Having finished all the bottles and with Trisha Steers nowhere to be seen, the group left the dining room in search of more booze. Unaware of the horror that was going on around them, Dan, Rose and Cherry found the kitchen and searched the cupboards only to find them all completely bare of any food.
“Old Mother Hubbard.” said Dan absentmindedly.
Rose then called the others to a large dustbin by the backdoor, “Look at this lot.” Cherry and Dan went to see what she was looking at to find the bin full of empty take-away cartons.
“So what?” said Dan
Cherry looked at one of the lids, “Oh, Jamie Heston’s deluxe take away service, we’ve used him before”.
Rose looked at the others and said, “Yes, I know who it is, but don’t you think it strange that there’s no more food in this place?”
Cherry glanced at Dan, then said, “Well maybe Trisha Steers has another delivery in the morning, it’s not like we’ll be going for a jog in the morning is it?”
Rose was about to speak, when all the lights went out, causing all three of the x-classmates to scream, with Dan making the highest pitched noise out of the three.
“Oh my god” quivered Dan, “What’s going on?”
“Nothing!” snapped Rose, “it’s just a power cut, get a grip Dan.”
Rose then turned to Cherry and said, “I don’t suppose you know where the fusebox would be do you?”
Cherry let out a nervous laugh, “I’m guessing it’s in the basement, or maybe on the top floor?”
“Okay Cherry, you and Dan have a look in the basement, i’ll see if there’s anything fuse boxed shaped upstairs.”
Dan looked like he was about to burst into tears, when Rose punched his arm, “Christ sake Dan, you may dress all macho, but you’re nothing but a bloody wimp: man-up!”
As Dan and Cherry made there way down into the cellar, Rose tried the lift but found it out of order so took to the stairs. As she got closer to the top floor she could here someone one singing, “Orange and lemons said the bells of St Clements, you owe me five farthings send the bells of St Martins”
“Hello,” Said Rose, “Bella? May? Is that you?
As she climbed the stairs she heard more clearly what they were singing
“When will you pay me said the bells of Old Bailey, when I grow rich, said the bells of Shoreditch.”
Rose paused on the stair, “Who’s there?” Ignoring Rose’s request, singing continued, “When will that be said the bells of Stepney. Rose became agitated, “Bella, stop being an idiot,” but also a little frightened and wished she had gabbed herself a weapon, if only to freak Bella out. She then turned on to the top stair and on to the landing and saw a glow of a candle at the very end of the hall, but couldn’t quite make out who it was holding it. She was about to call out again when the lights all came back on.
Down in the basement, Cherry and Dan let out a cry of delight, but Rose screamed out loud as she saw that the figure was neither Bella or May, but a nun, with a skull for a face, holding up a huge axe.
Terrified, Rose began to walk backwards as the nun continued to stride towards her, finishing off the rest of the rhyme, “Here comes the candle to light you to bed, here comes the chopper to chop off your head.”
As they made there way back to the ground floor, Cherry and Dan called out to Rose, but got no reply.
They were about to call out again when they heard a muffled cry coming from inside a cupboard. Cherry pulled the door and were shocked to see Trisha Steers, gagged with her hands tied behind her back come tumbling out.
Dan and Cherry quickly untied Trisha who seemed in a terrible state.
“Who did this to you?” cried Cherry.
As Trisha pulled herself up, she pulled the gag from her mouth and said, “I have no idea, I thought it was you or one of your friends playing a joke on me.”
Dan ran off and came back with a large carving knife. Cherry and Trisha both looked on with alarm and said in unison, “What are you doing?”
Dan, who had a crazed look in his eyes said, I know who exactly did this, Johnny Bloody Flynn.”
All memories of that fateful day came flooding back into Cherry’s head as she called out for Dan to come back, but he had already taken to the stairs, two at a time.
Cherry helped Trisha into the lounge and said, “Do you have any brandy?”
Trisha smiled weakly, “Thank you my dear, but I don’t drink, never have, never will.”
Cherry shook her head, “You may not, but I really need a stiff drink, right now.”
Trisha nodded, searched inside her dress pocket and pulled out a small silver key and nodded to a cabinet in the corner of the room.
Taking the key, Cherry’s hand trembled as she slipped the key in the lock and opened the cabinet door. Inside was a single decanter and a single crystal cut glass.
Cherry sniffed the decanter, “Good, brandy, just what I need”.
She then poured herself a large measure and took three hearty swigs as she tried to get rid of the image of Johnny’s Flynn’s frighted face looking back at her in her minds eye.
As she took a fourth swig her lip tasted a bitterness which she chose to ignore, putting it down to her own anxiety as she drained the glasses contents.
Searching every room, floor by floor, Dan found each room empty. By the time he reached the top floor, he’s heart was beating fast with fury. He had hated Johnny Flynn as a child and so much more as an adult. Over the years he had played the moment when he had finally got rid of that snotty nosed kid, the one his parents had complained so much about that he had hoped if he could get rid of Johnny, then maybe his parents would notice him and give him the love he had craved. Of course his parents never changed, which only made Dan all the more convinced that Johnny Flynn had survived. Even though both his parents had since died in a mysterious cars crash, now was Dan’s turn to get rid of Johnny Flynn once and for all.
Although Cherry didn’t feel quite right, she put it down to the horror of her memories crashing in over and over her mind with Johnny Flynn’s petrified face looming ever closer and so she took a direct swig from the bottle and enjoyed the burning sensation as the brandy coated her insides.
She then noticed that Trisha seemed to have recovered from her ordeal quite quickly and was changing from her maids outfit into a long black gown. Cherry asked what she was doing, to which Trisha replied, “Just preparing myself for the climax of this very special reunion my dear”.
Cherry was about to ask what Trisha meant, when the brandy bottle slipped from her hand and crashed to the floor, next she felt her legs buckle beneath her as she fell back on a chair behind her.
Trisha turned and continued to fix the nun’s habit in place.
With all the rooms on the top floor empty, Dan turned to the small stair case leading to the attic room. “Your mine now Johnny Flynn,” growled Dan as his hand tightly gripped the knife and he slowly made his may to the top of the stairs. Turning the doorknob, Dan threw the door opened and yelled out, “Ha!” only to find the room empty, bar a mattress in the corner and a desk in the middle of the room. As he walked to the centre of the room he lit the candle on the side of the desk and saw a scrap book set out on the middle of the desk. Turning the first page he saw a headline from the Coalville Times: “LOCAL BOY MISSING.” Below that was a picture of Johnny Flynn. Dan turned the next page and saw the next headline: “LOCAL COALVILLE BOY STILL MISSING, FEARED DEAD”. Below this was a later news clipping in smaller letters: Missing Coalville Boy Suspected of Running Away, Search Suspended.
Dan couldn’t help but let out a chuckle, but then he turned to the next page and let out a gasp as the face of Trisha Steers stared back at him, dressed as a nun with the headline: NUN SO LUCKY! Sister Theresa: Jackpot winner!
Dan looked at the picture, then the headline, then back at the picture again, “Oh my God, it’s an anagram! Trisha Steers is Sister Theresa!”