I was told to stay away. I was warned by those closest to me. I was even warned by those who had a hand in running the place but I couldn’t leave it behind. The mayor of Coldford City had gone missing. I followed his trail of sleaze and embezzlement to a cabaret club called the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB Located in the poorest part of the city known as the SHANTIES, It was his last known whereabouts apart from his own home.
As I knocked on that door a whole new world opened up to me, exposing the true filth that ran underneath the Shady City.
I lost my wife, I lost my home and I lost my focus on everything I knew to be right as I continued to linger in the darkness of the KNOCK KNOCK holding room. I lost a friend too, a good friend. She was gone before she even had her chance to tell me her part of the story, where she fit in. I thought I knew MADELINE. We had worked together at the COLDFORD DAILY newspaper for a long time. In the Shady City though, people have so many different reflections of themselves.
Worst of all where the innocents lost. I watched on as a little girl named Sarah was shot. She hadn’t done anyone any harm. She was just a little kid. In a world where heroes disguised as villains rule and villains parade themselves as heroes it is hard to know who to trust.
I may have lost everything that was important to me but there is still one thing they can never take away and that is my story. My story will be told, even if it is with my last breath because when they strip me away from my friends, my family and my personal identity all that’s left is the reporter. The press can topple kings and queens. The press has the power to instil or remove belief in Gods should they choose. I had to use that kind of power for good and this is why I write now.
Looking back I could let the bitterness consume me but all I want is the truth. As the city rips itself apart, even when there’s nothing left but ashes, they will have to face that truth.
I’m even willing to face my own truth. I will face the things I never thought I was capable of. I will take responsibility for what I have done. The story will be told, no matter the consequences to me.
“Alright Lydia. Talk us through it.”
LYDIA LOWE peered out at the crowd that had gathered at the Knock Knock club that night.
“I can see the MACKS at their usual table,” she said. “I can see some of the other regular faces.”
It had taken a long time to prepare to bring TABITHA in but the time had come. Lydia’s heart raced as the music began to fire up. Tonight was the night.
“I saw her earlier. She was at the bar with SIMON PENN,” she informed the team waiting close by for the opportunity to strike.
“We need to make sure she hasn’t left already,” the warm, masculine voice of Agent Reynolds came through.
“She’s here somewhere,” Lydia assured. “She never leaves when the stage is set.”
The music was getting louder. The crowd were becoming excited.
“I have to go on stage,” said Lydia, still under the guise of a KNOCK KNOCK GIRL until such times as the mission was complete.
“Go get em’ girl,” Reynolds cheered. “You bring that thunder.” The cheer in his voice calmed Lydia’s nerve. They had spent a lot of resources preparing to bring Tabitha down. There was a lot riding on Lydia’s final performance at the club.
The crowd applauded as Lydia strutted onto the stage. Distracted by her toned body, her pretty face they didn’t realise the danger that loomed outside. Lydia knew how to draw their focus with her natural finesse. It was why she had been chosen for the mission. Going under cover at the club was not going to be easy but Kim needed someone capable and whom she could trust.
The warm stage lights burned down on her but Lydia managed to turn herself so she could see up onto the balcony. There she was, wearing her signature red dress. Unimpressed, Tabitha knew the crowds loved Lydia. It was the only reason she had managed to penetrate the club as far as she had. Even Paddy Mack, head of the Mack clan that supplied booze to the club, choose to share a pint with the bubbly Knock Knock girl from BOURNTON rather than the Boss Lady herself. It stirred enough of Tabitha’s jealousy to keep the agent under the radar as the club willingly opened up to her.
“I see her,” said Lydia discretely. “I have a visual. I repeat, I have a visual.”
She hoped they had heard.
The wave began from outside and spread inwards. Before taking to the stage Lydia had unlocked the alley way door. It was the only other entrance to the club besides the main one. COLDFORD POLICE Detective HICKES accompanied by CPD officers could close in without the risk of breaching the main entrance. If all went awry they could pull back at short notice. There was no telling how dangerous the Knock Knock club could get.
There would be no mercy that night. Everyone at the club was a potential threat. No one would be presumed innocent.
Simon Penn – the middle of the Penn triplets – had sensed a commotion. He was the one sent to retrieve me as I tried to escape the club with little Sarah.
His brother, Marcus, had given a lot to Knock Knock so a lot was at stake for the Auction House the Penn family owned too. The Penn family were the self proclaimed rulers of City Main with the AUCTION HOUSE as their base.
“I’m going to take a look around,” said Simon to Tabitha. Her focus was still on Lydia on the stage.
“You do that Si,” she replied absent mindedly. “Look at that scabby whore thinking she brings the thunder,” she groaned. “We all know who really brings the thunder.”
She turned to Simon who was giving her a perplexed look.
Tabitha scoffed. “You’re such a boy sometimes.”
Simon raised his eyebrows in exasperation. “Something’s not right. I’m going to check it out.”
Tabitha leaned on the balcony. “Fine, off you pop,” she said.
Meanwhile, down below, Lydia’s routine was driving the crowd into a frenzy.
Simon made his way from the balcony deep into the heart of the club. He heard footsteps. He concealed himself behind the wall as Agent Reynolds slowly manoeuvred to the main body of the club. Simon waited patiently for him to draw closer. When the time for retreat was minimal he leapt out of the shadows. WHACK. PUNCH. SMACK.
The middle Penn was a champion boxer, known as PUNCHLINE PENN. Reynolds was put to the canvas quickly. Simon charged on to the main entrance to see what other danger was trying to penetrate the fortress.
GET OUT. The message read. Simon had been right. Something had been amiss. CPD were now closing in and closing in fast. Tabitha suspected she knew who had been responsible although petulance was probably still driving her suspicions at that point. If she had truly been suspect of Lydia before then the agent would never had lasted long at the club. However, her instincts were correct and the Knock Knock Boss Lady hadn’t gotten as far as she had without good instincts.
“Oh you bitch!” she growled to herself. She had no time to waste. She had to leave and like a castle under siege the queen fled to fight another day.
Outside, a cool night breeze danced around Simon Penn’s face. The door closed behind him. He needed to buy Tabitha some time to get away. At the end of the alley way stood Kim – Lydia’s long time friend. She was alone. They weren’t pulling the CPD team just yet.
“Stay right there,” warned the middle triplet.
Kim sighed. “Don’t be a fool. You know it’s over. Come quietly and make it easier on yourself.”
Simon raised his eyebrows and laughed. “You seem pretty sure of yourself.”
Refusing to be drawn in Kim kept her composure.
“You probably don’t realise just how fucked you are right now so I’ll give you one last chance. Come quietly.” She strolled towards him casually as though she was approaching him for directions.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” she urged.
Simon put his hands behind his back and leaned against the door.
Simon’s fists clenched. His expression fell into an animalistic sneer. Kim knew it wouldn’t be as easy as just asking nicely but she had to hold the Penn where he was until her CPD support arrived so he couldn’t get back to Tabitha.
Simon spat on the ground. He tensed his shoulders and cracked his neck.
Time was running out. Whilst things continued inside the club, Tabitha could very well be making her bid to slip out of their grasp.
“I’m not going anywhere,” growled Simon as he brought himself to his full height to intimidate her.
Kim remained unmoved. “And I told you you’re coming in one way or another.”
“I’ll knock you on your ass if you don’t back the fuck off,” Simon snarled.
“I’m hoping to God you take a swing at me because I’m looking for any excuse.”
Tension was building. Simon was obviously playing for time too. It was then Kim realised had already warned Tabitha. Kim couldn’t let the Boss Lady get away and ruin the work her agents had put in getting to this point.
“Reynolds is badly beaten. He’s going to need medical attention,” Hickes’ voice came through Kim’s ear piece. “We’re searching for Tabitha.”
Simon’s frustration pushed him. He swung a left hook at her but luckily she managed to dodge it. By the time she had corrected herself he was raining another down on her. She pushed him back but his firm footwork found him lunging forward again, this time with the right fist. The second blow she managed to dodge. Her luck was wearing thin. She had to get inside. She didn’t know how badly hurt Agent Reynolds was or if Tabitha was slipping away.
Simon rained the punches in hard and fast, refusing to hold back any of the precision or strength he used in the boxing ring. He was however, beginning to lose discipline as Kim dodged his punches before finally blocking his right arm and in an unexpected use of the South Paw. She caught him on the chin as promised, sending him falling to the canvas that was Clifton Alley.
What Simon didn’t know was Kim was the daughter of a great boxer known as the Bournton Blizzard. He had taught his daughter everything he knew before a particularly gruelling eleven rounds in the ring with Punchline Penn left him paralysed.
“Ye done?” Kim asked as Simon grunted and started to pick himself back up.
He spat again. “You fucking bitch!” he growled with real venom.
Voices chattered at the end of the alley as more CPD officers arrived on scene to help.
“You boys took your time,” Kim barked at them. The officers surrounded her. She looked to Simon. “As for you, I’ll have to give you your second round some other time.”
As Tabitha fled the scene she saw the members of her club beaten brutally as CPD pillaged Knock Knock. A Knock Knock girl named Polly was being pulled deeper into the alley by her hair.
She was screaming, “leave me alone!”
She was a nice girl. She was just looking to make a living for her and her daughter Freya so she shared bar work with Lisa. She was one of Tabitha’s first appointments when she took control. Hiring her was her first real decision as Boss Lady.
Tabitha growled. There was nothing she could do to help her people in that moment but she made note. She wouldn’t forget and CPD would pay for harming her members and her girls.
CPD had gained control of the area but there was still no sign of Tabitha. Lydia was dressing whilst Hickes offered a quick report of the events as they had unfolded whilst she coordinated from the Knock Knock stage.
“We have some of the MACKS in custody,” he said. “As well as Simon Penn.”
Lydia slipped into a pair of trousers. “What about Tabitha?” She asked.
“We’re still searching the area. She has to be in here somewhere.”
Lydia frowned and shook her head. “Unless she has managed to slip past.”
The agent visualised the area in her head. There had been part of the team assigned to the back that led to the street where Tabitha parked her car. The commotion that poured from the club in that direction Tabitha could have used to her advantage.
Lydia finished dressing. “Finish cleaning up here,” she ordered. “I’m not letting her get away. Not after everything we’ve been through to bring her in.”
Surrounded by the rough brick and walking on the sticky floors it seemed the CPD were bringing Knock Knock to order. Being inside the castle meant little without the rebel queen in captivity.
“That bitch!” Tabitha screamed clutching her steering wheel. She heard Lydia’s bike draw closer to her. Looking in the rear view mirror confirmed it. The Knock Knock girl now pursuing agent was closing in.
The people of the Shanties watched on as their queen departed in a flash of a red sports vehicle.
“Get out of the way!” Tabitha cried to a couple who lingered close to the road, probably making their way to the club without realising what had transpired. “I will knock you the fuck down!”
The couple fell back out of the route. Watching, bewildered as the red car that was so distinct and so well known in the area that even the most desperate or daring of car thieves wouldn’t touch. It was one of the few luxury vehicles that could sit in the poorest area of the city without being damaged or stolen. The plates that read 8O55 LADY were enough deterrent. Even the Penns were dropped off and picked back up by town cars from the Auction House whenever they had business in the Shanties.
As fast and as fancy as Tabitha’s car could be it wasn’t enough to shake off the pursuit of agent Lydia Lowe.
Tabitha brought the car to a halt. Lydia had the briefest windows of opportunity to decide if Tabitha was giving up. ‘No,’ she thought. ‘That would be too easy.’ She was right.
Tabitha threw the car into reverse and it charged towards Lydia. Tabitha gave a maniacal laugh at the thought of running her over.
“Not bringing the thunder now, are you?” she cheered.
Luckily Lydia was able to leap to safety. Tabitha’s car sped off again towards an expanse of waste land that was the outskirts of the Shanties. It was up to Lydia to stop her escaping. If she managed to get away the chaos at the club would be for nothing, Reynolds’ injuries would be for nothing.
She hopped onto her bike again and sped off. She took her gun, focusing on balance and precision. She fired once, catching the back tyre of Tabitha’s car. She fired a second time before the car fell into a spin and caught the right tyre. Tabitha had no choice but to bring the car to a stop.
She screamed like a spoiled child in a tantrum, stamping her feet and slamming the palms of her hands against the steering wheel. She caught sight of Lydia approaching with caution. Her gun was still drawn.
“Let’s see how you like a bullet in your cunt face,” Tabitha said feeling a little giddy. She reached into the glove compartment and retrieved her own gun. No bullets. “Are you fucking kidding me with this?”
She dropped the gun to the floor. If Lydia saw her with it in her hand she would open fire. Instead she looked in the mirror, checked her make up and fixed her hair. She pushed the button and the window slowly whirred open.
“Is there a problem officer?” she asked with a grin
#amreading the #thriller #graphicnovel #knockknock by @VivikaWidowTweet
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