Knock Knock: Episode 52: Absentee Bid

He hadn’t been in Coldford for some time. However, Jean Luc Penn, Reginald’s cousin from Luen, was not in the least bit surprised to note a completely different air in Main in light of the king’s demise. Two of the triplets were still detained and Simon had sent a frantic message telling him Faulds had been infiltrated by Wigan fanatics. Reggie was home alone which was always recipe for disaster.

Jean Luc had made preparations to come over the moment Reginald had been taken into custody but the king had told him not to. He requested that Jean Luc take care of their hold in Luen. They were going to have to rely on it in the days ahead. He requested that he concentrate on doing what he could for the boys. 

He had received an interesting letter from Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Owen, offering support. Jean Luc had been sceptical of this at first. Finally managing to speak to Marcus he confirmed he was able to work with Ronnie and confirm their release. 

“Keep your head down, keep quiet. I’ll do what I can to get you out of that place. You need to survive in there until I do. Look after each other. I’m in Coldford now. I’ll take care of Junior.” 

He hadn’t been in Coldford for some time. However, Jean Luc Penn, Reginald’s cousin from Luen, was not in the least bit surprised to note a completely different air in Main in light of the king’s demise. Two of the triplets were still detained and Simon had sent a frantic message telling him Faulds had been infiltrated by Wigan fanatics. Reggie was home alone which was always recipe for disaster. 

Jean Luc had made preparations to come over the moment Reginald had been taken into custody but the king had told him not to. He requested that Jean Luc take care of their hold in Luen. They were going to have to rely on it in the days ahead. He requested that he concentrate on doing what he could for the boys. 

He had received an interesting letter from Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Owen, offering support. Jean Luc had been sceptical of this at first. Finally managing to speak to Marcus he confirmed he was able to work with Ronnie and confirm their release. 

“Keep your head down, keep quiet. I’ll do what I can to get you out of that place. You need to survive in there until I do. Look after each other. I’m in Coldford now. I’ll take care of Junior.”

Taking care of Junior – a common phrase among the Penns in reference to the troublesome triplet. He would need to see doctors, therapists and undergo some rehabilitation. First thing was first, the Wigan problem. There were followers of St Wigan in Luen but they weren’t a sizeable population. Most of their international worship came from Levinkrantz. The epicentre of the entire religion was on Hathfield Bay island and from what Jean Luc heard it was spilling into Main. The lawyer saw it for himself when he arrived. Travelling from Timeline to De Marques Avenue, there were purple ribbons everywhere. The Loyalists who gathered to greet him at the entrance of Faulds were disorganised. Some of them were arguing with the Wigan followers crowding the doors. 


A bell was ringing. A follower in full robes was crying out about repentance. 

“Can’t someone shut that fucking man up?” Jean Luc snapped.

A high ranking Loyalist named Emmerson helped clear the way for him.

“I’m afraid we can’t, sir,” he said. “They have permission of Reginald Junior to be here.”

Jean Luc scowled.

“Is that so?”

“Welcome to fucking Coldford, sir,” Emmerson replied with some relief in his tone. Finally a Penn with some sense back in residence.


When the elevator brought Jean Luc to the penthouse he wasn’t greeted by Reggie right away. Instead it was Leona with an extended hand and wide smile.

“You must be Jean Luc,” she said. “Reggie told me all about ye. I’m Leona. It’s so nice to have ye with us.”

“Nice to have …” Jean Luc started to repeat to ease his disbelief. “Leona?” He pressed. “Where is Reggie?”

“He’s not been well. He had been resting but he’s just checking to see if we have an apartment for you.”

Jean Luc was unable to contain his frustrations no more.

“What about my own apartments? Reggie? Reginald Junior? Get yourself out here right now!”

He turned to Leona and took note of her shocked expression. Reggie emerged from the kitchens with a phone in his hand. He looked haggard. His hair was greasy, he was much thinner than the last time he saw him and the way his leg caused him to wince was deeply concerning. He was smiling though.

“Jeen!” He cried in greeting, devoid of all its natural warmth.

His voice was hoarse too. He had been smoking a lot. He fell into his cousins arms though and clutched him tightly.

“You had us all out of our minds with worry,” said Jean Luc, clasping his shoulders and kissing both cheeks.

“I’m good,” Reggie stated, some of his old self returning.

“If you are good then you can clear this building, starting with my apartments by the way.”

Reggie tried to explain.

“We’ve been celebrating. We’ve had a lot of visitors.”

This seemed to frustrate Jean Luc more. He gave an ironic chuckle.

“I do look forward to hearing what was so worthy of celebration whilst the ashes of your dear mother and father still smoulder, your brothers rot in that Hell hole up north and the Auction House remains closed with the absence of Jeremy.”

Reggie sighed. Leona kept silent at his side. She supposed he was used to his cousin’s attitudes.

Reggie managed a smile again.

“It’s been tough, like. You met Leona, right? She was there for me. She helped me through. She saved me when I couldn’t be saved.”

Jean Luc took the Wigan girl in. He summoned the most courteous smile he could under the circumstances.

“That is much appreciated, Madame. I’m sure His Majesty will make his gratitude known to you in his own time. You needn’t worry anymore. He’s in good hands. You can return to your place of worship now and take your kin with you.”

Reggie scowled at his cousin.

“I’m not sending her away. She belongs here.” He took Leona’s hand in his. “That’s what we are celebrating. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. I love her. Leona is my wife. We got married.”

Leona drew her other hand softly across her belly.

“We’re so happy. We’re going to have a baby and we didn’t want to have a bastard child.”

Not a man often caught unawares, Jean Luc was rendered speechless then. Marriage? A child on the way? Finally, he gathered his thoughts.

“Junior? A word in private if I may?”

Reggie was defiant.

“You can talk in front of my wife.”

They didn’t wish for privacy? So be it.

“Are you out of your fucking mind!?” Asked Jean Luc most sternly. “Look around you at this mess. The Loyal have no idea what they are doing. You are filthy, you have drugs in your system and now you tell me you are married and bringing a child into this? Nonsense, Junior.”

“If you’re not here to support me you can fuck off back to Luen,” Reggie snarled. “Leona was there for me. Where for the fuck where you?”

“Trying to keep your brothers alive,” Jean Luc retorted. “I’m here to bring this place back into order. Do you trust me to do that?”

Reggie nodded, his temper simmering.

“Of course I do.”

“Then stop acting like a love sick dog. Take a bath, clear this building out. As for you Madame, if you truly mean what you say about Reggie then you will agree to send your kin back to the commune or seek refuge at St Michael’s, I don’t really care which. The celebrations are over.”

“Jeen!” Reggie began to protest but he was weakening. He had dropped Leona’s hand.

Jean Luc reached out to steady him on his feet but he fell into an embrace.

“Harsh truths,” said the cousin. “It’s all so very harsh. I care about you, like my own son. I need you to listen to everything I have to say. Get my apartments cleared out. Get trusted men on the doors of this place and for the love of god sober up. I will bring Marcus and Simon home. We will live on. We will fight on.”

Reggie straightened up.

“Do you think Marcus and Si will be happy for me?” Asked the youngest triplet.

“I’m sure they will be ecstatic.”


The Knock Knock club was a well-known place of merriment. Even in the darkest times. They would mourn Agnes but Tabitha was known as the Boss Lady in the city and as such she had a reputation to uphold. From the moment Agnes Wilde had been murdered in Northside she had made it her mission to cause as much trouble as she could. Boss Lady, trouble, were all accurate names to describe her as you have come to discover.

“Come on, David,” she was sniping. “It has to be bigger than that.”

Artist, David Finn and Tabitha were working together to build a vision. On this day it hadn’t been the size of the canvas that Tabitha was referring to.

David was one of Shady City’s most renowned artists, had been commissioned for one of his most controversial paintings yet. The Fleet of Bellfield had learned that Northside based, Liam Tulloch’s, mother was a sore spot for him. It caused him to do stupid things when she was taunted and with an echo of ‘Paddy Mack shagged yer ma,’ reaching all the way from Bellfield to the Shanties it gave Tabitha some ideas. As I said previously, it was not the size of the canvas she referred to.

“Did you run out of paint?” Tabitha demanded. “I’ve seen you be more generous to yourself. Come on.”

David looked up. There, with every fine bit of detail he could manage was an image of Paddy Mack, copulating with Barbara Tulloch against a Wigan cross.

“He’s going into battle,” Tabitha decided in her limited artistic knowledge. “He should be raging.”

David could only agree. He dipped more pink and he painted more girth.

“And that ass is too flat,” Tabitha went on, taking a step back to view the painting better. “This is Paddy Mack we’re talking about. Have you seen him?”

David was still busy adjusting the detail to the Boss Lady’s specifications.

“Not in person,” he admitted.

“Well, I’ve been staring at his ass for years and that is not … plumpy enough,” she said.

“Plumpy?” David was concerned it was a technical term he had missed out on.

“Yeah, you know, the kind you just wanna squeeze.”

‘Damn,’ thought David. ‘Why did it have to be Babs Tulloch he was doing?’ It would have been more more, shall we say balanced, if it were at least an attractive female figure. He dared not say that to Tabitha though. She was set on her vision. She hadn’t painted a single picture in her life but she was very set on the image the Red Rebels of the Shanties were taking with them down to Northside to support the Macks in their fight.

Tabitha laughed as David took a step back to observe his work.

“I think this is the best Finn yet,” she said.

That was when the Baroness passed through.

“What the …” she exclaimed. “Is that?”

Tabitha dropped an arm around Tawny’s shoulder and admired her handy work.

“What do you think Aunt Tee?”

Tawny started to laugh heartily. “Very detailed,” she said. “That’s going to piss them off no end. Agnes would be laughing her ass off if she could see this. Babs’ eyes look like they follow ye all around the room. Look at Paddy’s shiny wee arse.”

Tabitha laughed. “That was my idea,” she stated proudly. “I think I might have went a bit overboard with the sky but I really wanted to capture the clouds and things …”

“Ye did a brilliant job. It all looks so … biblical,” Tawny encouraged.

“Thanks,” Tabitha replied.

David looked back from doing the actual painting. He shook his head and continued on with the creation of an image that would stir the Shady City.



The lashing of the waves broke the silence. An army of candles broke the darkness. Footsteps padded along the aisle of St Wigan’s church in Hathfield Bay.

“They’re here, Your Eminence.”

Dominick stood. The time for praying was over. It was now time for action.

Bartholemew had entered the church, his robes dragging sand from his climb up the dunes. His beetle black eyes sparked in the light. Word of the loss of Green Eye from the Northsiders had reached the shores of the island and it had caused a wave of hush. The followers gathered in the commune to hear what was to be done. What had stirred them was the painting.

“A blasphemous, vile, disgusting abomination,” was how His Eminence put it. Dominick’s eyes turned to the door. “Bring them in.”

It was a Northside priest named Renfield who came rushing. He had Barbara Tulloch at his back, the subject of the painting. Renfield dropped to the floor and began to kiss Dominick’s bare feet.

“Stand,” said the church leader, his voice echoing through the empty pews.

Renfield obeyed.

“Taking matters into your own hands are ye?” Dominick asked. “I mean I like a good burning as much as the next fella but I got to ask, who the fuck do you think you are using my church for yer own gains?”

“Agnes Wilde needed to be punished,” Renfield pleaded.

“Making my mind up for me now are ye?” Dominick challenged. “That’s right. I forgot. You’re the Punisher.”

Dominick growled. He snatched up a candle and threw the hot wax into his face.


He whacked him to the ground with the candlestick.

To Bart he ordered, “strip him.”

Bart heaved off Renfield’s robes.

“You want to be the punisher?” Dominick asked him.

Renfield, shivering, said nothing.

“I asked ye a question,” the church leader pushed.

“No, Your Eminence. I’m at your command.”

Dominick grabbed him and dragged him towards the altar. He threw him down underneath the painting of St Michael the Punisher.

Sobbing, Renfield began to pray. He had closed his eyes, seeking forgiveness.


Bartholemew had produced a whip from the pocket of his robes and struck Renfield across the face.


Bartholemew kept striking him until fell to the floor sobbing.

“Please forgive me Your Eminence. Forgive me,” he pleaded.

Dominick circled around him. Renfield remained on the floor.

“You blasphemed the name of Michael. For that you have Hell coming for ye. Get out of my sight.”

As Renfield sharpened off Dominick turned to Barbara.

“You, I will deal with later.”

The church had begun to feel a little constricting so it was a relief to step out into the cool air of the night. The dunes were filled with his flock. As Dominick stepped out they all fell to their knees.

“Please stand,” he called them, they obeyed.

“I am outraged at the blatant disrespect we have been shown by the City Dwellers. Their worship of Patrick Mack makes me sick. He is a heathen, a drunkard and he will burn for eternity.

A thief will lose their hand for their sin, as it is written. Those who take from him will suffer a similar fate. Those who follow his name brand will be bound for torment. He is a spreader of pestilence and he danced on the graves of our loved ones. A demon has been set upon this earth and we must do what we can to stop it. I am here to tell you my dear brothers and sisters that Wigan spoke to me and he told me that all who follow the Mack aberration are cursed!”

The following cheered. “Praise Wigan!”

“So it was written that St Wigan told the sinners they will fall into darkness and that darkness will be all consuming. For at his right hand side was the Patron Saint of Punishers, the almighty St Michael.”

Whack! Whack! Whack!

Screams ripped into the air as Bartholemew hammered the nails into the young man’s hands.

Whack! Whack! Whack!

“Stop, please. Have mercy dear St Wigan!” the boy screamed in pain but Bartholemew continued to nail him to the cross.

“It’s okay,” his mother cried. “You’re going to St Wigan now.”

Dominick laid a hand on her shoulder and told her, “Patrick Mack killed your son today.”

The woman nodded. She wept but she prayed for the spirit of St Michael to come forth.

The cross was raised and just before the boy wheezed his last breath he heard Dominick cry, “St Michael will have them repent or he will spill blood.” 




There were words Marcus and Simon Penn never thought they would hear from an Owen.

“I’m going to help you.”

That was what Ronnie had said. After his meeting with Kathleen, Marcus thought it was Owen Inc’s attempts to calm them. He prepared to keep his head straight and focus on keeping Simon safe until Jean Luc could perhaps help him free. His assault charges were easier to argue and word was Agent Reynolds, the man he had been brought in for assaulting, had experience with the Wigan church and was looking to drop his charges so someone could be by Reggie’s side and help bring Main back into order. They were still looking for further evidence in the Freefall Massacre but as of yet they hadn’t brought anything to them. The footage I submitted which showed the murder of Melanie Wallace, implicated Marcus in a big way so imagine my surprise when a source within the Office of Lawmakers told me Melanie Wallace’s mother, Samantha, had called to confirm she was alive and in Luen. It was one of the greatest Owen cover ups yet. Marcus would agree. He knew what he did. It didn’t matter why. He wasn’t about to reject the opportunity, even from an Owen. Kathleen had been firm, no BS. Marcus respected that. He had had dealings with Ronnie before, mostly minor things like Marshall suing for damage to his cars parked in Main or pranks from Buddy Owen and the inevitable response. Ronnie had always given fair argument. He was a reasonable man. He had had a lot of dealings with Jean Luc, mostly over the phone. What struck Marcus the most was Ronnie stepping up to defend Tabitha. Believing it was out of the goodness of his heart was a tough dish to swallow. Marcus was a logical man though and Kathleen’s logic was sound when she said they had to pull together before the Lawmakers shut them all down.

The Penn name had been prevalent in Main for generations. Without it there was instability. Even the Owen’s had to agree on that.

“Better the Devil you know,” Marcus muttered.

Remar glared at him. He was furious at two of his prisoners departing before their time.

Marcus pursed his lips and shook his head. He collected his box and stripped out of his inmate kit. The removal of the filth and irritating material was instant relief. Simon was behind him with his hands on his head as a guard named Dante codename Perseus searched him.

Simon hadn’t said a word since they were brought from the East Unit to be processed. He had stood at his brothers back as Marcus bid farewell to the other incarcerated Loyalists.

For most, stepping outside the gates of The Boss was a huge relief after having been held there. Marcus and Simon were no exception. The relief was short lived as a looming sense of dread followed them walking towards two waiting town cars.

“Let’s get the fuck out of here,” Simon finally muttered. They embraced, climbed into the cars and made their way home.



“You cannot be saved!” were the yells outside Faulds.

Jean Luc taking up residence had flushed some of them out. This had caused a crowd to gather outside.


“Long live the king!” someone cried out above it.

“You cannot …”

“Long live the king!” the cry came again.

Before long it was a chorus. That chorus started to drown Wigan’s warning.

“Long live the king!”

Loyalists started to spill from Faulds, anticipating an exciting arrival.

“Step back,” Emmerson warned the preachers. When the Wigans didn’t move fast enough more pressure was applied.

The Wigans grouped their numbers in an attempt to push back into Faulds. The Loyalists stood shoulder to shoulder, scrumming against the intruders. They weren’t alone. Fleet vans arrived to lend support.

Inside, Leona urged Reggie.

“Wake up,” she cried. “You have to wake up.”

Reggie stirred a little but his eyes rolled. She shook him with more vigour. She managed to get him to sit up. She clasped his hands around a glass of water and helped him to drink.

Seth Bergman had stepped outside The Parade when the heard the Loyalists call for the king. Looking down Timeline he could see many of the other business owners had done likewise. The Loyalists became even more excitable as the two town cars began to roll along Timeline towards City Face. It was a somber drive, showing respect for the loss of Queen Rita and King Reginald.

“Long live the king!” they called for Marcus whom the front car carried to Faulds, followed closely by Simon – now the crown prince of the Auction House.

Between the Loyalists and the Fleet the Wigan followers were beaten back. They had no choice but to retreat. They proceeded back into Faulds. Each floor stirred as it was cleared of unwanted guests.

“Your help is appreciated, sir,” said Emmerson to Fleet leader Shane Rogers.

There was a great cheer as Marcus and Simon alighted their cars. Marcus kept his focus ahead but he did register the Wigan followers. Simon watched them closely but remained at this brother’s back. I managed to push to the front.

“Marcus!?” I called. “Marcus? I watched you murder Mel Wallace in cold blood. Do you believe it is fair that my footage was rubbished?”

Simon scowled at me. Marcus kept his focus ahead.

Nearby, Kathleen was becoming frustrated. She urged her Daily reporters forward.

“Get that damn story and get him out of the way,” were her instructions.

The Owen propaganda machine was now reliant the Penns being viewed as innocent. The truth was another matter.

The Daily reporters flooded me. I was pushed out of the way and fell further and further back from the steps.

“What will you be doing first?” asked one of the Daily reporters.

“Going home,” replied Marcus. A warning. A statement. A promise.

“Mr Penn?” pushed another reporter. “Bruce Ling from the Coldford Express. Can you tell me how you feel about being convicted for the murder of a woman who is in fact still alive?”

“My family have been through a lot. It’s time to settle.”

I looked at Kathleen who was now pushing in as many of her own reporters as she could. Her intention was to flood all the other news outlets out. A woman miraculously returning alive was a big ask for the city so it needed Coldford Daily’s spin. So far it was working.

“Will you be returning to the boxing ring?” asked one of Simon, trying to keep the story as positive as possible. It was deliberately designed to detract from the fact that the two men were hardened criminals.

Getting to the truth of the matter wasn’t going to be easy and as always with mainstream media agenda, spin reared its ugly head.

I looked to Kathleen. She reached her arms out as though to say, ‘what can you do?’

Stepping onto the elevator to the penthouse, Simon watched the numbers as they completed their journey from the Hellish prison to the nirvana of their tower.

When they reached the penthouse Reggie had managed to pull himself together. He had been told his brothers were coming home but he hadn’t really registered it. He had tears in his eyes as he rushed to embrace his triplets.

“i thought you were gone,” Simon had cried as he squeezed Reggie tightly.

The younger sobbed on his shoulder.

“Mother …” was all he could say.

Simon stroked his hair gently. “I know. I know.”

Jean Luc joined them, welcoming the triplets warmly. 

Simon held Reggie’s shoulders and took a closer look at him.

“What the fuck have you been taking?” he asked.

“Just some remedies for the pain. I needed something. I couldn’t …”

Before Reggie gave in to despair Simon took him in his arms and embraced him again, gently rocking him from side to side. Looking up he started to take the lounge in. It was good to be home. He never thought he would be. Then there was a sight that made him frown.

“Is that a Wigan cross on the wall?” asked he.

Reggie managed a smile.

“I’ve got some good news,” he told his brothers.

That was when Leona emerged from the kitchens. She smiled at the triplets before lowering her gaze in a coquettish way.

“You’re going to love this,” Jean Luc muttered.

“This is Leona,” Reggie introduced. “She’s my wife,” Reggie explained.

“Wife!?” Simon responded in disbelief.

“She’s helped me a lot. She saved me.”

“She’s with child it seems,” Jean Luc put in.

Both triplets turned to their youngest counterpart.

“I’m going to be a dad,” Reggie confirmed.




“Phone call for you, Miss Lane.”

Harper Lane of Dalway Lane galleries was rushing after her little boy, Elliot. Elliot was now reaching toddler age and finding it easier every day to stay on his feet. He laughed excitedly as he heard his mother’s sandalled footsteps chasing after him.

“C’mere you little monster!” She teased as she snatched him up and lifted him into her arms, nuzzling into his neck playfully.

She took the phone from her assistant.

“Harper speaking.”

“Hey! It’s David.”

“Davey! How are you? We’ve been worried about you.”

“I’m still at the club.”

“Are you okay?” The gallery owner asked with some suspicion. With everything going on in the city she knew him well enough to know he’d be taking things hard. The loss of loved ones, the state of affairs, the trouble at the football matches. He took all these things to heart and he could let his emotions destroy him.

“Clean as a whistle, I promise,” the artist replied. He certainly sounded clean.

Harper shifted Elliot up her arm so his weight was easier to carry. His chubby little body was starting to weigh heavy.

“I’ve got Tabitha keeping me busy,” David went on. “I couldn’t have done it without her.”

Harper smiled. He did sound like he was coping well enough at least.

“I have someone who wants to say hello to you,” said Harper putting the phone to Elliot’s ear.

“Duh?” The little boy cried when he heard David’s voice.

David swelled with pride. “Awww, is he trying to say David?”

Harper laughed. “I think so. He keeps pointing at pictures of you and saying it.”

“I miss you little man,” David told the child. “As soon as we can we’re going to a game.”

“Duh.” Elliot was holding him to that promise.

“Yeah that’s right.”

Harper took the phone back.

“You should come up and say hello. Alex has a new girlfriend and he could probably use your advice.”

David chuckled. “I’m not sure I’m the best one to give advice on women.”

Harper agreed. “Yeah, I know. We figured you could give him examples of what not to do.”

“Very funny,” the artist returned with mild sarcasm. “And here’s me with a gift for you too.”

“What’s that?”

“Hang on I’m sending you a picture.”

Harper checked her phone. Her eyes widened.

“Duh!?” Elliot cheered.

“No, child, that is most definitely not Duh.”

She started to laugh.

“It’s beautiful,” she said of the Paddy painting. “Very provocative. Very detailed.”

“He’s supposed to be raging,” David tried to explain.

Harper inspected the picture closer.

“Yes he is raging,” Harper returned. “Are you sending it to me?”

“The original is a little indisposed right now but I was promised it back. I just wanted to show you. It’s causing some trouble it’s not a good idea to exhibit it?”

“The best art challenges,” Harper assured. “You have to let me exhibit it. I might even send an invite to the Wigan board.”

David laughed but he became a little concerned.

“Just be careful. It already caused enough trouble with the Northsiders.”

Harper had read about the Northsiders having lost their Green Eye prison.

“Don’t see why,” Harper replied. “It looks like Babs Tulloch is really enjoying herself.”

David smiled but he was still concerned. “Just be careful, please.”

Harper shifted Elliot again. “Don’t worry. I’ll not do anything until I have the backing of the Auction House.”




“Praise Wigan for his guidance. Praise Bartholemew for his strength to carry through. Praise Michael above all for his discipline,” Dominick was praying at the altar of his church.

Ding ding.

The church bell cried out. There were drums beating on the bay. Dominick looked up at the cross that hung above him.

“Yer a blessed Saint,” he remarked.

He stood and skipped out. As he made his way onto the bay his arm was taken by revelling Wigan girls as they danced. They laughed and cheered. Dominick joined in the merriment.

“Wigan bless all of us!” Dominick called.

“Praise Wigan!” his congregates cried in response.

At the port waited Bart. He was watching out to sea, shivering despite the heavy robes he wore. His adrenaline was hard to control. He had never felt such excitement. A crowd of exuberant followers chased after the church leader.

“Praise Wigan!” they cried again.

“Look! Look! There it is,” some of the children were calling as Ravensedge was spotted making its way towards shore. The Chamberlain flag could be seen snapping in the wind with the Wigan banner underneath, as the great vessel charged through the water.

“What a day this is!” Bartholemew commented. “I don’t think I slept a whole hour last night.”

Dominick patted his shoulder. “It’s going to be something else. It’s the day you’ve been waiting for yer whole life, my brother.”

Bart grinned as he nodded but he shuddered and pulled the hood of his robes up.

“Look at me,” Dominick gushed. “I can’t stop smiling. Where’s the weans? They really need to see this.”

Arriving on scene at that moment was Peter, escorting the Chamberlain children.

“It’s coming in, Uncle Dom,” Francis pointed out eagerly.

Catching his breath Peter gasped, “I was afraid we would miss it.”

As the boat drew closer the congregates began to chant.

“We are the children of Wigan and our hearts are pure and strong. We praise our beloved saint and so we sing this song.

Oh we know, we know, we know we can’t be saved but repent and you’ll be in his embrace.”

“It was written that St Wigan came to this island to embrace all of us,” Dominick spoke to his followers. “Today is not the day to embrace though, my brothers and sisters. Today is the day to punish. Today is the day to show the city dwellers they cannot be saved!”

“Praise Michael!” the congregates roared.

“Praise Michael,” Francis cried enthusiastically.

Dominick kissed the Wigan cross around his neck and turned his attention back to shore. Over the roar of the waves he could hear Bart take a deep breath beside him.




When Ravensedge landed at port on Hathfield Bay a collective cheer rang out from the beaches.

“Praise Michael!”

The walkway landed with a crash. That was when it all fell silent.

“Go, Bart, go,” Dominick urged under his breath.

Bart headed onto the ship. Dominick pulled his own robes tighter around him as the coastal breeze danced around his face. He noticed the cross had slipped inside his shirt. He reached down his collar and quickly teased it out to be displayed proudly.

Bart emerged from the ship first. Across his arms he was carrying a box, the weight of which seemed to be putting some pressure onto his back. He stepped ashore. The congregates fell to their knees. Bart laid the box at Dominick’s feet. Dominick fell to prayer. Bartholemew joined him. Dominick opened his eyes and raised his head again to spy a towering brawny figure of a man emerge. Like a knight of old he wore armour around his shoulders and chest. He was an older gentleman. His cool blue eyes looked as though they had lived through ages. There was no expression on his face. He stomped down the Ravensedge walkway. The congregates remained on their knees. They didn’t dare look him in the eye.

When the man was on shore the Wigan emblem became apparent on his chest. He stopped at Dominick. Bart opened the box and inside was a sword with a heavy blade. Bart retrieved it and passed it to the man who turned the blade and fell to one knee.

“Your Eminence,” he said respectfully.

Dominick stared at him for a few moments, drinking his presence in. Bart, who had had his head lowered solemnly looked up to check on the delay. Dominick collected himself and laid a hand on the man’s head.

“Stand,” he said. “Your presence is most welcome on these shores.”

The man did stand. Around his neck hung a thick chain. That chain was pierced through the hand of a man, with course black hairs on the back. The hand was gifted to the church leader.

“The hand of the thief Patrick Mack,” he said.

“Praise Michael!” Dominick cried.

“Praise Michael!” was the joyous return.

The man, you see, was a figure the church called The Templar. He was the living blood of St Michael the Punisher. As history lessons flooded Coldford, thanks to the Chamberlains the Church of St Wigan brought their own little reminder of a bloody past.

Playing host to a Saint was a day the island had been waiting for since the days of Noah Wigan himself. Bart, as the namesake of St Bartholemew the Carrier, relished the opportunity to carry The Templar’s sword as the carrier had done for the original.

A saintly presence for a saintly cause. The Templar was not there to bring peace. He was a punisher. He carried a sword because he sought to slay.

“We are the children of Wigan and we know we can’t relent, until the flesh of every sinner burns and we learn to repent.

Oh we know, we know, we know we can’t be saved but repent and you’ll be in his embrace.”

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