“Sophie Scott, you have been charged with the kidnapping and suspected murder of young men… you will be held on remand in custody until you face trial” a cold voice echoed in Sophie’s head amidst the tumbling darkness and whining ring of sirens. A cycle of blurring images and faint noises spun through her head, as if it were all a dream. Nothing was constant as if her conscious was limited and in retreat. Voices spoke from all directions, making demands and requests, before the slamming of a metal door echoed behind her.
As the dust settled, a stale smell wafted through the air. All was silent bar the dim humming of the lights and the eery whistling of the Autumn wind outside. On a small skeleton like structure of a bunkbed lay Sophie, her eyes vacant and staring into the nothingness of an ugly cream painted brick wall. Now wearing a miserable looking green sweater and pants, underneath her sat rugged and uncomfortable looking green bedsheets. She did not move nor flinch. Her hair was disorientated having lost the opportunity and will to make it up. Amidst the artificial light, only a blue hue peaked inwards from the barred window up above.
Suddenly, the door swung open again and another woman dressed in similar sweat clothes trundled in casually whilst a scowling female guard in uniform held the door behind her. Of a young countenance, her hair was partially shaved at the back and sides whilst lopped over from the top. Her face held a devious expression with a pointed look on it with long commanding eyebrows and deep striking blue eyes. She entered and immediately looked down at Sophie slouching almost lifeless on the bed, her face reacting with a restrained disgust and surprise all in one.
“So we have me new cellmate… welcome…” she sneered in a sarcastic voice. “Well at least yer weren’t cheeky enough to snatch me top bunk, there’s one lucky star for you…” she stood, Sophie looking at her slowly with an empty look. “Alright what’s ya name then?” she said again, seemingly impatient. “Oh… hi…” Sophie muttered in a weak voice suddenly coming round and pulling herself up slowly. “I’m Sophie…” she said softly.
“Sophie? Don’t tell me yer the one arrested on suspicion of kidnapping all those young lads right? The media said someone was coming here for that. They aren’t supposed to name but that William Parker-Fulton twat posted it everywhere” The woman said with surprise. “But don’t kid me that this is the one, I mean you seem flusted yer can barely get yerself up. By the way darling my name’s Rose… welcome to the wonderfully shitty Low Newton, for the bad girls of the North”- She sneered in a joyful, yet modest voice reaching out her hand to Sophie, who shook it reluctantly.
“Oh so that’s where I am… nobody told me but I figured it wasn’t far away…” Sophie groaned to herself. “I got hauled away by the coppers, interrogated in the station for hours and then told I was being charged, put on remand and tossed into a dark van again and brought here… changed into this shite and then literally 10 minutes ago put here. I’ve had nee time to even think about me life never mind this bullshit situation”- She explained in a depressed voice.
“So ha’way then, did you do it?” Rose asked, still standing above her restlessly. “No way man” she said in despair “You seem to get it… they set me up because I tried to stop them, but I’m such a failure and had such a shit and unlucky life I can’t go on anymore with this bollocks… at least here I’m not running after me shithead of a father. The wanker hasn’t even tried to phone me, so I didn’t try ever” her voice turning to a faint grunt. “But anyway, why are you here like?” She then retorted to Rose, who laughed in a sinister way in response.
“Me? I’m here because I had to survive hun.” She snarked. “You my dear… are a princess. To me you’re a spoilt pampered little bimbo who’s never had to truly face the big bad world. I got caught in doing me little business down in Spennymoor. Aye I was foolish, but sometimes we have to make hard choices for the greater good. At least you have a dad. Mine walked out when I was a baby and I got took off me mam by social services when I was 12, and do I pity meself? Nee way, and I can guarantee you won’t get popular in this staycation with self-pity” she hit out in a more menacing voice. “I’d give me left tit to have had a life like yours, you even had a proper job!”.
Sophie sat and stared at her with discomfort and unease. Rose then sat down and put her arm over her shoulder, saying softly yet menacingly to her “You’re in the real world now love. If there’s one thing, I can teach you now… it’s no tears, no self-pitying and just be prepared to fight for everything you have… cos neebody is going to save you… but you.” Sophie looked at her in horror, as Rose seemed to inch closer to her. “Ya might call this moment yer baptism of fire… and with that its time for the ceremonial induction for new mates… to welcome them to the bitch-house… get up!” she snapped insidiously, dragging Sophie upwards from the bed and into the middle of the room.
“What’s this?” she said nervously, seemingly lacking the power to mount a resistance. “People like you don’t know you’ve been born. Those trainers are canny nice, where did you buy them?” she asked, looking down at Sophie’s feet. “They’re only from Sports Direct man” Sophie responded trying to deflect. “Only from Sports Direct? Lucky you. If they really don’t matter then hand them owa. I want to see if they fit, it’s a nice bunk mate present.” She commanded. Sophie glared at her in a sense of disbelief. “Not on your life…” she said quietly in a resentful voice. “Come on Cinderella, hand over the goods…” Rose reiterated again.
Sophie’s face scowled, and finding a particle of energy inside herself she yelled “I didn’t fight a bunch of monsters to take this shit!” and lobbed a punch towards Rose, but something was wrong. Her powers were vacant, and unlike her previous use of immense strength and reflexes previously, her attack seemed to flop feebly as if it were childlike, allowing her to dodge it. “That’s cute, but you have a lot to learn sweetie” She laughed, unphased. Then at the brink of an eye she tripped Sophie over backwards suddenly, sending her crashing to the floor banging her head off the bed pole.
“Had enough yet?” She sniggered. “Two choices now… hand over your shoes or eat dirt girl. We can get along, but on my terms. God mind there’s nee way you could have caught and killed so many lads with a wet fish like this. You know what I do believe ya story, but that’s because you’re just too sheltered to know how to make a good lie. So what’s it going to be Soph?” She said seemingly calm and casual as Sophie grunted with deep breath from the floor, her eyes sending daggers furiously yet close to tears…
Elsewhere, a cold blustery wind spun its way up a silent concrete street rested on a bank as a small car pulled up abruptly in front of a semidetached house. A man got out and slammed the car shut sternly as he stepped onto the pavement. He was dressed warmly to match the relatively cold day. Looking upwards at the building before him, he then walked confidently up a garden path before knocking on a creamy white door hard three times. He then stepped back and stroked his stubble on his chain whilst waiting with focused and tense eyes.
The door opened slightly, but nobody was to be seen. A raspy voice then snarled out of the gap “If yer a journalist the answer is no and piss off, yer’ve got the wrong house and I have nowt to say!”. The man looked unimpressed, but did not budge an inch. “I’m nee journalist mate. I’m Micky from the Dun Cow, and I’m here to see you Eddie. I know yer live here because I’ve dropped her off loads of times. I’d like a word with yer.” The man asked, revealing himself to be Micky White. “You’ve got to be kidding me man. I don’t care whether yer the Pope or bloody Jeremy Kyle now sod off I don’t want to know… I don’t give a shit.”
“Ow mate… that wasn’t a request it was an order” Micky said sternly. Before Eddie could slam the door on his face he lunged forwards and kicked the door forwards with his foot opening it widely and catching Eddie in a fright. He then stepped into the doorway. “Now, like I told yer, let’s have a word.” He reiterated. “What’s this like? Home invasion? Do I need to call the police?” Eddie shouted in a distressed voice. “What? Yer mean the same bent bastards who just lampooned your own daughter on bogus charges!” Micky hit back, leaving him speechless. “Come and take a seat” he then added, walking calmly into the living room and sitting himself on the couch. “Get out of me house man!” Eddie growled as he raced in after him.
“What are you going to do about it? Because if you can’t even lift a finger for ya own daughter mate you’ll struggle to get me out of here” Micky scorned at him. “As yer know, I’ve tried calling you dozens of times since yesterday and got the same response. That’s why I’m here. I get it, the news is distressing, but that isn’t yer problem. It feels like you don’t even what to know about it, living in yer arn little world and pretending she isn’t your daughter. I bet the only thing that’s been on your mind is who’ll bring yer bloody cans for her you lazy, feckless arsehole” Micky said sharply, yet cool. “Now sit, and let’s talk”.
He pointed over at the Sofa. Stunned and seemingly lost for words, Eddie reluctantly sat down opposite him on his usual spot. Behind them in an old vase sat the flowers Sophie had been given by Farringdon School the previous week, now wiltering. “So have you even tried to contact her?” Micky then asked, showing a glimmer of good faith. “Nor I haven’t yer cheeky sod, but why would you if she’d caused the same misery in your life that she’s done t’me like. It’s nee surprise to me that she’s ended up behind bars, and god knows if that dodgy stuff was done with you and that China lass.”
Micky bit on his temptation to lob more abuse at him, and instead asked back: “What misery has she caused you like? Care to explain?” He asked thoughtfully. “I dinnit want to hear your moaning, I want answers…” he said calmly. “She’s spent all her life doing nowt but pissing around. She didn’t stick in at school, never cared I lost me job, she doesn’t give a toss about anything and ever since her mam died she’s treat me like some kind of disease, giving me nowt but hatred. She’s more bitter than a sour lemon man and it’s been like that for seven t’eight years. So it doesn’t surprise me one little bit she got herself in trouble. It’s her all owa.”
Micky raged to himself in response, yet again chose to restrain his anger. “I’ll be honest to you, you don’t even know your own daughter…” he said softly. “I can’t believe this bollocks I’m hearing from you. As someone who’s worked with her, had my fair share of differences with her and then accompanied her, you are so wrong about her that if you were anyone else than her dad I’d punch you in the face like. But I’m not here to grief you, I’m here to deliver you the truth about her because you are so lost in your own little comfort bubble neebody else has tried… and that’s what I’ll do now.”
“What truth like?” He asked seemingly oblivious to his point. “Sophie one of the most selfless, thoughtful and persevering people I’d ever met. Your daughter is not only a godsend to other people but a hero, and you’re so up yourself against her that you cannot even see it and didn’t want to hear her story. Sophie was called to be a warrior known as the North Star, and was tasked in unravelling a mystery which seen monsters around this town who are working with criminal gangs, who are linked somehow to Fulton. Three times she saved me. Twice from a goblin like creature called a redcap, once from a ghost in the East End. She had a sense of duty for everyone… even you as much as you angered her.”
“Yer what…?” Eddie responded in disbelief, Micky then continued. “It’s hard for yer to believe it of course, but Sophie was given a duty to save this city and despite all the shit in her life, she embraced it, only now to be framed with lies and charges as the one responsible for the crimes these people did, but the biggest thing that broke her heart inside? That all along, you couldn’t give a shit and didn’t even believe her, never mind being there for her during the worst moment of her life. You’re her dad. It’s clear whatever whatever happened to your wife broke your relationship with her, but it was up to you fix that.”
Micky then reached into his pocket and pulled out a small stone with a North Star engraving on it. “This Stone, if you’ve bothered to see it before… is a sign that Sophie is who she claims she is. Called by Viviane. She is the North Star, the Heir to the powers of King Oswald to protect me… to protect you. It has the power to transform into a magical sword, which is what she saved me with. Now rather than accusing her of smoking shit or whatever, you tell it to my face now that you still consider her to be a worthless, useless liar when she’s done so much you don’t even know about” He said boldly whilst holding it out in front of him.
“Well anyone can paint a pretty pattern on a rock man” he shrugged in disbelief. “I honestly dinnit knar what to say…” Micky looked at him unimpressed. “Ha’way then mate, tell me this, do you love Sophie as your daughter? Can yer tell me that you are content to see her imprisoned away forever for something she didn’t do? This can’t be how you feel..” He asked softly again. Eddie froze, his lips sucked inwards as if his mouth had been firmly zipped shut. Micky then leaned forwards. “You see Sophie as a disappointment, but like I said that’s because you didn’t truly know her or give her a chance. The truth is that as much as she dislikes the way you live your life, the reason she keeps that shitty pub job and puts in the graft is because of you.
Eddie looked downwards in a sense of humility, then a small flick of what appeared to be a tear twinkled in his left eye. “I’m sorry…” he muttered softly. “You’re right. Am wrong about her, and it tears me up to hear you come in here and say this. I never gave her a chance. We fought so much and the heartache of losing Alicia broke me and pushed me into drinking. I just lost myself in the anger and hurt…” He sobbed. “Yes I love my daughter. When she was born she was the most precious thing in the universe to me. I’m sorry…”
All of a sudden, the stone in Micky’s hand suddenly began to shine and grow brightly, emitting powerful white rays of light. He held it upwards and said. “See Eddie, everything I told you is true… Sophie is the North Star and now you realize your mistake, in your name, the name of the father you need to help us save her!” He proclaimed in a triumphant voice. Eddie’s countenance turned from sadness to a bewilderment, his eyes drooping at the mysterious light which seemed to inject him with a feeling of energy and purpose he’d never felt before. “It feels like as if a’ve been dead for years… but I’m alive again…” he said blankly as he fell to his knees.
Meanwhile, back at the prison. Blood dripped from Sophie’s mouth as she struck the floor again, her face bruised and body aching from injury. “Ha’way then pretty girl! You asked for it and voila!” Rose cackled as she booted into her again. “Are you a masochist like? Because yer can’t seem to get enough. At least you know your place like down on the floor. But we can end it now, if ya hand over those shoes” she laughed leaning down on Sophie. “I will never give in to you…” she groaned, pulling herself up. “Alright then, let me give you one more choice” Rose replied in a sinister voice as she removed her own ragged left shoe. She lifted it up and reached inside, pulling back the heel with her fingers to reveal underneath a small retractable pocket knife, which she then removed slowly.
“You can either give me your shoes, or I’m going to cut that goldilocks blonde hair off for my own use. If you choose neither, I’ll cut you up and don’t think I’m bluffing because this is prison darling… every threat is real” Her eyes glared menacingly as she flicked out the razor-sharp pocket knife and began to edge closer to her. Sophie groaned in anger on the floor helplessly, her indignation disguising the fear flowing her through her. “Where’s daddy to save you now then?” Rose smirked as she yanked Sophie’s hair forcefully. But all of sudden, Sophie felt as if a chasm of energy was surging through her, as if it were injecting a burst of life and unexplainable power. “You have one minute to choose…” Rose snapped as she waited over her brandishing knife, unaware what was happening.
But suddenly, a scene flashed before Sophie’s eyes, as if she was seeing herself somewhere else. She beheld a blurry setting which appeared to be her own living room, where two men were present. Upon closer inspection, she recognized the figures as her dad and Micky, their voices echoing as they spoke, with one holding up a blazing white light. “Eddie, everything I told you is true… Sophie is the North Star and now you realize your mistake, in your name, the name of the father you need to help us save her!” she heard him say, which “It feels like as if a’ve been dead for years… but I’m alive again…” Eddie then responded.
Upon seeing it, Sophie was then whisked back to her present surroundings with Rose standing above her waiting in a vicious pose. “Where’s daddy now? He’s right here with me! His soul connects with mine!” Sophie suddenly yelled out to her with immense power before lunging both her feet into Rose, sending her crashing down onto the other side of the room. Enraged, she got up and rekindled the knife in her hand charging at Sophie snarling like an animal. However, she calmly and comfortably grabbed her arm, twisting it effortlessly and disarming her as Rose groaned in agony. “You’re right, we can’t pity ourselves, and I’m prepared to fight for myself too” she said softly, before proceeding to hurl punches into her chest and stomach and throwing her onto the ground, leading to wheeze in pain.
“But fighting for yourself isn’t about bullying and hurting others. What I know is that even though life is shit, that doesn’t mean we can or need to make other people suffer. We have to do good and love goes a long way. It’s scary to be alone, but our actions should inspire others” Sophie then said softly, kneeling down to her. “Like you said, no self-pity. But no self-pity doesn’t mean no pity for others. It’s sort of like me dad, even if didn’t have your situation. He thinks because he had bad experiences the world owed him a favour. I ran after him for years. I hated every minute of it, I resented him, but did I give up on him?” Sophie then explained softly.
“You’ve had a rough paper round Rose. Aye you wanted me to know it’s been worse than mine, but to fight for ourselves means to believe in ourselves, to think there is hope for us… and hope for you.” Sophie then compassionately helped her back to her feet and sat her on the bunk. Rose glanced at her with a look almost in tears. “Thank you…” she uttered. “I am sorry I did that to you, but I have nothing to believe in. You kill or be killed… I don’t know what it’s like to be loved, to have a duty to others when every day is either life or death. That’s why I’m here, and you were never meant to be” she spoke softly in a hoarse voice.
“But how do I even begin to get out of here?” Sophie then asked in frustration. “If I told you everything that happened, you’ll probably think I’m mad…” she laughed awkwardly. “No Sophie… like you said, I need to believe in summit. So start talking luv… I want to hear your story and why it landed you here” she smiled, displaying a glimmer of her confident and forwards self again.
To be continued…