Episode Fifty

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One


The day of the wedding

Joanne Evans reaches for her belly and grimaces in pain. She looks down at her bridesmaid dress and notices that it is covered in blood.

“Joanne, are you okay?” Father Bolton notices Joanne trying to hold herself up.

As Joanne collapses to the floor, the blood continues to flow.

“Help!” Joanne whispers faintly.

Joanne looks up at the hazy vision above her. She can just make out the blurry images of people rushing to help her.

“She’s going to lose the baby!” Joanne can faintly make out her friend, Cathy’s voice. “Joanne, honey, 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.”

One Week Later

“Say hello to mummy,” Kyle Cook says, holding baby Richard in his arms and lowering the baby close to Joanne Evans, who is lying in the hospital bed.

“Not now!” Joanne says, pushing the infant away and pulling the bedcovers close to her face.

“But it’s our baby, Joanne!” Kyle says. “You haven’t held him once!”

“I know,” Joanne sobs. “I just don’t feel I have the strength at the moment.”

“What’s happened to her?” Kyle says to the nurse. “What is wrong with her?”

“She’s been through a lot,” the nurse reassures Kyle. Cathy Gilmore reaches over and caresses Joanne’s forehead, brushing the hair out of her face. “This poor girl has been through so much. She needs all of our support right now.”

“She doesn’t even want to hold her own son!” Kyle says.

“Give her time. I’m sure she will.” Cathy continues to caress her friend’s hair.

“She’s not all there in the head!” Kyle points to his own head, indicating that he means his lover is not mentally stable.

“She may not be, but just remember what she’s been through,” Cathy informs Kyle. She looks down at her own hands and remembers the torment that she herself had gone through recently.

“The best place for her is at Holgate Bedlamites,” Kyle suggests. “That’s where all of the insane people go.”

“Constable,” Cathy is incredulous. “You couldn’t possibly consider sending Joanne there.”

“Why not?” Kyle asks. “She’s not right. She’s not the Joanne I know and love. That Joanne is lost.”

“You can’t be serious,” Cathy steps closer to Kyle, almost pleading with him.

“I am serious, Cathy,” Kyle says forcefully. “I’m her next of kin, so I decide what’s best for her.”

Four Months Later

“Joanne,” Constance Helling whispers, waking the sleeping patient. “Do you know what day it is?”

“Huh?” Joanne rubs her eyes as she wakes up.

“It’s the day you get to go home,” Constance says. “Today you get to leave this place.”

“I’ll get to see my son!” Joanne sits up suddenly, excited.

“Yes, I’m sure you’ll be happy to see him.”

Joanne grabs onto Constance’s nurse gown. A wave of panic fills her. “What if he doesn’t want me?”

“He’s your son, Joanne. I bet he can’t wait to see his mum.” Constance sits on the bed next to Joanne. She places an envelope on Joanne’s lap. “Your test results.”

“My test results?” Joanne is perplexed.

“Remember, you wanted to be tested for Huntington’s Disease.”

Joanne puts a hand to her head. “Oh, yes,” she says. “I almost forgot.”

Constance smiles at Joanne. For a moment she feels unsure as to whether Joanne is ready to leave the mental hospital. She had been at Holgate Bedlamites for a few months and was sure that Joanne was ready to leave; fit to be a mother again, but now she was doubting herself.

“Open it in your own time,” Constance says, referring to the envelope with the test results.

“Thank you,” Joanne says. “You have been my strength in here.”

“Come on,” Constance says, pulling a red dress out of the wardrobe and motioning for Joanne to put it on. “Everyone will be waiting for you! Peppercorn Patch is about to have its beauty queen return.”

Present Day

She is pulled by her angel. She feels a sense of belonging in this part of town. Joanne steps quietly through Peppercorn Patch cemetery. Over one shoulder, she carries her infant son, Richard. The flashlight she has in other hand illuminates the dark spaces in front of her.

She is pulled to the large peppercorn tree. She knows what is awaiting her there.

She is pulled by her angel.

She reaches the tree. She shines her light over the headstones that rest there. One after the other she sees their names and feels endless sorrow.

Benjamin Pickering
Annette Pickering
Richard Evans

The day of the wedding

“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.”

“My baby!” Joanne, covered in blood, screams. She looks from her newborn baby in Father Bolton’s arms to the bundle in Cathy Gilmore’s arms.

“Tell me she’s okay!” Joanne screams at her friend.

“It’s too late to save her,” Constance says to Joanne.

Cathy looks her best friend in the eyes, shakes her head and sheds a mountain of tears.

Present Day

Joanne looks down at the infant-sized grave next to her late husband’s. Sylvia, the headstone reads.

“I named you after a very special person,” Joanne says to the grave. “Sylvia was my biological mother. I’m sure you two are looking after each other up there in heaven.”

The infant that Joanne has draped over her shoulder suddenly stirs and Joanne places him on the ground next to Sylvia’s grave.

“My sweet baby Richard,” she says to her son, “this is your twin sister, Sylvia, and she’s going to be your guardian angel for the rest of your life.”

Welcome back to Peppercorn Patch!

[noun] punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act.

This Season. Prepare for Vengeance.

Next Episode – Thursday August 4

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