Doctor Peter Smith
Doctor Peter Smith sees the interview room door open and Constance Helling, the head nurse at the psychiatric hospital, enters, followed by a disheveled looking Joanne Evans. Her blonde hair, usually brushed neatly down to her shoulders, sits matted and teased on her head. He can see that Joanne has been crying, as her eyes are red and her face is puffy.
Constance Helling ushers Joanne, dressed in a hospital gown and slippers, to a chair on the opposite side of the table to Doctor Peter Smith. The chair, in contrast to Doctor Smith’s, is cushioned, and Joanne crawls into it, bringing her knees up to her chest.
“Joanne doesn’t trust you,” Constance begins, “but is willing to hear what you have to say to her.”
“I understand her apprehension.” Doctor Smith tries to catch Joanne’s eyesight, but the woman has her head lowered towards her lap. “I thought Joanne deserved to know the truth.”
“She’s been through a traumatic experience,” Constance reminds the doctor, before adding brashly, “no thanks to you.”
“I mean to do her no more harm,” Doctor Smith tries to reassure his biological daughter. “I only want what is best for Joanne.”
Constance huffs disbelievingly. “Too late for that.”
“I don’t have schizophrenia, Joanne,” Doctor Smith says, as Joanne lifts her head to look at the man in front of her quizzically. “There are no drugs that can fix what I have. And I’m afraid it could be hereditary.”
“Enough!” Constance suddenly interjects, grabbing Joanne by the arm and attempting to pull her up. “Joanne doesn’t need to hear this. She doesn’t need to hear any more of your pathetic excuses!”
Joanne pushes the woman off her and stands closer to the table, looking down at her biological father. “Tell me,” Joanne says interrogatingly. “Tell me what I’ve inherited from you.”
Doctor Peter Smith lowers his head and emits a small sigh. “I have Huntington’s Disease,” he informs Joanne. “There’s no cure.”
Joanne exhales loudly and turns and walks towards the door, thinking about her own depressed state of mind as of late. She wonders if she could have possibly inherited the same condition.
“You can be tested,” Doctor Smith informs her as she reaches the door.
Constance Helling helps Joanne open the door and the two start to exit the room.
“Joanne,” Doctor Smith calls out, “there’s something else I haven’t told you.”
“I’m sure you’ve provided her with enough grief for one day,” Constance snaps. “In fact, her whole lifetime!”
“How could this possibly get any worse?” Joanne whispers, grabbing onto the door frame to keep herself upright.
“I was already a father before you came along, Joanne,” Doctor Smith confesses. “You’re not an only child.”
“I’ve lost her,” Doctor Smith whispers.
“Yes,” Constance says, “it’s what you deserve. How does it feel to have something you loved taken away from you?”
Constance Helling lowers herself to the floor and pushes her back up to Doctor Smith’s. The only thing that separates them is the Perspex screen. Tears start to stream down her face.
“You took my Thomas from me,” Constance continues. “He was all I had in this world to love.”
“I’m a bad person,” Doctor Smith agrees.
“You were a good person once,” Constance reflects. “I remember telling you I wanted a child of my own.”
“I remember. We were young then.”
“And you told me about IVF,” Constance explains.
“You were my first patient.” Doctor Smith’s eyes begins to tear up.
“You helped me make my beautiful boy.” Constance wipes her face and takes a few deep breaths. “And then you took him away.”
“He was a beautiful boy,” Doctor Smith says, wiping his own face. “But he had problems of his own. He battled his own demons.”
“I could have helped him,” Constance offers.
“It was all my fault,” Doctor Smith says, burying his head into his hands. “I should have screened the sperm donor.”
“You think he inherited his problems from his father?” Constance asks.
“I know he did.” Doctor Smith rubs his temples with his fingertips.
“It was an anonymous donor,” Constance adds. “There was no way of knowing.”
“It was before I knew myself,” Doctor Smith reflects. “I hadn’t yet been tested for Huntington’s, otherwise I would never have done it.”
“Donated my sperm,” Doctor Smith replies. “Thomas never had a chance. Not with a father like me.”
A beeping sound can be heard coming from Amber Harp’s pocket. Her heart suddenly races as she realises she has been caught out.
She can see the anger intensifying in Leading Senior Constable Kyle Cook’s face.
“What’s that?” Kyle quickly jumps up and grabs at Amber, reaching into her pocket. She tries to stop him but he finds her mobile phone. “You’re recording me?” he bellows, before pitching the phone violently across the other side of the room.
“I’m sorry,” Amber says, frightened.
He grabs Amber by the shoulders and pulls her close into him. His lips brush her face. “You silly, silly girl,” he says to her. “Now you have to pay!”
Amber tries to free herself. “I wasn’t recording you,” she lies. “It was just my phone receiving a message.”
Kyle Cook spits in Amber’s face and grips her shoulders even tighter. “You just had to come meddling, didn’t you?”
Realising she needs to act quickly, Amber swiftly brings her knee up and it makes a sickening connection with Kyle’s genitals. He howls in pain, releasing her from his grip and dropping to the floor.
Without hesitating, Amber pulls the high-heeled shoes from her feet and makes a quick dash for the front door of the police station.
As she races down the front steps of the building and onto the footpath, she suddenly feels dizzy. She continues running down the footpath away from the police station, trying to keep her balance.
A shooting pain in her head overwhelms her and she collapses to the ground, her body twitching in involuntary spasms.
“The scans of your brain suggest that you had an epileptic episode,” Doctor Joel Prasad tells his patient, Amber Harp. “Most certainly this was caused by the violent trauma you received when you were attacked all those months ago.”
“And the memory loss?” Michael Anders, sitting on the bed next to Amber, asks.
“An unfortunate side effect of the seizures,” Joel explains.
“Will she have epilepsy forever?” Michael is concerned for his lover.
“It’s hard to tell, but it may be something that Amber will have to live with. Fortunately, there are drugs that can help alleviate the symptoms and reduce the severity of the attacks.” Joel Prasad scribbles down something on his clipboard folder.
“But she’ll make a full recovery?” Michael interrogates the new doctor.
“Early days yet, but it seems our patient seems to be remembering some things.”
“Yes,” Amber Harp smiles from her hospital bed. “I am having some memories returning to me. I feel like I’m finding myself again.”
Joel Prasad laughs at his patient, touching her gently on the shoulder and scribbling more down on his clipboard. “I’ll go and organise your medication and let you two find yourselves again.”
As the doctor leaves the hospital room, Michael Anders leans over his lover and strokes her brown hair from her face. “I love you, Amber Harp.”
Amber smiles, grabbing hold of Michael’s hands and holding them to her face. “I love you too, Michael Anders.”
Michael Anders had been discharged from the hospital and was returning home to see out the rest of his recovery. He would be returning to his old job as the Sergeant of Peppercorn Patch Police as soon as he was well enough. For now, things seemed to be looking up for Michael Anders. He was hopeful that Amber Harp would be discharged from hospital shortly too, and that she would live with him.
“I don’t want you to return to Holgate,” Michael says. “I want you to come home with me.”
Amber smiles, closing her eyes gently and imagining her new life with Michael Anders.
“I was going to save it,” Michael says, reaching into his pocket, and kneeling next to the bed. He pulls her hand towards him and pushes a silver ring onto her finger. “Marry me, Amber.”
Before Amber Harp can answer Michael Anders, there is a knock at the door. Joel Prasad enters the room and hands Amber her medication. “I hope I wasn’t interrupting anything,” Joel says as he notices the ring on Amber’s finger.
“Michael just proposed,” Amber replies excitedly.
“Congratulations, you two!” Joel shakes Michael’s hand. “Just in time to tell your visitors, it seems.”
“Visitors?” Amber asks.
“Some friends from Holgate are here to see you,” Joel adds.
Amber and Michael both see a man walk into the room holding a bouquet of flowers. “Amber,” the man says. “I’m so glad you’re safe.”
Michael looks at the man inquisitively. Amber looks at the man curiously, trying to search her fragmented memory bank.
“She’s had some memory loss,” Joel Prasad explains. “It may take her a while to remember.”
The man places the flowers on the table next to the bed, leans over and gives Amber a kiss on her forehead.
“Steven?” Amber says, her brain working hard to search for memories.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” Michael Anders asks the male visitor.
“I’m Steven Harp,” the visitor introduces himself, shaking Michael’s hand.
“Amber’s brother?” Michael asks.
Steven Harp laughs out loud. “No, I’m her husband.”
From behind Steven, a little boy of about ten years of age appears. He looks up at Amber sitting on the hospital bed.
“Drake?” Amber says, looking at the boy.
“Mummy!” the little boy rushes to the bed with outstretched arms.
Akemi Helling pushes the metal box across the table towards Kelly Driver. “My workers found this buried when they were digging the foundations,” she says.
“Why are you bringing this to me?” Kelly Driver says, looking over the box. On top of the box she can make out faded initials once written in a black marker. KD 4 HS.
Akemi pulls out two pairs of shoes and a few pieces of clothing.
Under the table, Kelly can feel her hands perspire. “Clothes?”
“More than clothes, dear,” Akemi says, pulling out two laminated photo IDs and placing them on the table.
“I got involved in something bigger than I realised at the time!” Kelly tries to dry her wet hands on her jeans. “I didn’t realise anything was going to happen!”
Kelly looks down at the two high school identification cards. On the first she sees her 16-year-old self staring back at her. On the other she sees her best friend, Henry Smart.
Akemi Helling gives Kelly a quizzical look. “What happened to Henrietta Smart, Kelly?”
At a few minutes past midnight, Kelly Driver quietly exits her parents’ caravan and makes her way over to the large peppercorn tree. She sees her friend, Henrietta Smart, standing next to the tree, lit only by the moonlight.
“You came,” Henry says, smiling. She points to the metal box on the back of the bicycle, ushering Kelly to put the clothes she is holding into it. Kelly notices that it has been marked with the initials KD 4 HS. “We’ll be good for a few days.”
“Where are we going?” Kelly asks.
“Ssssh!” Henry hushes. “Change of plans.”
Kelly looks to her friend. Henrietta looks nervous. More nervous than she was looking earlier in the day. “Change of plans?”
“We can’t go tonight,” Henry explains. “Long story. I’ll explain later, I promise.”
“You promised you would explain everything tonight, Henry!” Kelly is growing impatient.
“I know, I know. I’m sorry.” Henry pulls Kelly towards her and the two girls embrace. “You’re a good friend, Driver.”
“What aren’t you telling me, Henry?”
“Take this box,” Henry says, pulling the metal box off the back of the bicycle and handing it Kelly. “Take it and keep it safe. We’ll need it when we leave, so keep it safe until then.”
“You’re scaring me,” Kelly whispers.
“Driver, listen!” Henry is now the impatient one. “Take the box and hide it. I’ll let you know when we can leave and I’ll tell you everything then!”
The two girls say their goodbyes and Kelly instantly charges herself with finding a good hiding spot for the metal box containing their runaway clothing.
“Hello, Father,” Kelly says from her hospital bed. “Thanks for visiting.”
“Of course,” Father Bolton says to Kelly. “That’s what friends are for.” He places a hand on her leg and Kelly thinks he can hear him praying for her.
Kelly looks at the kind man in front of her and grabs his hand. “You know,” she says, pulling him closer to her, “I consider you my own father.”
“And you a daughter to me.” Father Bolton smiles down at Kelly.
“When my real parents decided to leave Peppercorn Patch I thought I would never survive,” Kelly says. “When they up and left with ‘The Family’ I knew where my real home was.”
“Peppercorn Patch,” Father Bolton says.
“Yes,” Kelly agrees. “I could never leave with them. I realised they didn’t value me as much as they did that evil cult they belonged to.”
“I’m sorry your parents abandoned you, Kelly,” Father Bolton expresses his disappointment.
“I’m glad you took me in, Father,” Kelly says. “You more than made up for my parents.”
Father Bolton squeezes Kelly’s hand.
“I just wish Henry had the same opportunity as me,” Kelly adds. “Not a day goes by when I don’t think about what might have happened to her.”
Father Bolton squeezes Kelly’s hand even tighter.
“Kelly, my dear child,” Father Bolton says, grabbing a hold of his rosary beads, “it may be a shock to you, but I know what happened to Henrietta Smart.”
Melody Walker peers through the hospital room window. She crouches behind the garden hedge so that the four people in the room cannot see her. She sees Cathy Gilmore leaning over the hospital bed and give the male patient a kiss. “Whore!” she huffs under her breath.
Melody still feels aggrieved by Cathy Gilmore. Melody had fallen in love with Mark Gilmore, and had believed that Mark had loved her too. They had purchased a house together and Mark had promised that he was going to leave his wife. That was until Cathy went and got herself captured by The Poetry Predator. When Cathy was finally rescued, Mark changed all their plans and went running back to his wife. He told Melody that Cathy needed him more than ever.
What about me!? Melody had tormented herself. Mark still loved her. She was sure of it.
She just needed to get Cathy out of the picture.
Kneeling behind the hedge, she pulls a rifle up to her shoulder and points it in the direction of the hospital room.
Melody had only moments earlier broken into the local ranger’s car. Kelly Driver stored her rifle under a blanket on the back seat of her ute.
What about me!? Melody torments herself again as she presses her finger on the rifle’s trigger, and then reloads.
Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.
Kelly Driver had survived the attack on her life, if only just.
The question on everyone’s lips, of course, was: Who shot through the window? Who broke into Kelly Driver’s vehicle, took her rifle and shot four bullets through the hospital window?
The police investigation, headed by Leading Senior Constable Kyle Cook, had so far been fruitless. The stolen rifle had been found dumped in the garden hedges outside the hospital room, but no other evidence about the perpetrator had been discovered. There had also been no witnesses to the event. It was frustrating to all, but it seemed that no-one knew of what had happened. No-one seemed to know who pulled the trigger.
But someone did pull the trigger. Someone reloaded and pulled the trigger of the rifle four times. And she hoped that no-one would ever find out.
“It’s Melody, isn’t it?” Joel Prasad, the new doctor, asks Melody Walker as she sits in his office.
“Yes, nice to meet you,” Melody shakes the good-looking doctor’s hand.
“How can I help you today, Melody?” Joel asks, adjusting the stethoscope around his neck.
“Well, it’s more how I can help you,” Melody says, brushing her leg closer to the doctor’s. “We’re both fairly new around here, so I thought we could get to know the place together.”
“Sounds logical,” Joel laughs.
Melody pushes her leg even closer to the doctor’s and thrusts her chest forward. “Let’s start by getting to know each other.”
Leading Senior Constable Kyle Cook
“I thought you had left town.” Senior Constable Kyle Cook approaches Inspector Manning, having hiked up the walking track from the town below.
“I’m glad you could join me up here,” Inspector Manning says, smiling. “It’s beautiful up here, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it certainly is spectacular,” Kyle agrees. “Why did you ask me up here?”
“I was back in town to visit Kelly Driver,” Inspector Manning explains. “I wanted to see she was okay.”
“That was nice of you.” Kyle steps closer to the edge of the cliff.
“I also got a chance to visit Michael Anders.”
“Oh.” Kyle is curious.
“We had a good long chat about his current predicament,” Inspector Manning says. “The department has decided to drop the investigations.”
“What do you mean?” Kyle tries to hide his anger.
“Michael Anders will be reinstated as Sergeant of Peppercorn Patch. Once he’s recovered fully from his recent surgery, of course.”
Kyle Cook is glad that it is getting dark, for he cannot hide the anger that his face surely expresses.
“The truth is, Constable Cook,” Inspector Manning says, putting his hand on Kyle’s shoulder, “I’ve actually been investigating you.”
“Me?” Kyle is stunned.
“You’ve been a very naughty boy, Kyle.” Inspector Manning reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pair of handcuffs. “There’s no way you were ever going to get away with what you’ve done.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Kyle says, backing away from his senior officer.
“You don’t have to make this difficult for yourself.” Inspector Manning takes a step towards Kyle Cook.
Age versus experience is put to the test suddenly as the two men engage in battle. Dust flies everywhere as the men bring each other to the ground, punches thrown to release each other’s grip. Inspector Manning straddles the young constable and grips his legs tight around Kyle’s. For a moment, the two men remain motionless. Inspector Manning struggles to pull Kyle’s arms up so that he can latch the handcuffs around his wrists. The dust from the dirt dances around them and makes it difficult for either man to keep their eyes open.
Stalemate. Neither man moves. Heavy panting. A dust bath.
Without warning, Kyle Cook bucks his body violently, and Inspector Manning releases his hold over Kyle. Inspector Manning slides along the gravel towards the edge of the cliff, thrown by the force of Kyle’s buck. Inspector Manning grabs a hold of Kyle’s arm as he continues to slide ever so close to the cliff’s edge.
With one arm, Kyle Cook holds onto the branch of a tree. Kneeling in the dirt, his other arm is attached to Inspector Manning who is holding on for dear life. Dangling over the cliff, the only thing that is keeping Inspector Manning from falling is his tight grip on Kyle’s arm.
He can’t hold on forever, though, and, before long, his grip loosens. Kyle Cook watches on as Inspector Wesley Manning falls to his death, hitting the rocks below with a deafening sound that roars throughout the bushland and sends a flock of birds shooting into the night sky.
Kyle Cook hated to get his hands dirty. A contradiction, considering that is all he had done since moving to Peppercorn Patch and becoming a police officer; a sworn protector and law enforcer.
Leading Senior Constable Kyle Cook had to use what was around him: a rock and a few branches. He had managed to dig a shallow grave underneath a large gum tree. He had been digging for a while and his whole body was covered in dirt. It would have been pitch black had it not been for the light illuminated from his headlamp.
He had to act quickly before someone noticed the light amongst the trees above the small town. He knew that this would only be a temporary solution to his problem until he was able to sort out what he was going to do with the body. Surely someone would start asking questions.
For now he had to hide the body of Inspector Wesley Manning.
Kyle Cook was frantic. He had lost his calm.
Cathy Gilmore exits the hospital room of one of her patients and heads to the nurse’s station. She grabs out another cookie from the carton of cookies that her husband had sent her.
“You don’t look too well,” a nursing colleague informs her.
“I’ve just been busy today, that’s all,” Cathy says, taking a bite of the cookie. “I haven’t eaten lunch yet, so these will have to do.” She grabs another cookie from the carton and shoves it into her mouth before hurrying to her next patient.
As she reaches the door of her next patient, Cathy suddenly feels ill. She grabs a hold of her stomach; it pulsating with a stabbing pain. Nauseous, Cathy grabs a hold of the wall to keep herself upright. The room around her spins. She retches violently and vomits all over the hospital corridor’s floor, before collapsing and sending her work colleagues into a panic.
Peppercorn Patch. The sign welcomes the couple.
“A new life,” Joseph says to his wife.
From her position in the passenger seat, Anna-Maree Axe gently touches her husband’s knee. Their car travels around the curvy bends of Holgate’s Gap and passes the sign which tells them they are almost at their destination. “Yes,” Anna-Maree agrees.
“We deserve it,” Joseph Axe adds, steering the car around another sharp bend.
“I’m sorry for everything,” Anna-Maree says.
Joseph puts his hand on his wife’s. “Don’t apologise,” he tells her. “The main thing is we’re both safe now.”
“Yes,” Anna-Maree agrees.
“It’s a new life, remember,” Joseph reminds his wife.
“A new life,” Anna-Maree repeats.
“Our past is behind us.”
As the car rounds the next corner, the couple can see a hitchhiker on the side of the road. Joseph slows the car down.
“What are you doing?” Anna-Maree asks.
“We should give them a lift,” Joseph suggests. “We’re starting over, remember?”
Anna-Maree sighs silently. She feels unsure of picking up a hitchhiker, but trusts her husband.
“Where are you heading?” Joseph asks the hitchhiker.
“Jump in back. That’s where we’re headed,” Joseph instructs.
The hitchhiker lugs a backpack into the backseat and climbs in after it, quickly securing the bullets that begin to escape from the side pocket.
“You heading to Peppercorn Patch for work or pleasure?” Anna-Maree asks their passenger.
“Kinda both,” the hitchhiker replies, “I used to live there.”
“Well we’re moving there, so maybe you can show us around,” Joseph suggests.
“I’ll be too busy reacquainting myself,” the hitchhiker declares, slightly annoyed by the interrogation.
“Oh, I bet you’re looking forward to catching up with old friends, then,” Anna-Maree says.
“Yes, I can’t wait,” Thomas Helling replies, patting the handgun in his pocket. “I can’t wait.”
Prepare for Vengeance.
Season Five. August 1.