Episode Twenty-Five

Full Term

The door to the caravan makes a squeaking noise as it is opened. The large brown boots bang harshly on the caravan’s linoleum floor.

“Hello Thomas.” The Poetry Predator closes the caravan door behind him and smiles at Thomas Helling.

Thomas Helling rocks himself from side to side, forcing his body into a tight ball on the bottom bunk bed.

“It’s okay, Thomas,” The Poetry Predator says as he reaches down to brush Thomas’ dirty, unwashed hair. “I’m a friend.”

Thomas Helling looks up timidly at The Poetry Predator. “My name is Thomas?” he asks.

“Yes, it is. You were in an accident, but I’m here to look after you.”

“Who are you?” Thomas asks.

“I’m an old friend, Thomas,” The Poetry Predator says, sitting down on the bed beside Thomas. “Your accident left you with some memory loss.”

The Poetry Predator goes to brush Thomas’ hair again, but Thomas retreats, forcing his body into a tighter ball.

“I know you don’t remember me, Thomas, but I am your friend. I’m here to take you to a place where you can be looked after.” The Poetry Predator reaches for Thomas’ arm, but Thomas pushes away.

“No!” Thomas screams. “Don’t touch me!”

“Come on now, Thomas. Be a good boy.”

Thomas lets out another scream as The Poetry Predator reaches for him again. Without warning, The Poetry Predator pulls a syringe out of his pocket and jabs it into Thomas’ thigh.

“There’s no point struggling, Thomas. You can’t stay here.”

Now unconscious, Thomas is dragged by The Poetry Predator out of the caravan. The only light illuminating the night sky is from a streetlight in the distance.

After dragging Thomas into the backseat of Cathy Gilmore’s car and throwing a blanket over him, The Poetry Predator starts the car and steers it slowly to the exit of the caravan park. The streets of Peppercorn Patch are empty, and the car is manoeuvred through the quiet town.

“Say goodbye Thomas,” The Poetry Predator says to his sleeping passenger. “Say goodbye to Peppercorn Patch.”

Six Months Later

“Don’t embarrass me today,” Joanne Evans snaps at the woman standing next to her. “This is meant to be a special day.”

“You don’t have to worry about me, Joanne,” Valerie Pickering says, reapplying her lipstick. “It’s going to be a beautiful wedding.”

Both women peer into the restroom’s mirror and make their final adjustments. Valerie reaches up to assist Joanne with her headpiece.

“You look beautiful, Jo. Absolutely stunning,” Valerie says. Joanne’s tailored dress hugs her heavily-pregnant belly.

“Thank you,” Joanne replies, grabbing her aunt’s hand. “Please promise me. You need to be on your best behaviour.”

“I promise.”

The early summer day is proving to be the perfect day for a wedding. The sun is shining and the flowers in the town square are blossoming. White folding chairs have been placed in neat rows on the green grass and a canopy of assorted flowers signifies the centrepiece of the ceremony.

Many of the guests have started to arrive and are taking their places among the white chairs.

“Such a beautiful day for a wedding,” Councillor Dustin Harris, the mayor of Peppercorn Patch, says to Kelly Driver, the local park ranger.

“Couldn’t have asked for better weather,” Kelly replies. “It will be a beautiful wedding.”

“Yes, they’re such a wonderful couple. I’m so happy for them.”

The sound of drums and chanting abruptly disrupts the tranquil town square.

“What’s that noise?” Kelly asks.

“Don’t tell me,” Dustin says, annoyed. “Not today!”

The drums and chanting grows louder as a small group of protestors make their way on foot down the main street of Peppercorn Patch.

“Paradise is here to stay!” the protestors chant. “Developers go away!”

The group of protestors, with their colourful hand-made placards, make their way into the town square. “Paradise is here to stay! Developers go away!”

“Please,” Kelly attempts to plead with the group, “not today. You’re going to ruin a very special day.”

“Developers are going to ruin our town!” shouts one of the protestors.

“You should be ashamed of yourself, Kelly!” shouts another.

“I agree with your stance,” Kelly tries to reason with the protestors. “But today is not the day.”

“We need development in this town,” Dustin suddenly jumps in. “What you people don’t realise is it will revitalise this town. Think of the town’s economy.”

“Think of the town’s heritage,” the first protestor shouts. “We need to protect the paradise we have and love!”

“Save your protests for the development site,” Dustin says, annoyed. “You’re not wanted here right now.”

With that, the group head back down the main street of Peppercorn Patch, chanting in the direction of the caravan park.

“Put the bottle down!” Constance Helling yells. “It’s not all for you!”

Valerie Pickering swings the bottle of champagne at the large woman in front of her. “Get away from me you evil witch!”

“I think you’ve had enough to drink,” Constance says, trying to wrestle the bottle from Valerie’s grip. “You’re going to kill yourself, you silly old cow!”

“Aunty Val,” Joanne shouts, as she runs into the town hall to see what all the commotion is about. “Stop it!”

The town hall had been fitted out with tables and chairs decorated with pretty bows and flowers for the wedding reception. At one end of the hall sits a three-tiered wedding cake, topped with traditional bride and groom figures.

Valerie swings the bottle of champagne she is holding at Constance again, narrowly missing the woman but making contact with champagne glasses sitting on the table. The sound of glass smashing echoes through the hall.

“I said stop!” yells a furious Joanne as she runs towards her aunty.

As Valerie goes to swing her bottle again, Joanne grabs at her arm. Valerie lets go of the champagne bottle and it smashes onto the floor, covering Joanne’s dress with its sweet liquid.

“Look what you’ve done!” Constance snarls.

“You wicked witch!” Valerie curses at Constance again, before throwing herself at the woman.

Both women grab at each other, pulling the other’s hair. Nails dig deep into skin.

Constance swiftly pushes Valerie away from her and there is a deafening crash as the table holding the wedding cake collapses.

Joanne looks down at Valerie, sprawled on the floor, covered in sponge cake and white icing. The two cake toppers lie on either side of her.

“I told you not to embarrass me!” Joanne cries.

Inspector Wesley Manning steps onto the grass of the town’s garden square and walks swiftly down the makeshift aisle between the rows of folding chairs. He looks around the crowd of wedding guests and spots his target, tightening his grip on the handgun in his holster.

“Dustin Harris?” Inspector Manning asks the elderly mayor.

“That’s me.” Dustin looks up at the man in front of him wearing the brown suit. “What can I help you with?”

“Inspector Manning,” the police officer says, flashing his badge. “I need a word with you.”

“Is it about those protestors?” Dustin says, rising from his seat and following the police officer to the back of the chairs.

“Something else,” Inspector Manning says.

From the corner of his eye, Dustin Harris notices two other police officers approach him. One of the officers reaches for the handcuffs on her holster.

“I’m placing you under arrest,” Inspector Manning says, as the female constable presses the handcuffs over one of Dustin’s wrists.

“What is the meaning of this?” Dustin yells, as the crowd around him look on in disbelief. “Under arrest? Under arrest for what?”

Inspector Wesley Manning looks at the elderly man in front of him and shakes his head. “You thought you were going to get away with it,” he says. “Dustin Harris, you are under arrest for murder.”

Next Episode – Monday September 21

Welcome back to Peppercorn Patch! Be sure to share with your friends and comment on your favourite episodes.

Season Three is going to be epic! Hold on for the fun ride ahead!

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