In Knight & Deigh, Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.
As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.
A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.
Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.
Knight after Knight. Chapter one, part two.
Having left Hawaii in the middle of a mini-heatwave, Sophie and I were not really prepared for the worse-than-normal early-November weather we found when we arrived back at Knight Towers. We’d heard on the news that there had been high winds and near-blizzard conditions in our corner of England a few days earlier, so we weren’t surprised by the scattering of unmelted snow in various places. We weren’t prepared, though, for the three fallen trees along the main driveway from the clinic to the house. At least something was happening – a couple of men were working with chainsaws to clear the trees from the road.
Martha was waiting for us when we got into the house.
“We’d rather not be left here alone again,” she said to Sophie, “we can’t be expected to take care of this big house. It’s a good job David came with his new wife – isn’t she lovely by the way?”
“What happened, Mum?” Sophie asked her.
“Well. All this wind came, and the snow; we heard the trees cracking and falling. My God, we thought one might land on the house, and then what? But we’re not as young as we used to be. We’re both over eighty, you know. Anyway, we might have been here a few times, but we don’t really know anyone apart from the doctors and nurses at the clinic, of course. But you know your father. He felt that, as the man, he should do something about it. I had to stop him from going looking for a chainsaw to deal with the trees, I mean, really, at his age! But we had no idea who to call and—”
“Martha, it’s alright,” I said, “We wouldn’t expect you to deal with it. You had only to call or message me and I would have organised something.”
“We know that now, don’t we? But you weren’t here, were you? There was no electric so we couldn’t get the interweb. We didn’t have the telephone either – not even the mobiles were working, so we had no way to get in touch; and Eddie – well, he’s always been the one to deal with these things and – why don’t you go up and see for yourselves.”
“Where is Dad,” Sophie asked.
“He’s taken to his bed. Palpitations. Bad ones. Thought he was going to have a heart attack or something. Had me properly worried he did.”
“Have you called the doctor?” I asked, picking up the phone.
“Oh yes. I’d forgotten that Doctor Lockhart had retired so I called his mobile once we’d got the phone and power back. He passed it to the new man—”
“That’s him. Anyway, he came the day before yesterday and told Eddie to have complete rest.”
“Did he give him anything?”
“Said there was no need, just rest and calm. He’ll come back in a few days to see how he’s doing. Anyway, when David came, he called the tree surgeon and had him come around to start the work he’s doing now. David reckoned it’d take him a few days to clear everything.”
“Did David and Jess get away okay?”
“Yes. Andrews took them to the airport yesterday.”
“Good. Let’s go up and see Eddie.”
“Don’t go exciting him, though. He’s supposed to stay calm.”
“It’s alright, Mum,” Sophie said, “we’ll be gentle with him.”
It was a shock when we entered Eddie’s room. He looked old, frail and grey. Neither of us had ever seen him looking like that before.
“How are you, Dad?” Sophie asked him.
“Not so dusty,” he said, “I’m just sorry I couldn’t deal with this lot.”
“Eddie, you’re not here to manage our estate,” I said, “you’re here to enjoy your retirement and to have as easy a life as we can give you. I’m just sorry that all this happened while we were away.”
“Not your fault, Hannice,” he said, “David’s a great lad though, isn’t he? And that gorgeous young wife of his, wow! Might have been the sight of her gave me the palpitations!”
“Down boy!” I said, “I’ll do a deal with you, Eddie. You get better and get your strength back, and we’ll advertise for some help. We’ll see if we can take on a couple: we need to find permanent replacements for Bly and Mrs Cooper. We can’t keep borrowing Andrews; he’s supposed to be full-time with the clinic. I’m sure we ought to be able to find someone who can be our driver and act as estate manager to look after the place, with a wife who can take Mrs Cooper’s place. We haven’t had a full-time cook/housekeeper since she retired and it’s not fair to keep calling her out of retirement every time we do a bit of entertaining. I can have the flat above the garages refurbished so they don’t have to live in the house if they’d rather not.”
“You’d do that, for me and Eddie?” Martha asked.
“It’s for all of us, Martha. We’re none of us getting any younger, and in truth, I’m not sure how well I would have dealt with this crisis, even if I’d been here.”
“Thank you, Hannice,” Sophie said, squeezing my arm, “I’ll talk to Mrs Cooper and see if she can recommend anyone.”
“Good idea,” I said, “talk to the people at the clinic, too, and I’ll give Bly a call. I’d be much happier working on a recommendation than advertising.”
Waist of Space, part one of the Unlikelihood series, followed Commanders Tarquin Stuart-Lane and Meredith Winstanley; hapless heroes of the Royal Space Regiment; who were sent on a mission to the Moon from which they were not expected to return. There they met with a group of aliens who had forged a living under the surface of the moon, and whose forbears
were testing a new kind of spacecraft.
In part two, FLATUS, our dynamic duo help the aliens (and the RSR) build their own multi-locatable craft. Will the ships be built and if so, will the drives work? What are the possible effects of having three such craft in space at one time?
FLATUS — Fantastically Large Assembly for Travel at Unbelievable Speeds. The most unlikely spacecraft never built?
Part three follows the preparation and development of the Gap Travel Initiative (code named GTI) and the developing relationships among and between species, races and genders. Will humankind achieve the nirvana of limitless travel and if so, at what cost. Stick with Tarquin and Meredith as they navigate their route through an uncertain future.
GTI. Chapter five, scene two
The rest of the group passed through Patsy’s hands in a similar vein. Two of the twelve showed a little more resistance than the rest but were both of the same mind as their colleagues by the time they passed into Jason’s care.
Once they had all been through, Patsy entered the third room and nodded towards Jason. Jason tapped a table and coughed for attention. The room was silent.
“Now you’ve all seen what the project entails, how do you feel about it?”
A rising hubbub signalled they were all happy. Mr A, who you will recall felt himself to be the group’s de facto leader, said, “I think I can say on behalf of all of us that we support what you are doing. One hundred per cent.”
Patsy sent a warm feeling around the group.
“But you thought it was awful,” Patsy said.
“I know. Can’t for the life of me understand why. I can only assume we were delusional; either that or we’d been relying on incorrect or at least incomplete information.”
Another warm feeling.
“What worries me now,” Jason said, “is the large number of followers of One Dimension who are still opposed to our work.”
“Don’t worry about them,” Mr A said, “we’ll soon bring them around to the right way of thinking.”
Warm? Practically sizzling!
The meeting broke up and the twelve left, each of them vigorously shaking hands with both Jason and Patsy, promising to keep in touch and thanking them effusively for correcting their unfortunate early impressions.
“Patsy, that was absolutely brilliant,” Jason said after the last of them had gone.
“Thank the borborygmi,” she replied.
“I wish I could.”
“Be careful what you wish for,” Patsy admonished him as they walked back towards Meredith’s office.
Arriving in the Admiral’s ante-room, they were met by a young officer who looked as though he’d have been more at home in a school uniform than in that of the regiment. Standing no more than 150cm in his white dress uniform, he was slight of build with a pasty complexion topped by a mop of the brightest ginger hair that either of the officers facing him had ever seen.
“Can I help you, Sirs?” he asked.
“Yes,” Patsy said, “you can let us pass so we can see Admiral Winstanley.”
“Is the admiral expecting you, Ma’am?” he asked, firmly but respectfully blocking their way.
“Probably not, but as we’re here… be a good chap…”
“Who should I say wants to see the admiral?”
“Very well,” Patsy sighed, “Commodore Strangename and Commander Pratt.”
As the young man pressed his intercom button, Patsy whispered to Jason, “Honestly – have you ever seen anyone look more like a Swan Vesta?”
“You can go through, Sirs,” the young man said.
“What’s so funny?” Meredith asked as the two walked into her office laughing.
“Is that the new Pipsqueak?” Patsy asked.
“Sub-Lieutenant Swann—” They laughed even harder. “What?”
Being the more familiar with the admiral and thus feeling freer to be, shall we say, less conscious and certainly less in awe of her boss’s rank, Patsy ventured, “We were just saying how, with his ginger top, pale face and white uniform, he could easily pass as a Swan Vesta.”
“And he’s called Swan!” Jason blurted.
“Not Swan, Swann. And if it’s any easier, you can call him by his given name – Nigel.”
“Never met a Nigel who’s not a prat,” Jason said morosely.
“Sorry, Patsy. Perhaps I should say dimwit instead.”
“Only kidding. Pratt by name only, me. Not by nature.”
Meredith frowned. “I have a cousin called Nigel,” she said.
“Is he a prat?”
“Not exactly, but something like.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Patsy asked.
“Well… yes, I suppose he is, truth be told.”
“Thank you,” Jason said, smugly.
Meredith put her serious face on, looked at herself in the mirror beside her desk, decided she didn’t like it so took it off and put the silly one back on instead. “How did it go?” she asked.
Jason and Patsy both looked crestfallen, eyes down and heads drooped.
“Oh,” Meredith said, “that bad?”
“GOTCHA!” the two officers shouted in unison.
“Not with that face on,” Patsy said.
Meredith decided that the needs of the job should outweigh her personal vanity and put her serious face back on. “Seriously?”
“No. It was brilliant,” Patsy said.
“You were brilliant,” Jason corrected her, “I had practically nothing to do with it.”
“Either way,” Patsy continued, “it worked better than we could have hoped. And now, every time any of them says something nice about our project, they will be bathed in a warm, cosy feeling of well-being.”
“And if they say something negative about us?” Meredith asked.
“They won’t,” Jason said.
“They can’t,” Patsy corrected, “but what they can do and what they will do is pass the good word around their unenlightened, deluded followers.”
“So we’re in the clear?”
“Swann!” Meredith shouted, “Three coffees, stat.”
“And some biscuits?” Jason asked.
“And some biscuits,” Meredith added. Turning back to Jason and Patsy, she said, “Now, whilst waiting for refreshments, let’s talk about where we go from here.”
Picking up her handset she called Rear Admiral Weinberg’s office. “Joan, Jason and Patsy are with me. Care to join?”
“Be right there,” Joan replied.
Meredith used the intercom to speak to her man, “Make that four please, Nigel,” she said.
“I was happy down there. What’d you pick me up for?”
“Wow! A talking frog.”
“Who are you calling a frog?”
“You; who else?”
“Well, I ain’t a frog. Never have been, never will be.”
“To quote the duck test – If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”
“You look like a frog, move like a frog—”
“But I don’t croak like a frog.”
“Two out of three ain’t bad.”
“What are you quoting now?”
“You are quoting your lunch?”
“Of course not. Meat Loaf is a singer.”
“Now I know you’re crazy. You’re quoting a sewing machine.”
“Not a Singer sewing machine, a singer – someone who sings songs.”
“Yeah. Bored. Put me back down.”
“Firstly, because I’m about to cut the grass and I don’t fancy having to clear up a shredded frog.”
“I AM NOT A FROG.”
“Have you looked at yourself? How can you not be a frog?”
“You don’t know much beyond what you see with your own eyes, do you? What’s that by my back leg?”
“That little green patch?”
“I’ve no idea. A leaf?”
“No. It’s part of me and it’s what tells you that I’m not an actual, natural frog.”
“How does it tell that?”
“Duh – real frogs don’t have a green patch.”
“So, let me get this right. You’re not a real frog, so that means that if I kiss you…?”
“You’ll probably end up with warts on your lips.”
“Hah! Got you. It’s toads that have warts, not frogs.”
“So, if you’re not really a frog, what happened?”
“Not what you read in the story books for a start. Not with me, anyway. I was working at the airport when this geezer comes along with some kind of gun I’d never seen before and ups and shoots me with it. I went over and when I got up – BAM. Suddenly I’m a frog.”
“So before he shot you, what were you – a man or a woman?”
“Neither. I’m a dog.”
“A talking dog?”
“Yeah, I can see the headlines – man bites dog.”
“Look. I enjoyed a connection with my handler that was as close to speaking as you can get. We communicated mind-to-mind, like I am to you now.”
“Okay, I’ll buy it. So. In real life, you’re a dog?”
“Yes. A police dog. A good one, too.”
“And your name? No, don’t tell me, let me guess. Prince? Ha ha ha.”
This was written in response to Kreative Kue 206 published on this site recently.