Season Four Recap

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

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.”

“Done what?”

“Donated my sperm,” Doctor Smith replies. “Thomas never had a chance. Not with a father like me.”


Amber Harp

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.


Kelly Driver

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?”


June, 1983

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

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

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.


Anna-Maree Axe

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.

“Peppercorn Patch.”

“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.

Episode Forty-Nine

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Lies
[noun. inaccurate or false statements; falsehoods.]

Present Day

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.”


Nine Months Ago

The door to the caravan makes a squeaking noise as it is opened. The large brown boots bang harshly on the caravan’s linoleum floor.

“Hello Thomas.” The Poetry Predator closes the caravan door behind him and smiles at Thomas Helling.

Thomas Helling rocks himself from side to side, forcing his body into a tight ball on the bottom bunk bed.

“It’s okay, Thomas,” The Poetry Predator says as he reaches down to brush Thomas’ dirty, unwashed hair. “I’m a friend.”

Thomas Helling looks up timidly at The Poetry Predator. “My name is Thomas?” he asks.

“Yes, it is. You were in an accident, but I’m here to look after you.”

“Who are you?” Thomas asks.

“I’m an old friend, Thomas,” The Poetry Predator says, sitting down on the bed beside Thomas. “Your accident left you with some memory loss.”

The Poetry Predator goes to brush Thomas’ hair again, but Thomas retreats, forcing his body into a tighter ball.

“I know you don’t remember me, Thomas, but I am your friend. I’m here to take you to a place where you can be looked after.” The Poetry Predator reaches for Thomas’ arm, but Thomas pushes away.

“No!” Thomas screams. “Don’t touch me!”

“Come on now, Thomas. Be a good boy.”

Thomas lets out another scream as The Poetry Predator reaches for him again. Without warning, The Poetry Predator pulls a syringe out of his pocket and jabs it into Thomas’ thigh.

“There’s no point struggling, Thomas. You can’t stay here.”

Now unconscious, Thomas is dragged by The Poetry Predator out of the caravan. The only light illuminating the night sky is from a streetlight in the distance.

After dragging Thomas into the backseat of Cathy Gilmore’s car and throwing a blanket over him, The Poetry Predator starts the car and steers it slowly to the exit of the caravan park. The streets of Peppercorn Patch are empty, and the car is manoeuvred through the quiet town.

“Say goodbye Thomas,” Doctor Peter Smith says to his sleeping passenger. “Say goodbye to Peppercorn Patch.”


June, 1983

“Let’s heal this poor girl from her pain and confusion,” Miranda Smart says. “Let’s pray that she recovers from her sickness.”

Kelly Driver suddenly feels the congregation in front of her throwing water at her.

“This holy water will wash away your sins!” Reginald Smart exclaims. “You have corrupted our wholesome daughter and you will now be accountable for your actions!”

“Let go of me!” Kelly screams.

In the firelight, Kelly can suddenly see a familiar face materialise. Father Bolton, the town’s local priest, moves in close to her.

“Father,” Reginald says, “we’re so glad you came. You need to help this girl attest to her sins!”

“What is this girl accused of?” the young priest asks.

“Homosexuality,” Miranda replies. “Spreading her evil ways.”

“Why, this is indeed an evil act!” Father Bolton declares, grabbing a hold of his rosary beads.

“Yes, Father,” Reginald says. “That’s why we called you here. You need to expunge this wicked girl of her sins.”

Father Bolton grips Kelly Driver’s arm firmly and ushers Miranda and Reginald to take a seat. “I’ll take over from here,” he tells them.

Kelly looks up at the priest and struggles for a moment. She realises his grip is too strong.

“Heavenly Father,” Father Bolton begins to say aloud, “please forgive these poor people for their sins.” Suddenly Father Bolton pulls Kelly in close to him. “Run!” he whispers to her, releasing his grip.

Kelly runs as fast as she can.

Behind her she can hear the local priest: “Forgive them, Father! For they do not know what they are doing!”

She runs and runs.

“You will leave this town,” she can hear Father Bolton reprimanding the members of ‘The Family’, “and never return! You are the sinners here and you are no longer welcome!”


Nine Months Ago

Doctor Peter Smith drives the car further and further away from Peppercorn Patch. Where he drives there are no streetlights and it is pitch dark outside.

“I would have loved to have gotten to know you better Thomas,” he says, looking at a sleeping Thomas Helling in the rearview mirror, “but you went and messed a lot of things up.”

Doctor Smith shifts gears and manoeuvres the car onto the side of the road and proceeds to head along the forest’s fire track. The car thumps over fallen branches.

“Do you know that Joanne is my daughter?” he asks, working hard to keep the car on the track. “I may have been a little overprotective, but I needed to look after her.”

Thomas makes a grunting noise from the backseat.

“I know, I know,” Doctor Smith adds, “you are my biological son. I was looking after your best interests too, but when you attacked Joanne, you crossed the line.”

Thomas starts to stir from his sleep.

“There was no way you could ever be with Joanne anyway,” Doctor Smith continues. “I mean, what would the neighbours say?”

Thomas tries to sit up.

“Just imagine!” Doctor Smith laughs, quietly at first, then hysterically. “Thomas Helling in love with his sister!”

“Where am I?” Thomas asks, groggily.

“You’re at the end, dear Thomas,” Doctor Smith replies, stopping the car and facing his passenger.

Thomas puts a hand to his head and blinks his eyes a few times, attempting to fix his blurry vision.

“I created you, Thomas,” Doctor Smith says, pulling a pair of pliers from his pocket, “and some things need to come to an end.”


Present Day

“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.”

“Father?” Kelly is suddenly incredulous.

“I know what happened to her, Kelly,” Father Bolton reiterates.


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.


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.

“Peppercorn Patch.”

“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.”


Thanks again for all of your support this Season!

Obnoxious Weeds will return for another explosive Season soon!

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Episode Forty-Eight

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Secrets
[noun. things kept hidden or concealed; a mystery.]

June, 1983

“I know what she’s feeling,” Miranda Smart replies. “Kelly, I know what Henry must’ve been feeling.”

“How?” Kelly Driver asks.

“Kelly,” Miranda whispers. “I’m gay too.”

“I don’t follow.”

“Of course, Reginald doesn’t know. In fact, no-one does,” Miranda explains. “I grew up in a very Christian family and my parents would not have understood. I love Reginald, don’t get me wrong, but I married him because I had to.”

“I don’t think this is any of my business, Mrs Smart.”

“Reginald is a very strict Christian man,” Miranda continues. “He wouldn’t approve, which is the reason why he didn’t approve of Henrietta.”

“I think she tried to run away, Mrs Smart, but something happened to her.”

“I feel so ashamed that I let her think that I didn’t understand her.” Miranda Smart holds her hands to her face and begins to cry.

Kelly cries too. She misses her best friend.


Present Day

Cathy Gilmore rests the gift-wrapped box on the table in front of her. The present had been delivered to her at her place of work at the Peppercorn Patch hospital.

The nurse looks the box over, noticing a small card on the top of the box.

To my gorgeous wife, it reads, as if I could make you any sweeter, but I’ll try.

 A gift from her husband. Cathy felt so happy to have Mark Gilmore back in her life. She thought she had lost him to another woman, but things had worked themselves out.

She had been unsure whether she would take Mark back after he cheated on her, however she knew she still loved him. She had just been attacked by the Poetry Predator, so she was feeling particularly vulnerable as well. He had promised to take care of her, and that was what he was doing.

Cathy undoes the bow on top of the box and opens the carton of cookies. Choc-Chip. Her favourite. He certainly knows how to make her happy. And they look hand-made as well.

She wipes the crumbs from her lips before heading off to check on her next patient.


June, 1983

“Welcome everyone,” Reginald Smart addresses the small congregation.

Kelly Driver looks around at the group of people. The dark forest around them is eerie to Kelly, but she feels comforted by the familiar faces. She had been invited by Miranda Smart to attend the group meeting. It was a meeting that only people who were in ‘The Family’ could attend. She could see her parents’ friends sitting in a small circle around the fire which was keeping them warm.

“Welcome to all of our ‘Family’ members,” Reginald continued.

Kelly looked around to see her parents. She couldn’t see them, which she thought odd, as they, too, were part of ‘The Family’ and should have been in attendance.

“Kelly, it’s so nice of you to join us. We don’t usually invite children under the age of eighteen to our gatherings.” Reginald’s glasses glimmer in the firelight.

Kelly feels all eyes on her. Miranda Smart, who is sitting next to her, grabs her hand. “Thanks for coming,” Miranda whispers.

All of a sudden, Miranda pulls Kelly up from her seat forcefully. “This girl is confused!” Miranda shouts to the group as Reginald grabs her other hand. “She thinks she is a homosexual, but she is mistaken.”

Kelly Driver looks at Miranda Smart. In the glow of the firelight, Kelly can see Miranda smirking at her.

“You tricked me!” Kelly shouts, trying to free herself from the grip. “Let go of me!”

“Family members,” Reginald calls to his friends gathered around, “let’s pray for Kelly!”

“Let go of me!” Kelly screams out again.

“Let’s heal this poor girl from her pain and confusion,” Miranda says. “Let’s pray that she recovers from her sickness.”

Kelly suddenly feels the congregation in front of her throwing water at her.

“This holy water will wash away your sins!” Reginald exclaims. “You have corrupted our wholesome daughter and you will now be accountable for your actions!”


Present Day

“How dare you treat Joanne like this after all you’ve put her through,” Constance Helling says into the Holgate Bedlamites’ hospital room.

“She needs to know the truth about me,” Doctor Peter Smith replies, his face close to the Perspex screen.

“Joanne is better off not having you in her life!” Constance exclaims. “You’ve caused her too much pain!”

“She needs to be tested for Huntington’s Disease. Please just ensure that you do that for me.” Doctor Smith is restrained for a moment. “For her.”

“She’s already asked to be tested,” Constance replies. “She’ll find out her results shortly.”

Doctor Smith smiles to himself, before lowering himself to the floor. “I always wanted a child,” he says, sitting on the floor with his back up against the Perspex screen.

“And look what you did to her when you got one,” Constance huffs.

“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.”

“Done what?”

“Donated my sperm,” Doctor Smith replies. “Thomas never had a chance. Not with a father like me.”


Final Episode – Thursday April 28

Episode Forty-Seven

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Undisclosed
[adjective. not known or made known publicly.]

Present Day

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.


“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.”


June, 1983

Kelly Driver grabs her school bag out of her locker and closes the door, fastening the padlock. She throws the bag over her shoulder and makes her way out of the school grounds, walking amongst the mass of students making their own way home.

“Kelly!” she can hear someone call out to her. She looks around, expecting to see a fellow classmate. Instead, standing next to her car, Kelly sees Miranda Smart. “Kelly, over here,” Miranda motions for Kelly to come to the car.

Kelly is hesitant, particularly given the circumstances. The last time Miranda Smart spoke to her was not pleasant. She makes her way timidly over to where her best friend, Henry Smart’s, mother is standing.

“Kelly, I’m so glad that I’ve caught you,” Miranda Smart says. “I can drive you home. Please jump in.” Miranda opens the passenger door and motions for Kelly to enter.

“I can walk home, Mrs Smart, but thank you for the offer.” Kelly knows how to be polite.

“Please, Kelly,” Miranda Smart says, almost tearfully.

Kelly Driver throws her bag onto the floor of the passenger side and jumps into the car.

“I’m sorry for the other day,” Miranda says to Kelly as she starts the car and takes off. “I’ve just been so upset about Henry. I worry about her all the time.”

“I understand, Mrs Smart,” Kelly offers. “I’ve been worried about Henry too.”

“I know that you too are close,” Miranda continues, “so I wondered if Henry told you anything. Maybe she told you something.”

Kelly knows how Henrietta’s disappearance would be affecting Miranda Smart. She takes a deep breath and decides to tell Mrs Smart about Henry’s plans. “But we never ended up running away together,” Kelly adds after confessing.

Miranda pulls to the side of the road and switches off the ignition. She lowers her head. “I know why she was going to run away.”

“Why?” Kelly asks.

“She told her father,” Miranda says. “She told Reginald that she was…was gay.”

“Oh?”

Miranda looks up and faces Kelly. “He didn’t know how to react. He told her that she was being silly and she didn’t know what she was talking about. He grabbed at her, tried to tell her she was being stupid. He told her she didn’t know what being gay meant.”

“She was running away because you didn’t accept what she was saying?” Kelly tries to understand what Miranda is telling her.

“I believe so. Reginald could never understand,” Miranda sighs.

“What about you?” Kelly asks.

“I know what she’s feeling,” Miranda replies. “Kelly, I know what Henry must’ve been feeling.”

“How?”

“Kelly,” Miranda whispers. “I’m gay too.”


Present Day

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.


Next Episode – Monday April 25

Episode Forty-Six

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Contentious
[adjective. causing, involving, or characterised by argument or controversy.]

Present Day

“How’s my patient doing today?” Doctor Joel Prasad asks his patient at her bedside.

Kelly Driver pulls herself up to a seated position, screwing her nose up at the hospital food which had just been placed on the table in front of her. “I’d be better if I didn’t have to eat this crap!” she responds.

Joel laughs, before opening the bag slung on his shoulder. “Here, you can have this.” He grabs out a container of food and puts it on the table. “It’s a curry I made last night. I’ll grab a sandwich from the canteen instead.”

“I can’t take your lunch,” Kelly says.

“You need it more than I do,” Joel says to his patient. “Or do you doubt my cooking ability?”

“I have no doubt you can cook, Doctor,” Kelly laughs. “I’m just wondering if there is something you can’t do.”

“I can’t juggle,” Joel confesses. “If I wasn’t a doctor, I think I would learn to juggle and run off with the circus.”

Kelly laughs, before realising that the doctor is seemingly being honest with her. “Well, aren’t you full of surprises.”

“Speaking of surprises, I have one for you,” Joel announces, motioning towards the door. “An old friend of yours is here to visit.”

Kelly Driver looks on in amazement as a man, dressed in a suit jacket and tie, walks into the room and lowers himself onto the chair next to her bed.

“I’ll leave you both to get reacquainted,” Joel says, heading for the exit. “Call out if you need anything.”

Kelly no longer feels very hungry. She pushes the table away from her, and its wheels roll away from the bed.

“I don’t have anything to say to you,” Kelly says, crossing her arms and looking away from her guest, towards the view of the treetops through the hospital room’s window.

“I came to see that you were okay, Kelly.”

“I’m fine. You can leave now.”

There is silence, before Kelly’s guest clears his throat, opens up a notebook and clicks a pen into readiness. “It’s time you told me the truth, Kelly,” Inspector Wesley Manning instructs. “Tell me the truth about what happened to Miss Henrietta Smart.”


June, 1983

A week had passed since anyone had seen Henrietta Smart. Even Kelly had grown more anxious everyday, even though she knew her friend was planning to leave. Kelly was upset that Henry had left without her. Kelly had no reason to leave herself, but couldn’t bear the thought of being without her best friend.

KD 4 HS.

Kelly Driver had loved the outdoors from a very young age. She had always known that she wanted to be a park ranger. She loved the thought of looking after wildlife and the beautiful National Park forest that surrounded the small town of Peppercorn Patch.

Kelly strolls along the walking tracks surrounding the town one day, her backpack on her back filled with lunch and a water bottle. In her hand she holds a Polaroid camera, taking photos of the wildlife she stumbles across. She is yet to see a lyrebird in the wild, so she is adamant that this would be the day.

Following the song of the lyrebird, Kelly decides to stray from the track. With the leaves and twigs crunching under her hiking boots, Kelly ventures further and further into the forest. She can hear the sounds of the lyrebird’s song growing louder and louder. She knows she is close. She has to take it easy, for she doesn’t want to scare the Superb Lyrebird away.

The next crunch underfoot is hard. A log, perhaps, from a fallen tree? No. Logs aren’t blue. Logs aren’t metal.

Kelly Driver bends down and frantically brushes the leaves and twigs away. She knows straight away what it is. She knows straight away what it means.

Underneath the bush scrub lays Henrietta Smart’s bicycle. Henry Smart was indeed missing.


Present Day

Kelly Driver finds it difficult to meet the police officer’s stare. Inspector Wesley Manning clicks his pen impatiently.

“You found her bicycle, Kelly,” Inspector Manning says. “You must know something about Henrietta’s disappearance.”

“Maybe she never intended for anyone to find her,” Kelly suggests. “Maybe she ran away and never looked back.”

“You don’t believe that. You know something and you’re not telling me.”

“She’d spoken to me about running away. For all I know she did just that.” Kelly tries to rearrange the pillow behind her back to make herself more comfortable.

“Seems strange to me that her bike was dumped in the forest,” Inspector Manning tries to reason.

“Please, I don’t know anything more,” Kelly says.

“Her parents were upset with you, weren’t they?” Inspector Manning pushes. “When they found out about your relationship with Henrietta they were furious, weren’t they?”


June, 1983

The whole town was plastered with posters requesting help for finding missing person, Henrietta Smart. The whole town was at a loss. No-one had known what had happened to Henry, not even Kelly.

“I just want her to come home,” Miranda Smart, Henry’s mother, cries to Kelly one day. She had taken the news of Henry’s disappearance the worst. “Do you know where she could have gone, Kelly?”

Kelly breathes heavily, unsure whether to tell Mrs Smart of Henry’s plans to run off with each other.

“She trusted you, Kelly,” Miranda continues, “are you sure she didn’t tell you anything?”

Kelly breathes heavily again.

“Mrs Smart,” Kelly begins, her voice wavering, “I think Henry may have been scared about something.”

“Scared?”

“She wanted me to run away with her, but she wouldn’t tell me why.”

“Run away with you?”

“Yes.” Kelly feels ill telling the woman in front of her. “Mrs Smart, Henrietta and I loved each other. She wanted me to run off with her.”

Miranda Smart stops crying and sniffs a couple of times. She wipes the tears from her face, before bringing her palm in contact with Kelly Driver’s cheek, slapping her hard. “Henrietta is not homosexual!”

Kelly holds her own palm to her cheek, trying to caress it.

“Stay away from me and my family, you demon!” Miranda screams at Kelly. “No wonder my daughter ran away! You are going straight to hell!”


Present Day

The sunset in the distance sends a vibrant orange and pink glow across the tops of the treetops. Inspector Wesley Manning stands on the edge of the cliff looking on at the colourful sky in awe. He looks down at the cliff below him and remembers back to the first time he had been here.

He had been a young constable when he first came to this site to investigate the death of Gretel Helling. His investigations at the time had led him to believe that Gretel had thrown herself from the cliff, tormented by the loss of her loved ones. It was only recently that Inspector Manning had discovered the truth – Gretel Helling had been thrown from the cliff by Dustin Harris, enraged by the fact that she had killed his father. Presumably she had also found out the truth about Dustin’s killing rampage, killing all of those innocent people and removing their teeth. It still didn’t make sense to Inspector Manning, but all those involved in the case were now dead, including Dustin Harris who had only a few months ago died of a heart attack.

Unbeknownst to Inspector Manning, someone did know the truth – the real truth, and she had decided to conceal the truth to protect herself and her family’s legacy. Constance Helling would take her family’s secrets to her grave.

“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.


Next Episode – Thursday April 21

Episode Forty-Five

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Belligerent
[adjective. pertaining to war or to those engaged in war.]

Present Day

His short brown hair and puppy dog brown eyes made many people’s hearts skip a beat. Added to that was his olive skin and athletic physique. The stubble on his face was the only sign that he was a somewhat normal human. Perhaps he could have been a supermodel. Perhaps he could have been an elite athlete. Perhaps he could have even been a celebrity. But Joel Prasad was none of those things. The thirty-something year old was Peppercorn Patch’s new doctor. The local GP.

He had only been at the Peppercorn Patch Hospital for a few short months since the departure of Doctor Peter Smith, but Joel Prasad had seen many things. He had also met many interesting characters. There never seemed to be a dull moment in the small town. And today was no exception.

Four rifle bullets had pierced explosively through the window of one of the hospital’s rooms, injuring the occupants inside it. The exploding glass had caused Cathy Gilmore, a hospital nurse, to fly towards the floor. The only injury she sustained was a bruised knee from her fall. Amber Harp, who had been sitting in the chair next to the hospital bed as the bullets entered the room, threw herself instinctively into a ball to protect herself. She, too, was unharmed. Michael Anders, who had been recovering from surgery in the hospital bed, was lucky that the bullets entered the room at a trajectory that avoided him. The hospital bed sheets that he pulled over his body and face protected him from the spraying glass.

It was Kelly Driver, the town’s local park ranger, however, who was not so fortunate. She had taken one of the bullets and it had struck her through her abdomen. She had been shot by her own rifle.

She was lucky to have been in a hospital, otherwise she would have certainly been killed.

Joel Prasad and his medical team worked tirelessly to save the woman’s life.

Kelly Driver had survived the attack on her life, if only just. Joel knew that she had a long recovery in front of her. The attack was potentially career ending, and even though he had only known Kelly for a few short months, he knew that if she could no longer do the job she loved so much, a part of her was dead already.

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 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.”


The two Holgate Bedlamites security guards assist Doctor Peter Smith to the cold metal chair, push him into the seat and clasp his hands behind his back with handcuffs.

“A pillow or two would be nice,” Doctor Smith grimaces, smiling at the guards. With no reply forthcoming, he adds, “or not.”

Doctor 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.

Joanne slams her fists on the desk. “Tell me!” she screams.

“Joanne, I don’t think this is helping.” Constance tries to pull Joanne away again.

Joanne brushes off the woman and walks around the table. She comes face to face with her attacker. She comes face to face with The Poetry Predator. She comes face to face with her father.

Doctor Smith can see the pain in Joanne’s eyes. “I’m sorry, Joanne,” he says, looking away from her harsh stare. “I never meant to harm you.”

“What about everyone else you harmed, or killed?” Joanne snarls.

“I’m a bad person.”

“Am I going to be a bad person too?” Joanne queries.

“I have Huntington’s Disease,” Doctor Smith 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.”


Next Episode – Monday April 18

Episode Forty-Four

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Hostile
[adjective. opposed in feeling, action, or character; antagonistic.]

Present Day

“Joanne?” Doctor Peter Smith stares in disbelief at the figure in front of him.

“It was you!” Joanne, dressed in a light blue hospital gown, cries.

“I don’t understand,” Doctor Smith utters.

“It was you all along – not Thomas!” Joanne snarls.

“I thought you were…” Doctor Smith struggles to speak. “Joanne, I thought you were dead.”

“You’ve been deriving pleasure from tormenting me for a long time.” Joanne suddenly spits at the man in front of her.

“Are you real?” Doctor Smith is still confused.

“I thought it was Thomas who had attacked me all along.” Joanne reaches down and rubs her legs. “But it wasn’t Thomas.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Joanne.” Doctor Smith suddenly rubs his own legs, sensing the pain that Joanne had inflicted on him only seconds earlier.

“You had me believe for so long that you were protecting me.” Joanne shuffles to the side of the room and leans on the wall. She holds her head in her hands, her disheveled blonde hair falling down over her face.

“I loved you. You were my daughter.”

Joanne sniggers quietly. “Love?” she asks. “Is that how you show love to someone? By attacking them and holding them captive?” She walks over to the cricket bat on the floor and picks it up. “I may be related to you by blood, but I’ll never be your daughter.”

The long shadow of the cricket bat being hoisted into the air is painted across the wall and ceiling by the yellow glow of the desk lamp. Doctor Smith can see Joanne lifting the bat above her head.

“You’re crazy!” he yells at her, cowering.

Joanne laughs hysterically. “You haven’t seen crazy yet, doctor!”


June 1983

Four days had passed since Kelly Driver had buried the metal box. Four days had passed since she had seen Henrietta Smart. Four days had passed since anyone had seen Henrietta Smart.

Henry has left without me, Kelly thought to herself. She didn’t even tell me she was going. She was supposed to take me with her.

Miranda Smart, Henry’s mother, was understandably growing increasingly concerned about her daughter’s disappearance. Kelly wanted to reassure Mrs Smart that Henry was okay. But Kelly wasn’t sure herself. She didn’t know where Henry had taken off to, or the reason why she left in such a hurry.

Sergeant Wesley Manning from the Holgate Police was sent to Peppercorn Patch to assist in the missing person investigation.

“When did you last see Henrietta Smart?” Sergeant Manning asks Kelly outside her parents’ caravan.

“Umm…four days ago,” Kelly says nervously.

“Was she acting normally?” Sergeant Manning asks.

“Sure,” Kelly answers.

“No sign that she was in trouble? Or would have taken off somewhere?”

“Not that I could tell,” Kelly lies.

“It’s very important that you tell the truth, Kelly,” Sergeant Manning says imposingly.

“I’m no liar, sir.”


Present Day

“Joanne!” the Holgate Bedlamites nurse runs towards Joanne as she lunges towards Doctor Smith with the cricket bat. “Put it down Joanne!” Three other nurses enter the room and surround Joanne, apprehending her before she can deliver another blow.

“No!” Joanne screams, thrashing her body about. “Let me at him!”

The nurses struggle to lead Joanne out of Doctor Smith’s hospital room. “Take her back to her room,” the head nurse directs the others, “and give her something to calm her down.”

As the nurses rush Joanne back to her own room, the head nurse turns to face Doctor Smith, still cowering in the corner of his room on his bed.

“I thought she was dead,” he says, shaking.

“Alive and well it seems,” the head nurse smiles.

“She’s a patient here too?” Doctor Smith asks.

“She’s undergoing some treatment here, yes.”

“Treatment for what?” Doctor Smith is curious.

“She’s been through a lot of trauma. Understandably she needs some time to rest and recover,” the nurse says.

“Does she have what I have?”

“She’ll never be deranged like you!” the head nurse snaps. Doctor Smith sees the nurse approach his bed and the desk lamp illuminates her face.

“Did you enjoy your visit from Joanne?” Constance Helling peers down over the doctor, swinging a set of hospital room keys in her hand. Doctor Smith cowers further. “I thought you might like the visit.”

“What are you doing here?” Doctor Smith splutters.

“I got my old job back.” Constance smiles. “I’m going to be looking after you from now on.”

Constance bends over and picks up the pair of pliers that had been dropped to the floor. “I’ll take these, shall I?” she laughs. “You never know when I might need them!”

As she closes the hospital door behind her, Constance peers back through the Perspex window. “Sleep tight, Doctor,” she says, clicking the pliers together.


Michael Anders stirs from his deep sleep. Lying in a hospital bed attached to an arrangement of medical instruments, he is surrounded by a few familiar faces.

“Glad to hear the surgery went well,” Kelly Driver says, smiling down at Michael.

“Yes, Mister Michael,” Amber Harp adds, sitting in the chair next to the bed. “The doctor said you were a good patient.”

Michael smiles and notices his friend Cathy Gilmore, a nurse at the hospital, also standing next to the bed. “Everything went well,” Cathy says reassuringly, “and your vitals are looking good.”

“Thanks,” Michael tries to say, but his throat is dry.

“Valerie is doing well too,” Cathy informs him. “You’re both very brave.”


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.


Next Episode – Thursday April 14

Episode Forty-Three

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Inimical
[adjective. unfriendly; hostile.]

The day of the wedding

“Joanne!” Cathy Gilmore screams at her best friend. “Stay with me!”

The guests of Cathy and Mark Gilmore’s wedding look on as Cathy Gilmore, dressed in her white wedding gown, kneels over her friend. The white wedding gown is no longer white.

“Is she going to be okay?” Father Bolton asks, holding a bloodied newborn baby in his arms. Its cries echo through the town hall.

“Joanne!” Cathy screams again, watching on as blood continues to flow. “Where is that bloody ambulance?”

“It’s too late,” Cathy can hear a voice behind her say. She looks up to see Constance Helling. “Cathy, you know as well as I do it’s too late to save her.”


Three Months Later – Present Day

Leading Senior Constable Kyle Cook pushes the baby stroller down the main street of Peppercorn Patch. He stops now and then to take in the admiration of the common town folk that want to stop him to tell him what a good father he is and how brave he is.

Kyle doesn’t need strangers to tell him how brave he is. He already knows he is brave. He is a police officer. A senior officer in Peppercorn Patch. He saved Thomas Helling from drowning. He saved Joanne Evans from her burning house. He saved Joanne from Richard Evans. He saved Joanne from Thomas. He saved Joanne…

He saved Joanne…

Kyle Cook suddenly realises he didn’t save Joanne. He couldn’t. He wasn’t to know she would be attacked by the deranged doctor. He wasn’t to know she was going to have complications during child birth.

He couldn’t save Joanne…

But her legacy would live on. He would make sure of it.

Through their baby, Joanne’s legacy would live on.


June, 1983

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.

Kelly reaches her parents’ caravan and looks around. It’s dark and she doesn’t have very much time before someone might see her. There would be no good excuse as to why she was out so late. She grabs a shovel lying next to the van and starts digging under one of the bushes. Minutes pass. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, Kelly is not sure. She feels as if she has been digging forever. She stops, motionless, anytime she hears a noise from the caravans surrounding her. Carefully she places the box inside the hole and quickly covers it, pushing a few branches of the bush on top to conceal her treasure.

Silently, and as if nothing had ever happened, she opens the door to her caravan and puts herself to bed.


Present Day

Doctor Peter Smith lays in the darkness of the hospital room.

In his hands he holds the pair of pliers that Constance Helling had given him. He keeps them hidden from the hospital staff by concealing them under his mattress.

“Just wait until I get out of here,” he whispers into the darkness, prying the pliers open and shut. “You won’t know what’s hit you when I’m through with you.”

As if on cue, Doctor Smith can hear the latch of his cell door open. He looks on as a dark figure walks slowly towards him, closing the door behind them.

“Nurse, I don’t think it’s my med time yet!” Doctor Smith says, gripping the pliers in his hand tighter. His mind begins to race. Is this my opportunity? he thinks to himself. Should I kill this nurse and make a run for it?

“Nurse?” he says again as the figure moves closer towards him, silently.

“You’ve hurt too many people!” the figure suddenly shouts. Doctor Smith squints into the darkness but still can’t make out who it is.

“Nurse!” Doctor Smith decides to scream for help.

As he lifts himself from the bed, his legs are suddenly in pain. The figure strikes his legs with something heavy and he feels the impact instantly.

“You killed Benjamin Pickering!” the figure screams.

Doctor Smith winces in pain.

“You killed Sylvia Jessop!”

The pliers that Doctor Smith is holding fall to the ground as the doctor is attacked again, this time to his upper body.

“You killed Thomas Helling!”

“Please, stop!” Doctor Smith pleads with his attacker, pulling himself into a ball to shield his body.

“But worst of all,” his attacker says, “you made Cathy Gilmore suffer.”

“I’m sorry,” Doctor Smith cries, as he is hit again across his body.

“You will never hurt anyone again!”

“No, no,” Doctor Smith cries. “I won’t, I promise.”

“The biggest pain you will ever feel is the loss of your biological daughter,” his attacker says, cruelly. “The one thing you wanted more than anything you have now lost forever!”

Without warning, Doctor Peter Smith reaches across to his bedside table and switches on the desk lamp. The room illuminates in a wash of yellow light. Before him, Doctor Smith’s attacker stands.

Joanne Evans drops the cricket bat she is holding and it crashes to the floor.


Next Episode – Monday April 11

Happy Easter! Obnoxious Weeds will return in two weeks!

Episode Forty-Two

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Adverse
[adjective. being or acting in a contrary direction; opposed or opposing.]

Present Day

“I’m desperate,” Constance whispers into the room. She can see the figure stir in the darkness. She can feel her eyes fill with tears. “Tell me where my son is.”

Doctor Smith looks at Constance and smiles. “Let him go. He’s gone.”

“Don’t tell me that! That’s not what I want to hear!”

“It’s the truth. Thomas is gone.”

“Gone where?” Constance’s whole body is shaking.

Doctor Smith does not answer. He just smiles at Constance.

“You wanted these,” Constance says, showing Doctor Smith the pair of pliers she is holding, “in exchange for information about Thomas.”

“And I’ve given you your information, Constance,” Doctor Smith replies calmly.

“You took my son away!” Constance screams. “Now tell me where he is!”

“Sshhh Constance,” Doctor Smith tries to hush the woman, “if you come close I’ll whisper Thomas’ location to you.”

Constance Helling hesitantly moves closer to the open Perspex screen and leans in close to Doctor Peter Smith. Suddenly he grabs Constance by the hair and pulls the woman in even closer to her, pulling one of her arms behind her back.

“Now you listen to me!” Doctor Smith barks at Constance. “Give me the damn pliers or you’ll never be seeing your son again!”

Scared, Constance slowly releases her grip on the pliers. Without hesitating, Doctor Smith grabs them, releasing Constance as he does so.

“You’re a gem,” Doctor Smith smiles at Constance, as she moves herself away from the opening of the cell.

“You got what you wanted,” Constance cries. “Tell me where Thomas is.”


June, 1983

Kelly Driver drops her bag in the same location after school. She pulls herself up into the tree and makes herself comfortable. For the third day in a row she has come here, all without seeing Henry Smart. She really missed Henry. She was worried for Henry’s safety.

Next to the other two etchings, Kelly etches another love heart.

KD 4 HS.

Kelly suddenly hears movement on the grass below her. She can’t see through the tree’s long droopy leaves which are obscuring her view.

“Kelly?” she hears a familiar voice. She’s longed to hear that voice. “Kelly, are you up that tree?”

Before her, Kelly sees Henry Smart.

KD 4 HS.

Before her, Kelly sees Henry Smart climbing the tree to join her.

KD 4 HS.

Before her, Kelly sees Henry Smart looking at her etchings.

KD 4 HS. KD 4 HS. KD 4 HS.

Kelly wants to run. Kelly wants to hide. Kelly wants to run and hide.

“Kelly Driver for Henry Smart, hey?” Kelly hears Henry laughing.

Henry suddenly leans in close to Kelly and their lips lock.


Present Day

“Thomas is dead, Constance,” Doctor Peter Smith says, his beady eyes shining in the limited lighting. “He knew too much so I killed him. He was trying to hurt Joanne, so I killed him.”

Constance tries to grab onto the chair located outside the cell, but instead slumps to the floor. She feels as if the whole world has just been ripped from underneath her feet.

“I know it’s not what you want to hear,” Doctor Smith continues, “but it’s the truth.”

“How?” Constance manages to whisper.

“How did I kill him, you mean? Let me think…I strangled him when he was unconscious. Then I dumped his body somewhere in the national park. Don’t ask me where. It was dark and that place is big. I gave him a burial.”

Constance jumps up from her position on the floor and hurls her body towards the cell. “You bastard!” she screams. “I hope you rot in hell for what you’ve done!”

“For what I’ve done?” Doctor Smith laughs, as he steps back into the darkness of his cell, examining the pair of pliers in his hands. “What about what Thomas did? I was doing the community a service.”

“You are a menace to society!” Constance bellows, tears streaming down her face. “You’re not a saviour!”

“Many may argue with that,” Doctor Smith says.

“You couldn’t even save Joanne!” Constance screams angrily. “You call yourself a saviour. A doctor. Look what happened to her! All your efforts to get Joanne and now you’ve lost her forever!”


June, 1983

“I’m sorry,” Kelly says as she pulls away from Henry Smart.

“What are you sorry for?” Henry asks.

“It’s just silly…”

“Nothing silly about it, Driver,” Henry says, jumping down from the tree.

Kelly secretly liked the way that Henry called her by her surname. It was like an endearing nickname that was reserved only for her. She climbs down from the tree and watches as Henry leans a bicycle against it.

“Where have you been Henry?” Kelly asks. “I haven’t seen you in days.”

“That’s what I wanted to tell you,” Henry says, looking around suspiciously. “But I can’t tell you here.”

“What do you mean?”

“We can’t talk here,” Henry whispers to Kelly, continuing to look around. “Someone might see.”

“See what?” Kelly is confused.

“Tonight,” Henry says, grabbing Kelly by the hands. “I’ll tell you everything tonight.”

“Okay,” Kelly says, still unsure.

“You need to come with me,” Henry says, adding to Kelly’s confusion.

“Come with you where?”

“I’ll tell you everything tonight,” Henry says, pointing to the metal box attached to the back of the bicycle. “I’ve packed a few things to leave town. Bring a few things with you and we can leave together.”

“Henry?”

“I promise I’ll tell you everything tonight,” Henry says again. “I’ll meet you here at midnight.”


Present Day

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.

“Well, you’re the park ranger.” Akemi smiles at Kelly. “So I thought you might be able to help.”

“Oh.”

“Actually, it was what I found in the box that interested me the most,” Akemi says, pulling off the lid. “I’m sure you already know what’s in it.”

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?”


Next Episode – Thursday March 24

Episode Forty-One

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Untoward
[adjective. unfavourable or unfortunate; improper.]

The day of the wedding

“Joanne.” Sylvia Jessop reaches down and takes Joanne’s hand. “It’s time to leave. I will show you the way.”

Without questioning the woman, Joanne gets to her feet and follows Sylvia through the haze.

“You’ll both be welcome where we’re going,” Sylvia Jessop says.

Joanne suddenly realises that she is holding something and looks down at the newborn baby in her arms. Its naked body is still covered in blood.

“Where are we going?” Joanne asks Sylvia as she continues to follow the red shape in front of her.

Sylvia Jessop doesn’t answer Joanne. She just continues to walk through the haze of wedding guests. Joanne can’t make out their faces. Everything except for the woman in red and the baby in her arms is a blur.

Suddenly there is a flash of white light and Joanne raises one of her hands to her face to shield her eyes from the glare.

As her eyes adjust to the bright light, she can make out a dark shape forming in front of the light. She squints into the light, before suddenly coming to a realisation. She recognises the shape forming in front of her. It is the shape of her guardian angel.


One month before the day of the wedding

The fountain pen that Joanne is holding in her hand is covered in blood. She can see the blood start to drip down her hand.

On the floor in front of her, Joanne can see Doctor Peter Smith laying in a pool of his own blood. She drops the pen in horror and it hits the floor, sending the red liquid splattering.

“Joanne, are you okay?” Cathy Gilmore asks from the other side of Doctor Smith’s office.

Joanne is still in shock. She’s not able to speak. She reaches for the chair behind her and slowly takes a seat.

Cathy moves slowly towards the body of Doctor Smith on the floor. As a nurse, her immediate reaction is to give the man some medical attention. As a victim of his torture, however, her heart tells her otherwise.

Cathy had worked closely with Doctor Smith for many years in Peppercorn Patch’s local hospital. She thought she had known the man quite well. That was until he had attacked her and she found out about his true colours. Cathy had found out the truth about Doctor Smith. He was schizophrenic. Somehow he found out that she knew. She couldn’t be trusted not to tell anyone.

Cathy reaches down and nudges the doctor. “I think he’s dead,” she says. “I can’t be certain without checking his pulse, but I can’t do it with these.” Cathy lifts her bandaged hands up to show Joanne. “You’re going to have to check, Joanne.”

Joanne, still without saying anything, pulls herself from the chair and kneels down beside Doctor Smith. She reaches her hand out to his bloodied neck to feel for a pulse.

Without warning, Doctor Smith lets out a blood curdling scream and grabs onto Joanne’s arm.


The day of the wedding

“Richard?” Joanne whispers.

In front of her, Joanne can make out the silhouette of Richard Evans, her late husband. He takes a few steps towards Joanne and reaches his hand out. Joanne rushes over to her husband and they embrace.

“I’ve missed you so much!” Joanne cries. She can’t let go of her husband. She quickly realises that she is no longer holding her baby. She turns around suddenly and sees Sylvia Jessop holding the baby.

“Who’s this?” Richard asks Joanne.

“This is Sylvia Jessop,” Joanne explains. “My biological mother.”

“And this?” Richard points to the baby.

“That’s my baby. I’m going to name him after you.”


One month before the day of the wedding

Joanne lets out a scream before pulling herself away from Doctor Smith.

Doctor Smith reaches for his neck to stop the flow of blood. “Joanne,” he struggles to say. “Please help me!”

“You sick bastard!” Cathy screams at him. “You don’t deserve Joanne’s help!”

“I didn’t mean to hurt you, Joanne. I only wanted you to know the truth.”

Joanne looks down at Doctor Smith, then to her best friend. Cathy shakes her head disapprovingly. “He’s dangerous, Joanne,” Cathy says.

Doctor Smith reaches his arm up to Joanne, pleading for her help. “If you let me die, Joanne,” he says, “you’ll never learn the truth about Thomas Helling.”


The day of the wedding

“Baby Richard,” Joanne says to her husband.

Richard Evans smiles and holds the baby in his arms. “He’s beautiful,” he says.

“You and Kyle must be very proud,” Sylvia Jessop says, placing an arm around Joanne.

“Yes, we are,” Joanne sighs.

“What is it, Joanne?” Sylvia asks, sensing something bothering her daughter.

“Kyle won’t like the name I’ve chosen,” Joanne says. “He doesn’t like me talking about Richard for some reason.”

Richard pushes the baby back quickly into Joanne’s arms. “You should be going,” he says.

“But I just got here,” Joanne replies.

“You’ve moved on, Joanne,” Richard says, starting to fade back into the bright light.

“Don’t go yet!” Joanne screams out anxiously. “Richard! Come back!”

The baby in her arms starts to cry and she tries to hush it by rocking her body.

“I haven’t been telling Kyle the truth!” Joanne screams out, watching the dark figure continue to fade into the distance.

“What are you saying Joanne?” Sylvia Jessop asks, curiously.

“The baby isn’t Kyle’s,” Joanne says tearfully. “The baby’s father is Richard.”


Next Episode – Monday March 21