Good Morning all, time for part eight of 'After the Revolution.' Recap below - Enjoy!
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. Wilson orders that Alex is made an example off, and sends him to the infamous Room Ten, where a man called McCarthy, a man who gets answers, waits for him. After suffering torture at the hands of his oppressors, Alex and Ralph escape the prison during an air raid. Now they are free on the streets of London - but they are hunted...
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. Alex becomes violent and in the middle of the night creeps into Annie's room to attack her and the baby growing inside of her...
After the Revolution
‘How’d you get out?’ Stoltz peered up though a tiny window that looked out on to the main street, the amber glow of flames reflecting on his face.
‘The prison was hit,’ mumbled Alex, still in too much pain to function correctly. ‘They blew a big hole right in the wall of our cell.’
‘From the looks of things,’ Stoltz said, pointing to the long scars at the top of Alex’s neck, ‘they took you to see McCarthy.’
Alex looked at the ground and nodded.
Suddenly, Stoltz lurched forwards towards Alex and snapped accusingly. ‘Did they get to you? What did you tell them?’
Alex didn’t reply.
‘They got to you… didn’t they? And you blabbed… you told them everything… you coward.’
Ralph stepped out of the darkness and snapped at Stoltz, protecting his friend. ‘He didn’t tell them anything! For seven days straight they took him to Room Ten, they brought him back battered and bleeding… but he didn’t say a thing… not a thing! He’s no coward!’
Stoltz stepped away from Alex.
‘Who’s the kid?’ he sneered. ‘He your boy?’
Alex looked round at Ralph and smiled appreciatively. ‘He’s my friend.’
‘Well,’ replied Stoltz, turning back towards the window, ‘I guess a man can use all the friends he can get these days.’
‘How did you escape?’ said Alex between pained breaths.
Stoltz grinned, turning back to Alex and squinting across the dark cellar. ‘They can’t keep me for long… no, I’m too good for them.’
‘Were you in the prison when the bomb hit too?’ asked Ralph.
‘Don’t be silly… They never even got me to that place. I’ve been out for days now. When the guards were taking me back to the transport, I beat them both… both at once… and then I was free.’ Stoltz smiled demonically. ‘So I guess it’s true, mate. It’s true what they say. Power… strength…’ He waved his arms in front of his face a conjurer would at the climax of his trick ‘…Freedom.’
‘Thanks for helping us back there…’ Alex paused as he tried to remember the man’s name.
‘Stoltz… yeah. Thanks.’ Alex took a good look around the dark room. ‘What is this place?’
‘This place is safety. For you at least. If you want to survive in London these days, you only have to know one thing. Where to hide.’ He walked back over to the window and surveyed the street above them once again. ‘They’re watching us. They’re always watching us. You have to know where to hide… where to hide, if you want to stay free. They can sniff out a defector… that’s what they do. That’s all they do. That’s all the POLA have ever done.’ He scratched his chin as he looked wistfully out at the collapsing city above him. ‘I remember this place. This street. There used to be a church over there, on the other side of the road… and big oak trees used to swing in front of it. I was only a child then of course…’
Stoltz turned around suddenly, looking up at Alex with his head bowed. ‘After the revolution, everything changed. Wilson took charge, and bit by bit our country began to decay. Do you remember what it used to be like, mate?’
Alex stared vacantly into space, thinking about what it used to be like, as Ralph crept out of the darkness and sought comfort by Alex’s side.
‘Of course not… you can’t be older than forty… you probably weren’t even born until just before the revolution.’ Stoltz took a seat on an oak barrel and stared at the dusty concrete floor. ‘Life was a different kettle of fish before Wilson seized power. I remember Lying on beaches…’ He half laughed to himself. ‘Sunday dinner… my old mum made a blinding roast.’ He looked up at Alex and Ralph. ‘And what do we have now? This…’ he gestured up towards the window, ‘…this burnt out shell of a home? This twisted graveyard of a city? We’re always on the run. We always will be on the run. For ever… for the rest of our life. What the hell is life anyway?’ He lurched forward towards the pair, gesturing wildly. ‘What is death? Does it even make a difference now?’ He looked around the room. ‘We’re out. But we’re only out for now. They will find us. They will find us! All of this… all of this… shit… and for what? For Wilson’s glorious dream of rebuilding the empire!’ He raised his voice to the point of nearly shouting. ‘For power…’ Stoltz saluted, ‘Strength… and Freedom!’ He began shouting at the top of his lungs. ‘Power, Strength, Freedom! Power, Strength, Freedom!’
Alex looked up at the window and heard voices outside as he began to try and calm Stoltz. They’ll find us for sure.
Still Stoltz kept shouting at the top of his lungs, repeating Wilson’s mantra again and again. He began to laugh hysterically as he shouted.
‘Power, Strength, Freedom! Power, Strength, Freedom!’
‘Be quiet!’ snapped Alex in a loud whisper. ‘They’ll hear you! They’ll find us!’
‘Let them come!’ Shouted Stoltz. ‘Let them capture us! Let the game continue! What else is there to do?’
Alex jumped as he began to hear footsteps at the top of the cellar stairs, and immediately fell back into the darkness, pulling Ralph with him. They crept into an alcove buried deep in the darkness at the back of the cellar and watched as two armed POLA officers marched down the stairs and held their guns up at the screaming Stoltz.
‘Put your hands up!’ Shouted the officer in front, as Stoltz jumped forward, and with one lightning fast swing of his fist, knocked the officer to the ground. The second guard lurched instinctively forward towards Stoltz, and as he tried his best to restrain him, Ralph turned to Alex and whispered through the darkness.
‘Now, Alex… now’s our chance… let’s make a run for it whilst he’s got them distracted…’
As soon as the words were out of his lips, Alex felt Ralph begin to slip towards the door. Alex whispered as he reached out to try and stop him.
But he was gone. Alex’s fingertips brushed the edge of Ralph’s coat and his left index finger caught the boy’s red scarf, causing it to stay in Alex’s hand as Ralph fled towards the cellar door. Alex watched the boy, knowing that coming out of the alcove would be a very bad idea, praying that he would make it out safely, and then, just as Ralph made it to the stairs, going apparently unnoticed, Alex heard the loud crash of empty paint tins coming hurtling down the steps behind him.
Suddenly, the guard who had been knocked out rose to his feet and swung around, pointing his gun at Ralph, and Alex snapped his eyes tightly shut as he heard the deafening roar of gunshot echo throughout the cellar.
No… Alex didn’t dare open his eyes for several seconds, and when he did, he felt his heart shatter. He watched as Stoltz pulled at the guard like a wild animal as Ralph’s body lay, lifeless on the cellar steps. Without even realising what he was doing, he felt himself rising to his feet and marching out of his hiding place towards the guards. Whilst Stoltz was busy with one of them, Alex sprang out and knocked the other unconscious. Then he turned to the other guard, who Stoltz already had restrained, and slugged him in the stomach, before wrestling his gun from his hands. ‘What have you done?’ he shouted. ‘He was just a child! What kind of animal are you?’ Alex held the guards own gun to his head and felt his finger tickling the trigger. A demonic smile came across Stoltz’s face. ‘Do it!’ he laughed. ‘Kill him… kill the vile pig!’
Alex looked the guard in the eye, his grip growing tighter on the trigger, tears streaming from his eyes.
‘You deserve to die,’ he said. ‘But I don’t deserve to be a killer.’ And with that, he marched up the cellar steps, gripping Ralph’s scarf tightly in his hand, and headed off in to the night.
It was time to go home.
He sat in the park in the cold morning air, warming his hands in his pockets as he looked across at the glowing blue lights shooting out across the misty dusk from the ambulances and police cars outside his house. He had nowhere else to go… nothing else to do. As Alex sat on the bench, he didn’t even think about what he had done. His mind was clear; he just sat and breathed in the morning enjoying the little freedom he knew he had left.
They would find him. Of course they would find him. And he deserved to be arrested for what he had done; he knew that. He was out, but only for now.
They will find me. Let them come. Let them capture me. Let the game continue… what else is there to do?
In the meantime he sat in the safety of the park across the street from the crime scene. They’ll probably just think I’m some bum. I’ll hide in plain sight. If I want to escape I only have to know one thing; where to hide… where to hide.
For a fleeting second Alex thought about Annie. It was for the greater good. I could not bring a child into this world… and I could not suffer to see my wife go through the pain…
Then he saw them. Dressed in fluorescent yellow jackets and entering through the park gates. His entire body went numb as one of the two police officers pointed at him, and began to jog quickly towards him. Everything slowed down as the two men approached him and shared a nod with each other. They grabbed Alex by the shoulder and as they pulled him to his feet, his vision faded into a wash of colours. He was sure one of them was speaking to him as he felt the cold steel of handcuffs around his wrists, but he hid didn’t reply.
It was for the greater good, he thought.