Good morning, all! This is the final part of 'After the Revolution' - the (hopefully) thrilling conclusion. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it, and thank you again to everyone who has taken the time to look at it. If anyone would like a hard copy of the book then please contact me through the comments section. Thank you again.
After the Revolution - Part Nine
(After the Revolution)
Alex’s heart raced as he darted through the war torn streets of the city that had once been his home. Desperately running, trying not to think about the agonising pain in his back, his mind set on one thing. Home. He needed to wake up from this nightmare, and he needed to wake up soon. He kept to the darkness, hiding in the shadows of the twisted remains of buildings for fear of being picked up by
As Alex approached the abandoned school where he had left his machine, the fist few flakes of a snowfall began to drift silently through the dark air. Even the snow here looked grey and bleak. It looked polluted… had
Alex looked left and right. They’re watching me… They’re waiting for me… Stoltz was right… they’re always watching. When he was sure that all was clear, he began to climb across the rubble towards the school.
Bernard flipped the switch on the television, stunned that the power was still running, and watched the screen come to life. He had been hiding out in this classroom, next to some huge metal machine for two nights now and this was the first time it had occurred to him to try the television.
No signal, of course. Just static.
He picked up a DVD from the teacher’s desk and looked at the cover. It read ‘
It’s not exactly primetime entertainment, he thought as he slipped it into the player, but it’ll do under the circumstances.
As Alex approached the door to the classroom, he began to hear something coming from inside. Talking. He stood for a minute, listening to the sound through the wall. He couldn’t pick out any individual words, just a mumble of sounds. He knew he had to go in there, people or not. His only chance of escaping this world lay on the other side of that wall; and he had to escape. Slowly he pulled the gun that he had seized from the POLA guard up to his face and turned the corner and into the classroom through the hole in the wall. As he stood on the threshold, pointing his weapon into the dark disused classroom, he saw his machine, illuminated only by the glow of the blaring television that stood next to it. In front of the television, he saw a man sitting with his back to Alex in the teacher’s chair watching the screen. Before he even had time to think about what he was doing, the words bellowed out of his mouth.
‘What are you doing?’
The man jumped up and turned around to face Alex, eyeing the gun in his hand. ‘Whoa, mate… take it easy. I found this place… I found it fair and square. Let’s not do anything rash.’
Alex coughed, and snapped through pained breaths. ‘Get out of here. Now.’
‘Come on mate,’ replied the man. ‘We all need a place to hide these days… I found this place… Just let me be.’
‘You found this place… but I’ve got the gun. Now move.’ Alex began to walk towards the man, any fear he would have once felt now soaked in adrenaline. ‘Move!’
The man began to walk towards Alex, shuffling towards the other end of the room with his hands raised. ‘Okay, mate,’ he said, ‘you’ve got the gun.’ When he had passed Alex, he began to run and darted out through the hole in the wall.
As Bernard stood on the mound of rubble and looked out towards the decaying city, he shivered and pulled his collar around his neck, anticipating another night of the bitter cold. He turned back and looked only once towards the school.
Alex felt comforted to see his machine. It was something comforting… something he knew; something from his world. He glanced briefly at the television screen as he leapt into his machine, ready to return home. He pulled the door closed and prepared to leave, but as he tried to power up, something was wrong. Shit. It wouldn’t go. It couldn’t get enough power up. He leapt out of the machine, barely even noticing the searing pain in his back anymore to assess what the damage was. As he circled the machine, he suddenly felt a terrible feeling of claustrophobia. He felt trapped. Would he ever return home?
Then he saw it. One of the side panels had come loose and it looked like something had been chewing the wires. Stupid bloody rats.
He immediately dropped to his knees and began to repair the damage as best he could with no tools. His heart began to pound in his chest as he anticipated being stuck in this world forever. As he worked, he listened to the television that was still blaring in the corner of the room.
‘… and then thirty years ago, the world changed forever, when Wilson led the Great Britain to victory, defeating the Conservative government who were crippling the country, and restoring power to the people in the British Revolution. But our great leader came from humble beginnings. He was born in
As Alex worked, he glanced up at the screen. As he did, his blood turned to ice and his stomach turned to lead. There, on the screen, looking out through her big dark eyes, was the face he had seen all week, every time he closed his eyes. Looking down at him from the television screen was his wife. He froze and stared intently at the screen.
Alex was numb as he replayed what he had just heard again and again in his head. Tears began to stream down his face. All of this… It’s my fault… It’s all because of me.
Still he kept tweaking at wires, trying to repair the loose connections as his world crumbled around him.
At last he finished, and unsure if the thing would even work, he replaced the panel and began to climb back in. He clutched Ralph’s scarf tightly as he pulled the door closed, taking one last look at the terrifying nightmare that he had travelled to, and began to power up the machine. This time it felt different, he could feel that it was working better. He set the coordinates for the exact point in time that he had left from and took a deep breath as he prepared to engage. Suddenly there was a flash of blinding light, and a deafening roar. Alex snapped his eyes tightly shut and tensed every muscle in his body as the machine began to shake underneath him.
Then, just as quickly as it had come, the light disappeared and Alex tentatively opened his eyes. All he could see was smoke; thick smoke. Did it work?
With the little strength Alex had left, he pushed the hatch door open and fell on to the ground. He lay on the floor, shaking and taking deep, exhausted breaths, trying his best to see anything through the smoke. Then he heard a voice, slipping through the grey fog.
As Alex turned, he looked up and saw her, and just before he lost consciousness, he managed to speak.
‘Annie? Is that you, Annie? I… I’m back…’
The trial didn’t last long. It was pretty much unanimously agreed that he was guilty. Even Alex knew that. And then there he was, back in a cell again. Back in the darkness, only this time he didn’t have Ralph by his side to comfort him. Ralph wouldn’t even exist for another forty years. Forty years… and it seems like just yesterday.
He looked up at the grey walls that towered around him; it could be fifty or a hundred years from his own time. How would he know? There is no way to keep time in this cell. They thought that he was a madman… they thought he was dangerous… so they threw him in here for the rest of his time on this earth. What did time really mean, anyway? It could be the very dawn of time or the end of the world and it would be all the same to Alex. No windows… no contact. They’ll turn me into a madman…
But he had done what was right. He had done what needed to be done. They didn’t know it… they would never know it… be he saved them all. Now there will be no revolution. He thought about that seed; that seed of evil that was growing inside his wife. He had stopped it – for the greater good.
He laughed as he found himself muttering the same three words over and over to himself.
Power… Strength… Freedom.
Power… Strength… Freedom, Power… Strength… Freedom.
Not anymore. He had saved them all… and all it had cost was his life and freedom.
How had this all begun? Alex though back to his messy workshop and the device. Only a matter of weeks ago it had meant everything to him… But now it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. Alive or dead… free or incarcerated… none of it mattered anymore.
How could a heap of metal cause so much trouble?
Some things are too great for man to cope with. No man should know what lies ahead. It’s enough to send him mad.
Alex jumped as the metal shutter on his cell door screeched open and a long shaft of light poured into the black room. A steel food tray was pushed through the opening, and the guard on the other side hissed through.
‘Hey,’ he said, sneering, ‘I just thought you’d like to know… she’s gonna be fine. Your girl? The one you beat up? She’s gonna be fine… you failed, you piece of shit.’ The guard slammed the shutter closed and cell was once again in darkness.
No… It can’t be true. He had left her for dead. He thought she was dead. All my work could be in vain! The baby couldn’t survive… It can’t have.
Alex stood up and began to pace the tiny cell, hoping and praying that all he had done had not been in vain; that he had stopped the revolution.
He began to get frustrated and started banging on the wall, shouting at the top of his lungs to anyone who could hear him.
‘You don’t know what you’re doing! He’ll kill us all!’ he banged louder on the steel door. ‘Everything will change after the revolution! Can you hear me? Can you hear me you vile pigs? Power! Strength! Freedom!’
* * * * * *
‘It’s a miracle!’ said the nurse, turning to her colleague, who was washing her hands. ‘Have you ever seen anything like it in all your days?’ She looked down as she placed the newly delivered baby into the incubator. ‘He’s a little fighter.’ As she turned around to take a wristband from the highest shelf, she caught a glimpse of the mother, lying on the bed with a sheet over her head. ‘What a shame the poor soul lost his mother, though… what did she say her name was?
The other nurse wiped a tear from her eye as she dried her hands. ‘Annie. Her husband beat her up - nearly killed her. They locked him away for a very long time. It’s a miracle she survived long enough to deliver this little fella.’
‘…what a shame.’ The nurse pulled a tiny wristband from a box on the highest shelf and flipped the lid from her pen and sat poised. ‘What’s the mother’s maiden name?’
The other nurse checked her notes and looked up.