Episode Forty-Four

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

[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

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