Well well, Friday again (well, as I write this it's only nearly Friday), and here's part six of 'After the Revolution' - but first, a quick recap to refresh the story in our minds...
Whilst testing his newly developed time machine, Alex finds himself in the year 2060. London, his home, has been ripped apart by war, and the country is in the grip of Wilson, a ruthless dictator who bullied his way into power during the British revolution that happened in the late 2030's. As he investigates this strange, yet familiar landscape, he is picked up by the POLA, Wilson's secret police and detained as a potential enemy of the state. He is held in a dark cell with Ralph, a young orphan who is trying to survive in war torn streets London. The officers discover that Alex has no identity chip (a necessity for all citizens in 2060) and take him to see Wilson in person, suspecting that he may part of the counter revolution that is planning to end Wilson's rule.
Back in 2010, Alex has returned from his trip to the future, and his wife is left to deal with the silent terrified shell of a man that he has become. Gradually he becomes more edgy as he tries to come to terms with his experience. Slowly his silence and fear turn to anger and resentment as the marriage begins to fall apart. When Annie tells Alex that she is pregnant, everything changes...
After the Revolution - Part Six
(After the Revolution)
Alex was almost drifting off to sleep when the engine ground to a halt again. After they had knocked out Stoltz and he felt more secure – and alone for the first time since he had arrived - his eyelids began to grow heavy.
When the engine stopped, he was jolted awake and he looked around himself. Suddenly all he could hear was the rain drumming on the steel roof. He looked out of the window. It looked like he had arrived in another courtyard, and four armed guards were running through an archway to meet the vehicle. Within seconds, the huge doors came creaking open again, and a man stepped into the doorway out of the rain. He wasn’t one of the guards who had brought him here - he wore a different uniform and had no cloak. He stood in silence looking at Alex.
The man said nothing for several seconds; he just stood there looking down on Alex.
‘Is this him?’ he said to one of the guards.
Another guard now stood in the doorway. ‘Yes sir.’
The man walked deeper into the body of the vehicle and pointed to Stoltz, who was lying unconscious on the floor. ‘What happened to him?’
‘Stoltz got a little… rambunctious. We had to put him to sleep, sir. You know what he’s like.’
The man turned and looked at Alex as he spoke to he guard. ‘Get him inside, Wilson’s waiting.’ He turned and kicked Stoltz. ‘And get this piece of shit out of my sight.’
Two of the guards who had brought him here bundled into the back of the truck and pulled Alex up by his handcuffs, forcing him out into the courtyard. The rain was so heavy that Alex was instantaneously drenched as he fell onto the concrete. The man with no cloak stepped out and towered over him, his face like stone.
‘Who are you, prisoner?’ he said, half shouting to make himself audible over the rain. ‘Where have you come from?’
Alex lay on the concrete, soaked and shivering, not saying a word.
‘Who are you?’
Alex timidly replied. ‘Are you… Wilson?’
The man broke his stony face and smiled. ‘I’m Sergeant Wilson. Wilson is my father.’
The tiny smile gave way to a look of rage as the man lifted his boot and kicked Alex hard in the stomach. ‘Who the fuck do you think you are, prisoner?’ He kicked Alex again, then stood back. ‘I ask the questions.’ He turned to the guards. ‘Take him inside.’
Alex held his hands to his stomach as the guards dragged him through a stone archway and into the building. It looked like an army barracks. Cloaked guards milled about everywhere, each one of them carrying large guns.
Alex was pushed up a flight of stairs and down a long hallway.
Sergeant Wilson pushed him up against the wall and brought his nose only centimetres from Alex’s. ‘A few rules before you go in. You don’t speak to Wilson unless asked a direct question. Is that clear?’
Terrified, Alex didn’t reply, which cost him a punch in the stomach. ‘Is that clear, prisoner?’
‘When he enters the room you will salute him in the usual manner.’
Not eager to receive another blow to the stomach, Alex agreed. ‘Yes.’
Whet the hell is the ‘usual manner’?
‘Now… go and wait for him.’ The man opened a door into a dark room and pushed Alex in, throwing him on to a wooden seat. ‘He’ll be in shortly.’
Sergeant Wilson left the room, slamming the door behind him. Alex sat in total darkness now, awaiting Wilson’s arrival.
What a mess I’m in. Alex thought about his workshop. How he longed to be sitting tinkering in there; how he longed for normality. He suddenly felt a very long way from home.
He sat there for nearly five minutes, tormented by the darkness, and tormented by memories of his former life, waiting for something to happen. Silently he waited for Wilson, the only name that seemed to be on anyone’s lips in this place.
After a while, he heard a click through the darkness and a shuffling at the other end of the room. He didn’t dare move from his seat. He didn’t dare say a word.
In a terrifying split-second, a blinding light blazed to life in front of Alex’s face. Instinctively snapping his eyes shut, he listened out for any trace of life – footsteps… breathing… anything. He heard nothing.
Just silence. Silence and blinding light. And then, at last, he spoke.
‘I know who you are, you know.’ The words were strong and perfectly enunciated, and they seemed to slip out of nowhere. ‘I know what you want.’
Alex looked around, but the light was so bright that he couldn’t see a thing.
‘I know who you are, boy. And you’re going to tell us everything you know. My name is Wilson… and you will respect me.’
‘Please sir…’ said Alex. ‘I think you have mistaken me for someone else. I have no quarrel-’
Alex felt a blunt object slam hard into the side of his head.
‘I ask the questions, here. Is that clear?’
‘Y… yes.’ Alex’s left temple began to throb as he fought through the pain. He squinted into the light as he heard footsteps approaching him.
‘What is your identification number, prisoner?’
Alex hadn’t the faintest idea how to reply.
‘Answer the question, prisoner.’
‘I don’t have one.’
Wilson laughed. ‘And why is that?’
Alex paused before answering, fighting through the throbbing pain in his head. ‘I was never given one.’
‘But how can that be?’ Wilson seemed to be enjoying the game. ‘How can it be that you were never given an identification number?’
Alex heard the footsteps move to behind the light.
‘They tell me you don’t have a chip either. Did you remove it?’
‘I was never given one.’
‘Well then, if you don’t have a number, then I assume you have a name…’
Wilson paused for a long time before replying. ‘Well, Alex. There are only two kinds of men in London just now who have no ID number and no chip.’ Wilson lowered his face to just above the light, and Alex could now just make out the shape of his jaw line and lips.
‘Dead men and traitors. Dead men and traitors, Alex – and since you are not dead, not yet anyway, I have to assume that you are the latter.’
Alex was bursting to profess his innocence and tell them it was all a big mistake. He knew that wasn’t a good idea, though. Last time it had cost him a blow to the temple.
‘Who is it, Alex?’ continued Wilson. ‘Who is it you’re working for? The Americans? Russia? I will not be made a fool of. Tell me.’
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ replied Alex, timidly. ‘I’m not working for anybody.’
Suddenly Alex felt the tip of a blade pierce his throbbing temple ever so slightly and he froze.
‘Don’t fuck with me. I’ve been at war long enough to know when I’m being lied to by the enemy. You don’t have a chip, so you’re clearly not just some bum or refugee. Tell me now, Alex, or I will plunge this into your brain. Imagine how it would be to die because of a metal spike being pushed… slowly… into your brain.’
Alex had the worst headache of his life, and he sat shaking, feeling Wilson beginning to apply more pressure little by little. ‘I don’t know… I’m not working for anyone. I’m not meant to be here!’
Wilson laughed, pulling the spike from Alex’s head as he breathed a sigh of relief.
‘Of course you’re not meant to be here. You know, The British Empire would be the greatest the world had ever known right now if not for little shits like you. Traitors.’
Out of the light, Alex saw a foot come flying out of nowhere which kicked him in the stomach, which sent him flying, chair and all, backwards onto the floor. Suddenly, Wilson stepped out into the light, towering over Alex. He was a hulking giant of a man, and he pushed his foot into Alex’s stomach. As he pulled a gun and held it in front of him, Alex squirmed as much as his restrained body would allow him. This is it; I’m going to die.
‘I will be respected,’ boomed Wilson.
A shot roared out of the barrel of the gun and Alex felt every muscle in his body tighten. He prepared himself for the end. He couldn’t feel any wound. Is this death? He didn’t feel any different.
Slowly he opened his eyes and saw the large gouge in the floor tile next to his head where the bullet had impacted. He hadn’t even realised Wilson stepping away and walking towards the door. He was shouting to one of the guards.
‘Take him to room ten. Get answers. If we cannot get answers, he will be made an example of.’
‘I know where you’ve been going…’
She heard the voice clear as day and opened her eyes instantly. As she sat up in her bed, Annie caught a glimpse of the clock on her bedside table, displaying the time in fluorescent green numbers. Three twenty six.
He was standing in the doorway with his hands behind his back, looking across at her, silhouetted against the hall light.
She was wide awake. She was pretty sure she hadn’t really slept at all anyway. Her eyes were heavy and red from crying as she strained to see the menacing figure at the end of her bedroom.
‘It’s late, Alex.’ She pulled the covers protectively up to her chin. ‘What do you want?’
‘I know where you’ve been going.’ He repeated himself, his voice emotionless. ‘I know what you’ve been doing.’
‘What have I been doing?’ snapped Annie, forcing confidence as she tried to block out the guilt she was feeling.
He was silent.
‘Go on, what are you going to accuse me of now? Sleeping around?’
She was guilty; she knew it, too. As much as she tried to convince herself that he had driven her to it, or that it was somehow the right thing to do… she was guilty. Two nights ago she had spent the night with another man – the man she had kissed in the nightclub. He had given her his number, and in a moment of weakness, Annie had called him.
‘Go on, accuse me, Alex… but I’m not the one at fault here-’
Alex interrupted. ‘Where were you on Tuesday night?’
‘OUT!’ she shouted. ‘Just out, okay?’ Suddenly tears began to well in her eyes and she began to sob pathetically.
‘So it’s true…’
Annie didn’t reply, she just wept into the bed sheets.
‘How long has it been going on?’
Slowly she felt her guilt and regret turn into anger. He’s ignored me for three weeks! He told me he doesn’t want our baby… why am I in the wrong?
‘Are you surprised, Alex? You haven’t spoken to me for weeks! You… you’ve slept god knows where… I’m a stranger in my own house. You appear one night with your back torn to ribbons and expect me not to ask any questions? I’m sick, Alex. I’m sick of this… You have no idea what you have put me through…’
‘What I have put you through…?’ Alex’s face began to twist into a look of rage. ‘What I have put you through…? You have no idea what I have been through… you have no idea what I have seen…’ He edged closer, one tiny step at a time. ‘You have NO idea what I have been through…’
‘What?’ snapped Annie. ‘What have you been through? Tell me! How the hell am I supposed to sympathise with you when you won’t speak to me? What did you see, Alex?’
Alex stopped walking and stood, saying nothing in the middle of the room.
‘What did you see?’ shouted Annie, sitting up even further in her bed. Suddenly her tone softened as she felt a pang of sympathy. ‘What did you see that made you this way…?’
Alex stood in silence for a very long time before he eventually replied. ‘I can’t tell you. I can never tell you. Never…’
‘Please Alex… I… I need to know…’
Alex’s head shot up and he looked his wife in the eye. ‘But I know… I know, and look what it’s done to me. You can never know… I should never have found out… it’s too much for anyone to know…’ He began slowly walking towards her again.
‘You’re not making any sense, Alex,’ replied Annie, feeling suddenly very intimidated by her husband’s approach.
‘I know… I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen Hell, Annie… I’ve seen Hell, and I don’t want you to see it, too. I’m gonna save you, Annie. I can’t raise a child in this world… I can’t… I mustn’t…’
He was only a couple of feet away from the bedside now, and stood towering over Annie, looking down through red, bloodshot eyes.
‘Alex… what are you talking about? You’re scaring me…’
‘I’m gonna save you from Hell, Annie. I’m sorry…’
Annie ducked away to the other side of the bed just in time to miss the iron bar that her husband had pulled from behind his back and brought crashing down over the bed. She screamed as it missed her face by inches. Terrified, she jumped out of the bed and ran to the other side of the room. My own husband’s trying to kill me. He lurched towards her menacingly, clearly unhappy that he had missed his first shot. Annie looked around her. She was trapped; the window was locked and the only way out was through the door, which he was blocking. She looked around for anything to defend herself with – but saw nothing. She knew she only had one option… try to make a run for it.
In the split second she made the decision, she felt her feet begin to move and make a dash for the door. As she got about halfway there, she felt a sudden moment of hope. I’m going to make it!
That fleeting moment of hope was instantly ripped at the seams as she felt the cold burn of steel hit her in the thigh and her legs began to give way. She came tumbling to the floor and instinctively wrapped her hands around her stomach to protect her unborn baby. As she hit the ground, she saw Alex looking down at her through wild, terrifying eyes.
Annie saw a fleeting flash of silver before everything went dark.