“Quick!” Joanne Evans calls out to her aunty, Valerie Pickering.
Valerie huffs as she tries to race up the hill behind her niece. “I’m…” she pants, “…coming as fast as I can.”
Joanne holds her 18 month year old son, Ricky, in her arms awkwardly as she too pants up the hill.
Before long, they reach their destination. They step up to the front door of the house. Breathing out heavily, Joanne looks at her aunty and knocks on the door with trepidation. “Let’s hope this works.”
There is a few seconds of silence before Joanne knocks again, this time impatiently.
An outside light illuminates the front of the house on the hill. Constance Helling opens the front door.
“Take Ricky for me,” Joanne steps towards Anna-Maree Axe and pushes her son forward.
“I need to keep him from Wendy Evans,” Joanne explains, placing Ricky in Anna-Maree’s arms. “If you’re Ricky’s biological grandmother, then there won’t be a legal problem with you taking him.”
“You would be saving Ricky’s life.” Joanne kisses her son on his forehead. “If Wendy ever got hold of him, I’d never see him again.”
“Are you sure you want to do this, Joanne?” Constance asks, watching on as Anna-Maree holds her biological grandson for the first time.
“No, but I need to do something to keep him from Wendy,” Joanne offers.
Anna-Maree smiles down at Ricky. He peers back at her with uncertainty. “Hello, there.”
“Please take good care of him,” Joanne instructs Anna-Maree. “I’ll be back for him in a couple of days once this custody issue is sorted.”
“Joanne, it could go on for weeks, months even,” Constance says.
Joanne looks at her son one last time before leaving the house. “I won’t let it.”
“Where is the box of teeth?” Sergeant Michael Anders asks.
Constance looks at him quizzically.
Sergeant Anders steps in close to her. “Let me help you hide them!”
“Sergeant? Hide them?” Constance asks, bewildered.
“I’m joking with you, Constance,” Sergeant Anders replies. “I’m sure you would have turned in the box if you ever had found them. I’m sure you would have wanted to make things right.”
Constance stumbles over her reply. “Oh, of course. Of course I would have handed it in.”
“I must ask, though, before I look like a fool,” Sergeant Anders says, “you have no knowledge of anything that could land you in trouble?”
“Nothing,” Constance says, almost too quickly.
“That’s the only way I can help you, Constance,” Sergeant Anders explains. “I will be forced to get a search warrant from the Department of Justice soon to search your property. I need to know that you’re being truthful with me.”
“You can trust me,” Constance tells the officer.
Joanne Evans feels like she is twelve years old again as she splashes in the dark water with her aunty by her side. How she had longed to reminisce like this, thinking back to happier times.
“Thank you,” Joanne says to her aunty. “I needed this.”
As she wipes the water away from her face, she looks to the water’s edge.
In the darkness, almost hidden behind a tree, she can make out someone watching them.
“Who’s there?” Joanne calls out bravely.
From behind the darkness of the tree, Doctor Joel Prasad steps into the hotel’s security floodlight. “It’s just me,” he calls back.
As she stands at the front door, trying to collect her thoughts, Constance reaches for her mobile phone. She searches for AKEMI and presses dial.
I need to know if Akemi has taken care of the box, she thinks to herself.
Constance can hear the dial tone. It stops suddenly and connects to Akemi’s voicemail.
“Damn it, Akemi,” Constance says, frustrated. “Answer your phone!”
She presses the hang up button and looks at the time on her watch. She needed to get in contact with Akemi Helling to make sure the woman had dealt with disposing of the box.
She dials Akemi’s number again with no success.
Akemi Helling hears her mobile phone ring. She looks at it and sees the name CONSTANCE display on the screen. She ignores the call for the second time. She is too busy to take calls right now.
“Has it been hidden?” Akemi Helling asks her assistant.
They both stand in the courtyard of the newly built hotel situated on the bank of the Helling River in the town of Peppercorn Patch. The complex towers them on all four sides and Akemi can see the numerous balconies of the apartments look down to where she is standing in its centre.
The assistant looks at Akemi and then points to the swimming pool in the middle of the courtyard. “It’s been buried.”
Akemi laughs, looking over to where the swimming pool is being filled with water pumped in from the local firefighting engine. “Buried?”
“Yes, underneath the pool,” the assistant confirms.
“That’s brilliant,” Akemi laughs again. “Under all that water and concrete, it will never come to the light of day again!”
Constance couldn’t wait for Akemi to answer her phone any longer. She had decided that she needed to go to the hotel to see if she could find her.
She holds the flashlight in front of her, lighting the dark path as she makes her way on foot down the hill from her house.
“Why don’t you just answer your bloody phone,” Constance huffs to herself.
As she walks towards the hotel, she passes the cemetery. She hears a noise coming from within the gates, but, at first, ignores it.
She hears the noise again. This time closer. Bushes rustling. She shines her flashlight towards the noise and is shaken by the image illuminated in front of her.
“Are you alright?” she calls out as she rushes towards a dazed and confused looking Valerie Pickering.
Being a nurse herself, Constance realises immediately the signs that the woman in front of her is displaying. She dials emergency services.
“I need an ambulance straight away,” Constance says sternly down the phone. “Valerie Pickering has had a stroke.”
“That was the hospital,” Joel says to Joanne as he puts the phone back into his pocket. “There’s been an accident – I don’t have all the details yet, but it sounds like an emergency. I need to get to the hospital.”
“Go, go!” Joanne urges the doctor. “We can catch up sometime during the week.”
“I’d like that,” Joel says, giving Joanne a kiss.
Joanne laughs. “I promise I won’t forget next time.”
Only moments after Joanne sees Doctor Joel Prasad rush off, she sees an ambulance race past the town square. The blue and red flashing lights violently cut through the darkness of the night.
She prays to herself that whoever it is, they are okay. It’s a small town, and she knows most people in it, having taught many in her job as a high school teacher. She would hate to find out if someone she knew was hurt.
In the distance, the ambulance rushes towards the hospital, Valerie Pickering its patient.
Doctor Peter Smith marches Drake Harp along the footpath. “Your mother should have tried to find you by now. Maybe she doesn’t care about you enough.”
The ten year old boy continues to cry.
“Let’s see if we can find her,” Doctor Smith says as they head towards Amber Harp’s Peppercorn Patch address.
In front of them, Doctor Smith suddenly sees the ambulance race by. He is startled by it and pushes Drake towards the nearby building, seeking cover.
Drake, seeing his chance to get away, pushes at the emergency exit door of the hotel in front of him. It opens and the young boy runs inside the building, Doctor Smith giving chase closely behind him.
Doctor Smith pulls a knife out of his pocket. “Come back here!”
Drake Harp calls out for help as loudly as he can. He hopes someone can hear his cries.
Joanne stops suddenly. She strains her neck in the direction of the noise she can hear.
“Help!” the sound reverberates around her.
Joanne listens, holding her breath.
She hears it again.
Joanne steps over to the emergency exit door of the hotel and pulls at its handle. The door is unlocked and Joanne steps into the building.
As Akemi is about to head inside the building, she catches a flash of light from the building’s roof. She squints up to the building’s fourth-storey roof-top. The light is gone.
Suddenly there is a scream.
Akemi rushes to the side of the building, running over newly laid turf that sinks a little under her feet.
Akemi tries to hold her breath to hear any other sounds. Silence.
The building should be empty, except for the security guards manning the boundary.
Akemi leaps into the pool just in time. The falling body plummets to the ground where she was once standing.
Akemi struggles in the water for a few moments before pulling herself out over the side of the pool. She crawls over to the side of the building. A body lying on the pavement is still. Blood is quickly beginning to pool beneath it.
Akemi instinctively looks up to the roof and sees a dark figure back away from the edge quickly.
“Help!” Akemi calls out loudly. “I need help!”
In front of her, Akemi can see a lifeless body. She rolls the body over to face her and recognises who it is immediately.
“Oh, my God!” Akemi screams. “Help! Somebody! Help!”
Through the doors leading into the building, Akemi suddenly sees a security guard running out towards her.
“Call an ambulance!” Akemi screams at him. “We need help here!”
The security guard grabs out his mobile phone and dials for emergency assistance. Akemi leans in close Joanne Evans, trying to look for any signs of life.
“Come on, please still be with me!” Akemi pleads.
She suddenly hears a sound coming from the rooftop again. She looks up towards it and notices a dark figure again.
“Where are you going?” the security guard asks Akemi as she heads towards the building’s doors.
“I’m heading up to the rooftop to find out who is up there,” Akemi calls back. “You stay here.”
“I don’t think it’s wise to go up by yourself, Ms Helling.”
“I need to find out who did this to her!”
Akemi Helling’s eyes dart between Doctor Smith’s eyes and the knife’s blade. She doesn’t know where to look.
“We can put this all behind you,” Akemi says, taking a step backward.
“You can’t leave!” Drake Harp screams, the blade pressing up against her.
“Ok, let’s talk about this,” Akemi tries to reason.
From the pocket of her pants, Akemi’s mobile phone squeals. Its ringing startles them both. She doesn’t dare to answer it. Her eyes stay fixed on the blade in front of her.
From the courtyard below, the security guard dials Akemi’s number again. He wants to find out if she is safe.
“Help!” Akemi yells down to the courtyard below.
Drake sits by her feet, still crying. “I want my mum.”
“I know, honey,” Akemi says, lowering herself to give the boy a hug. “I know.”
Akemi holds Drake and manages to calm him. “You’re safe now, honey,” she reassures him.
They both hear footsteps on the other side of the door. Akemi realises help is on its way.
The footsteps stop and Akemi sees the door open up.
In front of them both, Melody Walker rushes onto the rooftop. She takes in the scene in front of her, firstly eyeing Akemi and Drake and then noticing Doctor Peter Smith lying dead from his knife wounds.
She runs over to her biological father and pulls his body into her own, screaming out loud. “No! No! This isn’t happening!”
Akemi holds Drake even closer to her as she watches Melody’s body begin to shake, her hands now covered in Doctor Smith’s blood.
“I promise you, father,” Melody screams between tears, “that I will destroy every last person in this wretched town! I promised you that they would pay, and you have my word!”
One Week Later
Those surrounding Joanne Evans hang their heads in sorrow.
The machines surrounding the hospital bed whir mechanical sounds keeping their patient alive.
Cathy Gilmore grips Joanne’s hand tightly. She lets out a big sigh and looks to the doctor standing on the other side of the bed. “How is she doing?”
Doctor Joel Prasad shakes his head. “I’m sorry.”
The visitors in the small room let out a cry. They all know that it is time to turn off the lifesaving equipment.
Cathy Gilmore steps up to the bed and pulls the blanket up further, comforting her patient. “Rest in peace, you beautiful woman,” she whispers. “Thanks for everything you’ve done.”
One by one, the other guests say their goodbyes, until Doctor Joel Prasad terminates the humming machines.
There is a collective cry and a few hands reach for Joanne Evans.
The heart rate monitor flat lines, echoing through the small room.
Joanne Evans looks up from the chair she is sitting in, the bandages from her head injuries still wrapped around her head.
She looks to the hospital bed. “Thank you for everything,” she manages to say. “Goodbye Aunty Val.”
Thank you for reading Season Seven.
Obnoxious Weeds will return with a new season soon.