Main charactersHarold Pierce
Inspector Lou Randall
Dr. Maggie Ford
PC Bill Higgins
PC Roy Charlton
PC Stuart Reed
PC Chris Fowler
Sergeant Norman Willis
The year is 1946 and fourteen-year-old Harold Pierce sits in his bedroom using matches to torture and kill three crane flies he has trapped in a jar. In the same bedroom sleeps his baby brother Gordon. A newspaper catches fire and as Harold grabs for it, a blazing match falls into Gordon's cot. Harold's mother, a prostitute, wakes up and rushes into the room and is burnt alive with the baby. Harold manages to escape, but the left side of his body is horrifically burnt. Harold is committed to Exham Mental Hospital.
It's now thirty-six years later and Harold is set to leave the asylum and get a job.
Inspector Lou Randall, 36, and Constable Bill Higgins drive from Exham to HMP Cornford, a maximum security prison in which up until 5am that day had housed Paul Harvey, 29, sentenced to life imprisonment in 1979 for the murder of two people. Randall meets with Governor George Stokes and psychiatrist Doctor Kevin Hayes. They tell Randall that they think Harvey will return to Exham and that he is possible of killing again.
Paul Harvey is on the run, now six miles away from prison when he comes across three children playing football in the woods. Graham Phelps, 15, Colin Fulton, 15, and his brother Miles, 12, are chased by Harvey, who lets them go so he can eat their lunch they have left behind.
Randall returns to Exham police station and tells his 13-strong police force that they need to search Exham and find Harvey.
Two miles from the town of Exham, Harvey finds a farm and climbs up into the loft of a barn. We learn that Paul's father Richard would come home drunk, then beat and rape his mother. Harvey's mother had walked out when Richard when he was four. Paul then bares the brunt of the beatings. Harvey felt spurned by the people of Exham, thinking that they must think he was the same as his father. When his father died, Paul took revenge and killed two people. In the barn, Paul kills some rats with his bare hands and a sickle he finds. He eats them raw then goes to sleep.
Harold has been given a job as a hospital porter and is taken on a tour of Fairvale Hospital by Winston Greaves, another porter. Harold wanders off and finds the furnace. Winston explains that some of Harold's work will be done in the furnace. Harold spends the afternoon polishing corridors until Winston takes him back into the furnace room. Winston shows Harold how to dispose of things in the furnace, including an aborted foetus. This brings memories of Gordon flooding back to Harold.
Harvey lies in the barn, thinking back to how his mother walked out on him and his father and how his father beat him because he blamed him for it.
Harold thinks over the day's events and dreams of pulling Gordon out of the furnace.
Judith Myers tells her boyfriend Andy Parker that she is still going through with the abortion. She thinks having a baby will interfere with her possible career promotion. She suddenly feels a terrible pain in her stomach but it disappears as soon as it started.
Randall and Higgins search closed-down cinema "The Palace" in the hunt for Harvey. Harvey wakes and makes his way to the farmhouse.
Harold is mopping the floor when he is asked by another porter Brian Cayton to do some work for the pathology department. Once there, Harold is given a trolley covered in a white sheet and asked to dispose of the specimens. He takes the gurney to the furnace room and pulls back the sheet to reveal another aborted foetus. He cannot bring himself to put it into the furnace. Instead, whispering Gordon's name, he puts it into a plastic dustbin beneath some dirty linen. Greaves enters the room but suspects nothing. Harold plans to return to the room later. At around 1am, Harold leaves his hut and makes his way to the furnace room. Carefully, he removes the foetus from the dustbin, wraps it in a soiled sheet and runs back to the fields which are close to his hut. Harold finds a spot near an electricity pylon, digs a hole about two feet deep with his hands and buries the foetus. As he does so, he asks Gordon to forgive him and tells his mother that there will be no more burnings. Once finished, he returns to his hut.
Lynn Tyler makes breakfast for her boyfriend Chris and wonders how she can tell him that she is pregnant. She wanted to marry Chris, and had came off the pill in the hope that falling pregnant would make Chris propose. Over his breakfast, she tells Chris that she is pregnant. Feeling like she has tricked him, he walks out. Later, Lynn telephones her doctor and makes an appointment to see about getting an abortion.
Keith Todd and girlfriend Penny Walsh are having sex in Keith's Dad's car. Harvey watches from some bushes, then slowly makes his way to the car. With a clap of thunder, Keith opens his eyes and sees Harvey staring in at them. He quickly starts the car and drives off, but Harvey has already gone.
Harold has just buried his eighth foetus. As Harold boils some milk and listens to the storm, a bolt of lightning hits an electricity pylon near the hospital fence, wrenching a cable free. The sparking cable falls to the ground, sending thousands of volts through the rain-soaked earth.
Judith Myers has had her abortion and is sitting with Andy Parker in their bedroom. As the storm rages, she feels a sudden unexpected pain. Her abdomen begins to stretch and contract, then a single drop of blood drips from her navel. The pain soon subsides but Andy calls for a doctor.
Harold has another dream about his mother but is woken by Winston telling him that he's over an hour late for work. As they leave the hut together and head for the main building, Winston tells Harold about what happened to the electricity pylon. Harold turns to see the men working in the field by the grave and worries all day that they will find the grave, but they don't.
Late that night Harold makes his way to the grave. Although the men have gone nowhere near the hole, the rain has washed away much of the mud covering the foetuses. He also notices that the positions of three of them are different. As Harold covers the foetuses with a blanket and prepares to re-bury them, three of the foetuses begin to move and try to crawl from the grave. Harold lifts them onto the blanket and takes them to his hut. They begin to talk to Harold inside his head, asking him to feed them his blood. With a butcher's knife he cuts open his own chest and feeds all three on his blood. He then hides them in his kitchen cupboard.
Randall sits behind his desk going over what little he knows of the investigation.
A week has passed since Lynn Tyler had her abortion, but her stomach is still swollen and feels hot. As she lies on her bed crying over the events of the last couple of weeks, the skin on her stomach stretches even more and she feels a stab of pain, but soon she feels normal again.
Harold looks and feels terrible while at work. At a meeting with Winston he almost faints, so Winston helps him back to his hut, telling him to rest for a while. Harold refuses to let Winston into his hut, causing Winston to become suspicious. Harold takes out the foetuses from the cupboard beneath his sink and discovers that they have grown.
Winston waits in his office for Harold to return to work. When there is no sign of Harold, he decides to check up on him at his hut. He knocks on the door but there is no answer, so he breaks in. There he finds Harold unconscious and lying on his bed. Hearing a noise in the kitchen, he investigates but is hypnotised by the foetuses and suffers a massive cerebral haemorrhage.
Harvey stands at the top of a hill, thinking back to how his father had locked him in his bedroom every night. He then makes his way towards the town, sickle in hand.
Ian Logan, a barman in "The Black Swan" public house, is murdered as he makes his way home on foot across a field by a dark figure from the bushes.
Inspector Randall, Constable Higgins, Constable Chris Fowler, Constable Roy Charlton, Sergeant Norman Willis and Dr. Richard Higham are at the murder scene which is just opposite Logan's house where his wife Sally is being comforted by her mother. Higham shows Randall the decapitated body that two school children had found. The head is missing but the body is taken away in an ambulance. 4 o'clock that afternoon, Randall goes over the case. He hasn't looked forward to going home since he lost his wife Fiona and daughter Lisa five years earlier. Constable Stuart Reed brings Randall the coroner's report on Ian Logan. The report, signed by chief pathologist Ronald Potter, reads that the head was severed by a rusty single-edged weapon.
Harold sits in the staff canteen at lunchtime attempting to eat but feeling sick when he does. He can still hear the voices in his head but cannot understand what they are saying. As he gets up to leave, he comes over faint and his plate smashes to the floor. Dr. Maggie Ford watches Harold hurriedly leave the canteen and tells Dr. Frederick Parkin that she has never noticed him before. Later that day Harold is pushing a trolley past the furnace room, when he notices Brian Cayton about to burn another foetus. Harold fails to stop him and overwhelmed by the pain and voices in his head, passes out. Brian goes for help and finds Maggie Ford in a lift. They both return to the furnace room and with the help of another porter, lift the now conscious Harold to his feet. Harold asks Maggie why they burn the children.
Maggie examines Harold in her office. When he removes his shirt Maggie is horrified by all the cuts over his body that she can see are self-inflicted. Harold tells her about his dreams and his past. She dresses his worst cuts and he puts his shirt back on. He leaves, telling the voices in his head that he did not reveal the secret and asks if they will hurt her. Maggie sits in her office, thinking about Harold and what he had told her. She decides to give him two days, after which she would visit him at home.
Judith Myers feels a pain in her stomach and groin and heads for the toilet. There she locks herself in a cubicle and feels inside her vagina. She expects to find blood but sees nothing. As she leaves, she is violently sick in one of the basins and is comforted by workmate Theresa Holmes who soon enters the toilet. At 2pm that day Judith collapses and is taken home, but no one notices her slightly swollen stomach.
Paul Harvey is hiding in the cellar of a farmhouse which he broke into after spotting two policemen. The policeman see that someone has broken into the house but do not find Harvey. In the cellar, Harvey finds and eats jars of pickles and preserves, plus more rats. Still hungry, he heads for the cellar door. Shopkeepers Lyn and Jack Maynard lie in bed awake when Lyn hears the sound of breaking glass. They try to turn a light on, but the power is somehow off. Thinking that someone must have broken into the shop, Jack grabs his shotgun and makes his way quietly downstairs to the phone. Instead of using the phone he goes into the shop. Paul Harvey hides behind a counter, and as Jack makes his way into the shop, Harvey avoids him and goes into the sitting room. Lyn is heading downstairs in pitch black when a flash of lightning lights up Harvey making his way up the stairs. She screams and dashes back upstairs and into the bedroom. Harvey uses the sickle to smash the door in. Jack runs upstairs and fires the shotgun but misses Harvey. Harvey throws himself through the landing window, then gets up and runs away. Jack dials 999.
Randall is called into his office at 6am. Norman Willis tells him that a milkman has found a headless body lying in the road. Willis also tells Randall about the break-in at the shop. Chief Inspector Frank Allen phones Randall and offers him more men in the hunt for Harvey as he's now killed two people in just over nine weeks.
Mick Calvin is driving his wife Diane and two sons Richie and Wayne home when the two boys make their Dad pull over so they can relieve themselves in a field next to a lay-by near Fairvale hospital. As they hear the two boys scream, Mick and Diane rush to where they are, and Mick sees the foetuses that the rain has washed into view. He reports this to a senior doctor at the hospital and thirty minutes later he leads the doctor and three porters to the spot, among them is Harold Pierce who helps put the foetuses into sacks and dispose of them in the normal way.
Harold is called to the office of senior consultant Dr. Kenneth McManus where he is asked if he knows anything about the foetuses. He denies all knowledge but asks why they must be burnt. McManus dismisses him from the hospital. Harold tells Maggie Ford in a lift that he has been asked by Dr. McManus to leave and that they kill the children. Maggie goes to see McManus and tells him that Harold should be taken into care not thrown out on the streets. McManus tells her what Harold has done but Maggie is determined to find out what is wrong with Harold.
Harold packs up his things in the hut then goes to see the three foetuses in his kitchen cupboard which have now doubled in size. Maggie visits Harold's hut and finding the door ajar walks in. She finds a patch of congealed blood on his bed and goes into the kitchen. Seeing fresh blood by the cupboard she investigates, but only sees a mouse, Harold has already left. He has left the foetuses in a room on the first floor of the deserted Exham Mental Hospital.
Lynn Tyler is having sex with a stranger she met at a disco when her stomach pains return. He suddenly withdraws from her, and her stomach stretches. Her vagina is bleeding.
Inspector Randall and PC Fowler visit chief pathologist Ronald Potter in his lab. Potter shows them a mutilated headless corpse that was found in the front garden of a house. He tells them that the head was severed with a rusty single-edged blade, the same as the previous two victims. Randall leaves the lab and meets Maggie Ford as he exits the hospital. She tells him all about Harold. Randall and Fowler drive to the new psychiatric hospital and Randall speaks with Doctor Vincent about Harold. He shows him a photo of Harold but has no idea where he is. The policemen drive back to the police station. Maggie telephones Randall in his office. He tells her Harold isn't a suspect and then asks her out for dinner. Maggie declines but invites him to her flat for a meal she will cook. Sergeant Norman Willis hands Randall the pathologist's report and says that there is still no sign of Harvey.
15 year-olds Debbie Hill, Colette Hill and Belinda Vernon wait for a bus while Paul Harvey watches them from some trees, scythe in hand. Debbie, fed up of waiting heads off to a phone box to call her boyfriend Tony. Harvey stays amongst the trees and follows her. Just as he is about to approach her, a black Capri pulls up so he moves back into the trees.
Harold sits in a first-floor room of the deserted asylum while the foetuses sleep in the corner under a blanket.
Randall visits Maggie for the meal. He tells her that he has lived alone for the last 5 years since his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. After the meal they talk and then make love on the floor and then later in bed.
One of the foetuses is barely able to move, and the voices in Harold's head tell him to feed it his blood, which he does by cutting his own arm. They accuse him of killing his brother Gordon.
Maggie is in the operating theatre of the hospital and Judith Myers is on the table suspected of having an ectopic pregnancy. Her abdomen appears to be pulsating so Maggie quickly begins the procedure. Maggie recognises Judith's name from somewhere.
Harold sits watching the foetuses as their bodies begin to shake.
Maggie continues to operate on Judith Myers Fallopian tube but it appears they are losing her.
Harold is deafened by a scream in his head, the foetuses bodies are turning purple and their eyes are glowing red.
Judith Myers dies as her Fallopian tube bursts open showering Maggie and her team with blood and viscera. Maggie orders an immediate autopsy and as she washes up she remembers where she knew Judith's name - she had performed an abortion on her. Ronald Potter performs the autopsy and tells Maggie that a rupture like that could only happen if the foetus was at least six months old, but this is clinically impossible. Not only that, but he finds no foetus inside, as if the rupture was psychosomatically induced. Maggie tells him that she performed an abortion on Judith less than six weeks earlier.
Police constables Stuart Reed and Ray Charlton are re-visiting a farm under orders from Sergeant Willis in the hunt for Harvey. Reed waits in the Panda car leaving Charlton to carry out the search. Charlton finds excrement and asks Reed to call for backup. In the cellar of the farmhouse Harvey kills Charlton with the scythe. Randall is now on his way. Reed realises something is wrong and leaves the car to investigate. Harvey emerges outside, and after a struggle with Reed and Randall they subdue him. PC Higgins helps Randall to his feet.
Randall and Maggie sit in the lounge bar of "The Gamekeeper" and talk about the days events.
Sergeant Norman Willis and PC Fowler are following the ambulance with Harvey inside on its way to Fairvale Hospital. Ambulance attendant Peter Smart is adjusting the straps holding Harvey down when he wakes up and overpowers Smart and escapes. Willis and Fowler give chase but lose him. Randall is told Harvey is again on the loose.
Harold wanders the deserted asylum reminiscing. When he returns to the room with the foetuses in, one of them stands up and starts walking.
Harvey hides out in a crypt of a church in Exham.
Maggie is telephoned at home by Ronald Potter who tells her there has been another death with similar symptoms to Judith Myers. Maggie returns to the hospital and reads Lynn Tyler's "Notice of Decease" file. Everything is identical to what happened to Judith Myers. She reads the report by the senior porter on the discovery of the buried foetuses. She discovers that Pierce had been tasked with disposing of eight foetuses, but only five were found in the grave. Randall arrives and tells her about Harvey. Maggie tells Randall about the two deaths and the foetuses' graves. Her theory is that the women subconsciously felt guilty for terminating their pregnancies and somehow induced the symptoms of ectopic pregnancies. They both think the idea is ridiculous and talk about it again during dinner at Randall's place. Willis calls Randall and tells him Paul Harvey has been decapitated and they have a witness.
Randall and Maggie arrive at the scene of the murder and PC Higgins leads them to the body. The witness is Mark Rawlings, a youth of about fifteen. He saw a man with a scarred face cut the head off with a knife and put it in a sack or a bag. Randall has a hunch that Harold has returned to where he lived for more than thirty years - the now deserted Exham Mental Hospital, so he and Maggie drive there.
Maggie waits in the car and Randall searches the hospital for Harold, following a blood trail. Harold hears a noise and knife in hand investigates. Maggie has waited almost fifteen minutes and decides to try and find Harold and talk to him, so she enters the hospital through a window. Randall continues to search each room for Harold. Harold hears a noise and hides while Maggie follows some blood on the banisters and discovers the three foetuses. They are eating the brains from the two decapitated heads. They speak to Maggie inside her head and make her see a vision of Randall which soon vanishes. Randall runs towards a staircase and Harold attacks him from behind, stabbing him in the shoulder. Maggie calls out to Randall and after a brutal struggle, Randall leaves Harold unconscious and searches for Maggie. He finds her in the room with the foetuses and approaches them with the knife. He falls to his feet with a terrible pain in his head and sees a vision of Lisa begging him not to kill her. He ignores the vision and kills all three foetuses with the knife. They return to check on Harold but he has gone. Suddenly he appears and knocks out Randall with a lump of wood. Maggie rushes back to the car and grabs the police radio asking for help. Harold smashes in the windscreen as Maggie drives into a wall sending Harold hurtling into it. She reverses then drives forward into Harold and dives clear of the car just before it explodes. She heads back to find Randall as the police arrive.
Randall is put into an ambulance as are the remains of Harold. Maggie asks that the foetuses be taken to Fairvale to be examined then goes back into the deserted hospital, where she enters a room on her own. There she has hidden the surviving foetus, her baby. The third foetus Randall had killed was merely a thought projection. It asks her to hold it.
© Shaun Hutson 1983