Episode Fifty-Three

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Number Six

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.

Present Day

Kelly Driver opens up the metal box again and pulls out its contents. The clothing and high school identification cards lay scattered on the table in front of her.

The last image of Henry Smart flashes in Kelly’s mind. She can see Henry giving her a hurried kiss on the cheek. She can’t shake the image of Henry brushing off her so eagerly. The final memory of Henry Smart.

June, 1983

Henrietta Smart kisses Kelly Driver on the cheek and watches as her friend disappears in the darkness; the metal box full of clothing clutched tightly under Kelly’s arm.

“I’ll tell you everything soon,” Henry whispers. She suddenly turns to face the large peppercorn tree.

“You did the right thing.” From behind the tree a dark figure emerges. Henry can make out the silhouette of her 22-year-old acquaintance.  “You did the right thing by sending her away, Henry.”

“Are you happy?” Henry huffs, pulling her bicycle up from the ground.

“I’m just looking out for your best interests, Henry,” the 22-year-old says. “If ‘The Family’ ever found out about your plans to leave, there would be serious consequences.”

“How would they find out?” Henry asks. “Would you tell them?”

The 22-year-old sighs, reaching her hands out to meet Henry’s. “Your parents are the founders of ‘The Family’. They are number one and two on the food chain. They’re bound to find out sooner or later.”

“Would you tell them?” Henry persists.

“Kelly’s parents are numbers three and four,” Henry’s acquaintance continues. “They’re bound to find out soon as well.”

“I guess you will be bound to tell them about Kelly and me?” Henry snaps, backing away from the figure in front of her.

“My mother is number five,” the 22-year-old says, “which makes me number six.”

“I don’t give a rat’s arse what number you are!” Kelly yells, pushing her bicycle in the direction of her parent’s caravan.

“You will do what I tell you!” Number Six threatens. “I am your elder, so you will do what is best for you. Unless, of course, you want me to tell your parents that you’re planning to run away.”

“You don’t scare me!” Henry snarls.

Present Day

Kelly walks up to the church altar, opens the metal box and dumps its contents over the religious table. “Her disappearance has governed my life,” Kelly barks at Father Bolton. “You need to tell me what happened to her!”

“Not here, Kelly,” Father Bolton says quietly, calmly taking the local ranger by the hand and escorting her into the confessional.

June, 1983

Number Six pushes the bicycle further and further into the bushland. She had taken it from the front of Reginald and Miranda Smart’s caravan. Even though it belonged to Henrietta Smart, Number Six knew that Henry was best off not having it. Number Six had seen Henry try to plan an escape, and by taking the bicycle away, she knew that it would make it harder for any escape to happen.

Number Six nears a rocky and secluded part of the National Park. The overgrowth of trees and shrubbery in this area of the forest make it the best possible location to hide the bicycle.

Number Six lays the bicycle down near some large rocks and begins to pull some large branches over the top of it. She also finds some leaves and twigs and sets about the bicycle’s camouflage.

“What are you doing?” Number Six jumps suddenly, startled by the sound of Henry’s voice.

“Henry, you scared me,” Number Six says.

“I followed you from my caravan. Why have you taken my bike?” Henry asks.

“I’m doing it for your own sake, Henry,” Number Six explains, stepping in front of the bicycle’s location. “You can’t leave.”

“Give me my bike back!” Henry yells, attempting to push Number Six out of the way.

“You have no idea what you’re doing!” Number Six yells back, pushing against Henry.

Number Six grabs Henry by the shoulders and shoves her aggressively to the ground. She looks on as Henry falls to the ground, the back of her head hitting a large rock. Henry’s mouth exhales a whimpering sound, her body suddenly lying limp and still on the forest floor. Henry’s eyes roll towards the back of her head.

Present Day

“I have a confession to make,”

“Yes, go on.”

“I should have told you earlier, but I didn’t think it was fair.” Father Bolton hold his hands in his lap and closes his eyes, the distant memory of 33 years earlier flashing through his head.

“Tell me, Father,” Kelly implores.

“Number Six came to me.”

“Number Six?” Kelly is suddenly unsure.

“Yes, Kelly,” Father Bolton says. “It was Number Six who came to me. She attacked Henry.”

“But we looked up to her!” Kelly holds back tears. Kelly tries to hold back her anger.

“She tried to prevent Henry from leaving.”

“I was supposed to leave with her,” Kelly adds, reminiscing.

June, 1983

“Father,” Number Six sobs, “please help me!”

Father Bolton peers out the front door of his house. He had awoken to Number Six’s harsh banging on the door. He was still in his bed clothes.

“What is it, dear?” the young priest asks.

Number Six wipes tears from her face. Father Bolton can see the 22-year-old shaking.

“I didn’t mean to do it, Father,” Number Six cries. “I need your help.”

“What help do you need, child?” Father Bolton pulls his nightgown around his waist tighter.

“I didn’t mean to kill her, Father.”

“What are you talking about, dear?” Father Bolton puts an arm out to try and comfort Number Six.

Constance Helling sniffs a couple of times, wipes her face again and looks the priest in his eyes. “I didn’t mean to kill Henry Smart.”

Next Episode – Monday August 15

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