Tag Archives: horror

The Princess and the Beetle

There once was a Princess, who lived far away,
She was in love with a prince, so they eloped one day.
On the way to the church they received terrible news,
A dragon was terrorising, the prince had to choose.
“I’ll return my love,” to the princess he said,
“But first I must assure the menace is dead.”
The princess was huffed, her face so sour.
Couldn’t look at anyone, locked herself in a tower.
“I’ll wait right here till he returns to me,
Then we will be married, happy and free.”
The crow told her “It’s likely he’ll die.”
The princess grunted, stared into the distance with a sigh.
“You pesky bird, my prince is big and strong.
He’ll return with that dragon’s head before too long.”
The prince faced the dragon in a deadly fight.
He had torn out its tongue by the third night.
“Ah ha!” he cried “No enemy is too great for me!
I can return to my bride and let her see!”

“Wait you fool!” cried the evil witch.
“You killed my dragon, you son of a bitch!”
The prince drew his sword, the witch was too fast.
A spell was cast that was sure to last.
He was now a little beetle, 6 legs and all black.
Small and insignificant, he almost fell down a crack.
But he got his wish and found his lonely bride.
She was sat at a desk, so he climbed up her side.
“My princess! It’s me! Will you love me all the same?”
The princess couldn’t hear a single word he was saying.
She noticed the little bug, she smiled and she said
“What a horrid little creature!” and smashed the book over his head.
She often wondered what happened to her lover.
Had he forsaken her for another?
The guts of the man she took home to her mother
Were now splattered across the front of her book cover.

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Children of Wigan

We are the children of Wigan and though we may repent.  

He knows the sinners can’t be saved and all our prayers are spent.  

We are the children of Wigan, as such a saving saint.  

He embraces the most wicked souls and relieves us of our pains. 

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

We are the children of Wigan and now our time is here.   

He accepts us for our evil ways and strips us of our fear.   

We are the of Wigan and even if we die.  

Our saint will take us in his arms and raise us all up high.  

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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I am The Boss

Don’t make me say it twice.  

It is The Boss’s rules and She does not play nice.  

When you make Her react, She’s going to have your testicles in a vice.  

I can see them now trying to run away like poisoned mice.  

Force Her to react and She’ll take it all away.  

You won’t see the light of another day.  

Him! And him! Yes, and him too. 

Hang him. Cut him. Drown that one in wine.  

Sitting that one on Buzzkill will do just fine. 

Him! And him! Yes, that one as well. He’s the worst one I’ve met.  

All those terrible things he did, did he think we’d forget?  

Gut him. Cook him. Throw that one to the frost.  

Just take that one’s head because he knows he’s lost.   

It’s no surprise you’re condemned. I did try to warn you.  

That one’s going straight to the depths. Look what you’ve made me do. 

That one! And that one! I want that one too.  

That skinny one cowering in the corner? I suppose he’ll have to do.  

Bring me his head and his liver for a stew.  

I want them in pieces. This is no dream. 

I want to them to suffer. I want them to scream.  

Him! And Him. That one looks at a loss.  

You will all be reminded I AM THE BOSS! 

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The man who would not die

There once was a man who many despised.
They wanted to rid of him but it took twenty tries.
They shot him, they stabbed him, and they buried him in sand,
But he would always return, alive and grand.
They cut out his tongue and gouged out his eyes,
But on the stroke of midnight he would always rise.
They even immured him into the thickest wall,
But on the following night they could still hear his call.
They lost their patience, they had no hope,
So they sealed him in a box, tied up with rope.
The box was covered with heavy cement,
There would be no returning for this nefarious gent.
They were able to relax, sleep sound in their beds,
Until a troubling thought entered their heads,
What if their precautions weren’t enough?
What if their treatment could be more rough?
For the rest of their days they waited in fear,
Flinched at every little sound they could hear,
He would come back and they would hear him cry,
For he was the man who would not die.

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Knock Knock: Episode 60: Patron Saint of Punishers

“St Michael’s church of the Wigan faith closed this afternoon when CPD were forced to attend what has been described as a mass suicide where fifty congregates were found dead on the church floor. It is believed that the cause of death was the consumption of cyanide pills. Franklin Rhodes of CPD has offered as much support as his department provide. I’m Sandra Wake of Coldford Daily news.” 


“Is he sedated?”  

“No,” Doctor Harold Fishman replied. “We wanted him to be consciously aware. As consciously aware as someone in his state of mind can be.”  

The woman standing beside him slowly nodded. Harold looked up at her for she was a great deal taller than he. She was broad shouldered, suited and holding a steely expression on her face. When she turned and noticed him staring at her she smiled.  

“Did he give you any trouble?”  

“He did at first. He seems to be upset that they would separate him from the others.”  

Through a window the two were watching George Beckingridge. The billionaire boy wasn’t seated at a table. He was trapped in a cell but not the traditional sense. You see he was being contained in a reinforced glass box. He was laid out like it was his coffin. He had little room to move and this had been his status now for the past few days.  

“I’d like to speak with him,” said the woman.  

“It’s not advisable, my Lady,” Fishman replied.  

The woman smiled again. “Your advice is noted doctor,” she said. “Now open the door.” 

Click. Clang.  

George had been staring up at the roof in a daze. There was little else for him to do at that point. He heard a tap on the glass of his coffin. He turned his head slowly and found the woman peering in at him.  

“Can you hear me?” she asked.  

Her voice was a little muffled but George could hear her. She sounded like his mother in a lot of ways.  

“You are going to stay in containment for a long time,” said the woman.  

George stared back at her blankly.  

“I have something for you,” she said. From her bag she removed a stuffed mouse.  

George’s eyes widened when he saw Cecil.  

“Give me him!” he yelled.  

“No,” she replied, sitting the toy on top of the glass. “Toys are for boys who behave. You haven’t been behaving.”  

“Give me Cecil,” George demanded.  

“When you learn to behave you can have him,” said she.  

George sniffed. He pouted like a child of eight as opposed to a young man of nineteen.  

“I want Cecil,” he said.  

The woman shook her head. “I think you’ve had too many privileges.” She lifted Cecil again. She grabbed him around his neck. George’s head whipped round to her to see what she was going to do next. She clutched Cecil’s left ear.  

“Stop it,” George cried.  

Rip! The ear was torn off.  

“Nooooo!” George was yelling. “Stop it!”  

The woman pulled some of the stuffing out. George began to sob. He tried to reach out to grab the pieces as she dropped them on top of the glass. This frustrated him more. 

“Are you going to behave?” she asked him.  

“Cecil!” George was crying.  

She held Cecil up. George could see the Chamberlain wreath on her jacket. Lady Jane Christie nee Chamberlain, aunt to the unfortunate child Francis, grabbed the head of Cecil with one great heave.  

“Nooooooo!” George was screaming.  

The pieces, the stuffing and the crusty Cecil were rested on top of the glass as the woman made her departure.  

“Should we sedate him now, my lady?” Fishman asked.  

“No,” Lady Jane stated. “Let him look upon the mess he’s made for a little while.” 


“The Cappy dying must have given the Owens a change of heart,” Simon Penn suggested as he and his brothers took a look around their Auction House. 

“Perhaps,” Marcus responded. “Although most of the more precious items had been removed prior to it being put up for lot and most of the clientele were refusing to deal with Owen Inc so it wouldn’t have been much use to them.”  

The door was opened by a Loyalist named Ivor. “A visitor, sir,” he said.  

“Good afternoon,” the tall frame of Howard Bergman entered. Seth was by his side carrying gifts of fruit and wine. 

Simon embraced Howard first, then Seth with an affectionate pat on the back. The others did too. 

“Don’t put yourselves out on my account. It’s good to have you back in Main again,” said Howard. 

“Time to get things back in order,” Marcus said.   

Simon observed the grander picture. “I hope you’re doing okay, Howard. I heard what happened to you too.”  

Howard massaged his temple but he smiled. “It has all been so difficult. I’m so sorry for your loss.  I remember the first time I learned there was a figurehead in City Main who went by the title of king. I asked myself, what kind of man would have such boldness? Then I met your grandfather. Reginald was always by his side growing, learning and doing what was best for this area much like a king would.” 

The triplets smiled fondly.  

“Reginald made a lot of changes here for the benefit of City Main. He was forced to react harshly at times, especially when you were threatened. I hate to say it but those harsh decisions he made … All roads lead to the same place in the end I suppose. I guess what I’m saying is please try to stay out of trouble.”  

Reggie and Simon laughed. Marcus managed a smile.  

From among the gifts Howard collected an urn.  

“Sophie cleared it with the Law Makers. I thought you might like your father’s ashes to lie with your mothers.” 

The three took in the urn. Simon took a sharp intake of breath and hugged Howard again.  

“Thank you,” he said sincerely.  

“My part was very minimal really.” 

The urn was set down. “There you are Reginald. You keep your boys right.”  

Seth was getting a bit concerned with how Reggie looked.  

“I’ve got a joint rolled,” Seth said. “C’mon we’ll step out.” 

Reggie brightened. “We’re back together!” he affirmed. He wrapped his arm around Seth’s neck. “Welcome back dad!” he turned Seth to the entrance and as he escorted him out he started to sing a Coldford City football chant. It was a chant created to inspire the players. It was a chant that demanded nothing less than victory. It was as good as the Penn motto.  

When they had cleared the room Howard spoke to Marcus.  

“We had a call from Isaac. Thankfully he’s coming home. He sounded well enough. I’m a little worried about Seth though. He’s angry given everything and he really wants to hit back. I don’t want that for him. I don’t want him involved. The reason I tell you this is because you will be the first person he’ll turn to.”  

“I’ll keep him safe,” Marcus confirmed.  

Howard sighed. “Thank you.”  


Sat behind the glass and dressed in the kit of a Montefort inmate, Reggie had to look twice to assure himself they had brought him to the right person. Leona still had the same island flare in her eyes but they had cut off her long braid. Her purple ribbons had been removed from her. Her soft features had been stirred into a harshness in her look. She didn’t smile. She didn’t hold any discernible expression at all.  

“I hope you can get home,” Reggie told her.  

She didn’t soften any at this. She didn’t add any emotion. Reggie supposed time in the Monte would take away the drug addled state she was used to. Article 22 had meant she was to be held until trial. Jean Luc advised it was likely they would sanction her and return her to the bay.  

“I’m disappointed,” said Reggie. “I wish it could have been different. I wish it could have worked like we spoke about. I was always told I was a survivor. My brothers were taken away from me. I had to survive without them. My dad was shot dead in the street. I had to go on. It’s what he would have wanted me to do. Tabitha, my closest friend in this world, was there but I was told I couldn’t see her. My mother, my dear mother, died in my arms. I wanted to survive still but I was running out of reasons to. I had nothing left. Every morning I woke up in so much pain, waiting on a call to tell me Marcus and Simon were lost to that place and would never come home. I asked myself why I was surviving. Billy Owen should have just finished the job. Then you came over and I had reasons to survive again. I spoke to a guy, Reynolds. He told me that churches like yours recruit but he did say you probably truly believed it was what was best for me. You were there for me when I needed reasons to survive and for that I wanted to thank you. For that there will always be a part of me that wishes I had just gotten on the damn ferry with you.”  

Leona stared back, silent and still expressionless.  

“That’s all I came to say,” Reggie concluded as he stood.  

Leona called him back. He paused.  

“I hope you are saved,” she said  

“I hope you get out of here. I hope you get back to the island. I don’t want you to stress yourself for the baby’s sake. We’ll work it out. Just take care of yourself.” 

At that he departed. His brothers were waiting for him. Reynolds had told him the healing would begin. There were tough times ahead but if he followed the advice it would all be groovy.  

Leona was taken back to the rec hall. She hoped she would get back to the island too. She had no fear though. She had faith. She prayed and Wigan told her she was exactly where she needed to be. She was approached by another inmate. She was an older woman, confident despite the incarceration. Leona knew her face.  

“Hello, Mrs Harvester,” she said.  

Nan Harvester reached out and clasped the Wigan girl’s hand.  

“Will you pray with me?” she asked.  

Meanwhile, the triplets had gathered outside, accompanied by Reynolds. The agent stepped politely aside as the brothers embraced.  

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. Things are going to get real whack,” Reynolds told them. “But you’re through the worst. The guards in there will do what they can to keep her safe and the baby.”  

“How can we repay you agent?” Marcus asked.  

“You have a place. You’re a king. Look after your people. That’s all the thanks I need.”  

Reynolds phone started to ring. It was an old device he carried, real retro. As long as the people who needed him could reach him that was fine.  

“I’m with the Penn triplets,” he told the caller, presumably Kim Adams. “I’m on my way. I’ll meet you at Chamberlain Docks. We’ll head on over from there.”  

He closed the call. To the triplets he said, “some heavy news I’m afraid. There’s no real good way to do this and time is not on our side so I’ll dive right in. Harper Lane and Gabriel Dalway, I know they are friends of yours. I’m so sorry but they have been murdered.” 

“What about their son, Elliot?” asked Marcus.  

“We have reason to believe he’s been taken over to the island. We’re going over there. We’ll find him if they have.”  

“We can help,” offered Reggie. 

“No can do. It’s too gnarly,” Reynolds advised. “You’re carrying an injury, you have records and all kinds of other baggage. A smaller team will be easier to move. What you can do is work with CPD. Bring some of your guys down from Main and wait for us at the docks. We can be sure of some support with whatever we might bring back. There could be some backlash if we bring Dominick Cole in.”  

“You’re going for the church leader?” Simon had to confirm.  

“The only way this will stop is to cut off the head off the snake.”  


We’re all on our way to Hathfield Bay. We’re taking along the family for the day!  

We’re going to watch the game. I hope it doesn’t rain.  

Either way we’ll have a ball on Hathfield Bay.”  

A ball was to be had. A small group of Webb fishing vessel was what brought Reynolds to the beaches of Hathfield Bay, accompanied by the rest of the Good Gang team. They used Nan Harvester’s discrete route that landed them on the east section of the island close to the commune.  

“We need you to stay focused,” Kim said to the others.  

Lydia seemed eerily calm. Teddy was gathering his thoughts as they approached.  

Before their departure to the island, Teddy showed me a most interesting item. Hailing from the Great States and working a ranch he was a true cowboy. He carried the spirit that Chick Owen much admired and his brother Billy would have been jealous of. Teddy was a larger than life figure. Billy, on the other hand, was a bully. He was formidable and when he was in the room you heard him above all others. You fell under his great shadow. He held the room by the throat. It didn’t matter what he did though. If Teddy were to share the same space people were more likely to gravitate towards him. Billy was a despicable creature, and he couldn’t understand why the mild-mannered, warm-hearted Teddy would be preferred. What would have grinned Billy the most was The Cappy’s appreciation of Teddy. Billy had been called upon to carry out the dirty work no one in the right mind would care to do. On the other hand Teddy was a poster child for the Owen family. He was what The Cappy always envisioned the Owen name to be. Teddy was the true blood of Captain Hen Owen.  

It was for this reason The Cappy had gifted Teddy the shooters he presented to me. Surprisingly the shooters were embossed with the Wigan cross. They had come into The Cappy’s possession and over the years he had saved them for just the right person. They originally belonged to a man named Bob Colbert. He was better known as Bad Bob. He was a strong follower of Wigan. He grew up in a Great States town named Addersville. In his youth, Bob observed his lawless town, praying to Wigan for it to improve. He prayed for the strength for Bartholemew to carry him. He even called on the spirit of St Michael to determine who could be saved and who could be redeemed.  

Bad Bob grew to become the unofficial sheriff of Addersville. The town turned to him for protection and so he gathered a flock that Noah Wigan himself would be proud of. He was righteous and determined to protect them.  

One night, the town was raided by a group of bandits. Bad Bob had prayed to Wigan for favour and Wigan blessed him. His hand was faster, his draw quicker and his bullets true. He took out the bandits and brought the people of Addersville to the safety of Wigan’s embrace. They praised Wigan and the praised Bad Bob.  

When they were young boys, Dominick and Bart would play a game where they would recreate the adventures of Bad Bob. He was a much admired figure in the church.  

Teddy, being the sentimental sort appreciated this gift from The Cappy causing him to read the Wigan texts out of interest. Chick – an avid lover of historical stories – appreciated the awe and respect Bad Bob inspired. If there were any within his own brood who deserved the same it was Teddy. Teddy had holstered this guns before heading to the island. Bad Bob had led his flock well so he supposed he could encourage the same in the church members. Hopefully he could help end their carnage.  


Far from the cheerful attitude it held during the day for all the day trippers, the bay was quiet. The Church of St Wigan stood high on the dunes. There was a light on within.  

As the Good Gang departed the vessel Reynolds pulled Kim back.  

“These church goers can get real wild,” he warned her.   

Kim agreed.  

As Teddy, Franklin and Lydia made their way to the church, Reynolds made his way along the beach to someone who had been waiting him for a long time.  


“Duh!” little baby Elliot was crying as he was carried around to the bottom of the bay.  

He struggled a little in Autumn’s arms. He had liked Autumn. She told him stories in a funny voice. She had a freckled face like the story time presenter from the Savo Pig hour.  

“NO!” this time he was screaming his protest. He really didn’t like to be carried to the bottom of the bay.  

“Settle down, Elliot,” Autumn warned. “It’ll be all over soon.”  

She laid him in the fire pit. He was crying. His full little lips pouting. 

“Shhhhhh!” she said.  

Elliot was screaming at the sight of her big black eyes.  

“You’re going to die and it’s going to hurt,” said Autumn, positively giddy. She already had the matches in her hand. “You are going to die!” she cheered at him.  

“No. No. No!” Elliot was shrieking as the lid of the container was pulled over.  

She was dancing in merriment as she lit a match. She turned to look out to sea. There was a great glaring light shining onto the beach. The breeze blew out her match. She had others. She tried to focus through her mushroom trip and through the black waters carrying a shipping vessel. It was like a great arc to her drug addled mind.  

Autumn stared at first as the brawn of Kim Adams approached her. 

“There’s no sense in talking to them,” Reynolds had said. “They’ll all be out of it.”  

“Praise Wigan!” Autumn screamed.  

Kim shook her head.  

In her mania, Autumn ran at Kim. Kim gripped her by the throat. She threw her to the ground.  


Autumn was shot in the foot. She was writhing on the sand.  

“Keep this pathway open,” Kim instructed the CPD officers that accompanied her.  


Whilst the fishing boats waited on the bay, Reynolds headed to the Church of St Wigan. Standing outside it was Dominck Cole. The agents split. Teddy, Lydia and Franklin made their way inside.  

“Good evening, Agent Reynolds. Welcome back to the bay,” Dominick Cole spoke to the cult deprogrammer.   

“It didn’t have to go down like this,” Reynolds said to him. “You didn’t have to do any of this.”  

Dominick shook his head. “I’m supposed to let this world become overrun with lechers, whores, thieves and murderers? I asked Wigan and he told us all we cannot be saved!”  

Reynolds drew his gun.  

“Dominick Cole, I’m arresting you for inciting violence,” Reynolds explained.  

Dominick stepped back.  

“I am not leaving this bay. I’m not going into yer custody so you might as well just shoot me down right now.”  

Reynolds cocked his gun and warned. “Enough people have died. It stops now.”  


Inside the church upon the dunes, the agents found the pews filled. The bodies that filled them weren’t moving though. Fathers, mothers, children and everything in between. They were all dead. At the altar prayed the man they called the Templar, the living blood of St Michael the Punisher. 

He stood when he heard the agents behind him. 

He pulled the helmet over his head.   


“Come with me,” Reynolds said. “You can have protection in custody. Your followers don’t need to be doing this. Give them some assurance.”  

Dominick raised his chin.  

“I’ve thought long and hard about this. I cannot abide a world that would let corruption into high office. I cannot stand a system that would be fraught with such blasphemous lies they would let my people be tortured, murdered and brutalised.  I’m not going into yer custody. Just kill me now if you like because I am not going anywhere.” 


It had been Franklin who had made the first move. The Templar was making his way down the aisle towards Teddy. Lydia had leapt in front of him first. The Templar swung his great sword. Lydia’s tight footwork managed to evade catastrophe but she was sent tumbling to the ground. As the blade was swung at Teddy, Franklin had leapt onto his right side. He used a blade to try and scratch at his neck but the protective gear saved him from too much damage. He threw Franklin off.  

Teddy stepped forward. The guns were drawn and a couple of shots sparked. They rattled against the armour. The sword was swung, almost slicing him across the chest. Lydia had leapt again but the Templar threw her off and swung the sword again at Franklin who had just stepped in front of him. Hopping from his right foot to his left he raised his left thigh and whacked into the Templars leg. He noticed a hesitation in the Templar’s step where Chick Owen had inflicted an injury. The other two noticed it too. 


Kim and the CPD offers were surrounded by Wigan followers. It was going to be difficult to take them down with minimal casualties. They were all drug crazed, fury inspired and guided by what they felt was righteousness.  

CPD were instructed not to engage them. Instead they created a perimeter around them and set it alight. As the Wigan followers tried to charge through the fire towards them they were quickly relieved and restrained.  

One in particular came for Kim. Bart grabbed Kim’s arm. She landed a downwards jab into his chest which pushed him back. He tried to heave her aside. She turned her stumble into a change of pressure in her stance and jabbed towards his chin. Bart was high so he wasn’t feeling the pain.  


“Come with me now!” Reynolds cried to Dominick. “This ends now.”  

There were more. There would always be more. You see, dear readers, religious fanaticism can spread like a disease. This disease can tear at the morality of people. It is highly infectious and when it had spread to far there was only one solution.  

We are the children of Wigan and now our time is here.  

He accepts us for our evil ways and strips us of our fear.  

“Dominick, it’s over,” the church leader could hear Reynolds call to him. 

We are the of Wigan and even if we die. 

Our saint will take us in his arms and raise us all up high. 

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


His Eminence Dominick Cole was brought down with a bullet to his leg.  


Whilst CPD continued rounding Bart had tackled Kim again. He had managed to land her on the ground she climbed to her feet again quickly. He charged at her and she landed him to the ground. Whilst CPD rounded up the others, most staying behind the line of fire now, Kim grew tired of grappling. She landed three successive punches to Bart’s face. She gave a jab to his diaphragm and a final uppercut landed him onto ground. With that the carrier was taken into custody. 


Inside the church the agents remained focused on their target. Franklin moved from the left side to the right where they knew the Templar to be weaker. Lydia took another strike at the injury. The Templar stabbed towards her shoulder but she managed to dodge. As he was distracted Franklin leapt onto his back. He stuck a clipper into his neck. He was balling with rage. The Templar threw his elbow back and caught him in the stomach. Franklin’s own injuries were making him dizzy but he managed to pull the helmet off.  

Teddy’s side was torn as the Templar’s sword caught him. He kept his computer as best he could and fired another shot. The Templar stumbled. The great saintly monster fell. Lydia took the opportunity and pulled off his helmet before he elbowed her and sent her crashing into the benches.  

“You cannot be saved!” Hissed the Templar. 

“But I can be redeemed,” Teddy replied.  


The living embodiment of St Michael the Punisher fell onto the church floor. The spirit of Bad Bob had come with a message for the followers of Wigan. There was a new light shining the way.  


On his knees, upon the beach that had always been his home, in the shadows of the religion that had been his life, Dominick watched as Lydia and Franklin departed the church. St Michael the Punisher was gone. The Templar had been killed. The bloodline had been ended. Emerging from that was something quite different but no less important. Walking behind his companions having completed the task was a talk, fair man. On his belt were the Wigan pistols.  

“Bad bob!” Dominick gasped.  

Seeing the man crossing the sands towards him was as he was being taken into custody was like a sign from Noah Wigan himself.  

Of all the stories they were told as children, Dominick and Bartholemew loved the tales of Bad Bob the most. He was daring, he was cunning, he was strong and most of all he was righteous. Teddy Owen quite rightly held those attributes and His Eminence himself would agree there was no better man to carry those pistols.  


“David is distraught,” Tabitha was telling Marcus as they waited for word from the island. “I can’t get to him. Elliot is just a baby. Those cunts took the baby. The beheaded the mothers. 

“You’ll have to calm yourself, Tabitha,” warned the King. 

“If anything happens to that kid,” she was adamant.  

“Take it easy,” Marcus advised again. “We’re at the docks right now. We’ll be here when they get back.”  

The sight of Loyalist presence at Chamberlain Docks caused a stir among the Swantin residents.  

“What are you doing here?” The were asked. “Get yourselves back up to Main. 

A Loyalist named Ivor had become a particular target. Shaved head, chin raised and his black and belt attire did make him seem thuggish compared to the Swantin trendsetters.  

“We’re just waiting on the ferry, like,” he had said.  

“The last ferry left,” he was reminded.  

Marcus could see the tension build so he stepped between them.  

“Can we help you, sir?” He asked.  

“I’m just wanting to know why you’re here.”  

Marcus replied, “I don’t believe we know each other well enough to ask questions of our intentions. Perhaps I’m wrong in that assumption. What brings you to the docks? Do you live nearby? Do you frequent here often? Are you in the market for prostitutes?”  

The Swantin trendy stared blankly.  

“If we’re going to be discussing each other’s intentions we may as well do so thoroughly.”  

They eventually scampered off. Ivor gave a laugh. 

“Making friends there, Your Majesty,” he jested.  

“It has always been difficult to get along with those from Swantin. It’s their jealously, you see,” Marcus replied.  

Ivor gave another laugh.  

“It must be,” he said. Then he gave some thought to the island.  

“Do you think they’ll find the little man?”  

Marcus looked out across the sea. 

“I hope so,” stated he.  

Not so long after they heard the Harbour Master call.  

“New arrivals,” he was indicating.  

As the Swantin trendy had said the last ferry had departed for the evening. It could only be the return of the Hickes Agency AKA the Good Gang.  

“Move back,” indicated the Loyalists as curiosity drew more onlookers. The fishing vessels they had used drew towards the docks. First to alight was Reynolds. In his custody was Dominick Cole, the Wigan church leader. The triplets watched with satisfaction as the church leader who had caused so much carnage in Main was remanded in custody.  

Following after was Teddy Owen and Lydia Lowe. Teddy had shown true merit. Owens tended to talk a lot. Most of them would throw themselves into the thick of the action. Teddy did that too but in a humble way that demonstrated for all his only intention was to do the right thing. Stepping onto the docks at their backs was Kim Adams.  

There was relief all round when it was seen she carried Elliot in her arms. The child was distressed, clinging to the agent for comfort. He was unharmed though and as sprightly as ever. Kim brought him to the triplets.  

“We have some cleaning up to do,” she told him. “I’m trusting you to take Elliot to David at the Knock Knock club.” 

“Thank you, agent,” said Marcus. “They will be glad.”  

Kim smiled as Elliot relieved his grip on her and reached out to Marcus, climbing into his arms.  

“You’ve had quite the adventure, little man,” said Simon to the boy.  

“Duh!” Elliot called out for the artist.  

“We’ll see him to the proper care,” was Marcus’ assurance. 

Kim considered herself a good judge of character. The violence and infamy that surrounded the triplets aside, their father’s killing of Hickes, she judged they genuinely cared for the little boy. The genuinely cared for Tabitha too but that was a judgement for another day.  

“Stay out of trouble,” she warned them.  

“We will,” they responded in synch.  

At that they parted. The Good Gang set about cleaning up, Dominick to seek proper forgiveness from an authority other than Noah Wigan and the triplets to the Knock Knock club to reunite, rebuild and perhaps seek some salvation of their own.  


“Someone’s coming,” David heard Tabitha call.  

They could see a group heading down towards Clifton Alley.  

“Who is it?” David asked.  

Tabitha took a closer look. “It’s Loyalists,” she confirmed.  

The expressions she could make out on their faces were sombre. They looked as though they had been through a lot. I remained at David’s side. We had no idea what the trip to the bay would bring. David was trying to hold himself together. He was breathing heavily.  

“I can see Simon!” Tabitha called. “Simon’s with them.”  

Tabitha tried to gauge his expression but Simon always looked pissed off. David was afraid to ask but he had to.  

“Do they have Elliot? Is Elliot with them?” he stood to check the window himself.  

“Reggie! I can see Reggie. He looks bad.”  

The empty cans rolled across Clifton Lane. The nearby traffic lowered to a murmur. Tabitha breathed a sigh of relief.  

“There’s Marcus!”  

The relief spread like a cheer through the club when into view came the little boy the King of Main was carrying in his arms.  

David rushed out to collect Elliot, alive and well and seemingly enjoyed his trip to the beach.  

“Duh!” he cried out, hugging the artist.  

“I was so worried about you,” David said. “Are you okay?”  

“No,” he said but his little smile told he was just fine.  

As CPD cleared the beaches they uncovered Elliot before he had been reduced to ashes. 

Tabitha pulled Reggie aside when everything had settled. She slapped his arm. 

“Don’t you think I’ve been through enough!?” the triplet protested.  

“That’s for thinking you could join a fucking cult,” she told him.  

“Good to see you too,” he replied.  

Tabitha grinned. She hugged him.  

“You’re going to be okay,” she said. 

Reggie smiled. He rested his chin on her shoulder. “I have to be, don’t I?”  

“Damn right you do,” Tabitha responded.  

There were celebrations aplenty at Knock Knock Club that night. For the first time I could feel why it was such a magical place. 


“The campaign trails for the city hot seat began this afternoon as bids for the mayoral candidacy open. Given how difficult it has been to hold the mayor’s office in Coldford recently we await with baited breath as the election season begins. Good luck candidates and may the best candidate win. I’m Sandra Wake of Coldford Daily news.”  

As the city rejoiced at the end of the religious carnage a new carnage broke out. My story first brought me to the Knock Knock club in search of the missing mayor, Feltz. Tabitha told me she had no idea where he was and the triplets wouldn’t either. The seat then passed on to Mickey Doyle who found himself under the scrutiny of Article 22. He found himself executed as a result – by order of his own cousin. The Office of Lawmakers had been holding the office until a suitable replacement could be elected, using Blackband militants for this purpose. As election season opened and the light shone back on City Hall again my story would continue.  

Knock Knock: Episode 58: Saints vs Sinners

The travel from City Main to Swantin had been a quiet one. Leona had expected it to be distressing for Reggie to leave his brothers behind, especially when they had just gotten back together after such an ordeal. They were grieving for their parents in their City Dweller way. Reggie had packed one his mother’s necklaces. On it was a pendant with three diamonds. Reginald had bought it for her when she gave birth to the triplets. He had said at the time there was no gift he could give that would ever match that which she had given him in his sons. Reggie planned to give it to his own child when they were old enough. He had also packed a hip flask. It originally belonged to his grandfather Renaud. Renaud Penn had carried it with him as a young man through the second Great War. With the letter R embossed on it it had been given to Reginald, naturally it fell then to Reggie. He had a picture of he and his brothers too. He stored many of them on his phone but it was likely the device would be taken from him when they reached the commune. Leona didn’t fret about any of that. He would be welcomed over on the island. He would find family there. In the days ahead such trinkets wouldn’t mean anything anymore.  

“How are you feeling?” Leona asked him as they seated at the docks, waiting for the ferry.  

“Marcus and Simon are going to be pissed.” He reflected on the brief note he had left them with a promise to call as soon as he had settled. 

“If they want what’s best for ye they’ll accept it. If they don’t? You don’t need that in your life. We’re going to be so happy.”  

Reggie nodded although he wasn’t sure he agreed. It was difficult to see a future without his triplets. He could come back and visit them he supposed and bring the child with him. They would be spoiled by their uncles. Marcus could seem cold but the niece or nephew would surely draw the warmth from him the way mother always did. Simon was good with kids. The Albans preschoolers always loved when he paid them a visit. They would laugh merrily as he leaped around with them, shadow boxing and carrying them around. He would dote on the baby.  

When little Toby on the fourth floor of Faulds was born Rita made such a fuss over him. Marcus held him in his arms rocking him gently as Rita chatted to the new mother. Toby didn’t sleep. He did settle though. He kept staring at Marcus, then to Simon and then to Reggie confused by the identical faces. Maybe that was how Reggie’s own kid would react when they realised their dad was a triplet.  

He was romanticising a lot in his head. The truth was when behind the walls Reggie would find it difficult to leave the commune. It would become his only refuge. In time he would forget he even was a triplet.  

“All aboard the 6:15 to Hathfield Bay! All aboard!” Called the Ferry Master.  

Reggie shuddered. Leona could see his resolve weaken. She clutched his hand. She just had to get him to the bay. Dominick would talk to him there. It would be much easier for him under His Eminence’s influence. As they stood Reggie started to feel a little dizzy.  

“Are you okay?” Asked the wife.  

Reggie tried to answer but he couldn’t speak. His chest had tightened. He had to sit back down again. He stumbled as he did so. He had been having these kind of episodes ever since mother had been killed. If he had seen a doctor the seizures brought about by panic attacks would have been treated. As it were the seizures were crashing over him in larger waves each time. Leona tried to pull him onto his feet again. She had to get him onto that ferry. 

“All aboard the 6:15 to Hathfield bay!”  

Reggie struggled to get onto his feet even with Leona pulling him. She became a little frantic. Luckily few noticed as the crowd poured towards the ferry entrance.  

“Get up Reggie. Get up!” She was crying. “We’ll just get you on the boat and you’ll be fine. I’m taking you home.” 

Reggie still couldn’t stand. His legs were weakened. The wave of the seizure had reached its peak.  

“I’ll get some water,” Leona decided. “You rest. I’ll get some water and we can get get on the ferry.”  

She departed. He watched her be swallowed up in the crowd of boarding passengers. He started to breathe a little easier. He regained some strength again but not enough to call her back. He tried to climb to his feet again but stumbled. Someone clutched his arm. He assumed one of the other passengers had taken pity on him.  

“Take a breath, Reg,” he was instructed.  

Through his blurring vision he could see he was being helped by himself. That didn’t make sense. He couldn’t help himself. When had they cut off his hair? 

It was Simon who rested him on the bench.  

“All aboard! Last call!” 

“I have to go,” Reggie managed to mutter.  

“You’re not going anywhere,” Simon told him.  

Marcus was with him too.  

“You can’t stop me,” Reggie responded testily.  

“You can’t go,” Simon insisted. “We’ve lost mother. We’ve lost dad. Don’t have us lose you too.”  

“I have to go. The ferry is boarding,” said Reggie.  

“Reg,” Simon went on. “Don’t do this.”  

“It’s alright,” said a man who accompanied them.  

Reggie felt like he was going to be sick but his mind was clearing a little. He took in the man the triplets had brought with them. He was kind seeming with compassion natural in his expression.  

“Life has been a real bummer lately,” he said. “Your brothers are here to tell you that it’s going to get better but you need to see a doctor.”  

“My wife,” Reggie groaned, looking for Leona.  

“You’re going to kill yourself, Reg,” Simon snapped. “You need to see a doctor. Come home!”  

Reggie scowled. He tried to stand again and managed a few steps.  

“You can’t stop me.”  

It was the soft spoken, sympathetic man that held him back.  

“Your brothers are just asking you to take a little step at a time. They just want you to see a doctor. Getting their A OK will make them feel better and then you can head off.”  

“Who are you?” Reggie asked.  

“John Reynolds,” he replied.  

“He knows all about the Wigan Church,” said Marcus. “He has had dealings with these things.”  

Taking cue from Marcus’ softer tone Simon added, “he knows his stuff. Just talk to him for a few minutes.”  

Reynolds allowed the intervention words they discussed to flow. 

Simon had been keen on jumping in heavy handed but cult deprogrammer, John Reynolds, had told him this would only push his brother away. Reynolds was familiar with Simon’s gun ho attitude when it came to those closest to him. It was after all an assault on Reynolds that granted him time within The Boss’s keep. Simon had been surprised to say the least when Reynolds came to visit him.  

“Your brother is in trouble,” he had said. “I’ve worked with cults for years. The Church of Wigan is a big one. They are a real rad bunch of cats. They are around your brother and he will be pulled in. He needs someone by his side he can trust. I’ve spoken to the Office of Lawmakers about dropping the assault charges so you can get out of here and be with him. 

“Why would you do that?” Simon wanted to know. “You could just sit back and say good riddance.”  

“I have no hang ups. I do know Main needs you,” Reynolds told him. 

Simon managed a smile too. He didn’t want to let himself get too caught up in the idea of getting out. Within the walls of The Boss, having hope was a fool’s game.  

“I’m sorry,” Simon said. “It would be different if you were coming in here acting like a dickhead but you seem like a decent guy. We were all caught a little off guard when you came into the club. The last time people forced themselves in there it was shot up and burned out.”  

“Have you ever had a pet go wild?” Asked the agent.  

Simon indicated the negatory.  

“Say you have a cat. This cat shows affection. It will lie on you, absorbing your warmth but it has claws. If it tears at you you have to cage it until it calms down. Can you dig it?”  

“Are you saying I’m a pussy?” Simon asked in jest.  

Reynolds chortled.  

“I’m saying …”  

“Yeah, I know,” Simon stopped him. “I just want what’s best for my family and for Main.”  

“Then we’re on the same side,” Reynolds assured.  

Simon reached his hand out.  

“Thank you, Agent Reynolds,” said he.  

Reynolds shook his hand.  

He kept his word and Simon was freed shortly after this exchange. Still keeping to his word he had agreed to help separate Reggie from the Wigan Church.  

“Just speak to a doctor,” Marcus requested at the dockside. “That’s all we ask.”  

Rule number 16 of a cult deprogrammer: it takes many steps to open the eyes of a victim. First he would speak to a doctor. Then the treatment would begin. Just a little more help. Just a little more support. When the time was right the connection to the cult would be completely severed. That was when the greatest friction would occur. The victim would start to resist. The cult leader would have them believe their family and friends were working against them, especially if an emotional trigger was thrown in – like an unborn child for instance.  

It would take time. Reynolds warned Simon of this but if he accepted his advice Reggie truly could be saved.  

Meanwhile, Leona, had pushed her way through to a small snack stand on the docks. She snatched up the bottle of water she requested. She turned and bumped into a man.  

“Sorry,” she said, naturally, but she was really still in a rush.  

“Leona Riggs?” The man asked.  

“Do I know you?” She returned.  

“Franklin Rhodes,” he said. “I’m arresting you on suspicion of drug trafficking.”  

Over on the bay, Dominick received an official annulment of the marriage between Leona and Reggie.  


“What … in the seven circles … of Holy Hell … Is this?” Chick Owen had barked at his son.  

“Lydia!” Buddy screamed on Agent Lowe.  

The Cappy hadn’t forgotten about the bros treatment of the family heirloom. Hen Owen’s telescope now a golden cock had caused him to see red deeper than he ever had before. After Seth Bergman had handed it back it was Kim who got there first. She had good instincts so she grabbed Buddy, knowing him to be the cause of any commotion.  

“You, boy,” Chick pointed his fingers at him. “You’ve been served your discharge papers and I suggest you get out of my sight until I decide what is to be done with you.” To Agent Kim he said, “I apologise ma’am but my temper has been so provoked it might be best this boy is taken from my sight.”  

“Move,” Kim barked and pushed Buddy away.  

“The Bergmans are trying to stir trouble, mate,” said Ozzy.  

The Cappy replied, “they trouble me none. It’s time I deal with problems closer to home.”  

He lifted the asset.  

“To cap it all off we need to walk out with this. That snot nosed little shit didn’t leave the bag he brought it in.” 


The bros didn’t stay out of Harbour House long. The Cappy finally made his judgement on what to do. He had decided on Seven minutes in heaven. This was an old Kappa So code that called when a brother was judged to have stepped out of line. It came with a severe beating from a chosen brother with the intention of leaving the mark unconscious for seven minutes. The last time such an action was taken in the Chapter House it was Jerry Owen. The chosen brother had been Chick and he managed his seven minutes as the name suggested. In the case of the bros, Kim Adams had stepped up with Doyle’s permission.  

“I can’t believe this,” Buddy was saying nervously to Lydia.  

“You surely couldn’t have expected anything less.”  

“Can it just be you?” Buddy plead. “Can you do it?”  

Lydia shook her head. “Do you think I would be any different?”  

“Right we’re set up.”  

Kim was taping her hands and stretching her neck. Curiosity had drawn Chloe in too. She stood beside the Kappa elders.   

“We’re going to get through this,” Buddy had encouraged his bros.  

“That’s great bro, but do you think we could skip the part where she completely annihilates us?” Coops tried.  

Chad had tried for the first hit but Kim punched his knuckle. He fell back.  

Wham! Wham! Two quick successive punches had Cooper floored.  

Chad was now skipping backwards. Kim snatched him up by the hair and launched him forward. Cooper was just starting to correct himself. Feeling a little dizzy he stumbled. His nose had been burst open.  

“Dad!” he tried to call out to Marshall, feeling a little dazed.  

“Fight back you little pussy,” Marshall hissed.  

Wham! Kim punched him again. He fell against the wall.  

Wham! Wham! Wham!  

More quick successive punches caused the body to fall limp. Chloe squealed as she watched Coops try to clamber to his feet.  

“Oh no!” she said. Her sympathy fell with him.  

Buddy tried to pull Kim away from Coops but she upper cut his chin and followed it with a quick jab to the face.  

Wham! Kim turned. Wham! She sent Chad to ground again. He lay still.  

“Check up on Chad,” Lydia called  

Kim stormed across and snatched Chad by the testicles and heaved him across the floor.  

“Ahhhh!” she screamed.  

“Check up on Buddy!” Lydia called.  

Buddy found new life.  

“I’m up! I’m up!” he yelled.  

Every broken bone they sustained, every bruise they bore and every drop of blood that was shed was exactly what a past blowing up in your face looks like. 


Steven Renfield had been active within the church ever since he was a boy. He served the altar, he sang in the sermons and when the time came he joined the clergy. When Dominick Cole was granted his place at head of the church his first course of action had been to burn the priests guilty of corruption within the fold. St Wigan’s embrace was open for all sinners, therefore it figures it was open for ambitious fiends like Renfield.  

He was head of the Northside parish but he wanted more. He had a generous church fund but that wasn’t enough either. As a boy he would read from Noah Wigan’s writings. He especially enjoyed it when the infamous holy man would talk of the great men who joined him like St Michael the Punisher. There was always awe when St Michael was spoken of. That was what Renfield wanted. Only that kind of awe would satisfy. St Michael burned, beheaded and crushed those who would disobey the teachings of Wigan. Noah Wigan had been accepting of sinners. It was Michael’s job to put them to the slaughter. He was called upon to send them to God for their true punishment.  

The three pillars of the Wigan church reflected the true nature and fullness of the human experience. On Wigan’s left hand stood Bartholemew the carrier. With shoulders broad and a determination made of steel, he helped carry the fallen to the salvation Wigan held in his hand. Any father had to discipline their children. The fatherly figure of Wigan sometimes had to show his people the way with fire and fury. With sword in hand Michael the punisher delivered. Renfield was no St Michael. Renfield wasn’t put off though. He would deliver that fiery justice and the church would be in awe.  

The so called Whiskey Wars between Northside and Bellfield was a blood thirsty affair. In his great wisdom Renfield was providing guidance to his parish. The Bellfield blood that was spilled was well received he assured his flock. He was speaking on behalf of St Michael.  

They cheered. The crowd was in awe. He wanted more and more. 

Agnes Wilde had been assisting in the area. With the loss of the Mack family – or at least most of them – the people of Bellfield were ripe for the taking. As the fighting continued schools became too dangerous and the children had to be taught in basements and behind false walls. Agnes had been bringing supplies to such a set up. Her brother – Professor Henry Wilde – had given her text books. He had implored her to leave the supplies and return to The Shanties. He had wanted her to come to Filton but she wouldn’t abandon the Knock Knock club, not with Tawny and Tabitha there. Returning to The Shanties was the compromise they had reached.  

One of the Northside sweeps – an infamous practice of breaking and entering Bellfield homes in the name of the Northside constabulary policing the area. The captain leading the raid had recognised Agnes. What a fine spoil of war she had been. She was taken into custody and delivered to Father Renfield.  

St Michael burned his sinners. Renfield did the same to Agnes. She was murdered as many looked on. They were screaming for her end and it had been a painful one, entirely undeserving.  

Making a name in the Shady City was the intention. It certainly did that. There was talk of it everywhere. What Renfield hadn’t read in his religious texts was the people of Coldford City would respond to such actions and it wouldn’t be in fear. He turned to Dominick for the support of the church. His Eminence refused him. The response to the fiery fury that engulfed Agnes would be with more fire. When the Whiskey Wars were brought to an end Renfield was abandoned. Even his faith had escaped him. He found himself captured, held inside coarse brick walls.  

There was a girl there. She was watching him closely.  

“Hello, cunt,” she said.  

Tabitha glared at him. She was smiling but she was obviously furious. The tie wraps that held him to the chair ripped into his skin as he tried to struggle.  

“Did it hurt?” she asked him.  

He had been beaten already. Maybe that was what she referred to.  

“Did what hurt?” he found himself wanting to clarify.  

The Boss Lady laughed, finding his predicament quite amusing.  

“When you cook someone alive it’s bound to hurt,” said she with a snarl. 

Renfield was taken aback by the anger although given the circumstances he shouldn’t have expected anything less. It was striking though because she appeared so youthful. She struck him as a little girl with a real nasty appetite. His assumptions wouldn’t be entirely wrong.  

“The woman you burned was my aunt. She was a good woman. I want to know, did it hurt?”  

Renfield stammered.  

“A temporary pain. She was cleansed. Wigan embraces sinners but to be welcomed into the kingdom of God she had to be cleansed of her sins.”  

“And what were her sins?”  

“She was aiding heathen gypsies.”  

“By doing what?” Tabitha pressed. She was stood watching him with her hands on her hips. “Helping little kids stay safe whilst they learn their ABCs and 123s? That seems like a Holy thing to do. My grandma was a Wigan. Maybe you remember her, Delores McInney.” 

Renfield’s pupils dilated. He did recognise the name. This made Tabitha smile.  

“That’s right,” Tabitha went on, a little giddy at the reaction. “She did all that praying bull. She told me people couldn’t be saved. She read from Wigan’s books a lot. She was a real cunt about it. One thing she did do though was she gave whatever money she could to help others. That was something my Aunt Agnes had in common with her. Which makes me wonder why your church funds in Northside were all gathered up as you tried to slip away. I’m sure that’s something your head cunt Dominick Cole would like to know. One time I asked my grandma, ‘do you really believe Wigan gets to decide who is punished?’ She looked me straight in the eye and she said, ‘Wigan was put on this earth to embrace us. We cannot be saved but we can be redeemed.’”  

I asked her what she thought should happen to anyone who presumed to do Wigan’s work for him. She said, ‘Tabitha, if someone uses Wigan’s name for their own gains they will be punished. They should be cut and bathed in the salt waters. Every inch of their flesh will burn for an eternity.’ I did think at the time, ‘that’s a bit much but she was one of you Wigan lunatics so she always said shit like that. It got me thinking though, would St Wigan have condemned a decent woman like my Aunt Agnes for protecting children? The Northside constabulary had burned the schools and nurseries. Where else were they supposed to go? I think my aunt and my grandma would agree that’s bullshit.”  

Reflecting on Delores McInney, Renfield couldn’t argue with that. She was dedicated to her faith. She respected His Eminence because of his dedication. To her Dominick was an enlightened, faithful man – albeit overzealous at times.  

Delores was a true faithful. She believed they all could be redeemed, even her unstable granddaughter. The burning of Agnes would not have gone down well with her.  

“Don’t hurt me,” he cried. “Please! I beg you.”  

Tabitha gave a snorting laugh at first but she composed herself.  

“Pray to Wigan for his embrace, cunt. You’re going to be shackled so tightly it will severe your limbs eventually. You will burn for ever and you will live the rest of your days under the whip of monsters much worse than you. You will drown in a sea of misery and you will never catch your breath.”  

Renfield started to cry out. His pleading bounced against the walls of the Knock Knock club. Tabitha savoured the sound until he was eventually picked up. Murder in the first degree. Inciting violence. Stephen Renfield, you are now in servitude to The Boss.  


“They’re burning my paintings. Especially the ones that feature Julia,” David Finn was explaining to Harper Lane. 

“I’ve seen that. CPD are everywhere. We’ve had to close the gallery until they get the streets cleared.”  

“How’s my little besto?” David asked of Elliot.  

“He’s fine,” Harper replied. “He has no idea what’s going on.”  

“We are the children of Wigan and we know we can’t relent …”  

The chanting outside the gallery had been so loud David could hear it over the phone.  

“Harper, just take Elliot home,” David advised. His voice sounded a little shaky.  

Harper refused. “CPD are moving them on. It’s fine. I have too much to do. I still have to get the paperwork in for the auction.”  

“No,” David objected. “You can’t go ahead with that. Not with the way things are right now.”  

“They are just religious nuts,” Harper assured. “CPD are on it and Jean Luc at the Auction House is still willing.”  

“Just be careful.”  

“I will,” Harper assured. “Do you want to say hello to the little one.”  

David smiled, briefly forgetting his trepidation. “Sure.”  

The Au Pair was signalled. She carried Elliot across to the phone at Harper’s request.  

“Hey little man,” David said.  

“Duh!” Elliot sounded pleased.  

“You be good. I’ll see you soon.”  

When Harper returned, she said, “I got to go, Davey. I’ll see you tomorrow at the auction.”  


The day of the auction of the Finn painting arrived. Elizabeth Beckingridge had decided she wanted in on the action, especially when she learned The Cappy had shown an interest. She would be bidding from afar being back under house arrest. Presley Cage would bid on her behalf. 

Around me were the most mismatched collection of people ever to be found in the Shady City. There was Chick Owen, as I’ve already noted. He was accompanied by his brother Ronnie. Howard Bergman had brought Seth. They both acknowledged me with a smile and a nod. Tawny was there too, accompanied by David Finn. By special Law Maker arrangement Tabitha had made her presence felt. She claimed as one of the artists she had to be there. CPD had surrounded the area and were watching the situation very carefully.  

Given the location, the triplets were also there. Tabitha had been hugging Reggie when CPD officers moved her back, still wishing to keep a distance between the two. Tawny intervened before Tabitha began to behave very much like herself again towards the officers. I was glad to see this. Hopefully it meant she would maintain her distance from me. 

This evening – one which still remains quite cemented in my memory – Jean Luc Penn would be the acting auctioneer. It was the first time I had actually laid eyes on the Finn painting. It was beautiful in a shocking, car wreck kind of way. I could see Tabitha admire it.  

“We made a great picture,” she was saying with an arm around David. “I wonder how much we’ll get.” 

“I like the colours,” said Tawny. “Really eye catching.”  

“I chose those colours,” said Tabitha proudly.  

“Yes Liz,” Presley was saying on the phone as Elizabeth kept ranting about being confined to her manor. “Maybe if you …” he tried to say. “You know if you just …”  

I approached Howard. He shook my hand.  

“Good to see you again, Sam,” he said cordially.  

“Interested in the painting then?” I asked.  

“Elsa insists. She wants it for her lounge,” he laughed.  

Seth rolled his eyes.  

“For our next piece I think we should have me on a horse or something, ” Tabitha was offering her artistic vision.  

David was counting the CPD officers. He couldn’t shake the nerves. Harper and Gabrielle were moving around, keeping busy. Tabitha’s voice began to break into his thoughts.  

“Huh?” he asked. “Oh yeah, yeah, a horse,” he agreed  

Tabitha pouted. “Pay attention David,” she warned. 

“Oh no,” said Tawny. “Here comes trouble.”  

Arriving at the auction were two Wigans. One, the Wigan girl we know as River. The other, was His Eminence himself. The CPD officers had stopped them.  

“This painting is important to my church,” Dominick explained. “I’m just wanting to take a gander at what all the fuss is about and maybe buy it up for myself.”  

CPD couldn’t argue with that. It was after all a public auction. David started to count the CPD officers all over again, just incase there were a few he had missed.  

Tawny, being Tawny, decided to address the elephant in the room and greet her fellow baysider.  

“Dom Cole,” she said. “It’s been a long time. How are ye?”  

The Baroness was familiar with Dominick. They went a long way back as it happened. There were times when she had even babysat the little church leader. It didn’t last long though. Dominick’s father had decided her lifestyle wasn’t much of a good influence for the upcoming leader of the commune.  

“Tawny,” he returned. “You’re looking … well.”  

“What brings you over here?” she asked, pleasantly enough but genuinely wanting to know.  

Dominick’s eyes lifted to the painting. “Bab’s Tulloch’s Holy tits apparently,” he replied. “I heard ye suffered a loss of late. I know what that’s like. My condolences. You should know what happened to Agnes was not my will or Wigan’s.”  

River had reached out and clasp Tawny’s hand in a consoling sort of way but Tabitha slapped it away. 

“Don’t fucking touch her,” she snarled.  

Tawny put her arm around her niece and pulled her closer to her before CPD interest was caught.  

“No trouble here from me,” Dominick assured. “I’d just like to give my compliments to the artist. It’s striking work. It really is.”  

Dominick looked across to David. His bleached hair and unkempt appearance offered no mystery as to who the artist was.  

“I’m the artist,” Tabitha said. “I’ll take your compliments.”  

With a tentative air, the auction commenced. Marcus gave a nod to Jean Luc. 

“I’ll open the bid at £100,000.”  

“Fucking Hell!” David could be heard exclaiming.  

“100,000,” was the bid from Liz Beckingridge. 

150,000 from Howard Bergman.  

“Seriously, dad?” Seth put to him. “We’re going to hang that up?”  

“It’s art Seth,” Howard reasoned.  

200,000 from Chick Owen. 

“It’s a piece of history there Ron,” Chick was gaily in his explanation to his brother.  

I couldn’t help but notice Dominick didn’t raise any bid or even make an attempt to. It hadn’t seemed to escape Marcus’ notice either.  

225,000 from Howard Bergman.  

“I promise I’ll not ask for anything for the next five birthdays, Elsa had insisted. 

“That painting is mine,” said Chick.  

Ronnie had never known his brother to lose when he was so determined.  

Dominick was scanning the room and gauging the interest. CPD were watching him closely. He didn’t give them any fuss.  

350,000 had been Elizabeth’s call. “Presley, make sure my bid is registered.” 

I had been too busy watching the church’s vacant reaction after having kicked up such a fuss over the art piece.  

400,000 from Chick Owen.  

For a moment it looked like Dominick was going to make a bid but he shook his head and appeared to have changed his mind. He said something to the girl that accompanied him. She giggled. 

500,000. Now Elizabeth was becoming excited.  

550,000 came from Chick Owen.  


Chick Owen had won the day. Dominick didn‘t seem disappointed.  

“I don’t want anything transpiring here,” Franklin put the call in. “The auction is over. If you do not return to St Michael’s or to the bay you will be in breach of your sanctions Mr Cole.”  

Dominick turned. He was face to face with a broad chest of a man at first. He looked up and Golem was giving him his stoney stare of warning. Sophie Bergman was stood beside him.  

Dominick raised his hands. “I’ve seen all I need to,” he said.  

As he was leaving he called back, “enjoy the painting ya bunch a heathen bastards!”   

The could hear the cheers of his followers erupt as he stepped onto the streets.  

“Praise Wigan!” the cried.  

“I thought they were keen to get it back?” David said naively to Harper.   

It would seem that they had no intentions on bidding for it. It was sacrilegious trash. Whomever would entertain such filth should be punished. You cannot be saved. 


Chamberlain House on Hathfield was hearing the sound of rushing feet. Charlotte was running down the corridor. She hid from view as a man came after her.  

“I know yer in here,” said Dominick. “I seen ye make yer way. I will get ye one way or another.”  

With Peter having taken Francis to his tutor in Kingsgate, Charlotte was alone with her uncle. She emerged from the shadows and leapt onto his back. She wrapped her arms around his neck.  

“Are you sure about that?” she hissed.  

Dominick dropped to his knees and onto the ground.  

“Alright,” he admitted, lying out on the ground. “Ye got me.”  

Charlotte stood over him. “Here lies my beloved Uncle Dominick,” she said. “Gone too soon.”  

Dominick had closed his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest.  

“He’ll be fondly remembered,” Charlotte went on. “Even though he only had one nostril.”  

Dominck’s brow furrowed but he kept his eyes closed.  

“It was amazing how high he could jump, even though he was only two foot tall.”  

Dominick’s eyes flickered. His lips curled a little but he lay still.  

“What we will look back on the most is the great thick unibrow he had.”  

“Gah!” Dominick sat up.  

Charlotte erupted in a shriek of laughter.  

“Dom?” called the familiar voice of Bart.  

“We’re in here, Bart,” Dominick returned getting up off the floor. 

Bartholemew carried in a box. His eyes were still a little large from a mushroom trip. On the side of the box was the Harvester logo. The finest meat in the Shady City.  

“A parcel sent to the commune,” the carrier explained.  

Dominick spied the logo. “Did it come straight from the farm?” he asked.  

“I don’t know,” Bart admitted.  

Dominick opened the box. Inside were fresh meat packets. The first appeared to be a flank cut. He dropped it on the floor. The second looked like tenderloin. He dropped that to the floor too. The next was thin. It was the cheek of a man. Dominick could still see a razor burn on it. There was a bite mark there too. Then there was a foot and a hand. There was a smaller foot. Charlotte lifted out the skin from the face of little Lord Francis.  

At the bottom of the box lay a letter and Peter Millicent’s beads. 

The letter read: 

I want you to know I cried last night. You upset me. I cried because you hurt someone close to me. I had a teacher. He was the best teacher in the whole wide world. Yes he was! He helped me hear the sounds of the world. One day he was there and I could visit him any time I liked and then he was gone. You took him away from me. He was mine and you took him. I want you to enjoy your teacher. I want you eat every little bit. You took my teacher and made me cry. He was mine. He was so!  

I can never see my teacher again and that’s your fault. I’m so angry right now. You did it. You made me angry. 

Eat your teacher. Cook him well. Enjoy him. I’m going to make you cry. I will. I will so!  

Wigan isn’t going to want them. Their severed heads sucked cock. You made me cry! I hate you!  

I’m not crying anymore. I’m laughing. I’m laughing so hard my belly hurts.  

George Beckingridge 

Dominick dropped the letter. Charlotte was still holding the flesh of her brother’s face. Dominick said nothing.  

“Dom?” Bart tried to urge gently.  

Still the church leader said nothing. It was like he had fallen into some kind of feverish shock. Finally, he stirred and stormed from the room.  

“Dominick?” Bartholemew cried after him. “Where are you going?”  


Buddy Owen’s eyes opened. He was feeling a little drowsy after the beating but he could swear his dad was sat watching him.  

“Mornin’ Bud,” he said.  

Shit. The Cappy was sat watching him.  

“I just wanted to stop by and let you boys know I won the auction.”  

Buddy managed a smile. “The porno painting, bro that’s sweet.”  

The Cappy laughed too. “An Owen never misses, no matter what target they set in mind.” 

Chad and Cooper were awake too. Austin was sat by his own son’s bedside.  

“I reckon you should donate it to the museum. It can hang right next to the armour of the Greatest Northsider,” Oz suggested. 

They all chuckled.  

Buddy and his bros had had a lengthy discussion on what the painting actually looked like, having had only talk to go on. The bros had created such an image in their head of Barbara Tulloch I fear they were going to be disappointed. 

Chick dropped the golden asset onto the bed at Buddy’s feet.  

“I want you to hold onto this,” the father said.  

“I’ll put it right,” Buddy offered.  

“I’m leaving the decision of what to do with it up to you. You can either put it right and cover up the past or you can keep it as is and see it as a reminder that you need to better. Whichever you choose you should know I’m proud of you. I ain’t told you that enough but I am. Your spirit is a pain in my ass more times than none but that spirit of yours is unbreakable. You’ve got it in you. If these golden balls right here ain’t a symbol of that Owen spirit I don’t know what is.”  

“Good thing I made the golden cock then,” Buddy grinned, his unfaltering spirit being a pain in the ass all over again.  

“Don’t push it,” The Cappy warned. But then he started to laugh.  

He really was in quite a jovial mood.  

Earlier that afternoon, The Cappy had spoken with Tabitha.  

“Your boys are home, safe and sound,” he reminded her of the triplets. “You and I had a little agreement. You said there was someone who had embezzled funds in the Owen name. You promised me you would tell me who. I’ve kept my end of the bargain. So what do you say?”  

Tabitha did consider being petulant. It was almost like an instinct with her. Chick had stuck to his end of their agreement. The triplets were home and getting Marcus from the Boss’ grip couldn’t have been an easy task.  

“You should have a word with your rabid bitch, Marshall Cooper,” she told him. “Reginald always suspected he was running guns and drugs and all sorts. He needed money. He used your name through Beckingridge to open a new account. They wouldn’t object because they were told you agreed.”  

“Do you have proof of this?” Chick asked.  

“Isn’t fifty nine fucking dead bodies proof enough?” Tabitha returned. 

“Not in this city,” said Chick.  

Chick arranged for the Beckingridge Firm to send him all the information they had to him personally. He had left a message with Marshall saying he wanted to talk to him as soon as he returned from Tokashima. In the meantime, the bros appeared to have learned their lesson. At least they had learned some lesson.  

“Crikey? Is that the time?” Austin put in. “We better go Chick.” He patted Chad’s leg affectionately. 

Chick stood. “I’m proud of you,” he said to them. He paid special attention to Dale, who’s own father was absent from these discussions. “I’m proud of y’all”  

“Kappa So!” the two elders cried as they were leaving.  

“Kappa So!” the bros returned.  

“Coops? Coops?” Buddy asked.  

“Yeah Bud?” 

“Where am I going to hide this damn cock?”  

Chad sniggered. 


Chick found himself at a van in North Coldridge. The van had collected the painting from the Auction House and It would make its way to Owen Estate.  

“I asked that any tears, blood splatter or damage from being down in Northside wasn’t touched in anyway,” The Cappy was reiterating on the phone to Ronnie. When he approached the van it looked like it had been left behind.  

“Those dumb ass boys gone and abandoned my painting,” Chick groaned. He made his way straight to the back. He pulled the doors open, noting that they had been left unlocked. Inside sat the painting that had caused such a fuss. The young Kappa So brothers who had been entrusted with collecting it must have hopped out to drain the snake, bless ‘em. He had a good mind to take the painting and have them believe it had been stolen. Teach the youngins a little lesson.  

“Cappy!” A frat boy called from the front. “You had better come see this.”  

Chick went back to the front where others were pulling the bodies of two Kappa So brothers out onto the park gravel.  

“What the Hell?” Chick exclaimed. Both boys had been decapitated.  


The rear of the van had been closed.  


Chick had been following behind only to see half of a body fall back whilst the other half fell forward. Standing before them, with the flames of retribution tearing into the back of the van was St Michael. He steadied his great sword again. Breath escaped his helmet in a fine mist.  


He knocked Chick to the ground. Chick tried to scramble. He drew his gun. The steel of the helmet would protect him. His vital organs were covered. He just had time to aim when the sword was driven through him. He gasped.  

“You cannot be saved,” said the attacker.  

Charles ‘Chick’ Owen better known as The Cappy, steadied his gun.  

“Suck my God balls,” he said.  


He caught the Templar in the femoral artery. His armour only allowed a small gap to wound. If it wasn’t treated right away it would bleed out.  

Chick Owen coughed up his own blood. As he his mind slipped away to whatever afterlife there was waiting for him, he thought of his precious dynasty. Give em’ Hell, were his final instructions.  

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You Cannot be Saved: The Church of Wigan


Your trip across to Hathfield Bay island isn’t complete without taking a closer look at the Church of St Wigan. Established centuries ago by Noah Wigan – the patron saint of sinners – the church, whilst remaining understated, has gone from strength to strength over the years.

From an outsiders perspective the church has always been seen as extreme in their views. The Wigan way of life requires a lot of sacrifice and even if you give your all the church motto still remains ‘you cannot be saved’. In the hands of a man named Parson Verger the church gathered a reputation for protecting pedophiles and other monsters among their clergy. When the leadership passed to a spirited young man named Dominick Cole, who was Hell bent on cleansing, those monsters were burned and drowned.

Like most organised religions the behaviour of the Wigan congregation can be righteous. They are considered a cult and it has been easy for people to be swept up in their teachings. Many a runaway from the city has knocked on the door of the commune, they have been welcomed behind the walls never to return. Wigan embraces all sinners and if you have a sinful past to leave behind in Coldford, the church may just be your saving grace.

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Character Profile: Peter Millicent

“Praise Wigan and may he steady your hand.”

Name: Father Peter Millicent

Occupation: Leading clergyman of the Church of St Wigan


Peter is considered the gentle hand of the Church of St Wigan. The island cult is rife with rumours of burnings, drowings and stonings but Peter stands as the face of the church, demonstrating the gentle embrace of Wigan and their claim that all sinners will be accepted. Truthfully, Peter is a kindly soul. Whilst the church teachings he believes in (and on occassion gives himself) are harsh, Peter is dedicated to the salvation of others. It is why he is by the side of spirited church leader, Dominick Cole as his gentle hand.

Peter was born and raised in the Wigan commune on Hathfield Bay island. The ways of the City Dwellers are strange to him. However, unlike his church brethren he is willing to accept the differences in their way of life.

As much as Peter would love his church to show the forgiving nature of their founder, St Noah Wigan, in the Shady City that kind of nature isn’t easily accepted. The patron St of Sinners, whom they follow needed to inflict punishment for a reason.

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What bothers me …

I’m sure there are lots of things we could each pick out that we consider to be bothersome. Some days you’ll feel like nothing will be able to shake you and on others you will find everything to be an irritant. However, what I’m looking at here is the grander scale. I’m thinking about those things that require effort to change.

I was recently having a chat with some readers and they were discussing characters of mine who they found completely abhorrent. As an author this is great news. Whether it’s the good, the bad of the ugly you always want to get a reaction from your reader. I have written characters that have done some of the most despicable things. Was it the torture? Was it the cold blooded murder? Was it the ruthless ambition? Nope. It was casual racism that crowned the most horrific.

It made me realise, racism, sexism and many other isms and phobias are what bothers me. Writing characters with these horrible traits is my way of showing readers how ridiculous it sounds. It’s farcical most times and it demonstrates how little respect I offer people with these kinds of views. The characters I instill with these traits will either learn their lesson eventually or will be sorry they didn’t (no spoilers).

It’s one think I would like to change in this world and it is something that bothers me a great deal. Why someone should be judged on race, colour, sexuality, gender identity just completely baffles me when there are far more important things we could be working on. I hate to hear these kind of views. I was in a shop just the other day when a man behind me started yelling about some franchise owners being anti catholic, how he hated bigots and they should all be taken out and shot. Nothing provoked this comment. We weren’t even in the shop he was referring to. He didn’t seem to see the irony of his statement about hating bigots being, well, highly bigoted in its sentiment. Take them out and shoot them? What does that solve?

Unfortunately I can’t delete this kind of sentiment from the world. What I can do is point out how ridiculous it sounds when I hear it. The man in the shop was a little taken aback when no one took him up on his views and I myself laughed at how ridiculous he sounded. Maybe next time he will think twice before puffing his chest out and spout hatred. If he truly believes some corporation is anti catholic then form a picket line, submit your complaints or boycott the damn shop. In the meantime I’ll continue to air these frustrations through fiction.

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Knock Knock: Episode 55: I Confess

“CPD bodies were uncovered today in what the first responders referred to as a macabre pit of body parts. The bodies appeared to have been run through with a sword.  

The pit in the pier area of Swantin Heights was uncovered this morning by digging dogs. There is no new further information at this point but we will keep you up to date as the situation develops.  I’m Sandra Wake of Coldford Daily News.”  

Leona switched the television off.  

“It’s upsetting ye,” she said.  

Reggie laughed it off but he shuddered. “It’s the shit that goes down in the world.”  

Leona poured them some tea. “We’re taught that when something like this happens, it’s St Michael bringing his temper. Those CPD officers needed to be punished, after what they did to you and to my people.”  

“How do you know what’s St Michael and what’s people just being shit?” he asked.  

Leona smiled at the genuineness of the question.  

“I guess I don’t know,” she replied. “I just trust that whatever happens it is His will.”  

Reggie took a sip of his tea.   


Spin once. Spin twice. Spin three!  

Little Wigan child, Ivy, felt dizzy. With Dominick’s hands on her shoulders she spun round and round. She was blindfolded so she lashed out blindly with her stick. 


A woman cried out in pain. Ivy lifted her blindfold to see she had struck Barbara Tulloch in the ribs. Barbara was tied to a post on the bay and was being whacked with sticks in a game from the youngsters. The first hits had broken blisters left by the beetles. She wasn’t pleading any more. She could only cry.  

“Hit her again,” said Dominick.  

Ivy screamed and whacked Barbara’s blistered legs over and over again.  

“Letter, Your Eminence,” arrived Peter on scene.  

The priest looked up to Barbara as Dominick tore into the letter with a Penn seal on it.  

“Hasn’t she repented, Your Eminence?” Peter asked of Barbara.  

Dominick looked back over his shoulder. Ivy was still whacking Barbara’s legs with her stick.  

“She’s been repenting ever since she arrived on these shores,” he admitted.  

Peter said calmly, “then perhaps it would be time to consider bringing her back into the commune. I’d be happy to hear her confession.”  

Dominick smiled at him. “Yer a good man Peter. Better than the City Dwellers deserve. Better than I deserve. I’m lucky to have ye keep me right.”  

Peter took one last look at Ivy screaming and whacking the Tulloch matriarch.  

“That’s enough Ivy,” Dominick instructed and the little girl. “Go and find yer mothers.”  

Dominick peeled out a well formed, hand written letter which read as follows: 

Your Eminence,  

I have been told we are bound through my brother’s marriage to one of your church members. That bind was supposedly tightened with the presence of an unborn child that will bear my name.  

The presence of your church in my City Main is a concern. I may have been incarcerated but I do pay attention and I have returned now. As it stands your trouble has been with CPD. This ceases immediately. In Main it is my duty to quash any CPD hostility. Should I find your church members at route cause of any trouble I will have no choice but to react accordingly. If my brother’s bride is of your faith it would make for terrible introductions.  

St Michael’s has stood for centuries. It is important to you so that is where you contain your worship. If you do this, the streets of Main are safe for whomever chooses to walk them.  

My primary concern is Reggie. If anything should fall amiss or my brother is hurt in any way all discussions cease.  

Noah Wigan set forth to the island to find his following. He never returned to the city to live. Do not make me show you why that was a wise decision.  

Sincerely and truthfully 

Marcus Penn 

Dominick folded the letter.  

“He writes a good letter. Really neat handwriting,” he commented. 

Having read the details Peter advised, “he’s firm but he’s not unreasonable.”  


Harvester store in Main was struggling. Whether it was hassle from CPD under Billy Owen’s instruction, zealous preaching from Wigan followers or general Coldford disturbance. The store in Bellfield was open for now but for how long? All in all, everywhere Julia turned it seemed the Shady City was getting tired of the farm girl’s charm. It didn’t help that the trial for Nan Harvester was all over the newspapers. 

Julia was adept at making friendly conversation. Despite the tension the Wigan cult was causing she was still able to greet Peter Millicent in her Main store with a smile. 

“I bring a message from His Eminence.,” he said. “He wished to have your views on getting involved in the Whiskey Wars by siding with Bellfield?”  

Julia kept an eye on Curtis. Curtis kept an eye on his cattle prod.  

“I spoke to Barbara Tulloch and she told me what her son had been treating the Green Eye prisoners terribly. It was dreadful. His Eminence can understand why you felt the need to intervene and assist. We just want to gain an understanding.”  

“The Mack clan stole equipment,” Julia told him. “I wouldn’t get involved in such a thing.” 

“Yes,” Peter agreed. “Stolen. Either way the Green Eye will hopefully fall into better hands. May I speak frankly?”  

Julia nodded.  

“No one wants the kind of chaos that’s going on down in Northside and Bellfield coming any closer. You’re an ambitious young woman and your father would be proud. On my own behalf I wish you success. Your success feeds a hungry city and what brings families together better than a meal to share.”  

Jacob Harvester had done a lot for the commune from which they still benefited all that time later. He had shown them how to cultivate their land. It had been where he met his wife. Peter remembered the father fondly. With respect to him he treated the daughter with kindness. 

Julia replied, “thank you, Father.”   


When I first met the eldest triplet it had been with a knife in his hand and blood spilled on the floor so I wasn’t thrilled with being in his company again. I was advised by those that knew Tabitha the best that I should hear what Marcus had to say and perhaps he could enlighten me in some of his motivations. No one in Coldford seemed to be beyond the extreme so really the Penns were just part of the system. That was what I told myself as I rode the elevator to the penthouse apartment accompanied by two Loyalists – Emmerson and Ivor. 

The doors opened and Marcus was found to be waiting in the lounge. He stood and he shook my hand cordially. He knew I was the one that had taken the footage of Mel Wallace’s murder. I knew he knew I was the one that took that footage but there was a story to tell so we shook hands. The Penn family had been through a lot since then. There were many losses and I dare say there were regrets.  

“Why do you insist on enabling Tabitha?” Had been my first question.  

I had noted several questions I wanted to put to the fresh King of Main but as we sat down and I looked him in the eye, it was the one I really needed to ask.  

I thought this would have darkened Marcus’ already typical stoicism but to my surprise it caused a hint of a smile on his lips. I probably wasn’t the first person to ask him about the out of control sociopath in a red dress. I would unlikely be the last.  

“Do you have siblings?” He asked me.  

“No,” I admitted.  

I was an only child living in the suburb of Jameston. Marcus, who grew up in Main, was probably putting my outrage at Tabitha’s behaviour down to naivety. It wasn’t naivety. It was definitely outrage.  

“My brothers and I have always been close. It’s difficult not to be when you have literally spent your entire existence together. Then when Tabitha came along she was like a sister to us. Before I met her I was expecting a vulnerable child. She was anything but. She was, however, In need of help. Naturally, as our sister, we would help her with everything we had. Underneath the bravado is a real girl who has suffered a lot. She is angry and determined to stop others having to suffer as she had. Abuse leaves a terrible taste in her mouth. That taste gives rise to fury.”  

I took note of Marcus’ sentiment.  

“Where is Mayor Feltz and his daughter?” I asked him. 

“I can honestly say without the slightest hint of a lie that he was very much alive the last I saw him,” said Marcus. 

“What about Mel Wallace?” I put to him. “She wasn’t though.” 

There was the darkened expression I had expected. His demeanour fell so heavily and so suddenly I was a little taken aback. He removed his spectacles and wiped the lenses on the hem of the black shirt he wore. He then placed them back on his nose and his lips tightened.  

“I do not pretend to be a benevolent man, as least not as much as I would like to be. I haven’t been afforded that luxury because Main relies on me to do whatever it takes to protect Her. That’s what it means to be Loyal. Over the years I have had to form a certain detachment that allows me to make the decisions necessary for survival of my dynasty and for the people who reside here. The matter was for the courts to decide and for the time being I’m here. Whilst I am here I will continue to do what it takes. I understand your trepidation. I understand your need to question. What I will confirm to you is I would never take such action unless it was necessary.” 

“We disagree on what might be necessary,” I told him. 

Marcus nodded. “I dare say we always will, Mr Crusow. If you ever find an alternative that won’t see this area torn apart I would happily follow.” 


As Marcus said he was loyal to his sister. At a young age Reginald Penn had made a request of his triplet sons that they take care of Tabitha. For Reggie this was ‘sound’ because he and Tabitha got on like a house on fire. Two unhinged personalities had found solace in one another. There was also the abrasive, Simon, to whom Tabitha was the little sister he never really wanted but he would treat as much a Penn as his triplets. Like most siblings she and Simon did share a bond though. She challenged him in ways few others did. She refused to polish his ego and he knew he couldn’t knock her out so they learned to tease in a way that kept each other on their toes. Surprisingly they tended to bring out the best in each other. When all was said and done and Tabitha had wound Simon’s temper to the point his fists were clenched and his knuckles were crunching she would laugh. With her gapped tooth grin he had to admit she was an adorable little girl. She knew this. She pushed it. In a way she inspired him. She would always voice exactly what was in her head where he had learned to suppress.  

Finally, there was Marcus. Only minutes older than Reggie but he felt it was his responsibility to follow his father’s wishes. 

She didn’t need much looking after from what Marcus observed. Keeping her out of trouble was the more accurate expectance. 

Marcus seemed cold hearted. He was very much so but he wasn’t without his emotions. 

On a night just after Tawny had been admitted to Harbour House, Agnes had gone to Filton to speak to her brother. She was to explain to English professor Henry Wilde that she was going to take care of Tabitha in Tawny’s absence and that news would not be received well. He had already expressed his concern over what Agnes had gotten herself involved in. He had suggested Tabitha required specialist attention for her behavioural problems but Agnes knew her brother would never turn her away.  

Tabitha stayed at the Faulds Building in the meantime. She and Reggie spent most of the time playing video games. Around 1am Marcus had heard some fussing from the lounge. There he found Reggie passed out on the sofa. Tabitha was seated in front of the television screen with her knees pulled up to her chest. The old Queen Corn cereal ad was playing, showing a glamorous actress, Vera Bergman, dancing. It had been muted. Tabitha’s eyes were reddened as though she had been crying. She had been so engrossed in the advertisement she hadn’t heard Marcus join her.  

He eventually announced his presence by asking, “can I get you anything?” 

Tabitha didn’t seem surprised to find him there. 

“I’m fine,” she replied. “I miss Aunt Tee.”  

“We all do,” he assured. “She’s in good hands though. She’ll get the help she needs.”  

Turning back to the advertisement she said, “this ad always reminds me of her.”  

Marcus had to disagree. He loved Tee too but she was no Vera Bergman. Perhaps it was the quirky, fun, lets not take life too seriously tone the had had where she drew the comparison.  

“Aunt Tee was the first person to tell me I could do anything I put my mind to. Rob and the fucking egg donor always said I was good for nothing,” Tabitha mused.  

“She always told me I was funny,” Marcus said. “She said I always made her laugh.”  

Tabitha looked at him with a slight wrinkle in her nose. “She did talk so much shit too, didn’t she?” she chuckled.  

Marcus raised an eyebrow.  

“You don’t think I’m funny?”  

“I think you’re about as funny as a colonoscopy. You know that thing where the camera goes right up …”  

“I know what a colonoscopy is. I would argue a colonoscopy can be hilarious depending on how it is performed and who it is performed on …”  

Tabitha giggled. “What do you know. You can funny.”  

Reggie groaned in his sleep. The two looked over at him. Then they looked to each other. Tabitha gave a mischievous grin. She pulled a red lipstick from her pocket. She passed it to Marcus.  

Marcus painted Reggie’s lips and cheeks. He even drew as accurate a rat on his forehead as the lipstick would allow.  

“You’re an artist,” Tabitha jested.  

Then they started to shake him.  

“Wake up. Wake up! Reg you’re late.”  

Reggie stirred.  

“Huh?” Reggie asked, still in a daze. 

“You have to get going. You’re going to miss the interview.”  

Reggie stood up. “I had better go then …” he mumbled.  

They went as far as to give him a jacket and send him down to the reception. They waited in anticipation watching the elevator lights move from the penthouse down to the ground floor. It didn’t take too long for the elevator to start moving back up again. Reggie came storming out, barefooted and throwing the jacket off.  

“Very fucking funny,” he grumbled. “It’s the middle of the night and I’m stoned off my ass.”  

Marcus and Tabitha were rendered amused for quite some time.  

Marcus knew the Boss Lady better than most. Like he she felt the need to do what was necessary for her people and they were suffering the most.  


Ding ding.  

The bell of the Harvester Farm house rang around mid afternoon. Given it’s remoteness it was unusual to find passers by. It had been Glenn’s daughter, Susie who answered. Standing on the steps was a girl of similar age to herself. Perhaps she was a little older. Her long brittle, hair hung in two braids that fell by her waist. She was watching with a vacant expression.  

“Hi,” said Susie.  

The girl looked like she was medicated. That was what Buddy Owen called it.  

“Hi,” she finally replied speaking slowly, staring at Susie.  

Susie noticed the purple ribbon that was tied into her braids. It was really quite pretty. If she grew her hair longer she could do something similar.  

“Is Margaret home?” the little girl asked.  

“There’s no Margaret here,” Susie explained.  

“Okay.” The girl nodded slowly. She turned and walked away.  

The farmhands were all busy out on the fields. The little girl must have slipped past them. Either way she wandered back down the path towards the main route.  

Ding ding. 

Susie was finishing her homework late afternoon when the door bell rang again. The farm hands were still out on the fields. Julia herself was in City Main checking on another disturbance. It seemed a Wigan girl had had to be driven from the store there after she made a fuss, screaming about Julia being a whore and sent by Satan himself to punish the people of Coldford. 

“To be cleansed you need to rid of the whore before she consumes you all!” the girl screamed before being dragged out.  

Upon answering the door Susie was greeted by the same little girl from earlier.  

“Is Margaret home?” she asked again.  

“No,” Susie returned. “I told you earlier there’s no Margaret here.”  

She was becoming a little impatient. The girl was spaced out and not listening to a word she was saying.  

“Okay,” the girl responded again with each syllable popping slowly. Oh – kay. She again turned and wandered back to the main route.  

When it reached early evening, darkness would be calling the farmhands in. Before they returned the door bell sounded a third time.  

Ding ding. 

Susie was not surprised to find the same little girl again. She didn’t say anything this time. She didn’t ask for Margaret. She just stared at Susie. Eventually she clenched her teeth and whistled through them.  

“You cannot be saved!” she hissed.  

Before Susie could call on her father she turned and dashed down the path at great speed.  

When Susie told her father what had happened Glenn assured her it was nothing to worry about, just religious nuts trying to play ‘silly beggars’. Darkness fell upon the farm though. 


Curtis had been having a tough day. Every day was a tough day for a Harvester farmhand but this day was particularly so. You see, dear readers, he had received news that his sister had died. She had been prostituting herself and apparently, she had happened upon a client with particularly depraved tastes. Normally she wasn’t commissioned by other women but she needed the money. After delivering the satisfaction she had been paid for to the client she was stabbed, rupturing her lung. The woman then proceeded to cut out her womb as she breathed her last.  

Curtis stumbled towards the barn, mumbling to himself.  

“Dangerous. Fucking whores,” he grumbled in a somewhat cohesive statement. 

The continued trotting towards the barn, boozed up and feeling sleepy. Debs, the prize Harvester milking cow, shifted over as Curtis clumsily slapped her rump. The farmhand lost his footing, tumbling onto a bale of hay. There he curled up and fell asleep.  


Midnight came around. Harvester Farm always welcomed an early morning so by then it was all tucked up and fast asleep. There was no-one awake to see three Wigan girls skip along the patch towards the farmhouse. They were laughing among themselves in a quiet snicker. With them they had the little girl from earlier who had been hitting Barbara Tulloch with her stick. 

Autumn, April and River were the names of the grown women with her. They were her mothers. They were lifelong islanders and dedicated Wigan followers. It had been Autumn that Curtis’ sister had met her end at the hand of.  

The farm house offered a small narrow window through which April was able to squeeze through. Her footsteps wouldn’t be heard crossing the stone kitchen floor. The creaks were minimal as she climbed the steps to the first floor.  


In Debs’ barn Curtis lay quite comfortably in the hay. It was was a warm, dry, cozy place to forget life’s problems. It was a great place to forget his sister’s demise.  

He was stirred from his deep sleep when he felt a woman straddle him. It had been a while but he remembered what it was like to have a woman’s thighs around him. His eyes opened to find a young woman with filthy brown hair. It had purple ribbons tangled within it. Her eyes looked huge. They didn’t look natural.  

She cried a shriek, raising a knife. It wasn’t a specially designed knife. It was the basic kind you would find in any kitchen.  

“You cannot be saved!” she cried, startling Debs.  

She plunged the knife. There was a crunch as she broke through the chest cavity that make her laugh with joy. She stabbed again and again.  

“You cannot be saved!” She called, completely enraptured by her task.  


Susie had been dreaming about Buddy Owen as chance would have it. In her dream he and the bros had performed a concert. It had been quite something. His full blonde hair, his large smile, his voice. After the concert the bros had treated Susie and some select friends to pizza at Bobby’s diner. All was spoiled when footsteps by her bed awoke her.  

She sat up. There was a woman in her room. She didn’t recognise her. She looked beyond ‘medicated’. She was completely fucked up. She didn’t move any further. She just stared at her with huge black eyes. Susie was glad she had gone to the bathroom before bed because she could have very well wet herself. The woman had a knife in her hand. She examined it. The smile she gave seemed unnaturally large. She had torn, frayed pieces of purple ribbon hanging everywhere.  

She charged at Susie with the blade but before she could inflict a devastating blow an arm curled around her neck and yanked her back.  

Julia grappled the Wigan girl named April, lifting her chin and exposing her neck. She wrestled her to the ground, pulling the knife from her. Julia pulled April’s head back and slit her throat.  

“Get out Susie!” the farm girl called. “Get out.”  

Susie leapt from her bed. Still dressed in her cotton onesie she dashed outside. It was freezing there but she was met by her father. The Harvester horns started to blow shattering the peaceful starry night.  


The stable door was hauled closed. Autumn and River laughed and cheered as they did so. River struck a match.  

“Ooooops!” she cried, throwing it inside. The hay was an exceptional kindling. The flames erupted.  

“Wigan bless you!” the two girls cheered as the clutched hands and skipped away.  

The horses trapped within the stables squealed as the heat of the flames engulfed them and their flesh began to sizzle.  

“Burn, burn, burn!” the Wigan girls laughed. “You cannot be saved, neither can yer horses.”  

They ran, leaving the devastation behind for the Harvester farmhands to tend to. The stables were consumed, leaving only behind ashes and bones.  

Ding ding. Ding ding.  

The whore would learn the followers of Wigan were Holy people. The people of Colddford were to repent and not be tempted by the whore’s devious ways. She should have stayed out of Bellfield. 


Peter Millicent had been sat in a confessional booth in the church. The quiet darkness was soothing. Things in the commune were becoming explosive. He had been praying for some solace when he heard someone take a seat to pour their soul to him.  

“I come to seek Wigan’s forgiveness,” he heard the man speak. He had known Dominick his whole life. He recognised his voice. 

“You’ve come to the right place, my brother,” he said. “unburden yourself.”  

“I have a task at hand. I’ve been given a mission but it’s not easy. I find myself questioning it sometimes. I have someone to turn to. My whole life they’ve never let me down.”  

“Do they guide you well?” Peter asked.  

“They do,” Dominick returned. “They’re like a father to me.”  

“Then what bothers you?”  

“Lately I have had trouble heeding his advice. He sees a world that doesn’t exist anymore. My mission asks me to be bold. He’s advising me to be steady.” 

“Perhaps, this father figure just wishes to see that his son doesn’t get hurt.”  

He could sense Dominick smile. “He’s a good man. He really is.”  

“You seem faithful,” Peter said, “otherwise you wouldn’t be troubled. Trust that faith. Listen to the advice you are given.”  

“Wigan bless you father,” Dominick returned. 

Peter met Dominick outside the booth. The said nothing about what they had discussed but Dominick seemed like he had shed some of his burden. Knelt before the alter were River and Autumn. They stood when they heard Peter join them. Nodding to the priest as they passed him in the aisle they exited.  

“Have you spoken to Bart, Your Eminence?” he asked. “He’s deeply concerned about Leona.”  

Dominick shook his head.  

“I’m sure he would be pleased to hear your words.”  

“How can I?” he asked. “Leona was called. Her place was in the city. She’ll return again.”  

“You are losing your focus and you are going to let it consume you. I understand your wish to push forward but you have to listen to me. Here on the bay there are deadly toxins underneath our feet. We have learned to live with them and over the years we have covered them over more and more. Now it’s safe for us to thrive. That city poison we have to learn to live with if we wish to grow.” When the church leader had fallen silent Peter pressed him. “Dominick?” he asked. “Dominick?”  

“I hear ye Peter. I understand what ye mean. I’m trying to steady my hand but I feel the need to push forward,” Dominick admitted. 

When Peter left, Autumn and River were standing in the yard. They were laughing to each other, snickering into each other’s ears. 

“What’s so funny?” Peter asked.  

The two girls giggled. “Nothing, Father,” said Autumn.  


Marcus Penn was anxious although you wouldn’t know it to look at him. He carried himself in a stoic way but there was a constant tension across his shoulders. He thought it would have eased with some distance between him and The Boss but it didn’t. It was like a the great castle still weighed down on him with reminders of his mother and father. Being back home gave little comfort and he couldn’t let himself be held back by the grief. As it stood he had a lot of people relying on him. He had always known the responsibility would fall to him upon when his father met a grisly fate. His great grandfather, Adelard, had been executed too for fighting back against the Chamberlain Guard. His grandfather, Renaud, had been guillotined by the Luen Courts. Now, Reginald had been taken by a firing squad. The murder of Bobby Owen had been expected, every war has their casualties. Hickes though? That was puzzling. Marcus never doubted his father’s advice was sound. What Reginald advised was Hickes was a trustworthy man. CPD were trusted too with Hickes at the helm. A few years before these events, Marcus, Hickes and Reginald had met to discuss the security in Main. They had sat all afternoon in Walden’s wine bar. Security was discussed and they then spent the rest of the afternoon throwing darts. It had been evening by the time they came stumbling back out. Reginald had an arm around Marcus’ shoulder to hold him steady.  

“When did the lights go out?” Reginald asked in jest.  

Marcus rolled his eyes. Reginald laughed heartily at his own joke.  

Hickes, who was just as inebriated, laughed too.  

“I got to go,” cheered the detective with his arms raised.  

Reginald grinned.  

“Sure thing. Don’t let me hold you back. You treat that lady well.”  

The lady referred to in this instance was Olivia whom Hickes had been close to for a while at this point.  

“I will,” Hickes replied confidently.  

“I’ll get you a car,” Reginald offered. “Ivor? Where’s Ivor? Ah there you are.”  

Reginald turned to face a Loyalist named Ivor. He was stood with his hands clasped, chin raised, ready to accept the King’s orders.  

“Take the detective down to Swantin, would you?”  

“Of course, sir,” Ivor replied.  

Hickes climbed into the back of the car. He blew his cheeks against the window as it drove away which drew even more laughs from Reginald. His arm tightened around Marcus’ shoulder.  

“Come on, boy. Let’s go throw some dice at the casino.”  

Hickes surely would have brought Reginald to see them in The Boss. He would have protected Reggie. None of it made any sense. There had been some talk among the Loyalists who had maneuvered with the Fleet that Hickes had supposedly betrayed them. Marcus couldn’t believe that. The Loyalists had always carried out the dirty work. Hickes would have had to react accordingly to the Freefall massacre but there were agreements in place for that sort of thing. The understanding was the Luen courts would make decisions on the fate of the Main royalty. Reginald believed he would never see a fair trial in Coldford. Either there would be too many against him or too many trying to support him. The Luen courts wouldn’t carry any favour, barons and marquis titles didn’t hold any weight in Luen. The guillotine would fall on a titled man’s neck just as easily as it would any other. The hunger of Buzzkill was an entirely different matter. That would have been why Reginald had gave himself to the Good Gang. Like the Luen courts, their judgement would at least be fair.  

There were so many questions and still so much to resolve. For the time being Marcus had his place to think of, his brothers to care for and the people of City Main to protect from religious zealots.  

He slipped back into the bathtub, allowing himself to become submerged in the warm water. The pulsating in his ears beat steadily as everything else became a murmur. The bathroom’s soft lighting started to dance above him as the water consumed his vision. He held his breath. His chest tightened. He could let it all slip away. He could allow the soft, warm water to fully consume him. It would be the ultimate quiet. He could drown in a proper rest. 

Just as his lungs were about to give an involuntary gasp there was another thudding. It wasn’t in time with his pulse. He sat back up. Standing in the bathroom was the Wigan girl, Leona.  

Simon hadn’t been keen on the girl having free reign around the apartments but she was Reggie’s wife so she had some entitlement. Bathing wasn’t a private affair in the commune. They would shed robes together and walk into the sea. Marcus had to assume that was why she was watching him without shame. She was holding a bag of herbs.  

“Reggie was worried you might be stressed. This is figroot. It’s guaranteed to calm. I could add some to the water for ye.”  

She started to wander towards him. Before she could approach any further, Marcus climbed out of the tub. She stopped. He was watching her closely with a warning in his stare. She took a couple of steps back. He didn’t look in the least bit vulnerable in his nakedness.  

“I’m done,” he said.  

She departed without any further word. Marcus shook his head and snatched up a towel.  


Chaos was ensuing at the Dalway Lane gallery as preparations for the auction of the Finn painting was underway. Harper Lane was overseeing the packing of the painting to be moved to the Auction House when she felt her son under her feet. The au pair who was supposed to be caring for him came chasing after him.  

“So sorry, Miss Lane,” the au pair lifted Elliot away from her.  

The little boy objected.  

“There’s a lot going on here today,” Harper snapped. “I need you to keep him occupied.”  

With another apology from the au pair she said, “I’m just taking him to the park.”  

Harper relieved herself of the stress a little. She kissed her son.  

“You enjoy the park, sweetness,” she said with a smile.  

“No,” Elliot shook his head.  

It was his favorite word. He said it in response to almost everything.  

“Do you want a nap?”  


“Do you want vegetables?” 


“Do you want a story?” 


Elliot loved all those things. He was just wrapping his little head around the consequences of refusal.  

The au pair caught a quick glimpse of the painting before it was sealed away from view to be taken to the Auction House.”  

Zipping up the little boy’s jacket, Wigan beads slipped from the au pair’s blouse. Elliot tapped the wooden cross on the end and gave a laugh.  

“My name’s autumn. Can you say awwwww tummm?”  

“No,” Elliot replied.  

Autumn dangled her Wigan cross and laughed as Elliot tried to catch it.  

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

Elliot giggled.  

“You cannot be saved!”  


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