Knock Knock: Episode 30: It’s All Over Now

The Browning house had a strange atmosphere. It had been inhabited for ten years and yet it felt like no one had dared crossed the boundary. There were some newer throw pillows on the battered old sofa but they too were filthy. The windows had heavy shutters. The curtains were dusty and thick with mould. ‘How could anyone have lived here?’ Winslow wondered to himself. Vincent Baines, his Harbour House resident, had described it to him many times but he never imagined it to be so filthy. The music teacher had thought to go there for safety but that hadn’t worked out so well for him, now had it? It didn’t work out well for the doctor either, trying to help George, and it wouldn’t work out for Julia. George was a special case. He wasn’t quite driven by his lust the way most young men were. He had his desires but they were different. He didn’t quite think with his brain either the way sane people would.

The doctor had come to the Browning house as instructed, he couldn’t stay in the city where the scope of an Owen’s gun could be on him at any time. He didn’t plan on spending much time there. He would be back on top soon enough and when he did he would be putting Julia out of the game for good.

His heart skipped a beat as the cheap phone he had bought at a store in Bournton rattled on the table. One of the chairs had been broken, no doubt by George in a temper. Micky Doyle was the only person he had given the number to in a message that read:

HAVE TO BE OUT OF TOWN FOR A WHILE. I AM NOT ABROAD SO YOUR COUSIN NEEDN’T WORRY. I CAN BE BACK IN THE CITY WITHIN THE HOUR. SINCERELY G WINSLOW.

The doctor quickly answered the phone. The remoteness of the house made everything seem so much louder.

“Yes Micky? Yes?” he welcomed.

“Good gracious Gregory, where are you?”

Winslow looked at a pair of white briefs that had been discarded on the floor.

“Never mind that,” he said. “I hope you have some good news for me.”

Micky chuckled. “I do indeed. My cousin has finished her investigation into Harbour House.”

Winslow clutched his chest. It was a much needed relief. “I’m so glad.” His stronghold was coming back to him. “I trust all was well?”

Micky replied, “If you hadn’t been hiding yourself away you could have been here to witness the entire thing. They found nothing. It was really quite splendid. Now Karyn is annoyed at the resources that were wasted. The keys of the facility are to be handed over but we need you here to sign the documents.”

It had been a long time since Winslow had felt so jovial.

“You’re sure it is safe?” he asked. “It all went well?”

His good friend Micky Doyle assured it couldn’t have gone better. He was Mayor Micky Doyle now and what was sitting on the Hot Seat of the Shady City if you couldn’t help your friends?

“I have an appointment for you with Karyn at one o’clock but you have to hurry. Do not be late, Gregory. You know she won’t reschedule.”

Gregory tried to remember if Karyn Doyle was an early or late luncher. One o’clock could be a time when her belly was full and she was pacified. It could also be the time when she was still waiting with a ravenous hunger.

“Yes, Micky. Of course. I’ll be there right away.”

After Micky rang off Winslow stepped out on the gravel drive way. He gave thought to Buddy. Surely, he wasn’t still watching? The Browning house was isolated but that didn’t matter. Buddy could be hiding anywhere, still with his scope following him. He almost ducked for cover when a blackbird took flight from a nearby tree. He slipped into his car like a snake and drove away. He had an appointment with Judge Karyn Doyle, arranged by his good friend Micky, and The Judge would not reschedule. He had to collect his Harbour House keys or risk losing them for good. As he drove back to the city, his eyes returning to the rear-view mirror contantly, he was still unable to shake that feeling of Buddy watching him. At least he would be safe when he got inside the Court House. He would retrieve Harbour House and he would deal with Buddy Owen then.

***

Things were changing in the Shady City. Things were changing for the dominant names: Penn, Beckingridge, Harvester, Owen. But things were also changing for individuals, those who had sought to make a name for themselves like Winslow and like Tabitha, even reporters like myself. It took a certain distraction from humanity, a certain disregard for the value of life, honour and morals to succeed. This was something the eminent Doctor Winslow had in abundance.

As he raced along the City Main streets, still fearing being caught in Buddy’s scope, he almost collided with a woman who was carrying a load of Harvester goods in Harvester tote bags. The typical snobbish attitude of the people of City Main caused her nose to upturn.

“Watch where you are going!” she barked as she tried to steady her bags again.

Winslow started to help her with her bags but the bang of a car back firing caused him to abandon that pursuit.

The Court House was the Almighty’s waiting room in Coldford. The smell of polish on the mahogany, the brightness of the shine on the marble floor, all screamed power to Winslow. She was a difficult mistress to please but if she allowed you to sample her sweet delights she could pleasure like no other. Winslow knew this and he salivated at the idea of having a taste, having his Harbour House back complete with the stamp of approval from Judge Karyn Doyle herself. He didn’t want to seem over eager, nor did he want to seem complacent. He hadn’t had the chance to groom properly or brush his teeth at the Browning house so he was a little out of sorts.

“Put your best foot forward,” Papa would always say. “No one likes a man who pays no care to his presentation.”

Winslow was in full agreement with that but there just hadn’t been time for him to present himself properly. He needed Harbour House back and then he would present. Then he would present to the entire city.

“Excuse me, sir,” a Court Clerk stopped him. Her name was Diane and it had been she who had been there to meet in him Luen. She was one of Karyn’s minions, clearly an admirer. She was well presented. In fact, she was so well presented she could be a body double for the Judge herself. Well Diane, it seems your attempts to discredit the good doctor didn’t bore much fruit. If Karyn was annoyed at the wasted resources, Diane may just find herself being to blame.

“I have been personally requested by Her Honourable,” Winslow stated with pride. He couldn’t help but enjoy the way Diane’s face dropped. It added years to her. “I’ll head right on in if you please.”

The hall was lined with well equipped men. They were not bailiffs nor were they clerks. They were members of the much fabled Black Bands. They had been brought together by Sergeant Major Doyle with the intention of creating an elite team capable of stopping rebellions, uprisings and extreme civil unrest. Upon sight of them Winslow slowed his walk to a stop. They weren’t paying him any attention but they cast a dark shadow. He was almost at the point of turning and retreating when Micky leaned out of the door to Judge Doyle’s office.

“Gregory!” he called in a hushed but urgent tone. “Hurry. For God’s sake don’t keep her waiting.”

With his good friend Micky Doyle’s encouragement Winslow passed the Black Bands and entered the lair of The Judge. Karyn herself was sat behind her desk. Four pillars bearing the Law Makers symbol like eyes from above stood tall behind her. She had files placed before her.

Winslow took a seat. “It’s a pleasure Karyn. It’s so nice to see you.”

Karyn Doyle was unmoved. Her pale face expressionless. “I’m in office. You will address me with my proper title.”

“Yes, of course. I do apologise, Your Honour.”

The Judge lifted the first of the files. “On October 19th you were given notice to allow my bailiffs to audit your facility. You were also asked to deliver resident 0109 into my custody. Is that correct?”

Winslow looked to Micky first but the mayor said nothing.

“Yes, ma’am. That is correct,” he eventually replied.

“You refused to respond.”

The judge dropped the file on the table and collected the next.

“On October 25th the case was escalated further. You were served notice of audit and a warrant was given for resident 0109. Is that correct?”

Winslow blinked. They had already been through this. “Yes ma’am. That is of course correct.”

The second file was dropped. “Still you refused to respond.”

Winslow tried to explain, “It was a very busy time. I had so much to do and of course personal issues…Your office takes precedent but my residents were sick and in need of my care.”

The Judge scooped up the final file in her hand.

“On October 30th a full summons was granted and my bailiffs entered your facility by force.”

“I do sincerely apologise for that ma’am. I’m so sorry for any inconvenience that this issue may have caused. As I stated at the time I was under a great deal of pressure.”

Karyn Doyle narrowed her gaze. “Yes, we have documented that. We are also taking into consideration your assistance in the search for Tawny McInney. So now I am willing to move forward. After a thorough investigation of the facility my bailiffs found nothing.”

Winslow grinned. “We aim to heal, Your Honour. Harbour House is the greatest facility in Coldford and can help so many when it is reopened.”

The door opened without knocking. Van Holder of the Black Bands and a companion named Monsta’ – a huge man with an animalistic presence – entered. They stood by the door.

“My bailiffs found nothing. That was until one of your nurses, Beverly Myers, stepped forward,” Judge Doyle explained. “Gregory Winslow, you are under arrest.”

Monsta’ pulled Winslow from his chair.

“Wait!” Winslow screamed. “I’ve done nothing wrong! Beverly is a liar!”

Judge Doyle flicked open the last file. “Your charges are as follows. The torture and exploitation of at least thirty two victims including Martin Winslow and Alexander Ferrald. That number continues to grow. Also, for the murder of Mark McKenzie, Scott Cross and Laura Doyle. This number also continues to grow. Finally, multiple accounts of the rape of Julia Harvester.”

“Lies!” Winslow shrieked.”Micky! Tell her!”

“I’m also in the capacity of my office,” replied Micky. “That’s Mayor Doyle.”

Winslow wouldn’t be able to shake Monster’s grasp. After reading him his rights the Judge was not done.

“I hereby revoke your licence to practice medicine indefinitely. You are no longer to assume the doctor title and any attempts to re-register will be denied. You will now be remanded in custody until your trial. Given the nature and magnitude of your crimes no bail will be granted and I am authorising a full psychiatric evaluation.”

“Micky! Damnit all Micky! I am taking you down with me. I am taking you down!” Winslow shrieked as he was pulled from the office of The Judge.

The Penn Auction House, The Knock Knock Club, Harbour House. There were three down and one more to go. As Her Honourable Judge Karyn Doyle prepared for her next appointment her long shadow was cast over the map of Coldford plunging the Bellfield area into darkness, home of the Mack and Sons Distillery, provider of the finest whiskey in the Shady City and the current whereabouts of fugitive Patrick Mack.

***

The sailing was smooth, although Kumala had vomited a couple of times. She didn’t know how long she had been travelling for. Restless sleep had been intermittent. She and twenty other girls had been locked below deck. In the bottom of the boat was only darkness and the smell of rats. She was told she needn’t be frightened but she couldn’t help it. Her village had been celebrating her thirteenth birthday when they came. They took her and many of the other girls. They told them that they would have a better life. They would be like princess brides, similar to the ones she had read about in story books. Some of the girls didn’t want this. They disappeared through the night. The boat they had been crammed into didn’t seem much like the princess carriages from the books but maybe it would all get better when they reached their destination. One of the girls with them had been beaten by their escorts. She probably couldn’t speak their language. She had tried to comfort some of the other girls but communication was a problem. One of them – a twelve-year-old – had fallen unconscious. She was terribly dehydrated. The girl who couldn’t speak collected some of the rain water that was dripping down on them and rubbed it onto the girls dry, cracked lips.

Never had Kumala been enclosed with so many people and yet felt so alone. The boat continued to tear through the sea towards her destination. Kumala was told all of her dreams would come true in the City of Coldford. She hoped so.

***

It was early morning and the phone buzzing woke Nan Harvester. She leaned over and checked.

SHIPMENT 0612 has arrived.

She sat up. This was good. It had been the first shipment for a while. It was still dark outside. The farm would be stirring soon. She patted Jonathan lying beside her.

“Jonathan,” she whispered. “Jon? You have to get up. I have to go and I need you to keep an eye on things on the farm.”

Jonathan didn’t object. He sat up, stretched and slipped out of bed. Nan watched her son’s naked body as he disappeared into the adjoining bathroom. It was going to be a good day. Another shipment of nanny’s little naughties for the pot. She climbed out of bed herself and crossed to the window. She pulled the green curtains open and allowed the world in. The sun was just beginning to climb up to to the horizon.

She felt Jonathan’s arm slip around her waist, having returned from the bathroom. He was now wearing a beige pair of overalls that once belonged to his father.

“Have a good day, mum,” he said.

“I will Jon,” she replied. “The best day.”

***

By the time Nan arrived at Chamberlain Docks the daylight had dawned on Swantin. A beautiful warmth was glowing through the icy air. Nan met Harbour operator Anthony Runetti.

“Good to see you Nan,” he said. “I’ve got the Ferry Way heading to Hathfield at 11:40. It’ll be coming in to Port at nine. We’ll need your ship turned around by eight.“ Nan smiled sweetly. “I won’t even need that much time Anthony. I’ll be in and away before you know it, just like a little fairy.”

It was then he noticed the tote bag she was carrying. It was filled with fruit, vegetables and meat packets.

“This is for your mum,” she explained handing the bag over. “I’ve not had the chance to pop up and see her yet. You can give her this for me. I’ll be up to see her real soon. Let her know I haven’t forgotten her. I missed her at church last Sunday.”

Anthony collected the bag gratefully. He was supposed to oversee all shipments but he knew Nan. She stood as his confirmation sponsor at church when Uncle Roddy and his dad had a falling out. He supposed it would be no harm to let the sweet farmer’s wife through. Widowed, charitable, Christian woman. He had to take the groceries into the office and store them in the fridge anyway.

It wasn’t until she got to the gangway that the skipper opened the door. Light flooded onto the girls’ eyes. Kumala’s legs were weak. The mute girl offered her arm to help steady her.

Nan smiled at Kumala but it didn’t comfort her.

“I see the travel was a little snug girls. I’m ever so sorry. We couldn’t afford better, I’m afraid. We are a charity after all. But none of you should worry.” Kumala was pushed towards the skipper. “Separate the virgins from those sexually active. I’d like them put to work right away.” She rounded on the mute girl. “I don’t know this one,” she clutched the girl’s face. Exotic. Pure.

“A new addition,” the skipper explained. “She was last minute but we thought you would like her.”

Nan nodded. “I like her very much. She’s beautiful. What’s your name?” Nan asked the girl.

The girl looked to Kumala.

“Do you speak English?” Nan asked softly. She surveyed the other girls.

“The dummy has been thrown from the pram,” she said.

Nan frowned. “Excuse me?”

“Move! Move!” Cries were heard. A blockade was thrown down and a fleet of agents descended upon the scene.

Agents Kim, Lydia, Franklin and Reynolds were on the front line. There was nowhere to run.

Kim grabbed Nan’s arm. “Nan Harvester. I’m placing you under arrest for trafficking.”

Continuing to read her rights, the other agents looked to bring Skipper and the crew in.

Lydia took control of Kumala and the other girls.

“It’s okay. You are safe now,” she assured them. Franklin began to interpret in their native language.

“Well done, Agent Ragrag,” Kim congratulated the mute girl. Agent Ragrag was nineteen but given her youthful looks she had been chosen for the undercover mission. She had allowed herself to be taken and moved with the girls. She had been to hell and back but the girls were now safe. The mission was a success.

Like dominoes, the great pillars of Coldford continued to fall.

***

Having stayed away from the farm all day, it was well past dinner by the time Julia returned home. She dressed in something more comfortable and made her way back downstairs. As the door opened into the entry hall, she didn’t call a welcoming to any family or guests. She was expecting a quiet house that night. In a display of despair Jonathan came tearing from the lounge when he heard her footsteps.

“Jules!” he cried. “I’ve been trying to call you. Where have you been?”

Julia leaned casually by the window.

“I saw your missed calls. I just wasn’t answering.”

“It’s mum,” he explained. “She’s been arrested. They have her for trafficking. The Nan Foundation is closed pending further investigation. They won’t set bail. She’s going to prison. What are we going to do?”

“That is unfortunate,” said Julia softly. She took her brother’s hand. “I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. Nothing. We’re going to let her rot in prison for the rest of her life.” Jonathan pulled his hand away. His eyes widened. Julia went on, “She let him back in here. You have no idea what it is like to have his disgusting, trembling hands touch you, to satisfy his depraved appetites whilst you watch your father imprisoned in hospital. Do you have any idea what it is like to look into the eyes of someone who knows you are just about to end their life?”

“Jules!” Jonathan sobbed. “She was our mother.”

Julia shrugged. “I don’t care. I have and always will do what needs to be done.”

Jonathan pressed, “What are you saying?”

Julia smiled her sweet smile. “I’m saying I gave the Court everything it needed to go after both of them. I’m saying I will bring you down too and I won’t bat an eyelid.”

Jonathan nodded.

She smiled her nice smile. Julia Harvester was a nice girl. She always had been. She took her brothers hand again. Her touch was softer.

“We’ll be fine with poor mummy and daddy gone. I’ll have to work extra hard but the farm will be just fine. It’s late now. I’m going to have some herbal tea and a nice hot bath.”

A tear spilled from Jonathan’s eye. His sob caught her attention. She turned and agilely crossed the hall again. She opened the window to let the stifling air escape the farm house.

“What’s all this fuss about?” she asked. She pinched his cheek. Her grip twisted. “What’s all the fuss about?”

Jonathan gasped. He had no answer for his little sister.

“I’m just putting everything back in its place. Everything is so much neater when things are in their place. Beck Tower, Owen Inc. and all the other little blocks laid neatly in a row. I have much to do Jon and I can’t have you holding me back. Whilst they all went on bickering among themselves, they failed to notice our farmland grow. They were so distracted with what they could have that our trucks slipped around the city unnoticed. They were all so concerned with protecting their own they hadn’t counted the amount of fresh new Harvesters stores all the way from City Main to our latest on Love Street in Bellfield. I’d very much like to take a walk up Love Street. All the little blocks neatly in a row and suddenly the city becomes a much nicer place. Goodbye Jon.”

BANG.

Jon was shot in the centre of his forehead. His body dropped with the weight of slaughtered cattle. She stepped over the body. She wanted to run a bath, relax and shake off all that had happened.

When I began my story into the mayor I had been warned away from it. My fellow reporters told me it would lead me to dangerous places. The events unfolded and now as the largest titans in the city prepared to face off they failed to notice a great monster rising in the north. What was most dangerous about the Harvester monster, was that it was a friendly face everyone welcomed into their home.

***

The Boss. Bournton’s pride. Now a Kappa So strong hold. For those bearing the name Penn it was not going to be an easy place to make home. Marcus Penn was introduced to this when Kappa So members flooded him in his cell and he was beaten badly. Simon they targeted in the showers. He was naked, he was outnumbered and they taunted him. He fought back but it was to no avail.

Governor Avery West stepped in. The prison he was placed in charge of had been assigned so many new guards since the arrival of Billy Owen to CPD that he barely recognised most of the faces as he crossed the halls of The Boss to his office. Guards, legal staff, even the medics and admin, all were different. There were so many new arrivals. It made the inmates uncomfortable but random outbursts of violence from the guards kept them pacified.

Inside his office Avery was met by two guards. They had in their custody two of the Penns. Their faces matched and their expressions matched too.

“Take a seat, gentlemen,” Avery invited.

Simon seemed hesitant at first but when Marcus took a seat he followed suit.

“Let me begin by apologising on behalf of my guards for the extra attention you’ve been getting lately. I wanted you to know that I am doing all I can to see that it doesn’t happen again.”

“Why?” Marcus wanted to know. This was his first audience with the governor so he was familiarising himself with the type of man he was.

Avery nodded to the guards. They both took a step back. “I want to make you as comfortable as possible,” he admitted. “When you are inside The Boss you are my responsibility. I take the responsibility of any of the inmates very seriously. I have been here a long time and I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen riots, I’ve seen contraband and I’ve seen men hang from the roof. When you both came in we expected a handful but you’ve caused little trouble and you’ve even kept some of the other inmates in line. If you are going to be with me for the foreseeable future we might as well keep our acquaintance friendly. As a matter of fact, in the token of our friendship I have a gift for you. If you will care to follow me.”

Simon and Marcus were escorted to an exercise yard. It was smaller than the main one the inmates used. Two guard towers were perched, each with a gunman to boast. “This is exercise yard B. The guard up there,” here Avery pointed to the left. “His name is Rukov. I’ve known him for years. If you continue to behave like gentlemen he’ll give you no trouble. On the right up there,” here he indicated the other. “His name is Gorvic. I hand picked him especially for my squad here. He will follow the same rules.”

“Why did you bring us here?” Marcus enquired.

Simon had already seen the reason. “Reggie!” he called.

On the other side of the fence sat the final triplet for them to be whole again. Forgetting the gunmen and the guards both the triplets ran to meet their brother at the barrier between them.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” asked Simon with snarl.

“I came to find you,” said Reggie. “You could show a little gratitude.”

Simon shook his head. “Do you have any idea the danger you have put yourself in?”

Reggie shrugged. He sat himself down on the ground.

“He’s right,” Marcus agreed. “You can’t stay here.”

Reggie folded his arms and remained defiant.

“Well I’m not going anywhere. If you two are in danger, I am too. So you might as well just leave it.”

Simon was still shaking his head but he had softened. “You are a fucking idiot.”

Reggie laughed, “Yeah I know, but I’m the idiot on this side of the fence.”

Marcus turned his attention back to Avery. Avery approached them. “No one else will be able to use this area. It’s not a long-term solution but at least you will have the chance to regroup.”

Marcus frowned. “Why are you doing this?”

“Help keep my prison in order and I will make life as easy for you as I can.” Avery took his leave. The two ground guards remained posted at the door. The tower guards kept their look out on the Boss’ rear approach.

The triplets were given the chance to talk.

“So what you’s been up to?” Reggie asked.

Simon frowned. “Well it’s been bed of fucking roses, Reg. What do you think?”

Reggie shook his head. “It’s not exactly been easy for me you know. It’s been no picnic.” This seemed to trigger something. “Marcus, I’ve got a pack of the Harvester Corn chips. You like those, right?”

He stood and with a great heave he threw the packet over the fence. They landed at Marcus’ feet. He scooped them up. “Thanks,” he replied. He inspected the packet. “It’s bacon flavour. Do you have any cheese?”

“What do I look like?” Reggie asked. “A fucking corner shop?”

All three laughed. The sound almost broke the barrier between them. Almost.

“There’s no pleasing you,” Simon put to Marcus. He closed in on the bars and tried to look behind Reggie into the small fishing tent he had set up. “Got any energy drinks?”

“Fuck off. You get your three squares a day. This is the only stash I have.”

Reggie was the most resourceful of the triplets. Like his rats, he was the most effective at squeezing from tight places.

“Have you heard anything about dad?” Marcus asked, peeling open the corn chips bag and dipping his fingers in.

“He’s been hitting and he’s been hitting hard. Snooker halls, dance venues and factories.”

“Why didn’t you go to him?”

“He’s not staying stationary. He’s moving all over the city, from Main to Bellfield. I don’t know where he is and if I did he’d be gone again by the time I get there. We’ll be fine here. He knows you’re both here so he’ll come and get us soon enough.”

“You’re going to get the stare treatment when he sees you’ve set camp up here,” said Simon.

The three remembered fondly. The triplets could be difficult to control but they were raised like gentlemen and taught to respect their mother and respect their family name. If any of them were found to get out of hand, all it would take from their father was the stare. A glance from Reginald Penn that reminded the boys there was a chain of command.

“I haven’t had the stare since that time I wore eyeliner,” Reggie said.

Simon started to laugh. Marcus continued to enjoy the corn chips.

“I already told you you looked like a tit,” Simon remarked.

“Do you remember that Marcus?” Reggie put to the eldest. “Remember, we were about eighteen. I had a bit of a faze going on.”

“You were friendly with the girl from the piercing parlour in those days,” Marcus mused.

“Yeah well I thought I’d try something different. Si, you were the one to start being a dick about it.”

Simon protested, “If you went out looking like that I would have been in so many fucking fights that day. And besides, when you wear make-up it looks like my face with make-up. I wasn’t having that shit.”

Marcus took another corn chip. He gave a shadow of a smile.

Reggie continued. “Yeah, well, I was just expressing myself,” he maintained.

Simon leaned over and fished for one of the corn chips. “You were expressing yourself like shit until you got the stare.”

Reggie nodded. “I was determined. I wasn’t going to listen to you. It was a new me and I had a new shag so I was doing it. It was bold but why the fuck should I care what people think? I grabbed my bag. The shoes were painful mind you. But I was going with it. I forgot I had to cross through the parlour didn’t I? Dad was in there every morning with his first cup of tea. I stopped. He lowered his newspaper. He took one look at me and there it was. The stare. ‘I don’t think that’s appropriate,’ he said. Yeah. I had to change that shit immediately.”

The three boys started laughing again.

Avery came back into the yard. He interrupted them.

“I can’t let you stay here long,” the governor said.

Distance was brought between the triplets again.

“We’ll come back,” Simon assured.

“I’ll just chill out here then, shall I?” Reggie called back.

***

The next day Marcus and Simon were taken to exercise yard B. This time the ground guards remained outside the door. It clicked closed but they all brightened when they saw each other. Reggie had kept his camp.

Simon was a few paces ahead of Marcus. Marcus looked up the left. The gunner was was not Rukov. He looked up to the right. The gunner was not Gorvic.

“Reggie,” he said. “Has anyone seen you?” he asked. “Has anyone said anything to you?”

Reggie shook his head. “No, it’s been quiet. The Warden was out but he just looked over and it was like he was just pretending I wasn’t there.”

The door open and the Warden in question stepped out. Avery was smiling. Pleased to see them.

“It’s nice to see family kept together,” he spoke warmly. “With so much going on.”

Simon agreed with an accommodating expression. Marcus however was unmoved.

“There’s nothing quite like brothers,” Avery said. “When you’re a brother you’re a brother for life.”

Simon’s eyebrows raised. Marcus turned to Reggie. “Reggie!” he screamed. “Run!”

Avery looked up to guard towers. Both the left and the right were pointed on Simon and Marcus. Ground guards flooded the area.

The air quietened. Reggie’s grunting could be heard as he tried to breathe. The views of his brothers were locked on him.

A voice could be heard calling above all of them.

“We are Kappa So,” he sang with a cold softness. “We are Kappa So.” The singing drew closer. “We are Kappa So and we make trouble where we go.” Billy Owen emerged from the CPD who had them surrounded. Buddy, Chad and Cooper were trailing close behind him.

“Well, hello, boys!” Billy grinned. He raised his hand in a gesture to the governor that resembled the letter K. Avery did likewise. “Fine night. Glad I get to spend it with y’all.” Buddy was quiet. He let Billy take the lead.

“I’m Billy,” he introduced. “Your father murdered my Pops. That was a motherfucking mistake that will haunt him to end of his days. Pray to Jesus that’s sooner rather than later. Right now, I’m here to make a little point of my own.” He snatched Reggie by the hair and slammed his face against the fence. Simon and Marcus tried to struggle from the guards.

He stroked Reggie’s hair this time. Marcus took note of the details of Billy’s face, from the deep set wrinkles in his forehead, to the dryness of his bottom lip.

“Fucking let him go!” Simon shouted.

Billy looked to Reggie with a satisfied grin. He resumed stroking Reggie’s hair softly.

“What did the daddy say to you after he had bashed our Pops’ brains in, little bro?”

Buddy was hesitant at first.

“What did he say?” Billy pressed.

“He told me I was a common whore, fucked by a king.”

Billy gave a deep exhale from his nostrils. “Is that so? Fucked you like a common whore, huh? That shit is just disrespectful. Why don’t we show this here whore what it’s really like to be fucked.”

Marcus grimaced. “Let him go.”

Billy stood. “You see, now it still sounds like you’re being disrespectful towards me. You will learn some manners.”

He grabbed Reggie’s trousers by the waist band and pulled them to his ankles. Simon shrieked. “Touch him and you die!”

Billy laughed a raspy laugh that almost verged on a cough. “I ain’t going near him. I ain’t no fag. This guy might be though!”

The one to step forward was not a Kappa So brother. They had brought out an inmate to do their bidding. Billy looked to Reggie’s expression as firm hands were clasped around his waist. He looked to his brothers’ expression as Reggie gave a squeal pain as the inmate pushed inside him. Billy grabbed his hair again and slammed his face against the fence.

“That’s what we like from the whores!” he taunted. “We like them to make a lot of noise.” He pulled Reggie’s head back by his hair again. “Tell your brothers just how much you love getting fucked like a whore. Earn your dollar!”

The inmate had Reggie. Brutally he pounded, keeping Reggie firm against the fence.

“Marcus,” he gasped. A tear began to roll down his cheek.

There was a tear in Marcus’ eye too. There was nothing he good do.

“Woooo! This boy is going at the whore good!” Billy cheered. “Look at him pounding that ass. Does he fuck whores better than big king daddy? I think daddy ought not to miss this.” He pulled a phone from his pocket and flashed it in Reggie’s face. “Beautiful darlin’ just beautiful. Look at the way he’s biting his lip.”

Reggie screamed in pain.

“Oh, he enjoying that shit!” jeered Billy. “What’s this guy in for?” he asked one of the companions of the inmate

“Rape,” was the reply.

Billy continued to taunt. “Give her some that ass slap action. Treat that little whore right.”

The inmate raised a hand. A stinging blow was delivered.

The roar of the Kappa So laughter shook the trees.

They all cheered when the inmate finished. Reggie was pulled away from the fence.

“Say goodbye to your little whore brother boys. This is the last time you ever gonna see him.”

Avery West turned to his guard. “Put the both of them in the prayer room.”

***

The Boss Lady was gone. That was what had been said. But if you go to the farthest reaches of Cardyne, you will find a building no one would care to call home. If you go down to the farthest reaches of Cardyne you will find a building you wouldn’t care to visit long. For this building had held Confessions Killer, Tracey Campbell. It had also held the Wood Chip Killer, Ruth Browning.

Confinement room 34. The guard opened the slot to check. He heard a scream but he closed the slot as quickly as he had opened it, drowning the cries of a desperate woman out.

Tabitha, Boss Lady of the Knock Knock Club, hadn’t spoken to anyone in weeks. It felt like forever. With the death penalty slicing ever closer to her neck like a great pendulum her access to anyone was limited. She exercised alone. She ate alone. She bathed alone.

She had always been a symbol. The Law Makers intended on smashing that symbol and any effect it ever had. From the moment the sentence was declared the people who supported Tabitha cried their dismay. These people needed to be reminded of what happened to those who took the law into their own hands. Using the skeleton ruse, they were led to believe the execution had already been carried out. The coffin even being removed.

“This is not over,” the Boss Lady warned.

But it was over. It was over for so many and yet there were still so many more waiting to stand and be counted.

All of this began for me the moment I stepped into the Knock Knock club and as long as Tabitha does still live it can’t be over. I am reporter Sam Crusow, and as I am writing this now, I take a deep breath and I prepare to describe what happened next.


Disclaimer:

If you have been affected by rape or sexual assault visit rapecrisis.org.uk for more information on support available.


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