Category Archives: Knock, Knock

More on the Knock, Knock graphic novel series.

Knock, Knock: Episode 2: Don’t Come Knockin’

So I admit, I gave it more than a second thought. Holding the card tightly between my fingertips wondering, ‘Who is this woman and what does she know about the mayor?’ Then there was the club – The KNOCK KNOCK Club – that I had been invited to. I had never heard of it before but the story on the mayor was leading me to some strange places.

“Why don’t we go out and celebrate my new job?” I suggested to my wife.

She was apprehensive. “No SAM,” she returned. “I’ve had a long day. Can’t you see how exhausted I am?”

“Maybe getting away from the house will make you feel better?”

She shook her head and pursed her doll-like lips.

“You always do this!” she slapped my arm impatiently.

I took her in my arms.

“Fine, we’ll stay here.”

She looked back at the living room. She must have decided getting away from the house was a better idea after all.

“Where will we go?”

I raised my eyebrows and offered a wry smile. “I hear there is at least one club open. I may even be on the guest list.”

Theresa slapped my arm again, playfully this time. She managed a smile. “That isn’t funny Sam!”

I put my arm around her. “Don’t worry. Nothing is going to happen to me. But I have to chase this story. It could mean big things for us. Unless you’d rather stay here?”

Theresa shook her head. “No, I don’t want to be home alone again.” She started to sob.

“I’m sure you will find that it was all for nothing. She probably just has some information on the Mayor.”

Theresa hesitantly agreed.

As I washed and freshened up I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of club the Knock Knock Club was and what I would find there.

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Around 8pm, Theresa and I drove through the sun scorched streets. The summer looked as though it was nowhere near ready to give up the fight. There weren’t many people out though. The Shady City looked like a ghost town. The address for the club was in the South West, in an area known as The Shanties. The Shanties was the most deprived part of the city. It was normally over-crowded and the streets full but, on that night, it was like a ghost town. Mayor Feltz had helped in draining it of the last life it had.

“I want go home Sam. I don’t think we are going to find that club,” Theresa said.

I was just about to agree with her when I noticed a brazen neon sign flashing deep within an alley. ‘The Knock Knock Club’. Perhaps it was my own apprehension, or maybe empathy for my wife’s concerns but I found myself asking, ‘Are you sure about this?’

Theresa gripped my arm. “You are just going to ask some questions right?”

I smiled and sighed, the nerves fluttered in my chest. I was never this nervous of a story. Perhaps it was because Theresa was with me, but as we approached the heavy door I hesitated. The main street seemed a long way away. The door wasn’t particularly welcoming for a night club. The sign above offered a light humming noise as the bulbs committed tirelessly to their duty.

A man stood outside. He looked as though he was waiting for someone, leant against the wall like a school boy hiding from the teachers. When he saw us his expression changed from boredom to excitement in an instant.

“New faces,” he cheered.

“Is this the Knock Knock club?” I asked. It was a stupid question given the sign but I had to confirm.

His stare lingered on Theresa. She smiled back at him girlishly.

“The name is DENNIS,” he told her. “I’m the manager here. You just let me know If you need anything.” He took her hand and kissed it. “It’s always nice to see new faces.”

‘Yeah,’ I thought to myself, ‘as long as they’re women.’

Dennis pushed the door open and the music from the club flooded out on a wave of excitement from the patrons.

With a flick of his wrist a scantily clad young girl dashed over to Dennis’ side.

“A good table Lees,” he requested. The girl, blonde haired with a large beaming smile nodded.

“Sure thing,” she said. “Follow me hon.” Theresa gave one final glance back at me and headed into the darkness.

I made my way to follow her but Dennis put his arm out across my chest and stopped me.

“Not so fast buddy.” He flicked his fingers. “Invitation?”

I passed him the invitation with a glare and headed on in.

Lisa – the serving girl – offered us a menu each. They were simple, black with the name of the club on them. My menu was sticky and well used. There was a stage as the main focus of the club. The band was deep in their music. The chorus girls were dancing around in a parade of sequins and feathers. The Knock Knock Club was actually so homely it would be pleasant if the brick work walls didn’t make it seem like a prison. Theresa was still nervous. She kept turning back to look towards the door. We ordered some food. It wasn’t fine dining but it was effective none the less.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen,” the voice of the Knock Knockers band leader boomed over the soft playing. Most of the room looked up from their conversations and gave him their full attention – including my wife and I. “Welcome to The Knock Knock Club. It has now come to that part of the evening that we all love. I know it’s my personal favourite. Please welcome on stage – Knock Knock’s very own Boss Lady

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In a rush of drums and wind instruments, like the welcoming flag parade of a queen, the man rushed from the stage. The spotlight caught a very striking woman in its clasp. She was met with a thunderous applause. She was accompanied by two bare breasted dancers.

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She started to sing. Her voice was sultry but strong. The red dress she wore flowed perfectly across her modelesque body. When she smiled I noticed a gap between her front teeth that gave her a charm that she knew how to wield.

I turned back to Theresa. Her already pale face had drained completely of all colour.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

She reached her quivering hand out and pointed to the stage. “I don’t want to stay at some filthy show Sam!” she screeched. “You shouldn’t have brought me here.”

“I just have to find out who it was that came to speak to me today.”

I turned back to the stage. The Boss Lady was singing a melody with a touch of old school cabaret. The drum beat was reminiscent of a military march. Her red dress glinted under the stage lights. Her voice was a pleasant tone, soft and warm like honey.

Theresa remained frozen in her chair, staring at the Boss Lady, complete with appreciative calls from the crowd.

Dennis walked by so I stopped him.

“I need to speak to the one who owns the club,” I told him. “It’s urgent.”

Dennis narrowed his gaze on me but his handsome smile remained. He leaned over and pointed to the stage. “You’re looking at her pal,” he explained.

“Come on Dennis!’ cried one of the other patrons inviting him to a card game.

“Don’t worry my man. Just deal me in,” he replied over the music.

He turned back to us.

“Enjoy your evening folks but I wouldn’t go bothering her,” he said. His voice sounded different. His expression was softer.

A woman approached him and called something Into his ear. He put his arm around her and headed off to his card game.

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Theresa stood. She threw her arms up in exasperation.

“Where are you going?” I asked, trying to grip her arm.

“I’ll wait for you outside!” she spat. “I’m not interested in this filth.”

I gave a glance back at the stage and the woman in red looked down on me knowingly. Her smile stretched before returning to her audience for the last piece of her song.

***

I was surprised that no one stopped me as I slipped backstage. At the end of a long hall, carpeted in a sticky well-used black, lay a door with the name TABITHA on it. I assumed it to be the Boss Lady’s dressing room. I knocked.

“Come in,” came the same silken sound to match the singing.

I pushed open the door. The cabaret singer was looking into her mirror so she turned to face me.

“You are very lost, my man,” she said. A smile formed. Her chestnut brown tresses flowed over her shoulder. Her lips were still painted a bold red. “Unless you are a waiter and bringing me the drink I asked for you shouldn’t be in here.”

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“I’m Sam Crusow,” I said with some severity. “I am a reporter for the COLDFORD DAILY.”

“Then you really, really shouldn’t be in here,” she replied unmoved.

“I’m following the story on the mayor. I just wanted to ask you a few questions.”

“I wouldn’t talk to a rag like the Daily,” she said with a smile. “It’s pages aren’t worth putting down for a dog to piss on.”

I remained calm. “I was told the mayor was a regular here. Did you hear anything about where he might be going?”

Tabitha was still amused at her own jest about the paper. “Lot’s of people come and go here Scott. It’s hard to keep track of them all.”

“It’s Sam.”

She waved her hand dismissively. “What ever.”

“I would like to ask some of your staff some questions. Maybe they saw something you didn’t.”

Her smile widened. “I wouldn’t hold much hope on that.”

I pressed, “surely you would know the Mayor of Coldford has been here more than once. Surely you would notice such a high profile regular?”

She rolled her eyes. “I think when you are as naughty a man as Jim Feltz was, you are bound to make some enemies. It doesn’t take an ace reporter to crack that one.”

I noted that she referred to him in a past tense.

“Did you know him personally?”

She flicked her legs over and leaned back on her chair. “Not exactly.”

“How do you know he was a naughty man as you say?”

She gave that honeyed laugh again. “It’s not exactly a health spa I run here. The people that come here are looking to be discrete. It isn’t the kind of place men bring their wives.”

I thought of Theresa standing outside waiting on me so I made to leave.

“I have to go but I’ll be back. I hope you can give me some insight into what goes on around here. It could help trace the mayor’s last steps.”

“Discretion Mr reporter,” she said. “My clientele wouldn’t be happy if they found out I was advertising in a newspaper. It’s bad for business. I do have one question for you though.” She stood and drew closer to me. Her hands clasped behind her back. “This club is by invitation only. How the fuck did you get in?”

I kept her gaze. “I’ll come back,” I repeated. “Perhaps if you remember something it will help. I’ll keep your name off the record. Miss T is it?”

“If you are going to come visit me in my dressing room how about you just call me Tabitha.”

“My wife is waiting outside but If I come back will you give a statement? Will you answer some of my questions?”

“Pop quiz. You’re all about the fun.”

I turned to leave but she stood and pulled me back.

“I look forward to seeing your handsome face around here again then. Apparently we just let anyone wander back here these days,” she said.

As the door closed behind me I heard Tabitha’s voice.
“You are so fucking gorgeous!” she cheered. It seemed she had turned back to her own reflection.

A woman was wandering down the corridor. I recognised her as the topless dancer that had been to the left of Tabitha during her performance. The dancer smiled in acknowledgement as she passed me, as though she wasn’t almost as naked as the day she was born. It was no holds barred at the Knock Knock club and that was just the beginning.

***

I managed to catch up with Theresa just outside the club. She was laughing and talking with Dennis.

“Is everything all right pal?” It was Dennis who spoke first.

“Fine,” I replied coldly.

Theresa linked her arm around mine and brought herself close to me. She still seemed to be a little shaken but the night air was cooling and it did some work in taking away our cares.

***

When we arrived home we found our door lying ajar. We both stopped suddenly.

“Wait here!” I instructed, leaving her and venturing into the house to assess the damage.

The door hinges were broken. The furniture overturned. Upon initial inspection it appeared that nothing had been stolen. Someone had been just trying to shake me up. What was clear though, was that whoever it was, they were relentless.

Theresa followed me in. She cried when she saw the mess.

“What have you done Sam?” Theresa cried.

That was a damn good question.

#amreading #thriller #graphicnovel series #knockknock by @VivikaWidow


The mayor is still missing and the Knock Knock club is still open.

You can now take the Knock Knock series on the go!

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KNOCK, KNOCK: Episode 1: Welcome to the Club

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Mayor Jim Feltz gave a lot to the city.  Coldford was a demanding mistress though. It had earned its nick name as the Shady City not just because of the gloomy weather but because everything was there for the taking for anyone who wasn’t hindered by morals or conscience. Jim was such a man.

Whilst the city’s funds depleted he squirrelled away as much as he could. There was a war brewing on the city streets and he was damn sure he wasn’t going to get caught up in it. Things were going to implode soon. It was only a matter of time. The regeneration projects he had promised during his last campaign were halted by the LAW MAKERS in the city. The poorest area known as The Shanties had been left worse off than they ever had been. The Tradesmen of the city were fighting back.

People in high positions – people he considered friends – had pilfered the money away leaving those lower on the ladder high and dry.

As the class war raged it left no money for the expecting mothers the mayor swore he would help. School budgets were cut to compensate for any losses caused by riots and looting. Only the exclusive Alban’s Boarding School managed to weather the storm.

What did it matter? When campaign time came again he could blame the opposition. He was just dealing with the mess they had left behind. Half of the city would believe it and the other half wouldn’t care either way. But he was done with all that.

“Will you be home on time?” Sylvia Feltz asked her husband as he prepared to leave. “We have the Weirs coming to dinner,” she added. “I need you here.”

The plan to leave everything behind had been in the works for weeks. The day had finally come. He had enough money to start over now. When the finances of the city finally tumbled like a house of cards and the war spilled onto the streets he would be out of the picture. Sure his family would have to face the music at first but they would get out of it cleanly for the most part.

His eldest daughter, Lacey, kissed him.

“I’ll be by the office this afternoon,” she said. “We need to go over a campaign plan.”

Lacey was her father’s daughter in every sense – so like him she was. She had gotten involved in his political career right from the beginning. The day he announced he was running she was by his side. She had aspirations on becoming the city’s first female Mayor. She had a naïve view of politics though. A certain lack of compassion was required despite what many might argue. She would learn that soon enough.

He stepped outside of his building. People were becoming irate so he kept his security close. His silver town car wasn’t waiting for him at the entrance of the building as it always was. He trusted his driver, Shane. He was nothing if not punctual. He looked at the security guard he was assigned. He was expressionless with hands clasped on his stomach. His cold stare was masked behind spectacles. He recognised the man’s face. He had been with him before. His name was Marcus. He wasn’t a security guard all. He was one of Penn triplets who owned the AUCTION HOUSE. The car pulled up before he could ask him his business. Mayor Feltz looked at the door of his car. something had gone awry.

His heart increased the tempo of it’s beat as MARCUS PENN reached over and opened the car door. It was really happening. The car pulled close but Shane in the driver’s seat was covered by tinted windows. Marcus leaned over and opened the door. The mayor made to climb in but he hesitated. A woman was sat waiting for him. She shifted over and patted the seat beside her.

“Don’t be shy,” she said.

Her ruby lips curled into a pretty smile. The collar of the grey coat she wore was pulled up around her neck. Marcus pushed him in and sat beside him.

“Isn’t this cosy?” she remarked.

He tried to control his breathing. He called upon every political stoicism he had in the hope he didn’t look worried. The sweat gathering on his brow didn’t lie.

“What do you want?” he asked.

The woman looked out of the tinted windows and watched the city pass by at greater and greater speeds.

“I just wanted to give a proper farewell,” she replied. “Surely you wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye to little old me?”

Fear erupted inside him. He didn’t care that he would be leaping from a moving vehicle. He clutched for a door handle but Marcus snatched his wrist and twisted it causing the bones to crunch together.

“Let me out!” he cried.

The woman laughed. “Don’t worry,” she said. “We’re not going far. The city wishes to thank you for your service.”

Her name was TABITHA and he should have known there would be no escaping.

The car stopped. The driver opened the door. It wasn’t Shane after all. It was a woman. She wore a plain white blouse and simple black trousers. She had a familiar face but he couldn’t place her. If he paid more attention to the people he threw money at he would recognise her as the scantily clad girl who spent some glorious time on his lap during his last visit to the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB. He had paid her extra to finish the job but that was all but a distant memory.

Tabitha stepped out first. They had parked outside an office block in the business district of City Main not far from his home in the North Side. Marcus pushed the mayor out onto the street.

He was escorted into the building. Tabitha was in front of him and Marcus loomed behind to make sure he wasn’t going anywhere.

Tabitha said nothing as they climbed the steps. The mayor was sobbing. Each time he thought they had reached the end of his torture they had another floor to climb. They finally reached the top. Tabitha fished a key from her coat pocket and unlocked the green door that greeted them. The Beckingridge Tower could be seen standing tall across the street.

“Your daughter wanted to say good bye.”

His youngest daughter, Amber, was tied to a table. Her arms and legs spread. She had been stripped to her underwear. Jim moved to run to her but Marcus grabbed him with great clenching hands and pulled him back. The room was empty save for a chair, a large machete blade that leaned against the wall and the table that held the seventeen year old girl. Amber’s mouth was covered but she was screaming. Her eyes were wide and terrified.

The BECKINGRIDGE FINANCIAL FIRM are one of the largest organisations in the city and had been for generations. When tensions rose between the north and south of the city the firm became collateral damage. The office across the street had remained empty ever since the FREE FALL MASSACRE. Fifty nine people lost their lives when several benefactors and staff fell from the balcony of the penthouse suite. No one dared take over the space again.

“Leave her alone!” The mayor cried desperately. “She’s done nothing to you.”

Tabitha clutched his face and rested her chin on his shoulder.

“You have really pissed me off Jim. You think you can abandon ship just like that? I have to take it out on someone.”

“I wasn’t leaving. I just needed time to think. The Law Makers are pushing me more and more. I could come back and be of more use to you.”

Tabitha slid her hand into his pocket and pulled out the flight reservations. She looked at them and dropped them on the floor.

“You see,” she said, “the thing is, I would love to believe you. I really would. This is a one way ticket though.”

“Let her go,” the mayor sobbed. Tears were rolling down Amber’s face. “I’ll pay anything.”

Tabitha shook her head. She stood up straight. “It’s not about the money,” she stated. “We have that already anyway. This is personal now.”

She sat across his lap and kicked her long, slim legs out.

“A girl could be insulted with a man running out on her like that. I thought you liked my little club.”

“I do,” protested the mayor of Coldford.

Tabitha grinned. There was a gap between her front teeth that gave her a quirky, girlish quality.

“Let’s see how much then, shall we?”

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With a nod to Marcus he swung the blade and cut her left hand. The sharpened blade swiped through flesh and bone with ease. Her screams of agony were muffled by the cloth over her mouth.

Her father screamed too. He didn’t have time to gather himself when Tabitha pointed again for Marcus cut off her other hand.

“You’ve made your point!” said Jim. “Let her go!”

Tabitha gave a raspy laugh. “And miss the chance to see Marcus at work? The man is an artist, isn’t he?”

The mayor tried to push against the binds. Tabitha was on her feet again. She walked over to the table and took the blade from Marcus.

“I will give you a choice,” she offered. “Since your girl is going to die anyway I can either continue cutting her up into little pieces or just end it now for her. What do you want me to do?”

The mayor sobbed. “Please just leave her.”

“I didn’t quite catch that.”

“End it,” the mayor cried louder. “End it for her.”

He had averted his gaze unable to see the pained look on his youngest child’s face. Her eyes were hazy. She was going to pass out from the blood loss soon.

“I will if you tell me I’m pretty,” Tabitha teased.

“Just kill her! Just kill her now! Please!” the mayor roared.

Tabitha’s grey eyes widened. “That is your daughter!?” she gasped. She grinned. “You are a nasty piece of work Jim.”

She lifted the blade and centered it on Amber’s forehead. Before the point penetrated her skull there was a flash of realisation on Amber’s face.  

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The mayor cried. He knew he was playing a dangerous game but never would he have thought it would come to this. He was leaving his life behind for sure but not in the way he had intended. 

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023

Tabitha dropped the blade, circled behind him like a predator and began massaging his shoulders.

“Well Jim, we must dash. You know what it’s like when I’m away from Knock Knock too long. Well … Well it can be just murder!”

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Times have been desperate for the people of Coldford, better known as the Shady City. Once upon a time executives now reduced to rummaging through their neighbours’ trash to find a meal. Many are hunting for shelter wherever they can find it – like stray cats. Their once well tailored suits now hanging in rags. It’s surreal to see once proud captains of industry reduced to the indignity of soup kitchens. Nowhere to go, no means of rising back up to their ivory towers.

My name is SAM CRUSOW. When the depression hit, two industries were saved – entertainment and news. People always need to know what’s happening in the world and people always need an escape from their reality. Luckily for me I’m with the latter. I have been a freelance journalist ever since finishing college. As the financial belt tightened it was harder and harder to get a full time position with a news paper so I (and most of my colleagues) went from story to story just trying to make it. Most of my stories sold to the biggest newspaper in the city – COLDFORD DAILY.

I thought I had managed to successfully navigate through the choppy waters of recession until the day I discovered that beneath the harsh surface lay a more terrifying truth. But I get ahead of myself. I write these notes so that everyone can know the truth. Chances are I will be gone by the time you read this. I am on borrowed time as it is.

It began just as summer was breaking. We were experiencing one of the warmest spells we had had in quite some time.

The Mayor – Jim Feltz – had disappeared without a trace. That morning he had kissed his wife, a voluptuous and formidable woman named Silvia, and his eldest daughter, Lacey, goodbye. He straightened his power tie in the mirror and made his way to wade through the city’s financial crises, which if you were to believe the tabloids were largely his fault. Normally he would have been escorted to the office by security of some kind. The citizens of Shady City, riled at the very sight of the Mayor, only made matters worse. However, that morning he never arrived at his office. Making his way down his street in his luxury silver car was the last anyone saw of him. Some of the neighbours remembered hearing loud music blaring from his open windows as he passed which was most unlike the buttoned down, conservative man that he was.

I had been covering the story as it developed. This meant I had been spending more time at the offices of the Daily. The Daily was the only source of news on the mayor by Mrs Feltz’s request and being area’s largest newspaper. It was also the provider of food on my table. Hiring freelancers had been their way of protecting themselves. It meant that they were only paying for the material they needed, without any full time mouths to feed.

I never liked Mayor Feltz. I certainly didn’t vote for him. As I pursued the story I uncovered gambling debts and a mistress at the far end of town. He must have been quite the charmer. When I interviewed his mistress she told me that he was planning on leaving his wife (which is probably what they all say). On the morning he disappeared he had been planning to visit her. They were going on a trip together, which is why he had wanted to be discreet. The mistress, Cindy, had waited for him for most of the morning in her lavish apartment that the city coin had paid for. She flipped between anger and worry as she did. By two in the afternoon the police swamped her, acting quicker for such a public figure than they would have for any ordinary citizen.

Neither his wife, his mistress nor his gambling associates could offer the police any idea as to where he went, so on that warm morning I made my way to the stretch of tower blocks that housed the newsroom in the North Side. My mind was occupied by ways I could spin the same story or offer a new angle.

Close to the office the clang of metal bins falling over drew my attention. From behind the cans crawled a man. He was young, filthy and with a mop of thick hair. Like many of the others forced to live on the streets. He sat with his back against the wall and brought his knees to his chest. His eyes were dulled by the effects of alcohol. He held a core of an apple and made breakfast of it. Sights like these were shocking when the recession first hit but they became more common and so you no longer noticed. The mighty had fallen and the rest of us became desensitised to their plight. I gave him what coins I had left. With very little I could do to help him, I entered the tall grey building with the large towering sign on top that read ‘Coldford Daily’.

029

The newsroom was hot and thick with the smell of coffee. Full time reporters had become scarce but those of them who did remain in work dashed back and forth trying to perfect their articles. Nothing quite so stimulating as a looming deadline. The brown leather satchel that I always carry my articles in was dropped on an unoccupied table. I rested at the desk, drew out my notes and began to review them. I had to ignore the hum and chatter around me to focus on the words.

“Hey Sam,” came the voice of MADELINE LOWER. I looked up and briefly acknowledged her presence with a smile. Madeline and I had been friends since college. She too was a freelance writer although she would admit her stories weren’t selling as well. I don’t think my writing was any better than hers, its just that the editor, Eric Waddle, was a bit of a chauvinist and what articles of hers he did accept were probably grudged.

‘Maybe if I slept with him he would change his mind,” she had said. She was joking of course but everyone had their motives in Shady City so it wouldn’t surprise me.

Madeline was an athletic woman in her late twenties. Her shoulder length brunette hair fell loosely around her shoulders. Her skin was a warm caramel colour like she had come from a sun kissed land. Her pale blue eyes were sharp and feline. That morning she wore a white shirt and a plaid skirt. She sat herself on the edge of my desk with the leap of feminine grace. “Waddle was looking for you,” she informed me. “He told me to kick you into his office as soon as you got here.”

“Thanks,” was my reply, still absorbed in my reviewing. I brushed my auburn hair away from my face. I was always pale but in those days of hard work I was even paler. I gathered my strength. Discussions with Waddle took a lot of energy. He was the kind of man who didn’t talk to you but talked at you.

“You look like hell,” Madeline commented – ever the crusader for honesty. “Go see what he wants and I’ll get us some coffee.”

Madeline slipped off the desk and made her way to the farthest end of the newsroom where the fresh coffee was being brewed.

I knocked on the door of the editor’s office. I could hear Eric’s voice inside having a one sided conversation which suggested that he was either conducting a telephone call or some journalist was on the listening side of a hostage situation. I pushed the door ajar slightly. I caught a glimpse of Waddle standing behind his desk. His back was to me. He had a black telephone receiver placed to his ear. He heard me as I stepped inside because he swivelled round, smiled and waved at me, gesturing me to sit down.

“I gotta go, sweetheart,” said Eric. “If I hear anything I will let you know.”

I took the seat across the desk from Eric, laying my papers on top. Eric Waddle was a tall man. He had a thick beard and always wore a long, black pony tail.

“That was Silvia Feltz,” he informed me even though I hadn’t asked. “Poor thing is still in shock. Trying to piece together what happened. Jim and I go way back and even I had no idea what he was up to.”

“I have nothing new really,” I ventured.

Eric reached his heavy hand across pulled my papers towards him. “It doesn‘t matter. People can’t get enough of the story. They’re swallowing it down like buzzards and coming back for more.”

“I think I’ve spoken to everyone he ever met. That is everyone but you…” Eric had been quite adamant that he not be included in any of the articles but I didn’t become the reporter I was by not chancing my luck.

“I have nothing to say,” Eric snatched up a glass bottle filled with whiskey and poured himself a generous share into a square shaped glass by his hand. “I asked you to come here because there is something that I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Go on…”

“As you know, times are tough. We can only handle the best which is why they want you Sam.”

“Want me for what?”

“I’m talking about full time,” Eric said. His face beamed with excitement.

“I don’t know what to say,” I stammered.

“Say yes!” he bawled before emitting roars of laughter. “These kind of opportunities aren’t easy to come by these days.”

I stood. My actions became subconscious. “That is a great offer. I am very grateful. Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me, just do what you do best,” Eric dismissed, downing his glass of whiskey in one single gulp. The bottle was probably less expensive than the MACK AND SONS brand he was used to but decent alcohol was becoming increasingly difficult to come by. “You don’t have to be hanging around here all day. Go home and tell your wife the good news. You can start fresh tomorrow.”

037

My wife, Theresa, had studied journalism too. In fact that’s where we met. When Theresa and I married she gave up a career. Her mother blamed me for this but the truth was I had been the one trying to discourage her from doing so. Theresa didn’t want to take any chances on a writing career when housewife was the most stable job to be had. I never corrected my mother-in-law as to whose decision it had been to give up. She already hated me anyway. She thought me too self absorbed to be a suitable husband for her daughter. Her concerns weren’t completely without merit. When I was caught up chasing stories I often missed what was happening to the people closest to me. Theresa would be excited though. I couldn’t wait to tell her the news. 

***

I was out of breath by the time I got home, my heart beating forcefully with exertion and excitement. The drums of anticipation rattled in my ears. I fumbled for my keys in my pocket. I leaned against the door as I reached deeper into my pockets. As I did so the door fell aside. It was very unlike Theresa to leave the door unlocked even when she was at home. She was a cautious little thing and home invasion robberies were happening a lot in our neighbourhood on the South West Side.

Our humble home was a small, one bedroom terrace amidst an array of similar granite buildings. What separated ours from the rest was the addition of an emerald green front door. Green was my favourite colour and it matched the shade of Theresa’s eyes. I called for my wife but there was no response. Heaps of blankets lay across the worn brown sofa which kept us warm without any extra cost. The scent of baking apples danced from the kitchen. Theresa had been baking apple pie which she always did when she had had a rough day. The kitchen was a direct off set from the living room. I found Theresa in there lurched over the cooker. She was weeping heavily. Her mousey brown hair was uncombed. When I pushed the swinging door open she gripped a knife that was close at hand. She stumbled backwards emitting a frightful shriek.

When she saw it was me she dropped the knife, ran at me and threw her arms around my neck. She didn’t ask why I had come home so early. It was I who asked the questions.

“What happened?” My heart was now beating to a completely different rhythm.

“I wasn’t expecting you so early,” she said. “A woman was looking for you.”

“What did she want?” I asked.

Theresa gathered her wits. “She gave me an invitation to a club.”

“And who was she? What was her name?” I enquired, assuming it to be someone I had been questioning on the Feltz story.

Theresa shook her head. “She didn’t say.”

Theresa wandered into the living room and dropped herself amongst the blankets. “She told me that this story on the Mayor could put you in danger. She said you were getting involved in something you shouldn’t.”

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I sat beside her and put my arm around her shoulder. “That’s all nonsense, I promise.”

Theresa shuddered. “She gave me this …”

She gave me a black business card. On the front read ‘Knock Knock Club’ with two finely shaped female figures on either side. It was an exclusive club in town. A club I would visit that night and my life would be changed forever.

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#amreading the #thriller #graphicnovel #knockknock by @VivikaWidow


Sam is on a mission to find the missing mayor and you can now have the complete season 1 of the Knock Knock series on the go! Download for kindle at the link below. Free on Kindle Unlimited.

What the club Wants

She was told to arrive at the club around four pm. Emily thought she would be the only one but there was another woman there. She was standing outside the door. The Knock, Knock club sign hung high about her head. She was beautiful, with porcelain skin and a finely formed figure beneath the black t shirt and khaki trousers she wore. She was far prettier than Emily. Emily never saw herself as anything special. Her fair hair was brittle and no matter how many bottles of dye she put over it she could never get it the shade of honey blonde she had as a girl. It just made it even more brittle.
She was nothing special but when she danced she turned heads. She was trained in ballet and tap. She could be dancing at some of the biggest theatres in the city but when the recession hit the theatres were shut down. She had to find her bread somehow so she answered a mysterious ad at the back of the Coldford Daily. ‘Dancers wanted’ it said. It didn’t specify which type of dance but Emily was sure it wouldn’t be ballet. She called the number given. The man she spoke to didn’t give her much information. He just asked her what experience she had, gave her an address and asked her to come by the club at four pm. Looking at the exterior of Knock, Knock nerves began to flutter in her stomach like opening night jitters. If she hadn’t been so desperate she would never have gone through with it.
“Do you work here?” Emily asked the other.
“Not yet,” she replied with a friendly smile. “I assume you are here for the dancer job?” she enquired.
Emily felt more at ease. If she had to bring herself to this seedy club to pay her well overdue bills then at least she would have a friend.
“The manager will be round in a minute to let us in,” she explained. The other woman’s choppy, black hair was luscious and had a playful hint of blue through it. “My name is Lydia”
She took Emily’s hand and shook it. “Are you sure you want to be in a place like this?” she asked.
“I have to get the work where I can,” she replied. The nerves returned.
Lydia was going to say something but before she could get the words out the door was pulled open. A tall, lean man inspected them both from the door way.
“Dancers?” he asked.
“That’s right,” Lydia answered for them both. Emily found herself nodding stupidly.
“Come on in,” he beckoned.
The inside of the club was even grottier than the exterior made it seem. The tables on the club floor had their chairs piled on top of them, not ready for that evening’s performance. On one of the vacant tables sat a pile of money. The man lifted the money and slipped it into a white bag. Lydia watched him closely.
“I’m Dennis. I’m manage this place,” he said when the money was stored away. “We’re in a bit of a bind. Our last dancer didn’t get on with our main act. To cut a long story short we need dancers to start right away.”
He pulled one of the chairs down and took a seat. The women remained standing.
“I’m free to start,” Emily managed to get the words out.
Dennis flicked the black hat he wore to the back of his head and leaned forward.
“I don’t have much time so let me see what you got.”
Emily looked to Lydia.
“Look,” he said reaching into his shirt pocket and producing a cigarette. “I can’t have you getting shy on me. I’m not running a kid’s club here. If you are going to dance you are going to have to please the customer. Now strip.”
Lydia raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips. She pulled off her t shirt revealing a black brazier underneath. She unclipped the brazier and dropped the floor. She stood straight, bare breasted.
Dennis gave a sardonic smile.
“That a girl,” he commented.
He turned to Emily.
“So are you going to play the game or am I going to have to look elsewhere?”
Emily still hesitated. Dennis tapped his wrist.
“Time is money sweetness. Either you get the girls out or there is no work here for you.”
That day Emily peeled the clothes from her body under the leering stare of the club manager. The Knock, Knock club expected a lot from her. What else was she to do?

Enjoy this?

The graphic novel series is free to read here at Vivika Widow Online or download for kindle.

 

All Rise: The Law Makers

Location: City Main, Business District

Features in: MUSE, KNOCK KNOCK

When it comes to the law in the SHADY CITY there is no getting past JUDGE KARYN DOYLE . If you have done wrong the chances are you will be brought before her bench and asked to explain yourself. The call it THE RACK and it will break even the most stubborn.

Judge Karyn Doyle presiding over the Coldford City High Court

In a city were thieves, perverts, murderers and villains of all description run amok her gavel will fall hard.

The Law Makers are a wealthy, powerful sect located in the Court House in the North. If they get themselves involved the outcome certainly doesn’t look promising.

All rise and quiet in the court room. Judge Doyle will hold session and you best plead guilty if you hope of any chance of leniency.

#amreading #thriller #knockknock #graphicnovel by @VivikaWidow


Judge Doyle is there impose justice on the Shady City. Will the Boss Lady of the Knock Knock club face the penalty for her crimes?

Hit graphic novel series Knock Knock is free to read here at Vivika Widow online or click below to download on Kindle.

The old Baroness of the Knock Knock club caused quite a stir in the city. Now Resident 0109 of Harbour House rehab facility she will have to face the Judge to answer for her crimes.

Judge Doyle sets her eye on the Shady City’s most exclusive rehab facility with special attention on it’s most troublesome resident. Vivika Widow’s latest thriller is available now.

No Toys In The Attic

She smelled the air. It all felt so brand new to her. It was almost like she hadn’t sampled the scent of the city before.

“You have a whole new life ahead of you peaches,” said Dennis.

He always called her peaches. He said it was because it was how her hair smelled. Dennis was the only person that had ever been nice to her. Even her parents disliked her. Her dad called her a retard. Her mother could barely look at her when her sister was so much smarter, so much more beautiful. Dennis had rescued her. He had climbed the tower of HARBOUR HOUSE and carried her away. The doctors had told her she was sick. She didn’t feel sick. They called it intellectual disability but when the doctors backs were turned the nurses called her an idiot or a simpleton. All she knew was that she didn’t think about things the way people seemed to want her to and it made them mad. She was seventeen years old but she remained locked in her childish imagination. Her parents didn’t love her but she still loved them and her pretty sister. They didn’t want want her in the home so when the doctor called and told them she had conduct disorder they locked her away in the hospital and didn’t want to see her any more.

Dennis came to see her though. He came to see her all the time and he smiled for her and he was so handsome. He held her and comforted her and she never wanted to leave him. One day he came to her and told her he had rescued her from the nasty hospital and was taking her home.

CHLOE knew she was lucky. She was the luckiest girl alive.

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Dennis took her to a place called the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB. He told her she would have to earn her keep and she was okay with that. He had rescued her so she didn’t want to upset him.

The first few nights at the club were quiet. A woman who worked behind the bar befriended her. She was kind to Chloe and as Chloe stood with an empty tray in her hand the bar maid told her that if she needed any help to come find her. One of the members of the band that played at the club smiled at her. He shook her hand and introduced himself. He was a black man with a wide smile and he made her smile too. Dennis had instructed her to tell all of them she was twenty.

At the end of the night the club began to clear. It was late. It was a lot later than she would normally have been awake. At the hospital they always told her she had be in her bed and asleep by ten o’clock. At the Knock, Knock club she had no bedtime.

After the club cleared Dennis came to her.

“How was the first night?” he asked.

Chloe hid her tired eyes behind an excited smile. “It was fun,” she said. “I liked it.”

Dennis wrapped his arm around her. She felt so safe by his side.

“Glad to hear it,” he said. “I have something more for you.”

Chloe was tired but she didn’t want to make Dennis sad so she feigned enthusiasm.

“What is it?”

Dennis tightened his grip. Now they were walking up the stairs to the upper floors of the club. He was leading her to the room she could have. It didn’t smell as clean as the hospital but she would love it all the same.

“I have new friends for you who want to visit your room,” he said. “They want to give you special cuddles.”

Chloe was confused. She had heard of special cuddles before but she always thought those were between a mother and a father.

“Do I have to?” she asked.

Dennis stopped. At first his expression was blank but then his teeth were bared and his eyes brightened. He rested a hand under her chin and petted his lip.

“You don’t want to be selfish do you? You want more friends like me don’t you?”

Chloe lowered her gaze. He didn’t like the way he was looking at her. She didn’t want him to be angry with her.

“I guess,” she said.

“I can tell them all that you don’t want to be friends with them and want special cuddles,” he said but his voice sounded upset.

“No please!” she grabbed his arm. “I can be friends with them too.”

Dennis smiled. He was happy again. He ran his finger gently down her cheek. Her heart beat a little faster.

“As long as I am always your best friend.”

Chloe agreed. She agreed to have lots of new friends but Dennis would always remain her best.

That night the first of the new friends visited her room. They were mostly men much older than her. She let them undress her and gave them the special cuddles whichever way they asked her to. At first she didn’t mind. Sometimes she even enjoyed it. As time went on it became more frequent. It even became painful. She didn’t like the new friends any more and she certainly didn’t like them leering at her naked, helpless body.

One came to her room. He wasn’t kind to her. He barely spoke to her. She let him into her room and immediately he pulled off his shirt revealing an obese, middle aged body. He pushed her onto the bed with such force she cried out. Her head hit the wooden bed frame and she began to sob.

“Leave me, leave me, leave me!” she repeated over and over again but the man took no notice. He was not a new friend.

“Shut up!” he spat on her. “I’ve paid good money so you will do what you’re fucking told!” he screamed at her.

She was frightened. She tried to climb out from underneath him but she couldn’t get away. He held her hands above her head. He kissed her but all she could do was continue to cry. She called for Dennis but he didn’t come to rescue her this time. She couldn’t wriggle away so she had to just let him have what he wanted.

“You need to get a hold of your girls,” complained the client to Dennis as he handed over a thick pile of bank notes. “That one gave me some trouble.”

“I’ll have a talk with her.”

“I’ll be back,” he warned. “Get it together or I will letknow what you are doing behind her  back.” He growled. “You remember what happened to Rex. They are still looking for it …”

Dennis shook his arm playfully. “Come on,” he said. “We’re all friends here. I’ll have a talk to her. She’s just a little overworked.”

Dennis found Chloe in her bed. She was clutching white sheets to her. The area over her lap was blood stained. Dennis sat on the bed beside her.

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“What’s wrong?” he asked her. Chloe fell onto his shoulder sobbing. “I thought you liked giving special cuddles.”

She didn’t want to upset him. He was the knight that had come to rescue her like in the story books. He had taken her away from that horrible hospital and loved her when her own parents didn’t.

“I do like special cuddles,” she said. Her teary eyes were still wide and unfocused. “I love them and I will give more if you want me to.”

Dennis patted her back.

“Good girl.”

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The Knock, Knock series is free to read here at Vivika Widow Online or click HERE to download for kindle.

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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Mack and Sons: What’s your poison?

Location: Mack and Sons Distillery, Love Street, Bellfield.

Features in: KNOCK KNOCK

Proud producers of quality whiskey for more than five generations. MACK AND SONS DISTILLERY is a vivid part of the landscape of Shady City.

Initially from the outlying western town of BELLFIELD the distillery was first set up in the deprived Shanties area of the Shady City. Mack and Sons were offered a generous buy over bid from the wealthy Beckingridge Financial Firm.

With a stern note from head, Brendan Mack, they refused.

“Mack and Sons is for everybody. We supply those who work hard and get their hands dirty. Those rich wankers think they can have it all,” he said.

The distillery now lies in the hands of second born son, PATRICK with support from his brothers – Aidan and Kieran. Mack and Sons protect their brand fiercely. The working class ethic still lies at the heart of what they do.

They are the main supplier to the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB so a bottle is always to be found, even as the city struggles. The recognisable shape of the twisted bottle can be spotted on most of the bars.

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Reporter, Sam, enjoys a glass of Macks as he contemplates what he has gotten himself into coming to the Knock Knock club.

Life in the Shady City can be tough so pour yourself a glass of a Macks, put on your dancing shoes and prepare for a night you may very well be glad to have forgotten.

Come join us for a glass of Macks at the Knock, Knock Club!

Complete season 1 of the graphic novel series is free to read HERE.

Or click HERE to download for Kindle.

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The Headliners

The Shady City has been torn in two. One group stands to protect those who would otherwise be trodden over and flattened by the rich elite.

The back alley club known as the KNOCK KNOCK is home to THE HEADLINERS. She doesn’t seem like much but like most things in the city there is more to her than meets the eye.

Don’t be fooled though. As noble as their beginnings were THE HEADLINERS are willing to fight blood for blood. In the Shady City that is the only way to wage war after all.

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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Members Eat For Free

Amber was thrilled. She had never been anywhere quite like the Knock, Knock club before. She was only seventeen so when the doorman stepped aside to allow her in she was exhilarated.

An invitation had come through the post. Her father was Mayor of the city so he was invited to all sorts of places. She brought the handsome Kevin with her. He was ten years her senior and she was sure Lacey – her elder sister – certainly wouldn’t approve. Lacey wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB. She had aspirations of taking their father’s office one day. Being seen in the Knock, Knock club and with the characters that frequented wouldn’t fit Lacey’s picture. Amber was more daring though. She fell in love with the club instantly. Even with the smell of stale beer and sticky floors. The neon flashing lights and empty stage excited her.

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“You folks are looking a little lost.”

Amber felt a long arm slip around her shoulders. The sleeve of the man’s well tailored suit brushed against her.

“We’re new,” Amber said lowering her head so the man wouldn’t notice how young she was. She and Kevin were led to a table for two close to the stage.

“Since you’re first timers you can have be best seat in the house.”

Kevin seated himself first. The club manager pulled Amber’s chair out for her, swinging it slightly so she could have a better view of the stage.

“My name is DENNIS,” he announced. “I’ll send someone to take care of you but if you need anything give me a shout.” He said this directly to Amber.

Amber smiled, forgetting her caution under the lower lights. Dennis held her gaze. The manager role slipped momentarily and a brief flash of concern showed. Dennis was older than Kevin but much better looking.

“Times must be tough in this city if this dump is the place to bring a pretty girl,” Dennis jested.

Amber giggled. Kevin was not amused.

“Enjoy the show.”

The lights dimmed further. An in house band called the Knock, Knockers gathered at their instruments.

A woman walked onto stage. The chatter quietened.

“Good evening,” the woman introduced. She walked across the stage with all the ease she would have in her own home. “I see a lot of familiar faces out there,” she continued in a husky voice. “You would think you would be sick of our lousy food by now but we love having you,”

The audience reacted in good cheer.

“You didn’t come to listen to me spill my guts so let’s get started.”

She moved back from the edge of the stage in dance steps. The music fired up. The ground began to vibrate. The performer erupted into song.

A scantily clad serving girl brought them a watered down whiskey each and some meat and gravy. It wasn’t much but since the financial recession had hit the Shady City it was better than most people had that night. Kevin moved his meat around his plate with a disapproving sneer.

Amber was too busy watching the performance to eat. She was too busy enjoying herself to consider that her father – the mayor – had been responsible for the desperation so many people found themselves in. It was fine for Amber to enjoy the Knock, Knock when afterwords she could return to the large house she lived in in the Upper West. So many of the city didn’t have homes to go to.

When the performance finally ended the band changed their music to something a little more down key. The lights brightened, informing the patrons that it was time to leave. The performer came from backstage to mingle. She was wearing the same red dress. Her hair hung loosely around her pretty face. She stood at the bar with Dennis holding a gin and tonic, poured in a square glass. Kevin was impatient to leave but Amber wanted to meet the woman.

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Her back was turned. She was in deep conversation with Dennis when Amber approached shyly. The manager notified her of Amber’s presence with a flick of his head. The performer turned. She greeted Amber with a grin. There was a large gap between her front teeth that offered her a girlish quality.

“It was my first time here,” Amber said. Under the woman’s gaze she found herself quite nervous. “I really enjoyed your performance.”

“Thank you,” replied the performer sounding a little exasperated. She turned to Dennis. “Who is this?”

“I would love to be just like you,” Amber blurted with childish awe, snatching her hand.

TABITHA laughed. Dennis remained stoic.

“Oh honey, there will only ever be one of me.” She pulled Amber closer to her. “Amber Feltz, right?” The Mayor’s youngest daughter?”

Amber tried to pull away but Tabitha kept a tight grip on her arm.

“I should go,” Amber tried pulling away again.

The club was clearing quickly and none of the patrons seemed to notice she was being held.

“So soon?” Tabitha asked. Her crimson nails started to dig into Amber’s flesh. “Join me for a drink won’t you?”

Amber was pushed onto a bar stool. Tabitha stared at her closely.

“It’ll have to be water for you though. You are too young for the hard liquor from what I read.”

Amber sobbed. Tabitha’s grin widened.

“Don’t worry.” Tabitha put her hand to her mouth as though speaking secretly. “Who am I to judge?” She turned to Dennis. “You like them young, don’t you?”

Dennis shook his head.

“I have to go,” Amber said. “Kevin is waiting.”

It wasn’t until then the mayor’s daughter realised Kevin had gone for their coats quite some time ago and hadn’t returned.

The door man closed the door on the last of the customers and left without a word. The club was now empty but for the manager, the performer and the mayor’s daughter.

“Please! I have to go,” Amber pleaded once more.

These were the situations she had been warned of. These people were the reason Lacey would never come to places like the Knock, Knock club.

“People will be looking for me.”

Tabitha leaned in close to her.

“Honey,” she said. “If you expect anyone to give a rat’s ass where you are right now you have come to the wrong club.

***

Amber was taken to a small room away from the club’s main floor. There were no windows in it and the lamp gave an irritatingly yellow glow. There was a plate on the table covered with a white handkerchief.

“What would your father say if we didn’t give you our best hopsitality?” asked Tabitiha.

Amber felt hands on her shoulders. Her gaze was focused on the covered plate. She was pushed down onto a small wooden chair. Tabitha pulled the handkerchief away. On the plate, basted in blood was Kevin’s hand. She recognised it instantly. Her stomach lurched.

“Take a bite,” Tabitha urged with a wicked laugh. “The food here is lousy but we do our best.”

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Amber could try to run but she would feel silly for doing so. She was a silly teenager. A silly girl indeed. Suddenly the club that was so fascinating at first was Hell on earth, with its echo and it’s filthy, empty hall.

***

“She was missing for three weeks!” SAM CRUSOW gasped. He held a pad of yellow paper on his lap with a pen poised over it. “The police never said anything. When the mayor disappeared did noone thing to say, ‘Oh and his daughter has been gone a few weeks too.”

Eric Waddle, editor of the Coldford Daily crossed his arms over his chest. He glared at his best reporter.

“I’m warning you Sammy.” he said. “None of these details will be printed in my paper. If I see them elsewhere I will hold you responsible.”

Sam nodded hesitantly. He hated when his boss called him Sammy.

Eric went on. “I only tell you this because I’m a friend of the family and I want you to tread carefully. Mrs Feltz is speaking to no one else.

“How am I to cover the story when I can’t publish all the facts. How could no one care about a seventeen year old girl missing?

Eric ignored his first comment. “Amber always was an impulsive girl,” he replied to the second. “She was seeing some older guy. She’s probably sunning herself on a beach somewhere.”

“Do you believe that?” Sam put to the editor.

He didn’t.

Want to find out what happened to Amber next?

Complete season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to read HERE.

Or click HERE to download for Kindle.

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