‘Bag Of Tricks.’

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The water of Lake Macquarie usually shimmers and shines under endless summer skies with spectacular sunsets transcending from a dusty pink to burnt orange but the last couple of years the residents have endured nothing but gloomy weather that reflects the mood of the people.

Along with the rain Covid has kept the tourists away leaving the locals isolated indoors away from their family friends and work colleagues.

But one of the locals really couldn’t care less if she never spoke to another person ever again, Eleanor Bana lives alone in a ramshackle old house on the edge of the lake and she only ventures out to go shopping or to her place of employment the recently reopened psychiatric hospital at Morriset where she works as a nurse.

Eleanor is a tall striking woman in her early thirties with a fair complexion, jet black hair and her intense green eyes could most likely stare down a charging rhino.

If she put in an effort when she was younger Eleanor could have made it big as a model making huge money in Paris, London or New York but instead Eleanor down plays her looks dressing in drab clothes wearing little or no makeup.

When she does go shopping she wears steel capped Doc Martin boots and hides behind a pair of cheap sunglasses to ward off any potential interaction with other shoppers.

Eleanor also loves venturing out at night during thunderstorms carrying a metal tipped umbrella that she holds above her head to attract a drone of lightening to jolt her heart and shower the sky with sparks of the tempest.

Eleanor Bana enjoys the darkness morbidity and blood but she isn’t a vampire but she might well be Lake Macquarie’s first witch.

Five nights a week just as most residents are setting their alarms and going to bed Ellie as she calls herself comes into her own.

Midnight is known as the witching hour and that is the time she clocks on at work to begin an eight hour shift at Morriset hospital where she wanders the wards bringing doom and gloom to the patients unfortunate enough to be under her care.

The psychiatric facility opened its doors again after falling into disrepair and decay with the only residents being mobs of kangaroos and ghosts.

After the refurbishment the local member of parliment hailed the hospital as a blessing for the mentally ill but the ghosts of the past who haunt the wards will beg to differ.

When the clock strikes midnight Ellie starts her shift and at this time of night she is the only nurse working on the second floor and that is exactly how she likes it.

She begins by pushing her dispensing trolley from room to room checking to see if the patients have been prescribed their medications and to see if they are resting peacefully and thankfully at this time of night most patients are deep asleep so Ellie can perform some procedures that would be definitely be frowned upon by the hospitals board of directors.

At 3am after her first break of the evening quickly goes into the staffroom and grabs an item from her locker.

The item in question is a scuffed medical satchel that looks as old as time itself and if Ellies grandfather is to be believed the satchel once belonged to Lucifer.

Ellie was given the satchel 8 years ago by her maternal grandfather when she graduated as a nurse with honours.

Ernest Brunt was a well respected GP who worked out of the same surgery in an inner suburb of Sydney for 53 years.

He carried the leather satchel everywhere he went because to Ernest the satchel was very special he called it his little bag of tricks.

After the graduation party Ellie went back home and carried the little bag of tricks upstairs to her room.

Eager to have a look inside she sat on her bed and opened the bag but was disappointed to find it empty but an odour emanated from the red velvet lining hitting the back of her brain like a brick.

The smell of death and disease at first repelled Ellie but after a few seconds she stuck her head over the bag and took a deep breathe.

Instantly the smell of danger hit the back of her throat and Ellie took a few steps back and was tempted to give the bag back to her grandfather but a dark corner of her mind told Ellie to treasure the gift she was given.

After retrieving her bag of tricks from her locker Ellie placed it on a nearby bench and rummaged around to make sure that nothing was missing.

The bag contained an assortment of medical items you would expect to find vials, bandages, latex gloves. scissors etc but also present were a dozen specimen jars, various syringes and Ellie’s favourite tool a razor sharp scalpel.

But it is the specimen jars that interest Ellie the most because they contain body parts floating in an alcohol solution that Ellie began to collect on her very first shift at the hospital six years ago.

Each jars contain foreskins, clitoris’s, different coloured eyeballs, finger and toenail clippings, hair samples and various other body parts.

Most of the samples were taken from the recently departed who she found down in the morgue on her weekly visits but tonight Nurse Bana has other plans.

As she admires her souvenirs Ellie feels her knickers getting moist and she is tempted to rub at the tender spot causing the annoyance but she has business to attend to so she closes the bag and walks out of the locker room.

In room 10A 19 year old Andrew Nugent is asleep completely unaware that evil has just entered his room.

His eyes flutter as he dreams about the good times before paranoid schizophrenia destroyed his life.

Smiling as he sleeps Andrew recalls memories of his mum and dad and playing with his baby sister but soon his dream will turn into a nightmare.

Ellie is pleased to see that the patient is sleeping because normally he is highly agitated and needs a constant cocktail of drugs to keep him calm.

Even though the patient is strapped to his bed Nurse Bana knows that he could still be dangerous so she administers a sedative then checks his vitals to make sure that he is stable because the last thing she wants is for a patient to die on her watch because then there would be a investigation.

Putting on a pair of latex gloves Ellie grabs the scalpel from her bag she lifts the patients gown to check if his is uncircumcised or not.

Smiling Nurse Bana covers the flaccid penis in alcohol to prevent infection then moving quickly in case a cleaner appears Ellie holds the foreskin firmly and stretches it out like a turtle neck and with a quick cut she severs the morsel and drops it into a specimen jar.

Working expertly Ellie applies some dissolvable stitches and barely five minutes after attending to her patient she leaves the room to complete her rounds.

Andrew Nugent has no idea that a tiny piece of him is gone forever but at least he survived the night relatively unscathed.

Two hours later Nurse Bana decides to take an early break because she doesn’t get along with any of the other night shift staff but when she enters the canteen she is annoyed to find a few tables already occupied.

Ignoring the other people she puts a bowl of spag bol in the microwave and after four minutes her meal is ready.

When she turns around the six pair of eyes that were watching her quickly turn their attention back to their mobile phones.

As she eats Ellie scans the room, two female cleaner sit huddled together over in the corner near the coke machine and seated next to them four burly male orderlies who are usually loud and boisterous remain silent.

After devouring the spaghetti Ellie searches her bag of tricks looking for an apple she packed at home, pushing aside the specimen jars and zip lock bags containing the ingredients for potions and spells Ellie has planned for the weekend.

Taking her her bite of her apple the young orderly who only started working at the hospital a week earlier decides to open his dumb mouth ‘Hey Nurse Ratchett why don’t you come over here and wrap your mouth around this lump of meat.’

Looking daggers at the loud mouthed orderly who leers back at her cupping for crutch ‘Come on Ratchett and swallow my load’

‘I am not into pimply faced overweight nineteen year olds who are hung like a cashew so why don’t you go away and play with your crayons.’

The cleaner snigger but the orderlies are not amused especially Reynolds the victim of Bana’s acid tongue who attempts to bring her down and lucky for him his three workmates hold him because they have seen Bana’s bad side so they remain tight lipped and watch the evil nurse leave the canteen but Reynolds cant hold his tongue and whispers towards the retreating back ‘I will get you for that you crazy cunt’.

Forgetting the idiots Ellie’s mind drifts back to the night of her graduation when her grandfather gave her the special present.

After thanking her parents and friends for coming to her party Ellie walked into the loungeroom where her grandfather was waiting.

Ellie has always been her favourite so he hugs her tight and wishes her all the best for her future endeavors.

‘Happy graduation Eleanor i trust that you have had a great day.?’

‘Sure thing grandpop but i can see that there is still one gift that i haven’t opened yet.”

The grey haired old man smiles at his grand daughter and hands her a big gift wrapped box.

Ripping the wrapping paper to pieces Ellie is eager to see what her grandpop bought her because he always seems to know what she wants but when she opens the box she is disappointed to see an old battered medicine bag inside but she quickly hides her feelings and gives the old man another hug ‘I love it grandpop thank you’.

‘I know that it mightn’t look like much but this bag has been handed down from generation to generation and was given to me when i graduated in 1950 by my own grand father Sir Reginald Shaw.’

Drawing his grand daughter close to him the old man whispers in her ear ‘This is no ordinary bag Eleanor, carry it with you where ever you go and it will keep you from harm and guide you on your journey through life.’

‘Now listen closely Ellie because this is very important, if you rub the brass plaque on the top of the bag you will have the power to hypnotize people and get them to do whatever you wish but also Ellie be very wary because it is said that the devil himself sometimes resides inside the bag and if he grabs hold of your mind Eleanor then nothing can save you from evil Ellie nothing.’

Ellie was of the opinion that her grandpop had probably drunk a few too many glasses of sherry so she smiles at the gentle old man and thanks him for the great gift and promises to be careful.

A week later Ellie is up in her room reading Stephen King’s novel ‘Cujo’ and even though it is a good story she begins to think about the bag she got for her birthday.

Putting down he book she opens her wardrobe and grabs the handles and puts the bag on her bed.

Made of high quality leather with brass buckles and trim the bag looks just like an old medicine bag should look like but Ellie decides to take a closer look to see if what her grandfather told her makes any sense.

She notices a small brass plaque on the top bearing her grandfathers name Marcus Ignatious Graham Bana esquire.

The brass plate is a little tarnished so Ellie spits on a corner of a handkerchief and begins to rub and this is the moment when her world changed forever.

As she cleaned the plaque the cowhide began to shimmer in waves of different colours and emotions and at first she smiled in joy but as she rubbed further the colours stop sparkling but transform themselves into deep browns black and despite knowing that she should heed her grandfathers words and be very careful Ellie looks into the depths of hell and her soul and innocence enter the darkness never to seen again.

As the blackness engulfs her Ellie opens the front of her pyjama pants and rubs and rubs until she is sated.

A month after her encounter with the orderlies Ellie receives a phone call at 6pm by her only friend at the hospital, head nurse Susan Bellamy ‘Ellie the director wants you to come in immediately, i know that your shift starts at midnight but the arsehole wants to see you pronto.

‘God Ellie what have you done now?’

‘Nothing Susan i swear, i have been behaving myself, it is probably just a misunderstanding.’

‘Okay but he is in a shitty mood so please get here as quick as you can and don’t antagonize him any further.’

Ellie parks her car in her usual spot twenty minutes later walks up two flights of stairs down a long corridor and knocks on the directors door.

Dr Percy Grainger is 60 years old tall and thin with sparse black hair, people have compared him with the actor John Cleese but until Cleese Grainger is never in a good mood and rarely smiles.

‘Come in Nurse Bana this want take long.’

‘Take a seat, but before i start with the reason why you have been summoned tell me why do you carry that hideous case with you wherever you go?’

‘Before Ellie can reply the balding prick ploughs on ‘You are not a doctor nor will you ever be so from now on i order you to put the bag in your locker when you arrive or better still throw in it the rubbish, it looks like something Jack the Ripper would carry on his murder spree.’

‘I will have you know that this medicine case was given to me by my grandfather who was a prestigious doctor in Sydney a way better person than you will ever be, furthermore Dr Grainger this bag is precious to me and i carry it to protect me from creatures like you.’

Grainger smirks like a toad that just swallowed a fly ‘I should of fired you as soon as you sat down Bana but i wanted to give you enough rope to hang yourself with and you have come through with flying colours, thank you Nurse Bana.’

You were observed entering room 10A at 5am 20th August where you performed an unauthorized circumcision on patient Andrew Nugent causing him needless pain and anguish.’

‘I only learnt of this a few hours ago, had i been made aware of this indiscretion earlier you would have been shown the door immediately.

‘Nurse Bana your employment has been terminated forthwith so go and clean out your locker then you will be escorted by security of the premises.’

Ellie picks up her bag of tricks and places it on her lap and she slowly begins to rub the brass plague bearing her grandfathers name ‘First of all my actions weren’t needless because his foreskin will be me perform my witchcraft along with all of the other samples that i have collected over the years.

‘You will destroy all of the evidence that you have against me and you will keep your mouth or i will cut out your tongue and shove it down your throat.’

‘So do we have an agreement Director Grainger.’

While his nemesis was giving her demands Grainger watched as she rubbed the plague, he sat transfixed staring deep into the polished leather.

As he minds eye sunk deeper and deeper into the abyss he saw an old man that looked a lot like him swinging from a branch of a gum tree located outside his home at Wangi Wangi.

‘I will ask you again Director Grainger do we have an agreement.’

‘Of course we do Nurse Bana you are a valued member of the team here at Morriset Hospital and hopefully you will continue to work here for many years to come.’

Bana gets to her feet quickly followed by Grainger who offers a hand to shake but it is ignored.

Like a little boy lost in the woods Grainger Grainger looks frightened not quite knowing what is happening.

Bana walks out happy that she has out maneuvered Grainger but she also knows that the spell she put on him want last long.

Lost in her thoughts of how she will rid herself from Grainger permanently Ellie doesn’t hear the footsteps of four men who are sneaking up behind her but when she finally realizes that she might be in danger it is far too late.

A hand covers her mouth before she can scream then she is dragged unobserved into an empty storeroom.

Her captors throw her to the ground and tie her hands to a metal downpipe then they gag her with a rag the leader slaps her face a few times to get her attention ‘Hello Nurse Ratchett remember me?’

With blazing eyes Ellie looks up at Reynolds the young stupid orderly that she ridiculed a few weeks back’ Cat got your tongue Bana? Oh sorry i guess you can’t say much with your mouth full can you.’

‘Did you think that you could bad mouth me and get away with it? Well let me tell you that by the time that i am finished with you you will be a broken shell begging for mercy.’

The other three orderlies aren’t keen on sticking around to see what happens next so they make an exit ‘Do what needs to be done Reynolds but make it quick, we will return with a basket and wheel the bitch down to the incinerator and watch her burn.’

When he is alone with his victim Reynolds pulls a knife from his jacket and approaches ‘I am going to fuck you every which Ratchett you crazy bitch and when i get tired of you i will gut you like a fish but i will make sure that you are still alive when i throw you into the fire.’

Ellie knows that she hasn’t got much time if she is to survive but she also knows that Reynolds has the same IQ as a bag of nails so all is not lost yet if only she can gets her hands on the bag of tricks.

Trying to remain calm Ellie looks around the small space only to find that the leather satchel has been kicked into a corner out of reach ‘Shit.’

Part two is coming soon so hang tight.

THE END.

‘Rooster Booster ( Part Two ).

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In the first installment of this story in introduced you to the Humphrey family who own a large cattle ranch in Suffolk county Texas.

The father 39 year old Skeet works from sunup to late at night seven days a week and the proud fourth generation farmer wouldn’t have it any other way.

His wife Hattie also likes living off the land looking after her husband and their two kids eight year old Billy Bob and his sister Millie who just turned six.

The children like to play in the mud and round around with ranch with the family German Shepherd named Lonesome.

Hattie does most of the household chores plus she also tends two twenty chickens and a rooster called Peckerwood.

Recently Hattie secured a contract to supply a few business’s in town with fresh eggs and the takeout shop also want Hattie to supply them with chicken meat everyday so good old Peckerwood will need to get busy if she is to keep her clients happy.

COCK A DOODLE DOO COCK A DOODLE DOO

Every morning at the crack of dawn Peckerwood wakes up the family and while he waits to be fed the rooster struts around the yard like Mick Jagger in his heyday.

But looks can be deceiving because lately Peckerwood has been neglecting the chickens and if he doesn’t lift his game his days of being head rooster could be over.

After another long day Skeet enjoys spending quality time with his family then he retires to the den to go over the paper work to make sure the ranch is in the black and everything seems to be going as planned but to his dismay he notices not for the first time that the rate of new chicks being born is down again, this week alone it has fallen by 30%.

Enough is enough Peckerwood isn’t performing his duty as a virile rooster so he will need to be replaced by a younger rooster if the ranches profits are to keep going up and for Hattie to keep her contracts changes need to be made forthwith.

Hattie isn’t pleased when she is told that the rooster she has owned since he was born eight years ago is past his prime and will need to be replaced ‘Don’t fret Hattie we both knew that this day would come sooner or later so first thing tomorrow i will buy a new rooster from the Jackson’s next door and Hattie Peckerwood will need to put out of his misery’

‘When i get back i will take him around back to the chopping block because we can’t afford to keep an animal that isn’t pulling his weight but luckily for Hattie her two children save Peckerwoods neck in the nick of time and the old rooster knowing that his time is up seeks refuge beneath the barn.

COCK A DOODLE DOO COCK A DOODLE DOO

It is lunchtime and the new rooster named Sledgehammer is telling everyone within a five mile radius that he is the new king of the castle, then he visits the chicken for the second time that day fertilizes hundreds of eggs performing his duty and propping up the ranches profits.

Hattie hates seeing Peckerwood hiding from the new noisy upstart and she is determined to do something about it.

After delivering some eggs the despondent housewife goes into the drugstore and bulk vitamins, whey powder and a pack of viagra because Skeet has also been lacking in the lovemaking department of late.

Arriving home she made sure that Skeet wasn’t around then she crushed up a little blue pill along with the vitamins and powder and added the concoction to Peckerwoods water bowl.

While her rooster guzzled down the water Hattie ruffled his feathers’ Don’t worry Peckerwood soon you will back to your best running around like a youngster and giving the chickens some TLC’.

A few hours later Peckerwood emerges from his hidey hole full of vim and vigor a few pounds heavier sporting a rock hard member that points to the sky telling all of the hens that he is back in business.

After satisfying the chickens Peckerwood goes looking for Sledgehammer and soon finds his replacement scratching for grubs in the yard.

Sensing a huge presence behind him Sledgehammer spins around to see a somewhat familiar figure descending upon him ‘Is that you Peckerwood?’

The bulked up rooster doesn’t respond instead he attacks he plucks every single feather from the hapless victim then with one almighty kick he sends the loser tumbling over the boundary fence back to whence he came from.

Once again Peckerwood rules the roost.

PART TWO.

Skeet Humphrey and his wife Hattie were eating a quick lunch when they heard a commotion outside.

Rushing outside their jaws dropped open on seeing a skinny naked rooster spinning through the air like a football.

Equally astounding was the sight of a bulked up rooster parading around the yard like a victorious prize fighter.’

‘Holy fuck it looks like Peckerwood is swinging a baseball bat’ Skeet utters ‘And he must weigh 20 pounds or more.’

Hattie puts a hand over her mouth to hide a smile, she is proud with the way Peckerwood has responded to the supplements and viagra but maybe she should cut back any future doses.

Skeet and Hattie have been married for ten years come April and from day one they vowed never to keep a secret from one another.

Skeet is small and wiry covered in tattoos with a cigarette forever perched in the corner of his mouth while Hattie is tall, blonde and a bit of a health nut but the odd couple are deeply in love so Hattie decides to tell Skeet about all of the artificial boosters that she has been feeding Peckerwood ‘Ah Skeet honey i need to tell why Peckerwood why Peckerwood is so’ ‘Not now Hattie i need to get back to work but that rooster of yours needs a cold shower before he does some damage to the poor chickens.’

Jeremiah Jackson the Humphreys nearest neighbor who sold them Sledgehammer a while back is working on his pickup in the driveway when he looks up and notices a bloodied, featherless rooster hobbling up the drive towards him.

Jackson a 400 pound gulf war veteran who looks a lot like Hulk Hogan complete with the bandana and moustache can barely believe what he is seeing but he bends down and the frightened bird runs straight into his arms ‘Sledgehammer? What happened fella? You look like a bobcat has used you as a plaything.’

The plucked and fucked rooster looks back over his shoulder as he continues in tremble in shock, Jeremiah follows Sledgehammers gaze towards the Humphrey property ‘Surely my neighbors had nothing to do with what happened to Sledgehammer?’

To all outward appearances Jeremiah looks like your everyday southern rancher but looks can be deceiving because the battle hardened veteran when crossed can be one mean motherfucker so it is best to keep out of his way when the red mist descends.

He also dabbles in moonshine, produces meth in his barn and he is also a member of the local cockfighting ring.

With the kids at school, skeet out in a back field branding some cattle Hattie is all alone with her thoughts.

Sitting on the back step she watches Peckerwood claw and scratch in the dirt then with a single whistle the rooster runs to his owner and sidles up onto her lap’ Holy frigging shit Peckerwood you are getting heavy get down before you break my hip’.

The rooster jumps down and sits beside Hattie on the stoop ‘What am i to do Peckerwood? I like the new improved rooster that you have become and i know that i really shouldn’t give you any more treats but i couldn’t bear to see you return to your old self’ So everyday Hattie continues to feed her rooster the bulk powder and viagra to give Peckerwood the boost he needs.

Three nights after Sledgehammer returned Jeremiah drove his pickup the two miles to his neighbors place and parked near the front gate.

It is 1 am and he is confident that everyone in the homestead is asleep so he grabs a pair of night vision glasses and enters the Humphreys property.

Scanning the yard he finds nothing of interest but when he goes behind the house he notices a large chicken shed and standing guard outside is the biggest rooster that he has ever seen ‘Holy fucking shit on a shingle this must be the cunt that destroyed Sledgehammer.’ Okay you mother come to daddy’

Peckerwood looks at the intruder with disinterest because he knows that any second now Lonesome the family dog will come flying around the corner and rip the man a new one.

But Lonesome wont be coming to the rescue any time soon because he is currently asleep behind the barn dreaming about chasing rabbits and the fancy looking poodle with the pink bows he saw at the vet’s last week.

Jeremiah can’t believe his luck this monster rooster has the potential to earn him a small fortune but it is way too big to manhandle so very carefully he loads a blow dart gun with a tranquilizer and a few seconds later Peckerwood is snoring.

Throwing the huge bird over his shoulder Jeremiah hurries back towards his pickup truck to make his escape but Lonesome has woken from his slumber and makes a beeline for Jackson and bites down hard on the kidnappers left calf muscle.

Jackson screams in agony as the dog shakes his head vigorously threatened to tear his calf from his body but the soldier tells himself to remain calm, he removes a razor sharp bowie knife from a hip sheath and with a single slash he opens up the German Shepherd who with a whimper runs off to die.

Jackson gets a better grip on Peckerwood he runs to his truck and throws the rooster into a metal cage in the back and takes off like a bat out of hell.

At 7 am Hattie wakes and immediately she knows that something is wrong because the sun is streaming through the bedroom curtains.

Normally at 5 am sharp Peckerwood would crow welcoming the family to a brand new day but this morning a deathly silence fills the air. ‘Skeet wake up it is 7 o’clock, i will start breakfast can you go and see if something is wrong with Peckerwood because he didn’t wake us up as usual’

Rubbing the sleep from his eyes Skeet puts on a pair of sweatpants then wanders outside and he immediately notices a huge blood of blood in the middle of the yard then he sees two different trails of blood, one trail leads toward the front gate while the more substantial trail heads towards the back of the barn.

When he gets close to the barn he hears a few soft whimpers, hurrying his pace he stifles a cry when he sees Lonesome laying in a pool of blood.

Skeet kneels down next to Lonesome and puts a hand over the wound in staunch the blood flow but it quickly becomes obvious that he is losing the battle so he gently picks up the shepherd and carries him to his truck then after pushing a towel into the wound he high tails it to the vet’s five miles away.

On the way he puts his cell phone on speaker and calls home ‘Hattie i am taking Lonesome to the vet’s, he has been sliced open by a bear i think and is bleeding bad’

‘No i haven’t seen Peckerwood i was to busy dealing with Lonesome but i will look for him when i get home.’

‘Don’t cry babe Doctor Morrow will give Lonesome a few stitches and i am sure that he will be as good as knew just you you wait and see.’

‘Get the kids ready for school and i will see you in an hour or so, bye Hattie see you soon.’

Carrying Lonesome into the vet’s the receptionist tells Skeet to go straight into the surgery and after greeting Doctor Morrow that his dog has been attacked by a bear or possibly a mountain lion.

But after examining Lonesome the doctor knows immediately that this was no bear or mountain lion ‘Skeet no animal did this, the wound isn’t torn or ragged this is your typical knife wound but i don’t think that any vital organs are affected but Skeet your dog has lost a lot of blood and i will do anything i can to save him’

As he drives back home Skeet can’t get his head around why someone would enter his property and slice his dog with a knife then he remembers the trail of blood leading to the front gate and Hattie being worried about Peckerwood, maybe it is time to get the police involved especially now that he knows that some crazy entered his yard carrying a knife.

Arriving home he tells Hattie about what Doctor Morrow said ‘What? Who would harm Lonesome he is a quite gentle dog, the kids were upset when he didn’t come and say goodbye when they were ready for school and Peckerwood is nowhere to be found, i looked all over, do you think that whoever hurt Lonesome has taken Peckerwood?’

‘I don’t know Hattie but i think that we should call the state troopers and let them handle it’

Jeremiah Jackson is in a foul mood when he arrives back home, his calf is aching like a bitch but at least now he owns a rooster capable of earning him a shitload of money.

Knowing that he needs to hide his prize in case the Humphreys come nosing around Jackson reverses his truck into the barn and whilst the rooster is still unconscious he quickly sharpens the spur on each leg with a rasp.

There is a cockfight over at old man Johnson’s place tonight and Jeremiah aims to win the $10,000 first prize.

As soon as they pull into the Humphreys drive Troopers Crespo and Dufray notice the pool of blood in the yard and the trail leading back past their cruiser out to the gravel road.

They both know with the blood will likely lead them to but to cover their butts they walk around the Humphrey property pretending to do a through search for evidence.

The troopers have been on the take for years and have no intention of letting a dead dog and a missing rooster railroad their cash flow.

Skeet and Hattie have dealt with the two deadbeat troopers before and their hearts sink when they see the pair wandering around like lost puppies. ‘God doesn’t the county have have any better cops than Cheech and Chong’ Hattie gripes ‘Look at them Skeet the chances of them finding the perpetrator who entered our yard and almost killed Lonesome and took Peckerwood is next to zero’

‘If those two were proctologists they would struggle to find their own asshole’

When the troopers finally talk to the Humphreys they assure the couple that they will move heaven and earth to find the culprit who trespassed on their property and caused you so much heartache.

‘We are Suffolk County’s finest ‘ Dufray proudly announces as he struggles to hitch up his pants to hide his protruding stomach.’Justice will be served.’

‘God help us all’ Skeet whispers to his annoyed wife who can’t manage to keep quiet’ Next time you pass by can you drop off a dozen donuts because i know that you two spend a lot of the tax payers time and money filling your stomach’s with krispy creme’s and do very little actual police work’

Crespo and Dufray don’t respond but they both give Hattie an icy stare before returning to their cruiser and driving away.

Hattie just made herself two enemies, lets hope that she lives to fight another day.

The sun has just set and Jeremiah is getting ready to leave for the cockfight when he hears a car wheels on his gravel drive and before he can react in time two troopers barge into his barn ‘Jesus H Christ Jackson you are one dumb motherfucker’ Crespo screams’ We just left your neighbors place and the blood evidence led us straight here, you might as well of painted a sign with an arrow pointed to your front door.’

‘And why in the hell would you think that it would be a good idea to go next door and stab a dog and steal a rooster?’

‘Look fellas i didn’t go there to cause any harm but something attacked Sledgehammer four or five days ago so i went to the Humphreys place to see if i could find anything useful and man did i ever.

‘Come let me show you Suffolk County’s next best prize fighter’

The troopers follow Jackson around to the back of his pickup’ Holy fuck’ Dufray shouts ‘ Is that one of those Tasmanian emu’s ?’

‘No it isn’t a Tasmanian emu you dumb fuck it is the biggest rooster this side of the state line and he will be making me a richer man tonight.’

The noise is deafening inside a huge marquee when the first cockfight for the evening gets underway.

Old man Johnson always puts on a good spread and tonight is no different, jars of moonshine are passed from one punter to another and there is enough marching powder on hand to keep the one thousand gamblers happy.

As always Troopers Crespo and Dufray stand out front taking their take of the action and also ensuring that the cockfight can continue without fear of being stormed by any honest law abiding troopers.

The punters are crammed in tight around around a 10 square yard pit in the middle of the marquee and after the first three fights they are well lubricated and barely notice the the blood covered straw and the carcasses of the defeated piled up in the corner.

The air tingles in excitement as word gets around that a new contender is in town ready to take on Gutshredder the winner of the last two title fights.

Ten minutes before the bout is to begin old man Johnson grabs Jeremiah by the arm’ You need to give me a name so i can introduce your rooster to the crowd.’

Jackson hasn’t given the matter any thought but he knows that he needs to come up with a good name’ Ah what about Skullcrusher? That’s it Skullcrusher the Texan Terror’

‘Why don’t we go just go with Skullcrusher? suggests Johnson ‘The fight will begin at 8 o’clock and may the best rooster win.’

‘Ladies and gentlemen the final fight of the evening is between the unbeaten titleholder Gutshredder and the new unknown challenger named Skullcrusher who is owned by Jeremiah Jackson and Jeremiah as we all know has produced a number of champions over the years.’

‘So without any further ado lets all welcome the fighters to the ring.’

Making sure to stay well behind the troopers car Skeet follows them all the way to the Johnson farm.

Skeet pulls to the edge of the road 100 yards past the front gate he grabs his trusty Nikon 3600c and after zooming in he begins taking photos of hundreds of photos of hundreds of people entering a huge marquee.

Especially interesting is the sight of Crespo and Dufray clearly on the take as they stand guard outside the tent accepting money from the throng.

Gutshredder is the first rooster to enter the ring, he is small of the weight division covered in scars from his past bouts.

He might be battle scarred but Gutshredder has never ever taken a backward step.

When Peckerwood aka Skullcrusher enters a collection of gasps are heard from the punters who have put their money on the Gutshredder but now as they can see how big the challenger is some of them know that they should have hedged their bets.

Peckerwood was still a little dazed from his ordeal but when the stranger who kidnapped him leant down and gave gave him a hit of smelling salts he instantly became aware oh his surroundings and now he is primed to survive in this dog eat dog world.

Gutshredder is also a little put off by the size of his opponent but he immediately goes on the attack with both spurs raised.

Peckerwood normally a shy reserved bird who has never had a fight in his life but he instinctively feints to the left dodging the attack and goes on the offensive, striking with his beak Peckerwood destroyed an eyeball blinding the champion in that eye.

Gutshredder totally disoriented and in extreme pain lays on the ground covering his head with his clipped wings in total surrender.

At the sight of the blood soaking into the straw the crowd is ripped into a frenzy.

KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL.

With one more strike Peckerwood opens up the hapless rooster spilling his entrails onto the bloodstained floor.

‘Holy fucking shit’ one punter screams out ‘Gutshredder just got a taste of his own medicine.’

Most of the punters walk out with empty pockets except for Jeremiah Jackson who’s wallet is now bursting with greenbacks.

But another person sitting at the back has also been watching proceedings with interest, Antonio Gredopolous or ‘Mister Greed’ as he is called behind his back is the official mayor of Suffolk County.

The ugly bald stand over merchant who is rumored to have murdered ten of his enemies has his fingers stuck in every pie in town and tonight he has also made a killing.

Old man Johnson locates the mobster in his usual seat flanked by his two bodyguards Tweedledee and Tweedledum, handing over a briefcase containing $40,000 the elderly farmer backs away ‘Just remember old man that if you ever try to double cross me i will feed you wife and children to my dogs while you watch.’

‘This is my town now get out of my sight’

As he watches the fat asshole climb into the back of his limo Johnson snarls ‘One day Mister Greed one day’

One week later the Humphrey family finally receive some good news, Lonesome is on the mend so they all dive into Skeets pride and joy a fully restored 56′ chevy and drive into town.

Doctor Morrow the miracle working vet warns the family the Lonesome ‘Is still sore and sorry, the wound to his neck has healed nicely but take it easy on him for a few weeks so no rough stuff okay Billy Bob.’

Eight year old Billy Bob nods his head but soon he is crying tears of joy when Lonesome is led into the room wagging his tail in happiness eager to rejoin his family.

Millie the baby of the group gently hugs the German Shepherd’ Be careful honey’ Hattie chides her daughter. ‘Now lets go home and enjoy the rest of the weekend hopefully free of drama.’

Outside skeet notices Crespo and Dufray emerging from the donut shop across the street carrying a large box of tasty treats.

Hattie finally sees the two troopers and locks eyes with Dufray and if looks could kill the walking talking ball of gluten would have exploded by now.

The cop unfazed by the death stare wanders across the road and goes to hand the box of donuts to Hattie ‘Please take my offering Mrs Humphrey, your children surely deserve a bit of happiness in their lives instead of all the misery that they must endure having a mother like you.’

Skeet is steaming and takes a step forward’ It is okay Skeet i can deal with Dufray.’

‘Thanks for your parental advice Trooper Lard Ass but my children eat wholesome food not unhealthy hand outs from the likes of you, now go away and stuff your face then maybe go and perform your duty as an officer of law like us tax payers pay you to do.’

Before the befuddled cop can respond Skeet drags his wife away’ Come on Hattie lets go before Trooper Double Glazed pops an artery.’

Come on Skullcrusher eat your corn and wheat, if you finish the lot i will give you first bibs with the chickens.

Jeremiah Jackson is a worried man, his prize rooster has gone off his food and has lost a lot of weight in the three days since his first fight.

The next cockfight is in seven days and there is no way in hell his rooster will be ready to defend his crown unless he bulks up real quick.

Peckerwood is tempted to give the chickens some loving but he hasn’t really got the strength.

Still confined to his cage the home sick rooster has begun a hunger strike and will not end until he is returned home.

Listening to his stomach grumble Peckerwood fondly remembers the the taste and magical qualities of the bulk building powder and the power shakes that gave him something to crow about every morning.

Plus let’s not forget the little blue pills that gave him a stiffy in a jiffy enabling him to satisfy the chickens like a lovesick teenager.

Two days before the fight Jackson knows that his rooster is a no go, so he phones old man Johnson and tells him that his champion bird is a late scratching.’ Sorry but Skullcrusher has pulled an abdominal muscle and will be unable to defend his title.’

‘Are you pulling my leg Jeremiah? Because every man and his dog has put a months wages on Skullcrusher and if he doesn’t turn up i will have a riot on my hands.’

‘Plus don’t forget that jabba the hut Mister Greed holds huge stakes on the cockfights and if your rooster is a no show the Italian Malfunction will not be happy.’

‘I understand Johnson but what am i supposed to do? Skullcrusher can barely stand let alone fight can’t you postpone for a week or two?’

‘No way Jose, if your rooster is scratched you might as well put a bullet in your own head because if don’t Mister Greed do the deed and bury you next to Jimmy Hoffa.’

In a panic Jackson carries the cage holding the ever shrinking rooster outside in the hope that a dose of vitamin D might give the bird a boost.

While he says a prayer to ward off his demise a huge black limo rolls up his driveway.

The two towers of granite Tweedledee and Tweedledum emerge quickly followed by their boss Mister Greed who walks towards Jackson with a mean look on his pudgy face and Jackson’s testicles roll around in his scrotum seeking an escape route but he still manages to smile at Greed despite his discomfort’ Good morning Sir what can i do for you on this fine day?’

‘Cut the bullshit Jackson, you know very well why i am here.’

‘Now listen carefully, i stand to lose a huge amount of money if your champion rooster doesn’t turn up to defend his crown, do i make myself clear Jackson?’

‘Jackson’s balls have now entered his throat so he struggles to speak, instead he simply points over to the cage sitting in the middle of his yard.

The obese mobster waddles over and takes a look inside the cage ‘Surely Jackson this isn’t the same bird that completely demolished Gutshredder last week.

‘It is indeed and as you can see Skullcrusher would struggle to beat a sparrow in a fight let alone another rooster.’

‘I hear what you are saying and i can see with my own eyes that your rooster is very sick so i grant you one weeks grace.’

‘But let me warn you if i lose one dime on a no show you might as well dig your own grave and jump in because i will come back and turn you into human fertilizer but look on the bright side at least your crops will produce a bumper season.’

When Mister Greed and his henchmen leave his property Jackson goes inside leaving Peckerwood outside soaking up the sun.

Once the coast is clear Pecker sticks a foot through the wire and begins scratching a message in the dirt but he struggles with the spelling so he instead scratches one word in uppercase HELP.

In an attempt to calm his nerves Jackson pours himself a huge glass of bourbon and over the course of the day he finishes the whole bottle no closer to figuring out an answer to his deadly problem.

Just before sunset he goes out and carries Peckerwood’s cage back into the barn not noticing the cry for help scratched in the dirt.

The Humphrey family are also settling in for the night and despite having just eaten a huge portion of meatloaf six year old sobs in distress ‘Mommy when is Peckerwood coming home? Hopefully the kidnappers will ask for a ransom and when they do mommy please pay $1 million and Pecker can come back and play with Billy Bob and me.’

Hattie wipes her eyes and smiles at her daughter trying to cheer her up ‘I miss Peckerwood to honey now go watch Dora the Explorer and once i have cleaned up a bit i will bring you and Billie Bob a bowl of ice cream.’

Skeet doesn’t like to see his children unhappy then as he looks over at Lonesome snoozing on his bed on the kitchen floor an idea pops into his head ‘Maybe just Maybe.’

But knowing that he wont achieve much in the dark Skeet helps his wife with the dishes and then the family eat ice cream while watching cartoons.

First thing in the morning after breakfast Skeet is eager to dee if his plan will work so he called out to Hattie ‘Babe i am going to take Lonesome for a walk, i need to stretch my legs and he needs the exercise.’

OK but don’t over do it because Lonesome has been through a lot lately.’

Placing a lead on his German Shepherd’s collar Skeet goes out front and immediately the pooch locks onto a few dry spots of blood on the gravel drive.

Lonesome wags his tail vigorously and barks happily knowing that he has done good. ‘Well done fella now lets see where the blood leads us to.’

Lonesome nose to the ground turns right at the front gate and 20 minutes later the pair of sleuths arrive at the Jackson homestead the very place where Skeet bought Sledgehammer Peckerwoods nemesis and mortal enemy a few weeks back.

Lonesome almost pulls Skeet off his feet when his nose picks up a different scent, as he sniffs the ground the dog leads his master to a scratching.

Skeet leans down and makes out the word HELP and nearby lay what looks like a few rooster feathers.

‘Good boy now lets go find Peckerwood and get the fuck out of here.’

‘Hold it right there mister, what are you doing on my property?’

‘Surely you recognize me Jackson?, i am your neighbor Skeet Humphrey now hand over the rooster that you stole and i will be on my way.’

‘I don’t know what you are talking about now take your mongrel and leave before i call the police.’

Lonesome growls menacingly at the sound of the man’s voice and he knows instantly that this is the person responsible for his injuries.

Springing forward the angry dog bites down hard between the mans legs his teeth clamping onto the ever shrinking block and tackle.

Screaming in terror Jackson notices the dogs shaved shaved neck and stitches and he knows that he is in deep shit.

Lonesome shakes his head vigorously determined to inflict as much pain as he can ‘If i were you neighbor i would start talking because my dog really gets serious.’

Jackson starts babbling ‘Look man i didn’t mean any harm but when Sledgehammer came back all bloodied and hurt i had to do something and when i saw the huge rooster at your place i knew who was responsible but then your dog tried to stop me getting away and i am sorry that i had to use my knife.’

‘Plus i don’t know if you are aware or not but cockfights are held out at old man Johnson’s place so that is why i poached your rooster and by the way the won first fight last week.’

‘Most of the troopers are on the take and usually turn a blind eye on all the illegal activity in the county.’

‘Thanks for confirming my suspicions Jackson you low life son of a bitch but where does Antonio Gredopolous figure in all of this.’?

‘Mister Greed as he is called controls the whole county virtually, he stands over all the businesses in town, everybody is afraid of him and i don’t know if this is true or not but it is rumored that he has murdered a number of people over the years so if i were you i would take your rooster and mangy mutt home and keep my mouth shut.’

At home Skeet is welcomed home by his very excited and happy family and while the kids play with Peckerwood and Lonesome Skeets tells Hattie what went down at the Jackson’s.

‘I knew Crespo and Dufray were rotten Skeet but i didn’t realize the whole force was involved, we need to bring them down and the county will pay for all the pain and suffering that they have put us through.’

‘I don’t think that all of the cops in the county are on the take Hattie but there needs to be an investigation to weed all bad ones out and send them packing.

Jackson knowing that he needs to get away before Mister Greed puts a bullet in his head hitches a trailer to his truck and after driving into town to instruct his lawyer to sell his ranch pronto the shit scared rancher high tails it to parts unknown.

Hattie walks into the mayors office determined to restore law and order to the county.

The mayor Dennis Childers a 46 year old born and bred local has been a leading figure in the county for many years and he is known as a good family man, honest and beyond reproach.

After listening to all that Hattie has to say and seeing the damning evidence on Skeets phone Childers promises her that he will lead a full investigation into the matter’ I will leave no stone unturned Mrs Humphreys, all guilty parties will be terminated from the department and Gredopolous will be brought before a court to face justice.’

Crespo and Dufray are stood down immediately, their first course of action is to inform Mister Greed about the upcoming investigation.

The mobster thanks them for the call he decides that now might be a good time to visit Vegas and lay low for a while so along with his two bodyguards he leaves the county never to return.

Of the 300 troopers employed by the county a total of 56 were found guilty by an independent commission against corruption of accepting brides and were forced to retire from the police force.

The rest of the troopers and their superiors were all put on notice and they all vowed to work with the people and rid the county of corruption.

Six months later.

Jeremiah Jackson has grown a beard and wears a baseball cap which he constantly pulls down to cover his face.

He spends his weekends fishing the Mississippi with a few friends drinking beer, smoking a some pot but most of all Jeremiah tries to keep a low profile.

He now has a pretty girlfriend named Jennifer and the couple live in a trailer on the banks of the river.

Life is good for Jackson he lives on the straight and narrow and his past life is light years behind but even now he still can’t shake the feeling the past will catch up with him day.

On the following Wednesday morning he walks about 500 yards downstream to his favorite fishing spot.

It is 6 am the sun is barely above the horizon and Jackson has the river to himself, after casting a line he settles into a camping chair and lights a cigarette waiting for the first bite of the day.

‘Hello Jackson fancy seeing you here, don’t you know that smoking will kill you one day but lucky for i am here to help you die a lot earlier’.

Jackson’s skin crawls at the sound of the voice behind him and he sighs in defeat, spinning his chair Jeremiah stares down his killer ‘What are you doing down these ways Antonio? I can see that your Jenny Craig diet isn’t really working, what do you weigh now 500 600 pounds, it is a wonder that you are still breathing with all that blubber surrounding your heart.’

‘Oh by the way where are your butt buddies Tweedledee and Tweedledum?”

Standing ten yards away the mobster smiles ‘Jackson your words don’t affect me, did you really think that you could run and that i wouldn’t hunt you down one day.’

‘I must admit that it took longer than i thought it would but here we are.’

Jackson looks around desperately hoping that someone will come to his rescue but at this time of the morning even the birds are still waking up.’

Pulling a pistol from his waistband Mister Greed attaches a silencer and points the gun in Jackson’s general ‘Any last words Jackson?’

‘Just tell Jennifer that i love her and i hope that one day i will see you in hell.’

‘Okay see you then, bye now.

PIFF PIFF PIFF

All three bullets hit Jackson in the chest and he stumbles back and falls into the water.

Mister Greed walks to the bank and watches the body drift with the current before disappearing from view.

When he turns to walk away the mobster’s left foot comes into contact with a razor sharp fishing knife that was on the ground near Jackson’s fishing box.

The knife sliced through the leather loafer and cuts deep into the big toe drawing blood.

Mister Greed howled in agony and he instinctively dipped his foot into the river to ease the pain.

The blood from the cut attracted a dozen or so tiny leeches who latched on and quickly began to suck the blood.

Antonio sat down on the chair and took off the damaged shoe to inspect the wound, satisfied that the cut isn’t as bad as it could have been Mister Greed smiles as he takes another look to see that Jacksons body hasn’t reappeared.

Sitting behind the wheel of the limo Antonio listens to his favorite Celine Dion album on car play.

As he sings along the mobster feels something crawling up his huge stomach under his shirt, he screams in terror thinking that a tarantula is about to bite him but what emerges is just a little leech.

Sighing in relief Mister Greed squeezes the bloated animal between his fingers and throws it out of the window but the leech had friends and they all emerge from beneath his shirt and soon his face is covered in the tiny creatures who enter his mouth and nostrils seeking another blood meal.

Screeching in horror the mobster loses control of the limo, the car crashes through a safety barrier at full speed and flies through the air before landing in the Mississippi.

As his limo sinks Mister Greed tries to smash a window to escape but he quickly loses strength and sobs knowing that his time is up.

The last thing he sees before his car descends into the water is a bullet riddled body floating by.

THE END.

‘Mister Big Cheese’ Part Two.

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Part One.

In the first installment of this story i introduced you to Mister Big Cheese a huge rat who ruled the sewers beneath the streets of Manhattan.

He is currently having trouble with the human population of the borough who are laying traps and poisons in an attempt to rid New York City of its rodent problem.

So the head rat called a summit meeting with the other leaders of the other boroughs to warn them of the human intervention plus he has ambitions to be the number one rat of the whole city not just Manhattan so the meeting will give him a chance to size up his opponents.

Three days later the rats met beneath a park bench in central park on the stroke of midnight and first up to greet Mister Big was the leader of the rats over in Staten Island Mister Feta and just like his name suggests he was fragile and tended to crumble easily under pressure and was certainly no threat but The Cheese immediately to a liking to the friendly rat.

Next were the leaders from The Bronx and Brooklyn Mister Brie and Camembert and even though they both put on a tough exterior they couldn’t hide the fact that they were soft and gooey on the inside but Mister Big Cheese knew that they would follow his instructions and be important allies.

Finally the head rat from Queens, Mister Parmigiano arrives, he is known to be strong and sharp and he doesn’t suffer fools and he is also highly ambitious and Mister Big Cheese knows that that Parmigiano will need watching of that he is positive.

After talking for over an hour about the trapping and poisons that have killed thousands of their kind and suggesting that they all go back to their boroughs and tell their rodent friends to be vigilant he is rudely interrupted by the sour and smelly Parmigiano ‘Who put you in charge? How dare you stand up on your soapbox telling us what we should be doing about the slaughter of our population by the humans.’

You might rule teeny weeny Manhattan but that doesn’t give you the right to dictate to us, shut the fuck up and listen for a change, we need to attack the people who are killing us and not scurry away with our tails between out legs.’

‘The people on the streets need to be taught a lesson and that is, if you try to destroy the rat we will strike with a vengeance and eradicate the human population from this city, now i am going back to Queens to draw up an action plan so who is with me?’

Mister Big Cheese cant quite believe what he is hearing, he called this meeting to strengthen his position and now this upstart from Queens is attempting to steal his thunder, the asshole even has the nerve to call a vote for his diabolical scheme.

Fifteen minutes later victory is secured by Parmigiano and he raises a claw to celebrate the win.

Mister Big Cheese hangs his head in defeat and without another word he slinks away into the darkness.

The other leaders know that attacking the people in revenge will only make the matters worse but Mister Parmigiano is tough and built like a brick outhouse so they had chose but to side with him so they to head back to their boroughs to await orders from the new leader of the rat.

Perched on a toilet seat at an old abandoned underground station Mister Big Cheese is still seething feeling down in the dumps but suddenly his whiskers twitch in glee when he remembers an incident a few years back.

It was a chilly afternoon and he was minding his own business chewing on an discarded apple when a street wise cat appeared out of nowhere swinging a paw that almost took off his head but then a rat came up behind the feline biting it on the ass.

The rat in question was called Mister Stillson because he was as hard as nails with a smell about him that was somewhat pleasant but at the same time nasty very nasty indeed.

As he ponders his future Mister Big Cheese wonders where Mister Stillson is now because he knows that if he is to save New York City he is going to need some help and the rat from God knows where could be his savior.

Part Two.

After being humiliating defeat Mister Big Cheese was forced to flee to Chicago leaving his loyal sidekick Mister Cheddar in charge while he cools his heels in exile but he knows that sooner or later he will have to return to New York City before Parmigiano reduces the metropolis to a ruin of disease and destruction.

The coward is currently holed up near Canadian border where he fled when the human authorities to kill his loyal rat followers with chemical baits and flamethrowers.

Mister Big Cheese knows that the turncoat will scurry back to his Queens headquarters when the coast is clear and when he does The Cheese will take him down once and for all.

Hopefully Mister Stilton will be by his side and together they will hopefully bring stability back to his home city.

In an old abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of Bangor Maine a smelly old rat is is snuggled safe and sound in his nest behind a rusty washing machine.

Mister Stilton has always had over active scent glands and when you you are a contract killer for hire having a nasty tang makes it hard to sneak up on your prey.

As he licks the offending gland he is startled by a loud knocking on the side of the machine.

Tucking the gland out of sight he is intrigued to find out who is seeking him out but before he can take a peek a note is pushed into his hidey hole followed by the sound of retreating footsteps.

Opening the note he begins to read’ Hello old friend i hope you are well? I trust that you have heard about the mayhem happening right now in New York? The instigator is an young upstart rat from Queens named Mister Parmigiano’

‘He has become a huge problem and needs to be put to rest permanently before the calamity in our city gets completely out of control’

‘I will be on the corner of Third and Maple every night from Wednesday the 3rd, please Mister Stilton i beg your presence post haste.

Yours Sincerely

Mister Big Cheese.

After a quick dip in the toilet bowl and a liberal application of heavy duty deodorant Stilton packs a knapsack full personal hygiene products, he then hurries thorough a cornfield to the local train station where he jumps on a freight train heading to New York City.

Two days later he arrives in the big apple and quickly finds his way to the rendezvous point.

He is a little early so he hides behind a trashcan and waits for his friend to arrive and an hour later the leader of the Manhattan rat cartel scurries into view and immediately races behind the bin ‘Jesus Stilton i could smell your odor from three blocks away, haven’t you heard of having a shower every now and then?

‘ Nice to see you too Mister Big Cheese, you know that i have a gland problem that becomes inflamed when i am anxious and a little nervous but enough about me lets get down to business’

Moving down wind from Stilton The Cheese begins’ First off thanks for coming because i have a huge problem on my hands and only you can give me a permanent solution’

‘Mister Parmigiano the self appointed leader of the rat population in Queens has started a war with the humans, there is fighting all over the city but thankfully Manhattan is still under my control but soon Parmigiano will want a complete stranglehold on the whole city’

‘I have put some feelers out and have found out that he is holed up in a little town called Mississauga up on the border’

‘Locate the fucker and neutralize him before the humans completely annihilate the rat from the city’

‘Bring me his head and in return i will provide you with an endless supply of your favorite food but please Stilton control your glands before they get you killed’

Stilton nods his head and gives the offending gland a little rub before racing off to complete his mission.

‘In the sewer beneath an ice cream factory in Mississauga Mister Parmigiano is living the life of a king surrounded by a thousand of his most loyal followers who attend to his every need.

It has been eight days since he ordered war against the human aggressors and so far the battalions of rats around the boroughs have achieved great success.

Most rats are infested with fleas and carry the rabies virus so a single bite from 100 million rodents will quickly infect the humans killing millions of the annoying creatures.

Parmigiano hopes that by 2023 New York City will be his for the taking and he the honorable Mister Parmigiano will become the first rodent mayor of the big apple and now with the help from Covid his mission to bring the human being down will be so much easier.

Tomorrow he will return to Queens and step up operations but first he will travel to Manhattan and put the so called Mister Big Cheese out of his misery.

Stilton sneaks into Mississauga and immediately hones in on the ice cream factory and his whiskers twitch in excitement.

Parmigiano might think that he is king shit but his hideout was remarkably easy to locate but unknowingly he has walked into a trap.

He is quickly surrounded by a dozen or rats who with four bites sever his achilles tendons so for Mister Stilton there will be no escape.

He is dragged beneath the factory and left at Parmigiano’s feet ‘Well well if it isn’t the smelly assassin himself Mister Stilton’

‘Let me tell you that your stench precedes you, it is amazing how you have been a successful killer for so many years when you smell like a colony of lepers left out to rot in the sun’

‘After i kill you i will leave your carcass outside for the buzzards to feast on but i think that even the flesh eating birds will disregard your bones.’

Stilton wants to tell the fucker that he has a gland problem but he knows that he would be wasting his breath so he stays silent staring back at his killer in defiance.

Parmigiano knows that Mister Big Cheese is behind the attempt to take him down and his beady black eyes narrow in hatred ‘Hold him still’

Snarling with perverse pleasure Parmigiano waits until his would be assassin is held secure then he dives in and rips Stilton apart.

Thankfully Stilton dies moments after his internal organs are devoured by Parmigiano who tweaks his whiskers as he swallows the final morsel of liver ‘The meat is all your boys but leave the head untouched because i am sending it to my friend in Manhattan as a reminder of what will happen to him if he continues to stand in my way’

Early the next morning Mister Big Cheese wakes in his nest of newspaper in a happy mood, he is confident that Stilton will have rid the earth from the tyranny of Parmigiano and hopefully avoid all out war between man and rat.

When he finishes his breakfast and takes a dump behind a bucket he races upstairs to begin a brand new day but almost stumbles over a blood soaked package sitting in the middle of his doorstep.

Deep down he knows what the contents of the package will contain but with dread he gingerly eats through the string binding the parcel and after a quick peak to confirm his suspicions Mister Big Cheese violently regurgitates his breakfast on the floor, hanging his head in sorrow The Cheese knows that he and he alone is responsible for the death of his friend ‘I vow to you Stilton that the rat who killed you will be brought to justice and sentenced to a slow demise at the hands of your truly’

Through misty eyes he notices a piece of paper sticking out from beneath the severed head. picking it up he reads ‘I trust that you are enjoying the company the company of Stilton even though he mightn’t have much to say? but enough small talk Mister Big Wheeze this is your first and final warning, get out of town while you still can or you will have the same fate as Mr Smelly’

‘If you are still in Manhattan tomorrow evening i will personally visit you in the shithole you live in and happily send you on a one way trip to hell’

‘Get out of my city before i crawl up your asshole and eat you from the inside out’

Your Sincerely

Mister Parmigiano

Mister Big Cheese crumples the note and throws it to the ground in anger, if that turd with a tail thinks that i will runaway and leave my city for him to destroy he has got another thing coming.

Stepping out into the sunshine he knows that time is of the essence so he hurries away without looking back, it saddens him to leave his home but he has little choose in the matter because if he is to out smart Parmigiano he will have to find a safe place to stay in the city away from his clutches.

Thousands of his followers run behind him but Mister Big Cheese that having them around will only attract attention so he stops in his tracks holding up a claw ‘As you all know Parmigiano is after my blood so for safety as well as my own i ask you to go home to your burrows and bunker down until i send word’

Manhattans finest scurries down a storm water drain on his way to God knows where but if New York City is to survive he will have to come up with a plan to stop Parmigiano otherwise the big apple will be turn rotten all the way to its core.

Parmigiano for the moment puts all thoughts of how he will end Mister Big Cheese’s dominance because he has a war to run after all.

Sitting at his feet in his headquarters in Queens are the three timid head rats from Staten Island, The Bronx and Brooklyn, the trio are shaking so much their tremors would most likely register around 7.2 on the Richter scale.

Parmigiano looks at with distain ‘Listen up and listen good’ pointing a gnarly claw at Mister Camembert he snarls’ Go back to Brooklyn and order your troops to engage in all out war, they are to chew through wires and cables to sever communications with the outside world’

‘Secondly foul the drinking water and contaminate all food sources but then you are to maim and kill as many people as you can and soon the city will be mine’

‘Once New York is controlled by the rat the rodent populations all over the nation will rise up and join us in the fight and i guarantee to you that by the end of the year the human nemesis will surrender and this country will therefore become known as the United Rats Of America, now lets bow heads and pray’

When Parmigiano closes his eyes the three frightened rats join claws in prayer but they aren’t praying for Parmigiano’s success instead all they want is a return to the status quo where the rat and the human being can live together like they have done for thousands of years.

After his absolutions are complete Parmigiano stares down the three amigo’s ‘Alright you three hurry back to your boroughs and begin your mission and remember if you fail to carry out my orders i will not only kill you but all of your relatives will be burnt alive on the stake’

Mister Big Cheese runs for miles along the sewers under the bustling city not really knowing where he is going but when he sticks his head out of a grate he looks skyward all the way to the top of the empire state building.

His nose twitches as it tastes the air for any signs of aggression or tension but when he is satisfied that all is well the Big Block Of Cheese smiles to himself.

The Empire State Building what an ideal place to make his final stand now all he has to do is lure his enemy within reach and then bring the motherfucker down.

The president of the United States the honorable Collard Chump is in the bathroom at the white house taking care of business when a loud single knock on the door tells him that it is time to attend to more important business.

With one last admiring glance in the the bathroom mirror the leader of the free world hitches up his trousers ready to take on whatever crisis is happening on this fine morning.

‘Sorry to bother you Mister President’ Secretary of State Wilson Petrie says not looking all that bothered at all ‘There is activity up in New York City that i think that you should be made aware of, apparently there has been dozens of deaths attributed to the rat population over there’

‘From all reports the rats are deliberately attacking people killing them in their beds while they sleep plus all communication with the city ceased three hours ago and it is suspected that the rats have severed the lines so now we are somewhat in the dark but satellite vortex will be directly above New York City in four hours Mister President so then we will have a clearer picture of what is happening’

‘There has been no contact with Mayor Guillo?’ President Chump asks his senior advisor’ No Mister President his office is apparently surrounded by the rodent vermin and we have been unable to contact him’

‘Why don’t we send in the national guard and wipe out the rats, what are the local police doing to ease the situation surely they could organize sort sort of poisoning program to rid the city of this scourge?

‘With respect Mister President New York and all cities across this great nation have been trying to exterminate the rat since Columbus landed here’

‘The problem is that there are billions of rats in every town and city from coast to coast and they are small in size so they are hard to locate because they can scurry away and hide at any sign of trouble so sending in the guard would be next to useless and also Sir the current generation of rat has built up a resistance to the poisons and they are smart and have learnt to avoid traps and evade capture’

‘But Mister President there might be a solution close at hand but at this stage it is still in the experimental stage and bear with me Sir this might sound crazy but the scientists at the Center For Disease Control have been working on the rodent problem for a decade or more and before communications were cut i had been speaking with the Director at the Center and he and his colleagues have developed a feline that is capable of following all rodents into every nook and cranny these rats care to hide in, these felines capture and neuter the male of the species breaking the breeding cycle which will drastically reduce the rat population to more manageable numbers’

‘What do you mean Mister Secretary? A mutant pussy cat?’

‘Yes Mister President these cats aren’t your ordinary house cat these felines are robotic made from some sort of liquid metallic substance that enables them to get right up close to the enemy and when they do these robot cats release a hormone that sterilizes the male rats so it is a win win situation, we exterminate the rat without using deadly harsh chemicals and you would surely win the next election in a landslide Mister President’

President Chump runs his hands through the ginger mop adorning his head and smiles a smile that would make the Mona Lisa blush.

‘Make it happen Mister Secretary make it happen’

Situated behind an old oil heater on the ground floor of the empire state building Mister Big Cheese has no idea that his life is about to be snuffed out.

Just twenty feet away Parmigiano watches his nemesis closely just waiting for the right moment and when the Cheese turns away for a second he pounces with deadly force.

Mister Big Cheese is dozing thinking about times before the current shitstorm when he suddenly finds himself on his back with a sharp object pressed against his throat. ‘Don’t move Mister Big Wheeze or i will cut you open from ear to ear’

‘I came here to kill you but i am having second thoughts on the matter, perhaps you and i can become partners in crime and turn this nation inside out and upside down what do you think Wheezy?’

‘First of all my name is Mister Big Cheese and i would never have anything to do with any half ass scheme you of come up with but first how did you find me so easily?”

‘You might think that you are special but you are just an ordinary rat like me Mister Not So Big Cheese,i followed your scent of course, you have your own very distinctive smell so i simply followed your odour all the way to the here and now.’

‘Congratulations Parmigiano now maybe you could smell your own tang and disappear up your own ass?’

‘Good one Mister Nobody just hear me out and if you decide that today is the day to die then i will do the deed with glee but i need a lieutenant that i can rely on and i know that we come from the opposite side of the spectrum but together we could achieve greatness and make the rat the head honcho and reduce the human to a beast of burden a slave to serve us whenever we whistle, so what do you say are you with me or not’

Mister Big Cheese has no intentions to become an underling to Parmigiano but when your death is in the hands of a crazy rat your choses are limited but at the same time it would be to tell the humans that they have become a little to big for their britches so he nods his head in agreement’

‘I wouldn’t move your head much if i were you Wheezy because my big toe is mighty sharp and could easily sever your spine but all jokes aside it is good to have you on my side, now my quest to have a world without the existence of the human being can begin’.

The two rats from polar opposites shake claws and immediately start talks of how they can exterminate the humans once and for all.

THE END

Who will win the battle of the species, the rat or the human?

Come back and read Part Three and i will give you the answer if i am still here.

‘Creeping Crawley’

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In a small park beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge a forlorn teenager is hiding from the world behind the branches of a huge weeping willow.

Thirteen year old Graham ‘creepy’ Crawley shivers in fright as the residents go about their business oblivious to his presence just metres away.

Graham ran away from the family home in Parramatta two days ago after an argument with his parents leaving his mobile and his dog Rex behind.

Pencil weighing a mere 40kg the runaway nervously peers through the dense canopy half hoping to see his mum and dad telling to get home because Rex and little brothers are missing him terribly but the streets are empty except for a few stragglers.

His stomach growls in hunger Yeah come on arsehole grow some balls and go find us some food, i am starving’

Graham tries to ignore the little voice in his head but he has to admit that he could the eat the whole Macca’s menu if given the chance and with a final glance to see if the coast is clear he steps out into the night.

The Rocks is an historic part of Sydney with buildings dating back to the early 1800’s, its residents enjoy million dollar views and drive BMW’s and Mercedes Benz around enjoying their inner city lifestyle but Graham really couldn’t give a shit about the locals and their fancy cars all he wants at the moment is to find some food and a place to crash.

Luckily he finds a discarded box of fries on a table outside the local KFC , as he scoffs them down in one mouthful Graham notices a row of terraces down the end of a side street that look promising.

On closer inspection he notices that the terrace on the far end is boarded up with a condemned sign pinned to the front door ‘This is perfect now all i have to do is find a way to get inside.

A Harley Davidson is parked outside the terrace next door and a light is on upstairs but otherwise no one else is around so Graham creeps down the side lane and enters into a small courtyard.

Another notice is pinned to the back door warning that trespassers will be prosecuted but Graham ignores the warning sign and twists the door handle and to his surprise it opens and knowing that there could be drug addicts or squatters inside he takes a moment to listen for any sound of danger than he walks inside.

He automatically hits the light switch and Graham gets another pleasant surprise when a old dirty bulb flickers to life ‘Holy crap what next? A fridge full of chicken nuggets and choc chip ice cream would be nice’ but the space where the fridge should is empty ‘Oh well can’t have it all’

Graham suddenly remembers that the neighbours are still so he switches off the light and guided by the moonlight he walks upstairs to hopefully find a mattress to sleep on but all of the bedroom are empty but strangely a length of rope dangles from the ceiling out in the hallway and without a moments hesitation he gives it a good hard yank and a set of stairs lower down.

Staring up into the darkness the lonesome teenager is reluctant to take the first step but than the annoying little voice taking up his head space decides to add his two cents worth ‘What are you waiting for you pussy,just walk up the stairs because the attic could be full of sausage rolls and fairy floss but on the other hand you could enter a portal to another universe and worse still you could crawl up the anus of Uranus and disappear into the brown for eternity’

Graham rolls his eyes because it is bad enough to have an overactive voice in the head who doesn’t seem to know the old saying ‘silence is golden’

Once his eyes have stopped rolling in their sockets Graham takes a deep breath and hurries up the stairs into an attic full of cobwebs and dust motes and once his vision has adjusted to the darkness he notices an item over near a dividing wall.

A large wooden chest that looks like it hasn’t been opened since Aladdin lived in a cave shimmers in the moonlight beckoning Graham over for a closer look.

With visions of Gold coins, stolen treasure or even a few playboy magazines Graham quickly opens the lid to discover nothing but old black & white photos and newspapers.

Slamming the lid closed in frustration the impact loosens a few bricks from the dividing wall and they fall into the neighboring attic.

Worried that the people next door might have heard the commotion Graham waits for a few minutes but the only sound comes from a dog a street away so after prying a few more bricks loose he crawls through the gap.

Not usually one to steaky beak into other peoples business Graham opens the manhole cover and listens once again hoping that the occupants are asleep so he can sneak down and grab some food from the fridge but suddenly a voice is heard ‘Come on John i think that we should stay put for another week because i have a feeling that something is about to happen.’

‘Jesus Cathy, we have been here twiddling our thumbs in this shithole for far to long. I say that we pack it in and tell the boss that it is a lost cause’

‘Lets give it two more days John and if he doesn’t show then i agree we call it a day, now stop stop jabbering and eat your apple pie’

‘Apple pie’ Graham gasps ‘I would donate my left nut to science if i could taste just a spoonful of that pie’ but just to be safe he waits for an hour or two until all is quiet.

When he hears one of the couple snoring away the starving teenager lowers the staircase and creeps down the gloomy hallway and the snoring gets louder when he walks near a bedroom ‘God’ the voice in his pipes up ‘It sounds like someone is trying to start a broken down chainsaw but i digress, lets go find that pie and maybe there will be some ice cream and sprinkles’

Graham is about to say that nobody has sprinkles on apple pie but he doesn’t want to encourage the voice so he trundles silently into the kitchen and opens the fridge door.

Every shelf is crammed with enough food to feed a dozen sumo wrestlers for a month and sitting pride of place is three huge slices of apple pie on a plate.

Not even bothering to see if there is any ice cream Graham crams one slice into his gob and swallows it down in one bite.

After devouring all three slices in record time Graham grabs a plastic bag from beneath the sink and fills it to the brim with food then he drags the bag back to his terrace and after eating a slice of ham he falls asleep on the threadbare lounge only to be jolted awake four hours later ‘What in the fuck John did you go sleepwalking last and raid the fridge?’

‘Not as far as i know Cathy but pray tell me what has got your undies in a twist’

‘Don;t take that tone with me John because you know very well what i am talking about. the fridge has been cleaned out but worst of all john is that you ate the rest of the apple pie knowing full well that i was going to have a slice for morning tea plus you even had the gall to leave the dirty plate on the counter’

John who looks like one of the bikers on that TV show ‘Sons of Anarchy’ knows that it is useless trying to reason with his wife just tells her that he ‘ didn’t touch any food’ grabs the keys to his Harley and walks out the door.

Graham is in hysterics as he listens to the couple next door arguing but he has learnt his lesson so from now on he will only take enough food to fill his belly and not pig out like a well, a pig.

Once his enjoyment dies down boredom quickly settles in, Graham is tempted to venture outside but his parents have probably reported him missing by now and he is having to much fun to go home just yet so he decides to go and scope out the terrace on the other end of the building.

Cutting through the couples attic is his surprised to see that there isn’t a dividing wall so he slinks over and lifts the manhole cover and listens to see if anyone is at home and almost immediately a voice a voice drifts up from below. ‘Come on Eileen give us a kiss’

I have told you a thousand times Mr Redpath that i am your care giver not your girlfriend plus you are old enough to be my grand father’

‘Please Eileen just one kiss i will even put my teeth back in’

Having know interest in a toothless old coot Graham goes back to his terrace and finishes of the contents of his stolen goods.

Two nights later Graham decides to visit his neighbours to see if there is any one treats to be had and when he hears the chainsaw starting up he ventures into the kitchen and he almost cracks a fat when he opens the fridge door because staring him in the face is a gigantic chocolate cake.

Grabbing the cake with both hands Graham scurries back up to the attic and started to devour the cake bite by bite but then he hears the lady below berating her husband and what she has to say causes him to slam his arsehole shut, ‘Did you enjoy eating the chocolate cake John? Because let me tell you that i mixed in enough laxatives to make a buffalo shit non stop for a week’

John has heard enough ‘Cathy Quinton i have heard enough, i haven’t been raiding the fridge plus you know as well as i do that i am not a huge fan of Chocolate so why would i eat it?’

Cathy leans in and stares deep into her husbands eyes and from experience she knows that he is telling the truth, but if John hasn’t been steaking the food who has been?’

A strangled cry from above answers her question.

Graham knows that if the doesn’t make it to a toilet real quick he will spray his undies so he runs downstairs to his terrace pulling his pants down on the way, with a sigh of relief he sits on the throne and unleashes a liquid torrent not seen since biblical times.

After visiting the toilet ten times over the following hour Graham starts to develop an arm like Popeye from all the wiping and to make matters worse he has used all of the toilet paper.

‘John there is someone up in the attic, go grab a torch and take a look while i hold the fort’

The harried husband yanks on the rope to lower the staircase then he shines the light all around the attic Cathy what if there is a werewolf up here, if it rips my throat out then you will become a widow’

‘I will take that chance now get up there before i kill you myself’

John climbs the remaining two steps ‘There is no one up here but the chocolate cake is on the floor so some one was up here but that also means that someone was in our house’

When John walks back down into the hallway his wife grabs his arm ‘John what if it was Brett Price he could kill us in our sleep next time’

‘Cathy Price is an adult he wouldn’t be sneaking around an attic and come down here to steal some cake, that is something that a child would do so stop worrying, now what’s for tea because i am starving’

Chicken casserole John, it will be ready in about ten minutes’

‘Chicken again Cathy, that is the fourth time this week you must have been a chicken farmer in a past life or something because you sure do love your chicken’

It isn’t by chance that the couple are currently residing at 4/126 Oceanview Drive the Rocks, they are both constable’s with the Australian Federal Police, they have been hunting notorious contract killer Brett Raymond Price for over a decade but the killer has managed to elude them every step of the way.

The Price family grew up next door at 2/126 so the couple are working undercover because by all reports Price is back in town so the authorities are hoping that he will return to the place where he grew up but that leaves John and Cathy Quinton in the firing line.

Graham’s bowels are still doing somersaults and with no toilet paper at hand he has no choice but to go searching for some so he enters the attic and walks over to Mr Redpath’s terrace.

The sun only set an hour ago so Graham knows that the old man is likely still awake but with his guts threatening to explode again he has no choice but to go down stairs and take a few rolls of toilet paper so the lowers the steps and creeps along the hallway looking for the bathroom.

Opening the bathroom Graham is happy to see a pack of four rolls on the floor, but his smile vanishes when his bowels tell him to take a seat and buckle up.

The stench hits him hard’ Jesus that stinks, even the sewer rats will run from that one’

‘Hello who is out there? Did someone just die a gruesome death because it sure smells like it’.

‘Come in here right now, i have a shotgun and i am not afraid to use it, so show your face before i turn you into minced meat’

Timidly Graham enters Mr Redpath’s bedroom to find that the old man is bedridden and there is no shotgun in sight ‘Who are you and what are you doing in my house?’

‘Huh, don’t you remember me grandpa? It is me Graham your favourite grandson’

‘Come closer boy so that i can see you better, why course i recognize you now, it is good of you to visit but why are you stinking up my house and walking around with a pack of toilet paper.

‘Sorry grandpa but i ate a dodgy piece of chocolate cake and got the squirts but i am alright now and i was restocking the bathroom with toilet paper but enough talk why don’t i go make us a sandwich or something’

‘No need Graham i only ate an hour ago plus my caregiver will be here in a few hours, now take a seat and tell me why it has taken so long for you to visit’

The odd pair spend an hour talking about girls, motorbikes and why hair grows down there in your underwear.

When Graham hears a car door slam outside he knows that he should go before the caregiver walks inside’ I gotta go now grandpa, it was good talking to you but i have to do some homework’

‘Sure thing Graham thanks for taking the time to talk to me but before you go let me give you a little something’

Reaching under the mattress Mr Redpath pulls out a wad of notes and hands Graham a $10 bill ‘Here you go boy, now take care and come back anytime you want’.

‘Sure thing grandpa, it was nice talking to you’

‘Holy shit Cathy, they just said on the News that a man has been murdered over on Trinity Street which is only five minutes from here .

Cathy wanders in wiping her hands on an apron ‘What did you say John, i am in the middle of making a chicken pie’

I said a guy was murdered down near the shopping centre, the newsreader said that it looks like a gang related shooting but i believe that was Brett Price that did the bloke in’

‘Price is coming home Cathy so i think that we should call for some backup before the doo doo hits the fan’

‘Calm down John if Price is close and notices any unusual activity he will turn tail and we might never see him again, i say we just sit tight and let him walk into our trap but go call the lieutenant and let him know that we believe that our target is getting close and to have a team on standby’

‘Will do love, um that pie smells good but i hope that there isn’t any bones this time’

‘It isn’t my fault if someone didn’t do their job in the factory John now shut up and go set the table’

Taking a snooze on the lounge Graham is dreaming about losing his virginity to his hot teacher Miss Thomas, a tent is taking shape in the front of his pants and things are about to reach a climax when he is jolted awake by the sound of breaking glass ‘Holy shit someone is trying to break in’

Brett Raymond Price once inside quickly makes himself comfortable in the familiar surroundings, he wanders from room to room dredging up memories both good and bad.

Price is tall and lanky with fiery red hair that he usually hides under a tattered Canterbury Bulldogs baseball cap but his hair isn’t his most distinctive feature, his eyes are a dark brown almost and people have said that when he stares at you it is like looking into the dead eyes of a great white shark.

Price was the eldest of four brothers and from an early age he had a fascination with weapons particularly guns and knifes.

His family used to travel up to Nundle where his shooting skills help to bring down over one hundred feral pigs.

Price was a natural when it came to using a high powered rifle to kill a pig from long range and he took great delight in slitting a hogs throat to put it out of its misery then feeding the entrails to his dogs.

He was loner who patrolled the streets at night with a slug gun and any family pet that had the misfortune to get in his sights was put down and left bleeding in the gutter.

When he turned fourteen he held up a corner store with a knife and escaped with over $500 a fortune for a teenager.

Word soon got around that he was a kid to avoid at all costs and many locals knew that it was only a matter of time before he murdered some poor soul.

When his parents heard the rumors swirling around the suburb they confronted their wayward child and gave him an ultimatum either go live with his uncle Cliff out near Dubbo or go into a boys home until he turned eighteen.

Price chose to go out west and live with his uncle but he soon got in trouble and even his uncle who was a brutal man couldn’t control his short tempered nephew.

Three months later Cliff Crawley was found with his throat cut from ear to ear plus he had been slit open with his intestines splattered on the living room carpet.

Brett Raymond Price was suspected of committing the heinous crime but he had disappeared into the bush, the police believe that he made his way to Queensland where he hid for eighteen months.

Tired of hiding out in central Queensland Price enlisted in the Australian Army using a fake ID, his shooting skills were soon recognized by his superiors and he was drafted into the special forces where he quickly developed into an elite sniper.

When Australia and its allies entered the second Gulf War Corporal Price soon honed his skills recording over 120 kills but his evil ways soon came to the fore and he once again began to enjoy the killing shooting both the enemy and civilians alike.

To avoid an international scandal Price was arrested and placed in the brig, knowing that he faced life imprisonment he bribed a guard and escaped to Oman and from there he made his way to London and soon found employment as a contract killer.

He was a sniper shooting his victims from long range but now he prefers to get close to his target killing them with one knife thrust to the neck.

Now he is back in Sydney squatting at his parents old terrace in the Rocks waiting for the heat to die down after his latest hit.

He has dyed his hair blond and has recently began wearing blue contact lenses, his mobile rings and the killer smiles ‘Yeah it went as planned, i killed him with a gun liked you asked just make sure that the money is put into my account or i will hunt you down and kill not only you but your whole family’

Up in the attic Graham is scared out of his mind and in his hurry to escape he trips and falls ‘Shit’ the voice in his head snaps’ Can’t you do anything right now go to Mr Redpath and get him to ring the Police’

‘What in the fuck’ Price mutters ‘Whoever is up there stay where you are or i will shoot your head off’

Grabbing his Ruger pistol and his razor sharp bowie knife the killer yanks on the length of rope then races up the stairs into the attic but there is no one in sight.

Reaching the Quinton’s attic he stops in his tracks when he hears a couple talking in the terrace below ‘Did you hear that John, someone in up in the attic again’

‘I heard Cathy and no arguments this time, i am calling in for some reinforcements, Price is to dangerous for us to handle on our own, have your gun ready while i call the lieutenant’

Knowing that he has to stop the cop from calling in Price quickly lowers the stairs and scampers down the hall into the living room and before the two cops can react he aims his pistol at them ‘Now don’t do anything stupid and i will let you live’

‘Okay both of you throw your phones on the floor then go sit on the lounge and put your hands above your head’

Knowing they have little choose the cops throw their mobiles on the carpet, Price keeps an eye on the pair while he smashes the phones with his Doc Martens.

Pointing his pistol at John he orders him to remove his shoelaces and tie his partners hands behind her back and once that has been done Price uses the other lace to tie around the male cop’s hands.

Searching the kitchen cupboards he finds a roll of duct tape then he returns to the living room and puts a strip of tape over both of the cop’s mouths and for extra protection he ties the tape around their hands and also around their ankles. ‘Alright Batman and Robin sit tight while i figure out how to dispose of your bodies without being seen’ John and Cathy Quinton look at each other with tears streaming down their faces, they know that Price will show them no mercy so they say a silent goodbye and wait for the end’

Will the Quinton’s survive their ordeal?

Will Graham be able to call for help?

To find out the answer come back and read the final chapter coming soon.

Rocking Horse ( Chapter Two )

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In the first installment i introduced you to to six year old Cindy Watson who lives with her parents on a small at Dunnedoo which is located just west of the middle of nowhere.

Living out in the sticks leads to a sense of isolation and for Cindy and her parents the boredom causes tension and arguments and so to escape the confines of the farmhouse Cindy often went out to the front verandah to ride an old wooden rocking horse.

As she rocks back and forth the little girl drams about riding the horse into the nearest town to rob a bank so she can make life easier for her parents plus she gazes off into the distance she wonders what lies beyond the horizon.

Six years later and nothing much has changed way out west, Cindy’s parents still argue about money and she still rides the rocking horse but not as much as she used to but when she gets a hankering she climbs onto the horse dreaming about visiting the big smoke one day and if she had a bad day at school she will ride that rocking horse like she she in the saddle of a Melbourne Cup winner.

She she rocks her worries away Cindy has no idea that a young local aboriginal boy named Warren Mundine has been watching her from behind a gum tree just beyond the boundary fence.

He knows that the girl is unhappy so every night after the lights in the house are turned off he would wait an hour before sneaking up onto the verandah of the Watson household and sprinkle magical twigs and potions handed down from the spirit people all around the rocking horse.

Then he would walk a short way into the desert and perform a ceremonial dance asking the spirits to make the girl happy so she can achieve her goals and maybe just smile once in a while.

Three months later whilst he was performing the corroberee Warren lifted his arms to the sky, twisting and twirling in the red sand he asked the spirit people for help and to his amazement a small eddy eddy appeared in the red sand a few metres from where Warren stood.

Slowly the small dust whirl grew in size until it developed into a mini tornado a tornado that seemed to have a mind of its own.

The twister spun faster and faster than all of a sudden it changed direction heading straight for the Watson farmhouse, Warren watched in amazement as the funnel of sand measuring about 20 feet tall climbed the front steps and with a WHOOSH the sand tornado disappeared up the nostrils of the rocking horse.

Six hours later Cindy quickly finishes a huge bowl of rice toasties then she wanders out to the front verandah for a quick ride on the rocking horse before the school bus arrives.

‘Good morning Lightning, i hope that you weren’t to cold last night maybe i should buy you a blanket?’

It soon dawns on Cindy that she just called the rocking horse Lightning, where did that come from? Was there a storm last night?

Taking a seat near the back of the school bus Cindy remembers a dream that she had last night.

She pictures in her mind a small aboriginal boy with magical powers who whispered in her that she didn’t have to worry anymore ‘everything will be alright’

As the bus winds down the long dusty outback road Cindy looks out the window hoping to catch a glimpse of the boy who appeared in her dream but she soon realizes that she is being stupid ‘It was only a dream silly and my dreams never come true’

After another boring day at school where she received a very poor report card Cindy boards the bus to make the return trip back home.

An hour later as the bus arrives at her home Cindy gathers up her school bus and walks towards the front of the bus and to her surprise the boy from her dream is sitting behind the driver.

The boy turns around and their eyes meet, Cindy cant believe that the boy really exists ‘Come on Cindy this is your stop’ the impatient bus driver utters ‘Off you get, i need to get the other kids home before it gets dark’

Cindy quickly exits the bus but she cant resist a quick glance behind her and to her disappointment the seat behind the driver is empty.

As she takes a snooze on the lounge before tea Cindy’s mind imagines that Lightning comes to life and rears up on his hind legs leaving behind a steaming pile of rocking horse shit ‘Come on boy lets ride all the way to Sydney and start a new life in the big smoke’

In another corner of her mind thoughts of a small aboriginal boy continue to linger.

BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ.

26 year old Cindy Watson turns of the alarm on her mobile phone and begins her morning routine, as she pees Cindy vaguely remembers dreaming about a rocking horse that she used to ride when she was a child.

She still lives at Dunnedoo just a few kilometres from her parents farm, her rubs her ring finger that is devoid of any adornment but hopefully one day she meet the right man and settle down to a quite life full of kids and happiness.

In a storage facility on the other side of town a dusty old rocking horse sits forlorn and forgotten.

It has been fourteen years since anyone sat in his saddle fourteen years locked up alone in the darkness.

His black eyes continue to stare at the roller door hoping that one day they will open so that he can run in the sunshine once again.

CHAPTER TWO.

Three doors down from the storage facility a young man is looking under the bonnet of an old ute in an attempt to fix a problem with the fuel pump ‘Hey Warren when you are finished can you come give me a hand with this Toyota because i cant find where all the oil is coming from’

The apprentice mechanic rolls his eyes in exasperation, Mr Turner might be a good boss but he couldn’t fix a car if his life depended on it ‘Okay boss give me ten minutes and i will be with you’

While he cleans up after Warren Mundine looks at himself in the mirror, he combs his hair and walks out the door with a smile on his face because today is the day where he he promises himself that he will finally ask Cindy Watson out on a date.

Warren like every man in Dunnedoo Warren has gone to the local pub to sink a few beers with his mates and have a flutter on the ponies and today will be no different.

At home he applies a shitload of old spice to his face then after grabbing a small satchel he heads out hopeful of a happy reunion of sorts.

At the pub Cindy is busy behind the bar serving the locals their beer of choice, she wasn’t supposed to work today but one of her work mates called in sick so she was offered an extra shift which she gratefully accepted because the money will come in handy.

As she is figuring out how to make a cocktail for a tourist Cindy doesn’t notice Warren take a seat at a corner table and even if she did she probably wouldn’t of recognized him anyway.

Warren orders a schooner of black from another bartender then he goes back to his table hoping that a few sips of beer will drown the butterflies that are fluttering around his stomach.

The upends the contents of his satchel on the table and arranges them to his satisfaction.

None of the other patrons take any notice the collection of twigs and branches but they hold a special meaning for Warren because the satchel made from a kangaroo’s scrotum has been handed down from generation to generation and now Warren has procession of the ancient relic.

The twigs and branches are also the same ones that he scattered on the front verandah of the Watson farmhouse fourteen years ago.

Behind the bar Cindy is struggling, a busload of tourists just arrived and they are mighty thirsty, at the other end of the bar Sandra Smith, a local legend, who has been pulling beers since Jesus was in nappies smiles at Cindy ‘ Don’t worry love, once we have served this lot things will settle down and we can have a smoko’

Cindy will be glad to take a break, it is almost 9 pm and the temperature is still 37 degrees.

An hour later Cindy pours herself a large gin and takes a seat near the bar, grabbing a handful of nuts from a bowl she begins to relax after being on her feet all night, as she unwinds a smell wafts over and awakens memories from her childhood when she used to ride a rocking horse and dream about moving to the big smoke.

Scanning the room Cindy spots a man sitting by himself at a corner table and even though she is sure that see has never seen him before she somehow remembers him from a distant memory from the past.

Intrigued Cindy nervously wanders over to the table and immediately notices the assortment of twigs and leaves arranged on the table.

Hello Cindy take a seat and i will tell you why i am here, my name is Warren Mundine and we have never been officially introduced but when we were kids i used to visit your dreams when you were unhappy, i danced the corroberee in the sand outside your parents place and asked the spirit people for help to end your sadness’

‘I spread these same twigs and leaves around your rocking horse and while you slept i whispered to the dreamtime to make the wooden horse real and it worked Cindy the rocking horse snorted a shitload of sacred sand and started to gallop around your yard’.

Cindy empties her glass of gin before replying’ Warren i know that you probably mean well and i do admit that i used to dream about a small aboriginal boy who used to ride the school bus and hang around the shadows outside my parents farm and sure i did wish that i could ride Lightning away from Dunnedoo and ride all the way to Sydney’

But when she said the word ‘Lightning’ Cindy immediately went back to her childhood and she realizes that what Warren is saying might actually be true’

‘I am not a liar Cindy that rocking horse is out there somewhere, why don’t we ask your parents maybe they heard or saw something back then and kept quiet about it, they might have put the rocking horse in storage or something’

Sorry Warren but my parents were killed in a car crash a few years ago on that bad bend going into Merriwa so it looks like what you think happened when we were kids will stay buried’

Now i need to get back to work, i suggest that you just get on with your life and forget all about the rocking horse and childhood dreams’

Warren is disappointed by Cindy’s reaction but he isn’t one to hold a grudge so he finishes his beer gathers up satchel and heads out the door, next week he will come back because in all the excitement he never got a chance to ask Cindy out on a date.

But as it turns out Warren didn’t have to wait a week because when he finished work the following day Cindy was outside waiting for him, ‘I am sorry for being a little short with you last night but your story about the rocking horse threw me for a loop’

That is alright Cindy, why don’t we grab some fish and chips and go down by the river and i will tell you everything i know’

‘Sounds good Warren but if this is to be our first date i am telling you that i cant be bought by a plateful of greasy food’

Cindy’s smile tells him that maybe the ice maiden might have a soft side after all.

The pair of oddballs settle down on a bench having small talk for a few minutes but when Cindy is about to explode she throws her remaining to the seagulls who always seem to know when a free meal is coming. ‘Alright tell me your story’

‘It all starts when i was about 11 years old and i was walking past your place and i saw you riding a rocking horse, my family lived nearby a i used to pass your farm all the time hunting for snakes and lizards for my dad to cook and every time i saw you you looked sad so i decided to do something to make you happy and Cindy you said that we both dreamt about the rocking horse but that isn’t true because i never had a dream about Lightning Cindy i created him’

Cindy rolls her eyes ‘pray tell me how you performed this miracle and if you turned a wooden horse into a real horse why are we looking for a rocking horse and not a real horse’

For a moment Warren is stuck for an answer ‘There is for need to be mean Cindy you wanted to hear my story so be quiet because i haven’t finished’ First of all i think that the reason i am looking for a rocking horse is because Lightning only exists when you are sitting on his saddle and when you dismount he goes back to being a rocking horse’

Warren tells her about how he scattered the twigs and leaves around the rocking horse then he danced a corroberee until a dust eddy eddy arrived and vanished up the nostrils up Lightning turning him into a real horse.

Cindy closes her eyes as she listens to Warren narrate the story and she is instantly taken back to her childhood for a minute or two ‘I believe you Warren but where could Lightning be now, i lost interest in him as i got older maybe my parents have a storage locker somewhere in town or they also could have sold him and if that is true than i am sorry to say he could be anywhere in the country, where do you think he is Warren?’

‘I don’ know Cindy my family and i moved out to Bourke to start a new life, i only just moved back to town a few months ago’

‘ And now that i am back in Dunnedoo all that i have been thinking about is you and what ever happened to Lightning’

Melting further Cindy reaches out and grabs hold of Warrens hand ‘Don’t worry Warren together we will find that rocking horse and i have been thinking about you to because when i dream about riding Lightning to Sydney you were hanging on tight behind me but when i have the dream it was back when we were kids’

‘Hey i have an idea’ Cindy laughs ‘Why don’t we post on Facebook’looking for a lost rocking horse, answers to the name Lightning’

Warren laughs as he gazes off into the distance, who knows but maybe one day we will ride the fuck out of here.

The following day the pair meet up at the local bowling club for a few drinks and to discuss their future but soon the topic returns to that rascal of a rocking horse ‘Tell me Warren why is Lightning so important to us?’

I am not really sure Cindy but that rocking horse brought us together in a crazy kind of way plus it was obviously special to you when you were a youngster , so it would be good to find Lightning and have him sit front and centre on your front verandah’

‘Me personally i want to spread my magical twigs and leaves around Lightning and watch him come back to life once again and what happens after that is in the hands of the Gods’

I sure would like to see that Warren and i might be able to help. last night i was going through some of my parents old receipts and i came across a piece of paper that i think might help’

Reaching into her handbag Cindy places a tattered receipt on the table ‘The ink is faded but it looks like it says ‘Safe n Secure’ 22 Black Stump Crescent Dunnedoo.’

‘I don’t know where Black Stump Crescent is Warren, have you heard of it?’

‘Yeah it is on the other side of town in the industrial estate but i am positive that it was destroyed by fire just before i moved but maybe the owners were able to save some of the contents of the units’

‘I can’t think of any other storage places in town Cindy but of course they could of moved to Merriwa or or some other town nearby also the owners could of retired but don’t despair Cindy i, Jesus what am i talking about my brain must be full of cobwebs, there is a storage place just down from where i work’

‘It is a long shot but we have to start our search somewhere so Cindy i propose that first thing tomorrow morning we pay them a visit’

For once in her life Cindy is lost for words, she can feel her quest slipping away but where there is life hope remains.

Warren picks up Cindy early the following morning and drives the short distance to ‘Store n Forget’ only to find it closed for the weekend ‘How stupid, you would think that Saturday and Sunday would be two of there busier days’

‘Yeah it is weird Cindy maybe they are closed because someone took a sickie today but hang someone just came out of the office’

An old man with long grey hair approaches them ‘Jesus is that Moses looking for river to part?’jokes Cindy.

‘Haha good one, i think he probably inside chiseling out a few more commandments’

‘What can i do for you two today? I am the caretaker of this fine establishment, names Joe Mac Curty by the way’

Cindy hands him the old receipt ‘My parents had a storage unit out at Black Stump Crescent that burnt down and i am hoping that you know if the owner is still in town or what happened to the contents of the units’

‘Well well missy today must be your lucky day, i used to work out there at ‘Safe n Sound’ and i can tell you that i was good mates with your father back in the day and his shed survived the fire and i believe the contents are in unit 26 and once again your luck holds because in two weeks time because the unit hasn’t been accessed for years it was going to be sold to the highest bidder’

‘That is great Joe, if you have a spare key i would like to see what’s inside’

‘Sorry i can’t do that without some sort of legal documentation plus you will need to supply a birth certificate or simply wait two weeks and put in a bid’

‘Please mister i just need to take a quick peek inside, there might be an item in there that has a lot of sentimental value for me’

But MacCurty isn’t about to change his mind anytime soon ‘If it was up to me i would open it for you but if my boss found out he would lynch me on the nearest tree so i suggest you get all the required legal papers and come back next week’

Warren can see that Cindy is close to tears so he leads her away ‘It is okay Cindy we will get the papers tomorrow and come back and see if Lightning is in there’

Then just as Warren is about to drive away a series of loud bangs erupt from the back of the storage place ‘Holy shit’ old MacCurty yells ‘That sounds like it came from your parents unit, what did they have in there, dynamite? Come on lets go take a look’

Cindy and Warren wait while the old man unlocks the fence and then they follow him around the back and when they arrive they see a few dents in a roller door like it has been kicked from inside then with an almighty crash the roller door collapses and a huge stallion races towards the trio.

Lightning nuzzles Cindy’s face in happiness at finally being free but the excitement is too much for Joe and he takes a seat on the ground ‘How did a horse survive on there without food all these years plus i heard heard a peep’

‘Ah i was expecting to find a rocking horse inside but um maybe there was a few bales of hay in there as well who knows, but i am just glad to find Lightning before it was too late’

Cindy climbs up onto the saddle and tells Warren to drive to her place and she will follow but Lightning has other ideas, he unfolds a pair a wings and takes into the sky and barely fifteen minutes later he flying in a holding pattern 10,000 feet above Sydney.

Cindy can’t believe how big the place and she almost falls out of the saddle as she begins to choke on the smog and pollution ‘Jesus i am sure glad that i don’t live here’

She gently rubs the stallions neck ‘home boy’ Cindy knows now that Dunnedoo is her home and always will be and her desire to move to the capitol is gone in an instant.

Warren is waiting for Cindy in her front yard and soon a huge horse makes a perfect landing twenty metres from where he stands and Cindy gingerly climbs down from the saddle.

After a quick embrace Cindy announces ‘Warren i now know that here is where i belong and i want to live in this house until i die and hopefully you will be by my side every step of the way’

‘You know i will Cindy, i love you with all my heart, lets get married as soon as we can and settle down and start a family of our own’

Lightning neighs in annoyance at being ignored but Warren and Cindy are keen to start their family straight away so they rush inside the house throwing off their clothes on the way.

When they emerge emerge early the next morning they aren’t all that surprised to see an ordinary rocking horse sitting on the front verandah swaying back and forth in the breeze.

THE END

‘Rooster Booster’

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A weary young man named Skeet Humprey is out on his back porch enjoying a cigarette before going to bed.

It is almost midnight and the fourth generation farmer is using the five minutes of solitude to clear his head after busy day attending to 400 head of cattle over 100 sheep and an assortment of others critters both big and small.

His wife of ten years Hattie looks after 15 chickens and a randy old rooster named Peckerwood.

His eight year old son Billy Bob claimed ownership of a mangy mutt who wandered onto the ranch o few months back and for a reason only known to himself Billy Bob named the dog Lonesome.

Millie his six year old daughter loves to play in the mud and help her mom with the chickens.

Skeet is proud of his family and hopes that one day Billy Bob will take over the farm and keep it in the family.

He met Hattie in high school and they have been together ever since and she has been a loving and supportive wife who has raised the children to respect their elders and just be happy and enjoy playing in the fresh air.

Hattie has just secured a contract to supply as eggs to a fast food restaurant in town plus in the near future they would like to purchase fresh chicken a few times a week so Peckerwood will need to get busy so the family has another source of income to keep the wolves from the door.

Skeet finishes his cigarette and goes to bed a happy man but a somber thought in the back of his mind keeps him awake.

cock a doodle do cock a doodle do cock a doodle do

Peckerwood is up early and he is determined to wake every man woman and child in within a three mile radius.

The rooster struts around the yard like Mick Jagger patrolling the stage with the stones back in the day.

But looks can be deceiving because lately Peckerwood has become listless and he has neglecting the hens more and more everyday.

Skeet and Hattie jolt awake at the sound of the rooster on overdrive but they soon recover and begin to snuggle when Peckerwood calls again reminding them that there isn’t a snooze button on a rooster’s alarm clock , so stop what you started and get out of bed.

Billy Bob and Millie wander bleary eyed into the kitchen where the smell of pancakes with maple syrup fills their nostrils with joy’ Mama’ Billy Bob demands’ Why does Peckerwood wake up so early on a Saturday when surely should know by now that we don’t go to school on the weekend’

‘Honey Peckerwood doesn’t know what day it is , he is just behaving like a normal rooster now finish eating your pancakes and go outside to play’

While Hattie cleans up after breakfast Skeet goes into the study to check the monthly data sheets because there has been a worrying trend in the last quarter and worryingly even though egg production is up the birth of live chicks is down 6% and if the situation isn’t rectified soon then the family could lose the new contract and any future contracts.

Pouring himself a cup of coffee Skeet watches his kids playing happily with Peckerwood running back and forth threatening to trip them up, while beneath the chicken coop Lonesome barks once before going back to sleep.

Skeet knows that he can’t wait any longer, Peckerwood isn’t performing his duty so he has to go and a younger more virile rooster brought in.

He doesn’t want to upset Hattie but the farm has to come first so he goes out to the yard to find Peckerwood has finished playing and is now busy scratching for worms and scraps ‘Come here Pecker’ Skeet calls, and the rooster runs to catch up as fast as his little legs will take him.

Skeet walks out of view behind the barn and picks up a axe embedded in a chopping block and a few seconds later the underperforming rooster appears but skids to a stop on seeing what his master is holding.’ I am sorry Peckerwood but you aren’t really living up to your name are you?’

‘I have a business to run and i can’t afford to keep a rooster who is all noise with no lead in his pencil so please step forward and place your head on the chopping block’

Knowing that his time is up Peckerwood tip toes to his own execution and places his scrawny neck on the wooden block.

Tears threaten to erupt from the farmer so he hurries up the procedure but not before Peckerwood looks at him with pleading eyes’ Sorry fella but haven’t got a blindfold just close your eyes and it will be over before you know it’

Skeet raises the axe and says a last goodbye to his friend then he swiftly brings the sharpened steel down but stops just in time when Billy Bob and Millie come racing around the corner ‘No daddy don’t kill Peckerwood, give him another chance please’

Seeing that his executioner has been distracted the rooster makes a run for it and scrambles beneath the chicken coop kicking Lonesome out of the way.

His startled children run back to the house screaming’ Mommy daddy just tried to murder Peckerwood’

‘How could you even think of killing my rooster without discussing it with me first’ a fuming Hattie demands ‘I hand raised Peckerwood since he was a chick , he is part of the family’

‘I am sorry Hattie but he has been ignoring the hens these last few months and if we lose the contract the farm could go under’

‘Calm down Skeet we want lose the farm because Peckerwood’s soldier can’t stand to attention, the cattle and sheep are bringing in a good income.

‘First thing tomorrow morning we will visit the vet and hopefully he can give Peckerwood a booster shot and soon he will be back romancing the hens again’

Skeet is doubtful but he nods his head in agreement after all it can’t hurt to try and find a remedy for Peckerwood’s ailment.

When the sun rises in the morning all is quite on the farm front, Peckerwood is still in hiding under the coop and even a sprinkling of seed on the ground doesn’t help but a quick nip on the butt from Lonesome sends the rooster running right into a carry box.

The veterinarian is a crusty old timer named Cyril Blackadder who has been looking after all creatures great and small for over fifty years.

His attention immediately goes to Peckerwood sitting calmly in the carry box then he finally looks at the troubled couple’ I haven’t seen you two in a while so what seems to be the trouble with your rooster?

‘Well Doc’ Hattie responds ‘He has become listless and tired the last few months plus he has been neglecting the hens so me and Skeet are wondering if there is some sort of treatment to put the wood back in Peckerwood’s pecker?’

Cyril shakes his head ‘Sorry folks but Peckerwood is just getting old so all i can suggest is that you buy a new rooster and let Peckerwood free roam in his twilight years’

On the way home the couple stop at a neighbours farm and purchase a virile young rooster named Sledgehammer.

It goes without saying that the two roosters took an instant dislike to each other and when Skeet opens the two carry boxes and releases the two birds Sledgehammer immediately goes on the offensive drawing blood and scaring the bejesus out of Peckerwood.

Relishing that his days as number one rooster are well and truly over Peckerwood scrambles behind the barn and hides behind the well used chopping block.

Looking up at the axe glinting menacingly in the afternoon sun Peckerwood thinks’ If i can just press my neck against the sharp blade my misery will end and i will fly off to the great chicken coop in the sky’ but the poor bird can’t work up the strength to stand so he just lays in the dirt hoping that a coyote will come along and snap his scrawny neck.

Two hours later Hattie is nice and warm inside the family home watching TV but she can’t concentrate on the program because she knows that Peckerwood is out in the cold all alone and miserable so she grabs a jacket and tells Skeet that she is going outside to see if she can find Peckerwood and tends to his wounds.’Peckerwood will be okay Hattie, he is a tough old bird he just needs to keep away from Sledgehammer for a while’

‘I know Skeet but i need to see for myself that his injuries aren’t life threating so i can relax and get a good nights sleep’

Turning on the porch light Hattie picks up the seed tin and carries it out to the yard, after a few shakes she calls out’ Here Peckerwood, come to mama Pecky and i will give you a nice handful of seed then take you inside so you can sit by the fire until morning’

Behind the chopping block Peckerwood lifts his head from the dirt and lets out a tiny squawk not much louder then a sparrows fart but Hattie has the hearing of an owl and after pinpointing the location she races behind the barn and scoops up Peckerwood and hurries him inside to check on his injuries.

Wrapping him in a towel she checks his wounds but she soon discovers that besides a few cuts and scratches the main injury is to his pride.

Skeet calls out for Hattie to bring him a beer ‘I am busy come and get it yourself’

When Skeet walks into the kitchen Hattie gives him a ‘Don’t you dare buster’ look so Skeet grabs a Bud from the fridge and goes back to the basketball game.

Outside Sledgehammer sensing that his rival is getting special treatment decides to tell the neighbourhood that he and only him is the leader of the hens.

COCKADOODLE DOO COCKADOODLE DOO COCKADOODLE DOO COCKADOODLE DOO.

Hattie looks out the window at Sledgehammer standing atop of the chicken coop puffing out his chest and shaking his tail feathers.

‘You will get yours mister just you wait and see’

Day after day the chick birth rate is steadily increasing, Skeet is one happy man, finally he has a rooster who is paying his way plus the hens all seem happy and contented but more importantly the future of the farm is now rock solid, perhaps it s time to increase the chicken numbers ten fold and a few more roosters wouldn’t go astray.

While Skeet is outside singing the praises of Sledgehammer Hattie has been online ordering packs of whey powder ,muscle building protein powders plus an assortment of other goodies.

With a glint in her eye she presses add to cart and gives Peckerwood a gentle pat’ Don’t worry boy soon you will return to your glory days’

A week later arriving home from the post office Hattie rips open the package and adds a few tiny scoops of powder into Peckerwoods water bowl.

The old rooster still bearing a few mental scars dips his head into water repeatedly and Hattie is happy that her old friend want become a feather duster for a year or two.

Peckerwood returns to the water bowl time and time again in the following and he can feel his get up and go that got up and went a few months ago is slowly returning.

The calves on his his skinny legs have become taut and terrific plus he has bulked significantly so he is confident that in a week or two he can return outside and kick some sand in Sledgehammers face.

And three days later that is exactly what he does.

All is quiet at the stroke of midnight passes over the chicken coop where Sledgehammer is sitting guard over his harem.

With one eye open the upstart keeps lookout in case a eagle or coyote is stupid enough to attempt an attack on his watch.

For a split second he closes both eyes and when he re opens them Sledgehammer squeaks in fright because before him stands what appears to be a somewhat pumped up pimped out rooster.

Without warning Peckerwood attacks and in a frenzy Sledgehammer is plucked from crop to ankle and feathers are scattered to all parts of the county. ‘I let you off easy this time Sledgehammer , i could have ripped you open from breast to drumstick now fuck off home and don’t come back’

COCK ADOODLE DOO COCK ADOODLE DOO COCK ADOODLE DOO.

‘Holy shit’ Skeet wakes with a jolt’ It is only 3 o’clock what has got into Sledgehammer?’ But he is still on daylight savings time’

Beside her husband Hattie smiles in satisfaction’ I think you will find Skeet that Peckerwood is back and Sledgehammer has either gone home or taken flight to God knows where’

After a strong cup of coffee Skeet goes outside to find the chicken coop on its side and a shitload of feathers in the yard ‘ Sweet Jesus’ Skeet gasps when he notices a new and approved Peckerwood strutting around the yard like a heavyweight boxer’ Hattie get out here something strange has happened to your rooster’

Wiping her hands on her apron she walks to the porch door’ Yeah i know Skeet i have been feeding him supplements, protein powder and what not’

‘Supplements Hattie, Peckerwood looks like Steven Segal only with a better haircut’

Hattie smiles to herself ‘ You ain’t seen nothing yet’

After cleaning up the mess and making sure all the hens are accounted for Skeet walks inside to confront his wife’ Hattie what exactly have you been feeding Peckerwood because he is an old rooster and the supplements are meant for human consumption, i am afraid that if he bulks up anymore his little heart will explode’

Hattie comes to realize that Skeet is right and she begins to cry’ All i wanted was for Peckerwood to go back to being the rooster he was but all i was doing was putting his life at risk’

‘ I that from now on he will get nothing but seed and scraps from the kitchen’

The couple snuggle before making their way back to the bedroom and for the first time in years they miss Peckerwoods crow for his midmorning feed.

Peckerwood scratches in the dirt for a few more minutes while he waits for his owner to appear and throw him a few scraps and maybe a bowl of that sweet tasting water but after growing tired of waiting he decides to go looking for himself.

He enters the house through Lonesome’s doggy door and after pecking at a few morsels from the kitchen floor he notices a paper sack up on the counter.

Ripping open the sack Peckerwood snorts a gram or two of protein powder then he breaks open a blister pack of little blue pills and swallows three of the treats.

Five minutes later Peckerwood starts to feel a little under the collar and his block and tackle has grown to enormous proportions.

Forgetting all about morning tea the randy rooster almost trips down the stairs on his way out to the chicken coop.

The hens never knew what hit them, they were just sitting on their nests minding their own business then they were all ravished by what looked like a three legged rooster.

After their ordeal most flew up a nearby tree to escape and some were still shaking barely clinging onto a branch thre days later.

Hearing the commotion outside Skeet and Hattie rush outside to see the hens squawking up in the trees’ I might be a coyote or a rattler Hattie , wait here while i grab the shotgun’

The bewildered couple slowly creep towards the coop when the culprit appears from within with a huge smile on his face , the only thing missing is a well earned cigarette.

‘What is that thing hanging between Peckerwoods legs Hattie surely it can’t be his’

‘Shut up Skeet i think Peckerwood might have taken some Viagra i bought for him’

‘Viagra? Are you crazy Hattie, why would you buy something like that for a rooster?’

‘Because i was upset when you bought Sledgehammer, but i swear Skeet i never gave him any, he must of found the stash and swallowed some.

‘You think Hattie, he looks like he is swinging a baseball bat’

It takes a week for Peckerwood to completely recover and over a month before the hens trusted him again, now except for a nasty case of friction burn Peckerwood is back to his old self.

Now once a week a prize winning rooster named Tender Touch visits to service the hens while Peckerwood enjoys his retirement digging for worms and dreaming about how he can get his claws into some more of those little blue pills.

THE END.

‘ Camel Toe Joe ‘( Part Two )

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In the first installment i introduced you to a runaway child who had ambitions of becoming a famous bushranger.

Young Joseph Markham left the family home in Ballarat Victoria in the dead of the night.

Aged fifteen Joe is about to leave a huge impression in Australian history he just doesn’t know it yet.

He borrowed his fathers horse and rode the short distance from Ballarat to Bendigo arriving on the morning of 23rd of July 1846 and got a job loading wagons at the local general store.

His boss Mr Clarence Denning thought the world of Joe and treated him like the son he never had.

Joe worked at the store for just on three years and everything was going well and Joe actually thought about settling down living a quiet life but that all changed in May 1849 when when a posse of wild horsemen rode into town.

The riders yelled and hollered all the way down main street, Joe didn’t know what all the noise was about until he heard the words GOLD GOLD GOLD.

The precious metal was dug from the ground on 10th May and from that moment the nations wealth grew and Joe’s life changed forever.

A week later an old Chinese man named Huong Long galloped into town on a camel who for some reason took an instant dislike to Joe.

The feelings were mutual and Joe taunted the beast endlessly until while he was chatting to Mr Long the camel delivered a kick to Joe’s chin leaving behind a three inch long tender gash that would become the amateur bushranger’s soul patch.

The wound required twenty stitches and continuously wept, Joe would rub the spot continuously seeking respite from an itch that would never go away.

When the Chinaman finished his business in town Joe offered to tag along on the return trip to the goldfields.

Mr Luong was happy to have the company but he warned Joe to stay away from his camel or he would be left behind plus another kick to the head could be fatal.

Joe promised to be on his best behavior and for the most part he was true to his word.

Along the way Mr Long confided in Joe telling him how an evil man named Percy Carruthers stole his mining permit forcing him and his fifteen year old daughter Knut Fu to work in his mansion on the edge of the fields.

Carruthers ruled with an iron fist forcing the miners to pay him 10% of all the gold that they dug from the ground under the blazing desert sun.

Joe was boiling with rage when the party of three reached the goldfields but he got to met the elegant Knut Fu and it was she who christened Joe with what would become a famous moniker when her father told her how his travel companion got his chin wound.

Squirming with laughter the daughter pointed at Joe ‘You “Camel Toe Joe” and a legend was born.

While Mr Long was unpacking the camel Carruthers made an appearance ordering the Chinaman and his daughter to return to his house and prepare his midday meal then he turned his dead eyes in Joe’s direction demanding to know who he was ‘My name is Joseph Markham and i am here to help Mr Long out of his predicament, if you return his mining permit and let them go about staking a claim like everyone else than i will turn the other cheek but if you fail to do so i will be forced to bring you down good and proper’

Carruthers stands 6′ 3″ inches and weighs over 13 stone and he doesn’t take kindly to young whipper snappers voicing their opinion ‘Well Joseph let me tell i am the sole authority around these parts no you now go away before i throw you in the stockade to learn some manners’

As the stand over merchant delivers his sermon a dozen of his henchmen step forward and surround Joe but he shows no fear in fact he spits in Carruthers direction’ You and your flunkies don’t scare me Carruthers, mark my words you are a dead man walking so saddle up and disappear before i put you out of your misery’

Carruther’s face turns beet red ‘ Throw him in the stockade and throw away the key, lets see how long he lasts without food or water’

50 yards away the camel has been watching proceedings unobserved, with an angry snort he trots away into the undergrowth.

CHAPTER TWO

After cooling his heels in the brig for a few hours Joe is mighty thirsty, thankfully the temperature has dropped but it is still stifling in his tiny cell.

‘Please if you send me an angel to help me escape from this hell hole i promise to behave myself and become a better man’

Joe’s nostrils twitch when a nasty smell wafts in through the bars of his cell window maybe a ‘roo or wombat has perished in the heat, taking a gander out into the night he is surprised to see a long lashed animal looking back at him.

‘Jesus haven’t you heard about bathing in a little water now and then? You smell like a quoll has crawled up your arse and died’

Sighing in frustration the camel sidles sideways revealing a coil of rope slung over one of his humps ‘ Holy shit you are one smart camel aren’t you? Come closer so i can tie an end to the bars and then pull with all your strength so i can get the fuck out of here’

‘Oh and by the way i sorry about my wise arse remark about your personal hygiene and i probably deserved your toe kick to my face but if you bust me out of here i promise to buy you a big cake of soap and all the food you can eat, so what do ya say mate?’

The camel doesn’t reply he just snorts in disgust but lets Joe uncoil the rope in preparation of a jailbreak.

Joe suspects that Mr Long and his daughter had a hand in suppling the rope and he is grateful to them, even though he has never tied a knot before Joe ties the knot securely around a bar and gestures to the camel that he is ready.

As the camel gets into position Joe strokes the small cleft on his chin, the wound id still tender and tingles as Joe as keeps a wary eye out for any guards who might foil his escape.

The camel digs in his back feet in the dirt to gain traction then the beast slowly walks forward, the bars buckle and with a snap they are ripped from the window frame, joe climbs out and lands on the frame of metal bars and the camel takes fast into the desert while behind him Joe hangs on for grim death.

A shot rings out narrowly missing Joe who loses his hold on the metal toboggin and falls off leaving him open for the guards to take another shot.

The camel is tempted to leave the annoying little shit behind but he is loyal to his master Mr Long so he doubles back and squats down onto the ground and Joe wastes no time jumping on, clinging to a hump the pair of desperado’s disappear into the night under a barrage of bullets.

For three days they stay at an old abandoned copper mine ten miles out of town and whilst boy and camel recuperate they form an unlikely friendship.

When the sun rises on a fourth day Joe to eager to sneak back to the goldfields and free Mr Long and Knut Fu from the tyranny of Carruthers plus the miners deserve to be able to dig for their livelihoods without having to hand over the gold they toiled to dig from the dirt to a brute and his henchmen.

As they travel back to the fields realizes that he has to call the camel something ‘Hey how about i give you a name to make Mr Long proud?’

Getting no reply Joe continues on ‘What about Mildred now that is a good name, you look like a Mildred to me’

The camel rolls his eyes in contempt ‘Okay so you don’t like Mildred what about Clarence?

Raising his front right leg the camel wriggles his toes signaling to Joe that he better come up with a better alternative or he will receive another kick’ Joe rubs in the furrow on his chin ‘Ok calm down i was only joking;

‘Wait i have it , what about Archibald? From now on you will be forever known as Sir Archibald Camelus, what do you think?

The dromedary paces back and forth considering the title bestowed upon him ‘Come on make a decision because we need to get back and rescue Huong Long and Knut Fu’

The camel smiles and squats so Joe can climb aboard’ Sir Archibald it is then, now hot foot it so we can return the goldfields to the miners and put Carruthers six foot under where he belongs’.

Ten miles away the two guards who fell asleep after drinking a bottle of rum allowing Joseph Markham to escape custody swing silently in the breeze.

They were hanged at first light the morning after the escape on the orders of Carruthers and now their bodies are on display reminding everyone on the goldfields what will happen to them if they to even think about deceiving the mine overlord.

From the balcony of his huge house on the edge of the fields Carruthers points to the bodies of twenty two year old Peter James and Samuel Jacobs a eighteen year old father of two as he begins an address to the 800 or so miners gathered around the diggings’ Disobey me at your own peril now get back to work before i skin you all alive’

The miners quickly disperse but an under current of resentment ripples through their ranks, it is now only a matter of time before they fight back and thankfully a bushranger in the making is about to offer a helping hand.

Inside the mansion Huong Long and Knut Fu clean and polish every surface they are now nothing more then slaves. Huong is tempted to rush forward and shove Carruthers over the balcony to the mob below but he hasn’t got the courage.

All he can do is hope that Joseph will return soon and help them return to a normal life away from the boss man and his evil ways.

One yards away Joe and Sie Archibald peer over the crest of a sand dune to see if the coast is clear, Joe rubs the cleft on his chin with worry and sorrow, his weary eyes moisten at the sight of two innocents who were hanged all to appease the ego of the evil overload Carruthers.

Joe realizes that he wont be able to bring down Carruthers by himself, if peace is to exist on the goldfields he will need to enlist help from the miners and together they will organize an uprising never seen in Victoria.

Skirting the edge of the encampment Joe Joe sidles up to a group of around twenty miners having morning tea ‘G day i don’t know if you blokes have heard the news? On the other side of the fields there is a lot of talk that Carruthers is planning on increasing the levy that he illegally takes from all the miners, it is an outrage, why should that prick be profiting from all your hard work ?’

‘He needs to be eliminated before he can inflict anymore pain and misery on you and your families, we need to stand united as one and bring justice to the goldfields, spread the word.’

The miners begin to talk amongst themselves and Joe strides away satisfied that he has planted a seed, hopefully the seed will germinate and when it does the proverbial will stick nourishing Joe’s masterplan.

For two days Joe mingles unobserved with the miners whispering in the ear of anyone who will listen and a rumbling of discontent soon grows in intensity threatening to explode like a powder keg.

As he patrols the fields high up in the saddle of his stallion Carruthers can smell and almost taste the tension in the air, he is surrounded by six of his best men and he warns them to keep and eye out for trouble his manager an ugly Irish brute named Shamus O’ Dwyer riding beside his boss is nervous but puts up a brave front.

‘I need to attend to some business down near Darling Creek Shamus, if the miners cause any trouble shot to kill’

With those cowardly words Carruthers high tails it back to his mansion leaving his underlings in mortal danger.

At the mansion Mr Long is in the kitchen cooking whilst his 18 year old daughter Knut Fu is busy wiping every surface clean under the watchful eye of the housekeeper Molly Taylor a 36 year old woman from Boston who arrived in Australia three months prior chasing her dream of striking it rich but she soon found herself completely out of her depth.

The heat and the flies took a huge toll on her health and sanity and her skin blistered under the blazing sun but lucky for her she was rescued by her boss and given shelter and a job.

She knows that Mr Carruthers is a despised figure around these parts but he has always been kind to her but lately his mood has darkened so Molly has kept out of his way waiting for normality to return.

She shrieks in fright on hearing the front door slam and on seeing he look on his face she knows that something awful is troubling her boss and instead of fleeing she immediately takes charge and leads him down the stairs into the cellar until the danger passes.

‘Molly the danger as you call it isn’t going to go away, soon eight hundred plus angry miners are going to storm this place and try to kill me, they will probably burn the house to the ground so stay done here with me Molly and with any luck we can hide and live to fight another day.’

Molly isn’t keen staying down in the dank cellar but when she hears the mob outside start ramming the door she has second thoughts.

Mr Long notices Carruthers followed by his housekeeper sneak down the stairs to escape being lynches so he rushes over to the door to let the marauding mob inside so they can bring Carruthers to justice.

Outside Camel Toe is doing his best to calm the situation but he getting drowned out by hundreds of angry miners carrying rifles and axes intent on finding the deceiving mine boss and tearing him limb from limb ‘Listen i know that you are angry and wish to kill Carruthers but if you do that than none of you will ever see one single cent of the money that he stole from you so settle down, i will go inside and bring the arsehole out here and he can tell you where the money is then i will personally drag his sorry arse down to Melbourne where he will be charged with murder and extortion’

Most of the miners calm down but some are still out for blood ‘Why should we trust you with our gold, for all i know you could be in cohorts with Carruthers, i say say we storm the place and take what is ours and hang the mongrel from the nearest tree”

I guarantee you that i am on your side so how about if five or six of you go inside with me because if you rush inside like chooks with their heads cut there is bound to be casualties and that is the last thing we want to happen’.

The angry miner who spoke thinks for a second before nodding his head in agreement ‘Okay you have a deal i will go in with you, my name is Nathan Miller by the way’ he scans the mob then points at individuals ‘Jones, Smith, Johnson and um Banes at the back, lets go inside and catch the prick and find our gold.’

Despite being rammed repeatedly the front door stands firm so you motions for Sir Archibald to come over and deliver a swift kick and having first hand experience of the viciousness of a camel kick Joe stands clear but in the end a kick isn’t needed because with a squeak the door opens and a tiny Chinaman pokes his head out ‘Come quick, Carruthers has gone down to the cellar’

Down in the cellar Molly can’t take in what she is seeing, fifty or so sacks of gold nuggets take up most of the floor space ‘Now i know why you wanted to come down here you slimy bastard, you do realize that any minute no hundreds of angry miners are going to storm down here so hoarding all this gold that you stole from the miners has all been a monumental of of time, if i had a gun i would put a bullet in your head and be done with it’

‘Molly Molly Molly, i hear what you are saying but there is a lot more gold out there in this great state of ours and i do admit that it will be a shame to leave these sacks of gold behind but right now we need to leave before they catch us and God knows what the mob will do to us.’

There is no us or we Carruther’s this is all your doing not mine so be a man for once in your life and walk up the stairs and take your medicine.’

Shaking his head in disappointment Carruthers sprints over to a corner of the cellar than like a magician he disappears behind a partition.

Molly begins to investigate but then the door to the cellar shatters and seven angry men rush down the stairs but soon stop dead in their tracks when they notice the sacks of gold.

‘Eureka’ Miller hollers with joy’ Okay fella’s help me carry these sacks upstairs Joe can find Carruthers’

Camel Joe shakes his head in wonder, how can Miller be so stupid?’

‘Miller those sacks must weigh half a ton each, you and your mates guard the gold and later each and every miner can come down here and claim what is rightfully theirs but now has anyone seen Carruthers?’

Molly is growing frustrated because while the miners had eyes for the gold it gave Carruthers precious minutes to escape further into the bush.

Joe finally notices Molly motioning to him ‘About bloody time, Carruthers went that way’ the housekeeper jabs in the direction of the partition.

Knowing that Carruthers could be armed and dangerous Joe warily peaks around the partition and is astounded to see a tunnel with a train tracks going out the desert hundreds of yards in the distance.

Carruthers must have used some sort of pump trolley to make his escape but Camel Toe isn’t that worried, tomorrow Carruthers will be brought to justice.

Outside Shamus O’ Seamus and a dozen other of Carruthers henchmen watch proceedings with interest, O’ Seamus knows that there is a shitload of gold in that mansion and he aims to take it before the miners claim it back.

Carruthers has more than likely escapes otherwise he would have been brought outside by now, smiling like a cat that swallowed the cream the killer realizes that with Carruthers gone he will soon be a very rich man.

Sitting in the shade outside the big house MR Long and his daughter Knut Fu talk happily because now they are free to do as they please without threat of harm.

Sir Archibald stands beside them chewing on his cud surveying the countryside, he knows that the evil man is out there somewhere it is only a matter of time arsehole you will be caught.

Joe joins his friend and together the odd pair gaze out on the endless miles of orange dust ‘Tomorrow Carruthers tomorrow you are mine’

THE END

Part three coming soon.

Brain Snap

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It is a little past ten at night and my body clock is telling me that i really should stop watching crap on TV and go to bed.

I turn off the turn and make my way towards the bathroom ‘Where do you think you are going’ my brain demands. I sigh in frustration because i was hoping that i could just go to bed without being noticed because i honestly can’t remember the last time that i had a good nights sleep ‘ It is still early and i have a lot more thinking to do before i shut down for the night.’

I tell my brain that i had a really rough day at work and that i really need to get some rest because i have to do it all again tomorrow.

All i get in response is a laugh so i know that i am in for another sleepless night.

I set my alarm for 5am and roll over on my right side which is my usual routine, as my breathing slows i hear the crickets outside singing me a lullaby.

I am grateful for their help but i have heard the song before and i know that my brain is about to fill my head with all sorts of useless imformation.

‘Why did you pay $1.50 a litre for petrol today when it was $1.41 just down the road?’

‘You bought a bag of kibble for Fido last when you know that he prefers meaty chunks why?

‘Did you turn the stove off?’

‘I can see light under the bedroom door did you remember to turn off the light in the kitchen?’

I am now 32 years old and i have had trouble sleeping for as long as i remember so i decide to try a different approach tonight.

Instead of ignoring my brain hoping it will get tired of talking to itself i reply to my inner voice in the hope that it will just shut up and go into sleep mode.

‘I know i should have gone to the other petrol station but i really couldn’t be bothered’

‘And he reason why i bought the dry food for Fido was because it was on special and i thought he might like to try something different’

‘I didn’t use the stove tonight so o know it is off and yes i am positive that i turned the kitchen light off now shut the fuck up and go to sleep thank you’

I toss and turn for a while expecting a reply but when none is forthcoming i smile close my eyes and begin to drift off.

‘Did you lock the back door? Because if i remember correctly there was a break in down the road last week’

Sighing i cover my face with a pillow in the hope of silencing the voice but it doesn’t work ‘You really should go and check because you don’t know who could be lurking outside’

Throwing the sheet aside i climb out of bed ‘OK you win i will go and check and hopefully when i come back you will be quiet for the rest of the night;

I rattle the handle and sure enough the back door is locked, i also check the stove while i am up and once i am satisfied that all is well i stumble back to bed.

The time is now 2,23 in the morning and i am still awake ‘Do you want to play a game of I Spy because after all your alarm will go off in a couple of hours so you wont get much sleep anyway’

I spy with my little eye something beginning with B.

My alarm blares so i hit the snooze button in the hope of getting a couple more minutes of sleep but my brain has other ideas ‘Get out of bed you lazy turd, two hours sleep is enough for anybody.

As i said insomnia has always been a big problem for me, I am a worrier , i worry about about any insignificant thing and then i would worry about my constant worrying.

Going to sleep at night is a struggle and somethings i would think about ending it all and going into a permanent sleep but thankfully my brain seemed to sense when when was time to settle down at nights and for a few months i would get a decent amount of sleep every night but than my over thinking and worrying would come back and my brain would again go into overdrive.

Over the years my doctor has prescribed me different types of pills and potions to help me sleep but none have really helped.

Also i have tried yoga meditation and deep breathing exercises to help me relax but again with limited results.

It is now early spring and the last six months my insomnia has grown steadily worse, i average about an hour and half of sleep a night so my days are torture because most of the walk i walk around like a zombie barely able to function and so on the morning of 2nd September i enter a gun store down the end of my block and buy myself a rifle that the guy behind the counter said would stop an elephant in its tracks.

Finally i am taking control of my life even though i am about to end it.

Once home i put the rifle in the hall closet and than like a prisoner on death row on the day of his execution i wonder what to have for my last supper.

I think back to when i was a kid and my favorite back then was leg of lamb with roast pumpkin and mashed potatoes so i go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients for my final meal before i meet my maker.

Two hours later the lamb is cooked to perfection and the vegetables are just how i like them.

I eat slowly at first but i am only delaying the inevitable so i gobble down the rest place the plate in the sink then go to the closet and grab the rifle, my liberator if you will.

Taking a seat i remove my shoes and socks get comfortable then after putting the barrel under chin place my big toe on the trigger and get ready to squeeze.

My brain decides that just this second is the right time to start talking ‘What are you doing Kevin?

I don’t wish to reply but i do any way ‘What does it look like you little fucker, this is all your fault , if only you learnt to keep your mouth shut when i am trying to sleep than none of this would be happening’

My toe gently squeezes ‘You do realise that when you pull the trigger i will be splattered all over the wall behind you?’

‘Yes i am quite aware of that eventuality now just shut the fuck up so i can get down to business’

‘Um i don’t mean to ask a silly question but did you put any bullets in the gun?

My heart stops for a second but i distinctly remember loading the gun so tell my brain to back off ‘Nice try but no cigar’

I toe is getting a cramp but does as ordered and squeezes once again.

blurp blurp blurp plurp

I look over to the coffee table where my mobile is lit up like a christmas tree demanding to be answered ‘Jesus H fucking Christ can’t a man kill himself in peace anymore?

Taking a deep breath i tell myself that five minutes wont make any difference so i put the gun on the carpet and pick up the phone.

The screen tells me that my little sister Irene is the culprit calling but i haven’t talk to her in a long time so i answer ‘Hello sis so how is married life treating you?

She has been married for less than a year and seems to be happy ‘Couldn’t be better Kevin but i am not interrupting anything am i because i hear some tension in your voice’

‘I am fine just a little tired is all’ In case she also has x ray vision i walk over and kick the rifle beneath the couch.

We chat for over an hour about the fun times we had when we were kids and about our parents who are both enjoying retirement down in Tasmania.

Listening to my sisters voice takes all the tension and fatigue out of my system but i now realize that had i gone and killed myself i would of left a lot of grief and heartache behind.

When i say goodbye to my sister i empty the rifle and throw the bullets in the trash then dismantle the gun and put it under my bed for a rainy day.

That night i watch a little TV then go and brush my teeth before going to bed, as i brush my brain pipes up ‘I am sorry for all the crap i put you through and from now on i promise to let you sleep uninterrupted’

I must admit i am skeptical but i happily finish my dental care before toddling off to bed.

At 3am i am woken by my brain ‘I know that i promised not to talk but i am bored so why don’t we play a game or talk about the weather or something’

My brain might have kept on talking but i had already switched off and fallen to sleep.

THE END

‘Camel Toe Joe’

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A little known Australian bushranger with the strange moniker of Camel Toe Joe has been on my mind a lot lately.

He doesn’t feature in any historical records that i have seen ( in fact historians will tell you that he never existed at all ).

Plus if you search the web for any references to Camel Toe Joe you will see more than you bargained for.

I don’t think it is right for this Australian legend to remain virtually unknown to his fellow countrymen and the world at large so i have taken it upon myself to set the record straight and write all about his exploits and adventures to the best of my ability.

Joseph Markham is thought to have been born on or about the 2nd June 1831 at his families homestead on the banks of Lake Wendouree just outside of Ballarat Victoria.

His father Stephen Markham was a violent hard drinking man who also happened to be the local pastor.

From day one he completely ignored his responsibility as a parent leaving the upbringing up his son to his long suffering wife Betsy.

From the age of five Joe begin to run away from home to escape his fathers hard nosed attitude but he always returned when his stomach needed filling.

A poor student Joe struggled at school, he tried his best to get a good report from his teacher but his mind would wander and his eyes constantly gazed outside the classroom window trying to picture what lay over the hills beyond Lake Wendouree.

The teacher a mean old battle axe named Beatrice Coltrane would cane Joe for not paying attention and for fighting with the other children.

At home his father would beat his son in an attempt to rein in his wayward ways but Joe wasn’t to be shackled and be just your average schoolboy and a week before his 15th birthday Joe paced a few belongings, saddled up his fathers horse and rode off into the night.

It would twenty years before he saw his parents again.

Joe didn’t have any plans or ideas of which direction he should head nor for that matter what it took to survive out in the back of beyond.

But the horse seemed to know where it was going so Joe sat back and even though he was afraid the ginger haired skinny teenager rode high in the saddle like a nobleman on his way to meet the queen.

Every hour or so he would stop to rest his aching joints and to give the horse a well earned drink.

Up in the trees the Cockatoo’s and Galah’s were waiting for the sun to rise keeping an eye on the stranger in case he would leave any crumbs for them to swoop on come dawn but unfortunately for them Joe only had a small piece of sausage leftover from his last meal at home.

As he ate Joe also had an eye out for any danger from snakes plus from the native aborigines who were known to be hostile towards the white folk.

Joe rode into Bendigo on the morning of 29th July 1846 still unsure leaving home was a good decision but at the same he was determined to find his own way in life.

He tied his horse outside a general store that had a sign on the front door ‘help wanted enquire within’ but than he thought about his parents back home especially his father who Joe knew relied heavily on his horse so he untied the colt pointed back the way from where they came. ‘say hello to ma and pa for me boy’ then he slapped the horses rump.

Once he knew the horse was homeward bound Joe stepped into the general store to enquire about the job.

Noticing an old timer the counter he sauntered over’Hi mister my name is Joe and i am here about the job, i know that i am small for my age but i am as strong as an ox and i can work from sun up to sun down’

Joe has never worked a day in his life but he can lie with the best of them.

When no reply was forthcoming Joe had another look at the old man ‘Jesus he looks older than Moses, i hope he doesn’t drop dead before he gives the job’

‘Thanks for your concern young fellow, my name isn’t Moses and i can still rattle the bones of any of the young ladies in the whorehouse across the street’

My name is Clarence Denning the owner of this fine establishment, be here 6 o’clock sharp and we will see if a little runt like you can walk the work or just talk the talk’

Joe is still trying to figure out what ‘rattle the bones’ means so it takes him a few seconds to reply ‘Ah thanks mister but i don’t own a watch but maybe there is a rooster around these parts who could wake me up?’

‘I dont quite know how long i will be in town for because i have plans on becoming a famous bushranger one day’

Chuckling heartily Clarence told Joe that there is a room around back that he can use until he hones his bushranger skills.

Joe worked at the Bendigo general store for almost three years helping Mr Denning load wagons with sacks of sugar, flour and salt plus barrels of kerosene and crates of beer and whiskey.

It was hard work but Joe built up his strength and inner resilience, his hands bled and back ached a bitch but he never once complained.

Every night as he slept Joe dreamt about robbing banks, hiding out in the bush and maybe rattling a few bones himself.

His name would feature on the front page of every national newspaper from Melbourne to Sydney and all godforsaken places in between.

Then on the morning of 14th September 1850 Joe’s life and the nations coffers were bolstered.

It was just another average Victorian morning, sunny with a chance of rain, the kookaburra’s and crow’s were greeting another day screeching and chatting amongst themselves.

‘Jesus who needs a freaking rooster with these noisy birds are around’ joe thought as he helped load the first wagon of the day, then the mundane was broken when Mr Denning noticed a cloud of dust approaching from the west.

‘Be ready to run inside Joe we might have ourselves some trouble’

Ten horseman rode into view waving their hats screaming at the top of their lungs ‘What are they saying Mr Denning?’

When the men hurtled past the store to became clear to all and sundry what they were excited about. GOLD GOLD GOLD

There is gold in them there hills.

Over the following months Bendigo was swamped with people from across the country and overseas all with one thing on their minds.

Strike it rich on the goldfields and go home a happy man.

After working his fingers to the bone in the general store joe has no great desire to go digging out in the goldfields under the blazing sun.

When he was a young boy his mother would read him about pirates robbing and pillaging out on the high seas.

They had names like Blackbeard, Calico Joe and William Kidd, names that have stood the test of time.

Joe knows that if he is to become a famous he will have to come up with a name fitting the position.

And as fate his last day that he worked for Mr Denning a suitable name was unwittingly thrust upon him.

While he was stacking the shelves with canned goods a commotion outside caught his attention ‘ Come take a look Joe’ Mr Denning called from the front window ‘Have you ever seen a camel before?’

‘Shit a shingle boss i don’t even know what a camel is’

‘There is no need to cuss young man come take a gander’

Joe couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw this large awkward looking animal with knobbly legs and two humps on its back trotted past the store.

Sitting between the humps was a man with a long black ponytail wearing a white dress.

‘Who in the fuck is that man Mr Denning?’

‘I told you before Joe that i want put up with any fucking swearing in my presence, but to answer your question i think his name is Mr Long who has come all the way from China to make his fortune like everybody else but he was railroaded by Samuel Carruthers, now the chinaman is now nothing than a cook and odd jobs man for Carruthers and his gang of thieves’

‘Carruthers is a mean nasty son of a bitch who owns most of the land around these parts, he exhorts money from the miners who dare search for gold even if they don’t encroach on his land’

‘Sounds like robbery to me Mr Denning plain and simple’

Then and there 19 year old Joseph Markham decided that when he becomes a bushranger he will teach Carruthers a lesson and give all the money back to the miners, less a finders fee of course.’

An hour Joe was sitting outside the store on a well earned break when he noticed Mr Long leading the camel towards him.

Once the animal was tied to a post Mr Long asked if he could buy some two sacks of salt and one sack of tobacco. ‘Sure thing Mr Long but before we go inside can i take the camel for a ride? Are the humps full of water or milk?

While he talked Joe began walking towards the tethered beast ‘Not so close, camel mean will kick’ Mr Long warned Joe but it was too little too late.

‘Sorry but i have never seen a camel before, it sure is ugly though, i bet it would scare the feathers from the birds and cause the roo’s to run for the hills’

The camel sensing that it is being put down by the camel waited until his antagonist was within range then without warning delivered an almighty kick that connected with Joe’s jaw but lucky for him it was only a glancing blow, if it wasn’t Joe would be getting measured for two caskets, one for his body the other for his head.

As it was the camel’s toe left a three inch long groove from hid bottom lip to below his chin.

The gash was looked puffy and swollen but at the same time was oddly alluring.

After applying fifteen stitches to Joe’s wound the town’s doctor offered some free advice ‘You will probably have a scar for life and if i were you i would give that camel a wide berth from now on’

Through his pain Joe managed a reply ‘Thanks for your words of wisdom doc but i intend on showing that camel that it made a huge mistake and i intend to teach it some manners’

Upon leaving the surgery Joe was confronted by a very apologetic Mr long ‘Sorry sorry for your injury, my camel did very bad thing, how can i make it up to you?’

Joe thought for a second ‘You can do two things for me and than we will be even’.

‘First when you leave here today i want to go with you and secondly i want to apologize to the camel for getting on it’s bad side’

‘Huong Long gave Joe a wary look ‘Please camel very dangerous, maybe you write letter and i give it to him?’

‘Don’t worry Mr Long i promise not to get to close’

On seeing Joe approach the camel flexed it’s muscles and wriggled it’s toes in anticipation of drawing more blood.

Joe stopped ten foot from the crazy beast ‘I am very sorry for calling you ugly but now i can see that you are even uglier than i first thought plus i just got a whiff and i have to say that you smell like a wombat has crawled up your huge arse and died’

Mr Long rushed forward pushing Joe out of the way of a massive golly of saliva the camel spat ‘You call that an apology? You crazy now you and camel are mortal enemies, like elephant camel never forget’

Once it had recovered from the insults the camel lowered itself to the ground and Mr Long climbed into the saddle then he urged the camel forward ‘You coming or not? And don’t get too camel or he will kick you again plus stay down wind because if he farts you will never remove the stench from your nostrils’

On the journey to the gold fields Mr Long told Joe that he came to Australia with his sixteen year old daughter Knot Fu Long with plans of striking it rich with gold so that they could return to china and live a happy life but that his plans were shattered by a very bad man.

Mr Long clearly distressed paused to catch his breath but Joe took pity on him ‘It is okay, my boss told me how Carruthers is ruling the gold fields with an iron fist but rest assured that when we arrive i will do everything in my power to bring him down’

Please Mr Joe Carruthers has many soldiers and if you cross him it will only make matters worse for Knot Fu and me’

I might be young but i promise you that when Carruthers falls from his perch he will be in no position to harm anyone’

Along the way the camel continually farted and belched whilst giving Joe the evil eye just daring him to come closer.

Joe ignored the camel and was relieved when just before dusk the three weary travelers arrived at the gold fields.

Looking around Joe couldn’t believe the size of the place and even at seven o’clock at night there was a hive of activity.

Gold fever was in the air and Joe almost stumbled from its euphoric effect ‘Father father over here’ Joe turned to see a young girl running toward them. Welcome back father who is the stranger with you? And what happened to his face?

Be quiet Knot Fu, this is Mr Joe from in town who came along for the ride plus he also wants to help us get from under the scourge of Carruthers and his soldiers’

Mr Long suddenly stopped talking and gazed over at a huge house on the far side of the fields ‘That is where Carruthers lives, Knut Fu and i are forced to live there as servants while he plunders the plot that i paid for out of my life savings, but it isn’t only me, all the miners pay Carruthers 10% and if they don’t pay or try and cheat well they disappear never to be seen again’

Joe is seething with rage and the gash on his chin begins to weep and pulsate.

The apprentice bushranger rubs the tender spot not noticing Mr long and his daughter whispering and laughing Hey Mr Joe i was just telling Knot Fu how the camel kicked you and well, here Knot Fu butted in giggling ‘You camel toe Joe’

And so on the evening of 3rd March 1847 the legend was born.

‘Where in the fuck have you been you old chinese cunt, do you think that i run my business on Peking time?’

‘Well let me tell you that i don’t now pray tell who is this boy with you, maybe he could help you and your scrawny daughter help to make my life more comfortable?

Joe eyed the old man astride his horse with contempt ‘My name is Joseph Markham and i am here to help Mr Long out from his predicament’

‘ Perhaps you would be kind enough to give him back his mining rights so that he can dig for gold free from greedy arseholes like you’

Carruthers face turned beet red his eyes bulging not quite believing what he just heard.

The burly 6′ 3′ two hundred pound stand over merchant doesn’t take kindly to anyone upsetting his apple cart ‘Look around you young man i have over fifty men under my command and this very second they have their rifles aimed in your direction’

‘Throw him in the stockade and perhaps as he rots away young Joseph will learn to keep his mouth shut’

Mr Long and his daughter can do nothing to help Joe as he is dragged away by three henchmen to an unknown fate.

The camel stamped his feet in frustration at the apprehension of his adversary who he has grown to admire because the little shit can take a kicking and keep on ticking.

Then things take a turn for the worse as his master and child are forced at gunpoint back to the big house.

Unnoticed by Carruthers or any of his soldiers the camel trots over into the undergrowth and almost immediately begins to formulate a rescue mission.

THE END.

Chapter two coming soon.

‘A Little Place Called Hell’

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36 year old Alison Reddy takes a deep breath and slowly exhales.

Sitting in the back seat of her battered old chevy wagon her two children have been squabbling since she strapped them in and drove from their home in Lincoln Nebraska.

Now four hours later Alison is about ready to explode ‘If you two don’t quieten down right this minute i swear i will turn the car around’

‘I know that you are excited to visit gran and pop but you need to settle down or i will tan both of your hides like i did last week remember?’

Nine year old Molly and her six year old brother Kevin instantly sit up straight in their seat and rub at old and new injuries but the bruises inside will be forever out of reach.

Alison looks back at her offspring in the rear view mirror and is pleased to see them behaving for once without her needing to raise a hand.

Ever since her husband Randy walked out a year or so back Alison has tried her best to be a good mom but it isn’t easy being a single parent.

A whimper of fright from the back seat brings her back ‘Sorry Kevin but you know that mommy likes her peace and quiet so be a good little boy and soon we will stop for lunch and you and Molly can order whatever you want’

Alison drives down the highway gripping the steering wheel like she is trying to strangle it ‘God why did my parents feel the need to move all the way down to Florida to retire for fuck sake’

Stealing another glance at her children and is shocked to see them covered in cuts and bruises looking like the living dead.

Running a hand through her long greasy hair the harried mother does what she has always done in times of stress, she takes a long pull from a bottle of gin that was sitting in the console within easy reach.

Molly and Kevin notice their mommy drinking from a bottle and know that no matter if they behave or not there will be trouble.

The two abused souls slide down in their seat trying to disappear but trouble has a habit of finding you wherever you choose to hide.

Replacing the cap Alison dares another look back at her children she is pleased to see that they now look fresh faced and rosy cheeked ‘Almost there kiddo’s’

Molly and Kevin smile back but the smiles are etched deep with past pain and sorrow.

Ten minutes later she veers off the highway and drives towards a town called Seabridge, which is strange because Seabridge didn’t appear on her navigation system but she could with something to eat so Seabridge it is.

Rounding a bend Alison barely glances at a sign on the side of the road but that glance was enough to make her heart turn to stone.

Slamming on the brakes the chevy skids to stop fifty yards past the sign. ‘Stay in the car children i just need to have another look at the sign back there, i wont be long’

In the back seat Molly and Kevin shimmer and shine in a ghostly manner disappearing for a second before reluctantly returning.

Alison approaches the sign in trepidation but she knows what she saw so this time Alison takes a good hard look.

WELCOME TO HELL

BURN WITH ME ALISON

THE DEVIL.

Pop – Too many to mention.

Alison knows that she has to get out of here before it is too late so after running back to the car she screams at the back seat occupants ‘OK kids buckle up tight i um just remembered that i left the back door unlocked so i need to go back before someone breaks in’

‘Mommy just call Mr Jones next door’ Molly pipes up ‘He can go over and lock it and we can go see gran and pop’

Yeah mommy’ Kevin butts in ‘But please i need food and i need it now’

Alison isn’t listening because she has more pressing issues at hand like how to escape from hell and live to talk about it.

She knows that she will more then likely end up in hell but she isn’t quite ready yet but after checking over her shoulder for oncoming traffic Alison knows that she has no choice but to drive into hell.

Behind her the road has vanished leaving nothing but darkness blacker then black.

Two hundred yards down the road Alison is surprised to see what appears to be an ordinary main street you would see in any small American town except that there are no cars in sight and the sidewalks are pedestrian free.

Thankful that the kids don’t seem to notice that they are in mortal danger Alison and she can’t really blame them because for all intents and purposes hell looks like a ghost town.

Looking down to the end of main street searching for an escape route but there is nothing to see except a thick black fog.

‘Just put your foot down and drive all the way into hell Alison because that is where you belong you evil bitch’

‘You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t murder me and your own parents and because of your petty jealously and lust for money’

‘Thankfully the kids escaped from the abuse and are somewhere safe away from your evil presence’

Alison’s skin crawls at the sound of her dead husbands voice coming from the backseat.

With gentle arms draped over his children Randall Reddy sneers back at her ‘Your time to burn is nigh Alison and i hope that the fire consumes your soul forever and a day’

‘Fuck you Randall i should of killed you before i got pregnant with your spawn’

Crying tears of joy and acceptance Alison puts her foot down and drives all the way into hell to meet her maker.

‘Wake up you evil fucking bitch’

The strung out female patient sleeping in room 219 on the lower level at the New Brunswick Mental Facility opens her eyes and looks up at a huge menacing figure staring down at her with contempt.

Darnel Brathwaite is an african american nurse who has been attending to his patients needs and helping them in any way he can.

Perhaps helping isn’t the word that the patients themselves would use when describing Darnel’s conduct but Brathwaite couldn’t give a shit what they think of him.

All he is thinking about is helping the crazy lady in room 219 depart this world and get buried deep where the bugs and worms can eat her flesh to their hearts content.

Darnel has helped over 100 patients in various facilities nationwide reach the other side so the lady in room 219 shouldn’t prove to difficult to send on her way.

But first why not have a little fun?

Alison Reddy struggles to get comfortable as the buckles and straps and buckles of her straight jacket bite into her skin.

Her mind is hazy and she is having trouble focusing on the huge cruel nurse in her room but through the haze she notices a syringe in one of his hands and a manilla folder in the other.

‘Glad you could join me Alison, it is almost 9.30 and my shift ends at midnight,i will go home to my cat and a six pack of beer and you will also be going on a journey but before you leave let me read you a bed time story’

This story i am sure you have read many times before but never mind let me read it again so you know exactly why you need to go on a one way trip’

‘On 20th January 1984 Mary Lou Reddy gave birth to a healthy baby daughter who her husband Ben insisted be named Alison after his favorite grandmother who he loved very much.’

‘Alison was a happy normal toddler but when she started school began to show a cruel streak by physically abusing the other students and teachers’

You were immediately removed from school and sent to this facility where you received shock treatment and for a few years your behavior returned to normality’

Braithwaite pauses briefly to adjust himself ‘A week before your twelve birthday you came home from running an errand where after devouring a huge slice of chocolate cake your loving mother made for you ‘

‘You returned her love by picking up a knife and stabbed her 32 times’

‘Then you went out to the garage where your father was working beneath his beloved 57 Pinto’

‘With wicked intentions you wound down the jack slowly crushing your own father slowly until he died an agonizing death’

Once again the excited nurse pauses this time to release his member that he slowly begins to stroke.

‘After murdering your parents you were sentenced to a maximum security institution for dangerous juveniles in upstate New York where you were treated for your maladies’

The governor of the state believing that you were completely rehabilitated released back into the community on 1st July 2009 and you laid low for a while behaving like a regular person but you and i both know different don’t we Alison?’

The patient in the straight jacket smiles at the story teller with a grin that almost causes him to lose rhythm but Braithwaite continues to choke the chicken even as the smirk on the patients face tells him that trouble is afoot.

You befriended a young man named Randall Reddy at church who had no idea that you were a murderer and an evil demon and you didn’t tell him did you Alison?

This time Brathwaite avoids eye contact but the stroking intensifies’

Braithwaite in his haste to spend an evening of fun failed to make sure that the he tied the straight jacket securely and now Alison even in her sedated state has managed to slip an arm from the restraint.

Now the evil killer is just waiting for the right moment to strike.

‘Not long after meeting Reddy you were pregnant with your daughter Molly and three years later you gave birth to a son who you named Kevin’

‘For ten years you lived in suburbia with your family and everything appeared peachy on the outside but they weren’t were they Alison?”

‘In the decade you lived in Lincoln twenty three people who lived within a ten mile radius from your home disappeared’

‘These people were completely innocent and didn’t deserve tp come in contact with you’

Brathwaite has almost reached the point of no return and his breathing has become erratic ‘Your husband Randall never knew who you really were and on his 31st birthday you shot him in the head and ran naked onto the street which is why you currently a resident here’

‘Thank God your children have had their names changed and are in a place where you will never find them and hopefully they will grow to be good people despite having you as their mother’

‘Do you have anything to say before you begin your travels?

Alison motioned for the nurse to come closer and Brathwaite despite all of his training leans in close beating his meat at a furious pace.

Alison launches forward and bites down hard on the nurses nose and after a few shakes of her head the morsel is ripped free.

Braithwaite despite being three times the size of the patient offers little resistance and soon goes into shock and is now at the mercy of the crazy women in room 219′

Alison gets to work, first she shoves the nose down the nurses throat then using the metal tip of a felt pen she found in the nurses pocket Alison severs the shriveled penis from the shell shocked nurse and it to is forced down his throat.

Finally Alison empties the contents of the syringe into his thigh and soon the nurse is dead.

With her heart beating strong in her chest Alison feels exhilarated as the taste of the nurses blood refreshes memories from her past.

Now she has the taste again Alison needs and wants more blood on her hands but first she will need to escape from this shithole.

So she settles down to think of a way out of here.

Ten thousand miles away down in Australia two two teenagers have no idea that their birth mother has just killed again and is thinking about holding a family reunion.

THE END.