Tag Archives: Knock

Knock Knock: Episode 34: Whiskey Town


Buddy had returned to Owen Estate at The Cappy’s request.

The den seemed less closed off that day. It was unlike Chick to keep the door open when he was in but that day it was ajar. He was standing with his back turned to him. He was observing the various other family heirlooms. 

“You wanted to see me?” Buddy asked nervously. 

The Cappy turned. 

“The agents …” he began. 

Buddy took a deep breath. 

“I’ve had every agent from here to home fight tooth and nail to bring that compass back to me.” 

Buddy sighed with relief. He had meant acquisitions agents. Buddy looked to the space that was supposed to have been filled with the compass.

“I guess sometimes no matter how hard you fight you will always come to losses. Those losses can be great but we carry on. 

He stopped. He narrowed his gaze on his son. 

“Are you alright, boy?” 

Buddy nodded. A sweat was beginning to break on his forehead. 

“Losses and shit,” Buddy repeated. 

The Cappy growled. 

“Are you on powda’?” he asked. 

Buddy shook his head. Truthfully he was sober. His current situation would be a whole lot easier if he weren’t. 

“As I said, we all have our losses,” The Cappy went on “It’s the prickly nature of the competition. We are Owens and we always succeed, even if it takes generations. That is what being a dynasty is all about. That spot on that there wall perhaps wasn’t meant for something from our past. Maybe it stays open for the future. Which brings me to you.” 

Buddy clamped his mouth closed. 

“We’ve had our differences. We’ve had our problems. You were always closer to your mama but I’m to blame for that. I wasn’t there for you as often as I should have been. I had been too focused on taking our family forward. You were left behind with Jerry to teach you. I hoped you would follow my example but I realise now an example could only be set if I were there for you. You grew up to be a lot like Jerry and that’s my own fault. Times are changing. Times are going to get harder. We need to stick together and be on our A game. Can I trust you with that?”

Buddy nodded. The Cappy came from behind his desk and approached him. Buddy flinched as he put his arm out but Chick clasped his son with a grip behind his neck. 

“You are my boy, Buddy. I will do anything for you. A dynasty is carried forward not backwards. Make me proud. Leave stories for our future generations to tell. 

Buddy sighed. “I’m sorry the dragon lady smashed your compass.” 

Chick’s lips traced a smile. “As am I son. As am I.” 

Buddy couldn’t think of what else to say. He asked, “are you okay?” 

Chick’s smile spread. “I will be,” he said. 

Buddy flinched again as The Cappy pulled him closer but it was into an embrace with some warm pats on his back. 

“I love you, son.” 

These were words Buddy had never heard from The Cappy before. Mama said it all the time but she it to everyone. The Cappy on the other hand? He had probably never uttered the words before. Come to think of it Buddy had never said those words to anyone either. How does a bro respond to something like that? Luckily he didn’t have to 

The Cappy smiled again. 

“Besides, we still have the golden asset at the Chapter House. I’m going to have to lean on the Fullertons to make sure that site is cleared and returned to us.” 

“Sure,” Buddy agreed. 

“Alright, go,” he said. “Close the door behind ya.” 

Buddy pulled the den door closed. 

“What the fuck?” he muttered to himself.

***

***

There was an icy wind dancing across Owen Estate. It was time for Betsy to breathe some air. She felt snug, like an enthusiatic lover against The Cappy’s shoulder.

Van Holder watched as Chick took aim. The target cracked at Betsy’s bite. Van Holder applauded.

“Good shot,” he said.

“Are you a marksman yourself?” he asked.

Van Holder raised his chin as he took a better look at the target.

“Guns have uses but I’m more of a hands on man myself.”

Chick laughed. “That’s why I like. It’s good to let your hands get dirty from time to time.”

Van Holder agreed.

“I hear a lot of noise coming from our warehouses. I trust the investment is being put to good use?”

Van Holder’s lips traced a smile.

“Why don’t you come take a look.”

The Cappy gave Betsy to an assistant to be taken back inside. The warmth of Betsy’s body showed she was eager for more but that would have to wait. The two made their way to a warehouse on the Kingsgate Campus that Chick Owen had given for their purposes. When the warehouse doors were pulled open that he was not disappointed.

Hundreds of Black Band appointees were busy building a weapon of the most destructive kind. It would be fatal where necessary and unstoppable. Attention was being paid to a large cow catcher from an old locomotive. Thousands of pounds of power it held. There was not a wall in Coldford that could hold it back.

“Is this the weapon used in Kimaro?” The Cappy asked.

“It had to be brought in for parts. Assembly is taking time,” Van Holder explained.

The device that was used to make a King in Subala take to his knees and weep was but a prototype for what they had before them now.

Charles ‘Chick’ Owen was impressed. Van Holder was only too keen to display their success.

“With your generosity I will be able to make the upgrades we need to tackle the current problem.”

The Black Bands continued to busy themselves with assembly.

Both The Cappy and Van Holder looked at the weapon with admiration.

“She is mighty impressive,” stated Chick Owen.

“She’s called Game Changer,” Van Holder explained.

Chick grinned. “I do believe it is time for the game to change.”

***

Dan had set up the projector in the Filton Press archive room.

The old video played. It displayed shaky and grainy images of Old Bellfield over the last century, you to Brendan Mack as a young man when he took over. He was without his wheelchair then, standing tall and proud with his two elder sons, Paddy and Kieran. Paddy looked a lot like his father.

What interested me the most was the great wars of last century when the Distillery gates had been last closed. Those walls were built to last.

The distillery had originally been gas works. The great wars brought about a ban on alcohol. There were riots and more violence as a result. Sean Mack who worked for the gas works at the time used a small shed on the site to brew his own booze. When the owner of the gas works discovered what he was doing he was delighted. Soon Sean was brewing booze for the entire city. He brought his sons Darragh and Callum in to help. On the grounds of the gas works began Mack and Sons distillery. The gates were closed to keep the authorities from ousting the booze runners.

Stubbon and refusing to move, the distillery built itself around the gas works, becoming the Bellfield monumental structure we know today. Generations passed but those gates still stood strong.

***

The bells started to ring. Brendan Mack and his brother Alan made their way to the gates. Alan was pushing Brendan’s chair.

The entrance created during the dry days of last century I previously discussed to allow the collection of bootleg booze were still there. Only one of their own would know of it. When Brendan and Alan arrived on scene Paddy and Kieran were being greeted by their workers.

“The scoundrels return!” they cheered.

Paddy was being clapped proudly on the back by some of the workers. Kieran was busy retelling their tales of heroism to the workers when Paddy spotted their father. He went to meet him. He wrapped his arms around him and squeezed him tight.

“You look good,” said Brendan holding back emotion.

“Born this good looking is a curse,” Kieran cheered pushing Paddy aside to hug Brendan too

“We had to pull back,” Paddy explained to the reigning Mack Boss. “We were making our way round to Cooper Garages in Reginald Penn was determined to head to City Main. We would have been crushed. I tried to warn him.”

“I heard what happened to Reggie,” said Brendan. “It’d be hard not to do the same if it were on of me own. It leaves us vulnerable though. Did you find anything on Tawny?” he asked with a little hope.

Paddy shook his head. “No,” he admitted. “Sorry.”

Brendan sighed.

“We’ll have to give some thought to our next move but the boys are raring to go.”

Paddy took over the pushing of Brendan’s wheelchair. They passed through the distillery’s main body. Cheers rang out when the saw Paddy home again. The tables had been turned and the distillery equipment was replaced by weaponry. When the distillery gates opened again they would be ready.

“We’re at war lads!” Paddy called to them as he pushed his father down the main aisle, flanked by Alan and Kieran. Cheers were the response.

“Are ye ready!?” Paddy called.

“I said, are you feckin’ ready!?”

The cheers grew louder. The spirit of the distillery was alive. It was boiling over. It was unaware of the danger that rumbled down Love Street towards it.

Kaboom!

***

“The Mack and Sons distillery was brought to ruin earlier today in a Law Maker sanctioned raid as the terrorist group faced off with the Black Bands of Subala. Forty three Mack workers died in the attack as they tried to open fire on the Black Bands. Mack and Sons leader, Brendan Mack, was shot trying to take aim. It is believed that sons Patrick and Kieran escaped and are now concealed somewhere within Bellfield. The distillery has been officially seized and the search for the fugitives continues. I’m Sandra Wake of Coldford Daily news.”

***

With help from the Bellfield natives, Paddy and Kieran had managed to escape the devastation at the distillery. They split just after love street. Paddy slipped into a house neary. He took a deep breath.

“I should ask why you’re breaking and entering but given the noise from the distillery the situation explains itself.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs Shepherd,” Paddy replied boyishly, recognising the old councillor for the Bellfield community. “I didn’t want to bring trouble to your door.”

“And yet here you are,” she replied. “Sit Patrick but wipe your feet first. I don’t want you trailing my garden across the floor.”

Paddy obeyed and he took a seat at a small wooden kitchen table. Mrs Shepherd began to brew tea.

“There’s no use going anywhere now,” she said. “You might as well have a cup of tea and wait for things to blow over.”

“I’m fine,” he said.

The old counsellor turned to him with a raised eyebrow. “It’s non optional.”

She made two cups of tea and brought them to the table.

“You’ve always been a troublesome one, Patrick,” she said. “But you’re a good boy really.”

Mrs Shepherd had seen all the Macks grow up. As a counsellor they had been both help and hinderance to her. She knew Tawny well too having met her through Brendan. They had a shared interest in helping the community.

As boys, Paddy and Kieran had spray painted all over the Love Street park. It was she who had marched the boys back and have them repaint it.

“That’s what ye get for being eejits,” Brendan had said when they returned covered in green paint.

“I’ll wring their necks,” Annie Mack had promised. A promise delivered – at least on Kieran.

Mrs Shepherd had also been there to witness Paddy being prepared to take over the distillery. He was cheeky but he had a lot of the Mack endurance.

“I’ll be gone as soon as I can,” Paddy promised.

“That you will,” Mrs Shepherd agreed. “But I wouldn’t forgive myself if I sent you out in that mess.”

Whilst the Black Bands maintained their focus on the distillery, CPD were moving in to catch any who may have ran.

Mrs Shepherd clutched the Albans beads around her neck. They could both hear voices out in the street. There were shouting in Bellfield accents. Paddy hoped Kieran had managed to stay safe. He hoped those left behind at the distillery had survived at least.

The table shuddered as an explosion rattled down Love Street.

Mrs Shepherd took a deep breath. She clutched her beads tighter.

Knock knock.

There was a bang on the door. Paddy stood. Mrs Shepherd stood too.

“Stay here,” she said

She went to answer the door and Paddy crossed to the kitchen drawer. He removed a knife. He hid himself behind the kitchen counter and listened as Mrs Shepherd answered to the caller.

“Roger Kramer, CPD,” he said. “This is Peter Finnegan. We’re looking for Patrick and Kieran Mack. Have you seen them?”

Mrs Shepherd closed the door over slightly but slowly so as not to be suspicious.

“I haven’t seen anything,” she replied. “I had to turn off the television with all that noise down at the distillery.”

Finnegan looked her. Mrs Shepherd closed the door over a little more.

“Can we come in and take a look around?” asked Roger.

“Do you have a warrant to search my property?” she asked. She knew they didn’t.

“We have been authorised to use force if necessary but we’d rather you cooperate,” she was warned.

“Maybe rather than hassling old women and the Mack boys you should do your job and go check out that pervert down Dalley Street that sells drugs to all the weans!”

Mrs Shepherd’s neighbour had come out and was leaning on her balcony.

“It’s fine, Josie,” said Mrs Shepherd. “They were just leaving.”

Roger and Finnegan stayed their ground. The neighbourhood didn’t much appreciate the officer’s presence. They were being scowled at. It was said among CPD and most of Greater Coldford that Bellfield should be fenced off and allowed to police themselves.

“I told you I haven’t seen anyone. I do, however, believe that some of the young ones are unscrewing the wheels of your car,” said Mrs Shepherd.

Roger looked back. “You little bastards!” he yelled.

A group of kids aged around eight scattered. The CPD officers charged towards the car. When they climbed inside the young Bellfield Fleet began to throw stones at them. The officers pursued them towards the Dalley street exit towards Coldford City.

Paddy was at Mrs Shepherd’s back.

“Thank you,” he said gratefully.

“Get out of here Patrick,” she warned but she smiled and hugged him.

“Are ya gonna move!” a voice called from across the street.

Kieran waved his brother towards him.

When Paddy joined Kieran on the boys antagonising the police came running back towards them.

“They went away in their motor,” he announced proudly.

“Good job,” Keiran said , patting the boy’s shoulder.

The three started to make their way briskly to the quieter part of Bellfield to regroup.

The boy explained, “me and my old fella are going to go down to the distillery. We’ll let you know what’s happening.”

“Thanks,” said Paddy with genuine gratitude. “Just don’t go anywhere near the Black Bands. They’re not like CPD.”

Love Street had quietened but it would hear a great noise again.


Enjoy this?

Complete Season 1 of the Knock Knock series is free to read here on Vivika Widow. com or click below download for Kindle

Care to discover the true whereabouts of the Knock Knock Baroness? Tawny was last seen as a resident of the Shady City’s premier rehab clinic. Check out Vivika Widoow’s hit thriller Harbour House. Free on Kindle Unlimited.

Managing Just Fine


It takes a little bit of extra pizazz to work the KNOCK KNOCK club and to be the manager you got to really have your wits about you. Here’s what our manager, DENNIS brings to the table:

GREET THE CUSTOMERS

There are a lot of regular faces returning to the SHANTIES for the best night in town but as the manger you really need to keep a keen eye out for strangers. The club is invitation only (by orders of the BOSS LADY). Given the nature of the joint there can be a lot of creeps hanging around. Your job as manager is to weed out the miscreants and send them packing. Except if one of those strange faces happens to be a reporter for the COLDFORD DAILY, the biggest publication in the city. Then he goes right on in.

049


KEEP THE BOOZE FLOWING

The KNOCK KNOCK girls are skilled at flirting with the customers and making them feel special. A horny man will part with cash quicker than his trousers if he thinks he’s getting something out of it. He’s not. Your job as manager is to keep those drinks flowing so the customers are sent home with a smile on their face one way or another.

052


CHEER THE ENTERTAINMENT

No one loves the BOSS LADY more than the BOSS LADY herself so when she takes to the stage it is always on the HEADLINING spot. As manager you have to make sure the crowds are wild and having a great time. It helps to throw in a little whoop and cheer yourself just to get the ball rolling on slow nights.

054


PREPARE THE GIRLS

Choosing the girls sounds like a dream job for any hot blooded man but there’s more to our KNOCK KNOCK lovelies than meets the eye. These kittens have got to have claws. There is no use bringing in a new flirty waitress only to have her pack it in a week later. That’s bad for business and its bad for morale. Get those girls prepared, pretty and ready to lash out because in a place like the KNOCK KNOCK club those kittens got to have claws. The SHANTIES are no place for damsels in distress.

224

WISH YOU HAD NEVER COME

Alright so this one is specific for Dennis. We’re pretty sure anyone would just love to manage the club but when you have had to leave your family life behind and submit all power you once had it can feel more like a life sentence. Should have kept your hands to yourself then Dennis, you dirty fiend.

251


Do you have what it takes to manage a place like the KNOCK KNOCK club? Have we made it seem like an appealing place for a night out?

After it all you can just sit back, relax and consider a job well done.

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COMING 2021

A mysterious illness and a desperate phone call sends Cult Deprogrammer Reynolds’ sights on the Wigan faith of Hathfield Bay island. Time to face the past.

Frequent Fliers: Coldford City Airport

Features in: KNOCK KNOCK ; PURPLE RIBBON

When your looking to escape and the Shady City is where you choose to go then flying in from abroad will bring you to Coldford City international airport. With arrivals from the Great States, Levinkrantz, Subala and Luen it is one of Coldford City’s busiest places. Located in the west of the CARDYNE if you can get there, you can get anywhere!

A recent arrival from the Great States.

Coldford City Airport also boasts being home of Dynasty, the personal jet of Captain Charles ’Chick’ Owen. The Cappy is no stranger to smooth landings so it’s always his first point of contact when he arrives in Coldford to deal with business, pleasure or his unruly family.

The Cappy greets his public.

So book your tickets. Come fly with us or sit in the foyer, enjoying some of the great cafes on offer and do some people watching. We’ve got some strange people passing through the gates! As if the Shady City wasn’t shady enough!

Enjoy this?

Complete Season 2 of the Knock Knock series is free to read here on Vivika Widow. com or click below download for Kindle

Care to discover the true whereabouts of the Knock Knock Baroness? Tawny was last seen as a resident of the Shady City’s premier rehab clinic. Check out Vivika Widoow’s hit thriller Harbour House. Free on Kindle Unlimited.

Knock Knock: Issue 27: Protect and Serve

“Central control.”

“Evenin’ central control. This is flight 118 Dynasty. We’re beginning our descent.”

“Copy that Dynasty. We see you. Nice and smooth as always.”

“Bring out the chilled beer, central. It’s been a long flight.”

Air traffic controller Rick Monroe smiled. He watched the blips and bleeps on his radar screen.

“It’s all clear for landing Captain. It’s a cold night here in Coldford but a clear one. The west runway is clear for a landing.”

“Copy that central.”

Rick pushed his chair back from the table. He lifted the phone from the wall.

“Get the landing party out on the west runway. We have incoming. Orders received. Time to greet flight 118 Dynasty. Notify hospitality, they’re going to want to be there.”

A buzz was sent through the airport. A privately commissioned jet was preparing to land and with an important guest on board.

The traffic directors were on the front line. The west runway was one of their longest. It was usually reserved for large commercial flights to the Great States or further afield. When controller Neil was told it was a private jet, he naturally assumed the kind of smaller air craft the privileged class, who found themselves in need of hopping from country to country, liked to use. His excitement lifted when he spotted a Boeing cast a shadow down upon them as it followed it’s directed pathway. The wheels dropped from its enormous body and it touched the ground with the smoothness of a bird of prey snatching its meal from the forest floor.

The hospitality staff were put on high alert. The airport lounge was buzzing with anticipation of the Great States arrival. A kettle of squawking reporters hopped around waving recording devices, ready to peck at the juicy meat of a story being thrown to them.

Freshly pressed uniforms, straightened backs, standing to attention. District manager of the Coldford City Airport, Rebecca, looked on in awe as the gangway slowly approached the craft. I arrived just as they were lining up to welcome the guest of honour.

“Best foot forward girls,” instructed Rebecca.

From the pilot’s cockpit and onto the gangway, wheeling a flight case behind him and in full uniform, stepped Captain Charles Owen. He looked rejuvenated after flying the sizeable aircraft from the Great States. Whilst he wore a black tie to show his family still mourned the loss of Bobby Owen, he beamed and waved to the waiting press core. Flanked by his co-pilot and two finely dressed stewardesses, The Cappy took centre stage.

“Welcome back to Coldford, Captain,” Rebecca stepped forward. As district manner she had the honour of greeting the Owen Inc. CEO. “I’m afraid the press has caught wind of your arrival so you won’t be able to escape discretely.”

Chick removed his hat. “I have no mind to,” he assured her, clutching his hat to his chest. “In fact, I believe I will have a few words.”

“Of course,” Rebecca agreed. She stepped aside to allow The Cappy and his staff to present themselves.

Without allowing himself to be overwhelmed by the flood of questions he had to wade though, Chick spoke to the reporters.

“It makes my heart mighty glad to see all these familiar faces. Peter?” he pointed to one of the reporters. “Nice to have you back. I hope you are well recovered.”

Peter giggled shyly but he still hungrily clutched his recording device. “I’m happy to answer some questions but given recent circumstances I’m afraid I’ll have to keep it brief.”

“Captain! Captain!” cried a feisty female reporter in a skirt suit, she was pushing her assistant who was holding her recorder in front of her.

“Yes, Margaret?” The Cappy chose her first. Sometimes it was best to start by feeding the hungriest of the animals. It stopped them getting too eager.

“Firstly, condolences on the loss of Bobby from all of us at the Coldford Express. He was a lovely man and a sad loss.”

“Thank you,” Charles returned. “Do go on.”

“Is it purely the loss of Pops that has brought you back to Coldford?” the reporter asked. The press had been left feeling sketchy on the details.

The combined loyalist/fleet attacks had been kept from public news as much as possible. Covered with stories of random violence that was nothing new to Coldford.

Destruction, asbestos, and rejuvenation of the area were all delivered to the news feeds (Owen Inc. owned) and these falsities were spat back out in the face of the public. Maybe they would learn the truth eventually but in that moment the truth did not suit The Cappy’s agenda. Given that the City Main King had to remain low key as best he could, as well as Paddy Mack, the Owens had the chance to control the information leaked to the public. They stopped their allies from having cause for alarm and their enemies having reason to be emboldened.

“It is my sad duty to bid farewell to a great man, a much-loved man and my father. He will be sorely missed but I do have business in this great city of ours. My family’s heart is at home here so I will always have cause to return.”

“Can you give us some details on your father’s death?” asked another reporter.

“I’m afraid at this time, Taylor, I cannot. I will brief you when the time is right, but for now I ask that you respect my family’s privacy and allow us to deal with our grief.”

Margaret pushed in again. “Will you still be continuing to pursue your investment into Harvester Farm?”

Chick nodded. “Of course, and whole heartedly. Pops would be the first one to say, ‘Boy, family is of the utmost importance and it is in business we pave the way for our family.’ I would be delighted to have Miss Harvester hear the ideas I have for the future of her brand.”

The stewardess to the left, a brunette with a sharply cut bob, gently tapped on his shoulder. She whispered into his ear.

The Cappy turned back to the reporters again with a smile.

“I’ve just been informed that my time is up. I thank y’all for coming out. I will provide a statement in a timely manner. But for now, there is much to be done.”

The reporters clashed as they hopped after The Cappy for one last morsel of meat. With some laughing with his co-pilot, he left them behind and his Boeing craft named Dynasty to be serviced and refuelled. It was to be housed in Coldford for the foreseeable future.

***

Owen estate would seem like a great monster hidden deep in the northern farmlands should one venture that far. Not a tall building but spread wide. It emerged from the wilderness on approach like a hungry predator, its windows like eyes locked upon its prey. A single light was on. The occupier was home.

Back in his natural habitat, Buddy Owen stood in his father’s den. His whole life he had been visiting the estate and he was only allowed in the den by his father’s invitation.

Buddy, Chad and Cooper watched on as The Cappy silently cleaned his gun. A favoured Ruger 10/22 with a hardwood frame. He called it Betsy. Buddy much preferred an AR15 for hunting but The Cappy had a fondness for an antique look. The Ruger was after all one of the most successful rifle designs in history.

The bros watched as Chick pushed the cleaning rod into the barrel. He was lost in thought as though he had forgotten he had even summoned them and asked them to stand to attention. When he finally spoke, Buddy’s heart leapt. He had been so drawn in by the silence. Behind The Cappy hung a musket rifle used by Corporal Arthur ‘Arty’ Owen. Above that were maps drawn by Archibald ‘Archie’ Owen as he and his wife rounded a group of islands called San Mojo. There was one blank space specially reserved. Its place was to be given to a compass belonging to Henry ‘Hen’ Owen on his pioneering mission that put Coldford on the map. It had been acquired by the Penn Auction House. The Penns would only return it at cost. Chick was adamant that it belonged in his family and was insulted that he would be asked to pay for such an item that rightfully belonged to him. The auction house insisted that such a historical item should be placed for auction to allow anyone with an interest the opportunity to own it. Lawyers had kept the matter at a stale mate for years. With the Auction House seized, there may still come a chance for The Cappy to complete his collection.

“Chapter House, ruined.” He cleaned. “Our brotherhood, humiliated.” The dampness was drawn out of the barrel. “My father, dead.”

“They caught us off guard,” Buddy explained. “It won’t happen again, sir.”

“It most certainly won’t,” was The Cappy’s reply. “I’ve already taken steps to bring the matter in hand. What I would like to know is which one of you geniuses thought it would be a great idea to give your muck powder to a six-year-old child. Weren’t my express orders for you to be on your best behaviour whilst you were on that farm?”

“Yes, sir,” all three brothers replied in synchrony.

“If that is your best behaviour then y’all are bigger dumbasses than I ever gave you credit for. Have you set a challenge with yourselves to disappoint me?”

“No, sir,” again all three replied together.

“Then which one of you did it?”

“None of us, sir,” Chad protested. “We ain’t had no powder since we left the Chapter House.”

Chick looked up from his gun cleaning. His eyes met those of his son.

“We ain’t,” Buddy agreed. “Been damn hard but we ain’t. After what happened to Pops, I wanted to stay sober. I want those mother fuckers to pay so I wanted a clear head. Someone is trying to make me look bad.”

“Every time you open that mouth of yours, son, it makes you look bad.”

“I didn’t do it. Someone is against me.”

“Just like those teachers were against you? Just like the local authorities were against you?” Chick’s attention returned to Betsy. He handled her with a gentle, loving hand.

“This time it’s true. I will find out who and I will deal with it,” Buddy resolved.

“See that you do. For now, I am paying for the child’s care privately. I’m told by her nurses that she will be just fine. Whatever the father wishes to do to you I’m not making any of my concern. So, if you aren’t responsible, I suggest you find out who was and fast before the father’s attention is no longer occupied by a sick child. That powder habit of yours may have been charming to some when you were a boy but you are a man now, Bernard. It’s time for you to start behaving like one. If you are unable to kick that habit, I am more than happy to find someone who can help you.”

“What do you mean?” The moment Buddy asked this he regretted it.

“Harbour House. I hear it can do some good. Their twelve step programme is proven to be 90% effective.”

“You wouldn’t put me in rehab,” Buddy gasped, but it was more a plea than challenge.

“I would if I thought it would do you any good. Prove me wrong. Start acting like a man.”

“I will,” Buddy agreed. He was already measuring in his head the monumental mess he was having to clean up. What The Cappy knew was but the tip of the iceberg.

“You are now stripped of any authority you had. If you wish to have the Chapter back you will have to earn it. I have ordered some help for you. You are thirty-four years old and I’m calling in a baby sitter. You should be ashamed of yourself.” The Cappy distracted himself with shining Betsy’s glossy body.

“Who?” asked Buddy.

“When I was last in Coldford I told you if you were to disregard my requests, I would send someone to fetch you proper.”

Cooper and Chad looked to Buddy. They could see his eyes widen.

“Who?” he asked again with a little more desperation. Judging by Buddy’s reaction, his Kappa So brothers guessed he already knew.

“The expected time of arrival for the flight is four pm. You will be at the airport to greet our guest,” said Chick. He laid Betsy down gently, admiring her glow, her shapely form, her willingness to be held. He took in the three Kappa So brothers. “Now get out. The sight of ya’ll is ruining my appetite.”

The three turned towards the door but Chick always had one last thing to say.

“Oh, and Bernard, speaking of Harbour House, while you are finding this mysterious stranger who gave the little girl cocaine maybe you can also find the Baroness bitch. The search for her is heating up and I have not forgotten the artist boy pointing the finger in my face. If you are in any way responsible for her missing status, you and I are going to go on a hunt.”

The den door closed over. Buddy turned to his brothers with a sob.

“What does that even mean?!”

***

“Good afternoon, Charles. I trust you’re well and your flight was a good one?” greeted Judge Karyn Doyle as the staff of Owen Estate showed her to the den. Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Owen was already there. Chick’s younger brother had surprised the Coldford community when he was the one to step up and defend Tabitha during her trial. I myself had been surprised to hear it, when Tabitha’s murder spree had stemmed from the accusations that the Reverend Jerry Owen had attempted to rape her as a child along with countless other young girls. Judge Doyle had no evidence other than the word of the girls the Baroness was encouraging to step forward. Taking matters into her own hands, Tabitha had essentially ended her own life.

What I did observe through the trial was that Ronnie wasn’t there to proclaim her innocence. It was far too late for that. He wasn’t there to seek vengeance for his brother either. He knew what Jerry was. He merely asked the jury to take into account the events that had brought Tabitha to do what she did. They were the actions of a mad woman for the most part but they shed a light on a much bigger problem in the Shady City. Sexual assault was at epidemic levels and as difficult as it was to hear, a great many of these girls were still children. For her part Judge Doyle listened to both sides of the story but when the voice of the girl who called her out in her own court, murdered at least fifty-nine people, taunted the missing mayor and had a history of violence was up against a Reverend from a highly respected family, who had given a lot of charity to the city and had no physical evidence against him, that was how the scales of justice measured up. The Judge had heard the cries of those girls though. No matter how loudly they sang Tabitha’s praises she was not going to be forgiven her crimes. The sentence was death. I just hoped that in Tabitha’s death justice would be found for all those other girls she sought to protect.

“I am much obliged for you coming at such short notice. With the troubles we’ve been having, I fear I’m locked to the homestead for the time being.”

Karyn Doyle nodded. “It’s not a problem. The sooner we get things back on track, the better for all of us and for the city. The death of Joel Hickes and the escape of Reginald Penn Junior not to mention Patrick Mack being at large, has taught me that CPD needs to come under new management, immediately.”

Charles nodded. Ronnie also agreed.

“I recommended that this only be a temporary station,” put in the younger brother. “I stand by that. The Black Bands have been incredibly successful in bringing in known instigators but CPD must have a longer-term goal.”

Charles smiled. “Whilst the murderer of our father is at large I will stop at nothing. Are you agreed on that Ron? I would hate for us to move forward if we weren’t of the same mind.”

“I agree. Reginald Penn must face justice for his crimes. The city has already been torn apart enough,” said Ronnie.

“Then it’s time to do what needs to be done, starting with a stronger hold on CPD.”

Charles ‘Chick’ Owen, better known as The Cappy, slid a paper across the desk to her Honourable Judge Karyn Doyle. She supplied her signature. Ronnie witnessed. In a combined agreement between Owen Inc. and the High Court of Coldford City the police department were to be appointed a new commissioner.

***

“I think the first thing we should do, darling, is check into the hotel. We don’t want to be carrying our luggage around longer than is necessary, now do we?” Mr Johnson said to his wife as they waited in the airport lounge for notification from their transport to City Main. Mrs Johnson held a glass of Macks whiskey, on the rocks. It was early for hard spirits but it had been a bumpy flight and they were supposed to be enjoying themselves after all.

Mrs Johnson took a sip. “The exhibit closes at six. I would have really liked to have seen it. They are moving it on to Luen in the morning. This would be our only chance.”

Mr Johnson took out his notes. “It says here that the museum is just a five-minute walk from the Weir. It’s just gone four now. We’ll have plenty of time to check in, freshen up and pop along and still catch the exhibit.”

As she and her husband looked closer at the City Main tourist map he had brought up on his phone, she hadn’t realised her handbag had been kicked out from underneath their table. A man in filthy clothes who had been hanging around the airport for most of the afternoon, but not caused enough fuss for security to do anything about, closed in. He casually strolled towards the exit as though he had been intending to leave. As he passed Mr and Mrs Johnson he snatched up the handbag.

“My bag!” Mrs Johnson screeched.

Mr Johnson was on his feet but the thief was already at the exit door. As the door opened he ran into a broad man with a naturally muscular physique. His head was shaved. His eyes were heavy having just arrived on a private long-haul flight. He was brought to alert by the woman’s cry though. He snatched the man. He pulled his finger back with an aburpt snap. The man squealed with pain. The man picked up the handbag. He fixed the Kappa So uniform he was wearing.

“You damn near ripped my shirt you weaselling son ‘a’ bitch!”

The airport security swooped in and apprehended the thief. Mrs Johnson rushed up to the man to retrieve her bag.

“Thank you!” she stated sincerely. “How can I repay you?”

The man grinned. “It’s no worry ma’am. No yella bellied thief gonna get by me.”

“At least let me buy you a drink.” She turned to her husband. “Roger?” she cried. “Buy the man a drink.”

Mr Johnson had been so relieved for the return of his wife’s bag he didn’t hesitate. She had been carrying all of their reservations and travel documents.

The man followed her to the table she and her husband had chosen. He stopped her and spun her round so they could meet eye to eye.

“You’re a pretty thing,” his grin widened. “I’m mighty glad to have met your acquaintance.”

Mrs Johnson tried to smile too but he had pushed himself so close to her it made her uncomfortable.

He reached up and clutched her face with a rough hand. “You are mighty pretty,” he said again. “For a negress.”

Mr Johnson returned. He slammed the glass down on the table.

“How dare you speak to my wife that way.”

The man frowned. The wrinkles on his forehead deepened. “Can’t a man deliver a compliment these days?” He placed a hand on Mr Johnson’s chest and shoved him into a chair.

“Sir! I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

The man took a seat at their table, scraping it noisily across the floor.

“You invited me to drink and I got time to spare. Let’s drink.” He looked up to an aghast Mrs Johnson. Her husband hadn’t made any further movement. “Sit down, darlin’ and keep me company. Your pussy assed husband here might like to see what a real man looks like.” Mr Johnson was frowning severely but said nothing. The man gave a roaring laughter. “Where’s your sense of humour?”

“I’m going to call security,” Mr Johnson decided.

The man drank his whiskey. “Don’t bother. You’re just going to cut into your vacation time.”

“Who are you?”

“Billy!” a loud, Great States voice called across the lounge. Billy stood, throwing his chair back.

“Bud!” he yelled back as Chad, Cooper and Buddy Owen crossed to greet him. Billy swallowed the rest of the whiskey and abandoned the table. He charged towards his brothers, catching Buddy in a headlock.

“Little bro!” he cheered, rubbing his knuckles roughly on Buddy’s head. He let him go and turned his attention to Chad and Cooper. “So, this is the cream of the Kappa So crop these days. You look like a couple of fags. What’s with this?” here he imitated Cooper’s usual folded arm stance. Buddy laughed heartily.

William ‘Billy’ Owen was the son of The Cappy’s cousin Jackson ‘Jackie’ Owen. He was close to Buddy, but the Owen lessons over the years had given him a bullying nature. If anyone could hold Buddy to account it would be him. Whether that was a good thing or throwing petrol onto the fire remained to be seen.

“So The Cappy been chewing your ass, huh?” Billy put to Buddy as they started to exit the airport, leaving a flabbergasted Mr and Mrs Johnson behind.

All they could hear was Billy scream, “You lost the fucking Chapter House!”

Billy slapped Buddy over the back of his head. “You are a fucking moron. Pops would be ashamed – God rest his soul. We gotta spray the whole damn house now. A’body knows those gypos bring all kinds of diseases.”

***

Briefing room 40 was filled to capacity. The City Main precinct of the Coldford Police Department was brought together to meet their new commissioner.

“Bryant!” called Archer to old time detective Bryant McGregor.

Archer was younger, more energetic. Bryant was in his early sixties with wisdom etched on his brow. He was nearing his retirement. No one would have blamed him for wanting to rest easy and leave the force, especially after his close friend Hickes had been killed. Bryant wasn’t so easily swayed though. Like the others he waited in anticipation to meet the newly appointed chief of police.

Officer Ricky Marshall was also there. He had a warm hand shake and an embrace for Bryant. They hadn’t seen one another since Hickes’ memorial. Ricky had been partners with Hickes in their early days before he was moved on to a drug task force and Hickes gained his detective badge. Ricky looked stressed out. He always looked stressed. Matched with Hickes’ cool approach they had always made an effective partnership. His chestnut brown hair was greying. They were all getting older, Bryant had to admit. They weren’t newbies any more. Beside Ricky sat Lennon. He looked better than the last time Bryant had seen him. Lennon was a fine detective – probably one to rival Hickes in his prowess but he had been out of the force for a while in order to deal with a gambling addiction. He had lost his house, his car, but Joel Hickes had picked up on the telltale signs before he lost himself.

“Get your fucking shit together,” Joel had warned him. “Do you want your kids living in a fucking caravan? Do you want to lose those kids?”

If anyone else had put that question to Lennon he would have lashed out at them, but from Hickes it made a lot of sense. It was his shit and he did have to get it together.

I wasn’t given the chance to attend the briefing that day. It was internal only but from all I had heard of the fall out as explained to me by Bryant himself, Hickes’ integrity, his influence over his fellow officers had never faded.

The group looked to Bryant for his leadership as the longest serving. They trusted in him. They trusted that he would be true to Hickes’ example.

“Any word on the new chief?” asked Ricky.

Bryant responded, “All I could get was that it is a he and they have brought him in from abroad.”

Ricky shook his head. “I don’t like this,” he said. “They should be promoting one of our own. Bryant, that was your spot. It could have been Hickes’ place one day.”

“It should have been you,” Olivia Hickes had said to Bryant on the phone the night before. “But we’ll know better their thinking when we find out who this person is. You’ll know the right thing to do. I trust you.”

It didn’t sit well with any member of the police force to have someone come in from outside to lead them, especially when the privately-commissioned Black Bands were spreading farther and farther around the city – essentially taking the laws the CPD were sworn to protect and uphold out of their control. But the department had become flooded with corruption. Judge Doyle wasn’t leaving it up to a few good men like Bryant, Archer, Ricky and Lennon, to wade through. It would take someone with an outside perspective to clear the way.

Deputy Chief Michelle Crawly took the speaking spot. A hush washed over the nervous police officers.

“Okay, I know you’re all eager to meet the new chief,” she said, “and there’s a lot of work to do so we’ll be brief. Ladies and gentlemen, Police Commissioner Owen.”

A lot of the room erupted into an applause. Whoops and cheers rang out. The doors were thrown open and the overbearing presence of William ‘Billy’ Owen came sauntering through. He had a grin on his face and he could be heard muttering to Michelle, “I’ll take it from here darlin’.”

He clutched both sides of the podium and bared his teeth down on them.

“Well, well, well,” he began. “It’s good to be here. Time to whip y’all into shape. Am I right?”

“You’re right, brah!” one of the officers called back. Bryant shot him a fiery stare but Archer patted his arm and urged him to keep calm. Bryant couldn’t.

“This is not Kappa So,” he said.

Billy glared. “Whatcha say, old timer?”

“This is not Kappa So and this is not your frat house. Isn’t it enough with the Black Bands?”

“Sit down, Mc Gregor,” Michelle warned.

Bryant could hear the rumble of chairs behind him. Like a virulent disease the Kappa So influence in CPD had been spread quickly. It was how it had been so easy to declare one of them as chief. That coupled with Billy’s special ops background, for some he was seen as the saviour the department needed.

Billy laughed, raspy and unkind.

“You let a pussy Penn triplet escape your custody. You failed to find him. You let a bitch in a whore dress murder, steal and call herself a queen. Ya’ll are a disgrace. Worst of all, you let one of your own have his brains splattered all across the side walk. And you have the audacity to wonder why I had to drag my ass all the way over here to put things right?”

Some of the officers cheered. Bryant and his companions were sickened.

“You didn’t know Hickes,” Bryant snapped back.

Billy shook his head in exasperation. “And now I never will. You lost the rat fingering triplet, you lost that hippy dyke they call the Baroness and to cap it all off where’s the god damn mayor?”

Bryant stepped forward but Archer stopped him.

“No hard feelings old timer. In fact, you remind me of my granddaddy. He spent his final days pissing himself and thinking he was an astronaut. You got balls, but you better watch yourself. If you can’t handle the heat then it’s time to drop your badge.”

Bryant growled. He stormed to the aisle and approached Billy. The new chief of police for Coldford held his hand up to prevent any of his Kappa So brothers among the force from intervening. Billy smirked. Their faces were close. Bryant pulled the badge from around his neck and dropped it onto the floor. He walked out but before he had reached the door, Archer, Lennon, Ricky and those others dedicated to Hickes joined him.

“Was it something I said?” they could hear Billy jeer sarcastically.

CPD had its failings but its human element was what gave it the heart it had. That heart was torn from its chest that day.

***

They called it the pride of the north. The Boss looms over the town of Bournton like a great, waiting crocodile. Contained within its maw was the Shady City’s most notorious criminals. Thieves, rapists, murderers all called it home. With the newly-appointed chief at CPD it was about to come under new management.

“Yo Monty!” greeted the new guard.

Monty turned, took his cigarette from between his lips and grinned.

“Ethan? Brah!” he cheered. “How ya doin? I thought you were still in the Great States.”

“Moved Chapter. Coldford needs all the help she can get.”

They shared a lengthy Kappa So hand shake.

“It’ll be good to have some brothers around,” Ethan admitted.

One of the inmates had been playing basketball nearby. He threw the ball but it bounced on the basket and came rolling towards Ethan and his brother.

“See what I mean about this piece of shit scum here?”

They both rolled eyes at one another. The inmate, Tommy, collected the ball.

“You struggling to shoot straight there?” asked Ethan but, given how close they had gotten to the inmate, Tommy was on the defensive.

“Get outta my face,” he warned.

Ethan looked to Monty. He sniggered.

“Would you check the balls on this one?” he teased. “It’s almost like he believes we won’t beat his ass.”

Ethan grabbed Tommy and slammed him against the metal railing face first. The force caused a rattle.

“You’re going to apologise for throwing your ball at my bro here,” Ethan urged. “It was damn disrespectful.”

“I didn’t,” pleaded Tommy. “It just rolled away.”

Monty sniggered. “Are you saying your ball control is shit?”

Ethan slammed his head against the fence again. This time it was his skull that rattled. “Then why the fuck did you throw the ball? You owe us both an apology?”

“Fuck you!” Tommy returned with a spit. “I didn’t do anything, cunts. I just threw the ball.”

Ethan spun him around. He pulled the baton from his belt. He smashed Tommy’s left knee. The inmate yelped in pain but they didn’t let him fall.

“Fuck you!”

Ethan grabbed Tommy by the hair. They dragged him to an enclosure.

“If you’re shit with the ball you ain’t gonna need to be running around. You better slow down.”

The truncheon crunched his right knee. Tommy cried out.

“I didn’t do nothin! I didn’t do nothin!”

He looked up to the guard tower where an armed guard was stationed. He was young, tanned. Tommy had been inside The Boss for five years. He knew most of the guards but the tower guard was new. He had a naïve look on his face but he had seen everything. He had seen that Tommy had done no harm. Police brutality. The tower guard pointed his gun down. The two ground guards – Ethan and Monty – looked up. Ethan grinned and gave him a gesture with his hand that resembled the letter K. The guard with the gun did likewise.

“If he tries to get away, shoot him,” Ethan called up.

The tower guard replied, “I got your back brah.” He steadied the aim of his gun.

“Brothers for life,” Monty said to Ethan.

Ethan swung the baton. The first hit only fractured the tibia of Tommy’s right leg. The pain fired through his entire body. The second hit broke the fibula. Monty cracked his own baton across Tommy’s jaw. Tommy could feel a heaviness in his throat that preceded the need to vomit. He couldn’t feel the pain – although every crack of bone crunched in his ears. He was mostly dizzy and sick now. Even if there wasn’t a gun on him, he couldn’t have fought back. None of the other inmates opted to help him. Even his buddy Carl looked on in awe but wouldn’t risk the tower guards shooting him. Any of them could be gunned down where they stood and no one would bat an eyelid.

Tommy wasn’t taken to the infirmary. Instead, his aching body was discarded in a room with a damp mud floor and thick metal door. It allowed no light. It was known among the inmates as the prayer room. Many had found Jesus in there. Tommy would only find the pain of his fractures and breaks failing to heal properly. Whether he would have proper use of his legs again remained to be seen. He could be left there in pain for weeks before having a doctor’s attention. It would all be determined by how long the brothers intended to keep him in the rotting hole in the deepest depths of The Boss. The new chief of police in Coldford was a Kappa So brother and they were all brothers for life.


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Knock Knock: Episode 25: The Beautiful Game

The ranch greeted a new guest. Discretely shown to The Cappy’s main den. The Cappy was behind his desk making plans for what was to happen next.

Owen Ranch in the Great States was a much-storied fortress of power. The Owen family had been a Star State feature for generations, priding themselves on pioneering discoveries and using the wealth they had amassed to make their mark on the world. Their entrepreneurial spirit with political ambitions made them a force. Being an Owen was more than having a family name. Their biggest asset was their propaganda machine. Their ownership of many news outlets was brought into call whenever one of their overindulged family members brought negative press upon them. Gerald ‘Jerry’ Owen was one such user. After the attempted rape of Tabitha as a child, her Baroness aunt had caused such a backlash upon the Reverend Owen that all stories in the newspapers had to be shut down. The only ones allowed to circulate were those that suggested Tawny was an alcoholic with serious mental health issues and Tabitha was a whore in the making who had been removed from so many schools no district would accept her. That’s not to say there wasn’t some truth to this. Tawny did have a history of mental breakdowns and Tabitha led a violent life. But that was what the most effective propaganda was, wasn’t it? Take a little truth and exaggerate it to discredit your opponent. The Owens did that better than anyone. No one – not even the Law Makers – could compete on that level. They had the press – including my old newspaper The Coldford Daily – and whilst they had the press, they had public opinion. Public opinion won wars and when that failed there was always brute strength. There was another area in which the Owens were formidable; money. They had it in abundance and so anything could be theirs at a cost.

“The events in Coldford, sir, are disheartening. I am concerned and to much distraction.”

His guest was a patient listener. He was sprightly, cat-like with a solid spine carved from years of discipline and manoeuvres. His name was Ruud Van Holder. His purpose? His team were an anti-terror group called the Black Bands. They called Van Holder the wrangler and he had been known to bring order to parts of the world overrun by militants. Several dictating leaders had fallen at his hands. Enlisting the services of Van Holder was probably overkill for thug groups like Reginald Penn’s Loyalists and Paddy Mack’s Fleet, but The Cappy would take no chances when his family dynasty was at stake.

“Shameful, sure,” Van Holder remarked, referring to Reginald’s brutal slaying of Robert ‘Bobby’ Owen. He scanned the room, detailing its contents. Whilst his eyes were elsewhere his mind still remained on the task at hand.

On a screen played Van Holder’s curriculum vitae. Horse mounted patrols cut through rioting crowds, long standing rebel leaders brought to their knees.

His team were called the Black Bands. The Cappy didn’t mind admitting that seeing them brought into action would be thrilling.

“This will be quite a task you will be undertaking. I’m sure you are more than capable but first I must ask, who are you loyal to?”

Van Holder had lifted a whiskey glass from Chick’s desk. It wasn’t a used glass. It was purely for decorative purposes. On the glass was etched an image of the boat that brought Captain Henry ‘Hen’ Owen to his monumental discovery. Without a moment’s hesitation Van Holder answered. “Doyle,” he said. His lips traced a smile as he played with the words between his teeth. “We’re loyal to Doyle.”

Sergeant Major Doyle, the Judge’s father, had created the Black Bands. He recruited Van Holder personally when he met him living in the harsh jungles of Southern Subala. Taming large jungle cats was his speciality but for Van Holder any wild animal that struck with the bite of a bloody chain would do.

The Cappy smiled. He had directed his son Buddy and his brother Ronnie to a public video of Van Holder, showing him with a lioness he named Baba. In the beginning she was snarling, wild, and had taken swipes at him. She leapt upon him but he managed to fend her off before she could wrap her great teeth around his skull. By the end she was playing with her owner like she was no more than a house cat. Ronnie placed trust in his following Doyle’s command. Buddy returned with a range of emoji reactions that made little sense. Either way the Black Bands were going to make their way to Coldford and, like the Weeping King of Kilmaro, those responsible for the death of an Owen would be brought to their knees.

“You brought me here because I’m the best,” Van Holder had said. “The very fucking best.”

The Cappy hadn’t made his name by searching for mediocre.

“You know who is to be brought to account,” said Chick. “I’ll be following you ova’ in a week or so but I’d like you to make our move quickly and dispatch with an alpha team immediately.” He stroked his chin as he contemplated what was to come next. “At this stage we’re merely looking at containment. Should anything spark…well that’s a barrier we’ll break should it arise. In the meantime, on that there table is a blank cheque. Take it and find yourself whatever provisions you need.”

Van Holder turned to the table behind him. “You’re a determined man,” he said. The Cappy watched the confident bounce in Van Holder’s step as he crossed the room and collected the Owen Inc. cheque. “I’ll see that it’s put to good use,” he said.

Charles ‘Chick’ Owen, better known as The Cappy, grinned. “I know you will.”

***

“We’re here at Starkland Park for what promises to be a very tense game of football as Coldford Athletic take on their fierce rivals Coldford City. Tensions are already high in the City with the Mack Distillery having closed its gates in Bellfield and the City-sponsoring Auction House seized. We have a whole stadium here so those tensions are going to spill onto the park in what promises to be a very impressive game of football. I’m Henry Daly and with me in the commentary box today is City legend, Grant Miller. Can we expect the players to be putting in their full efforts today Grant? Given what is happening behind the scenes.”

“I think we can Henry. City will be out to prove something today on the pitch and I don’t think they will let what’s happening with the Auction House hold them back. A win today may be just what is needed to raise City Main spirits.”

“That’s true, Grant. We have a lovely game of football ahead and so let’s stay on the matter at hand. The players are lining up now. Athletic captain shakes the hand of the City skipper. They’re showing some sportsmanship here today. There has been so much trouble in the past it would be easy to let things get out of hand. It’s nice to see the players setting an example for their fans. We need some solidarity in the game.”

“The spirit of football is alive and well, Henry. City supporters have always been a spirited bunch but let’s just hope we can leave the trouble at the doors and enjoy the match.”

“Statements have always been made through the stadiums of Greater Coldford but this is one occasion where the fans may be best to just sit back, relax and let the battles remain on the field.”

“The air is thick here at Starkland Park as the players take their places. Sammy Connelly – Athletic’s Golden Boy – is looking super confident. I suppose he will be hoping for an easy day at the office.”

“Well, we’ll be back in just a few moments for kick off. It’s Coldford Athletic versus Coldford City.”

***

Late afternoon and the Doyle home in Kingsgate was quiet. Karyn Doyle had turned the television on and settled into an arm chair to watch. Her view didn’t take her to Hathfield Bay where Kingsgate Albion – her Sergeant Major father’s own team – took on the islanders. Instead, her interest was drawn to the south of the city where all the trouble resonated. The City Main team always brought trouble with them when they faced their main rivals at Starkland Park, and it was the first face off of the two largest teams since the Auction House had been seized.

Micky brought two cups of sweet tea. He laid them on the coffee table. He sat in silence watching his cousin’s reaction. Sammy Connelly of Athletic could be seen on screen patting his captain’s shoulder with a good natured smile as he took his place and prepared for kick off.

The Judge lifted her cup and took a sip of the sweetness. Her eyes remained on the match but her expression told nothing.

“I hope it all goes smoothly,” Micky commented.

“Why wouldn’t it?” was his cousin’s reply.

The cat, Margot, circled around Karyn’s legs. It locked it’s glowing eyes on Micky. She meowed and displayed her sharpened incisors.

He lifted his cup and sipped just as Karyn had done. The whistle blew. The ball was kicked.  

***

“Sammy Connelly is on the ball! He’s always a danger on that side of the park.”

“The City defence just keep letting him slip past them, Harry, but they’re up against it today. Connelly has come onto the park with determination in his feet and he’s been causing problems from the first blow of the whistle.”

“Oh that’s Sammy down! That seems a cynical tackle there, Grant. Brennan is complaining to the referee, Murphy, but he did charge in there with a lot of force. Probably more force than was necessary.”

“Brennan is a physical player, Harry. The way he’ll see it, if he allows Connelly a clear view of that goal the ball is going in the back of the net. He’ll be quite happy to take a warning from the referee if it means stopping him.”

“Oh wait! It’s not going to be a warning. Murphy is reaching for his cards. It’s going to be a booking. Red! Brennan has been given his marching orders. The travelling support are not happy.”

“That’s really harsh. It was a rough challenge but a warning would have been enough at this stage, a tentative yellow at best. What a terrible decision from the referee.”

“That’s true Grant but Murphy will be looking at the lateness of the challenge and he’s taking no prisoners today. Desperation has been exposed in the City defence. We now have a free kick in a very dangerous area of the park. The City support are still crying their frustration at being a man down in such a critical fixture.”

“They need the win today Harry. They really need that win.”

“Sammy Connelly steps up. He composes himself. The Athletic crowd has fallen silent in anticipation. There is still noise from the visitor stand but Connelly isn’t letting that intimidate him. He takes the shot. He scores!!!! What a beautiful finish!”

“That was a clinical finish Harry. Connelly isn’t the kind of player to let himself be fazed by the big occasions. He will step up and he will deliver.”

“The team from City Main are not happy. It’s all going wrong for them. Team Captain Lala is showing his concern to his players. They need to get their heads back in the game. It’s not good to be having to work damage control this early in the game and with one man down.”

“The spirited City support and their travelling loyalists are still burning from that red card decision from the referee which has ultimately put them one goal behind.”

“Well Grant, it’s a ridiculous decision by the referee and it could cause trouble not just on the pitch but off it too.”

“Back in my playing days, in a cup match against Bournton, Bournton were granted a penalty in the dying embers of the game. The cup competing side failed to pick themselves up after that. A decision like that can really affect a team, Harry.”

“City will have their chance to come back into this. It’s still early but the Loyalists are having none of it. I think we’ve tried to keep things inside the pressure cooker here, Grant, but they are starting to boil over. It’s taking a little while to get the game restarted as flares are thrown onto the pitch. City striker Andre Luis is calling something to the referee. Do you remember things being this tense at the football stadiums, Grant?”

“Oh yes, especially when the fixture was City and Athletic. Going to the games as a boy I remember things heating up really quickly. People in this city are passionate about the beautiful game.”

“Well, Grant, it looks like their enthusiasm is about to be curbed completely. The game is still waiting to restart. The referee has been asked to halt proceedings whilst the security here at Starkland Park is being heightened.”

“If we thought we were avoiding the drama we were very much mistaken. Things are erupting within the City support which is sad to see.”

“It is sad to see, Grant, with everything going on in the city at the moment we would hope that the game would be a way of coming together again. The referee continues to hold the match whilst the security steps up. They aren’t taking any chances today.”

“Definitely heavy handed, Harry and it appears to be making the crowd a little nervous.”

“It’s nerves all round, Grant. City are still one goal down after that terrific free kick from Sammy Connelly. The referee has now been given permission to restart the game.”

***

It was early morning in the Star State.

“I’m gonna be out of commission for a while. Hold all calls,” Chick Owen informed his executive assistant. She noted the orders. She was a beauty pageant girl, much like his wife. She too had been strutting around on stage in a bathing suit wishing for world peace. She was expertly trained in smiling, waving and following the instructions of coaches. She was the perfect P.A.

“How long should I hold them?” she asked.

“Until further notice.”

“Yes, Captain.”

When the assistant skipped out to the office to see that her boss was left in peace, The Cappy turned on his screen. The Coldford City European football fixture between Athletic and City was going to be an interesting one. He had already received notice that Van Holder and his Alpha team had brought in hundreds of suspected loyalists as well as Bellfield fleet members. They had been making their presence felt too at City Main rallies in support of Reginald Penn. There was a lot of loyalty built in the city through a mutual love of the sport so the soccer stadiums were a good place to start.

Reginald Penn was still at large He was still building a force in his support. A cold blooded murderer couldn’t be given much chance to flex his authority over City Main – not when there was a prominent spot available for Owen assets.

Coldford Athletic were already one goal ahead thanks to Sammy Connelly. The score didn’t matter. The winner of this game was always going to be the same.

The game commenced. The Cappy smiled.

***

“Another lash out from striker, Andre Luis, there Grant. He’s starting to show his frustration.”

“That’s the third time his shot has been stopped by the Athletic keeper. He’s a passionate player, Harry, and when he’s up against Connelly he’s going to want to show his worth. It’s not happening for him today though.”

“We’re now at the half hour mark. There’s still time for City to come into the match but to do that they’re going to have to start creating more chances.”

“It’s City’s centre mid, Fang, on the ball. He’s been doing well in dominating the midfield on behalf of City but his pass through to Andre Luis has been intercepted. Now Athletic are on the attack. It’s through to Brown. Connelly has picked it up. The defence are closing in but he’s finding his way through. It’s Connelly…GOAL!!! And Connelly makes it 2 – 0. What a magnificent goal. Starkland Park is alive with celebration.”

“Things are just hitting fever pitch here, Harry. When there’s only one goal difference there’s always a chance but Athletic will be glad to have given themselves that extra space. What a lovely goal.”

“I think the cheers here will be heard all the way up in City Main, Harry.”

“It’s richly deserved. Athletic have kept themselves composed, kept their mind on the game and now it’s paying off for them.”

“Sorry to interrupt you there Grant but Sammy Connelly’s celebration seems to have stopped abruptly. He’s calling something to the referee.”

“It looks like he’s spotted something among the City support there Harry.”

“The travelling support are venting their frustrations at the Black Bands security. A woman there is crying out to one of them. She’s going to get herself into trouble, Grant. The Black Bands have a no nonsense approach.”

“That’s true, Harry. It’s just as well we can’t hear what she’s saying because I’m sure the words she’s using wouldn’t be suitable for live television.”

“The City crowd are going to want to calm themselves here. The Black Bands are carrying out a zero-tolerance policy on violence and disruption at the games. The Fleet and Loyalists have been getting a really hard time lately. She tried to touch his shoulder! She should not have done that. The Black Band is forced to react. Did he just hit her with his truncheon? She’s down. It’s exploding now! The City fans are screaming their displeasure at the brutality but now the Black Bands are moving in. They’re not shy of holding the fans to account.”

“As we said Harry, it’s zero-tolerance and they’re just looking for any excuse to bring loyalists in.”

“Sammy Connelly must have gotten a good view of what was going on from the pitch. He’s still not celebrated his goal. The referees whistle isn’t drawing his attention. He’s still calling to the stands.”

“That’s a sad sight to see, Harry. Connelly has seen the Black Bands remove suspected loyalists from their seats. It will have been the screaming children left behind that will have caught his attention.”

“A little girl has fallen over the chairs! Sammy has left the pitch to try and help her. He’s crossed the fence and he’s now in the stadium. The Black Bands are beating the City crowd back. There’s blood, there’s tears and there’s no mercy being shown. I’ve never seen anything like it!”

“That is a chilling sight. We knew there would be scenes created here today but we could never have bet on anything like this.”

“What a disaster, Grant. Lala, the City captain, is trying to reason with the referee. Sammy Connelly is still among the rival fans trying to pull the fallen girl out before she’s trampled. It shouldn’t be left to one of the players to do that but the Black Bands are stomping over anything as they press in. In all my years of football commentary, never has it come to this.”

“Sammy Connelly has the little girl. He’s pushing through the City crowd. Most days they would be wanting to lynch him, jeering and spitting at him but today they are following him. The Black Bands have hit hard and heavy. The only place left to run is the pitch.”

“They are going to need to bring this into some kind of order, Harry. This can’t go on.”

“Where does it end, Grant? Sammy Connelly is carrying the little girl onto the pitch away from the brutality. If that was her father she was with, she has just seen him being beaten unconscious and dragged away. The referee, Murphy, is calling to Sammy. He’s showing a red card but in a real twist of events it is City midfielder Fang who is protesting it on Sammy’s behalf. The little girl is just covered in blood. Her own blood, her father’s blood, it doesn’t matter. The Black Bands have stained the City badge today.”

***

By the time I got there, the game had finished. The final thirty minutes were a complete farce. There were mounted patrols of Black Bands everywhere. The horses they used were larger, sturdier than CPD riot patrols. They were war horses.

The route leading to Starkland Park was filling fast. People had learned of the incident and came in search of loved ones they hoped had not gotten caught up in it. I have never been in a war situation before. I’m not a military man nor could I pretend to be, but as the crowd pushed around me, saying nothing, only expelling frosty breath, I got the sense of the kind of tension experienced before a first charge. The force was ill-equipped and outnumbered by their enemy.

The click of horses hooves along the freshly paved grounds of Starkland were like the ticking of a bomb. One passed. A huge man they called Monsta’. There was an unbearable hush. Click. Click. Click. A snort of the huge horse he rode. No one dared call to them. Live television had already entered homes around the city to show what the Black Bands were willing to do.

Monsta’ stopped his horse. I raised my phone. He turned his gaze to me.

Click.


Enjoy this?

Complete Season 1 of the Knock Knock series is free to read here on Vivika Widow. com or click below download for Kindle

Care to discover the true whereabouts of the Knock Knock Baroness? Tawny was last seen as a resident of the Shady City’s premier rehab clinic. Check out Vivika Widoow’s hit thriller Harbour House. Free on Kindle Unlimited.

Pioneering Dynasty: Owen Inc

Location: Great States

Features in: KNOCK KNOCK ; HARBOUR HOUSE ; PURPLE RIBBON

“An Owen never misses a target.”

Media control and wealth to spare makes Owen Inc. one of the most formidable presences within the Shady City. Owning the COLDFORD DAILY gives them the chance to tell the truth. Well, their version of the truth.

Reporters Sam Crusow and Madeline Lower join the Owen Inc. owned newspaper.

They may be from the Great States but they never let their position as outsiders hold them back. If truth be told they hold a lot more sway in Coldford than most of the others. The only one able to match their deep pockets successfully would the the BECKINGRIDGE FINANCIAL FIRM.

The Beckingridge Tower remains the home of Owen Inc’s largest rivals in Coldford.

Lead by CEO CHARLES ‘CHICK’ OWEN they have their work cut out for them. Not only does he have to fight to maintain his family’s position but he also needs to deal with disruption in their own ranks. That being said, Chick is respectfully titled The Cappy because knows how to steer a large ship.

Chick Owen – CEO of Owen Inc. – conducts business.

A huge Owen Inc. asset is the KAPPA SO CHAPTER HOUSE. Linked to FILTON UNIVERSITY the KAPPA SO fraternity was founded by Henry ‘Hen’ Owen, an ancestor who, as a Coldford native, had a huge hand in making the city what we know it as today. Take from that what you will.

The Chapter House is the Big House on Campus.

Founded on the principle of pioneering for the future, Owen Inc. is the most forward thinking of the power houses in Coldford. Still with a firm eye on tradition the company boldly pulls the city into the future and it pulls some of those much discussed shades.

#amreading #thiller by @VivikaWidow


The Mayor is missing, the violence in the city is getting out of control. Enter reporter Sam to get to the truth of the matter.

Complete Season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to read here. Or click below to download for Kindle.

Season 2 begins October 26th

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Character profile: Andre Luis

“Our city, our rules!”

The chant rings out at Coldford City stadium as star striker Andre Luis brings another victory home for the champions.

Name: Andre Luis

Age: 26

Occupation: Professional footballer

Features in: KNOCK KNOCK

From the town of Luen, Andre Luis is an outsider to the Shady City but bringing his own penchant for villainy he fits right in. As a professional athlete he’s entitled, rich and completely unaware of the gritty reality around him. He is talented on the football field but a sordid past saw him transfer to the richest Coldford team. He believed crossing the waters from his homeland would leave the negative press behind but some stories chase harder than a KINGSGATE ALBION centre half.

Andre Luis and his team mate Louis Fang. Both are Coldford natives.

He was no stranger to the rivalries that are stirred up in football, he has been playing professionally since his teens but nothing quite compared to the hatred stirred between his own team and that of their closest rivals from the south of the city. COLDFORD ATHLETIC had Sammy Connelly to boast. They called him the golden boy and despite Andre Luis bringing home more trophies to the City cabinet, Sammy had the one thing that Andre Luis always coveted, the Golden Boot.

The richest team in the city. Sponsored by the Penn Auction House.

Life in Coldford can be sweet when you have all the adulation of a premier striker with plenty of wins to your name. Some people can find themselves drunk on that kind of influence. It didn’t take long for Andre Luis to find himself in trouble again. However, unlike the glamorous, rolling beaches of Luen, the Shady City didn’t allow much room for forgiveness.

Andre Luis provided a startling win against rival, Sammy Connelly.

His attitude on and off the park has made him quite a figure of hate. Like a pantomime villain he has chosen to embrace this. After all, team sponsors PENN AUCTION HOUSE are on hand to reel him in when he upsets too many people. Andre Luis learned this the hard way during a fixture with the northern team, Bournton. The game was set the day following a boxing match between SIMON ‘PUNCHLINE’ PENN and the BOURNTON BLIZZARD. Tensions were already high going into the ring knowing the battle would continue onto the football field. When Simon lost his composure in the ring, permanently disabling the Blizzard, the crowd that travelled to City Main were already baying for blood. Sending a skilful strike to the back of the net of the visitors, Andre Luis felt it a good idea to strike at the corner flag as though he was boxing and throw himself to the ground in a convulsing heap. The Bournton crowd did not react kindly to the taunting of one of their most beloved town figures, still in hopsital, still dealing with the fact that he would never walk again. Furious, Penn patriarch REGINALD had stern words with the manager and Andre Luis was pulled from the field.

The competing football teams of Coldford.

The father was not at all pleased that his son’s moment of barbarity would be used in this way. Simon was already dealing with the consequences of his actions. Although Penn triplet brother REGGIE tried to hold back his laughter his father’s fury was not to be ignored. Andre Luis found himself back in Luen for a short break. Break being the operative word …

#amreading a #shadycity #thriller by Vivika Widow and I’m supporting #coldfordcity


Character Profile: William ‘Billy’ Owen

Age: 37

Features in: KNOCK KNOCK

Start talking.

Murder, corruption and kidnapping. Fifty nine people thrown from the top floor of the Beckingridge Tower. It’s about time this City was brought to heel.

Billy Owen is former Special Ops with campaign experience in the most difficult terrains of Northern Subala. His natural ability with firearms made his name. His treatment of prisoners almost ruined it.

He’s a Kappa So brother  for life. He’s CPD by charge. If anyone is going to be bringing the justice it’s going to be this man. There are villains to catch and a name to make so step aside and let him do his thing.  

Billy is from the broken branch of the Owen family tree so when there are things to mend he’s the best man to call. Just remember folks, an Owen never misses a target and Billy has set his sights on The Shady City.

Billy is looking to make a name in the Shady City.

The Knock Knock Boss Lady has made an enemy of the Owen family but she’s ready for that challenge.

Complete season 1 is free to read here at Vivika Widow.com or click below to download for kindle.

The Baroness’ beloved cabaret club was attacked and the Owen family are the suspects. Just another day of covering up their misdeeds.

Tawny is now Resident 0109 of the Harbour House rehab facility. Will she recover from her trauma? 

Vivika Widow’s latest thriller is available now!

Knock Knock! Harvester delivery!

Skin and bone will set the tone!

Time is running out, according to the Harvesters. The Boss Lady might have been stripped of everything but there’s still a little something she can give.

5.02 is the slaughter time on the farm but it’s opening night at the Knock Knock club. Just what will become of it all?

Coming later this year the Knock Knock graphic novel series returns. Invitation only. See you on opening night!

#amreading Knock Knock by @VivikaWidow


Are you looking forward to the grand reopening?
Let us know your comments below.

Complete Season 1 is free to read here at Vivika Widow Online or click below to download on Kindle.

My Three Wishes

If a genie (or a witch) were to grant you three wishes, what would you wish for?

It’s an age old question that we probably all asked ourselves at some point as kids. It’s fun to think about that romantic notion where everything your heart desires can be yours on the rub of a lamp. Fairy tales are fraught with the dangers of doing this though and there have been so many sensationalised examples of what can go wrong when you’re not careful in what you wish for. The movie ‘Bedazzled’ comes to mind.

Putting aside the idea that there rules attached what would be your three wishes?

For me looking for a lifetime of complete health would be first and foremost. What hope do you have of enjoying everything else when you don’t have your health? Maybe I’m just getting a little old and my priorities are different from when I was a younger woman but knowing that I was always going to be healthy would be my main aim.

Secondly, success. Not in a megalomaniac way nor in a greedy or prideful way. By success what I mean is being comfortable and affording that comfort to those around me. Life is full of its ups and downs and some days are more fruitful than others so just imagine how much easier life would be if you never had to worry about those rainy days where no matter how hard you work you just can’t break through. Just think of how much time could be spent on other things!

Finally, I would wish for an open ticket that would take me anywhere in the world on a whim. There’s so much to see and do in this life so there’s no time to be wasting. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I have a genie there granting that wish sure as Hell I’m going to do it!

So what would be your three wishes? Become a queen/king? Fill your life with unimaginable riches? Or would you seek the comfort of something more humble? Would you be so bold to wish for an unlimited number of wishes? Or would you go ahead and just set that poor genie free?

#amreading a #blog by @VivikaWidow


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

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