Tag Archives: Muse

Drowning Boy

David Finn is a renowned artist in Coldford. From the first sketches he made to the images of Julia Harvester he created that will be forever etched in history, his work is synonymous with talent tearing through circumstances. He is a rare individual to meet in that he is genuine. Despite his struggles he is unspoiled by the ruthlessness that could have consumed him. He doesn’t see the might of the great towers of City Main. He doesn’t see law or religion. He sees the blend of colours that make up such a landscape and through the city’s eyes he paints them. I am reporter, Sam Crusow, and this is the ‘drowning boy’.  

David Finn’s Muse Collection

*** 

“Why don’t you swim?” 

“Why can’t you swim?”  

“Where you never taught to swim?” 

“If you moved your body you could, you know.”  

David lost himself in swirls of dark blue. He could feel the pressure pressing down on him.  

“Just keep trying. There’s a surface to reach somewhere.”  

The blue became darker as more black was added. The black was diluting the soft blue more and more as the swirls grew larger and larger.  

“Why don’t you swim!?” 

There was breathlessness as all colour fell to nothing. The black was so deep in the centre it reflected a little of the light above. You could reach up but what would you find? You had fallen into blackness now. It was too late. Even in a consuming mouth of water all roads lead to the same place in the end.  

David finally took a breath. He looked up to observe his piece. The central figure was genderless and without feature. It could be anyone caught in the whirls of darkness. Even without features it was clear the figure was in distress.  

“Can’t you swim?”  

“Why can’t you swim?”  

David could still hear the voices of his vision ask him. The sculpted heads on the shelves beside him had varying reactions to his latest work. There was one he called the screamer. They were always shocked at what was produced. What was art though if not shocking? There was the comedian who laughed through the worst of it. A great chuckle was their response no matter how black the paint got. Then there was the crier. They wept as the images revealed themselves on canvas. So beautiful, so tragic, so pleasant, it didn’t matter, it all brought a tear to their eye. Then there was the sculpture named Arthur who at full size stood watching over his shoulder with a contemplating hand on his chin and searching expression that seemed to change to suit the mood of the room.  

“Well done, David,” the statue seemed to say.  

It didn’t matter if he could swim or not, art was about throwing yourself in the deep end.  

Da\vid contemplates his latest piece.

*** 

David had a strong vision but sometimes it become cloudy. His talent became apparent to a high school art teacher named Mr Cassell. Cassell could see the raw flare in David and he sought to encourage it as much as he could. He was worried that David would become a product of his environment and would be swallowed up in a poverty trap and the images he could produce would be forever unseen. He was already falling to drugs and it was only a matter of time before his loosening grip as a teacher would break completely and David Finn would fall into the pits of society, another lost soul.  

“It would be a tragedy,” Mr Cassel had insisted at the time. “It would break my heart when I know what David Finn is capable of.”  

For David though, travelling through a world if images the colour blends became blurry. Sometimes it was such a striking use of form it drew from its darkest depths. Needless to say, try as his art teacher might, David fell into those murky waters and started to drown.  

“Tragedy,” Mr Cassel insisted. “An absolute tragedy.”  

*** 

Those murky waters of his life were cold and the current was strong but David had those around him who were willing to help pull him free. Having been raised in an almost feral environment by an uncaring mother David had spent his life seeking the positivity of life outside of his home. Luckily he found it when he stumbled upon the Ferrald family. Alex Ferrald was his closest friend. Alex was opposite to David in that he was raised in a caring home. Dr Graham Ferrald and his wife Stephanie welcomed David with open arms. He found the positivity he needed there and safety where his artistic vision could be nurtured.  

“I cannot wait to see it,” Stephanie announced of his latest painting that was to be unveiled at the Dalway Lane gallery in Main that very evening.  

David looked up from the stain he was trying to wipe off his shirt.  

“You’ll need a good jacket,” Stephanie decided.  

“This is my good jacket,” he stated.  

“Hmmmm,” Stephanie was disapproving. “I’ll fetch you something of Graham’s. I know you artists like that no care aesthetic but it’s a big night. She took the shirt from him and looked over the stain. “What is that anyway?” She asked.  

“Pizza sauce,” David assumed.  

Stephanie shook her head with a smile of exasperation. “I’ll see what I can do with it.”  

What she could do with it was throw it out. It was an old shirt but since it was what David had held his favourite it had some sense of sentimentality.  

When Alex arrived on scene he was dressed in his best jacket. His hair was neatly combed.  

“I forget just how handsome my boy can be when I get so used to seeing him look such a scruff,” Stephanie teased.  

Alex rolled his eyes. A Coby games T-shirt and jeans was usually more his style. Stephanie went off in search for good jacket for David.  

“I’m really looking forward to seeing this one,” said Alex.  

Most times when there was a particular image David was wishing to create, Alex would be told to wait for a grand reveal when it was done. He didn’t like showing a working progress. More often than not though David would be so excited by his piece he would describe it and the young veterinarian would play a game with himself as to how close the image in his head matched the final product. David’s descriptions were apt but the only way to capture the true beauty was to see it with your own eyes.  

“Thanks, man,” David said. “I’m nervous.”  

Alex patted his arm. He would be nervous. He always was with any kind of unveiling but he had been clean now for a while. His body was rejecting those murky waters from itself and that caused a lot of psychical pain. 

That was where the Ferrald family would find a suitable jacket for him. It would be thrown to him like a life jacket in a storm.  

Now dressed in one of Dr Ferrald’s blazers but still carrying the grungy artist underneath, David had Stephanie’s arm around him as she pulled both he and Alex closer.  

“Don’t the boys look so good?” Stephanie asked Dr Ferrald.  

Dr Ferrald, eminent cardiologist, gave a smile of approval as he finished affixing his bow tie.  

From the warm family home in the upper Mid West the murky waters flowed to City Main and the Dalway Lane gallery, passing underneath the tunnel of David’s career.  

*** 

David Finn was a raw talent. There were many who had hoped to hone his skill but the artist felt it was best he be free from the restrictions of learned technique. He was a true artist in the sense that the only value he saw in his work was from people who appreciated the vision. There was no coin required. His friend, Harper Lane, did though. She was an artist of note herself but unlike David she had swam the waters of society a little more carefully, relying less on her vision and more on astuteness. Art fed the soul and that was okay by Harper but only coin fed the mouth so she was willing to accept the need for business in the art world. Showing David’s pieces was a boon to both of them. It was a fine balance of colours with each cup filled equally.  

With warm embraces Harper met David and the Ferralds in the rotunda of her gallery. Her long, dreadlocked hair had been wrapped in a yellow and black Subalan head scarf.  

“Everyone’s so excited,” she said to David in an aside. “It’s all that everyone’s talking about. I’ve heard there’s some Penn reps in tonight so … please no outbursts.”  

David had been clean and sober for a while now but Harper was such the big sister type she would always show him which way the river was flowing so he wouldn’t waste time swimming against it.  

David took a deep breath. 

“I’ve got it. I’ve got it,” he said, more to himself than to Harper.  

Harper smiled with a natural radiance. “I know you do,” she said and she kissed his cheek.  

“I have some fan mail for you,” she said passing him two hand written notes.  

The first read as follows: 

I am sorry I can’t be with you tonight. I wish you every success. I’m so proud of you. Vincent. 

The second was more scribbled.  

I wish I was there, honey, but I’ll get up real soon. Take lots of photos. I love you. Tee 

David smiled. He folded the notes and pushed them into his pocket. There were some other people like his rehab mates, Tawny McInney and Vincent Baines, who had their own murky waters submerging them but they were there for each other. Even just having their encouraging words made David feel a little better.  

Harper led him inside.  

“We’ll get you some orange juice,” she offered, noting he was looking a little sickly.  

David Finn’s ‘Taking the Bait’

*** 

“Ladies and gentlemen. We’ve come to know David Finn’s work to be hard hitting, provocative and bold. His latest piece promises to be no different. Speaking to David earlier he said to me this particular piece could have been one of his longest to complete. It reflects life as a journey down a river from the calm pools to the rock filled rapids so it would never be truly finished for we’re always turning and changing and life flows on. That being said David felt it was time to climb out of those waters and find clearer, fresher ones, but the journey so far will be forever imprinted. I am most pleased to present, David Finn’s – Drowning Boy.”  

The curtain fell. The observers gasped. Upon a large canvas a wash of blues and blacks fell upon them. The central figure reached out in such a way it was for the observer to decide whether it was pulling you in or pleading for you to pull it out. The image plummeted towards ever darker depths.  

“Astounding!” Was one exclamation.  

David, bashfully received his applause.  

*** 

Alex and David had taken a return trip to gallery the day after the unveiling. They were looking at the drowning boy again. David was busy thinking of the true journey that the image represented. It fitted his own experiences well but there were so many people out there who he knew would understand. He maybe couldn’t pull all of them free. He couldn’t stop them drowning but he could express himself in such a way that showed without a single word uttered that he understood.  

“Don’t get too keen on that hanging there. It’s off in the morning, like,” these were the words of Reggie Penn. He was bounding towards them quite excitedly.  

Reggie had always been a fan of David’s work from when Harper Lane first displayed. The painting had been one called ‘This Child Bugs Me’. Reggie’s morbid curiosity of the great fat woman with a fly head throwing a baby had captivated him.  

“I need to have that,” Reggie had told his influential family.  

The image was one of horror but to look deeper there was a tale of inhumane selfishness that surrounds us at all times. It’s a greed that will never be filled. The child represented discarded potential so easily cast aside as the flies of society pick at the shit of what’s left behind.  

“I know all that,” Reggie insisted, when Harper’s partner, Gabrielle, explained this to him. “I get the depth. It’s a real cool story but it draws your eye too.”  

Drowning boy had caught his attention again but this time it was to be put to auction. He had come personally to see it in the gallery.  

The Penn family had something of a notorious reputation. The patriarch Reginald Penn was hailed as the King of Main. Reggie and his two brothers were met with a reverence and respect and the Penn family responded in kind. They had a certain nobility about them that earned them their would be titles. In order to keep them their reputation was also a violent one. With this in mind, as Reggie greeted David with familiarity, Alex was rendered tense.  

“How’s it going, Alex?” Reggie greeted the vet who had been responsible for treating some of the rats the quirky triplet kept.   

Mild mannered, upper Mid West, Alex found Reggie intimidating enough but he was considered the most personable of the Penn Triplets. Alex was something of a deer in the headlights when he turned and noticed Reggie had been accompanied on this day by the middle triplet brother, the boxer better known as Punchline Penn.  

“You’ve not been logged in in ages,” Reggie was saying of an online game he had been playing which he had invited Alex to.  

Reggie considered he and Alex bonded over their mutual love of video games. Alex did love video games but he considered them bonded over his fear of the triplet and now his more muscular and aggressive counterpart, Simon, was in tow.  

“I’ve been busy,” Alex said, “but thanks for the invite. I really look forward to it.”  

The situation would probably have been much easier on Alex if it hadn’t been for David fanning the flames for his own amusement by saying things like, “I heard one guy beat Reggie in a game once and he ended up disappearing.”  

“He did not,” Alex shook it off but there was always a ‘what if’. With the Penn triplets that was a big ‘what if’. 

Simon was observing the painting. He leaned his head back to get a good look at it.  

“It reminds me of the ‘Ripples’ by Gourdy that hangs in Luen,” he said. His upper lip tightened. His gaze narrowed. Then he nodded. “This is much better, like. It’s more real. ‘Ripples’ could be any old art you find but this one stands out.”  

David beamed. “Thanks man, I appreciate it.”  

“I knew you’d like it,” Reggie told his brother. 

“I do,” Simon said. “It’s a good one. I’ll talk over the details with Gabby.”  

The Penns went about his business, Reggie lingering a little behind his brother observing the paintings again as though it was the first time in seeing them.  

Alex breathed a sigh of relief.  

David chuckled. 

“You’re such a wimp,” teased the artist.  

“I can’t help it. I think it would be easier if they were mad at me. Then I would know what to expect. For some reason it’s much worse when he’s trying to be my friend.”  

“Reggie’s a good guy,” David assured. “Marcus is really to the point but he’s sound too. Besides, if they were mad at you do you really think you would know what to expect?”  

Alex shuddered. “Better a friend …”  

“I heard they once gave some guy the death by a thousand cuts treatment.”  

Alex frowned. “Shut up. They did not.”  

“I’m telling you man, it was brutal. The guy only asked for directions.” 

Alex’s frown deepened. “They did not. Shut up!” 

“I’m kidding,” David said. “It was because he tried to hit on their mother.”  

Alex shook his head. “I don’t believe you.” 

“You can take the chance if you like,” David offered.  

Alex gave it some thought. There were worse things than having a Penn pal he supposed. Then he thought about it some more.  

“Hang on,” he said. “If you’re so knowledgeable about that then you won’t mind discussing it with Simon.”  

David shook his head. “Would I fuck, man. I’m liable to get my face smashed in. It’s different for me. I’m not one of the inner circle like you.”  

Alex’s eyes widened. “That’s not how they see me.”  

“Put it this way,” David explained. “They love my work. They’ve bought loads from Harper and Gabby but I still ain’t been invited to Reggie’s Lonesome Nights server.” 

Alex gave another shudder.  

THIS CHILD BUGS ME: David turns his childhood misery into a striking piece of art.

*** 

When they returned to Alex’s home in Caroline Apartments, the vet made a point of accepting Reggie’s request. He had stayed offline since then but he was comforted in the knowledge that at least Reggie would know he was making effort in their seemingly blossoming friendship.  

Alex and David lost themselves in other video games. Alex was forced to hit pause when his phone rang.  

“Might be the clinic,” he said.  

“Hello?” 

“Hello, Alex? It’s Reggie Penn.”  

‘Oh, no, why?!’ He thought. 

“I’ve been trying to get ahold of David but the number we have isn’t working. Harper said he’s probably with you.”  

“He’s here,” Alex explained passing the phone.  

The two engaged in a battle of whispers and expressions before David finally answered.  

“Hey, man,” he said cheerily. “What’s been happening?”  

“We had your auction,” Reggie informed him. “We got your buyer.” 

“That’s cool, man. Who?”  

“A City Main collector. He’d love to meet you. Could you maybe come in so he can say a few words before he takes the painting away?”  

David agreed. “Sure. I’ll get up as soon as I can.”  

“One of us will be here all day anyway so just let us know when you’re here. Oh, and tell Alex I got his acceptance. I’ll see him on the server soon.”  

Ringing off from Reggie, Alex scowled at him.  

“I’ve got no phone,” David admitted. “They couldn’t get me.”  

When the details of the call had been divulged Alex said, “that’s good news about the auction. Maybe now you can get a new phone.”  

“It’s never the first thing I think of,” David admitted.  

The murky waters of life can carry us many different places. Beginning in the slums of the Shanties, David had struggled through the undergrowth to find himself in the great wide mouth of City Main. It was an unexpected journey and no knowing how the tides would turn but swim on he would. He had come too far to still be the drowning boy. The drowning boy was now to stand as a symbol of perseverance in the hands of a collector who’s eye it had caught.  

*** 

The light and setting of the auction house made the ‘drowning boy’ painting seem more ominous. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and such a beauty as the grim desperation of the drowning figure was viewed differently depending on the mood. The darkness of the auction house store where it had been moved offered an abyss for the figure to fall into. On the other hand it could look as though the figure had managed to climb to the greatest heights. City Main was after all considered the greatest of heights in Coldford. There were many peaks but City Main was where it all came together. There ‘drowning boy’ could fall into concrete pools of aggressive business and ruthless politics. It was a different kind of murky water from the poverty of the Shanties but it was no less able to drown.  

Looking at the painting again gave David some doubts. Should he maybe have waited for this piece? He had admitted that his journey was still ongoing. There were still struggles to be had and dangerous waters to swim.  

 “Good morning, David,” a familiar voice drew him from his thoughts. 

“Mr Cassel! I haven’t seen you since …”  

“Since high school, yes,” Mr Cassel said. “That’s longer than I care to admit.” 

David had been so taken aback by seeing his old art teacher. He was flustered in a way that was akin to a child seeing their teacher outside the classroom. He looked different. He looked older, a little more casual in dress but he was smiling warmly.  

“Did you come to see the painting?” He asked.  

“I came to take it home. It now belongs to me,” the teacher told him with pride. “When you were my pupil I hoped upon hope that you would make a success of yourself. The success would of course fair you well but I hoped too because I just new people had to see your vision. It’s fearless, it’s encouraging, it’s humbling, it’s all those things and more. I promised myself that when you did I would have one of your paintings and here we are. Alex had mentioned this to Reggie Penn and he kindly gifted to me. I couldn’t not be more proud of what you became. I know it wasn’t easy but you got there didn’t you. This painting is even more significant to me because as your teacher I could only instruct you on how to swim. I always worried those waters would get far too choppy but you had it in you. You swam and you emerged. I can hang this painting with pride and know that you did it.”    

David laughed with joy. He wrapped his arms around his old teacher and embraced him tightly. The emotion spilled from his eyes.  

“I’m glad I did you proud, man,” he said. “I’m glad.”  

*** 

We all have that drowning figure within us. The rivers that swamp us are different but struggle is a universal experience. We all struggle from time to time and the ‘drowning boy’ painting stands a vivid representation of that. The purpose of art is to provoke. It provokes emotion and it provokes discussion. Seeing the image had me thinking how our world would be if we acknowledged that we all struggle in the water of our lives from time to time. Drowning comes from our own being no longer being able to struggle. The water enters the lungs despite all resistance and we are consumed. But what if we stopped trying to struggle and we helped each other out of the water instead. What kind of picture would that paint then?                                    

                                                                                                             

Art is subjective and will always live on.

“No Davey, No!” where the last words he heard him cry. It took some time for him to remember his childhood but now the artist’s ‘tortured boy’ piece is ready, thanks to his latest muse. 

Available now.


Trauma, obsession and addiction are just some of the reasons to seek refuge at Harbour House rehab clinic. The world outside can be a scary place after all.  

Knock Knock: Episode 33: Bull in a China Shop

The moment Nathan learned about Nan Harvester’s arrest he made his way straight to Harvester Farm. Julia had a strained relationship with her mother. She had always been closer to her father but she would need someone with her. She would need someone to help her through. Harvester Farm was quiet and none of the farm hands were out on the fields, not even Glenn or Curtis. He was glad of that. The milking sheds the frat boys had made home were quiet too. He had seen Buddy in the news with his father back on Owen Estate. Hopefully he was out of Julia’s life for good.  

If Glenn and Curtis were out on deliveries it was likely Julia had stayed behind to overlook things. There was always one of them left in charge.  

He drove straight to the farmhouse. He hadn’t been back since that business with Susie. He was keen to check the fallout from it. Buddy may have been grinning for the papers but hopefully Glenn had put the fear of God into him. He would never dare step on the farm again. Susie could have died. 

He rang the bell. It was a deep chime that echoed around the house. Through the frosted glass he could see a someone approach. It wasn’t Julia though. It was a man. The door opened. A wide grin greeted. The man was wearing Kappa So attire. The man was George.  

“Hello Nathan,” he said. “Come to visit Jules? She’s not in at the moment.”  

“Come in. She’ll be home soon.”  

George stepped aside. Speechless, Nathan entered the hallway. George closed the door behind him. That was when he heard laughter in the dining room  

“Buddy!” George called. “Nathan’s home.”  

*** 

“Well, I’ll be a son a bitch!”  

Nathan tried to run. He struggled with the door but George had wrapped his arm around his neck. Nathan threw his arm back and caught George’s face. He tried to struggle but the bros overpowered him.  

Bound to the fence Nathan screamed. George’s nose wrinkled as the screech irritated his ears. Buddy shook his own head.  

“I ain’t even started yet, brah.”  

Nathan pleaded. “Julia would not approve. She would have none of this. Just let me go. I won’t come back.”  

Chad handed Buddy a cannister of gasoline used for the farm equipment. He splashed it on Nathan.  

“You coked up my little mascot, didn’t ya?” Buddy asked.  

“Yes,” Nathan admitted. “It was me.”  

Buddy growled, “You could have killed her. You’re a sicko.” He splashed more gasoline on him. “You almost got me my ass kicked and you had powda’ here all along?” Buddy started to become quite upset. “You’re a real piece of work, brah! I’ve seen some real sick shit in my time but you are something else. You see this guy?” Here he indicated George. “This guy wants to eat your face off but he still ain’t as sick as you.”  

“I’m sorry,” Nathan begged. “Please don’t do this.”  

“Maaaaah!” Gary the goat cried from his pen.  

“This is none of your God damned business Gary,” Buddy warned the goat.  

WHAM!  

“See?” Buddy said to Nathan. “I’ve been learning about these animals and that goat says you’re a dickhead.”  

“Maah!”  

WHAM! 

“I told him, Gary,” Buddy replied. Buddy calmed himself. “Nathan,” he said, “you messed with the wrong bro, brah. I got a ton of shit in my tank right now. For pissing me off you’re gonna sizzle right here on this fence.”  

Nathan cried. A wet stain spread across his crotch.  

“God damnit!” Buddy exclaimed. “He’s gone and pissed himself. Is piss flammable because I really wanted his balls to burn.”  

“No, it’s not,” George explained like quite the expert. “I pissed on my aunt’s cat once and she wouldn’t go on fire.” 

Cooper folded his arms and raised his eyebrows. Chad seemed to be picturing it. Buddy’s lips pursed at the image of a cat running away as felines do, soaked in urine. Buddy must have found this amusing because he started to laugh. The image of George chasing after it still trying to piss on it made him laugh even harder.  

“You see, Nathan? You see the kind of maniacs you’re dealing with here? I know he’s a bit touched but my bro here told you to stay away. You should have listened.”  

“Maaaah!”  

“Not now, Gary.”  

WHAM! 

Buddy’s phone started to jingle. He had no choice but answer.  

“Yeah?” he asked. “Kinda in the middle of something here, brah.”  

“It’s the crime scene, mucker,” came the voice on the other end. “Agents are investigating it.”  

Buddy had been such a bad boy lately he found himself having to ask.  

“Which crime scene?”  

“The shooting. The little girl and her deadbeat dad. It ain’t CPD who are looking. It’s the agents. This is a whole new breed of shit to deal with but we’re doing what we can to keep it clean.”  

Buddy groaned. “Dick down my throat!”  

He rang off. 

Impatient and eager to hear Nathan’s screams George threw the lighter that had belonged to his father and flicked it onto Nathan.  

“I didn’t say so yet,” Buddy complained. “I had a whole speech prepared and everything.”  

George lowered his head. “Sorry, Buddy.”  

Woooosh! The flames erupted, causing the bros to leap back. Buddy had been so enthused he hadn’t been paying much attention to how much petrol he was throwing.  

“Maaaah!”  

WHAM! 

Gary the goat was distressed. Nathan’s screams as he burned shattered the generally calm ambience of Harvester Farm. There was another cry but it wasn’t from the goat. It was the roar of the bull. Gordon wasn’t liking that fuss the bros were causing on his fields. The flames tore along the fence of Gary’s enclosure.  

“Shit!” Buddy exclaimed. “Get water before the whole place goes. Smells like barbeque.”  

“Are we going to eat him?” asked George. Buddy frowned. He turned slowly to Brother Beckingridge. “You got some real problems, brah.”  

Nathan’s screams softened. All pain and power dissolved from them when he gave himself to his end.  

Crack. The fencing broke. The panels holding Nathan were charred and weakened.  

They managed to douse the flames and pull Nathan’s body onto the field but the fencing was ruined.  

“Maaaah!” Gary ran at Chad, catching him in the crotch.  

“Catch that goat!” Buddy yelled.  

George leapt at Gary almost catching him by his hind leg. Gary turned, bit him and escaped, running towards the east acre.  

“God damnit! We gotta fix that fence. Chad? Coops? Find wood.”  

Before the sniggers could start, he said, “Not now, brah. George? Catch that damn goat. We’ve got an hour before Julia gets back. We gotta clear this mess.”  

“We’ll put him in the incinerator,” Chad offered.  

“Are you trying to get funny, brah? We already cooked him.”  

“It’s how Julia gets rid of the bodies – dead cows and shit.”  

Buddy gave a dreamy sigh. “That girl just makes me wanna…” 

Before chasing after Gary, George asked, “Can I keep a bit of him for my collection?”  

Buddy tousled his hair “Of course you can, brah. Go get the goat first.”  

Gordon snorted over his fence.  

‘I don’t like the way that bull keeps looking at me,’ he thought.  

As his bros rushed to bring the farm back into order he looked down at the body of Nathan. There was still a little life left in him. His mouth opened and closed, chomping his last, like a fish out of water. Buddy could have shot him and ended it for him then but he was in no mood for mercy. 

*** 

Buddy had returned to Owen Estate.  That morning he had received a call.  

“Just been down to the shooting site in the Shanties to get it cleared up.”  

Buddy sat forward. His head was pounding and his mouth felt like it had been stuffed with cotton wool.  

“Yeah? So?”  

“It’s already been cleared. The agents must have been there. Are you sure you left a milk bottle?”  

Buddy thought hard. “I did,” he said. “I had been watching for Kev for so fucking long I got thirsty, brah. I was still a little wasted.” 

CPD had always been looking for the shot from the left. The fake nest gave them everything they thought they needed. The trouble was now the agents were tailing Buddy. Big bro Billy couldn’t protect him from that.  

Buddy leaned forward.  

“This is a real shit show,” Buddy said to Cooper and Chad.  

‘Take the little girl out first. Kev gonna learn a God damn lesson,’ Buddy could still hear his instructions.  

Buddy had been so high. He could barely remember pulling the trigger.  

*** 

Lydia arrived waving an envelope excitedly.  

“It’s in,” she said. 

Lydia and Kim had sampled the bottle that had been collected from the shooting site. Blonde hair from Buddy Owen had been extracted from him.  

“This is it,” Kim said. “It’s sketchy at best pet, but it will at least let us bring him in for a closer look.”  

Lydia passed the letter to Kim. She watched her expression as she read.  

“This isn’t it,” she growled. “It says it’s not a match. I was so sure of it. My instincts were crying out!” 

“Maybe the hair wasn’t Buddy’s,” Lydia suggested.  

The hair sample they got had come from my coat, attached from the time I confronted him in main.  

DNA could have put him at the scene of the crime at least. As Kim said though, it was sketchy at best. A good lawyer like Ronnie defending his nephew would have found it easy to convince the judge to throw it out. It was a start though. No match it said. 

“We can’t bring him in with nothing to show for it. Doyle won’t go for that.” 

Lydia suggested, “Then I’m going to speak to him.”  

“Then tread carefully,” Kim warned.  

Word had it that he was on Harvester Farm. If she was going to be able to corner him it would have to be done whilst he was there.  

***

The alarms were screaming. Tawny grimaced with the noise as Cooper rushed around trying to switch them off. There were only seconds before CPD were alerted.  

“Hurry, Coops!” Buddy was calling. “The last thing we need is Billy down here.”  

415 – 29 – 4 – 11 – 12  

Cooper desperately punched the buttons. He managed to deactivate.  

“I want to speak to your Pa,” said Tawny as though she were telling off a neighbourhood child for running in the yard. She glared as though they were in a lot of trouble.  

Buddy was in a lot of trouble. A man hunt was now on for the Baroness, funded by Elizabeth Beckingridge.  

“You don’t know who I am lady,” said Buddy petulantly.  

Tawny pursed her lips. “Owen,” she said. “Obviously.”  

Buddy groaned. The Owens did tend to have a strong familial resemblance but that wasn’t what had caught Tawny’s attention.  

“It’s on yer back, honey. Your jackets…” She pointed to Coops. “Cooper. I’m assuming Marshall Cooper’s son.” She pointed to Chad. “Perry. Do your family own the zoo? That’s a nice zoo.”  

“Shut up, bitch,” Buddy warned. He was still trying to figure out what the Hell he was going to do.  

“Let me talk to yer dad.”  

“No way in Hell. Just shut your mouth. I’m a dangerous guy,” he said.  

Chad was nodding in fervent agreement. He pointed to Buddy. 

“You don’t wanna be messing with my bro, brah!” he warned.  

“Thanks, Chad,” said Buddy.  

“Got your back, brah.”  

Tawny shook her head. It seemed the plan of the frat boys had been so quick to action they hadn’t fully thought out their process. They had just gone along with it. This is no surprise when we’re dealing with three individuals who had spent a lifetime avoiding consequences.  

“Hide her away. I need time to think. I need powder,” Buddy decided.  

Coops looked a little fidgety. He was anxious. He very much needed some powder too.  

“Drugs aren’t the answer,” said Tawny.  

Buddy frowned. “Will you shut up or I’m gonna gag ya.” He glared at Tawny and then started to laugh. To Cooper he said. “We should totally put an apple in her mouth!”  

Tawny pouted. Cooper’s phone began to ring.  

“It’s my dad, brah,” he said.  

“Chad, put her away somewhere. I can’t think straight. Coops, try and find out where Marsh keeps the rest of his stash.”  

Chad gripped Tawny’s arm and led her to the secure storage cupboard.  

“So, Chad is it?” Tawny asked. “You know I had a close friend called Arthur. He knew a Chad. Or was it Brad?”  

Chad became alarmed. Arthur was a crossdressing performer who used to stop by the Knock Knock from time to time. The nature of Chad’s relationship with him I’ll leave open for interpretation, dear readers, but it did cause Chad to tighten the grip on Tawny’s arm and push her into the storage with a lot of intent.  

The door was closed. Tawny took a deep breath. She dropped to a seat on the floor.  

*** 

Lydia stopped in Bournton to have coffee with her sister, Cynthia, en route to Harvester Farm. Agent Lydia Lowe had wanted to wait until close to sun down when the farm hands had left and she would stand a better chance of finding Buddy. Cynthia had been telling her all about their father’s new hobby of watercolours. She showed her sister his first attempts as photos on her phone. Some time with Cynthia had been a breath of fresh air. It gave her a moment to compose herself before venturing on her task to corner Buddy.  

Refreshed, she felt ready as she passed the sign to Harvester Farm. She slowed her bike as much as she could so as not to disturb the animals too much. There was one farm hand lingering on the field. He had parked a Harvester van by the paddock of the stud herd.  

Curtis had been too busy in his own mind mumbling to himself. He hadn’t heard Lydia approach.  

“Whoah!” he gasped when he turned and saw her. There was still a little distance between them. “Stop there,” he ordered.  

Lydia stopped. The last thing she needed was to upset the farm hands.  

“I’m Agent Lowe,” Lydia explained. “I just want to ask a few questions.”  

Curtis raised his eyebrows in an instant mistrust.  

“We don’t like cops here,” he warned.  

He banged his fists against the side of the van. Lydia watched him as he crossed to the rear which was parked towards her.  

Lydia watched the sudden nervousness in him.  

“What’s your name?” she asked.  

Curtis started to become irate. He banged his fist on the rear of the van.  

“We’re working hard here and cops think they can wander onto the farm and ask questions? Let me tell you exactly why that’s not going to happen.”  

He crossed to the left side of the van. He clenched his fist again.  

BANG. BANG. BANG!  

He snatched a cord and pulled the van grate open.  

“Go get her boy!” he yelled as he skipped further around the side of the van.  

From the van emerged a huge black bull named Gordon. In a rage he charged, catching only Lydia in his sight. The agent ran as fast as she could.  

Gordon caught the shine of Lydia’s bike in his eyes. The gleam frustrated him. With his great horns, the bike was thrown and its rear wheel torn away.  

Curtis was now arguing with another farm hand. Lydia managed to swing back down from the ledge she had escaped to as Gordon charged towards the east acre where the dairy herd were kept.  

“Sorry,” Glenn said when he approached them. “We get a lot of our hands from The Boss. We don’t usually get cops here. It makes the hands nervous. “  

“I just wanted to ask about Buddy Owen,” Glenn said.  

Curtis, who was still excitable, said, “Why didn’t you say that?”  

“I never got the chance to,” she said.  

Curtis shrugged. His nerves were eased.  

“The way you came at me, I thought you were here to pick me up.”  

Lydia frowned. “Should I be picking you up?”  

Glenn slapped his arm. “You let Gordon out? Go and get him before he shags one of the dairies.”  

Curtis took rope from the back of the van and dashed off to fetch the bull and lead him back to his own paddock. Glenn led Lydia a little further up. They both leaned against the fence, freshly erected.  

“Sorry about your bike,” Glenn apologised.   

“I just want to ask some questions about Buddy Owen,” she stated.  

“He’s not here,” Glenn admitted. “You missed him. He’s gone back to his fancy estate. I’d watch yourself around him.”  

Lydia smiled. “I’ll keep an eye out.” 

“You’re a Bournton lass?” Glenn beamed when he caught a hint of her northern tones. 

“I am,” she admitted.  

Glenn seemed pleased by this. He looked up and watched Curtis trying to rope Gordon. Gordon shook the rope from his horns and charged at Curtis. The charge was without malice but it caused Curtis to leap the fence.  

“Sorry about him too,” Glenn said. “He’s just a dumb animal.”  

“No hard feelings,” Lydia replied. “I like cows.” 

Glenn frowned. He had been referring to Curtis.  

“Give me a hand, will you?” Curtis could be heard yelling to anyone who would helping.  

Gordon was feeling mischievous and charging anyone who came near him.  Curtis had been forced to leap the fence again.  

“You let him out. You can put him back in,” Glenn returned.  

“Fuck you, Gordon,” Curtis growled, raising his finger at the bull.  

Glenn shook his head. “I’d better help him. I’ll give you a run back home. I’ll tell you what I know about Buddy.”  

“Not a fan of him then?” Lydia asked.  

“This farm has seen more than its share of unwanted ludgers,” he said.  

With Glenn on scene Curtis leapt the fence and the two of them circled a disgruntled Gordon.  

She felt a nibble on her thigh that caused her to step aside.  

“Maaaah!” the pygmy goat named Gary pressed his head to her gently through the fence. She patted his head. Maybe before she left she could get a photo of him to send to Cynthia.  


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.

When an artist meets the shy, unassuming farm girl Julia Harvester, he sees her true form and it is inspiring.

1310: Interview with David Finn

David Finn arrives at Harbour House rehab clinic.

A scruffy young man is sat before me. His hair is bleached, his body thin and a little malnourished. He’s been through a lot it seems but brought to Harbour House to combat a drug addiction he’s on the list of those we aim to make better.

Interviewer: You were once described at Coldford City’s most promising young talent. You were a truly terrific artist. But you threw it all away on drugs, didn’t you, you rogue.

David shuffles a little. It seems the close scrutiny is making him nervous or perhaps withdrawal from needles is already getting to him. Still, no fix until he begins to cooperate.

David: You know what happened. You’re the reason I’m here, man.

Interviewer: How do you feel?

David: Like I got a life that ain’t worth saving.

Interviewer: A little bleak but I can see why it seems hopeless for you right now.

David: It’s the baby that got me the most. Elliot? What’d he do? What did his mums do?

Interviewer: You feel responsible for what happened?

David: Of course I do! He’s not the first kid I’ve said goodbye to either.

Interview terminated. Resident 1310 became too distraught to continue. Awaiting notice from Dr Winslow.

#amreading #thriller #harbourhouse2020 by @VivikaWidow


“No Davey, No!” where the last words he heard him cry. It took some time for him to remember his childhood but now the artist’s ‘tortured boy’ piece is ready, thanks to his latest muse.

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

Quiet please!

Can we have some quiet please? It is a clinic after all. 

Creating noise won’t do our residents any good. They are hear to recover. 

Trauma. Obsession. Addiction. All those little bugaboos will be locked away, examined closely and treated accordingly. 

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the finest facility this city has to offer. 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.

#amreading @VivikaWidow and I am ready for rehab! #harbourhouse2020

Music teacher, Vincent Baines, let his obsessions get the better of him when he met his wealthy new pupil.

Artist, David Finn, thought he had found an inspiring new muse. Instead he found himself in need of rehab.

Coming 2020.

What do a disgraced music teacher, a failed artist and an old show girl have in common? They are all residents of Harbour House.

Setting the Stage

Good evening folks! The Knock Knock club proudly presents … TRAUMA.

Trauma may make an enticing spectacle for others but what about those who are lost in their heads?

Tawny here had been on top of the world and her name was in lights but sometimes light can attract the bugs.

A native of Hathfield Bay island Tawny travelled to the Shady City for a new life.

When the bombs rained in and the shooting began the scene was set for a very dark night.

The name of The Baroness was in lights no more. What she saw that evening caused the curtains to draw closed.

Tawny’s protests drew the attention of the city.

So bring me your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me resident 0109 for she will always have a home here at HARBOUR HOUSE.

#amreading #harbourhouse2020 by @VivikaWidow

The Baroness was a much loved figure. An attack on her club would split the city in two.

Available now.

A cure guaranteed for all your ailments. Not to worry. The Baroness is in good hands.

Old mind; New tricks.

Let me begin by saying that at the tender age of (ahem) I don’t really see myself as having an old mind but for the purposes of this article and for the reasons I am about to discuss I will.

Little kids are like sponges, aren’t they? They are observing, exploring and learning all the time. When you start to reach a certain age that process slows. Where does all that mental capacity go? Well it doesn’t go anywhere. I refuse to believe you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

Back in 2017 I decided to pick up the cello. I have no musical ability and no previous experience. I just happen to love music and really wanted to learn how to play. Some would say it was too late to start learning how to play an instrument and I admit it was a little more difficult than it would have been if I had started at an early age. The point wasn’t to become an expert. I wasn’t planning on selling out concert halls or anything. What was important was the happiness it brought me to be learning something new, acquiring new skills. It wasn’t brilliant playing but it was my playing and something I had learned to do.

I guess my point it is never too late to try and learn something new. A few other things I would like to put on my bucket list of learning include: Greek, vocals, photography and how to cook. What’s yours? What are those new skills you would love to learn?

Enjoy this? Enjoy these thrillers from Vivika Widow

When Tabitha is sent to Hathfield Bay to meet her estranged grandma, she is given an inside look at the Cult of Wigan of which granny is a member.

Ten things to expect from Harbour House

I can’t believe it is here already! It seems like only yesterday I was sending my letter to Santa and getting ready to cry, “Happy New Year!”

2020 has sure provided it’s challenges so far. It’s been a full year. Coming this May I am excited to bring you a new novel that I hope you will love reading as much as I enjoyed writing. So without further adu here are ten things you can expect from HARBOUR HOUSE.

1 – Three times the charm.

MAESTRO (2016), MUSE (2018) and KNOCK KNOCK SEASON 1 (2019) all had one thing in common – they each had a character finding themselves in Harbour House rehabilitation clinic. Music teacher, VINCENT BAINES, was put there after sessions with his pupil GEORGE BECKINGRIDGE … well let’s not say too much we don’t want to spoil. After a struggle with a drug habit, artist, DAVID FINN, checked in too and found a new friend in the maestro. Finally in the Knock Knock series, beloved aunt of the BOSS LADY herself, TAWNY, was taken to Harbour House for treatment of trauma after an attack on the club. So three unlikely friends came together and at that Harbour House opens.

2 – Maestro missing days.

In the conclusion of Maestro there is a ten year time hop. A lot of what happened within that time scale will be explained.

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Assigned as tutor to George Beckingridge, Vincent arrives at the manor.

3 – An artist’s struggle.

David is hapless, he can be frustrating to his friends but despite his terrible upbringing he has a good heart. Readers of MUSE will be familiar with his struggle but as enters Harbour House he may find it is the best place for him.

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David Finn finds a new muse in the coy farm girl.

4 – What happened at Knock Knock?

In the Knock Knock series, TABITHA arrives at the club as a girl to find it burned out (sorry, spoilers). All that is explained is that it was attacked and caused a mental break down of our now Harbour House resident. As Tawny’s struggle to get well continues the details of what really happened that night will be revealed.

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Tabitha seeks the safety of her aunt at the club but it appears the club has been attacked.

5 – Sex, drugs and some questionable decisions.

Early readers described it as the boldest book yet. It contains scenes that became the subject of discussions at interventions (no exaggeration). Whilst the shocks and the grimaces are there, there is also a lot of heart. Rehabilitation isn’t an easy journey after all and all the love and support in the world is required.

6 – Villains times three.

Speaking of questionable decisions: I had a poll with early readers to pick who of the three villains would be deemed the most despicable by the end. Yes, you read that right. Since there are three heroes there would naturally be three villains pursuing them as they aim to get well. According to the readers it was a close match because each were just as nasty as the last.

7 – Irrational fears.

A fear of breast milk, a fear of stripping in front of your lover, a fear of being rescued by a handsome lunatic or a fear of your corpse being violated. Yes … Erm … So there’s that.

As a grown up George still keeps the stuffed animal he named Cecil close.

8 – Knock Knock! Who’s there?

Whilst it can be read independently of the Knock Knock series, Harbour House will act as a bridge between Seasons 1 and 2, beginning where S1 ends and leaving where S2 begins.

Resident 0109: Tawny McInney. TRAUMA.

9 – The promise of a cure.

DR WINSLOW is nothing if not a good doctor. When he promises cure to his residents, brought to him for addiction, trauma and obsessive disorder, it is a promise he intends to keep. How the residents will combat their issues and how it will leave them in the end remains to be seen but the promise of a cure is very real.

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Chief clinician and CEO Dr G Winslow.

In order to bring that cure the characters and reader are taken away from the usual experience of the Shady City. Isolation is key to cure and when the doors close on the residents, the reader is held behind those walls too. Don’t worry, there are pretty gardens to enjoy and all the coffee you can drink.

10 – An escape.

Readers, viewers, audiences. We all look to fiction for an escape. Wether it’s an escape from stress, an escape from the mundane routine or even just an escape to worlds where anything is possible. We lose ourselves in fiction because it pushes the boundaries of reality. Opening it’s doors in May 2020 so that you can join our rehab residents and escape, ladies and gentlemen welcome to Harbour House.

All Shady City thrillers can be read and enjoyed without the others and there is no particular order that is needed but if you are looking for the bigger picture be sure to check out as many as you can. As always I am so thankful to all of you. Readers are what makes an author’s work all worth it. I hope you enjoy Harbour House when it is released. In the meantime let me know your thoughts on Maestro, Muse and Knock Knock. Don’t forget to tip your author with a nice little Amazon review 😉

#amreading #harbourhouse2020 by @VivikaWidow


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

Bugs in the Alley

It was a filthy place,

Some of the strongest things grow from dirt.

Forced to look upon an unfamiliar face,

Unleashes the true extent of the hurt.

Bugs they all are and filth is what they know.

How could they let such a disappointment grow?

But in the vibrant colours, with the draw of the brush

The image becomes clearer, it’s purpose shows.

Bugs can be swatted. Underfoot they will crush.

But allow it to feed and its body grows.

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THIS CHILD BUGS ME: David turns his childhood misery into a striking piece of art.

David finds his vision again with the help of a coy, farm girl. With his new MUSE he is making shades in the city agai

Click HERE to read Muse.

MUSE_davidandleona

When David discovers his friend’s baby has been taken getting through rehab becomes critical. Coming May 2020. Welcome Resident 1310 to Harbour House.  Pre order by clicking HERE.

10 facts you (probably) didn’t know about David Finn.

He’s the man with the Muse but like most artists there is a deeper side. This may contain some spoilers for MUSE. If you haven’t read yet click the link. Ready to move on? This is ten things you perhaps didn’t know about artist, David Finn.

1: Daddy Issues.

Growing up with his mother and younger brother Adam, readers of MUSE will find that no mention is ever made of his father. David doesn’t know his dad, he has never met the man and doesn’t care to. Like many of the one parent families in the Shanties where David grew up absentee fathers were considered a way of life.

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David cuts out his life without fatherly guidance.

2: Award Winning.

At age sixteen, David was granted the Junior PENN Prize for a piece he had submitted titled ‘Long Roads; Short Walks’. His submission was anonymous and he hadn’t even told the Ferrald family who practically raised him. The prize was granted and the money received donated to Rita Penn’s community fund. To this day no one knows the winner was a David Finn. His addiction was taking over his life and he barely remembered himself.

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David was always destined for greatness in the art world but it was burden to carry.

3: Engagement

An artist is a passionate being. Passion burns hot but it can also burn fast. David finds himself easily swept in the company of a beautiful woman. He has been engaged several times over the years but never has actually been married. Perhaps one day the wayward artist will settle down but in the meantime he has bigger problems to work through. The beautiful JULIA HARVESTER makes the perfect Muse. It is so easy for him to lose himself in her divine but earthy beauty.

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Julia Harvester is a nice girl.

4: Fan Boy

COLDFORD ATHLETIC football team call the Shanties their home. It is the pride of the poorest in the city and David is no exception. He is a die hard and attends Starkland Park whenever he can.

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David settles down for the latest Coldford Athletic match.

5: old school chums

David attended the public school in City Main known as the grange. There he shared classes with a girl named Lisa. Lisa would later go on to become the bubbly bar maid that reporter SAM CRUSOW meets when he begins uncovering the story of the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB.

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Lisa is one of the smiling faces to greet at the Knock Knock club.

6: Eye catching

You don’t make a name for yourself in the Shady City without attracting some unwanted attention. After a very public fall David certainly turned heads. Julia Harvester steps up as his new Muse but he also pricks the ears of the eminent DR WINSLOW, the Penn family and even as far as the HIGH COURT!

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Provocative images put David on the Coldford map.

7: Cliche

He would spit at the idea of becoming a tortured artist cliche but that – in a lot of ways – is what he is. He carries a lot of emotional scars but he tries to do so with good humour and a no nonsense attitude that is typical of the people of the Shanties.
He blames his allowing his scars to cover his emotions for his work becoming mundane. He lost his vision and slipped too much into a cliche leaving him with only drugs to turn to. It all changed when he met his new muse.

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When Julia meets artist, David Finn.

8: Painting the whole picture

David accepts people at face value. He is naive in this sense. He fails to see when he is being manipulated. This makes him a target for the vagabonds and drug dealers he finds himself in company of.
One such dealer, Joe, managed to take the profit from David’s first ever substantial sale. Not being money focused David never did get back.

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David Finn paints a pretty picture.

9: The Shades of Coldford

It’s easy enough for mayors, high court judges and even club owning Boss Lady’s to fight over what is best for the City. They stand above it looking down with a good view. They don’t have the perspective of of someone on the ground who has witnessed first hand how Shady the Shady City can actually be.

The poor are desperate but no one in high office saw just how desperate David’s neighbour Fergie was when her son died of a heroin overdose. Fergie was unable to pay for a funeral for her son. The social services failed to respond immediately.  The body was left to rot until the people of the Shanties put together their money.

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FLAMES OF A CITY CONSUME

10: Resident 1310

David’s drug addiction is no secret. Before his breathtaking art work, before the loyalty he shows to his friends and before the steps he is taking to try and better himself it will always be the first thing the public will recognise about him. His horrific upbringing by an abusive mother, the trauma he faced in childhood are no excuse for him.

The city’s best rehabilitation clinic has opened its doors for him and the next stage of his journey will continue in 2020. Welcome, Mr Finn, to Harbour House.

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David finds his vision again with the help of a coy, farm girl. With his new MUSE he is making shades in the city again.

Click HERE to read Muse.

MUSE_davidandleona

When David discovers his friend’s baby has been taken getting through rehab becomes critical. Coming May 2020. Welcome Resident 1310 to Harbour House.  Pre order by clicking HERE.