“Are you ready to have something to eat yet?” Charles King leans down over the stranger, whose binds still hold them captive to the bed.
“I’m not hungry,” the stranger replies, trying not to look their captor in his eyes.
“Oh, come on,” Charles King sulks. “You have to eat. Besides, I’ve been cooking this all day for you.” He pushes a plate of roast vegetables towards the stranger.
“When are you going to let me go?” the stranger asks, trying not to sound fearful.
Charles King looks at the stranger, then to the bedroom’s window. Beyond the glass pane, there is darkness. A few stars twinkle in the night sky. “What? You want to go right now?” he laughs. “I can’t let you go right now. It’s too dark – you’d get lost.”
“Please,” the stranger begs, “I’m so thankful that you saved me, but…”
“Is that all the gratitude I get?” Charles King raises his voice. “Nothing for you then!” With that, he takes the plate of vegetables and tips the contents onto the floor where his three dogs eagerly eat it up.
“Please,” the stranger continues to beg, “I’m sorry, it’s just…”
“You’re not sorry!” Charles King snaps. “You want to hurt me.”
“No, no, that’s not true!” the stranger attempts to argue. The stranger tries to be brave.
“You don’t even know who you are!” Charles King says.
“You showed me my driver’s licence,” the stranger reminds him.
“But you don’t actually remember who you are,” Charles King continues. “If I hadn’t shown it to you, you wouldn’t even know who you are.”
The stranger lies in the bed, looking up at Charles King feeling defeated. It was true, without the photo identification, it was hard for the stranger to remember anything about themselves or their life prior to this point.
“You can’t leave just yet,” Charles King goes on. “Not until you get your memory back. You’re going to stay here with me and I’m going to look after you.”
The stranger sighs silently. They had tried hard. Just like the many other times before this one. Maybe one day the stranger would succeed and finally gain Charles King’s trust. Until then, they would stay here. There wasn’t any other option at the moment.
Charles King gives a final look at the stranger before turning off the light and closing the door. “Sweet dreams.”
“You claim to be my mother?” Joanne Evans asks Anna-Maree Axe.
“Yes, your biological mother,” Anna-Maree confirms. “You were involved in an unfortunate mix-up at the hospital. Annette Pickering never died having you, Joanne. She died giving birth to Melody Walker.”
“This was all your fault?” Joanne looks at Constance Helling.
Constance looks at Joanne, shakes her head slightly before stuttering, “The mix-up was my fault, yes, but I never meant for it to happen. It was an honest mistake, Joanne. Please believe me.”
“So Sylvia Jessop and Doctor Smith’s child is actually Melody Walker?” Joanne asks Anna-Maree.
“That’s right. I took Melody home with me, thinking she was my own,” Anna-Maree explains. “Only she was known as Phoebe Strong then.”
“My life could have been so different,” Joanne says softly, looking lovingly at her son, Ricky.
“It’s not too late to make up for lost time,” Anna-Maree says as she steps up close to Joanne. She wants to give Joanne a hug but fears she may be going too fast too soon. “If there’s anything I can do to help…”
“Well, actually, there is something.” Joanne looks from her son to her aunt, Valerie Pickering, and then Constance Helling before adding, “Ricky is in danger of being taken from me.”
“I’ve heard about the court proceedings for custody over Ricky,” Anna-Maree confirms.
“Richard’s mother, Wendy Evans, thinks she can take Ricky from me,” Joanne says angrily, “but she doesn’t know who she’s messing with!”
“What do you need me to do?” Anna-Maree asks.
“Take Ricky for me,” Joanne steps towards Anna-Maree 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.”
The bolt trapping Amber Harp and her son, Drake, slides across the outer side of the door.
Amber looks to the plate of food that had been delivered by her sister, Olivia.
Drake has already started to eat it, for he is hungry. Only a handful of small meals during the day meant that Amber and Drake were feeling malnourished.
“Eat up,” Amber says to her son as she brushes his hair with her fingertips. “You can have my portion too.”
“Are you not hungry?” Drake asks.
“Not tonight,” Amber lies. She wants her son to have all the energy he can get.
Amber rarely heard loud noises coming from outside the enclosure she and her son were in, but something about the sound she suddenly hears makes her heart stop. She hushes Drake.
There is a sound as if a commotion is taking place. Some loud bangs.
Amber runs quickly to the door, pressing her ear against it to hear more clearly. The sound is muffled, though, and she finds it difficult to hear anything that makes sense.
“What is it, mum?” Drake asks.
“Sshh,” Amber hushes. She’s intent on finding out what’s happening.
“What’s that smell?” Drake is persistent.
Amber sniffs the air. She smells it too. She looks down to her feet. Underneath the door, smoke starts to filter into the room.
The door she is leaning on suddenly feels warm – hot even.
“There’s a fire out there,” Amber tells her son, panicked. She begins to bang on the door. “Let us out!”
Drake runs to Amber’s side and begins banging on the door as well. Acrid smoke continues to fill the room. Amber pulls her shirt up to shield her face from the smoke and urges Drake to do the same.
“Help us!” Amber screams as loud as she can.
On the outside of the door there are roaring and popping noises as the fire takes hold of Olivia’s house.
The smoke becomes thick and Amber’s eyes water. She can no longer even see her son who is standing next to her.
“I love you, mum,” Drake manages to cough.
Amber grabs hold of her son and holds him close to her. “I love you too, honey!”
The fire quickly engulfs the whole building and before long all that remains is a pile of ash.
Next Episode – Monday May 7