Knock Knock

I heard someone knock loudly, and then there was a scream.

A body was found. Could be illness, old age... but it wasn’t - because the next day two bodies were found.

Knock knock, who’s there? The joke is far from over...

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"We should split up," I announced as we turned yet another corner of the castle. Jack Hunter lived in a labyrinth, and there was no chance that we would escape at this rate.

"Yes," Christopher agreed, "but don't go looking for trouble. I can't lose you too," he said. Who else had he lost? I wondered - but there was no time to think. He squeezed my hand and walked away, the heels of his boots clicking against the stone floors. I turned on my heel and headed in the other direction. But a door caught my attention. It was the only door that I had seen that was not guarded. Jack Hunter's manner of living was far from casual; his rooms were always guarded, always keep so secret. But this one was different, and naturally this was the one that I wanted to open.

I twisted the handle, and to my surprise it was unlocked. Plush carpets silenced my footsteps. Candles flickered. The tables and chairs were made of mahogany and carved with intricate patterns. A scrap of paper on the table closest to me caught my eye. Maybe it was the familiar handwriting. Maybe it was the expensive fountain pen next to it that attracted my attention. But mainly I think it was the fact that my name was written on that piece of paper.

Footsteps in the corridor jolted me into action. I stuffed the piece of paper into my pocket and headed swiftly to the door. A tall figure blocked my way. I gulped.

This is how I would die - at the hands of Joseph Latimer.

"Mia!" he exclaimed in mock delight. His voice echoed through the walls that felt too close. I saw the glint of steel at his hip. 

"Give me the list, and I will let you live," he said simply. His green eyes bore into mine.

"What list?" I asked nonchalantly. I scanned our surroundings, pleading to find an escape route. I recognised the door to the dungeons.

Daniel.

Joseph Latimer took a step closer. I could smell the expensive scent of his skin. 

"Do not. Play games. With me." he whispered menacingly, his breath brushing my face. I felt sick. He pulled the dagger from its sheath and examined it, a wicked grin playing at the corners of his mouth. He grabbed my arm.

"Daniel!" I screamed, praying he would hear. Perhaps I had misread the situation; he might not be with Jack Hunter. He could save me.

"Leave the girl be, Joseph." A frail voice carried through the dimly lit corridor. William Latimer stood behind us, a knife clasped in his trembling hand.

Joseph released his grip. He laughed loudly, the sound crashing into my ears. He walked slowly towards his father. William looked alarmed. His eyes caught mine. The knife in his hand clattered to the ground.

"I know who you are Joseph. I know what you've done. And even though you are my son, I cannot let you live!" William spat. 

For just a second, I thought I saw a chink in the armour of Daniel's father. But that thought was soon banished. Joseph threw the dagger in his hand squarely at his father.

"NO!" I couldn't help but cry out as William Latimer's body clattered to the ground.

"And now for you," said Joseph.

And then his body followed his father's. I watched in shock as Joseph Latimer crumpled to the floor lifelessly in front of me, an arrow in his back.

"We need to get out of here," said Daniel, stepping over his father's body.

"We?" I spat in disgust, irritated by his plural pronoun. "I'm not going anywhere with you!" I screamed. A feeling had settled in my throat, the bitter taste of betrayal. I couldn't meet his eyes.

"You are with Jack Hunter," I whispered.

"No," Daniel said. "My father, but not me." He took a step closer cautiously. I dragged my eyes up to meet his face. He looked sincere. 

"You're here to kill me," I said, "and don't deny it. I heard you and him in the dungeons. I know. And I've got this to prove it!" I thrust the list at him. Daniel studied the piece of paper, his eyes widening in horror.

"I have never seen this before," he told me. I rolled my eyes.

"I'm telling the truth, Mia!" He tried to grab my hands, but I pulled away. How could I trust him? I didn't know what to say. I spun round and began to walk, allowing the tears to fall.

"Why did you say my name?"

I turned my head. Daniel was right behind me. Blood was smeared on his cheek, his hair was tangled. But his eyes told me he was true. He slipped his hand into mine, and this time I didn't pull away. He leaned closer.

A clatter of footsteps made me jump back in fear. 

"Let's go," he said, his hand in mine. 

"No more lies?" I whispered.

"No more lies", he confirmed. His lips were so close to mine. 

We left behind the lies and the bodies and headed down yet another corridor.

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