Natalya, Emily, May, and Morag did not expect to have visitors, یا that anyone would ever stumble on their secret location. No one ever came out here, and no one had ever had any reason before to think that there might be a house tucked into this corner of the woods, much less to try and find the place. Besides, even if someone did manage to stumble on their house, the place looked far from inviting. It was made of rough grey stone, twisting towards the sky like some misshapen castle, and the rooms inside had a most confusing layout for anyone who didn’t live there and already know the place, full of trapdoors and staircases and rooms hidden within other rooms.
So it was quite a surprise when the four women were sitting drinking چائے in their باورچی خانے, باورچی خانہ – plain white and sparsely furnished, save for four potted plants coloured yellow, green, blue, and بنفشی, وایلیٹ – and they heard the front door open and close with a determined bang.
May set down her چائے کی پیالی, ٹیاکوپ sharply, rattling the saucer. “What was that?” she demanded, her voice sharp and almost accusatory.
“Someone in our house.” Emily’s eyes darted round the room as though looking for a hiding place. “I thought no one could find our house!” She stared accusingly at Morag.
“Don’t look at me,” Morag replied icily. “You know as well as I do that no one has ever found us here.”
“You’d be surprised what we can find when we put our minds to it,” came a young female voice from the باورچی خانے, باورچی خانہ doorway.
The four women stood up sharply, shocked even مزید to see that their uninvited guests, these intruders, were mere teenage girls, four of them, their arms folded and their faces set with anger and determination. One of the girls held on to the leash of a large dog, who growled deep in his throat as he saw them. Emily took a step backwards.
“Now tell us,” the girl holding the dog demanded. “Where are the Beatles?”
Emily took another step back and made sure the other women were in front of her before replying. “Why should we tell آپ where our boyfriends are?”
“They’re not your boyfriends.” Emma took a step forward, and was pleased to see Emily look shaken. “You just pretended that so آپ could hurt them. We weren’t fooled سے طرف کی that.” There was actually something very satisfying about finally confronting her rival. Emma took another step, so that Emily’s fellow women were no longer between her and Emma. Emily pressed herself against the باورچی خانے, باورچی خانہ counter, but could get no further away from Emma.
“Honestly, Emily,” snapped Natalya, seeing this, before she turned back to the other girls. “And what if we did do something to them? They deserved anything they might have gotten.”
Jenna clutched Butch’s leash so hard her knuckles went white. “If آپ don’t tell me what آپ did to him right now, آپ ugly, evil witch, I’ll....”
Butch raised his hackles and growled. He may not have known exactly what was going on, but he could tell that these four strange women were Bad People. And he knew Jenna didn’t like them, and that they didn’t like her, which was مزید than enough for him.
“You’ll what?” sneered Natalya, yellow-clad arms folded across her chest. “Scream at me like آپ do at those insufferable concerts?”
“Easy, Butch,” Jenna soothed. “Not yet.” She turned back to Natalya, her green eyes glittering fiercely. “No,” she replied easily. “I’ll sic Butch on you.”
Emily let out a noise that might have been a small scream, apparently involuntarily.
“Pull yourself together, Emily!” snapped May. Turning back to the teenagers, she said, “Sic your silly dog on us, then! I’m sure you’d love it if we announced that a pack of jealous teenagers broke into our house and attacked us because they couldn’t stand their beloved heartthrobs choosing someone other than you.” She put a mocking emphasis on “beloved heartthrobs”.
“How could you!” cried Susan. “How could آپ say that when آپ were the ones who tricked our boys, and kidnapped them, and did – what did آپ do to them!” she cried almost hysterically, and without even knowing she was going to do it, launched herself at May.
May tried to hold her off, but even though she was taller, she was not prepared to deal with the flying fists of a desperate teenage girl fuelled سے طرف کی her love for Paul McCartney.
Karen smiled, decidedly pleased سے طرف کی this turn of events. “You might as well just tell us,” she کہا evenly. “We won’t stop fighting آپ until we get what we want.”
“Exactly the talk I’d expect from a teenager,” Morag remarked. “Selfish – possessive – and wearing entirely too much makeup, too....”
“At least I have مزید to wear than an ugly suit and hat,” Karen replied evenly. “You know – I don’t understand how George fell for آپ in the first place. آپ did trick him, didn’t you?”
“Ridding the world of the men who encourage people like آپ is the best thing we could have done,” کہا Morag coolly. “Someday the world will thank us....”
Karen’s dark blue eyes flashed. “Did آپ kill them?” she demanded, and suddenly, she launched herself onto Morag, wrestling with the older woman, tearing at her purple sleeves. “Did آپ kill him, you....”
Butch was barking loudly, clearly eager to get in on the action. Jenna smiled at Natalya. “It would be cruel not to let Butch in on the fun, don’t آپ think?” she remarked. And she let go of his leash.
Butch was on Natalya in a matter of seconds, biting at her face and throat, knocking her off her feet with his sheer weight. Natalya screamed. Jenna leaped into the fray, pulling on Natalya’s hair to keep her face out of Butch’s immediate reach. “Not yet, Butch!” she ordered. “She has to tell us where Ringo is first.”
In all the chaos, Emily’s hand slipped stealthily towards a drawer, and her fingers closed around a sharp باورچی خانے, باورچی خانہ knife. Edging along the length of the wall, she had nearly got her hand on the knob of a small door that looked like it led to the pantry, when she saw Emma’s brown curls flying at her.
“You’re mine,” Emma informed her. Her fist flew upwards, catching Emily on the jaw. “That’s for taking John away from me....”
She wrestled with the older woman, who was so shocked at being attacked سے طرف کی this young upstart that she nearly forgot that she was armed. With a mighty wrench, Emily spun round so that Emma was pressed against the wall, and levelled the چھری straight at her throat.
“Enough,” she hissed. “Stop this foolishness now, یا I won’t wait this time for آپ to die on your own like we did with the Beatles.”
Only one part of all this registered with Emma. Her brown eyes flickered with hope. “The Beatles – so آپ didn’t kill them! I knew they had to still be alive!”
سے طرف کی this time, though, the other girls had begun to notice what was happening. Slowly, Karen stopped punching Morag, and Susan stopped attacking May. As much as they hated these women, they couldn’t risk Emily killing their new friend. Seizing their advantages, May put an iron grip on Susan’s arms, and Morag locked her arm securely about Karen’s neck.
Natalya, however, was still in a spot. Jenna had jumped back from the attack when she saw what was happening to Emma, but Butch was a dog on a mission, and sensing the increased danger, without Jenna to stop him, he was steadily making a bloody mess out of Ringo’s ex-girlfriend.
“Call off that – thing!” shouted Emily, trembling visibly as she glanced backwards at the enormous dog. “I can’t stand animals,” she added, turning quickly back to Emma before she could try anything. “Nasty, filthy things.”
Jenna ignored her, staring in horror at the way things were going. How could she and her new دوستوں have so quickly lost their advantage?
“Enough of this,” announced May icily. “Let’s stick them in the other cellar before they have a chance to do anything about our plans. We’ll come back for them in three weeks and toss their bodies out a ways. Everyone will think they got lost in the woods and died of starvation.”
Susan’s eyes widened and she struggled harder against May’s grip. The only thing مزید terrifying than that thought was the thought that she would have failed Paul... that maybe no one else would manage to find him....
Still holding Emma at knifepoint, Emily manoeuvred her away from the pantry door and turned the little knob. The door swung open, revealing not a pantry, but a gaping dark hole that led down, down, down without any other visible entrance یا exit. It was a hole, as simple as that – a hole built into the foundation of the house, that being stuck in for too long would spell doom.
May stepped forward, lifting Susan clear off her feet as she forced her closer and closer to this hole. Susan kicked and struggled, but could not get enough leverage to break free. They were almost at the entrance....
“Call off this dog!!!!!” shrieked a high-pitched, hysterical voice, coming from Natalya, still pinned beneath the angry Butch, who was out for blood.
May turned round, accidentally letting Susan’s feet touch the ground. Taking full advantage of this momentary gift, Susan struck, twisting round in an attempt to get free of May’s grasp, and her elbow struck her full in the stomach. May gasped, stumbled, and lost her balance, letting go of Susan and tumbling down into the deep hole, her screams abruptly ending in a sickening crunch at the bottom. In the confusion, Morag’s grip on Karen loosened, and Karen whirled round and punched her in the stomach as hard as she could, sending her tumbling across the room and flying into the pantry entrance, her head hitting that دیوار with a sharp crack before she tumbled down the rest of the way to شامل میں May.
Emily’s eyes darted round the room like a trapped animal’s. Her side was suddenly losing. She jabbed wildly with the knife, making to break free and run towards the nearest exit. Emma grabbed her wrist to stop her escape attempt, Emily twisted round to push her away – and suddenly gasped, staring down in horror at her chest, where a small patch of red was rapidly spreading, staining the green. Somehow in the struggle, Emily had run into her own knife.
Emily collapsed to the floor, as Butch stepped away from the maimed, unmoving form of Natalya. Emma cautiously peeled herself away from the wall, as Jenna picked herself up from where she had been crouched on the floor. Susan took a small step away from the deep hole, and all three picked their way across the bloody floor to rejoin Karen, who was standing in the middle of the mess looking around with distaste, distaste that was مزید directed at what the splattered blood was doing to her shoes than at the fate of the women.
Emma took a deep breath. “That’s the end of them,” she whispered, “isn’t it?”
Karen nodded slowly. “They won’t be waking up again.”
Susan gave a great shuddering breath, and began to cry. Karen made to put an arm around her, but Butch got there first, giving her face a huge lick with his long tongue, all thoughts of viciousness forgotten now that the threat was removed.
“It’s all right,” soothed Karen, reaching around Butch to give Susan a one-armed hug. “It’s over. They’re gone.”
“And good riddance to them,” added Jenna fiercely.
“And now we know for sure the Beatles are alive,” added Emma, beginning to smile.
Susan lifted her head, giving a shaky, watery smile of her own. “We do, don’t we?”
Karen nodded. “And now that we know we won’t be stopped سے طرف کی anyone....”
Emma grinned hugely. “Let’s go find them and let them out.”