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This was inspired by some of the comments made on the forum by Emmasi, KittCatt, Pembie and Red Ranger 1. It’s only going to be a short little story. I'm planning for it to be about 4 chapters long. It might be a bit silly but I thought it might be fun to have Hunter go on that rampage! :P Hope you enjoy it!


Type of Fic: Short/Medium Fiction

Main Characters: Hunter, Josh, Evie, Zac, Andy, and other main characters

Genre: Psychological Thriller

BTTB Rating:  T/A

Does it contain spoilers: Yes, for UK viewers. Not for Australia.

Warnings:  Adult Themes, V/D.

Summary: Hunter thinks that Andy killed his mother (who he now inexplicably cares about being dead) and wants to wreak his revenge.




Chapter 1



Zac paced slowly back and forth outside the courthouse, listening to the ringing of his phone, and waiting patiently for Leah to pick up. She'd been hard to get hold of the last few days with everything that was going on with her brother, Alex. His injuries were obviously much worse than they'd first thought and he was pretty much immobile. Leah had had to go away for a few days to look after him, but days had turned into weeks, and she’d been gone ages now! Alex’s daily physio sessions, and his total dependence on her, were certainly keeping her very busy! Zac hoped that she'd be home soon. He really missed her. He wished that she had been therein court with him today because he really could have used the support. This whole thing with Alex couldn't have come at a worse time! Today had been stressful, to say the least, but they'd been lucky with the judge that they'd got, and the verdict had been much more lenient than expected. He wanted to tell Leah the good news.

"Hey, Leah!" said Zac, sounding a little breathless and overexcited when she answered. "We got a sympathetic judge! Hunter only has to do community service. 100 hours! Isn't that great!?"

He smiled from ear to ear, hearing how pleased she was, and nodded enthusiastically even though she couldn't see him. "I know!" he said, with a silly grin, as he pretended to walk on a tightrope, putting one foot, heel to toe, in front of the other, and leaning his arm out to balance. "It's just such a relief! I can’t believe it! I don't think I could have faced him going to prison... I know what it's like in there! He’s not tough enough for that…"

He turned around to walk back the way he'd come, but far in the distance he spotted Hunter walking towards him. "Yeah'' he replied to Leah's question, "but I think we're all gonna go to Angelo's to celebrate... Yeah, well we can have the moussaka tomorrow then."

Hunter arrived and raised his eyebrows at him, rocking on the balls of his feet, with his hands stuck in his pockets. Zac noticed that he'd taken off his tie and looked much happier and infinitely more relaxed than when they'd walked in there this morning. "That Leah?" he asked, with a smile.

Zac nodded at Hunter, and then continued talking to Leah. "Do you know yet when you're coming home? We all really miss you here." he asked her, with hope in his voice.

He looked at Hunter and gave him a big smile when he heard what Leah said. "Really?! Tomorrow?! Oh that's fantastic, Leah!" he exclaimed. He looked at Hunter a little more seriously and said, "We'll make sure the house is nice and tidy for you coming home."

Hunter nodded and rolled his eyes.  Leaving Zac to finish his phone call, he turned to look back up at the courthouse. He breathed a sigh of relief at the thought that he'd managed to get away so lightly. His whole 'poor me' act had really resonated with the judge and Morag had managed to paint him as a mixed up and confused young boy who had tragically lost his mother to violent crime. It was amazing how a good sob story was essentially a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Spun the right way, with just the right amount of ‘please sir, I didn’t mean to’, and it could get you off a lengthy jail sentence! He laughed to himself a little when he thought how gullible the judge had been. As though he felt even the slightest bit sorry for stabbing Andy! Yeah right! He was amazed at the light sentence though. Surely nearly killing his family, and trying his darnedest to kill Andy should have landed him a few years at a minimum? But no, 100 hours of community service, and it wouldn’t even stay on his record if he kept his nose clean for a few years. Even he could see that the legal system in this country was screwed up if they were happy to just let him walk the streets… but he wasn't complaining!

“Ready to go?” asked Zac, clapping his hand on Hunter’s shoulder with a look of relief on his face. “C’mon! Let’s go celebrate your freedom!”




“Josh, wait!” shouted Evie, as she chased him down the stairs. “Josh, please! Wait!” she called again, trying to catch up with him as he stormed away.

Josh charged out through the front door, just as Hunter and Zac arrived home, and he had to push Hunter out of the way to get past. “Sorry” he grunted as he pushed past.

“Sorry, I need to go after him” said Evie, tilting her head apologetically, and gesturing at Hunter to step out of the way.

“Oh yeah” said Hunter, stepping aside, and giving her a disapproving look. She ran out the door and he turned to watch her go. “Yeah, don’t mind me… just y’know, got back from court…” he said sarcastically. He stuck his head out the door and yelled after her, “No, no, don’t worry… don’t ask how my sentencing went!  Wouldn’t want you to think about someone other than yourself!”

Zac gave him a withering look, shaking his head at him, when he looked back around. “Hunter! Josh looked upset… Other people do have problems, you know!” he said, frowning a little.

“Yeah, like having a murderer for a brother” muttered Hunter, heading towards the fridge. “I still think Josh covered for him.”

“You don’t know that…” said Zac, sitting down at the dining table and rubbing his tired eyes. He looked at Hunter who was busy raiding the fridge, and gave a heavy sigh. He was tired of this whole thing and really wished that Andy’s trial could just be over, although he was actually a little sad that that probably meant Andy going to prison. The truth was that he didn’t really blame Andy for killing Charlotte. On some level, he was almost grateful. He would never have had the guts to kill Charlotte himself but he was glad that she was dead. He didn’t really like to admit that to himself, but it was true. Of course, he could never let Hunter know that! “I’ve said it before, Hunter. You can’t blame Josh for his brother’s actions. That’s not fair… Any more than you’d want people blaming you for the things that your mother did!”

Hunter turned to look at Zac, narrowing his eyes at him, while he took a big slug directly out of a carton of orange. “That’s not the same thing!” he grunted at Zac.

“I don’t see how it’s any different” said Zac, shrugging his shoulders at him. “Josh had no control over what Andy did.”

“I didn’t know what mum was up to” said Hunter, whanging the door of the fridge shut. “I didn’t cover for her” he said, fully aware that it had been the other way around.

Zac nodded and picked up his phone. He was tired and he really didn’t want to get into an argument today. Not when they’d been so happy about the verdict and about Leah coming home.

“I’m gonna get changed” said Hunter, clearly still sulking and sounding like a petulant child. “Then I’m going for a run.”

Zac watched him as he disappeared out the door and then heard him bounding up the stairs. He sighed loudly, feeling thoroughly worn out, and wondering if they’d manage to get through dinner without having an argument. He hoped that Hunter would calm down by the time they were going for dinner tonight. He certainly wasn’t easy to deal with when he was like this!




“Please can you just shut up?!” said Andy, covering his face and letting out a sigh of frustration. “I can’t listen to you anymore!”

“That’s not my problem” said Oscar, leaning against the wall of the cell with his arms folded, and staring at Andy in a very unsympathetic way. “I think you’re stuck with me, Andy. You can’t expect me to just stand here and not talk to you. I was always very ‘loquacious’ in life. Yes ‘loquacious’! That’s a nice word isn’t it? ‘loquacious’! I’ve always liked that… Anyway, you can’t expect that I’d just shut up and not say anything just because I’m dead!”

“You’re not real!” shouted Andy, looking up at him and shaking his head in disbelief. “You died! You’re not really here!”

“That’s all very well” said Oscar, smirking a little, “but for some reason you’ve imagined me here and now I’m stuck in here with you… and frankly, I’m bored! You’re not much of a conversationalist, are you? …No, Andy! Your conversation skills really leave a lot to be desired! …I mean… you got me here… The least you could do would be to entertain me.” He tutted loudly and shook his head in mock disapproval. “I never had this problem with your brother!” he scolded.

“Shut up!” shouted Andy, putting his hands over his ears. “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”

“Maybe I could sing instead?” suggested Oscar, raising one eyebrow at him. “I’ve never been a very good singer… at least that’s what Evie always said. But what did she know, really? She sounds like a cat being strangled when she sings! …I don’t know… I always fancied myself as more of a crooner… more Bublé or Sinatra…” he said chuckling a little. He cleared his throat, laughing at Andy when he made a little moaning noise and squeezed his hands against his head. Oscar began to sing quite loudly, and Andy looked up at him in horror, at the grey and pasty face that was suddenly crooning at him.

“Another winter day

has come and gone away

In either Paris or Rome

And I wanna go home

Let me go home…”


Andy started to cry, still covering his ears and clamping his eyes shut. “Please, stop!” he shouted loudly, “Stop singing! Just stop!”

“Jeez, everyone’s a critic!” said Oscar, shaking his head at him and laughing loudly. “Everyone’s a critic!”

Andy lay back on the hard uncomfortable bed and covered his eyes, letting out a heavy sigh, and letting the tears stream down his face in despair. He didn’t know how much more of this he could take. He’d done everything that they’d asked, but they still weren’t satisfied, and they just wouldn’t leave him alone! He’d taken responsibility for the explosion at the caravan park, he’d confessed to Pirovic’s murder, and he’d even taken the blame for Charlotte when he wasn’t guilty of that! He’d done his best to make sure that he would be punished, and put away for years, just like they’d asked. That was what they’d wanted! That’s what they’d asked him to do! And they’d promised to go away and leave him alone if he did it. But they were still here! All of them! Driving him crazy, every moment of the day! They’d stood and laughed when Hunter had stabbed him. They’d applauded and whooped and cheered, but it hadn’t been enough for them! He knew now that they wanted him to kill himself. He was okay with that. He just wanted it to be over. The only problem was that he had no way of doing it. There wasn’t anything in here to do it with!

He nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt a hand on his knee that started to snake its way up his inner thigh towards his crotch. He frantically grabbed at the hand, trying to stop her. He didn’t want this! The thought of it turned his stomach. He opened his eyes and gave a gasp of horror as he felt the full weight of her body climbing on top of his, and a pair of bloodshot eyes stared into his, now only centimetres away. He could smell her breath!  “Hannah!” he exclaimed, feeling like someone had just kicked him in the stomach. He tried to move but she was weighing him down so he began to cry again, hoping that she might take pity on him. “I’m so sorry, Hannah, it’s all my fault!” he sobbed.

She looked at him with a mischievous sort of smirk, and put her hand under his shirt, trailing her icy cold fingers across his stomach. “Isn’t this what you want?” asked Hannah, in a seductive tone. She smiled at him and leaned in to give him a kiss but he moved his face away, closing his eyes, and growling “No!”

“Oh come on, don’t be like that!” said Hannah, tracing her fingers down his belly towards the waistband of his trousers. “I mean… we used to be so good together…” she said, looking down at his crotch with a little smile, and then turning to look at him with a flash of anger in her eyes. “That is… until you killed me!” she snarled in his face.

“I’m sorry!” he cried out, hiding his face in his hands and sobbing loudly. “I’m so sorry! I’m so so sorry!”

“What’s going on, Andy?!” asked Kat, peering in through the bars of his cell and looking at him with concern. One of the junior officers had come to get her because he was worried, and wasn’t sure what to do. They’d both stood listening for a few moments to a one sided conversation where Andy kept pleading with some unseen entity. Kat was worried that he was really losing it now and thought that she might need to get him medical attention. “Do you need help, Andy? Are you okay? Who were you talking to?!”

Andy just rolled over on the bed, and hugged his arms around himself, sniffling and wiping at his eyes with both hands. “I’m okay” he mumbled, as he looked into Jake’s eyes. “Just go away, Kat” he said, sounding cold and distant.




Hunter wiped at his forehead, and then put both of his hands on his lower back, as he tried to catch his breath. He’d been running for a solid hour. He’d hoped that running might help to calm him down a bit or at least tire him out enough that he wouldn’t have the energy to be angry. But if anything, it had just wound him up even more. Now all he wanted to do was hit something… or someone! He knew exactly who that someone was. Unfortunately, he was safely locked up, and out of his reach. He kept picturing the pair of scissors from before, and trying to slow that moment down in his head so he could savour every second of it. If he could do it again, he would have, only this time he would have made sure that Andy suffered even more. He imagined twisting the scissors and dragging them up slowly through his flesh and into his lungs. He wanted him to die slowly and painfully. The slower, the better! He laughed to himself a little bitterly as he thought about his day in court today. He’d certainly played a blinder! “Oh, I’m so sorry that I stabbed, Andy! I’d take it back if I could, but I can’t… and I’ll feel bad about that for the rest of my life… boo hoo hoo!”. He snorted in derision at the thought of it!

He glanced at the door of the house and sighed at the thought of having to go in there and pretend that he felt bad about what he’d done. Zac desperately needed to believe that he was sorry, and that he hadn’t spawned some kind of monster, so Hunter had been playing along. It was exhausting though. He just wanted to be able to be himself but he knew that that wasn’t possible. Olivia was the only person that knew the real him, and every bad thing that he’d done since he’d arrived in the Bay, and yet she still loved him. She was a pretty amazing girl.

He decided he’d call over to see Olivia before he faced Zac again, so he headed off across the caravan park. Walking past, he could hear hushed voices in one of the vans that he knew was supposed to be empty. He strained his ears to try to make them out, and to his surprise he realised that it was Evie and Josh inside, and that they were ‘whisper fighting’ and clearly trying not to be overheard. He thought for a moment that he would leave them to it, but his curiosity got the better of him, so he crept up alongside the van and leaned in close to the side to try to hear better.

“I can’t do it anymore, Evie!” said Josh, in a hushed but pained voice. “I can’t stand the way Hunter keeps looking at me… I can’t keep lying to everyone like this! I’m not this person!”

“You’re not leaving me!” hissed Evie. “I’m not losing everyone I love… I mean it Josh… You can’t do this to me!”

“It’s not about you!” said Josh, sounding decidedly upset. “I need to do this, Evie! I can’t let Andy ruin his life for me! I just can’t!” He sniffled loudly, and Hunter could hear that he’d gotten up and was moving towards the door.

“You were happy to let Zac go down for you!” she snarled at him. “What’s the difference?!”

“The difference…” Josh started to say, stammering a little, and clearly crying. “The difference is that I’ve realised how wrong that was… I have to put my hands up this time, Evie… I can’t be a coward all my life!”

“It was an accident, Josh!” she pleaded with him, “You didn’t mean to kill her! Why should you go to prison just because some psycho pulled a gun on you?! Andy wants to do this for you!” Hunter’s heart was racing now as he began to put two and two together. “Let him!” said Evie, “I can’t lose you!”

Hunter’s eyes widened as he realised fully what they were saying. It hit him like a freight train and the anger that he felt was like a pressure rising up in his chest, just building and building. Everything turned to white noise and he crouched down trying to catch his breath. Josh had killed his mother and left her to wash up somewhere like a piece of trash. He’d covered and lied, and he’d allowed Zac to go to prison. Now he was even letting Andy take the fall for him. Hunter only had one thought, and it was repeating itself over and over in his head, like some kind of relentless chant. “I’m going to kill him” said Hunter under his breath. “I’m going to kill him!”

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Thanks again everyone for the kind comments :P Hope you enjoy this chapter!




Chapter 2


“Leah!” exclaimed Zac, looking up from his cereal with a big smile on his face. “We weren’t expecting you till lunch.” he said, jumping up and heading straight over to help her with her bags.

“Yeah… I just wanted to get home” she said, sounding tired. “Where is everyone?” she asked, looking around the room and noting that the kids clearly hadn’t tidied up like Zac had promised. The place looked like a bombsite.

“Um… Evie’s still in bed, I think” said Zac, going to the table and pouring Leah a cup of coffee. He handed it to her and led her over to the table, getting her to sit down, and massaging her shoulders a little. She seemed stressed. “VJ’s out with Billie… and I haven’t actually seen Hunter this morning. I think maybe he headed out early. He’s been doing a lot of training the last few weeks. He’s probably gone for a run.”

Leah leaned back against him and pulled his arms down around her neck so his face was next to hers. He gave her a little kiss on the cheek and she smiled. “I’ve missed you so much” she said, giving a little sigh.

“You have no idea how much I’ve missed you” said Zac, hugging her and squeezing her tight. “I’m so glad you’re home!” 

“Me too” she said, giving him a little half-smile. She got up from the table and walked out to the kitchen to get a glass of water, silently tutting at how much of a mess the kitchen was. Without her there to keep an eye on things, and make sure that the kids pulled their weight, Zac had let the place get very messy. She took a deep breath and blew it out again as she filled her glass, and told herself not to start an argument. She was glad to be home. It was certainly better than running after her brother, day in, day out. Alex hadn’t been very appreciative of all the help and support that she’d given him, and they’d ended up having a massive fight before she left. That was why she was home early. She really didn’t want to have a fight with Zac too. A few dirty dishes, an unwashed floor, and a big pile of laundry wasn’t that big a deal.

She turned to look at him, leaning her back against the kitchen counter, and said, “I still can’t believe Hunter was so lucky with his sentencing! I was so relieved when you called me yesterday. I mean, it just would have been awful if he’d ended up in jail.”

“I know!” said Zac, grimacing at the thought of it. “He’s a lucky boy!”

“Who’s a lucky boy?” asked Hunter, walking in through the back door. “Oh, hey Leah!” he said, giving her a big smile, “It’s nice to have you home!”

“Hunter!” exclaimed Leah, with a big smile stretched from ear to ear. “I was so pleased to hear about your sentencing yesterday! Such good news!” She set her glass of water down and went to give him a hug.

“Woah!” said Hunter, taking a step backwards and putting his hands up to keep her away. “I’m just back from my run!” he warned her, shaking his head. “Pew” he said, holding his nose and motioning with his hand in an exaggerated way to show her how smelly he was. “Seriously, Leah, I stink!”

“Oh-kay?” she said, giving him a quizzical look. He wasn’t normally so worried about how he smelt after coming home from training. Usually it was Evie that had to yell at him to go have a shower. He was normally more than happy to stink the whole place up for hours if no-one else had any objections. “Maybe you should go have a shower then?” she asked, glancing at Zac and shrugging her shoulders at him in a questioning way.

“Yeah, I think that’s a good idea” said Zac, looking at Hunter with concern and suspicion. Hunter did seem to be acting a little strangely. This newfound worry about personal hygiene did seem a bit out of character. Now that he thought about it, he had been acting strangely since yesterday evening. He’d been incredibly quiet at dinner last night and they’d hardly been able to get him to say a word. It was meant to be a celebration dinner but he’d just seemed so angry and spent the whole evening snapping at everyone. Even Olivia had had to have a quiet word with him when he’d bitten Evie’s head off over nothing! You’d never have thought that he’d just gotten away with attempted murder! Zac thought it was maybe just a delayed reaction to all the stress of the last few weeks, but Hunter had worried him when he’d insisted on going to bed so early. He’d headed out to his van at about 9 o’clock, pretty much as soon as they’d got home from Angelo’s. That was certainly something new! He’d never known him to go to bed so early before. Still, it had been a stressful day so he couldn’t exactly blame him.

Hunter nodded and glanced at the piles of laundry in the utility room. “Sorry about that” he said to Leah, pointing at the overflowing baskets of shared laundry. “Zac asked me to put that on last night but I forgot all about it. I’ll have my shower and I’ll come down and do it then.”

Leah glanced at Zac in shock, and then looked back at Hunter with genuine concern. “Hunter, are you okay?” she asked, walking towards him again and reaching out to touch his arm. “You seem a bit…”

“I… I’m just…” he stammered, backing away towards the hallway. “I’m… I’m gonna go take that shower!” he said, bounding out the door and up the stairs.

“Okay, what is going on with him?!” asked Leah, putting her arms around Zac’s waist and looking up at him in bewilderment. “When has Hunter ever offered to do laundry?! And why was he jogging in a hoodie in this weather?!”




“I didn’t know that they just let murderers out to walk the streets if you gave them enough money!” said Oscar, leaning his back against the wall, and glancing at Andy as he fidgeted on the wooden bench in the holding cell. “I mean, isn’t that essentially bribery? ‘I’m rich so I get to go home and sit on my couch and eat pizza and ice cream while I wait for justice to be served… I’m poor so I have to sit in a tiny cell for the next few months staring at bricks and eating gruel…’  I mean, obviously you need someone to stump up the money for you and to want to get you out enough to take the risk on you…”

“Please can you just be quiet for a little while?!” pleaded Andy in a hushed voice. “Just five minutes?! Please?! You’re doing my head in!”

The guard standing by the door turned and peered at Andy through the bars of the cell. “Mate, I’m not saying anything.” This had been going on for some time now and he wasn’t sure if this was some act to try to get out of doing prison time on a plea of insanity, or if the guy was genuinely bonkers. Either way, Kat had gone to see if there was any way to get a doctor to come see him before he went in for his bail hearing. Andy really didn’t seem well.

“Who would want to get you out of prison? …I mean, that is the real question?” said Oscar, sneering at him. “Josh, I guess, but then he doesn’t have any money… And you’re not exactly the most popular guy at the moment, Andy… I guess all those muscles and striking good looks can only get you so far… and the charm wears pretty thin when you start killing off perfectly innocent people.  I mean, take me for example… Minding my own business! All dressed up for the ball! Having a lovely time at that fundraiser! Then… blammo! Something incredibly heavy falls on Oscar!” He turned to look at Andy, and made a sound like something from a cartoon, of a bomb falling and then exploding.  “But unlike in the cartoon, I didn’t just get an egg-shaped bump on the head and then bash it back in with a mallet…” he said, starting to laugh a little bitterly and wiping his two palms together to indicate something as flat as a pancake. “Oscar just got squashed!” he exclaimed with a cruel sounding giggle. “My whole ribcage just flattened!”

“Stop it!” shouted Andy, covering his ears again and shaking his head with his eyes clamped shut, in the hope that he might be able to shake some sense into himself. “I’m so sorry, Oscar! I didn’t mean it!”

A hand gripped his knee and dug their fingers into the flesh with an iron grip. He opened his eyes, and glanced sideways, already pretty sure that he knew which one this one was. Jake glared at him with an icy cold grin stretched from ear to ear.  “Young Oscar’s death… Well, maybe you can tell yourself that it was just an accident… Maybe you can tell yourself that you didn’t mean for it to happen… Maybe…” whispered Jake, in a sort of conspiratorial kind of way, as though he and Andy were two old friends having a little chat. “But me… well, that was a whole different kind of story, wasn’t it Andy?!”

Andy shook his head and glanced across the cell at the doorway where the guard was standing. He was scared of Jake. The others made him feel terrible about what he’d done. He knew that Oscar and Hannah didn’t deserve to be dead, and that it was all his fault, but in the end it wasn’t like he’d murdered them in cold blood. Jake, on the other hand… No wonder he wanted his revenge.

Jake turned and gripped Andy’s face in his hand, pushing his cheeks together in a steely grip so that his lips became a big fish pout. He leaned his own face in close to Andy’s, so Andy could feel his breath on his cheek. “Tell me, Andy… What did it feel like to pull that plug? Did it make you feel powerful?”

Tears rolled down Andy’s face and he shook his head. “I needed to end it” he mumbled. “I needed to stop you.”

“I was on life support!” growled Jake. “What exactly did you think I was going to do to you from there?!” Letting go of Andy’s face, he suddenly gave a cruel smirk, and yanked up Andy’s t-shirt. “Hoo hoo hoo! What have we here?!” he crowed, looking at the large bandage on the left side of Andy’s stomach. “That does look painful! Does Andy have a boo boo?!”

Andy looked down at the bandage on his stomach and things suddenly became clear. They wanted him to kill himself but he’d been too stupid to see that he didn’t need a rope or a knife to kill himself. He already had everything that he needed right here!

Jake nodded at him, and gave him a smile and a pat on the shoulder. “That’s it Andy! Now you’ve got it! Maybe you’re not as dumb as you look after all!”  He walked back and leaned against the wall and suddenly all three of them were watching him from across the cell. They made for a blood curdling sight, the three of them in their various states of decomposition, but now for the first time in weeks they were quiet. They were just watching him and smiling.

He sighed to himself, feeling exhausted, but relieved to have a little bit of peace and quiet for once. He lifted the edges of the bandage and looked at the black stitches on the red and raw wound on his belly, and figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to open it up again. He’d have to wait until the guards weren’t looking. There was no way he’d ever make bail, so pretty soon he’d be transferred to the prison, to be held on remand. He knew that timing was going to be everything, and that he needed to put his plan into action before that happened!




“Hey Evie” said Zac, as he and Leah reappeared giggling and looking a little dishevelled from upstairs. She didn’t respond, so he looked at Leah, suddenly a lot more serious, and shrugged his shoulders. “Are you okay?” he asked Evie, with a tone of concern. She was sitting at the dining table with her head in her hands and staring intently at her phone. Everything about her posture and the expression on her face said that she was worried.

She turned to look at him, and wiped at her puffy red eyes, trying to hide the fact that she’d been crying. “Josh won’t answer me” she said, as her chin began to tremble and she began to cry again.

“Hey, hey” said Zac, sitting down beside her at the table and pulling her into a hug. “He’s probably just busy! Did you have a fight?”

She shook her head and wiped at her tears with the sleeve of her top. “No” she managed to get out between breathy sobs. “He…said…he’d come over this morning…but he didn’t come” she stammered out, finding it difficult to get the words out because she was crying so much. “He’s not at home… and he’s turned off his phone!”

Zac furrowed his brow, glancing acoss the table at a worried looking Leah, and gently stroked the hair back from Evie’s face. “I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation” said Zac. “Maybe his phone just died… and maybe it’s got to do with Andy. I mean… Isn’t his bail hearing today?”

“Yeah” said Leah, tilting her head sympathetically. “Maybe Josh had to go into court and he had to turn his phone off.”

She nodded and sniffled loudly. All sorts of possibilities were running through her head. They’d argued yesterday because he’d wanted to come clean and turn himself in to get Andy off the charge of Charlotte’s murder, but she’d managed to talk him round. He’d agreed to come and get her this morning to go to Andy’s bail hearing together. Now that he was over four hours late, she was getting really worried that he’d gone through with it, but she had no way of finding out. She couldn’t just rock up at the police station and ask if her boyfriend had handed himself in for any murders today. That might arouse suspicion. The thought that he might have run away had also crossed her mind. It just wasn’t like him to cut her off completely like this!

Hunter walked in with an empty laundry basket and looked back and forth between Zac and Evie. “Hey?” he said, in a questioning tone. “You okay, Evie?”

“Have you seen Josh?” asked Evie, the worry so evident in her voice. “I can’t find him and he’s turned off his phone.”

Hunter shrugged and said, “No, haven’t seen him.” He went to go into the laundry room to get a second load of laundry to take out and hang up. “Oh!” he said, spinning round and producing a white medication bottle from the pockets of his shorts and shaking it. “I found these in among the laundry, Evie… Your name is on it.” he said, walking over and handing them back to her. “You should be more careful with those… They could have ended up in the washing machine!”

Leah looked at Evie in surprise and eyed the bottle in her hand with alarm. She nodded at it and said, “Evie? What are those?”

Evie looked down at the table, feeling a little embarrassed by it, and not really wanting to broadcast it to all and sundry. “Nate prescribed me some antidepressants… I’ve just been feeling… With everything… Oscar…” she stammered, with fresh tears rolling down her cheeks. “It’s just…”

“It’s okay!” said Leah, getting up and coming round the table to give her a hug. “You were right to go and see him! It’s nothing to be ashamed of!”

“Thanks Leah” said Evie, hugging her tight. She looked at Hunter over Leah’s shoulder, giving him a little smile, and said, “Thanks Hunter, I appreciate you rescuing them for me.”

“Not a problem” said Hunter, going back into the laundry room. He pulled the second load of laundry out of the washing machine and glanced back out the doorway at Evie as she sat sniffling at the dining table. He couldn’t help smirking to himself. He pulled out the t-shirt and shorts that he’d been wearing yesterday. After two washes they seemed pretty clean to him but he figured he’d get rid of them just the same. Better to be safe than sorry. Tonight he’d be better prepared.




“Why did you do that?!” asked Andy, as he walked away from the courthouse with Ash. “I didn’t ask you to do that!” he said, terribly aware of the three ominous forms that were trailing along behind him.

“I couldn’t let you just sit in there for the next few months!” said Ash. “I know what it’s like in there, mate! Besides, I know you’re not gonna screw me over.”

Andy looked at Ash and wondered why he had this obsessive need to protect his mates. He wasn’t complaining really, but he couldn’t quite get his head around the fact that Ash wanted to help him out, not when he knew all the awful things that he’d done. Andy may not have killed Charlotte, but he was responsible for three deaths. Two of them had been gentle and kind souls who had never done anyone any harm! Andy thought that he deserved to rot in there. Still, this would allow him to put his plan into action without having to worry about the guards intervening. He could kill himself on his own terms now. He just wondered what would happen to Ash’s bail money if he committed suicide. He hoped that they’d give it back, seeing as it wasn’t exactly the same as doing a runner, although maybe it was that bit more cowardly.

“Thanks” said Andy, trying to ignore Oscar, who was babbling in his ear about the best way to kill yourself. It was getting really hard to concentrate on what other people were saying when there was this constant narrative going on in his ear. In some ways, Oscar was the one that he found most draining, because it was just incessant with him. There was no let up. If Oscar wasn’t prattling on about something, he was singing, incredibly loudly! So far, he’d made his way through every Michael Bublé song that Andy knew, every Sinatra song that Andy even vaguely knew the lyrics to, and some that he didn’t, and now he was working his way through cheesy Christmas songs. Andy was at the end of his tether. Death would be a welcome release, he thought to himself. “Where’s Josh?” he asked, looking around outside the courthouse. “He said that he and Evie were going to come down and see me.”

Ash shook his head and said, “I think he must have stayed at Evie’s last night. He didn’t come home.” Ash gave Andy his phone and said, “Here, give him a call.”

Andy took the phone and pressed call. It went straight to voicemail so Andy left a message for him to call Ash’s phone right away or come home to their house because he wanted to see him. Truth be told, he wanted to say goodbye.

“You’d better take me home” said Andy, climbing into the passenger seat of Ash’s car. As they drove back towards the Bay, Andy glanced every now and then in the rear view mirror, at the three faces glaring at him with hatred and resentment. He couldn’t blame them really. They were dead because of him. It was his fault.

“Are you okay, mate?” asked Ash, giving him a look of real concern. “You’re very quiet.”

“I’m tired” said Andy, rubbing his eyes, and then staring out the window. He couldn’t have held a conversation even if he’d wanted to. The noise in the back of the car was deafening. Oscar was leading a sing-along now, and all three of them were singing “All I want for Christmas” by Mariah Carey. Jake’s grin as he sang, screwing up his face for the high notes, was particularly disturbing.

“Take it away, Jake!” exclaimed Oscar, throwing Andy a wink as he glanced at him in the rear-view mirror.  


“I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know

Make my wish come true

All I want for Christmas is you!”


“I can’t take this anymore!” muttered Andy under his breath. Ash glanced at him as he rubbed his face in his hands and let out a loud groan. “SHUT UP!” roared Andy, with an anguished sound to his voice.

“Mate, I’m not talking” said Ash quietly, and giving his friend a worried look. “I didn’t say anything.”

Andy looked at him in a startled way and then turned to look out the window. “Sorry” he mumbled, leaning his elbow on the windowsill of the car door, and covering his mouth with his hand. He winced as Jake leaned in right beside his ear for the high note. This was unbearable!

Ash took his phone out and quickly wrote a text to Nate, asking if he could come to their house as soon as possible. Something just didn’t seem right.




Hunter wound the tape around the wrists of his rubber gloves, making sure that they covered his skin completely. He’d fashioned a sort of poncho out of one of the heavy duty bin bags that they used at the caravan park for the rubbish. He’d managed to make arms as well, and a sort of skirt that covered his shorts and legs.  He’d come more prepared tonight and he was going to make sure that he didn’t get anything on his clothes this time. He looked at the bag of tools that he’d stolen from the bait shop and wondered what to use first. This was going to be fun!

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Thanks to everyone for the incredibly kind comments! :wub: So lovely of you all to take the time to write! It really means a lot to me! Bit nervous about this one, it's pretty dark :unsure:





Chapter 3



“Please!? Shut up!” whined Andy, clamping his hands to the side of his head, and staring down at his phone. “Please stop singing! I can’t take this anymore!”

“This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends, some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it, forever just because, this is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends, some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it…” sang Oscar, in an incredibly high and piercing chipmunk voice. He was leaning on the back of Andy’s chair, singing directly in his ear, and screeching loudly. “…and they’ll continue singing it, forever just because, this is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends, some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it, forever just because…”

 “I can’t hear myself think! Please?! ….Oscar, please?!” pleaded Andy, holding his phone up and indicating that he wanted to make a call.

Oscar took a deep breath and paused, pursing his lips together with his cheeks puffed out. Andy breathed a sigh of relief and tried calling Josh’s phone again. It went straight to voicemail for the millionth time, and he left another voicemail. As soon as Andy hung up the phone Oscar started to sing again, squeaking like a chipmunk in the most irritating way. “I know a song that’ll get on your nerves, get on your nerves, get on your nerves. I know a song that’ll…”

Josh still hadn’t returned any of Andy’s phone calls and he was getting really worried now. He knew that Oscar and the others wanted him to get on with this whole business of killing himself, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it until he had spoken to Josh. He needed to know that Josh was going to be okay. He couldn’t understand why Josh had just disappeared like this, without getting in touch with anyone, or telling him where he was going. Evie was going out of her mind with worry and had grilled him over and over, convinced that he must know where Josh was and be lying to her. He was just as worried as she was, maybe more so! He’d checked Josh’s room, and pulled it apart, looking for any clues that he might have left him to let him know where he’d gone, but he couldn’t find anything. This just didn’t seem like something that Josh would do!

He desperately wanted to know where Josh was but he was finding it difficult to get his thoughts together. His days, since he’d been home, had been plagued by his three deceased friends, and they’d barely given him a moment to himself. He was at the end of his rope, and he was so sleep deprived at this stage, that he could barely string a sentence together. Their campaign of torture was endless! Jake kept leaving not too subtle hints around the place, like bottles of pills and lengths of rope, and whispering in his ear to just get on with it. He kept putting knives in Andy’s hand, and when Andy had finally nodded off the other evening, he’d woken up with his bedsheets fashioned into a noose around his neck. Hannah had tried to trip him when he’d gotten out of the shower, and she’d even left a bar of soap right outside the shower cubicle in the hope that he would slip. Oscar, on the other hand, had gone down the mental torture route, and simply wouldn’t be quiet for even a moment. Andy just wanted to find Josh. He needed to find him because he didn't think that he could take much more of this!

He decided that he’d have to try to brave the police station in the morning if Josh hadn’t turned up or given him a call by then. He didn’t think that Josh would just disappear like this! He didn’t even have any money. Where would he have gone?! Andy just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong but he didn’t want to dob him into the police if he really was making a run for it. He was just really confused!




“Oh, that’s really good news, isn’t it?!” said Roo, giving Leah a big smile and lifting her coffee cup to take a sip. “I mean, he’s sorry for what he did… and he’s only a young boy isn’t he? All that stuff with Charlotte must have had him pretty messed up.”

“Yeah, I mean… deep down, he’s not a bad kid.” said Leah, returning her smile. “He’s really turned a corner since he came to live with us.”

“Except for stabbing Andy” said Roo, raising an eyebrow at her in a ‘boys will be boys’ sort of way.

“Well, yeah… but he was upset...” explained Leah. “I think the judge could see that he’s been through an awful lot and that he’s got a more stable home life now. He just didn’t think that prison was the place for Hunter… I can’t tell you how relieved Zac and I both are!”

“I’ll bet!” exclaimed Roo, giving Leah a little pat on the hand. “Well, I’m glad for you!” she said, tilting her head and giving her a sincere smile. She picked up her coffee cup and took another little sip, suddenly looking a lot more serious. “How’s Evie doing these days?”

Leah shook her head and let out a big sigh. “Honestly? I don’t know… She seems a bit all over the place really. She’s not coping well with Oscar’s… well, with Oscar not being here…”

Roo’s face took on a pained expression, and she looked down at the table, fiddling nervously with her bracelets. “I just feel so…”

“Hey!” said Leah, leaning over and putting her hand on Roo’s knee. “We’ve talked about this! It’s not your fault! …I mean… You didn’t know that those tanks were faulty, or that they weren’t secured properly so anyone could have knocked them over… Okay, so maybe you should have sorted out the insurance assessment and got the tanks checked… but we all know you didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt… Nobody blames you!”

Roo nodded, and put her hand on her forehead, looking stressed. “I just think that... maybe I could have prevented it if I’d...”

“Roo! If there’s anyone to blame, it’s Andy Barrett! How were you to know that Andy and Tank would end up fighting in that exact spot?! …You need to stop beating yourself up about this! Everyone knows that you didn’t mean for anything bad to happen! This is all on Andy! That’s why he’s been charged!”

“Yeah” said Roo, grimacing a little and pulling her hand through her hair. “How are Evie and Josh doing? It must be a pretty big shock for Josh?!”

“Well, actually, Josh has done a disappearing act” said Leah, frowning and shaking her head in disapproval. “Evie is beside herself!”

“What?!” asked Roo, sounding shocked. “Well, where’s he gone?!”

“We don’t know! He’s just gone…” said Leah, furrowing her brow and looking worried. “Disappeared without a word to Evie… or Andy for that matter… apparently.”

Roo knitted her eyebrows together and stared down at the table trying to make sense of it in her own head. This seemed very out of character for Josh. “You think he’s just run off?!” she asked. “Is that what Evie thinks?”

“No” sighed Leah, shaking her head and rolling her eyes in disbelief.  “She thinks that something bad has happened to him.”

“Well, maybe she’s right?” said Roo, shrugging her shoulders and thinking that Josh didn’t seem like the type to go on the run like this. She hadn’t liked him much when she’d first met him, but she’d come to see him as someone with fairly strong moral values, despite his brother’s influence and his connection to the Braxtons. He’d actually struck her as someone who wanted to make something of his life. “I don’t think he’d just run off and leave Evie like this.”

“Who knows what he’d do?!” said Leah, frowning and staring into her coffee cup. “He covered for that brother of his… Did you know that?! He’s been charged for giving Andy a false alibi.” She shook her head at her friend in a disappointed sort of way. “He lied to everybody. How do we know he didn’t cover for Andy?! …Zac went to prison, Roo! What if he just stood by and let that happen?! What sort of person does that?!”

Roo nodded slowly, and looked up at Leah, biting her bottom lip. “Maybe a boy who was scared?” she ventured cautiously. “Maybe he was scared of his brother going to prison and leaving him on his own?”

“I just don’t think I could forgive him” said Leah, pursing her lips together and shaking her head angrily. “How could we ever forgive him for that?! Zac got stabbed in there!”

Roo glanced at Billie who was sitting at a table across the room waiting for VJ. She nodded her head in Billie’s direction to get Leah to turn around and look at her. “Billie forgave Hunter… You and Zac forgave Hunter… He did a terrible thing, and he lied about it. Billie nearly went to prison for him…”

“That’s not the same thing!” snapped Leah, turning round to glare at Roo. She was getting angry now. “Hunter’s not a bad kid!”

“I don’t think Josh is either!” said Roo. “He’s just made some bad choices…” She touched Leah on the arm and said, “I’m not trying to upset you! I just think maybe you could try to see how similar the two situations are.”

“Hmmm” said Leah, giving Roo a begrudging sort of half-smile. She didn’t want to fall out with her friend over this but she really couldn’t see how Roo thought the two things were in any way comparable. Hunter hadn't actually managed to kill anyone! Andy had murdered two people! How Josh thought that it was okay to cover for him, she would never know. Letting Zac take the fall for his brother was just such an underhanded thing to do, especially because he was sleeping with Evie. Just a horrible thing to do! She was very disappointed in him.

Leah glanced again at Billie and then looked back at Roo, with a look of concern. She knew that she shouldn’t be telling Roo about this but she was worried, and she knew that Roo had already been through this with Maddy. “That’s another thing I’m worried about” she whispered, leaning in and beckoning with her hand for Roo to do the same. “I think Evie might be pregnant.”

“Why would you think that?” asked Roo, sharing her concern. Evie was so young, and the timing couldn’t possibly have been any worse! Especially if Josh was now missing in action.

“She’s been getting sick the last couple of days…” said Leah, grimacing a little. “Like, getting sick a lot!”




He couldn’t open his eyes properly. It felt like his eyelids were stuck together and he could really only see through his left eye. Even then, he couldn’t see anything but a blur and he had no idea where this place was. It was grey and cold. He tried to think how he’d got there. He couldn’t remember anything. He tried to think what he’d been doing before he got to be in this place but it was like everything had been wiped clean. He tried to think what his own name was but he drew a blank. All he had was this moment, filled as it was, with searing pain and suffering. He’d never experienced pain like this before. It was beyond anything that he could ever have imagined, and then taken that one step further. He tried to lift his head but he didn’t have the strength. Everything felt crunchy. He tried to run his tongue across his teeth but he couldn’t find them. He was suddenly aware of the overpowering taste of blood, and the fact that he couldn’t move his jaw. He tried to understand what was happening. He felt cold. Every part of his body hurt, in ways that he’d never felt before, and to the point where he couldn’t identify individual pains or locate where they were coming from. He couldn’t stop shivering. He managed to open his eye a little better, and realised that he wasn’t wearing any clothes. He was hanging by his arms, suspended off the floor, and as he tried to move, he came to the agonising realisation that his shoulders must have dislocated a long time ago. Even the tiniest movement sent shockwaves through his body.

Suddenly he heard a noise, and his whole body gave a terrible jump, as he realised that he was back. A heavy metal sounding door clanged shut and he heard a bolt being dragged across and driven back into place. A padlock clicked shut and then he heard the dreaded footsteps.

‘Please, no more!’ he tried to cry out, as a blurry form appeared in the distance, but the words weren’t forming properly. All that was coming out was a guttural cry, that was low and throaty, but pitifully quiet. “Gggghhhhhhhhh” he tried again, doing his best to lift his head and look at his tormentor. “Bbbbleeeeeeeeeeez” he managed, spitting a mouthful of congealed blood and tooth fragments onto the concrete floor, “Bbbbbbleeeeeeeeez! Gggnnnoooo!”

Hunter looked at the pitiful sight in front of him and wondered just how much more Josh would be able to take. He hadn’t expected him to survive this long. He was obviously made of tougher stuff than his pretty boy looks would have suggested. He wasn’t too pretty anymore, thought Hunter, smirking to himself. Josh had provided a lot more entertainment than he would ever have imagined, and he was almost sad that he’d have to finish it today. But he had other things to take care of, and the longer he strung this out, the closer he would come to getting caught.

“How about we put on some tunes?!” asked Hunter, giving Josh a little wink and waggling his cell phone at him. “I think we could do with a little music, don’t you?!” he chuckled, plugging in a set of mini portable speakers and setting the phone down on an overturned crate. “…Any requests, Josh?” he asked him, cupping his hand around his ear and pretending to wait for Josh’s answer.

Josh made a high pitched moaning cry, looking into the cold cruel eyes of the boy in front of him, and then eyeing the bag of bloodied tools lying on the floor. He was suddenly aware of how much of his own blood there was everywhere, and the events of the last four nights had come flooding back to him in sickening detail. Hunter had certainly made inventive use of Alf’s tools! Josh peered down with his one functioning eye, struggling to bring his vision into focus, and shuddered at the sight of what was left of him. He wanted to die now. There was no coming back from this. He knew that Hunter intended to kill him but he was worried that it was going to be anything but quick.

“What’s that, Josh?! Stealer’s Wheel?! That’s a great choice! And so in keeping with the evening’s events! I’m glad you suggested it!” said Hunter, grinning from ear to ear with a sadistic glint in his eye. “That’s exactly what I was thinking! …See?!  I always knew that we had similar taste in movies!”

The music blared out and echoed around the grey concrete walls of the empty disused warehouse. A rat scurried along beside the wall in the distance, skipping over rusted chains, and discarded piles of rotting fishing nets. Hunter started to dance around the room, melodramatically brandishing a type of blade used for gutting fish, and suddenly began to sing along loudly.


“Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,

I got the feeling that something ain’t right

I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,

And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs…”


Tears streamed down Josh’s bruised and swollen face and he hung his head in defeat. He pictured the scene in Reservoir Dogs and his stomach gave a terrible lurch as realised the gruesome connection…

“Wooh, Stuck in the middle with you!” Hunter crooned, approaching with the knife and smiling like a maniac, “And I’m wondering what it is I should do…”




“Constable Chapman” barked Emerson, giving Kat a stern look, and then motioning for her to follow him into the office.

“Um… What’s this about?” asked Kat, looking a little nervous. She could see that Emerson didn’t look happy, and that he was regarding her with what looked like a mixture of disapproval and suspicion. He’d gone very red in the face and his lips looked almost non-existent now with the scowl on his face.

“Sit!” he said, nodding at the chair across the desk from him. He gave a heavy sigh of frustration and pulled at his chin with one hand, shaking his head a little in disappointment. “Chapman…” he began, with a sigh, “Why do you keep getting yourself into these messes?!”

“Uh… I…” she stammered, unsure of what he was talking about. She shrugged her shoulders and glanced with concern and curiosity at the folded piece of paper under Emerson’s hand. “What’s that?” she asked.

“I’m going to ask you this once, Chapman, and I want a straight answer!” said Emerson, already pretty sure that he knew the answer. She had guilt written all over her face! “Did Josh Barrett confess to the killing of Charlotte King nearly a month ago?!”

Her face drained of all colour and she opened her mouth to speak with no clear idea of what she was going to say. “Sir… I…” she stammered, “I…”

“I think that’s my answer!” he spat at her bitterly. He slid a photocopy of a scrawled handwritten letter, addressed to him, across the table. He’d highlighted her name in illuminous yellow pen about halfway down the page. It was a full signed confession from Josh Barrett, with an ink thumbprint, outlining how he had killed Charlotte King in cold blood, while trying to silence her from reporting him to the police. He went on to state that it was him that had killed Jake Pirovic, and not his brother Andy. He stated that he had told Constable Katarina Chapman all about it in a candid confession, implicating himself in both crimes. He had then gone into detail about how she had used that information to blackmail both him and Andy. According to the letter, the garage run by Ash and Andy, was a cover for Kat’s money laundering operation, and she had intimidated both Barrett and Ashford into running it for her with threats of incarceration and the planting of evidence. As a pair of ex-cons they had felt powerless to say no. According to Josh, Andy had finally cracked under the pressure, and reeling from the guilt of Oscar and Hannah’s accidental deaths, he had made a false confession.

Kat looked up at Emerson in shock and realised that he actually believed this tripe! “This isn’t true! she exclaimed, pointing at it for emphasis. “That’s absolutely ridiculous!”

“So, Josh Barrett didn’t give you a confession then?” asked Emerson, leaning back in his chair and viewing her with deep suspicion.

“No, he did” she said, leaning forward in her chair and putting her hands together just below her lips as though she was praying. “But he only confessed to the killing of Charlotte King… and he said it was an accident… that she pulled a gun on him and they fought …and he killed her in self-defence.” She could see that he didn’t seem to believe her. “Really, sir! He only told me about Charlotte! …And I’m not running a money laundering operation! I mean… You have to know how ridiculous that is!”

“You funding two ex-cons to run a garage always seemed a bit suss to me” said Emerson, picking up his copy of the letter and running his eye over it again. “You have to realise how this looks. We’ll be launching a full investigation… and you’ll be suspended without pay… I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in you.”

“I know, sir… but I thought with the whole explosion that…” she started to explain but she realised how unprofessional and ludicrous the whole thing was going to sound. She cleared her throat and said, “I let my emotions cloud my judgement... He asked for time… to support his girlfriend, Evelyn Maguire… The girl had just lost her…”

“Stop!” he shouted at her. “You gave this kid… You gave a murder suspect, a free pass because his girlfriend was grieving?!” he asked her in an exasperated tone. “It’s a murder investigation, Chapman! …What part of this did you think was okay?!”

“I’m sorry, sir!” she said, blinking back a few tears and hanging her head in shame. “I made a mistake and I just didn’t know how to fix it… I should have come to you… I should have come clean.”

He shook his head at her and gritted his teeth in anger. “This place will be a laughing stock! You did this right under my nose! …and if any of this stuff with the garage is true… I swear, Chapman!” he growled at her, getting to his feet and thumping the desk. “I’m going to make sure that they throw the book at you!”




“Hey!” called Hunter, as he stood in the doorway smiling from ear to ear. He’d had a pretty fun night last night, so he’d woken up in a good mood and decided to come see Olivia. He was positively bouncing with energy. “Thought maybe we could do something today?” he asked.

“Oh, so you’ve got time for me now?” said Olivia, pouting at him with a hurt expression. “I tried to call you all day yesterday! I sent you three texts last night! How hard is it for you to reply to your girlfriend!?”

He walked over to her and sat down beside her on the couch with one foot under him. “Sorry” he said, making a sad puppy dog face at her and taking her hand in his. “I’ve been really selfish and I’m sorry. You know I love you, Liv… It’s just this whole thing with mum…”

“I just don’t like you shutting me out like this” she said, tilting her head at him sympathetically. “I want to help you if you’re upset!”

“I know.” he said, giving her a little smile and leaning in for a kiss. He looked around the house, realising that Chris and Irene weren’t there, and giving her a mischievous smile. “No-one home?” he asked, nodding with his head towards the stairs. “What do you say we…?” he asked, getting up and pulling at her hand to get her to follow him.

She bit her bottom lip and smiled, looking excited, and laughed a little nervously as she got to her feet. The two of them ran up the stairs giggling like idiots. It would be hours before anyone else got home.

Hunter looked at the young girl lying on the bed beneath him and thought how incredibly pretty she was. He didn’t really know why she’d fallen for him in the way that she had, but he felt lucky that she’d chosen him. She was a pretty amazing girl in many ways. She wasn’t like most other girls. She was tough and feisty, and she wasn’t anybody’s fool. Except maybe his. He was obviously her blind spot. He wondered what she’d think of him if she could see where he’d been last night. What would she think if she could see what he’d done? He wasn’t ashamed of it, quite the opposite in fact. He just wasn’t sure if Olivia would be able to make that leap with him. He wished that he could share it with her. He wished that she could feel that rush with him. It was better than sex. He wondered if Olivia could be the Bonnie to his Clyde? Or even better, the Juliet Lewis to his Woody Harrelson? Maybe she was a 'natural born killer' too, and he just didn’t know it?

Olivia took his hand and kissed it. “I love you, Hunter” she said, giving him a contented little smile. “No-one else knows how good and sweet you really are… I can see it though!” she said, putting her hand on his chest above his heart. “I know you’ve got, like, the biggest, kindest heart.”

He smiled down at her and took her face in his hands. “I love you so much, Olivia.” he said, leaning in for a long lingering kiss. Lying down beside her with her hand in his, he turned and kissed her on the shoulder. The last couple of days had been pretty good. One down, three to go…

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Thanks everyone again for all the support. So this was supposed to be a 4 chapter story... but it's become 5 so there will be one more after this one! Hope you enjoy it!




Chapter 4


Andy grabbed his keys and headed for the front door, doing his best to ignore the raggle taggle of corpses, doing a conga line, and following close behind him. They were making such a terrible ruckus that his head was simply pounding! He wished that there was some way for him to leave them behind, but he knew that that wasn’t going to be possible, no matter how much he wanted to. He did know that this wasn’t normal. That these walking, talking, singing, and incredibly annoying cadavers weren’t really there. They were a figment of his own twisted imagination. He did know that. He knew that he was going crazy, but that didn’t change the fact that these putrid apparitions were very real to him. The stink of their rotting flesh was ever present in his nostrils, and seemed so very very real. The smell was overpowering and he just wanted to get outside the house to try to breathe some fresh air. More than anything, he needed to get to the police station so he could get the ball rolling on looking for Josh. The sooner he was found, the sooner he could shuffle off this mortal coil and leave this horrible twisted world behind him. He just hoped that he wasn’t stabbing his brother in the back in the process.

He opened the door and jumped when he saw Emerson and another officer standing outside the door. “Oh!” exclaimed Andy, looking a little startled. “What are you doing here?!”

“Can we come in?” asked Emerson, walking past Andy into the room, without waiting for an answer, and sitting down on one of the armchairs. “Sit” he said, nodding at the spot on the sofa closest to him for Andy to sit down.

“Uh… okay…” stammered Andy, following him over and sitting on the couch where Emerson had indicated. “What’s up?” he asked, trying his best to ignore Jake’s assertion that he was going to be hauled to the police station again and thrown back in the slammer where he belonged. Oscar was singing “In The Jailhouse Now” in his other ear, incredibly loudly and yodelling, while Hannah was straddling the other cop in the chair across the room and playing with his ear in a way that was meant to be seductive. He was finding it very hard to concentrate.

“We need to know where your brother is.” said Emerson, furrowing his brow at a very jumpy looking Andy. “Evelyn Maguire filed a missing person report this morning. She says that he’s been missing for over five days.”

“I was just coming to see you” said Andy, nodding his head at Emerson, and putting his hand over the ear that Oscar was yodelling in. “I don’t know where he is… and I’m getting really worried.”

“We really need to speak to him” said Emerson, giving Andy a look of suspicion and narrowing his eyes at him. “Some new information has come to light and we need to speak to him urgently about it… Andy, if you know where he is and you don’t tell us… I’m letting you know now… you won’t be doing him any favours in the long run.”

“I’m telling you! I don’t know where he is!” snapped Andy, unable to cope any longer with the noise level. “Shut up!” he whispered, looking behind him at the two corpses hanging over his shoulders. “Just shut up!” He covered both ears and looked back at Emerson with a pained expression on his face, wincing at the even louder singing that was now coming from both of his deceased friends. “I don’t know where Josh is…” he shouted as loudly as he could to make himself heard above the non-existent din.

Emerson glanced at Constable Coleson across the room, and raised his eyebrows at him questioningly. Andy did seem to be behaving very strangely, and Josh’s confession letter had suggested mental health issues, so maybe there was some truth in it after all.

“I need you to find him” yelled Andy, as though he was at a concert with loud music. He glanced across at Hannah, and his stomach gave a terrible lurch, as he took in the revolting sight of Hannah sticking her rotting blackened tongue in the young policeman’s ear. He clamped his hand over his mouth, feeling like he was going to be sick. He looked back at Emerson with what looked like terror in his eyes, and covered his ear again. “Please… I need help… I need you to find my brother.” he shouted again.

Emerson nodded slowly and said, “We’ll put out an alert to all units and see if we can track him down. We’ll need his cell phone number, bank account numbers to check for any activity, and…”

“He’s probably already dead!” whispered Jake, giggling loudly in Andy’s ear. “He’s been missing five days and you did nothing about it! …If he’s dead, it’s all on you…” Andy grimaced at the thought and gave Jake a dirty look.

“… I’d like to take a look at his room if that’s okay with you. We might get some idea of where he went.” continued Emerson, playing along with him and shouting loudly so Andy could hear him despite his covered ears. He began eyeing him with ever growing concern. He really seemed to have cracked!

“I already checked his room” shouted Andy, glancing angrily at Oscar who was now singing the theme tune to Round The Twist. “Have you ever, ever felt like this? How strange things happen? Are you going round the twist?” Andy didn’t think he could take much more of this!

“Well, we’ll check it again.” shouted Emerson. “Do you know anyone that your brother could have gone to stay with? Anywhere that he’d go if he wanted to hide? Any friends that he’d stay with?”

“I don’t think he’s run away!” yelled Andy, giving Emerson a very worried look. “He wouldn’t go without saying goodbye. He wouldn’t leave Evie like this… He just wouldn’t! …I think something has happened to him… I just wish that I’d reported it sooner.”

Emerson nodded and looked at the notes that he’d made when Evelyn had come to file the report. She’d said exactly the same thing. They both seemed sincere, even if Andy was completely bonkers.

After Emerson had had a look around Josh’s room and Andy had provided him with Josh’s phone number and bank statements, they turned to leave. “Okay, leave it with us then, Andy. Hopefully it won’t take too long to track him down.” said Emerson, nodding for the younger officer to follow him out.

Climbing back into the car, Emerson turned to look at Coleson and shook his head in a bewildered sort of way. “Well, that was interesting!” he said, spinning his finger by the side of his head to indicate that Andy was crazy. “Cuckoo!” he said, giggling a little.

“That guy has seriously lost it!” said Coleson, giving a nervous laugh. “What was with the ears and all the shouting?”

“I don’t know.” said Emerson, shaking his head and laughing in an exasperated sort of way. “This case is just getting weirder and weirder…” He glanced back at the house and said, “I think he is genuinely worried for his brother though… He wouldn’t have been so cooperative otherwise… if you can call that cooperative!”

“Shouldn’t we call him an ambulance or something?” asked Constable Coleson. “He seemed pretty messed up to me.”

“He wasn’t violent or aggressive… There’s no reason to believe that he’s a danger to himself.” said Emerson, shrugging a little. “We can’t go calling ambulances for every crazy person we come across… C’mon let’s go…”




Kat pulled her earphones out and lifted her bottle of water off her towel. She’d done a big run and she was tired and hot and needed a drink. She was doing her best to push the whole thing with Josh out of her mind and had hoped that a lengthy run might help. Running was often a good way for her to blow off steam, but it hadn’t worked for her today. She couldn’t help feeling angry and betrayed. She’d been kind to Josh and he’d gone and stabbed her in the back. He’d actually implicated her in a web of intricate and ridiculous lies, calling her whole character into question, and putting her job and her freedom in jeopardy. And then there was Emerson! He was someone that she’d worked with for some time now and she couldn’t understand how he could have believed the word of a suspected murderer over her.  How could he really think that she’d be involved in something like money laundering? Money laundering, for God’s sake?! Lending money to a couple of ex criminals didn’t mean anything. They’d had a legitimate business plan and she’d backed them in a legitimate venture. It was all above board! Her only consolation was that they’d see that eventually, when the investigation didn’t manage to turn up anything dodgy, and then she would want a big apology from all involved!

She picked up her stuff and began to head up the beach. At least, she thought, with all this free-time on her hands, she could spend a bit of time in the gym looking after herself. They’d come to see how wrong they were about her! She was just going to treat this as an extended holiday and make the most of it…

As she walked along, she spotted Hunter King in the distance, kissing and saying goodbye to his girlfriend. She watched them part and Hunter walked off towards the bait shop. She felt bad when she thought of the mess that she had made of things, and the disservice that she had done him. Covering for Josh had been so very wrong and Hunter had deserved to know the truth. Josh had asked her for time to be with his grieving girlfriend, pulling at her heartstrings, and she’d given in because she was a soft touch, and she’d actually thought that he was a pretty good kid. She’d fallen for his sob story and she’d believed him when he’d said it was an accident. She’d made a huge mistake! She could see that now. The thought that Josh might actually be a cold blooded murderer, and that she’d allowed him to walk free, just kept whirring round her mind. What if he killed someone else?!

 Still, people make mistakes, she thought, and she didn’t deserve to lose her job over it!

As she walked past the bait shop, she hunted in her bag, looking for her phone. Ash had said that he might meet her for lunch and she wanted to see whether he’d texted her or not. Suddenly someone walked into her with great force, nearly knocking her off her feet, and there were loud clangs as heavy metal tools hit the ground.

“Oh my god! Sorry!” exclaimed Hunter, holding a big bag of tools in one hand, a gallon jug of bleach in the other, and a big box of cleaning materials under his arm. He’d just come out of the bait shop and he hadn’t been watching where he was going. “Are you okay?!” he asked, looking at her apologetically.

“Uh… yeah” said Kat, brushing herself down and massaging her bruised shoulder. “Where are you going with those?” she asked, giving him a curious look.

“Oh, I thought I’d give the Blaxland a bit of a scrub for Alf.” he said, tilting his head and giving her his sweetest ‘Aren’t I just the loveliest, most helpful boy?’ smile. “I’m trying to make things up to Zac and Leah… Y’know, for causing them so much trouble…”

She nodded at him and gave him a half-hearted smile. She knew exactly what kind of ‘trouble’ he was talking about, and she hadn’t been much impressed with his antics, but it was nice to see that he was trying to make amends and not just expecting to be forgiven overnight. She stood back as he bent down to pick up the tools that had fallen out of the bag, but she could see that he was struggling, and was going to end up spilling the contents of the cardboard box. He just had too many things to carry. “Here, I’ll get those!” she said, in a slightly exasperated tone. She bent down and picked up a pair of plyers, a claw hammer, a hacksaw, and a roll of gaffer tape, and Hunter held out the bag for her to drop them back in. She spotted a bottle that must have fallen out of the box and rolled away a little. Picking it up and handing it back to him, she asked, “Muriatic acid? What’s that for?!”

“Oh it’s for cleaning the hull of the boat. I want it to be ‘ship shape’ for Alf coming back!” he said, giving her a wink to emphasise the pun.

She raised an eyebrow at him a little sarcastically but couldn’t help smirking. It was a stupid joke but she appreciated the effort.

“Thanks so much, Constable Chapman!” he said, giving her a big smile, as she popped it back in the box for him and gave him a pat on the shoulder. “I really appreciate it! …I hope your shoulder’s okay.” he said, turning to go.

She watched as he walked away and thought that maybe she’d been a bit hard on the boy. He didn’t seem such a bad kid after all. He had been through an awful lot over the last year with a crazy mother like Charlotte, so no wonder he’d gone off the rails like he had! He was obviously doing his best to turn over a new leaf so she thought it was only right that people gave him a chance.




“Are you sure you don’t want me to make you some toast or something?” asked Leah, stroking Evie’s arm and giving her a very worried look. She lifted the uneaten plate of food off the coffee table, and noted the twelve empty water glasses lined up in front of her. Evie hadn’t managed to eat much for days, and anything she had eaten had made a reappearance not long after. The vomiting was getting out of hand.

Evie shook her head and hugged her arms around her stomach as she sat on the couch. She pulled her cardigan around her as well, shivering and shaking a little. “I just feel so nauseous, Leah!” she moaned, putting her hand against her forehead to check her own temperature. “I really don’t feel good.” she said, looking at Leah all bleary eyed.

“Y’know, some women get terrible morning sickness… like really bad!” ventured Leah. “Do you think? …Evie, do you think you might be pregnant?”

Evie’s eyes filled up with tears and her whole face crumpled as she began to cry. “No!” she said, shaking her head and slumping in the seat even more. “I did three tests this morning because I started to think that too… I was hoping that that might be why I’m feeling like this… I really wanted to be pregnant, Leah!” she sobbed, barely getting the words out. “…I mean, how ridiculous is that?! …I wanted to be pregnant so I’d still have a piece of Josh… a piece of Josh growing inside me… So I’d have something to hold on to! …I think he’s dead, Leah! …I think something bad has happened to him!” She hugged her arms around her stomach again and winced in pain.

Leah looked at Evie’s incredibly pale face and glazed looking eyes, and began to really worry. She just didn’t look well at all. She reached out and put her hand on Evie’s forehead. “Sweetie! You’re burning up!”

“I just need a glass of water” said Evie, starting to get up. She hadn’t been eating, but her need for water just seemed to have no limit. She’d drunk pint glass, after pint glass, of water over the last few hours, but she just couldn’t seem to quench her thirst. As soon as she stood up, the room began to spin and she lost her balance, falling back onto the seat where she’d been sitting. “I feel strange” she said, running her hand through her hair. She looked in confusion and horror as a huge clump of it came out in her hand. “What the…?” she said, as she started pulling at her hair.

Leah’s face blanched white as she watched Evie pull clump after clump of hair out of her head, but she was so shocked for a moment that she didn’t know what to do.

Evie stared for a few moments at the hair in both her hands, vacantly gazing at it, as though she couldn’t take in what she was seeing. Suddenly she began to squeal and pulled at her hair frantically. It was coming out with no resistance whatsoever and landing in piles on the floor.

“Stop!” cried Leah, trying to take hold of Evie’s hands and stop her. “Stop, Evie! Stop!” cried Leah, putting her arms around her as she sobbed. “Stop!”

Zac walked in and stared in horror at the scene in front of him. Evie hardly had a hair left on her head, and the loss of hair, had revealed the bruising on her scalp, a marbling of black and purple, and there was no escaping now how ill Evie looked. She had black circles round her eyes, and the whites were decidedly bloodshot. She looked like someone who was dying. “Oh my god!” he gasped, clamping his hand over his mouth and freezing on the spot. “What… what’s happened?!” he finally stammered.

“I don’t know!” cried Leah, with tears streaming down her cheeks. “She’s so sick, Zac! How did we not see this?!”

“I don’t feel…” Evie started to say, pulling away from Leah’s hug. “I fffeeeel sssstrange…” she said, slurring her words and trying to get off the seat. Her legs buckled under her and she hit the floor with enormous force. “I… I…” she stammered, putting her fingers inside her mouth and producing lumps of congealed blood from between her gums and her teeth. She looked at the blood clot in her hand with pure confusion and then held it in the palm of her hand to show Zac. Staring at him with big scared eyes, she said, “Hhhhelp.”

“Phone an ambulance!” he shouted to Leah, rushing over to Evie, and trying to pick her up off the floor. Her body was so limp now, and wedged in such an awkward position between the sofa and the coffee table, that he couldn’t lift her. He just pulled her over so she was lying with her back against his chest and he put his arms around her.

“Hello?! We need an ambulance!” said Leah, on the phone to emergency services. She walked away to make the call and Zac sat on the floor cradling Evie in his arms. She was softly crying when she looked up at him and made some strange swallowing sounds like she was choking slightly. Her face took on a fresh look of confusion and she grimaced at him in pain.

“Evie?!” he gasped, as he saw the blood start to flow. “Evie!!!!” he cried loudly, “Oh my god! Evie!!! Noooo!”

Leah ran back into the room and watched in horror as blood streamed from Evie’s nose. It was a nosebleed like nothing she’d ever seen before. It was coming in thick gungey rivers, flooding down her chest and all over Zac’s arm as he tried to pinch the bridge of her nose. He found Leah’s silk scarf on the arm of the couch and balled it up to hold under Evie’s nose trying to stem the flow. Her eyes rolled in her head and she began mumbling nonsensically.

“Hold on, Evie!” screamed Leah from across the room. “She’s bleeding! She’s bleeding so badly!” she squealed down the phone at the paramedics. “A nosebleed… but I’ve never seen a nosebleed like this!”




Andy woke with a start as he felt a body climb on top of his and two freezing cold hands clasping his face on either side. He’d actually drifted off, for the first time in days, despite the deafening noise of the other two droning incessantly in his ear. “What?!” he gasped, as his eyes shot open, and he stared into Hannah’s dead and bloodshot eyes, just centimetres from his face. She had a kitchen knife in one of her hands, and she smiled at him in the most sinister way, before pressing it against the flesh of his throat. The serrated edge of the knife bit into the skin just below his Adam’s apple and he pulled his head away as far as the back of the couch would let him. “Please, Hannah!” he pleaded, “Not till I’ve found Josh! …I need to find him!”

“Oh please, Hannah! Oh, please!” she mimicked, scowling at him in anger and drawing the blade lightly across the skin on his neck. He grimaced as the blood began to stream from the cut that she’d just made. She hadn’t gone deep enough to kill him. Not by a long shot, but it was certainly painful. She smirked at him, glancing down at his crotch as she sat on top of him, and said, “Oh, don’t tell me that turned you on, Andy? You are a sick little puppy, aren’t you?!”

“Get off me!” he growled at her through gritted teeth. “Get off!” he said, pushing her off his lap as he managed to get to his feet. “You’re the sick one!” he shouted, breathing heavily and fighting a wave of nausea at the thought of it.

“Hey” said Hannah, smiling at him and running her hand seductively up her neck. “I’m not really here, remember? I’m a figment of your imagination…” She got onto her hands and knees on the couch and crawled towards him in a sort of feline temptress sort of way. “So who’s the sick one here? Hmm? Andy? …Because I don’t think it’s me.”

“Shut up!” shouted Andy, as laughter came at him from all directions. Oscar, Jake, and Hannah, all shrieked with laughter, and the sound of it was reverberating around the room, and deafening him. He tried to cover his ears but the noise was unbearable. He sat down on the floor, and drew his knees in against his chest, rocking himself back and forth as he told himself that none of this was real. “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” he shouted over and over again.

Suddenly the phone rang and he scrambled in a panic to answer it with his heart racing faster than it ever had before. The name ‘Josh’ flashed up on the screen as he lifted it, and his heart skipped a beat as he pressed green to answer. “Hello?! Josh?! Are you okay, mate?!” he asked in a breathless and excited sort of voice.

“Hello, Andy” said Josh’s voice in a distant and shaky kind of way. It sounded like he was somewhere big and empty from the way that the sound almost echoed.

“Mate! I’m so glad to hear your voice…Are you…” Andy started to say, but Josh interrupted him.

“I need your help, Andy!” sobbed Josh, sounding pained and short of breath and shivery. It sounded like he was somewhere very cold. “Ccan you please come and help me? I… I… Pplease… I need help.” he said in a small and pitiful voice.

Andy’s heart was breaking as he heard how frightened Josh sounded. “I’ll come!” said Andy, “Just tell me where to…” Josh interrupted again.

“I’ll ssend you the ddirections” he said, shaking as he spoke. He sounded absolutely petrified. “Ppplease, ju-just you… N-no ppolice. The pppolice are loo-looking for me. Just come!” he stammered. It sounded as though he was calling from inside a walk in freezer with the amount that he was shaking. “I l-love you Andy… Ddon’t…”

The call ended and Andy looked at his phone in confusion. He didn’t understand why Josh sounded the way that he did. But at least he was alive and that was the important thing. Everything else could be sorted out. He tried to call back but the call went straight to voicemail again. He sat staring at his phone, desperately waiting for the directions to come through, and hadn’t even registered that his three deceased friends were quiet for once.

A text message came through with a link to google maps. He opened the link and saw that it was a warehouse about ten minutes outside Summer Bay. He sighed with relief that Josh hadn’t gone too far. He’d go right away and he’d be there in about fifteen minutes. He grabbed a hoodie and some other clean clothes for Josh, and filled a bag with some food. From the sound of Josh on the phone, Andy didn’t think that he sounded in good shape, and thought that some warm clothes and a good feed might help to begin with. He picked up his keys and the other bits and pieces and ran out the door. The relief that he felt was incredible. Part of him had begun to fear that Evie was right, and that he was really dead. “Don’t worry, mate, I’m coming.” he said to himself, under his breath, as he climbed in the car. “Hang on, Josh. I’m coming!”




“What happened?!” asked Hunter, rushing in the door to the emergency room waiting area and doing his best worried face. “Where’s Evie?! Is she okay?!” Leah was cradling a distraught looking VJ in her arms, with his puffy-eyed face held in close against her chest, and Matt was staring into space in a dazed sort of way beside them. Zac had texted Hunter to let him know what was happening, and had told him to come to the hospital straight away, but he’d been the last to arrive.

Zac looked at him with the saddest expression he’d ever seen and gave a heavy sigh. He walked over and put his arms around his son, pulling him into a tight hug, and tenderly holding the back of his head. “I’m so sorry, mate.” said Zac, his eyes wide with shock and sadness as he rocked him gently from side to side. “Evie died” he said, starting to cry. “Evie died about an hour ago.”

Hunter held his dad a little tighter, grateful for the opportunity to hide his laughter, and disguise his giggles as sobs, in his father’s arms. He couldn’t stop laughing. This had worked so much better than he could ever have imagined. He’d nearly been sure that she would have figured it out before this happened and that he’d have had to think of something else. Who’d have thought that it would work this quickly?! He pulled away from Zac, wiping in an exaggerated way at his own tears, and trying to hide his amusement. “What happened, dad?! …I don’t understand! Was it an accident?!”

Zac took Hunter by the shoulder and led him over to a seat next to Leah and VJ, and got him to sit down beside him. He rubbed his face with both hands and let out a huge sigh. “At the moment, mate…” he said, taking a big breath. “…at the moment, they’re not sure. It looks like some sort of clotting disorder… like maybe a kind of leukaemia or other type of blood cancer…” He glanced at Leah, and his chin began to tremble as he started to cry again. “They won’t know until …the autopsy” he sobbed.

“I just don’t understand” said Hunter, staring into space and shaking his head sadly. It was taking everything he had not to start laughing again and he was having to dig his fingers into his thigh to distract himself. Looking round at the devastation on the faces of his family, he couldn’t help finding it funny. They just looked so sad, and the thought that they were sitting now, unbeknownst to them, beside the person responsible just struck him as incredibly amusing. “Poor Evie!” he said, starting to giggle, but hiding his face in his arms and hoping that they’d think he was crying.

Zac looked across at Leah, and she tilted her head in sympathy, seeing how upset Hunter was. He put his hand on Hunter’s head and gently razzled his hair. “I know, mate.” he said, in as comforting a voice as he could manage, “I know”.

VJ lay down across the seats, putting his head down on his mother’s lap, and hugged his arms around her knees. “I need people to stop dying” he said quietly and staring off into space. “At least she’s with Oscar now… I guess.” he sighed, tearing up as Leah gently stroked his hair back from his eyes.

Hunter smirked to himself with his face still hidden. This was just too funny!

Nate approached with a decidedly worried look on his face, furrowing his brow, and walking quickly towards them in his plastic scrubs. Hunter looked down and could see splashes of blood on Nate’s shoes and wondered with interest if it was Evie’s blood or not.

“Can I speak to you and Leah, please?” said Nate, motioning to Zac for them to follow him. “I need a word.”

Zac glanced at Leah quizzically, and then got to his feet. VJ sat up and gave Leah a sad little smile as she gently caressed his face. “I’ll be back in a minute.” said Leah, taking Zac’s hand and following him up the corridor to an office. Nate shut the door and nodded for them to take a seat and then walked around the desk to sit on the opposite side. They sat down across from Nate, and looked at him expectantly.

Nate rubbed his face and let out a huge sigh. “We’ve just had some of Evelyn’s blood results back” said Nate, running his hand over a brown folder in front of him. “Something very disturbing has come to light… We’ll have to wait for the autopsy to confirm it but… It looks like Evie…”

Zac and Leah were hanging on his every word but it was clear that Nate was having difficulty saying whatever it was out loud. “Just tell us” pleaded Zac, unable to hide his anxiety. He couldn’t believe that Evie was gone now, as well as Oscar and Hannah, and that she had died such a terrible death. He needed to know why this had happened.

Nate blew out a big breath and shifted forward in his seat. “Okay, Zac” he said, tilting his head sympathetically. “There’s no easy way of saying this… It looks like Evie may have been poisoned!”




“Yoo hoo! Andy!” sang Hunter, down the walkie talkie, “Wake up sleepy head!” A peal of laughter followed, as he hooted and guffawed at the hilarity of it all. “Seriously, Andy, wake up!” he said, in a mock serious voice, before starting to laugh again.

Andy’s eyes slowly fluttered open to pitch darkness. He didn’t know where he was and he couldn’t think how he’d gotten here… wherever here was. His head felt strange and groggy, and he slowly became aware of the aching and throbbing inside his skull, and the sore patch on the back of his head where someone must have hit him. He tried to sit up, but he bashed his forehead off the wood above him that was only centimetres from his face. He put his hands up and felt the wooden planks above his head, getting a little more panicked and frantic, and then started to feel out to the side.  There were wooden walls on either side of him too! It took him a moment to process it, because he was still a little dazed from the blow to the head, but with a terrible jolt to his stomach he realised the awful truth.  A coffin! He was in a coffin! Someone had buried him alive! The panic was rising quickly as he thrashed about and pushed and shoved at the roof of the coffin, but to no avail. It was a very tight fit, and he could only just bend his arms enough to put his hands on the ceiling of the box and push, but he didn’t have enough strength to lift it. He pushed and pushed, but nothing happened. He began to shout and scream but no-one was coming. It was hot in there, and he was finding it hard to breathe. “Please!” he began to plead, softly crying and allowing salty tears to roll down his cheeks. “Please, someone help! Please!” he called out quietly.

As he lay there in the dark, he thought about the fact that he had been planning to kill himself for the last few days, and putting it off because of Josh’s disappearance. Now it had been taken out of his hands, he thought. Now he was going to die, buried alive, at the hands of some unknown assailant, and that would be that. Maybe he was okay with that, he said to himself. Maybe this was what he deserved? He gave a heavy sigh and closed his eyes. Now all he had to do was wait to die. Maybe he could do that? How long could it really take anyway?

“Have you finished?” asked Hunter, over the walkie talkie. "Is that all you have?!"

Andy gave a jump when he realised that the voice he had heard earlier wasn’t one of his three dead friends, but a voice from above ground. He patted his hands out in all directions trying to find the walkie talkie but it didn’t seem to be anywhere around.

“Above your head” said Hunter, in an exasperated tone that almost sounded like he was bored of this already.

Andy managed to shuffle down enough to squeeze his hand up behind him and reach the walkie talkie. “Hello!” he said, pressing the button down. “Please, help me!” he said, sounding suddenly hopeful. In this moment, he realised that he didn’t really want to die. The possibility that he might get saved now had made that pretty clear to him. He desperately wanted out of this box.

“Oh I don’t think so Andy!” chuckled Hunter, looking down at the screen of his phone and grinning from ear to ear at the terrified expression on Andy’s face. “Not when we can have so much fun together!”

Andy suddenly recognised the voice and his heart began to thunder in his chest as he realised what was going on. “Hunter?” he asked, in a quiet trembling voice. “It’s you, isn’t it?!”

“The one and only!” laughed Hunter. “Now, I have a choice for you…” he said, grinning down at the wide-eyed stare of fear on the screen. “I'm going to let you decide how you die..."

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Thank you to everyone for their incredibly kind comments.:wub: I really appreciate all the support. There’s nothing nicer than seeing those little notifications pop up! So thank you all! This is the last chapter in this story. It’s very dark! :ph34r: Hope I don’t gross anyone out too much! Hope you like it!






Chapter 5



“So… Andy… You have a choice…” said Hunter, eating the last of his hamburger and wiping his mouth on the back of his hand. “Do me a favour, will you? Touch the wall on your right hand side… go on, touch it…” he said, smirking as he watched Andy do as he was told. That camera had been worth every penny!

Andy put his hand out to touch the wall, wondering what it was that he was supposed to be feeling. It was just a wooden side to the coffin. “Okay, now what?” said Andy, his voice shaking a little.

“Josh is in there.” said Hunter, finding it hard not to giggle. He knew that he needed to be serious right now, so he let go of the button on the walkie talkie and took a deep breath to try to pull himself together. This was just too funny. Andy was frantically pushing now at the wall beside him, clawing at it desperately, and yelling in the hope that Josh would answer. The silent image on his screen was pretty amusing, thought Hunter. It was going to be hard to keep his composure. “He can’t answer you.” said Hunter in a wobbly voice, as he tried not to laugh. “He’s not really at his best right now” he said, biting his lip and fighting back the giggles.

“Please, Hunter!?” pleaded Andy, “Please let Josh go!? Please?! …It’s me that you want isn’t it?! …I mean, I’m the one that killed your mum…”

“It’s your choice, Andy!” said Hunter, smirking at the fear on Andy’s face, so apparent in his wide and staring eyes.  “…Josh isn’t getting out of this alive either way! He’s lying in his coffin right now. Nothing is going to change that… but you get to decide whether you live or die… You can get out of this box right now, Andy, but you’ll have to live with the fact that your precious little brother hasn’t been so lucky!” He let go of the button on the walkie talkie and started to giggle like crazy. He couldn’t stop laughing. This was just too funny. His face actually hurt from laughing so hard! He blew out a big breath, and slapped himself in the face a couple of times to try to stop. “Or” he continued, “Or you can choose to die with Josh. I can lift that wall, and you two can be together in your final moments… The Barrett brothers, together forever! …It won’t be pleasant though… I can promise you that!”

“Why are you doing this?!” cried Andy, staring at the wall between him and Josh. “Josh doesn’t deserve this!” he said, stroking the wooden wall beside him. He didn’t care about himself but he couldn’t cope with the idea of Josh dying. The choice was pretty simple as far as he was concerned, but he hoped that there might still be some way to save Josh. “It’s my fault, Hunter… punish me… but please, let Josh go!”

Hunter began to laugh down the walkie talkie. “Andy, Andy, Andy! I know it wasn’t you! …I know it was that precious little brother of yours… He killed my mum and he just left her floating there like a piece of trash that washed up on a beach. He let my dad go to prison for it! He’s a dirty little coward… and still, you want to take the fall for him!? You’re a good brother… you know that?!”

Andy began to cry, realising that all hope was lost. God only knew what he’d done to Josh if he was already unconscious in the box next to him.  Now they were going to die together and there was nothing that he could do to change it. “I’m sorry!” said Andy, in a small quiet voice. “I’m sorry! …It was an accident… Just so you know …Josh didn’t do it deliberately… It was an accident!”

“So, what’s it going to be?” asked Hunter, ignoring Andy’s pleas. He’d heard the same excuses over and over from Josh, right up until he’d lost the ability to speak. He hadn’t believed him either! Smirking at the terror on Andy’s face, he thought how the night vision camera, with its murky green light and the fact that people’s eyes show up as bright white orbs, made the whole thing seem that bit more exciting. It was like the Blair Witch Project! “So what’s big brother going to do?” he asked, watching as Andy rubbed his face in his hands and cried. “…Is Andy going to save himself? Is he going to get out of the box and leave little brother to his fate? …Or are you going to fall on your sword for him again? Is he really worth that?!”

“Together” said Andy, with a quiet sigh. “I’m not leaving him… not ever! …Do it.”

“If that’s what you really want… Just remember, Andy… I did give you a choice!” He walked over to the crate that was propped up on a base of breeze blocks, and pulled a lever on the side.

“Nooooooo!” screamed Andy, as the wall between him and Josh was lifted, and he saw what was behind it. 

Hunter stood beside the crate, laughing as he listened to Andy’s muffled cries. The box shifted slightly, on top of the brick base, with the sheer force of Andy’s kicking and thrashing in an attempt to escape. The scene unfolding on his phone was more gruesome than even he could have imagined. He shook his head incredulously and thought about the next part of his plan. He’d need to get a move on if it was going to work!



“I’m so sorry!” said Olivia, throwing her arms around Hunter, as they stood outside the diner, and pulling him in close for a hug. “I can’t believe it!”

Hunter hugged her back, and decided to play along. “It’s just so sad” he said, rocking her from side to side as he watched Kat sitting inside the diner. He gave a heavy sigh and said, “She just bled out… You should see the living-room… There’s so much blood! …It’s frightening, Liv!”

She pulled back from him and looked up at him with big sad eyes. “I just feel so bad for her… It’s just… Poor Evie!”

“I know” sighed Hunter, shaking his head in a sad way. “She was so young… You just don’t imagine something like this happening to someone…” He covered his face with his hand and hoped that Olivia would think that his laughter was crying. He couldn’t quite keep it together. Olivia just seemed so overly sincere that it struck him as incredibly funny all of a sudden.

“Do you wanna go back to mine?” asked Olivia, taking his hand and tilting her head at him sympathetically. “We could go have a coffee, and y’know… talk properly… if you need to?”

He glanced past her and saw Kat getting up from her table inside the diner. “Uh… I might just grab a coffee from the diner… Want one?” he asked, walking away before he got an answer.

Olivia watched as he walked away and saw him bump rather dramatically into Constable Chapman as she was leaving. They stopped and talked for a moment before she headed on her way. Olivia watched him disappear inside and wondered if this was Hunter closing her out again. He was clearly really upset about Evie, that much was clear, but she thought that he was doing his best to hide it. She didn’t understand why he seemed to think that he had to be so strong all the time. Why didn’t boys know that it was okay to cry?! He’d been quiet and distant like this when his mum had died, but she wasn’t going to let him shut her out again like he did that time. She was going to be his shoulder to cry on! She was determined that she was going to make him talk to her one way or another.

Hunter swiped an empty takeaway cup and some used napkins from one of the tables, making sure that no-one was watching first, and stuffed them in his bag. Turning back to the counter, he made eye contact with Chris as he glanced up from the coffee machine, and gave him his best ‘I’m just putting on a brave face, but inside I’m hurting’ smile.

“We’re all really sorry, mate” said Chris, with a pained expression on his face. “It’s just…” he choked, beginning to cry and turning away from him to hide his tears.

“Thanks, Chris” mumbled Hunter, nodding and playing along with the ridiculous charade. “We’re all just still in shock.”

“I’m so sorry” mumbled Chris as he poured the coffees. “They’re on the house, by the way.” he said, giving him a sad little smile as he put the plastic lids on for him and slotted them into the cardboard carrier. “Give everyone my love” he called out, as he watched Hunter walk out the door. He turned back to clean the milk frother on the machine and thought how sad Hannah would have been on a day like today. Both her niece and nephew, dead within weeks of each other! At least they would all be together now, he thought, with a terrible wrench to his stomach. He still really missed her and sometimes it hurt so much that he could hardly breathe.




“So what do you guys wanna do?” asked Billie, looking a little uncomfortable. “We could watch a movie if you like?”

“Sounds good!” said Hunter, following behind Billie and VJ into the living-room. He glanced over his shoulder at Olivia, who was holding his hand and trailing behind him. She didn’t look too keen on this idea and she’d been pouting since the moment the two couples had run into each other. Hunter had suggested going to Billie’s to hang out, and VJ had jumped on the idea because he was so desperate for them all to get along, even though everyone else knew that it wasn’t going to work out. Hunter knew that VJ also didn’t want to spend more time at the house than was absolutely necessary because of all the blood, and he’d decided to use that to his advantage.

Billie and VJ sat down on the couch, and Hunter sat down with Olivia in his lap on one of the armchairs. “So what d’ya wanna watch?” asked Billie. “I have some movies on my laptop that I can hook up if you want…” she said, smiling a little nervously. She didn’t like Olivia much because she seemed to want to be unpleasant to her at every available opportunity, but Hunter really took the biscuit! The fact that he thought that they could be friends, after what he’d done to her, was nothing short of amazing! The arrogance of the boy! Still, she did care about VJ, so she was just going to have to try to grin and bear it. She looked at VJ and raised her eyebrows at him. “VJ can go and get it, can’t he?” she said, with a little half-smile.

“Yeah, sure!” he said, missing the obvious tension in her voice, and jumping to his feet like an over-excited puppy.

“Uh, wait” said Hunter, starting to move and motioning to Olivia that he needed to get up. “I really need the bathroom.” he said, putting his hand on his stomach. “I actually don’t feel too good” he said, grimacing and doing his best to look ill.

“Uh… yeah” said VJ, looking a little concerned. “Is it something you ate?” he asked, taking Hunter by the shoulder and leading him out to the hall. All sorts of thoughts were rushing through his head. Evie had started out getting sick like this and then she’d ended up dead. What if Hunter was next? What if they all had what she had?! “It’s in there” said VJ, patting him on the shoulder and giving him a very worried look. “Give me a shout if you need anything, ok?”

Hunter gave him a pained smile and closed the door. He stuck his fingers down his throat to make himself sick, and after two or three dry retches, it worked. He heaved up the contents of his stomach, still pretty sure that VJ was listening outside.

“Do you need me to get you some water?” called VJ, sounding more than worried. “Are you okay, mate? Do you want me to call your dad?”

“No!” shouted Hunter. “Can I just get a bit of privacy? Please, Veej?! …I don’t need an audience for this!” He stuck his fingers down his throat again. He hated having to do this but he needed it to seem real, and it was a means to an end.

“Okay, but I’m in the living-room if you need me” said VJ, before heading back down the hallway to the others. Hunter listened to VJ and the others talking in hushed voices out in the living-room, and glanced at his backpack that was now lying on the bathroom floor. He hoped that VJ hadn’t noticed the fact that he’d brought it with him.

He quietly creaked the door open and snuck out, closing the door behind him again. He was going to have to be very quick. He knew which room was Kat’s because he’d snuck around outside the house the other night and he’d seen her sitting on her bed when she’d forgotten to close her curtains. It was the room at the end of the corridor. He opened the door as quietly as he could, and slipped inside.

Five minutes later, he slipped back out, and returned to the bathroom, opening and closing the bathroom door loudly for effect. He staggered back into the living-room looking pale and sweaty and shook his head at Olivia. “I’m really sorry, guys.” he said, hugging his arms around his tummy, “I’m not in a good way.”

VJ got to his feet and said, “We’d better get you home then…”

“No, it’s okay, Veej” said Hunter, shaking his head at him. “I’m okay… I just need to sleep it off… I ate some mayonnaise spread thing from the fridge… It was like 3 days past its use by date but it smelt okay so I thought I’d risk it… Not a good move… obviously!”

All three of them were looking at him with very worried faces and he was finding it hard not to burst out laughing. “Really, guys!” he said, “It’s not the same as Evie… I’m fine! …You guys stay, watch the movie… I’m just gonna go home and lie down.”

“I’m coming with you!” said Olivia starting to get up. “I’m not letting you walk home alone, not like this!”

He nodded and said, “Fine… but I’m telling you, I’m okay!” He took a plastic sports bottle out of his bag and waggled it at Billie. “Is it okay if I fill this first?” he asked, glancing at the kitchen.

“Yeah, sure” said Billie, shrugging her shoulders at him. “Go ahead.” She was glad that he was going. If he had some infectious disease, then he was the last person that she needed around her and her unborn baby. She just hoped that it wasn’t something contagious!

Olivia flopped back down on the chair to wait for him while he went to fill the bottle. She glanced at VJ nervously and then looked back out towards the kitchen, feeling decidedly anxious now that Hunter was sick too.

“Can I steal a few ice cubes?” shouted Hunter, opening the freezer door without waiting for the answer.

“Yeah… fine” answered Billie, as she heard him already rummaging in the ice box. “Help yourself” she muttered, thinking that the sooner he was out of her house, the better!

“If you’re sure…?” said VJ, when Hunter walked back in with his rucksack and his bottle of water. He looked at Billie for guidance but she just shrugged at him. “Text me when you get home” he said, nodding at Olivia to make sure that she made him do it.

“Okay, mum!” sniggered Hunter as he and Olivia headed out the door.




Kat threw back the last of her beer and nodded at the bartender to get her another. She glanced at her watch and tutted. Ash was over an hour late to meet her and she was trying to decide whether to cut her losses and go home and just stay here and get trolleyed till Ash chose to show his face. He wasn’t answering his phone, which was unusual, but he was pretty good at mucking her around so maybe this was just another way for him to show her how little she really mattered. She was getting angry now.

She smiled at the bartender when he set her beer down in front of her and decided that she’d drink this last one and then she was going home. She was a member of the police force after all! She couldn’t be seen to be drinking heavily, especially on a week night, and on her own!

Suddenly her phone rang and she thought, “At last!”, assuming that it would be Ash phoning to apologise. She jumped when she saw that it said ‘Josh’. She dithered about whether to answer it or not. What could he want from her? Why would he call her? What, just to rub her face in what a big mess he’d dropped her in?!

After a second, she pressed green and held the phone to her ear. “Hello?! Josh?” she said, feeling the anger already boiling up in her chest. “Where are you?!”

“Kat! Please?!” cried a scared sounding Josh. “Can y-you please c-come?” he said, sobbing and snivelling down the phone at her.

“What?!” she said, “Where to?!”

“I’ll hand my-myself in, if you come.” he said in a very distant and dazed sounding kind of way. He took a pained breath in, as though it hurt for him to breath. “If you come and g-get me” he said, taking another wheezy sounding breath, and coughing painfully. “I’ll let you take me in.” He began to cry and let out a loud moan as though he was in a huge amount of pain. “I’ll tell them!” he said on his outward breath, “I’ll tell them I lied! I lied about… everything!” He sobbed and sobbed, and then there was another loud cry of pain. “I’ll tell them it was all me!... Come on your own, Kat… or I won’t come with you.” The call ended and she realised that she hadn’t got a chance to ask him where she was supposed to come. She looked at her phone and decided to try to call back, but the phone went to voicemail. She thought about how Josh had sounded and tried to make sense of it. It had sounded as though he was in an enormous amount of pain. She wondered if he had somehow injured himself and if that was why he suddenly wanted to hand himself in? Maybe life on the run wasn’t all it was cracked up to be?! As she ran it over in her head, she began to wonder if he was being held hostage. That didn’t seem very likely to her. Why would someone be holding Josh hostage? What could they possibly have to gain? The boy had no money and neither did Andy really? Although with Andy’s criminal connections, anything was possible. But why would they want her? She wasn’t sure what to do. She thought about calling Emerson, but then she thought about how much he had doubted her, and how he’d turned his back on her when the chips were down. No! She’d go this on her own. She still had a gun. She’d go there and she’d see what was happening… but she’d be clever about it. She knew how to look after herself. She was a well-trained cop after all!

A text came through with a map pinpointing a warehouse in a remote location just on the edge of town. She threw back the last of her beer and headed out to her car. She’d only had three beers. She figured she’d still be okay to drive.




“It’s through Sarge!” shouted Coleson, printing off the documents that they needed from his email. “It just arrived!”

Emerson picked up his cap and put it on. “Okay, let’s move!” he said to the assembled team of cops who’d been standing primed and ready to go once they got the search warrants. He watched as his team filed out the door to the waiting convoy of police vehicles outside. He gave a sad sigh and picked up the documents that Coleson had placed on his desk. It was a sad day that they had to investigate one of their own!

“I’m really hoping it isn’t true” sighed Emerson, glancing at Coleson as they drove towards the garage. “I like Chapman… I think she’s made some very big mistakes but… I don’t want to think that I’ve been working side by side every day with someone who could do these things…” He pinched the skin on the bridge of his nose and blew out a breath in frustration. “I just don’t want to believe that I’m that a big a fool!”

As they began to get closer to the garage, Emerson let out a loud gasp, as he saw the thick black smoke gathering in the distance. “Is that?!” he exclaimed, pointing ahead of him and glancing at Coleson with his mouth hanging open in shock. “That’s the…” he stammered.

“Yes, sir” said Coleson, narrowing his eyes and picking up speed. “I think that’s the garage!” he said, handing Emerson the radio to call for fire services. “Call it in” he said, as they rounded the corner and saw the massive blaze, where once there was a garage. It was completely consumed in flames to the point where it was clear that nothing would be salvageable.

They pulled up a safe distance away and a number of other police cars pulled up behind them a moment later. Emerson climbed out and stood with his hands on the back of his head as he watched the whole place go up in flames. He looked at Coleson and raised his eyebrows at him. “Nothing dodgy about this at all!” he said in a sarcastic tone, shaking his head sadly.

Suddenly there was a loud explosion and they all dove behind their cars for shelter. A large portion of the roof had just been blown off, when some of the flammable materials in the garage had caught light, and it was now frisbeeing back down to the ground. “Woah!” said Coleson, standing back up and running his hand through his hair. “There isn’t going to be much left at this rate, is there?! Someone really didn’t want us snooping around!”

“Exactly what I was thinking” said Emerson, furrowing his brows and looking down at the letter from Josh Barrett. “I think we’d better pay Constable Chapman a visit” he said, gesturing at one of the units to stay with the fire, and waving at the other two to follow as he did a U-turn and headed for Kat’s house.




“Sarge!” called one of the junior officers, standing in the kitchen. “Sarge! You need to come and look at this!”

Emerson walked in from the hallway where he’d been trying to reassure Billie and Phoebe that it was standard police procedure to search the whole house, and that they didn’t have anything to worry about unless they’d done something wrong. He looked with concern at the young officer who was visibly shaken by his discovery. The young man had gone a very pale colour and was staring into an empty ice cream tub that had been sealed shut with gaffer tape. It had “KAT” written on the top in black marker. Using latex gloves, the officer had opened it, and had nearly fainted with the shock of what he’d found. Emerson walked over slowly and peered inside. He gasped as he realised that he was looking into a human eye. There was a brown eye resting on a bed of ice, beside five fingers, and a full set of shiny white teeth that had been arranged as they would have been in the poor sod’s mouth that they’d been ripped from. He covered his own mouth, suddenly feeling a surge of nausea, and he ran outside to vomit.

A few moments later, he came back in, looking decidedly shaky and pale, and glanced at the junior officer in an embarrassed sort of way. Over the years he had seen worse than that, but something about the way that they had been arranged in that box, and the fact that it was possibly a colleague that had done it, just turned his stomach. It was beyond depraved to have kept these trophies in her fridge like this… and in a shared house!

“I’ll call forensics” said Emerson, taking his phone out to make the call. He’d never imagined that they’d actually be needed. This was quickly turning into a nightmare. How had he worked with her day in, day out, and not seen what she was doing.

He got off the phone and saw another officer dithering in the doorway. He’d clearly been waiting for him to get off the phone. “What have you found?” he asked, thinking that it couldn’t get much worse than that ice cream box.

The young officer motioned with his head for Emerson to follow him. In Kat’s bedroom there were now a number of items bagged and tagged on the bed for processing. There was certainly no shortage of evidence! The officer pointed at a piece of paper that had been scrunched up and had large splodges of dried blood on it. It had been found in a pair of Kat’s work trousers which also had dried blood on them. It was a print out of a google map leading to a location just outside the Bay.

Emerson scanned the other bags, doing his best to keep his calm as an anger rose and rose inside him. One bag contained a bottle of rat poison and he glanced at it quizzically. The officer shrugged his shoulders and then pointed at another much larger bag. “That’s the contents of her paper bin. There’s some white powder in there as well... and um… an article she’d printed out on the effects of rat poison on humans.”

“Sarge!” called another officer from across the room. “There’s petrol on these boots!” he said, holding them up for Emerson to see. He rubbed his face in exasperation. This was just getting worse and worse. Was she the worst criminal in the world who was too careless to cover her tracks, or was she too arrogant to think that she’d ever get caught?!

“Sarge!” shouted another voice from out in the kitchen. “I need you to see this!” she said, sounding both shocked and excited.

He walked out slowly to the kitchen again, feeling sick to his stomach, and wondering what they’d uncovered now. This was getting to be too much. He’d rarely been on a raid of a house that had turned up so much, so quickly, and of such a disturbing nature. Emerson stood behind the officer at the kitchen table and leaned on the back of her chair to look at the computer screen. “This was on Chapman’s laptop!” she said, looking up at him with a look of repulsion, “That poor boy!” she exclaimed.

Emerson’s mouth fell open as the young Constable flicked through photo after sickening photo. “Josh Barrett” he said in a very sad voice…




Kat held her gun up in front of her and slunk in through the open metal doorway and into the derelict warehouse. It wasn’t quite dark inside yet so she could just about make out the murky shapes of things in the middle of the warehouse floor. She couldn’t see anyone around. All she could see was a large wooden crate, sitting on a base made of breeze blocks, right in the middle of the room. She kept her gun held out in front and move in a sideways sort of sweeping motion so she was constantly checking for assailants sneaking up behind her. She wondered what she was doing here and what had possessed her to come here on her own and not tell anyone that she was coming. ‘How stupid am I?’ she asked herself over and over. ‘Pretty stupid’ she told herself under her breath.

“Josh!” she called out as she approached the wooden crate. “Josh! Come out! It’s Kat!” she shouted, looking all around her. Her voice echoed, bouncing off the distant walls, but there was no reply. “Josh!” she shouted again.

Suddenly she became aware of a muffled sound of someone crying. As she strained her ears she realised that it was coming from inside the crate. “Oh my god!” she gasped as she re-ran the conversation with Josh over in her head. He had seemed so distressed on the call. This had to be him! “Josh” she shouted, knocking three times on the top of the crate with her knuckles. She listened for a reply but all she could hear was anguished sobbing.

“Please?! Please noooo!” said a muffled voice inside the crate. “Please?! Noooooooooooo!”

“Oh god!” she exclaimed looking around for something to open the crate with. She looked at the floor and she could just about make out the outlines of some tools lying on the floor. She spotted a crow bar lying next to the crate so she picked it up. The room was starting to get a lot darker and she could really only see the bare outlines of things so she couldn’t see what the sticky stuff on the crowbar was. She wiped her hands on her trousers and began to lever the lid off the crate as best she could. “Hang on, Josh!” she shouted, leaning down close to the lid in the hope that he would hear her. “I’m gonna get you out!”

As the lid came off, with a loud crack as the wood splintered and broke away from the nails holding it in place, a sea of grey spilled out and over the edge and scattered in all directions. She screamed and jumped back in horror as she realised that the crate had been full to the brim with hundreds and hundreds of rats. Once most of them were gone, she took a few faltering steps back towards the crate to look inside and then recoiled in horror at the sight inside. Two bodies, or what was left of them, lying side by side, and a tape recorder playing Josh’s anguished cries on a loop.

Suddenly there were blinding bright white lights, and there was loud shouting coming from all directions. “Put your hands behind your head and get down on the floor!” shouted one of her former colleagues, approaching with his gun held up and a look of revulsion on his face. “Chapman! Get down on the floor now!” he said again.




“I didn’t do it!” shouted Kat, closing her eyes and gritting her teeth in anger. “I’m not pleading guilty to something that I didn’t do!”

Her lawyer sat back with an exasperated sigh and rubbed his tired eyes. “Miss Chapman” he said, “… I don’t think I’ve ever come across another case where the prosecution had more evidence to convict. The only chance you have is to plead guilty and hope for a lesser sentence… Unless maybe… we go for an insanity plea.”

“But I didn’t do it!” she growled again. “Someone framed me! Someone planted all that stuff! I did not murder my boyfriend! I did not murder Josh and Andy Barrett! I did not murder Evie Maguire!” She put her hands together like she was praying and enunciated each word loudly, “I AM INNOCENT!”

“Well, Miss Chapman” said the lawyer, taking out a sheet of paper that read like an inventory. “It’s going to be pretty difficult to prove that… All the prosecution really has to do is read out this list. They probably don’t even have to show half of it! …I mean… Have you read it?! Let’s see… An eyeball belonging to Joshua Barrett, deceased. Five severed fingers belonging to Joshua Barrett, deceased. Thirty-two teeth belonging to Joshua Barrett, deceased. All discovered in a box, found in your freezer, wrapped in gaffer tape with your fingerprints on it! A print out of a map with the location of the warehouse where the mutilated bodies of both Joshua Barrett and his brother Andrew Barrett were discovered, in your presence. That even helpfully had some of Josh Barrett’s blood on it… just for good measure... Tools used to mutilate and torture Joshua Barrett were found at the scene of the crime with your fingerprints all over them. Videos and photos of the torture, committed over four days, including one where he is heard to beg ‘Kat’ not to hurt him anymore, were found on your laptop. The camera equipment used inside the crate was purchased a couple of days ago on your credit card, and that credit card was found in your wallet at the time of the arrest. Your boyfriend was burned to death in a garage that you co-owned with him, and you had just been accused of money-laundering and coercion. Clothing and footwear found in your room was found to have the same accelerant used to burn down the garage splashed all over them.”

Kat was sitting opposite him with her head in her hands, simply nodding and staring down at the table.

“And to put the icing on the cake! They found rat poison. The same one used to kill Evelyn Maguire. They also found the residue of the antidepressant medication that she was taking inside the bin liner, of your paper bin, in your room. Her pills had been refilled with that same rat poison, causing massive internal haemorrhaging and death!

He sat back and set the piece of paper down. “And then there’s the coffee cup and used napkins found at the scene of the crime with your saliva and your fingerprints on them! …I mean there’s more… I could go on! How exactly am I supposed to build a defence?!”

“I didn’t do it!” she whined again, banging her forehead off the table. “I didn’t do it!”

“I’m sorry, Miss Chapman… But I just don’t believe you.”




“It was a really nice service” said Hunter, sitting on the couch with his arm around Olivia and giving Zac a sad little smile.

“Yeah, it was” agreed Zac, returning Hunter’s smile. “I just can’t believe that she’s gone…” he said, staring into the distance as he thought of all that he had lost.

“Do we know when Kat’s court case is?” asked Olivia, looking around at all the spaced out and sad looking faces around the room. “I mean, when are they putting that sicko away?”

“Can we not talk about that today?” said Zac, giving her a pained look and glancing across the room at Leah, who tilted her head and smiled at him sympathetically. “Today is about Evie… not about the monster that took her from us.”

“Yeah, dad’s right” said Hunter, giving Olivia a little smile and kissing her gently on the forehead. “We should focus on the beautiful, caring, sensitive person that Evie was… and how much we all loved her.”

“That’s lovely” said Leah, looking at Hunter with pride. “That was very well said, Hunter. Evie was beautiful… inside and out.”

VJ shuffled past with a coffee cup that was a little too full and accidentally spilt some on Hunter’s thigh. “Oh god! Hunter! Sorry!” said VJ, putting the coffee cup down and rushing to get him a tea towel to dry his trousers.

“That’s okay” said Hunter taking the cloth from VJ and giving him an understanding smile. VJ took his seat beside Leah and turned to talk to her quietly.

Hunter looked at the stain on his trousers and realised that his leg hurt. He was very slightly burned on the skin on his thigh and he wasn’t enjoying the sensation. He turned and glared at VJ wondering how to make him pay...






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