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Knock Knock: Episode 21: It ain’t over ’til it’s over

It was tough going. From the best seat at the Coldford Daily newspaper to packing up my make shift home at the Weir Hotel. A lot had happened in between then. I had witnessed murder, pleas of innocence and I had watched justice fall hard. Some would argue too hard but, in a city filled to the brim with murderers, thieves, rapists and drug addicts, what was too hard? 

I had seen the city quiet before on walks through the streets in the early hours but this was different. There was a chill in the air and not just because of the rapidly changing weather. Sure, summer had closed its door with a slam and cold winter opened its embrace, but the brittle air resonated from the discarded banners outside of the Court House. 

JUSTICE FOR TABITHA. 

FREE OUR QUEEN.  

The Boss Lady of the Knock Knock Club was gone, sentenced to death for her crimes. The club itself was now in the hands of the office of Law Makers and their Bailiffs.  

Justice was served swiftly but it wasn’t the justice the south of the city had wanted. Tabitha had fought for them. The blood she shed was for them.  

The CLOSED sign over the entrance of the Penn Auction House struck fear in City Main too. Two of the Penn triplets, Marcus and Simon, were resident of Coldford Correctional, better known as The Boss because of the way it loomed over the northern town of Bournton. The third triplet, Reggie, had slipped Law Maker custody and was currently missing. Their father, Reginald, was rumoured to have returned to Coldford. The man who many addressed as the King of City Main was set on retrieving his sons regardless of the consequences.  

Fear in the city was but a prelude to the fear felt in the western town of Bellfield when the gates of the Mack and Sons Distillery closed. This was something that hadn’t been known since the days of the Great Wars of previous generations. Second eldest Mack son, Paddy, had also escaped CPD leaving behind several dead officers including Detective Hickes, a good man caught in the middle of a deadly face off.  

Then there was Tawny, the old Baroness of the Knock Knock Club and Tabitha’s beloved aunt. She had been a resident of the Harbour House rehabilitation clinic after an attack on the club caused a complete mental breakdown. Being treated for trauma she had been safe within the clinic until Tabitha’s trial. As the Law Makers moved in to take her into custody she was gone. Owner of the facility, Dr Winslow, refused to give statement until he had placed himself in the good graces of the Law Makers. Beckingridge Financial Firm had funded a campaign which sent missing person’s reports all around the city and displayed on the screen at Beckingridge Tower, in the hopes of shaking whoever had her or knew of her whereabouts. Thanks to the financial muscle there was not a corner of Coldford that didn’t show an image of Tawny’s smiling face, as all those who knew her and loved her would remember her.  

I wasn’t sure what Elizabeth Beckingridge’s thinking had been behind this. At the helm of the financial giant it would have been her decision, but Tabitha had caused the death of 59 of her clients and staff at an event known as the Free Fall Massacre. Elizabeth had no reason, nor loyalties to Tawny. I could only surmise until her part of the story became more apparent.  

I spoke with a fellow resident of Harbour House, drug addicted artist David Finn. Time in the clinic for his addiction seemed to have done him well. He had been close to Tawny, was fearful for her safety and adamant that the Owen family where responsible for taking her due a long held grudge they had with her. He was willing to tell me all she had ever told him about the Owens and the club but the word of a recovering addict was little for me to go on.  

The room at the Weir was comfortable enough. The red and gold décor matched the hotel colours. I had been housed there ever since Tabitha was taken into custody and my own home became a crime scene. I couldn’t feel safe there though, locked in the centre of City Main. I would much rather have returned to my home in the sleepy suburban spot of Jamestown. But the story still lay in the Shady City and I wasn’t quite ready to abandon it when there was still so much to be told.  

My phone rang in a video call. Answering it brought me the pretty, warm and friendly face of Agent Lydia Lowe. She had been by my side and taken great personal risk to keep me safe throughout. It comforted me that she rarely allowed voice calls. She always requested video, forcing me to open up to her.  

“Hey roomie,” she smiled. “I just wanted to check on you and see how you were doing.”  

“Good,” I said. I tried to hold the camera steady offering her nothing but unflattering angles and a view of the roof. “Just packing up now.”  

Lydia giggled as I tried to hold the phone steady. 

“I’ll be back by the time you get here. I’m just wrapping things up with Kim at CPD.”  

Kim was the leader of Lydia’s agency team sent in to bring down the Knock Knock Club and its Boss Lady. She had kindly offered me sanctuary at her City Main home, giving me time and space to clear my own where the perfume of my dead wife, Theresa, still resonated.  

“We’ll get a pizza, a cold beer and figure out our next move. How does that sound?”  

I grinned. It sounded much better than another night alone at the Weir.  

“Sure,” I agreed. “I’ll be there soon.”  

“See ya!” was her cheery sign off.  

I took one last look at my room. I wasn’t sad to leave it.  

I pulled my suitcase into the old-fashioned styled elevator. Bell Boy, Ralph, was on duty wearing the gold and red uniform.  

“Allow me,” he offered, taking the burden of my case. “You might want to get checked out quickly. Things are getting a bit crazy downstairs.”  

Before I had the chance to ask him what he meant the lift doors opened again.  

The main foyer had been swamped by Kappa So brothers, a fraternity based at the University of Filton and founded by the Owen family. It was accusations against this brotherhood and its founding members that caused the city to be split in two in the first place.  

An excitable Kappa So brother leaping around bumped into me, almost knocking me from my feet.  

“Watch out the way, brah!” he yelled in a strong Great States accent even though he was the one who had fallen into me.

He must not have liked the scowl I gave him in return because he shoved me with a scowl of his own. Luckily one of his brothers screamed over to him and motioned for him to join them in the bar where more of his brothers were harassing a bar maid. Glasses had been smashed and cheers rang out. Chairs were over turned in the foyer. The receptionist looked terrified.  

“We are Kappa So!” chanted another group just arriving from a bus that had pulled up outside.  

Rodney Weir himself was filtering among them. He was wearing his Kappa So blazer to show he too was a brother, but was trying to bring some order to the chaos.  

“Checking out.”  

I handed my key to the receptionist. She was a heavy set girl, mid-twenties with a sweet face but completely out of her depth when it came to dealing with the chaos that was coming her way. She accepted the key gratefully but before she could say anything a jeer erupted in the foyer where one of the brothers had climbed on a sofa and knocked it over. He was now lying on the ground. His brothers fell into peals of laughter around him. A storm hit the hotel that day and I was caught in the middle of it. Trying to speak to the receptionist was difficult through the noise.  

“What’s the name?” she asked.  

I hadn’t heard her at first. I was hit on the head with an inflatable penis, the kind one may find in a hen party. One of the brothers, without apologising, grabbed it and waved it as though it was his own penis. He launched it back across the foyer like he was pitching a baseball. The group that had just alighted from the bus were now pushing into the reception desk. The one who had tipped the couch hadn’t gotten back up. A drug cocktail, it seemed, was keeping him down. One of them kicked him. The rest of them sauntered to the bar.  

“What’s the name?” the receptionist asked again.  

“Sam Crusow,” I explained. “Room 415.”  

She started to check the computer. Her manicured nails tap, tap, tapped on the keys. There was a scream from the bar. On a dare, one of the brothers was trying to french kiss eighty-year-old Mrs Riley. He was pushing into her with his tongue protruding and his hands reaching out for her breasts.  

“Thank you, Mr Crusow,” the receptionist said having checked there was no cost left on my room. “I hope you enjoyed your stay.”  

“Hey fatty boom boom we need a room room,” said one of the new arrivals.  

“Excuse me?” she replied. It would have been much easier if she had just given them the rooms.  

“No drama,” the brother cheered. “Can’t smell it.”  

The other brothers laughed.  

“Just give us our damn room,” groaned another, more irate brother. He was high on cocaine, or powder as it was known in the Shady City.  

“I’m just finishing with this gentleman,” she said.  

“It’s fine,” I assured her. “I’m done.” 

“Don’t piss her off, brah. She gonna eat ya,” said another, also high on powder.  

“Mr Weir?!” the receptionist called to Rodney.  

The hotelier’s attention was caught. It didn’t take much explanation for him to deduce what was happening.  

“It’s fine, darling,” he said. “Open up the fifth floor.”  

I checked out. I left the bedlam behind. I could still hear the screams as I stepped onto the streets of City Main. The anarchy and all the new arrivals were because Robert ‘Bobby’ Owen was touring the Kappa So Chapter Houses and his next stop was to be Coldford.  

I am reporter, Sam Crusow and my story is far from over.  

*** 

“Listen up bitches. My Pops is comin’ so this place better be ready to receive!” yelled Buddy Owen to his Kappa So brothers who were busy getting the celebrations started at the Coldford Chapter House located on the Filton University Campus.  

The excitement of meeting Bobby Owen wasn’t just Buddy blowing hot air. Despite Buddy’s father, Charles ‘Chick’ Owen – or The Cappy as he was respectfully titled – being the current CEO of Owen Inc, the grandfather was still seen as a deity among the Kappa So brothers. His portrait hung prominently in the main lounge of the house. His reputation as a founder and pioneer spread throughout all the Chapters across the world.  

“I’ve been buzzing all day brah,” stated Chad, one of Buddy’s closest brothers at the top of the Kappa So chain. He wasn’t the only one.  

Buddy went on to address the others. “We’re talking about the Commander in Chief himself coming to visit ya’ll! The great, the legendary, the much admired Bobby fuckin’ Owen. My pops. They sing songs about him in the Great States you know. He’s going to be walking in here any minute and the place smells like a vaj factory!”  

He addressed the lesser brothers, ”Ya’ll better recognise just how lucky you are to have him even want to look at ya. The world out there has gone to shit. You can’t call a nigger a nigger. You can’t call a whore a whore. People are changing gender like their fuckin’ dirty drawers and no one cares about tradition anymore. Our brotherhood survives because the monumental Bobby Owen said it was so. He gifted us our Chapter so we could follow tradition. He set foot in this shitty city so that the people here would see our yellow and black and know it meant something.”  

“We are here so that we can remind people of tradition. Thanks to the awesome and spectacular Bobby Owen we will let the Shady City know that there is an order in life and we are top of that order. We take our place at the top of that order before things get out of hand and we can’t say fuck noodle without offending some vegan, cross-dressing, feminist asshole who identifies as a fuckin’ tree. I am sick and tired of people telling me my words offend them. They should be offended. I got shit to say that people ain’t gonna like. The incomparable Bobby Owen didn’t make this brotherhood what it was so we would have to care about other people. Am I right my brothers?” 

A cheer rang out from the fraternity. Buddy grinned. His cocaine high buzzing even harder as he absorbed his brothers’ excitement.  

“The man in charge himself, my pops, will knock all ya’ll bitches into line. You better be ready to bow because the man is royalty. He is a God here at Kappa So and you should be thanking your mamma she had the good sense to open her legs in time for ya’ll to be here to witness this marvellous…fucking awesome occasion. And don’t forget, contained within his God balls is the essence that created me, your other God.”  

Here Buddy gave a raspy laugh and the other brothers cheered some more.  

“Those are great balls, Buddy,” Chad said, caught up in the excitement.  

Buddy stopped.  

”Thanks Chad,” he said. 

”Got your back, brah, ” Chad replied.  

On his right side, Dale Cooper, son of the legendary racing family, Cooper Garages, folded his arms across his chest and waited for Buddy to continue.  

Cheryl, a Kappa So cheerleader, honours student in the first year at Filton, now scraping by, was brought forth. She was so high on powder she could barely walk. She grinned as she was ushered forward and kneeled before Buddy.  

“Go forth,” he ordered, “and let all the whores know that there will be rich old cock to be sucked tonight.” He reached his hand out to Chad to summon him. “Chad?” he called. “Fetch me the golden cock!” 

Chad leapt excitedly. “I’ll get your cock, Buddy.”  

He turned his focus back to Cheryl. The aptly titled ‘coke whore’ was swaying. Her eyes were burning red with the blood vessels bursting through the whites. 

Chad returned and placed a penis made of gold into Buddy’s hand. It was generously proportioned and as anatomically correct as could be found gilded from precious metal.  

A sombre silence fell over the Kappa So hall as Buddy held the golden cock out.  

“With this cock you will summon the best whores,” he said as though a priest delivering mass.  

Cheryl bowed her head. “I will, Buddy,” she agreed.  

“You will treat it with the appropriate respect,” he said. 

“I will Buddy,” she replied again dutifully.  

He passed it into her outstretched hands as though she was accepting communion.  

Buddy pointed to the door.  

“Now go forth. Your task has been assigned.” 

Cheryl climbed onto her feet. Her drug addled stupor made it a bit of a task. She certainly wasn’t as agile then as she was on the cheerleading squads of the university. When she finally did get onto her feet she skipped off, taking the golden cock to the Kappa Si house. The sorority would see the penis etched in gold and the sisters would know that there was a sugar daddy available to please.  

The fresh air as she stepped outside hit her so hard she almost stumbled but the powder pushed her forward. She ran excitedly.  

Harsh headlights came charging towards her like a bull.  

WHAM! 

Cheryl collided with a black van. The van continued on its charge.  

SMASH!  

Kappa So Chapter House received a blow to its west side as the van crashed through.  

*** 

Before they could react – most of them too drunk or drugged to do much anyway – the brothers of Kappa So were swarmed by thugs from the Coldford City football team. They called themselves the loyalists and they descended upon the brothers under the leadership of Reginald Penn, head of the Penn dynasty and the one they hailed as King of City Main.  

In an unprecedented coupling The Fleet from the Bellfield team had joined them. Normally fierce rivals, these two groups had put aside their differences in order to tackle a common enemy.  

Paddy Mack and his brother Kieran were among them.  

“Get the feckers together,” Kieran was calling. “They got some explaining to do.”  

A struggle, violence, bloodshed ensued. Buddy and his brothers were taken to the lawns of the Chapter House. On their knees, beaten badly and sobering fast the brothers looked about themselves, still trying to comprehend what had just happened.  

The loyalists were wrecking the house, whilst the Macks and their Fleet held the brothers to account. The air was tense. Buddy could only hear the noise of the search and the screams of some of the brothers they had found hiding upstairs faintly from the outside. He was in a dream like state and only taking things in in small captions.  

“The king!” cried out a City Main voice.  

“Yer fecked now,” Kieran Mack cheered.  

Buddy tried to focus through his powder high. Through the sea of bodies emerged a commanding presence. Tall, greying fair hair and with an Olympian magnetism, Reginald Penn’s patience was wearing thin. Buddy Owen and his brothers were a pestilence in his way.  

“I will speak to the one in charge,” Reginald said.  

The Kappa So brothers, including Chad and Cooper looked to Buddy. Buddy stared straight ahead and said nothing. Reginald took note of Buddy’s particular discomfort. 

“I’m here because rumour has it you took a friend of mine from Harbour House. A good woman. They call her the Baroness. If she is here we will find her so you might as well make it easier on yourself.”  

Still no brother saw fit to respond. Chad kept looking between Reginald and Buddy. Buddy still made no move.  

A Loyalist brought a thick chain to his king. Reginald accepted it.  

“I call this Belta,’” he said. Some of the loyalists were giddy with excitement. Paddy Mack was expressionless. “She’s going to bash in the brains of every last fucking one of you until you tell me where Tawny is.”  

“Bud, bro,” Chad whimpered, trying to urge Buddy to speak up for them.  

Reginald circled in on Buddy. He pointed Belta at him. She hissed through her coils.  

“You must be an Owen,” he said. “You’ve got that inbred look.” 

The Loyalists chuckled. Buddy still said nothing. “Where is Tawny?” Reginald snarled.  

He raised Belta. Buddy’s sordid life flashed before his eyes. The drugs, the whores, the chaos.  

“I believe, sir, your quarrel is with me.”  

Robert ‘Bobby’ Owen arrived on scene, fresh from the Filton University spa. He had come as a matter of urgency. His shirt still hung open.  

“Leave the boys alone,” he ordered.  

Buddy had never been so glad to see his pops. 

“Bobby Owen,” the elder introduced. “This is my Chapter House you are trespassing upon and I do not care for the intrusion.”  

Reginald remained stationed. Buddy watched Belta swing from his hand like a hypnotist’s time piece.  

“If you are saying you are in charge then we have a problem,” Reginald warned.  

Bobby shook his head. “Your hooligans will not find what they seek here.”  

The elder Owen was surrounded by Loyalists. They took him into custody but Bobby didn’t resist. 

“He’s an old man,” Paddy protested but it did little good. With two of his boys contained within The Boss, another missing and now word spreading that the Owens had taken a good friend of his, the Penn father was intent on blood.  

Bobby Owen was pushed to his knees before the king.  

“Your maniac children belong behind bars. It isn’t afore long. You will join them soon enough. Your friend? I have no idea where she is and I care not. She and her lying whore of a niece are a stain on this city that needed to be wiped clean,” said Bobby.   

Reginald growled. Paddy clutched his arm. 

“Reg …” he warned but Reginald shook it off.  

Reginald took a deep breath.  

WHACK!  

The first blow of the chain sent Bobby Owen onto the grass. Loyalists lifted him back onto his knees. Already his consciousness was waning.  

WHACK! WHACK!  

Some of the brothers cried out seeing the skull of the God among them reduced quickly to a bloody mess. None of them saw fit to try and help. Paddy Mack turned away. Kieran laid a hand on his brother’s shoulder. 

Reginald gasped, catching his breath again.  

WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! 

The highly respected Bobby Owen, the one the people of the Great States sang songs of, was dead. His blood dripped from Belta’s fangs.  

“You are an Owen, ain’t ya,” Reginald hissed at Buddy. “What’s your name?”  

“Buddy,” the Chapter leader replied, trying not to look at the body of his dead grandfather.  

“He’s the son of The Cappy,” Kieran Mack confirmed.  

Reginald swung Belta as he gave it some thought.  

“Get me a phone.”  

One of the loyalists passed a phone to their king who in turn threw it to Buddy. The KSO brother didn’t make a move to catch it. It bounced off his chest and onto the grass.  

“Pick it up,” ordered Reginald Penn.  

Buddy obeyed. He clasped the phone in a trembling hand.  

“Get your father on the phone. We need to talk,” the king proclaimed.

 

*** 

“Mr Owen’s office. How may I direct your call?” the secretary’s light voice answered.  

“Put me through to The Cappy right away,” said Buddy, still on his knees, still with a wary eye on Belta clasped tightly in Reginald Penn’s hand.  

“May I ask who is calling?” the secretary asked. She seemed distracted by something that was going on in her office.  

“It’s Buddy, you dumb bitch. Get The Cappy on the phone now.”  

“Oh Bernard. I’m so sorry. I didn’t recognise your voice. You sound a little different. Is everything okay?”  

Buddy was losing breath and losing patience. “Tell my father I’m in a bind. It was a phrase Buddy had been taught as a youngster. It would let his father know immediately he was being coerced.  

The secretary fell silent. Reginald scowled at Buddy.  

The secretary rang off. Within seconds the phone screamed a reply in the form of a video call directly from Chick Owen.  

“Answer it,” Reginald ordered.  

The screen opened to show the face of Charles ‘Chick’ Owen. He was in his office in the Great States and aggrieved at the disturbance. Buddy’s words to his secretary had placed him on alert.  

“Buddy?” he asked initially. “Are you hurt?” 

“No,” Buddy replied. “Pops!” The screen was turned to the battered and bloody corpse of Bobby. Reginald snatched the phone from Buddy and addressed Chick directly. The Cappy’s gaze burned through the screen. 

“I was wondering how long it would be before you reached out, Mr Penn.”  

“The old man didn’t have to die. My hand was forced. All I ask is that you hand over Tawny.”  

Cappy raised an eyebrow. “Who?”  

Reginald snarled. “You know who she is and word has it you know where she is.”  

Chick Owen remained calm. “If you are referring to the bar clown who owned the Knock Knock Club then I am somewhat familiar but as for where she is…her current location alludes me.”  

“You talk shite!” Kieran spoke up. Reginald turned to him with a warning stare. Kieran stepped back.  

“You have her and if you hurt her it’s going to be the last thing you ever do,” Reginald warned.

 

The corner of Chick’s upper lip raised. “You take the word of some junked up artist? I thought you were much smarter than that. I heard the rumours too but I challenge you to find any foul play in my Chapter House.”  

“If I find you are lying more of your blood will be shed.” 

Here Chick smiled but it was icy. “You realise we do not recognise any monarchy here in the Great States, self proclaimed or otherwise.”  

Reginald gripped Belta tighter. “This isn’t the Great States. Welcome to fucking Coldford. Have I made my point?”  

The Cappy raised his chin. “Loud and clear.” He reached over and closed the call. The screen fell to darkness.  

*** 

The night chill was setting in. It was sobering. The high Buddy had felt earlier was but a memory. He believed he had never felt so sober. The city was behind him. As they headed north they must have taken a wrong turn on the way to Owen Estate. The true north they called it. It was an expanse of farmlands and empty space. His feet were cold and wet as he and his bros skipped across open fields. None of them had the energy to complain anymore, except Buddy whose irritability was driving him on.  

“That son ‘a’ bitch is gonna pay,” he growled. “Him and his three stooge sons. Fuckin’ triplets. That’s fuckin’ weird.”  

Cooper stopped him.  

“We’ve taken a wrong turn, Bud. Where’s the estate?”  

“How should I know?” Buddy returned with a groan. “C’mon Coops, I’m freezing my balls off just as much as the rest of ya.” 

“I saw a barn about a mile back,” Chad stated. “Maybe we can rest up there and find out where we are.”  

Suddenly beaming lights spotted on them with a booming noise as though the Lord himself was laying down judgement. A voice echoed through the blinding shine.  

“You are trespassing,” it said. It was a deep voice, a man’s voice. It had the bounce of a Bournton accent.  

How far north had they come, Buddy wondered. 

“In these parts we have permission to shoot.”  

Buddy made a move to step forward. The crack of a gunshot warned him to stay where he was.  

Buddy reached his arm up to shield his eyes from the beams.  

“My name is Buddy Owen,” the Kappa So leader spoke up. He was at the end of his tether by then. “I’m having a really shitty night, brah,” he sobbed. “My pops died. One of our whores is in pieces in the street. We had to walk here all the way from City Main.” He was almost sobbing then. “I lost my golden cock!”  

Cooper laid a comforting hand on Buddy’s shoulder.  

Silence fell. Two men walked towards them; their frames silhouetted in the bright light. One was a large burly man with swept back blonde hair. The other was shorter, dark hair and a long face. The both wore shirts with a Harvesters logo.  

The smaller one looked to his companion.  

“Did he just say he had a golden cock?”  

*** 

“I’m Glenn,” the blonde one explained. “You are on Harvester Farm.”  

Buddy whined, “I just want to go home, brah. I was trying to get to Owen Estate. It’s my family’s place.” 

Glenn still didn’t seem so sure.  

It was Cooper who made their plea next. “Dude,” he said. “We gotta get some help. We gotta get some clothes man. We’re freezing our asses off.”  

Buddy turned to Chad. “Will you stop flicking your dick? I can hear you tap, tap, tapping away.”  

Chad lowered his head. “Sorry, Bud.”  

“What do you say, man? Give a bro a break here.”  

“What the fuck was that about a golden cock?” asked the other farm hand.  

Glenn scowled at him. “Leave it, Curtis.”  

The one named Curtis shrugged.  

Glenn sighed. “Follow us up to the east acre. I’ll see what I can do.”  

Grateful for the sanctuary Buddy and his brothers followed the truck deeper into Harvester Farm. Curtis spun the wheels throwing mud onto the the already distressed brothers.  

Glenn laughed and punched his arm.  

“Leave them,” he said. “They’ve been through a lot. He said his grandad died.”  

Curtis shook his head. “The spoiled little cunt seemed more upset at losing his golden cock, whatever the fuck that was.”  

Glenn laughed again. “Let it go.”  

The brothers skipped across the gravelled pathway, yelping at the pain in their feet but they were presented with a large farm house. A light was on in the lower floor.  

Buddy beamed as he made his way towards the house. Glenn pulled him back.  

“Oh no you don’t,” he said. “None of you go anywhere near that house. Do you hear?’ 

“Yeah I hear you, brah,” Buddy relented. ”I need a phone,” he pleaded. “I need to call my dad. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Chick Owen? They call him the Cappy.”  

Glenn shook his head, not really listening. “I can’t say we’ve met.” He pointed towards a barn. “Take your brothers to the milking sheds. It will be warm enough in there. I’ll get some blankets and clothes to you.” 

Buddy’s powder high was well and truly gone by then and every pain in his body was magnified. The stench of the farm was already giving him a headache.  

Holding himself up on the fence, Buddy led his brothers to the milking sheds. Curtis was waiting on them, holding the door open.  

“MAAAH!”  

A scream ripped through the night breaking the solemn silence of the brothers.  

WHAM! 

Buddy had a blow to the side as he was knocked away from the fence he was trying to hold himself up on.  

“What the fuck is that!?” He yelped with despair.  

Sharp horns and small, glowing eyes charged at the fence again.  

WHAM! 

The fence rattled.  

“What the fuck is that!?” Buddy asked again, almost in tears.  

“It’s a goat,” Chad explained calmly taking a look over the fence at the animal beyond. “A Pygmy of an old Hathfield breed by the looks of it. Genus Caspar aegugrus.”  

The brothers were now staring at Chad, perplexed.  

Chad Perry was the heir to the Perry Zoo chain. Despite that, being a frat brother, it could be assumed his university degrees had come from special treatment. However, Chad had actually learned quite a bit about his field of zoology. 

“MAAAH!”  

WHAM! 

“Well do you know how to shut that god damn thing up?”  

“MAAAH!”  

“Fuck you, brah,” Buddy screamed at the animal. He stuck his leg through the fence to try and kick it but it skipped away. “You son ‘a’ bitch. You better run!” He yelled but this leg was caught. He tried to pull himself free again but fell into the mud. 

“Aaaah!” He screamed in frustration. “This night sucks dead dong!”  

Cooper helped Buddy up.  

“C’mon bro. They’re watching us.” 

As Glenn had said there was a warmth to the milking sheds. Having grown up on Owen Ranch the bros looked to Buddy as their authority on what to do next. All their leader could do though was kick over a bucket. Forgetting he was bare footed the pain rang through his toes.  

“Medic!” he bawled.  

A short while later the shed door opened and a woman came to them carrying a bundle of blankets in her arms. Buddy’s eyes lit like the beams from the trucks. A beautiful woman, firm bodied, healthy. Her brunette hair was tied back, serving to highlight her shining blue eyes and soft, naturally rosy lips.  

“Welcome to Harvester Farm, boys,” she said. “I’m Julia Harvester.”  


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Knock, Knock: Episode 7: No Kids Allowed

252

I composed myself. I didn’t want to give any clue that I had seen what happened to Mel. I didn’t trust DENNIS but I knew he was the only one who could shed some light on what was going on. TABITHA had mentioned a war. She had insinuated as much to me too. My goal was to find out what this meant and who exactly they were at war with. It would make it easier for me to decide what to do with the evidence I had.

253

He swallowed the whiskey in his hand. I observed him for a bit, not giving away my presence too soon. I watched him, gauging his mannerisms and judging how easily he would talk at this point.

“Something getting you down?” I asked as coolly as possible.

“You should be upstairs,” he said. “You don’t want to be down here right now, pal.”

I took the stool at the bar beside him. I said nothing at first, just continuing to watch him for a break in his persona that would make him open up to me.

“Seriously,” he said, becoming frustrated. “You really have to go.”

“I’ve been through a lot lately,” I said finally. “I just want a drink. This is a bar, isn’t it?”

Dennis shook his head. He still wasn’t opening up. For a guy who was very full-on most of the time, I suspected he was a tougher nut to crack than it would seem.

“You look like you need help,” I said, hoping to prompt him.

He gave me a reluctant look then, but I seemed to have sparked something in him. I guess it had been some time since anyone had ever suggested helping him. It sure as hell didn’t seem likely that Tabitha would.

“There’s no helping me,” he said, but he laughed as he did so. His Knock Knock persona was coming back. I was running out of time.

“Look, let’s just level with each other,” I suggested. “You don’t want to be here and neither do I. We can help each other but I can’t do anything unless you tell me what’s going on.”

Dennis looked behind him. He probably could have sworn he heard the click of those high heeled shoes.

“It’s too late,” he said, but this time he didn’t sound so sure.

“It’s never too late. I have to know what is going on here before anyone else is hurt.”

Dennis lifted his empty glass and spoke into it. “I wish I had never met her.”

He could have been referring to anyone but I felt it was safe to assume he meant Tabitha.

Then, with one final question, he threw all caution to the wind.

“What brought you to the Knock Knock club?”

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***

“Tabitha darling, we’re leaving now,” called Mrs McKinney to her daughter. “Come and kiss Pa goodnight.”

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The girl had been sat in front of the television in the lounge. An old show played. The comically mismatched couple had found themselves in another scrape as they juggled the babysitting duties of ten small babies.

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Tabitha had no interest in Pa. She barely knew the man. She barely knew Ma either. The days they were at home were spent dressing for parties to which Tabitha was never invited. Tabitha learned quickly that neither of her parents were really interested in their daughter. She was dressed in pretty dresses and told to sit quietly, like she was part of the décor of their mansion home in the privileged town of FILTON.

The show ended. The audience were left in excited anticipation for what scenario they would find themselves in next. The screen replaced the show with an advertisement for Queen Corn cereal. A woman was singing and dancing on a beautifully illuminated stage. Her voice was sultry yet fun. The eye-catching leotard she wore underneath the grey gentleman’s blazer sparkled. The way her back-up dancers flocked around her, she looked as though she could rule the world. Tabitha’s heart began to flutter watching her and enjoying the music. The performer gazed at the camera with her smoky eyes, as though addressing the little girl directly.

‘You can have it all,’ her eyes seemed to say.

There was only one person in her life that encouraged her that way. Ma and Pa were strangers to her but her aunt, TAWNY, knew her. She had wanted to take her away from it all.

The week before, she had fallen asleep on the sofa when she felt a soft touch on her face. Her eyes opened to a beaming, round face with a sparkle in her eyes that was almost magical.

“Aunt Tee!” Tabitha cheered, throwing herself into the middle-aged woman’s arms. Her aunt hugged her tightly.

“Hello Trouble, how are you?”

“Good,” Tabitha replied. The house that had felt so empty and cold before was now warm and inviting with Tawny’s larger than life presence.

“Are you staying?” asked the niece.

“I can’t, honey. I just wanted to check on you. Where’s misery one and misery two?”

Tabitha shrugged. “At a party, I guess.”

Tawny shook her head. “They left you alone again?”

“I prefer it when they fuck off.”

Tawny laughed and shook her shoulder playfully. “Language, young lady.”

“Will you stay with me?”

Tawny beamed her wide, affectionate smile. “Of course I will.”

It had been a pleasant evening. They pushed the furniture aside. They danced and sang together across the open floor. They had been having so much fun that Tabitha almost forgot that Ma and Pa would return sooner or later.

Sometime around 2am Pa came charging in like a drunken bull. He pointed at his sister with a great, fat finger.

“You!” he spat. “Get to fuck out of my house.”

Tawny stood. “It’s as much my house as it is yours,” she remarked.

He waved his arms like a frustrated child. “Stay away from my family!”

Tawny laughed. Tabitha felt angry tears build in her eyes.

“Aren’t I family?” she asked.

Ma came tearing in behind Pa. “Just get out,” she ordered.

Pa sneered. A most hateful glare fell onto his fat face. “You are no sister of mine after what you did.”

“What I did?” Tawny reached into the black shirt she wore and produced a handful of instant photographs. “When you did this?” she started to throw them like a magician. “This? And this?”

They fell face down onto the floor, so Tabitha couldn’t see what the photos were of.

Pa grabbed her arm. “Just get out!”

Tawny relented. She raised her arms.

“Fine,” she said. “I’ll go, but Tabby comes with me.”

Pa raged. “Out of the question.”

Tabitha ran to her aunt and wrapped her arms around her full waist.

“Please,” she begged. “Just let me go with her.”

Pa grabbed the child’s arm and threw her aside, spraining her arm and hitting her head against the wall.

Tawny lunged and slapped him.

“How fucking dare you!” she growled. “You don’t give a shit about that kid.”

Ma was screaming, “I’ve had enough of this.” The doorbell rang and she charged to answer it. She returned swiftly, accompanied by two CPD officers.

“I found out about your petition for custody,” Pa growled. His expression changed to a satisfied sneer. “Judge Doyle overruled it today. Tabitha ain’t going anywhere.”

“After what you did to her you both should be in jail!” Tawny screamed.

The police officers clutched the aunt’s arms behind her back to restrain her.

“I now have an order against you. You are never to see Tabitha again,” Pa continued, relishing the pained expression on his sister’s face.

“I love you Tabs.” The aunt gave a painful cry as the officers removed her from the house. “No matter what happens remember I love you and I won’t rest until you are away from those monsters!”

When the scene had quietened Pa threw a cloth at Tabitha.

“Clean your face,” he ordered.

Tabitha soaked up the tears and absorbed the pain in her arm.

“Tabby!” Ma screeched this time.

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Tabitha sighed. She switched off the television.

She met Ma in the hallway. She was standing with a sturdy woman in a cloche hat and long coat.

“This is Nanny Lynn. She’s going to stay with you whilst Pa and I are out.”

“I hate her,” Tabitha glared at the nanny. “If she stays here I’m going to rip her fucking face off.”

“Watch your mouth,” Ma warned. She threw her arms in the air. “You’re going to be the death of me. I hope you realise that.”

Tabitha glared directly at Nanny Lynn who stood in silent shock. “If you stay here I’m going to rip your fucking face off,” she repeated.

Ma stormed off to the kitchen to fetch one of her pills leaving the nanny alone with the child.

“You’re an angry little girl, aren’t you?” the nanny began hopefully. “If you give me the chance though, I’m sure we will become great friends,” she continued in a patronising tone that made Tabitha’s teeth itch. She reached a pack of JOLLY SHOPPER toffees out to her. “Would you like something sweet?”

Tabitha groaned. Sugar wasn’t going to solve anything. She raised her middle finger.

“Here’s what I think of your fucking toffees. Couldn’t even get the decent kind. Fucking cheapo.”

Nanny Lynn’s mouth was agape. A slur on her toffees was apparently worse than the threat of having her face ripped off.

Ma returned from the kitchen.

“You are staying here with Nanny Lynn whether you like it or not. I’m not having you ruin my night again. You are so selfish. Now come say goodnight to Pa.”

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Pa was in a cloudy mood. Nanny Lynn fixed his tie. She stepped beside Tabitha and rested her hands on the girl’s shoulders with a gentle squeeze.

“Don’t pout girl,” Ma barked when she noticed the thunderous mood forming on her daughter’s face. “We’ll see you in the morning,” Ma started to explain but Pa snatched her arm and pulled her towards the door.

“Stop fussing,” he groaned. “I don’t want to be late.”

There was no kiss goodnight for Pa anyway. The little girl couldn’t understand why she had been pulled away from her shows just to watch them walk out the door again.

By the time Tabitha returned to the lounge the dancing woman was gone. It was during those lonely times that Tabitha missed her aunt the most. Aunt Tawny was a quirky woman with black hair and a laugh that always erupted from her stomach. She had a musical accent from the islands where she and Pa had grown up. Pa had lost his accent, striving to fit in amongst Filton society. Tawny wasn’t her aunt’s real name but that didn’t matter. They should have let her go. It wasn’t like they would miss her. Would they even notice she was gone?

That evening Tabitha kept singing and dancing like the woman from the cereal advert. As she did, a memory of Tawny came to her and the reason why her aunt made her smile so. Tawny always had a song on her lips. She wasn’t a graceful mover but there was a skip in her step that was enchanting. She was a cabaret singer and owned a club in the city. The Knock, Knock club sounded like such a magical place then.

“I love you Tabs. No matter what happens remember that.”

Tabitha couldn’t stand it any longer, she and Nanny Lynn alone in the big house, Ma and Pa never there.

“I won’t rest until you are away from those monsters.”

As the evening wore on she kept quiet, sitting in front of the television as Nanny Lynn read a magazine. She pretended to fall asleep on the sofa. Nanny Lynn got up to answer the door sometime after midnight. She heard someone look in on her. Tabitha closed her eyes tightly and pushed some light breathing through her nostrils. The door clicked closed again.

A few minutes later she heard the raised voices of her parents. Their slurred words were heavily laced with gin. Nanny Lynn sounded concerned. Tabitha couldn’t decipher their words but the tones were clear. Pa gave a hearty laugh. It was soon followed by stumbling footsteps up the stairs like a stampeding herd of cows. Ma was giggling.

“You’ll wake the child,” Nanny Lynn warned.

The door along the hall closed. Ma and Pa had gone to bed.

Tabitha waited patiently for an hour. She climbed onto her feet. She danced across the room like the woman from the advert and fetched a knife from the kitchen before creeping  back to the bottom of the stairs.

Quietly, she crept along the hall to Ma and Pa’s bedroom. It was the one room in the expansive house that was forbidden to her. That didn’t stop her this night.

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She opened the door as quietly as she could. There was movement from the bed. A lot of satisfied moaning filled the air. Pa was sat up. His bare back faced his daughter. Tabitha recited the tune from the cereal advert in her head. It slowed the charge of her heart. No one was paying attention to her. They hadn’t even noticed her come into the room. Ma had a camera phone and was filming Pa mounted onto Nanny Lynn like a breeding dog.

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Finally, Ma looked over. She shrieked when she saw her daughter. Tabitha ran at them. She embedded the knife into Pa’s side. He didn’t scream. He emitted a gasp of air as though something heavy had fallen on him.

Ma screamed again as her husband tumbled onto the floor. Tabitha wielded the knife and slashed Ma’s face, leaving a red trace on her milky skin.

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Tabitha leapt on top of Nanny Lynn’s naked frame and stabbed into her chest so deeply it was difficult to pull the blade back out.

With one last surge of strength Pa tried to grab at his daughter, but Tabitha curbed his enthusiasm by stabbing him ten more times.

Ma found her strength and charged at her daughter. She grabbed Tabitha around her neck and pulled her. They both fell to the floor.

Tabitha knew then she couldn’t overpower her, and the knife had slipped out of her bloodied hand. She wrapped her lips around Ma’s finger and bit down as hard as she could.

Ma was still locked around her so she reached up to her ear where she had had a recent injury. With an almighty tug Tabitha pulled the stitches and the rest of the ear came with it.

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She picked up the knife. Tabitha had to finish the job. She charged at her mother and knocked her on top of Nanny Lynn’s lifeless body. She stabbed her twice. Ma still gasped. Her lips parted slowly. Her lungs had been punctured so she held on for a few moments like a fish out of water. Her last gaze upon her daughter showed she was smiling.

She switched on the lights. The blood-stained sheets were a tangled mess around the occupants of the bed. Tabitha found it quite comical actually. It looked like a sketch from a comedy show. She stifled her giggles.

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A young girl wouldn’t get very far on her own. She had to make herself seem older.

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She chose Ma’s favourite red dress and took it from the closet. Ma had been quite petite so it was only a little oversized. She pulled Ma’s make-up out of its usual hiding place. It spilled onto the floor. She wiped the blood from her face and sat at the vanity mirror.

The image of her parents and their reluctant lover reflected in the glass. She giggled again. She painted her face with the make-up, a little heavy on the rouge and the red lips but it made Tabitha seem older. With Ma’s clothes and a face of make-up she looked older than she was.

As she made her way to the front door her shoes clicked on the marble floor. This pleased her. She danced along it, singing the cereal song again. With her dress, heels and make up, little Tabitha could easily be the woman from the advert.

With only the cash Ma had in her purse the young girl ventured into the night, not really sure of where she was going yet.

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***

“What happened after that?” I asked.

Dennis shook his head. His story had tired him. I wanted to keep him with me though. I needed him to tell me everything he knew so I poured him another whiskey to stop him sobering up.

“From what I heard the never found the bodies but Nanny Lynn’s husband was arrested on suspicion for the murder. They said it was some kind of jealous rage. Tabitha slipped through the system.”

“How did she get into the city?”

“You would be surprised how many people around here are willing to help a young girl dressed like a whore,” he said bluntly.

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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.

Trying to protect her little Trouble has led Tawny to rehab!

Bring me your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me those that society can no longer cope with. They will always have a home at Harbour House.

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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