a shiver would crack down their spine because still she stands.

She looked deeper into the mirror. She lifted her chin. They would appear in her courtroom one by one and they would answer for their crimes.

She would deal them her judgement. They would plea to her mercy. They would cry guilty and as her hammer fell they would beg forgiveness because, even after they tried to kill her, STILL SHE STANDS!

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The front door slammed. An angry breath escaped her nostrils. The noise of Cameron’s return home was like pots being clattered in her ears.

“Mum?” Cameron called. When he saw her car in the driveway of their large KINGSGATE home he deduced she was home from the hospital. How clever he was.

He sought her out. He kept calling out to her. Why wouldn’t he shut up? She didn’t answer him but still he cried out. “Mum? Mum?”

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It was a stupid title. There were so many in the world that went by that same title. It was a stupid title and ridiculously common.

He found her in the bathroom, observing herself.

“I’m glad you’re home,” he said.

She could see him smiling over her shoulder in the reflection. She could smell sweat on him. The icy tone was not new to his mother but given the attacks she had been subjected to he thought she would have been pleased to have her son by her side.

“Are you alright?” He was hesitant to ask. She hadn’t said anything about the hospital or what the doctors had said. Was it his fault? Should he have asked sooner? He had been playing football that afternoon, part of training for KINGSGATE ALBION. Why hadn’t he showered when he came off the pitch? Why did he think it was okay to come home bloodied and muddy, leaving footprints over a clean floor?

Karyn could feel her temples start to ache. She reached up and started to massage them with her forefingers. Cameron saw the warning signs. He should have known better.

“Cameron?” She said, her voice as cold as ice but calm.

Cameron’s head dropped. He averted his gaze to the floor immediately. That’s when he saw it. Flakes of mud had dislodged from his sneakers.

“Sorry mum,” he said softly. “Sorry mum!” He screamed as her temper unleashed. She grabbed him by the ear causing him to double over. She hit him with an astonishing force across his head. As large as he was, he would never hit her back. What kind of person would that make him if he could hit his own mother? He should have been paying more attention. WHACK! WHACK! She hit him again. The pain stung against his cheek.

“Please mum!” He sobbed.

WHACK! WHACK! His shrieks of pain just made her angrier. Her stockings laddered as he dug his nails into her legs.

He was beaten heavily. His nose burst and his face crashed against the tiled floor, the muddy prints marking his cheek. He started to feel a little dizzy. Something was not right but he dared not complain. She threw him back. Her full lips were puckered slightly. She kept hitting him until Cameron’s body fell limp. The blood trickling from his skull mixed with the mud and sweat. His shirt stained.

“Are you alright?” She barked the question, still angry. She hovered over him with her hands behind her back. “Get up.”

He didn’t want her to have to ask him twice. He stood as steady as his legs could hold him. Pain was firing through his skull as the shock of the assault wore off and he could feel the full brunt.

She wiped the tear from his eye. She clutched his face with cold, dry hands and pulled it closer to her. She kissed his forehead.

By the time they had gotten to Coldford General, this time with Cameron as the patient, fluid had gathered around the brain causing swelling. The doctors reduced the swelling as quickly as possible but Cameron would never be the same.

Cameron had been so worried about her. When the driver who collected him from training told her that his mother had been caught in an explosion, he ran to the door to see her without even saying please or thank you. It had been the third attack on her. They tried cutting her throat but still she stands. They cut the brakes of her car and watched it plunge into the lake. She did not drown. Still she stands. They tried to catch her in an explosion and yet still she stands. She was the unkillable JUDGE DOYLE. Justice is immortal.

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Enjoy this?

Up next we have some vital evidence. Children’s games are over. It’s time to start spilling.

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In the meantime, the series is free to read HERE on Vivika Widow Online or you can download for kindle by clicking HERE.

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: A Room With A View

Knock, Knock: Episode 6: Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock: Episode 7: No Kids Allowed

Knock, Knock: Episode 8: Kids These Days

Knock, Knock: Episode 9: Shootin’ The Breeze

Knock, Knock: Episode 10: Calling Last Orders

Knock Knock: Episode 11: Shady City Blues

Knock Knock: Episode 12: Going Down

Knock Knock: Episode 13: Got the Fever

Knock Knock: Episode 14: Laying Down the Law

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Knock Knock: Episode 14: Laying Down the Law

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In the largest office of the Law Makers, adjacent to the COURT HOUSE, dwelled a figurehead that loomed over the city like a great vengeful deity. JUDGE KARYN DOYLE. She began her career as the youngest district court judge in Coldford history and the first woman to sit on the Children’s Services Committee. She was a pioneer in a lot of ways. Justice was always her objective but what did that mean? On the face of it, that meant wrongdoers were put behind bars. People like TABITHA and the HEADLINERS wouldn’t be tolerated in her city and she would stop at nothing until satisfactory justice had been served. Justice is a set of scales though. They had to weigh up and balance. Therefore, justice was also seeing families made homeless because of unpaid rent. Justice was tearing families apart because fathers didn’t have work permits. Justice was punishing someone for fighting to protect him or herself. Justice was having a young girl’s underwear on display because some depraved rapist took advantage of her. Justice could see a rich, powerful family using their influence to protect them from slander. After everything I’ve seen in the Shady City, nothing surprised me. Justice, however, was supposed to be blind. Cold facts and evidence were supposed to be the deciding factors. Tabitha had committed some horrendous crimes and she would pay for them, but how would those scales of justice weigh up against her? Would justice even listen to the truth or would the sight of the red dress and an unrelenting attitude blind them? Tabitha wouldn’t break easily. What worried me was the extent the LAW MAKERS, who had her in their grasp, would go to in order to make sure that she did. Justice loved breaking down those who would not follow her laws. She fed on it. Tabitha deserved punishment but who else would come to harm in the process? For the time being she still had two well-polished fingers held up at them and she taunted. “You know where to find me. Come and get me.” There was nothing they could do. There were rules to follow and what was justice without rules? But as AGENT LYDIA, relieved of her under cover duties at the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB and her supervising partner AGENT KIM climbed the steps of the Law Makers office the rules were about to change.

Chaos already had the attention of justice. When chaos is allowed free roam, mistakes can be made. BERNARD ‘BUDDY’ OWEN grinned. He was from an extremely powerful family who hailed from the Great States. Their influence in the Shady City was growing by the day. They arrived in Coldford with the luxury of money and pull. Hand in hand those things are often used to fill the scales of justice. Give a little money, a little politics and you find the scales never weigh against you.

Judge Doyle spat. “There was a little girl shot dead in the Shanties and there is talk that Kappa So was responsible.”

The little girl she referred to was Sarah. I had tried to take her from the club and mistakenly return her to the father. The truth was the little girl’s father, Kevin, had been selling drugs provided by Kappa So – a fraternity group founded by Buddy’s family generations before through Filton University. Kevin had become nervous. He revealed he was willing to speak to CPD but before he could he and his daughter were gunned down. Dead bodies littering the street through violence was not an uncommon sight in the Shanties but what caught Judge Doyle’s attention was that the shots had been delivered on both with pin point accuracy. The Owen’s had a reputation for being natural marksmen. They learned to handle guns on their many ranches from an early age. It was said that an Owen was handed a pistol before they were given their mother’s breast. Buddy in particular was so at home with gun in his hand it was a more like an extension of a limb.

Doyle took a seat at her long, mahogany desk. The room smelled of fresh polish. The office was a wide space, steeped in shadows. It was unwelcoming. A cold draught circulated. The Judge had a clear view of the world from behind that desk.

“I don’t know anything about it,” he said. He was still grinning, remorse lacking.

“It was a hit from someone who knew how to handle a gun.”

Buddy’s grin widened. His square set jaw tightened.

“I will keep my ears open for the culprit ma’am.”

Doyle surveyed him. The grin fell from Buddy’s face.

“If I do find out you were responsible Bernard, there will be consequences,” asked Doyle. Her voice was steady but the threat underneath weighed heavy.

Buddy softened. “If it was one of ma boys ma’am I will find out.” he insisted.

Doyle raised her chin. “See to it that nothing like that happens again. If I hear any more of drugs, violence or assault through your Chapter House I will shut it down.”

Buddy relaxed his shoulders and stood straight. “Yes ma’am.”

A buzzer sounded. Doyle answered the call from her secretary.

“Agents Lydia Lowe and Kim Adams are here to see you ma’am.”

“Send them in,” the judge ordered. She addressed Buddy. “You, get out of my sight.”

Buddy obliged. Before he reached the doorway she called him back. “And Bernard, there will be consequences for the death of that little girl,” she warned.

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As he opened the door he came face to face with the two agents. Lydia was astute. She sensed the tension between Buddy and the Judge. Buddy held her gaze

“Bernard,” barked the Judge again. “Eyes on the exit.”

Buddy pushed past. The agents entered the office of the judge and the door closed behind them.

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The agents stood before the large desk. The Law Maker symbols on the pillar behind her felt like the eyes of Gods watching. Judge Doyle remained silent until Buddy had cleared the room.

“Congratulations on your success,” the Judge broke the heavy silence. “I hear she is now in custody.” She referred to Tabitha, Boss Lady of the Knock Knock Club.

Kim responded, “Yes, ma’am. We have also taken the Penn triplets into custody.”

“A job well done then,” stated Doyle coldly. The mother of the triplets, Rita Penn, didn’t take much to do with the running of things ever since the father of the triplets, Reginald, left them the Auction House. It was their chance to bring order to both the Shanties, home of the Knock Knock Club, and City Main, the area that housed the Penn Empire.

“Agent Lowe,” the judge turned her attention to Lydia. “I will expect a full report by tomorrow. We need to move things along quickly whilst we can.”

Lydia nodded in agreement. “Yes, ma’am.” Lydia knew better than most how much of a slippery fish Tabitha could be so time was of the essence.

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“The Bailiffs will take it from here but I do have a specific request for you, agent.”

Lydia looked to Kim first then back at the Judge to wait for her instructions. “I have issued a gagging order on the reporter, Sam Crusow. I can’t have him talking to anyone about what happened until trial is fixed. Am I correct in saying you formed something of a bond with him? You were the first to recover him from the club and you testified to his innocence in the death of his colleague, MADELINE LOWER.”

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“I had a little chance to talk to him. Getting him on the inside is the thing that gave us what we needed to bring Tabitha in. She pitted his colleague against him and he defended himself. He’s a good man.” Lydia spoke warmly on my behalf.
Doyle pursed his lips. “Good man or not, reporters are dangerous. There will be enough fuss to shut out from the press because of this and I can’t have someone with his insight at large. He is a key witness and as such I want you to stay close to him. For his own protection of course and to make sure he does not under any circumstances violate my order. You have a rapport with him. Keep him calm and keep him safe.”

Lydia agreed, “Yes ma’am.”

So the agent was tasked with being by my side. As trial was set and events continued to spill out I would be glad to have her close by me.

As they stepped outside the Court House into the warm afternoon air Lydia felt ill at ease.

Lydia expressed her concern to her mentor.

“Something is a bit off about this,” she said. Her instincts were telling her something was wrong but until more motives revealed themselves she couldn’t quite put her finger on what that was.

Kim agreed. “I know, pet. Just keep your eyes open.”

“Tabitha will use any trick she has to get away,” added Lydia. She had seen some of the extents the Boss Lady had been willing to go to to get her way.

Kim shook her head. “Then let’s hope we’ve delivered her to the one person in the city who can put her away for a very long time.”

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Judge Doyle was already aware of the questions that were formulating in my head. For example, where did this bad blood between the Boss Lady and The Judge first begin?

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***

“Case file 03300347,” announced the clerk.
The room was almost empty. A woman sat at the back holding two boys close to her. Tabitha watched them. One of the boys looked up and managed a small smile. Tabitha returned with a similar gesture. None of the family looked like they had slept much in days. Their black skins were lack lustre and the mum’s eyes were blood shot.

“Case file 03300347. McInney. Step forward,” the clerk ordered.

Aunt Tee patted Tabitha’s arm. “Alright honey, it’s now or never.” She shuffled from the pew they were sat in, a few rows in front of the family. Tabitha waited patiently. A cold draught blew around her with her aunt’s curvy frame removed. She had been staying at the Knock Knock Club for the past few weeks. Her parents were of course furious, but they didn’t care enough to retrieve her. TAWNY, the old Baroness of the club swore to her that she didn’t have to go anywhere. Not at least until they had had their day in court.
Tawny saw that her niece was nervous that morning so she tried to fill her with confidence.

“It’s all about creating a good impression,” said the aunt. She held a pair of old spectacles to her face. “Business woman,” she pulled them away. “Gal on the go.” She put the glasses to her face again. “Business woman.” She pulled them away. “Party girl!”
Tabitha had giggled. Her smile calmed Tawny’s own nerves.
Before she faced the Judge she flashed her niece a confident smile. Tabitha could see the fear behind her eyes. There was so much at stake.
“Good morning, ma’am,” greeted Tawny keenly.
Judge Doyle offered an emotionless stare from behind her desk. She motioned for Tawny to come closer.
“I see you have raised a petition for custody,” began the Judge. “The child in question is your niece. Is that correct?”

Tawny answered smoothly. “Yes ma’am. That is correct.” She gave a fleeting glance back at Tabitha as though she was checking she was still there.
“Both of her natural parents are still living?”

Tawny agreed. “Yes, ma’am. They reside in FILTON.”

“I see,” Doyle mused. She flicked through some pages of notes that lay on her bench. “You do realise it is never the intention of this court to remove a child from their parents unless there are extenuating circumstances.”

Tawny remained cool but the emotion in her voice wavered a little. “There are circumstances, ma’am, really dire ones.”

Doyle pushed the notes aside. She wanted to address the petitioners directly. She leaned forward a little and fixed her gaze on the Baroness. Her eye and her neck were fine in those days. Her scars non-existent.

“Then why don’t you explain it to me.”

Tawny took a deep breath. She hadn’t wanted to discuss what had happened in such a public forum for Tabitha’s sake but she was left with no choice.

“My brother and my sister-in-law accepted money in exchange for the prostitution of my niece.”

Judge Doyle’s expressionless deportment fell into a severe frown. She reached for her notes and again flicked through them.

“That is a pretty damning accusation,” stated the Judge.

Tawny fidgeted with the blazer she wore in an attempt to seem official. “I was appalled when I heard ma’am. She’s just a little girl.”

The judge gave no clue to her thinking in her expression. “I see no police report here.”
Tawny had to admit. “It wasn’t reported.”

As the Judge rested back in her chair to observe Tawny clearer, a shadow cast across her eyes.

“Why ever not? Surely if you found out such a thing it would be your first course of action? A crime of that magnitude against the child should have been reported?”

“My brother has some pretty powerful friends. It wouldn’t have helped. That’s why I wanted to appeal to you directly, ma’am. I was worried it wouldn’t reach the right ears.”

“And you were there? You saw this exchange take place?”

“No,” Tawny had to admit. “But Tabitha told me about it. My sister-in-law’s family have been drivers for the Owen family for years. They were having a party one night and made Tabitha their centre focus like she was some kind of prize. Reverend Jerry Owen was the one who organised it. He was the one that gave them the money.”

“I know Reverend Owen personally. He is a very well-respected member of the community, a charitable man. Are you saying he raped her?”

Tawny shook her head. “He didn’t get the chance to. She fought him off like a champ and ran to me.”

“So he never actually touched her?”

Tawny frowned, “What difference does that make?”

Judge Doyle waved for her to be quiet. “Suppose I accept your story and this is true. Are you fully prepared to accept responsibility for your niece?”

Tawny beamed, thinking she was finally getting through the icy exterior. “Of course.”

“Where would she be schooled?” asked the Judge.

“I … errr …” Tawny hesitated. “In the city I guess.”

The Judge leaned over and whispered something to the clerk. He took note.

“And what is it you do?” The Judge asked her.

“I’m a performer. I own a club in the city. The Knock Knock Club.”

Without looking at Tawny, Judge Doyle began taking notes. “I’ve heard of the Knock Knock club. It has quite the reputation. A night club isn’t exactly the appropriate place for a child.”

Tawny replied, “Maybe not ma’am but she has had more love and support there than she ever did at home. Ye have no idea what they’ve put that girl through!” As she became more desperate her Hathfield Bay accent started to creep in.

The judge read from the notes. “I see you have a partner.”

“Yes, a loving woman. Agnes.”

Judge Doyle looked up. Her focus locked on Tawny again. “I notice that she isn’t here with you. Is she also willing to accept responsibility for the child?”

Tawny tried to mask her frustration but it spilled into her words. “She loves Tabitha just as much as I do.”

Judge Doyle abandoned her notes and crossed her arms in front of her.
“Tell me something. Is your niece happy at home?”

Tawny frowned – an alien expression on her round, pleasant face. “Of course, she isn’t. Her parents are monsters.”

Judge Doyle returned to her notes once again. A silence washed over them as she read more. Footsteps in the corridor outside broke it. The woman at the back began sobbing silently on the shoulder of her eldest son, still wrapped up in her own drama.

Judge Doyle addressed Aunt Tee again. “I see here you had a mental breakdown – acute anxiety disorder. Is that correct?”

Tawny shook her head. She hadn’t prepared for that coming up. “That was a long time ago,” she explained. “I was overworked, setting things up with the club. I just want to protect my FUCKING NIECE! …” She took a deep breath. “I’m sorry ma’am. I just want to protect my niece. She’s just a little girl.”

The gaze of the judge narrowed. “I understand that emotions are running high but you will conduct yourself properly in my court or I will dismiss your case immediately. It is admirable that you want to protect her but let’s not forget that this is a troubled young girl. I see she has been in Jefferson Hall no less than five times. Assault and battery, mostly.”

Jefferson Hall was the juvenile detention center in Coldford for wayward children who were too young to be sent to the Monte Fort or Coldford Correctional.

Tabitha stood up. “You don’t know me!” She screamed, startling the family in the back. “You can’t say that.”

Tawny turned and tried to usher her to sit down. “Tabby, honey,” she said. “It’s fine. Just sit. It’s okay.”

Tabitha clamped her hands on her hips and scowled. “That cunt thinks because she’s sat behind the big desk in her big fucking chair she knows me! Because of a few bits written on a piece of paper.”

Aunt Tee tried again. “Tabby, please just calm down.”

Judge Doyle gathered the notes she had authoritatively tapped together on her desk. Her lip curled and her nostrils flared.

“Young lady, approach my bench,” she spat with venom. Tabitha obliged but she was still furious. When she stood before her The Judge said, “this court will not tolerate that kind of behaviour and for that I am dismissing your case indefinitely.”

“No!” Tawny lost her composure. “You can’t! Please just give us a chance.”

“From what I see, you are not fit to be a guardian.”

Tawny stepped forward. “I’m begging you, ma’am, please. She is not safe in that house. Please just let her come with me.”

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Judge Doyle kept an icy stare on the aunt. She passed her notes to her clerk. “I’ve made my decision,” stated she.

Tawny started to sob. “She’s a good girl really. She has had her problems but she’s a good girl. They tried to buy her so she could be passed around society perverts. They stripped her down and put her on display. Please don’t send her back to that. Let her stay with me where she will be safe.”

Doyle’s arm dropped. She looked at Tabitha. The mother at the back pulled her boys closer.

“Given these accusations I have no choice but to raise it with my colleagues at the Child Services Committee. They will investigate. You are to return her to her parents within the next 24 hours until this investigation is complete. If you fail to comply, I will revoke the licence of your club and you will find yourself under charges. Do you understand?”

Tawny pulled Tabitha closer to her.

“This isn’t over,” Tabitha growled.

Well there you have it folks. We know how our Boss Lady can hold a grudge!

Next week it’s time to see why the unkillable Judge Doyle earned herself such a reputation.

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In the meantime: Here’s the story so far:

Free to read HERE on Vivika Widow Online or you can download for kindle by clicking HERE.

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: A Room With A View

Knock, Knock: Episode 6: Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock: Episode 7: No Kids Allowed

Knock, Knock: Episode 8: Kids These Days

Knock, Knock: Episode 9: Shootin’ The Breeze

Knock, Knock: Episode 10: Calling Last Orders

Knock Knock: Episode 11: Shady City Blues

Knock Knock: Episode 12: Going Down

Knock Knock: Episode 13: Got the Fever

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Knock Knock: Episode 13: Got the Fever

68664566_752400215176424_1711889473588953088_n“I love you Dennis.” CHLOE wept. “I love you more than anything. I really do.”

“Shut up,” REGGIE PENN – the youngest of the Penn triplets – shoved her dismissively away. Her thin, little body was unable to hold up against his strength. She fell against the wall and slipped down onto her bottom, weeping. MARCUS – the eldest triplet by three minutes – circled DENNIS like a hyena stalking its prey. Dennis should have known. Nowhere in the Shady City was safe from her. He had been so careful in hiding Chloe. One of the clients must have sung.

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Chloe wasn’t a KNOCK KNOCK girl though. TABITHA shouldn’t have even known about her. Surely a stern warning for using the club as a venue for prostitution would be called for? A debt to pay for the money he had collected perhaps? Dennis wondered if they had found out he had spoken to me, a reporter. The Penns were only at two-thirds of their strength but the odds were still stacked in their favour.

“I’ll pay you half of anything I earned,” Dennis pleaded.

Reggie laughed. Marcus remained stoic. Reggie’s grin was sinister under a mop of blonde hair.

“Don’t hurt him. I liked doing it,” Chloe called out. “He wanted to make money and I wanted to make him happy.”

Marcus’ lips tightened. Reggie folded his arms. Dennis knew this wasn’t going to be a stern warning. Tabitha was sensitive on certain subjects. He should know that better than most.

“Pack him up for the AUCTION HOUSE,” was Marcus’ decision for Dennis. “The girl will come with us too.” Dennis’ chances of survival were becoming even more limited by the minute.

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The room in the Auction House he had been taken to only offered one route of escape. The smell of the perfume Chloe had generously sprayed on (perfume Dennis had given her) masked the odour of damp rot from the old artifacts that would normally be kept there.

“C’mon guys. See sense in this. You’re businessmen. The girl told you she consented to it. She consented to all of it. I kept her safe. I’ll cut you in, all three of you.”

“You talk so much bullshit I can smell it on your breath you slithering cunt,” Reggie grinned. Marcus turned to him and with a gaze – no gesture or words – his brother fell silent.

“You are telling me that she consented to hundreds of men?” Marcus pressed.

“She was given her share,” Dennis replied.

Chloe pleaded, “I did it because I love him and I wanted him to be happy.”

Marcus ignored her. “You are telling me that she consented to being bound, beaten and left bloody?” He kept his steely stare focused on Dennis. Reggie loomed behind him.

“It was what the client wanted,” Dennis explained. Normally a man of silver-tongued words, they were falling flat for the former Knock Knock club manager.

“What about what she wanted? You took that choice away from her.”

Chloe leapt to her feet. “Please don’t hurt him!” She rushed at Reggie, her tiny fists pounded on his chest. He grabbed her narrow wrists.

“Would you look at this?!” he jested, shoving Chloe’s malnourished frame back into the chair again. She dropped her head into her hands and started to weep.

“You took that choice away from her,” Marcus repeated, “just like you took that choice away from all those other little girls.”

Dennis’ eyes widened. ‘Shit!’ he thought. They weren’t really there about prostituting Chloe after all. It was about his taste for young flesh. Underage flesh. Tabitha had been biding her time, torturing him. Finally, she was ready to deliver her punishment. It didn’t make any sense that she would leave it to the triplets though. She made Dennis her whipping boy years ago. Surely she would have wanted to be there for the finale. Without the bitch in the red dress pulling the strings of her triplet marionettes it seemed even more chilling, more uncertain.

“That hasn’t been an issue for a long time. I gave up everything. I gave up my family. Just ask the Boss Lady!”

Marcus flanked his right side. Dennis had a clear view of the doorway. He could take his chances and run for the door, but had he become so heartless and self-preserving that he would leave Chloe in the hands of the Penns? She was a victim as far as they were concerned. But if Dennis fled, who knows what they would do to deliver their own brand of justice.

“I’m not a man like you Dennis,” Marcus stated, his voice booming an echo against the old walls of the Auction House. “I’m giving you a choice. Life or death?”

“Life Dennis! Live with me,” Chloe screamed.

Reggie grabbed her by the chin. His thick blonde hair concealed some of the spark behind his eyes. “If you don’t shut up and let us do our job, I’m going to cut you open from tit to toe.”

“Reg!”

Reggie looked back at his brother. “She’s really grinding me. Her whining voice got on my last nerve about a half hour ago.”

“Let me go. I’ll go far away. You’ll never have to hear from me again. I’ll disappear,” Dennis put in.

Marcus needed confirmation. “So you are choosing life?”

Dennis hadn’t survived as long as he had without having his wits about him. He was shrewd enough to know that whatever the Penns had planned for him, death would be preferable. But he had his son, MILO, to think about. He hadn’t seen his boy in years. He would be so grown up by now. He wondered if the head of thick, dark hair he had been born with would have lightened or if it was still the same. OLIVIA, his ex wife, had wanted to change the world in her own little way, make it a better place. She thought she had been helping those little girls by bringing them into her home as a social worker. She didn’t know she had been bringing them into the clutches of a predator. Tabitha had been one of those girls. She had been the one to tame that predator, removing his sharp teeth and his appetite along with it. “Life,” Dennis agreed. Whatever horrors the triplets had to inflict would be nothing if it meant seeing Milo again. Marcus turned with raised eyebrows to Reggie. Reggie drew a phone from the back pocket of the black jeans he wore. He dialled. There were a few rings that seemed to echo the beat of Dennis’ heart. Ring ring, ring ring. “We’re going to need Big Cathie down here. Dinner for two.” “No!” Dennis cried out. “No, I changed my mind. I choose death. Please! I choose death!” “Too late,” said Marcus simply. With a whack Dennis was knocked out cold. When Dennis came to again they had stripped him naked. He tried to run towards Chloe who waited hysterically in the hall. They caught him and dragged him back.

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“Reg?” Dennis tried the younger. “I thought we were pals? Haven’t I turned a blind eye to some of your depraved appetites over the years?”

Reggie’s tastes weren’t for flesh. Women or even men interested him little. What he had was a morbid fascination with cruelty, ever since he was a little boy.

“One thing I’ve learned,” Reggie replied. “People suck. And you are dregs of them all.” Abandoning reason due to the danger he was in, Dennis did try to run but like a rabbit caught in a trap there was no logic to his escape.

***

An excruciating hour later the security door buzzed. Reggie answered and allowed entry to a skeletally thin man who reached over six foot tall. He was the monster of a man they called Big Cathie. He was so called because of the catheter in his hand attached to a drip he pulled behind him.

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He wasn’t long for the world. Cathie was an AIDS patient. He would be dead soon by some disease or other, but in the meantime the Knock Knock Club kept him in a life of luxury because they found him most useful. The HIV virus proved a useful tool in threatening enemies when they refused to cooperate, and when all else failed a way of inflicting a slow and painful death. There were treatments of course but the virus was still enough to elicit fear in the most stubborn.

Cathie was treated like a king on behalf of the HEADLINERS. In return he would oblige their wishes. Tabitha was a good woman as far as Cathie was concerned. Life had dealt him a harsh blow. He had two sons and a wife he would be leaving behind. His wife didn’t want to know him but he could at least provide something for the boys. Tabitha guaranteed that in exchange he would use his horrible virus to infect creeps like Dennis.

Cathie had only met the club manager once but his reputation preceded him.

“Little kids? That’s fucking disgusting,” Cathie had agreed. The Penns saw infection with HIV as something of poetic justice.

“Look guys. This is unnecessary. If the Boss Lady thought I was so dangerous she wouldn’t want me running around when I could infect young girls, would she?” Dennis played the only hand he had left.

“Are you suggesting that if we do this we won’t be teaching you a lesson?” Reggie put to him.

“It could make me dangerous,” stated Dennis.

Reggie brushed his hair back and grinned. “Who says we were going to let you go?”
Marcus gripped Dennis by the throat. “It’s a terrible thing, taking a young girl before her time. It can be painful for her but it is also damaging in ways that will never heal. Your filthy fucking stench will gnaw at her for the rest of her life. So you are now going to sample at least some of the hurt you inflicted on those innocents. This virus will eat away at you. Just like those little girls now afraid of anyone touching them, you will feel what that is like as disease courses through your veins. When you stole the innocence of those little girls you gave them a life sentence. The virus is going to steal a little part of you away every minute of every day. What will kill you? Measles? Rubella? Common cold? Who knows, but maybe then you will have some idea of the torture you have put your victims through. They will never get over what you did to them just as you will never recover and you will never come within sight of your little boy again.”

“C’mon Marcus. This is just a scare tactic. I submit okay. I submit!”

As Reggie spoke, Dennis heard Tabitha’s voice. “No scare tactic this time. So you can drop your pants and bend over or you can take that poisoned cock in your mouth.  You see? Choices!”

“I know Tabitha is a spiteful bitch but please …”

Reggie pointed to Cathie’s flaccid penis. “You better get that thing fired up. This one is a wriggler.”

Dennis was laid across the table. Cathie hovered in the corner like the threat of a biblical play. Marcus set about securing Dennis to the spot. Reggie climbed up on the table and sat down.

“You see the game last week Cath?” He asked Cathie.

He was referring to a football match between Coldford City and the western town of Bellfield. City was the richest and biggest team in the area. The father of the triplets, Reginald, was a proud supporter of the team and now the Penn Auction House sponsored them.

“I didn’t watch the second half,” Cathie admitted. “Those Bellfield scumbags should never have gotten a penalty.”

Reggie nodded in agreement. “You are right there. Should have put four past them, if it weren’t for their fucking keeper.”

Cathie nodded consolingly. Meanwhile Marcus continued securing Dennis to the table.

When he finished, Reggie cheered. Dennis could feel the dirt and crumbs of the table against his bare stomach. Marcus was seated at the table’s end, watching with an expressionless, cold stare. Reggie was standing beside him. Chloe was still crying hysterically out in the hallway. She couldn’t quite comprehend what was happening. All she could say was, “Special cuddles for Dennis because I love him.”

Big Cathie had his hands clamped around Dennis’ waist.

“I know he’s an ugly cunt,” Reggie commented to Cathie. “Just close your eyes and think of City.”

 

***

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Reggie stepped outside the Auction House where the air was cooler. The interior always seemed so claustrophobic to him despite its high ceilings and open rooms. It was why he preferred the warehouse just on the outskirts of City Main. It was in this warehouse he kept thirty-three cages of rats. Ever since his father gave him a black rat on his thirteenth birthday he’d had a fascination with rodents – rats especially. Next to humans rats were the most successful species on earth, but unlike humans they still operated on an instinctual level. That spoke volumes for them as far as Reggie Penn was concerned. He liked to watch them, observe their behaviour patterns and apply that to his human interactions. He guessed he was a scientist at heart. If his mother hadn’t wanted him to take his share of their namesake Auction House he could have been in a lab somewhere, but there he was helping his brothers keep things running smoothly. Observing the rats he noted there was nothing they wouldn’t do for a little gratification. If you pierced them with electrodes that stimulated an orgasm every time they pushed a button they would keep pressing on that button, forgetting all else until they died of thirst or starvation. Their young followed soon after. In that sense the rats weren’t unlike humans Reggie decided. We too are always chasing gratification, whether it’s from a partner, alcohol, drugs or sugar. We always chase that feel-good.

Reggie also observed that no matter what he did to the rats they would always see him as master. He could burn their tails, make them watch as he cut off the heads of their young, it didn’t matter because the minute he brought them a food pellet he was a God to them. Humans could be trained in the same way. It just took a bit more time. He even tried it with his brother. One night he climbed into bed with Simon and tried to masturbate him. Simon beat him bloody for his troubles, resulting in a hospital trip and their mother being very upset. Not every experiment was a success he supposed. For Reggie power over something was the gratification that he was chasing. Being an all-giving leader pleased him and he would push that button all day. It wasn’t easy being a triplet – especially the youngest. You were always seen as being only one third of a whole person. It didn’t matter that Marcus was in charge and Simon was the tough one because when he returned to his rat cages at the warehouse he could still be a God. He put a cigarette between his lips and drew his phone from his pocket. It seemed like an appropriate time to update his social media pages. He couldn’t tell his followers about Cathie – although in Reggie’s mind it was probably the thing they would love to hear about, something hilarious that they would all get a kick out of. But he would play nice. He had already had to set up several new profiles because his previous ones had been shut down due to ‘violation of the rules.’

He was scrolling through pictures of scantily clad young women pressing LIKE (a lot like an orgasm button he supposed) when the phone started to ring. The caller I.D was one of their agents, Jeremy.

Reggie answered. “Yeah?” he enquired.

The agent sounded a little flustered. It wasn’t unlike Jeremy to be uptight but he seemed more so than usual.

“The Boss Lady has been taken in,” he said. “A friend at CPD just told me. They’ve got Simon too”

At first Reggie was unsure he had heard correctly. “What did you say?” The noise of the City Main traffic seemed to drown out the agent’s voice.

“They’ll be coming for you and Marcus. The Boss Lady has been taken in. I’m at CPD now. Simon was taken too.”

The agent’s voice dipped away as he talked to someone. The harsh accent from the part of town west of Coldford suggested it was PADDY MACK of MACK AND SONS. They were both angry.

“The Boss Lady has been taken in. Let Marcus know. He isn’t answering his phone.” At that the agent rang off.

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Just as Reggie prepared to head back inside and warn his brother a fleet of CPD cars pulled up. Led by Kim Adams. Before Reggie could move Kim was on him.

“I’m already having one hell of a day so are you going to test me?”

Reggie grinned and reached his arms up.

“You’re making a mistake,” he warned.

“Yeah, your brother said the same thing.” The CPD officers closed in.

Reggie Penn was taken into custody.

Marcus growled at the noise of the commotion. He sensed what had happened but it was too late to retreat. He hated the idea of being forced into retreat anyway. If they had managed to bring Tabitha in, the Penn dynasty was in immediate danger. Like a house of cards, the pillars of The Shady City were beginning to fall. Kim appeared at the door.

“It’s over,” she said.

“For now,” was Marcus’ cold reply. He came surprisingly quietly.

 

***

It could have been his imagination but Dennis could already feel himself becoming sick. Was that really the case or was his mind playing tricks on him? He couldn’t know for certain but he certainly felt weaker than he was before. Sure, the Penns hadn’t gone easy on him and Cathie had left him bloody but the disease, the virus was already raging around his body. If it was a placebo effect it was damn good one. Before Dennis had met Tabitha he had always been the man in charge, the go-to guy. She had stripped him of every bit of effervescence he had until he was a shadow of his former self. Was it a fitting punishment for the harm he had caused to little girls or the result of a mad woman’s psychopathic tendencies? It wasn’t my job to judge or to weigh up justice. Tabitha was behind bars and likely would be for a long time. Nothing was going to delete what Dennis had done to those little girls or his turning simpleminded, desperate girls like Chloe to prostitution. What mattered then was how he was going to use what time was left for him.

Trapped in the Auction House he had limited options but a guy like Dennis was never held back completely. He could at least make strides to protect himself.

“Chloe?” he called.

She had never left his side. The Penns weren’t exactly stopping her leaving but it wouldn’t be likely she could walk out of the Auction House so easily. She chose to wait with him. Wait for inevitable death? In the end maybe she would climb into the coffin beside him. It may be difficult to understand but she truly believed she couldn’t live without him.

“You have to go,” he said.

“No!” she squealed. She had been waiting on him asking this of her but it was the one thing she wouldn’t give. “I’m not leaving you.”

“You have to. I need you to find me a doctor. If you ask Marcus, he will allow it. Please. I need you to fetch me a man named DR WINSLOW.” Chloe blinked the tears away that were forming in her eyes. “Marcus will let him come here. He’s the only one who can help me. He’s the only one who stands a chance of helping me live long enough to see an end to all of this.”

“I’ll find the doctor,” cheered Chloe. “I’ll find him and he will make you feel better. I promise. I’ll give Marcus whatever he wants and Reggie too if you like.”

Dennis managed a smile. He shifted on the wooden panelled floor and winced in pain.

“Good. I need you to ask Marcus very nicely to bring me Dr Winslow. Can you do that?” Chloe nodded simply. She looked a little confused and upset still so he needed more confirmation. “Repeat it back to me, kid.”

“I ask for Dr Winslow. I ask Marcus really, really nicely.”

Dennis managed a smile again. She was so glad she could cheer him up.

Speaking more to himself he said, “She thinks she’s got the last laugh. I’m going to fuck her up. If I’m going down, I’m going to make her sorry she ever crossed my path.”

Chloe blinked, perplexed. The bitterness in his voice wasn’t like him. He was normally so calm even under dire circumstances.

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The point was moot anyway because CPD had already landed on the Auction House. Marcus was under arrest and as the officers burst into the room where Dennis was being held he and Chloe were separated. It seemed Dennis’ day of beating and questioning was far from over. As manager of the Knock Knock club and willing to talk against his Headliner masters, Dennis was an incredible asset for the Law Makers as the trial was set. Chloe looked up to Kim’s strong and protective face. It reminded her of a lioness she had seen at City Zoo when Dennis took her once to meet a client. The lioness had put herself in front of the cubs and watched the alpha male closely. The alpha male was intimidated. It wouldn’t approach the cubs whilst the lioness was around.

“Are you hurt pet?” she asked softly.

Chloe managed a smile despite herself. “I’m fine.”

Kim reached her hand out and clasped Chloe’s. “I’m going to need you to come with me. It’s going to be okay.” She spoke into her comm device. “I need some women officers in here.”

Thanks to Lydia’s international agency team, Chloe was taken to the safety of CPD.

Well that was a wild ride!

The themes in this episode were dramatised in order to push plot. For accurate and up to date advice on AIDs and HIV visit National Aids Trust at http://www.nat.org.uk

Next week we’re off the office of Law Makers. It’s time to put the Boss Lady and her support away for good.

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In the meantime: Here’s the story so far:

Free to read HERE on Vivika Widow Online or you can download for kindle by clicking HERE.

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: A Room With A View

Knock, Knock: Episode 6: Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock: Episode 7: No Kids Allowed

Knock, Knock: Episode 8: Kids These Days

Knock, Knock: Episode 9: Shootin’ The Breeze

Knock, Knock: Episode 10: Calling Last Orders

Knock Knock: Episode 11: Shady City Blues

Knock Knock: Episode 12: Going Down

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Knock Knock: Episode 12: Going Down

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The chill wind the night was bringing whistled. It could have been the adrenaline of the chase finally wearing off but Agent LYDIA LOWE could have sworn the heat wave that had been swarming over the city was finally breaking.

“You swore loyalty to me you rat faced bitch!” Tabitha hissed at her as she was led up the steps of the Coldford Police Department with a firm grip. The same steps I had descended with the Boss Lady just the previous day after my wife, Theresa, had been murdered. Lydia didn’t respond to the vexation the way I assume Tabitha had hoped she would.

The agent remained calm.

“I never swore anything to you,” she replied, pushing her prisoner on, still with a firm grip around her arm. Tabitha of course protested.

“Anyone who flashes their tits on my stage, loyalty is a given.”

CPD had cleared of the busyness of the day staff. There were still a few low lights and some detectives working at their desks on cases requiring long hours.

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68437759_2301131113458603_8516192915515506688_n.jpgLydia led Tabitha to the office of DETECTIVE HICKES.
“You are going to regret this,” Tabitha was still saying. “I have a lot of sway in this city.”
“Oh, you’re something alright,” agreed the agent distractedly, looking for Hickes.
“You bet your ass I am. Before I’m done you are going to wish you had stayed in your fucking northern hole.”
Lydia – still eagerly awaiting Hickes – replied, “What are you going to do? Pull my hair? Push me in the mud?”
Tabitha scoffed. “God! What a fucking tramp!” she exclaimed to herself. She turned then and looked behind her. “Oh, hi Hickesy,” she said with a grin.

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Detective Hickes had arrived in a fluster. He ignored Tabitha and spoke directly to the agent.
“Reynolds has been taken to General. I had to sort out the others.”
By the ‘others’ he meant Simon Penn, Paddy Mack of the Mack and Sons brewery as well as some of the other Macks that had given them trouble when they raided the Knock Knock club. “I have holding ready for her,” he explained while brandishing a set of keys.
Further into the belly of CPD, Tabitha was shown to what would be her residence for the foreseeable future.
“I want to call my lawyer,” Tabitha stated, taking a seat on the bed. “This is barbaric. I haven’t even been processed properly.”
Hickes finally acknowledged her. “You are being processed right now,” he told her. To Lydia he said, “I’ll send the paperwork over to Judge Doyle within the hour.”
“I need to call my lawyer,”Tabitha piped up again.
Hickes became frustrated. “You are a category A prisoner. In the city of Coldford that means we can hold you for at least 48 hours without giving you jack shit. More than that, if you don’t sit on your ass and stop running your mouth. It’s over Tabitha. Stay quiet and don’t make it any more difficult on yourself than it needs to be.”
Tabitha leaned back on her elbows. “A take-charge man? When did you grow such big balls?”
“Will she be secure enough in here?” Lydia put to Hickes.
“She will. I’ll have someone on the door twenty-four hours. Havitz can take the first shift. As soon as she’s tried she will be moved to the Monte Fort.”
Tabitha sat back up again at the mention of the infamous women’s correctional facility. “You sound so sure of yourself. Those big balls of yours must be ready for bursting.”
Both the detective and the agent turned to her.

“It’s over Tabitha,” Lydia reminded her again. “The game is over.”

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Tabitha rolled her eyes. “Then before you go and break out the parade you may want to take a look in the KNOCK KNOCK holding and help out your little reporter pal.”
“SAM?” Lydia looked to Hickes. “He left with that little girl.”
“Wrrrrrong!” Tabitha sang. “He tried to leave and made a pretty shitty job of it, too.”
“They were just going to open up the hold when I left,” said Hickes.
Lydia shook her head. “I better get back over there.”
Hickes followed Lydia out. Securely locking the door behind them. Two CPD officers stood on the door with guns ready.
“No one caring about little Sarah then? Just me? Mother fuckers!” Tabitha could be heard calling as she was locked in.
Tabitha took a look at her surroundings. As someone who had been running amok in the Shady City for so long there was little satisfaction in having her in custody. Perhaps it was because they knew she was dangerous until behind Monte Fort bars. Most people would be beginning to question some of the choices they had made. However, even then, even at that late stage, Tabitha assumed the fight was far from over. It was just that the battlefield was changing. The evidence against her was set.

***

003

I had heard the commotion spilling in from outside. I had heard gunshots but there was nothing I could do. I assumed someone would come soon but time passed and I began to think Tabitha had fought off whatever attack had come. Still there was no word. Still dressed only in my underwear, I looked again at MADELINE’S lifeless body. I shivered. It was an internal shiver that reached into the core of my body. In the past twenty-four hours I had lost so much pursuing a story on the KNOCK KNOCK club. If I had known then what was still to come, I don’t think I would have been able to go on but, as I said, the story had to be told. Finally there was an explosion at the door. Tabitha had refused to give up the keys to be difficult and her minions weren’t cooperating either.
“Why the fuck should I make it easier for any of them?” she had asked. “They brutalised my staff, wrecked my club and they want me to play nice?”
Things couldn’t get any worse for her. Why should she make it easier for anyone else?
LYDIA was the first to enter. My mind was still a little hazy from SIMON PENN’S knock out. I was still a little punched drunk, probably concussed too.
“She attacked me,” was all I could say. “Madeline was going to kill me.”
Lydia took a look at Madeline and had already deduced the story. She pulled me to my feet.
“You’ll be alright, Sam,” she said. Her northern BOURNTON accent was warming. Her soft, naturally cheery voice reminded me that I wasn’t alone. Perhaps it was that that gave me the fight to go on.
“Tabitha is in custody,” she said and, whilst those should have been the sweetest words to my ears at that point after everything she had done to me, I couldn’t help but feel unsettled.
Crossing through the club was like crossing a field in the aftermath of a battle. Chairs were overturned, blood soaked the floors, and men and women beaten into submission cowered in the corners with guns pointed at them.
“They came for Tabitha?” I asked of Lydia.
Lydia knew where my thinking was leading. “She has a lot of tricks up her sleeve. CPD couldn’t be too careful.”
I took note of the club members who were surrendering. Were they innocent? Perhaps not but was it really for the guns of CPD to decide that? They came for Tabitha. They had her. So why were CPD still holding club members?

***

“You could make this easier on yourself,” said Hickes.  “Just confess.”
Tabitha folded her arms across her chest and sat back on her bench.
“Why don’t you tell me what I’m confessing to?”
Hickes groaned with impatience. He stood and leaned on the table. “You know what you’re in for,” he said.
Tabitha shrugged. “Driving too fast?”
Hickes clenched fists. “Damnit Tabitha, make it easier on yourself!”
Tabitha laughed. “Look at you all in a rage. The little vein in your head is popping out and everything.”
“They’ve been after you for years. They are looking for any excuse,” Hickes reminded her. Now that they have you they will make an example of you.”
Tabitha fell silent for a few moments. “I notice you said they and not we. Whose side are you on?”
“I’m on the side that doesn’t want to see this city torn apart,” he replied with a sigh.
“It’s a pity,” she said, lifting her hand to inspect her fingernails.
“What is?” enquired the detective.
“What will happen to everyone my club protects. My AUNT TEE used that club to give shelter, food and support to so many. People like your sister for instance and your adorable little nephews.
“Eunice was grateful,” Hickes said.

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Tabitha puckered her lips. “My HEADLINERS were only too happy to help. I even made sure Stanley paid dearly for what he did to her without you having to get your little detective hands dirty. When you think about it, I’m kinda like a super hero.”
Hickes shook himself off. “Let’s not lose track here. You are no hero. Stanley beat Eunice and those kids but what you did to him? No one should… “
Tabitha gave a laugh. “Yeah, it was quite creative, wasn’t it?”
“What about the innocent people that died when a floor of the Weir Hotel was blown?”
Tabitha shook her head. “If they were staying at the WEIR, trust me they weren’t innocent.”
Hickes growled. “You don’t get to make that judgement.”
“No? Then who does? Judge fucking cyclops?” Tabitha returned with venom, her reference meaning Judge Doyle of the Law Makers. The very one who had authorised her arrest.

“Helping some people out doesn’t give you the right to murder, steal or destroy this city.”
Tabitha didn’t reply at first. Hickes thought he was beginning to get through to her.
“I need to speak to someone,” she said.
Hickes shook his head. “I told you, no calls.”
Tabitha leaned forward. Her expression softened. The bravado still lingered but it was lower than before. “For the sake of Eunice and those kids.”
Hickes’ nostrils flared but he too softened. “Who do you need to speak to?”
“I need to see my Aunt Agnes.”
AGNES WILDE was partner to Tabitha’s Aunt Tawny. They opened the club together and treated the Boss Lady like a daughter. Agnes was still on the board of the club, better known as the Broker.
“I can’t…”
“Just five minutes…” she hesitated. “Please.”

Enjoy this?

Next week we’re off to the PENN AUCTION HOUSE to catch up with our old pal and former club manager Dennis.

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In the meantime: Here’s the story so far:

Free to read HERE on Vivika Widow Online or you can download for kindle by clicking HERE.

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: A Room With A View

Knock, Knock: Episode 6: Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock: Episode 7: No Kids Allowed

Knock, Knock: Episode 8: Kids These Days

Knock, Knock: Episode 9: Shootin’ The Breeze

Knock, Knock: Episode 10: Calling Last Orders

Knock Knock: Episode 11: Shady City Blues

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Knock Knock: Episode 11: Shady City Blues

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I was told to stay away. I was warned by those closest to me. I was even warned by those who had a hand in running the place but I couldn’t leave it behind. The mayor of Coldford City had gone missing. I followed his trail of sleaze and embezzlement to a cabaret club called the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB Located in the poorest part of the city known as the SHANTIES, It was his last known whereabouts apart from his own home.

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As I knocked on that door a whole new world opened up to me, exposing the true filth that ran underneath the Shady City.

I lost my wife, I lost my home and I lost my focus on everything I knew to be right as I continued to linger in the darkness of the KNOCK KNOCK holding room. I lost a friend too, a good friend. She was gone before she even had her chance to tell me her part of the story, where she fit in. I thought I knew  MADELINE. We had worked together at the COLDFORD DAILY newspaper for a long time. In the Shady City though, people have so many different reflections of themselves.

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Worst of all where the innocents lost. I watched on as a little girl named Sarah was shot. She hadn’t done anyone any harm. She was just a little kid. In a world where heroes disguised as villains rule and villains parade themselves as heroes it is hard to know who to trust.

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I may have lost everything that was important to me but there is still one thing they can never take away and that is my story. My story will be told, even if it is with my last breath because when they strip me away from my friends, my family and my personal identity all that’s left is the reporter. The press can topple kings and queens. The press has the power to instil or remove belief in Gods should they choose. I had to use that kind of power for good and this is why I write now.

Looking back I could let the bitterness consume me but all I want is the truth. As the city rips itself apart, even when there’s nothing left but ashes, they will have to face that truth.

I’m even willing to face my own truth. I will face the things I never thought I was capable of. I will take responsibility for what I have done. The story will be told, no matter the consequences to me.

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***

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“Alright Lydia. Talk us through it.”

LYDIA LOWE peered out at the crowd that had gathered at the Knock Knock club that night.

“I can see the MACKS at their usual table,” she said. “I can see some of the other regular faces.”

“Do you see the BOSS LADY?” came the voice of KIM – Lydia’s mentor at the agency and the lead on this particular mission.

It had taken a long time to prepare to bring TABITHA in but the time had come. Lydia’s heart raced as the music began to fire up. Tonight was the night.

“I saw her earlier. She was at the bar with SIMON PENN,” she informed the team waiting close by for the opportunity to strike.

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“We need to make sure she hasn’t left already,” the warm, masculine voice of Agent Reynolds came through.

“She’s here somewhere,” Lydia assured. “She never leaves when the stage is set.”

The music was getting louder. The crowd were becoming excited.

“I have to go on stage,” said Lydia, still under the guise of a KNOCK KNOCK GIRL until such times as the mission was complete.

“Go get em’ girl,” Reynolds cheered. “You bring that thunder.” The cheer in his voice calmed Lydia’s nerve. They had spent a lot of resources preparing to bring Tabitha down. There was a lot riding on Lydia’s final performance at the club.

The crowd applauded as Lydia strutted onto the stage. Distracted by her toned body, her pretty face they didn’t realise the danger that loomed outside. Lydia knew how to draw their focus with her natural finesse. It was why she had been chosen for the mission. Going under cover at the club was not going to be easy but Kim needed someone capable and whom she could trust.

The warm stage lights burned down on her but Lydia managed to turn herself so she could see up onto the balcony. There she was, wearing her signature red dress. Unimpressed, Tabitha knew the crowds loved Lydia. It was the only reason she had managed to penetrate the club as far as she had. Even Paddy Mack, head of the Mack clan that supplied booze to the club, choose to share a pint with the bubbly Knock Knock girl from BOURNTON rather than the Boss Lady herself. It stirred enough of Tabitha’s jealousy to keep the agent under the radar as the club willingly opened up to her.

“I see her,” said Lydia discretely. “I have a visual. I repeat, I have a visual.”

She hoped they had heard.

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***

The wave began from outside and spread inwards. Before taking to the stage Lydia had unlocked the alley way door. It was the only other entrance to the club besides the main one. COLDFORD POLICE Detective HICKES accompanied by CPD officers could close in without the risk of breaching the main entrance. If all went awry they could pull back at short notice. There was no telling how dangerous the Knock Knock club could get.

There would be no mercy that night. Everyone at the club was a potential threat. No one would be presumed innocent.

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       ***

Simon Penn – the middle of the Penn triplets –  had sensed a commotion. He was the one sent to retrieve me as I tried to escape the club with little Sarah.

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His brother, Marcus, had given a lot to Knock Knock so a lot was at stake for the Auction House the Penn family owned too. The Penn family (triplets MARCUS, Simon and REGGIE and their mother Rita) were the self proclaimed rulers of City Main with the AUCTION HOUSE as their base.

“I’m going to take a look around,” said Simon to Tabitha. Her focus was still on Lydia on the stage.

“You do that Si,” she replied absent mindedly. “Look at that scabby whore thinking she brings the thunder,” she groaned. “We all know who really brings the thunder.”

She turned to Simon who was giving her a perplexed look.

“What thunder?”

Tabitha scoffed. “You’re such a boy sometimes.”

Simon raised his eyebrows in exasperation. “Something’s not right. I’m going to check it out.”

Tabitha leaned on the balcony. “Fine, off you pop,” she said.

Meanwhile, down below, Lydia’s routine was driving the crowd into a frenzy.

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***

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Simon made his way from the balcony deep into the heart of the club. He heard footsteps. He concealed himself behind the wall as Agent Reynolds slowly manoeuvred to the main body of the club. Simon waited patiently for him to draw closer. When the time for retreat was minimal he leapt out of the shadows. WHACK. PUNCH. SMACK.

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The middle Penn was a champion boxer, known as PUNCH LINE PENN. Reynolds was put to the canvas quickly. Simon charged on to the main entrance to see what other danger was trying to penetrate the fortress.

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GET OUT. The message read. Simon had been right. Something had been amiss. CPD were now closing in and closing in fast. Tabitha suspected she knew who had been responsible although petulance was probably still driving her suspicions at that point. If she had truly been suspect of Lydia before then the agent would never had lasted long at the club. However, her instincts were correct and the Knock Knock Boss Lady hadn’t gotten as far as she had without good instincts.

“Mother fucking cunt waving slut!” she growled to herself. She had no time to waste. She had to leave and like a castle under siege the queen fled to fight another day.

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***

Outside, a cool night breeze danced around Simon Penn’s face. The door closed behind him. He needed to buy Tabitha some time to get away. At the end of the alley way stood Kim – Lydia’s long time friend. She was alone. They weren’t pulling the CPD team just yet.

“Stay right there,” warned the middle triplet.

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Kim sighed. “Don’t be a fool. You know it’s over. Come quietly and make it easier on yourself.”

Simon raised his eyebrows and laughed. “You seem pretty sure of yourself.”

Refusing to be drawn in Kim kept her composure.

“You probably don’t realise just how fucked you are right now so I’ll give you one last chance. Come quietly.” She strolled towards him casually as though she was approaching him for directions.

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“Don’t do anything stupid,” she urged.

Simon put his hands behind his back and leaned against the door.

Simon’s fists clenched. His expression fell into an animalistic sneer. Kim knew it wouldn’t be as easy as just asking nicely but she had to hold the Penn where he was until her CPD support arrived so he couldn’t get back to Tabitha.

Simon spat on the ground. He tensed his shoulders and cracked his neck.

Time was running out. Whilst things continued inside the club, Tabitha could very well be making her bid to slip out of their grasp.

“I’m not going anywhere,” growled Simon as he brought himself to his full height to intimidate her.

Kim remained unmoved. “And I told you you’re coming in one way or another.”

“I’ll knock you on your ass if you don’t back the fuck off,” Simon snarled.

“I’m hoping to God you take a swing at me because I’m looking for any excuse.”

Tension was building. Simon was obviously playing for time too. It was then Kim realised had already warned Tabitha. Kim couldn’t let the Boss Lady get away and ruin the work her agents had put in getting to this point.

“Reynolds is badly beaten. He’s going to need medical attention,” Hickes’ voice came through Kim’s ear piece. “We’re searching for Tabitha.”

Simon’s frustration pushed him. He swung a left hook at her but luckily she managed to dodge it. By the time she had corrected herself he was raining another down on her. She pushed him back but his firm footwork found him lunging forward again, this time with the right fist. The second blow she managed to dodge. Her luck was wearing thin. She had to get inside. She didn’t know how badly hurt Agent Reynolds was or if Tabitha was slipping away.

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Simon rained the punches in hard and fast, refusing to hold back any of the precision or strength he used in the boxing ring. He was however, beginning to lose discipline as Kim dodged his punches before finally blocking his right arm and in an unexpected use of the South Paw. She caught him on the chin as promised, sending him falling to the canvas that was Clifton Alley.

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What Simon didn’t know was Kim was the daughter of a great boxer known as the Bournton Blizzard. He had taught his daughter everything he knew before a particularly gruelling eleven rounds in the ring with Punchline Penn left him paralysed.

“I did warn you,” said Kim as Simon grunted and started to pick himself back up.

He spat again. “You fucking bitch!” he growled with real venom.

Voices chattered at the end of the alley as more CPD officers arrived on scene to help.

“You boys took your time,” Kim barked at them. The officers surrounded her. She looked to Simon. “As for you, I’ll have to give you your second round some other time.”

***

As Tabitha fled the scene she saw the members of her club beaten brutally as CPD pillaged Knock Knock. A Knock Knock girl named Polly was being pulled deeper into the alley by her hair.

She was screaming, “leave me alone!”

She was a nice girl. She was just looking to make a living for her and her daughter Freya so she shared bar work with Lisa. She was one of Tabitha’s first appointments when she took control. Hiring her was her first real decision as Boss Lady.

Tabitha growled. There was nothing she could do to help her people in that moment but she made note. She wouldn’t forget and CPD would pay for harming her members and her girls.

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CPD had gained control of the area but there was still no sign of Tabitha. Lydia was dressing whilst Hickes offered a quick report of the events as they had unfolded whilst she coordinated from the Knock Knock stage.

“We have some of the MACKS in custody,” he said. “As well as Simon Penn.”

Lydia slipped into a pair of trousers. “What about Tabitha?” She asked.

“We’re still searching the area. She has to be in here somewhere.”

Lydia frowned and shook her head. “Unless she has managed to slip past.”

The agent visualised the area in her head. There had been part of the team assigned to the back that led to the street where Tabitha parked her car. The commotion that poured from the club in that direction Tabitha could have used to her advantage.

Lydia finished dressing. “Finish cleaning up here,” she ordered. “I’m not letting her get away. Not after everything we’ve been through to bring her in.”
Surrounded by the rough brick and walking on the sticky floors it seemed the CPD were bringing Knock Knock to order. Being inside the castle meant little without the rebel queen in captivity.

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***

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“That bitch!” Tabitha screamed clutching her steering wheel. She heard Lydia’s bike draw closer to her. Looking in the rear view mirror confirmed it. The Knock Knock girl now pursuing agent was closing in.

The people of the Shanties watched on as their queen departed in a flash of a red sports vehicle.

“Get out of the way!” Tabitha cried to a couple who lingered close to the road, probably making their way to the club without realising what had transpired. “I will knock you the fuck down!”

The couple fell back out of the route. Watching, bewildered as the red car that was so distinct and so well known in the area that even the most desperate or daring of car thieves wouldn’t touch. It was one of the few luxury vehicles that could sit in the poorest area of the city without being damaged or stolen. The plates that read 8O55 LADY were enough deterrent. Even the Penns were dropped off and picked back up by town cars from the Auction House whenever they had business in the Shanties.

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As fast and as fancy as Tabitha’s car could be it wasn’t enough to shake off the pursuit of agent Lydia Lowe.

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Tabitha brought the car to a halt. Lydia had the briefest windows of opportunity to decide if Tabitha was giving up. ‘No,’ she thought. ‘That would be too easy.’ She was right.

Tabitha threw the car into reverse and it charged towards Lydia. Tabitha gave a maniacal laugh at the thought of running her over.

“Not bringing the thunder now, are you?” she cheered.

Luckily Lydia was able to leap to safety. Tabitha’s car sped off again towards an expanse of waste land that was the outskirts of the Shanties. It was up to Lydia to stop her escaping. If she managed to get away the chaos at the club would be for nothing, Reynolds’ injuries would be for nothing.

She hopped onto her bike again and sped off. She took her gun, focusing on balance and precision. She fired once, catching the back tyre of Tabitha’s car. She fired a second time before the car fell into a spin and caught the right tyre. Tabitha had no choice but to bring the car to a stop.

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She screamed like a spoiled child in a tantrum, stamping her feet and slamming the palms of her hands against the steering wheel. She caught sight of Lydia approaching with caution. Her gun was still drawn.

“Let’s see how you like a bullet in your butt ugly face, whore,” Tabitha said feeling a little giddy. She reached into the glove compartment and retrieved her own gun. No bullets. “Are you fucking kidding me with this?”

She dropped the gun to the floor. If Lydia saw her with it in her hand she would open fire. Instead she looked in the mirror, checked her make up and fixed her hair. She pushed the button and the window slowly whirred open.

“Is there a problem officer?” she asked with a grin

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Well the Boss Lady has found herself in a spot of bother with the law.

Episode 12: GOING DOWN will be available to download from the 9th of August.

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Can’t wait?

Why not look back at Volume 1?

Available to download or free to read here at http://www.vivikawidow.com

Volume 1 of the hit graphic novel series is free to read HERE on Vivika Widow Online or you can download for kindle by clicking HERE.

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: A Room With A View

Knock, Knock: Episode 6: Picking Up Strange Women

Knock, Knock: Episode 7: No Kids Allowed

Knock, Knock: Episode 8: Kids These Days

Knock, Knock: Episode 9: Shootin’ The Breeze

Knock, Knock: Episode 10: Calling Last Orders

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We at the Knock Knock club are all about having a good time so let us know what you thought. Visit our social media pages for exclusive images, chat and maybe even a cute cat video.