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Savage Playground

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Thailand is a beautiful country, and there are some beautiful people. But not all. This tale follows the lives of two 'savage' children, and savage is not the correct term. Innocent killers are more accurate. They have skills and abilities not expected in kids so young. No doctor could predict the outcome of their odd entrances to the world. They have the same father and different mothers. The father wanted exceptional offspring. Did he get his wish? He didn't live long enough to find out. They are different. When they find themselves alone, they are cared for by a woman with a doubtful history in a French circus. Could she be that old? An English couple is supposed to be enjoying a second honeymoon, but folk around them lose body parts. Where are the children?

Chapter 1 - An Advanced Child

An awkward situation caused Camilla's cheeks to flare. She asked the questions, not sitting like a teenage schoolgirl stumbling over her answers to a man.

'This is my daughter. Her name is Philippa. Use it. Do not treat her like a ragamuffin street urchin. She will have the best. '

Camilla didn't get embarrassed, but answering his questions started uncomfortably, and now her blood was bubbling in her veins. She scraped the cloth on her seat, gripping tight enough to crush the wooden frame, her eyes knifed his face.

'How is she your daughter? I thought you only liked other girls?'

'Well, yes, that is true if it is your business. I have a wife, or to be accurate, a live-in girlfriend.' Camilla twitched as she studied her leather-clad knees. I thought we were discussing Philippa. Not me.'

The doctor's eyes widened. He stroked his chin and waited for her following words.

'She had a strange entrance to this world.'

'Go on.'

'My uncle was a disturbed man. He had a dream.'

'What was that dream?'

'He was an extremely wealthy man. He had a huge business.'

'Is it true to say that his business was illegal?'

'It is. He was a drug dealer. Not just a dope merchant, but the best and biggest producer of pills and powder in Asia, not some side-street hustler. He was a visionary. Have you ever heard of "ice", and I don't mean the lumps you put in your gin.'

'Please understand, during my career, I have dealt with addicts of all kinds. In what way was your uncle ahead of his time?'

'He invented new highs for his customers.'

'So he was a chemist?'

'Not really, at least, not by training. My uncle had worked for the British Foreign Service. Read into that whatever you wish.'

Oddly, Camilla was now enjoying talking about the man she admired.

'Please, go ahead, tell me more about him.'

'He paid or coerced experts into conjuring up concoctions for him. You know that Thailand is the home of some natural "high" giving plants, marijuana and opium poppies; for example, these were "improved" by adding certain chemicals or altered to make the pills cheaper to produce, but they were also more addictive drugs. He could develop things like a forerunner to "yaa baa" with an expert chemist beside him. He became wealthy.'

'Tell me about his dream?'

'He wanted a genius child. Somebody who could carry on his great work.'

'Are you saying he is the father of your child?'

'Yes, he was. But not in the normal way. He was not a pervert, at least not with me.'

'How so?'

'He made me impregnate myself with his sperm. I had moved to his home and was presented with a fridge filled with little jars.'

The psychiatrist leant back in his chair, rubbing his eyes, then giving his glasses a swift dust, somehow hoping his worries would disappear as quickly.

'How did you feel, allowing someone to use yourself like that?'

Camilla sighed, 'I felt fortunate. My part of the deal was to be his partner. I mean business partner. A share in all he had, the businesses, the property, everything. Plus, it was all willed to me.'

The bright, immaculate office suddenly felt tawdry to him. He was picturing Philippa playing with friends her age dancing in the sun.

'What chance has this poor girl got?' he said, polishing harder on his spectacles.

He carried on with his interview, 'Am I correct in thinking it was not long for you to wait before your uncle died?'

'Excuse me? I was not sitting around waiting for him to die.'

'No, no, I didn't mean it like that.'

'To answer the rudely formed question. Not long, just a few days, when he was murdered by the British Foreign office working alongside the Thai Special Forces.'

The psychiatrist and the girl's mother watched Philippa through a strengthened window. She was sitting still and silent in her locked and padded room. The glass was one-way, but to the doctor, it felt like Philippa could see what the adults were doing. Her eyes followed the doctor as he cleaned his spectacles. He then peered at Camilla, and it was as if she knew the thoughts in her daughter's mind.

The child's room smelled strange; years of cleaning fluids and buckets of children's vomit seemed to have soaked into the plasterwork. No amount of scrubbing could shift.

The adjoining adult's room didn't smell bad, with wood polish and air freshener. It was comfortably fitted out. No desks but a cabinet, two sofas and an easy chair with a central coffee table, all rarely used. Everything is in its place. Three oil paintings were hooked on the wall, painted by young patients. Sadly or oddly, depicting various forms of mental torture. They were displayed to remind the doctor he was working to rid his young patients of these demons.

'My job is to advise the court's judgment on the way forward in this sad case. You may or may not know that children under seven years old are not liable to criminal punishment in Thailand.'

'So what is all this for?'

'Her crime was murder. She would probably get a life sentence or the death penalty if she were an adult. The judge wants my report to be kept on file. That file may or may not be used in the future. That is why she is here.'

Camilla studied the doctor by brushing her long hair behind her ears, forcing him to divert his gaze from her tight leather jeans. They uttered no other words. The meeting was over. Camilla was half out of the door before she spoke again.

TIn the secure hospital the previous day, just a week before Philippa's fourth birthday. The young girl walked around in circles in the psychiatrist's office.

'Now, what is wrong with her?' moaned an experienced nurse.

The doctor entered the room as Philippa stopped; she turned to face the man. He walked towards her.

'What is it, dear? There is nothing to be afraid of.'

He knelt on one knee, feeling he had more control over his younger patients if he was eye to eye. His arms were gently resting on her shoulders.

In an instant, her nails clawed his face. His glasses saved his eyes.

The doctor and the nurse hastily shut the door. Settling back in his office, he padded blood on his cheeks; it was time to decide. 'I must talk to her mother,' he mumbled.

He cleaned his glasses for the third time in twenty minutes. In his thirty years of experience dealing with disturbed young children, Dr Changwat had never encountered anyone like Philippa.

He telephoned the girl's mother. He would judge how to proceed after meeting Camilla.

Camilla would win no prizes as the mother of the year, but she cared about her girl. However, there were things she cared about more—her good looks, her money and her "wife", to name three.

She had carried the baby for the entire term; it was a normal birth. Camilla had thought and researched about a cesarean, being worried about ugly stretch marks. The paediatrician had recommended a C-section; he earns more that way. But, as usual, Camilla went against advice. Hence, a natural birth. All went perfectly, and no stretch marks. In fact, for seven months, she didn't even show. For the last six weeks, she was proud to be pregnant. She even rubbed and spoke to her bump. That all changed just three days before the due date. She had nightmares; Camilla became scared of the unborn child.

Camilla had never been afraid of anything or anyone. But, recently, she had set fire to a Thai gang member who had gotten too close to her. Her mind drifted to the evening while filling her pride and joy motorbike with petrol. The mob leader made his wishes clear by stroking himself exaggeratedly. Camilla smirked as he approached. Nobody laughed at him. He lunged forward, the petrol hose flicked gas at him, and his half-smoked cigarette ignited the juice. She motored off with a full tank. Her memories tumbled over each other. She had drowned a German, who had tried to r*p* her in a hotel's bath. So, why did she feel so uncomfortably unsettled? How could an unborn baby have this effect?

They both shook off recent thoughts, back to the present.

Camilla was studying the scratches on the man's face as she rose to leave. Eventually, on reaching the door, the silence was broken.

'I am sorry for what Philippa did. Is that the only reason you asked to see me?'

'It surprised me, I admit. I should have been more careful. But, no, that was not why I needed to meet with you.'

He reeled off a list of very personal questions. He had been holding off on asking.

She collected her bag from the coat rack.

'Excuse me, doctor; I thought you were supposed to be examining my daughter? But, then, why all the questions about me?'

'It's perfectly normal. I need to find out as much as possible about her life. That's all. Please don't get all defensive with me.'

Camilla started to re-enter the room. His glasses were pushed to the bridge of his nose.

'It's not normal to lock a three-year-old child in a padded cell!'

'No, but it's not normal for a three-year-old girl to commit such a crime!'

He was not talking about scratching his face.

Camilla didn't want to hear any more. She continued preparing to leave by putting her jacket over her arm, then walked out without saying a word to the psychiatrist. Instead, he filled in a report about the meeting.

The first thing Camilla did after rushing away from the hospital was she rang her "wife" from her hotel room.

'How did it go?'

Camilla kicked her shoes off, scratched her ankles, and then flopped onto the king-size bed, 'Darling Sloopi, I need you with me. I hate all this.'

'I'll be on the next flight to Bangkok.'

Camilla and Sloopi had lived together longer than Philippa had been alive, but not much longer.

Following the death of Philip Roger Payne, Camilla's uncle, the women took over his whole empire. Previously, Camilla had worked as a reporter for an English-language newspaper in Bangkok. Sloopi had been a Tourist Police Officer. Both girls were capable and devious, well suited to the drug business they now ran with all the ruthlessness it needed.

One of their dealers was mistaken to think that as a man, he was too clever and too tough to be intimidated by two newbie female bosses. So he refused to pay what he owed. Instead, they allowed him to leave their office with a cheery wave.

That night he was bragging to his fellow gangsters. Now he was the "c*ck of the walk", and how he would change things.

The following morning they found him pegged face down in a paddy field, drowned in three inches of water. They brought no charges; the police were happy to be rid of this man. The rest of Camilla's customers paid on time.

Philippa knew her mother was Camilla, she accepted her mother's guiding role, but she treated Sloopi as nothing more than a hired hand. But, of course, Sloopi didn't like it; Camilla hadn't even noticed.

Neither Sloopi nor Camilla had raised a child before, and they had never had much to do with children; they didn't know that Philippa was a very advanced child. She could already speak English and Thai and understood much more than she let on.

Chapter 2 - Child's Play

AS SOON Camilla had left her daughter, the doctor grabbed his notebook; marching to Philippa's room, he asked her a question tapping at his over-active mind. He had been reading the court transcripts of a case in the north of England, where two ten-year-old boys tortured and killed a three-year-old boy. This is a massive case in the UK and around the world. But, sad as it was, the doctor's mind was fixated upon the fact that the boys watched the "Childs Play 3" video, and in both the film and in Liverpool, the killers splashed themselves in blue paint. Was there a link?

'Excuse me, young…'

'No, you excuse me. Why do you keep cleaning your glasses? Do you have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? And, before you ask, no, I don't watch childish movies.'

The tortoise shell framed spectacles was already in the doctor's hand to prepare for a quick dusting. Open-mouthed that such a young child would know the medical terms of me


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