Thanks for the comments and feedback following the posting of chapter 1 of my book. Chapter 2 is below and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Hope you enjoy it.
Mid-August – Chester
It had been a month since the attack on the old lady that shocked most of Britain. The fact it was leaked by a blog embarrassed most of the hacks still left on Fleet Street and even more so the nouveau-scribes in Canary Wharf.
The Home Secretary condemned ‘The Day Today’ for putting the story out there amid pressure on the Government for standing seemingly idly by while Britain was gripped by all too regular violent interludes.
People were scared. They were scared and angry that nothing was being done. Public visits by any Cabinet Minister were met with derision and speeches received with a chorus of boos. The election could not come soon enough as the majority of the public had lost faith in the current Government.
David Lawson had been campaigning on the back of a promise to rid the streets of these feral youths. The gangs had been occupying the town centres at night up and down the country making it a no-go zone for good, honest and hard-working members of society.
He was sick of it and had been particularly vocal throughout his meteoric rise in the Party.
He was the epitome of an upper middle class upbringing and spent his younger life enjoying the bounties of the family’s rural spread in Buckinghamshire. He trusted his instincts and was prone to making quick decisions. Sometimes these worked in his favour and other times he created himself a difficult challenge.
His father was a local businessman made good through some colourful deals with overseas suppliers. As the business grew, the older Mr Lawson pursued a career in politics but could never shake off the uncertainty of his business dealings to carry favour in the party.
David was determined to go one better and firmly plant the family name in the annals of political history.
His disgust at anti-social behaviour had endeared him to the voting public and it was a natural progression for him to represent the Party against the much-maligned Government. He hadn’t missed a chance to criticise the Prime Minister for his misgivings and tonight, he was launching the Party’s platform upon which they would aim to secure victory in the upcoming election.
“I want to say this to the people of Britain….” a purposeful pause extended beyond the sentence to let the words sink in for effect and the gathered crowd soaked it up… “No more do we have to sit in our houses protected by our doors and gates.”
“No more do we have to live under this self-imposed curfew!”
Cheers and audible approval emanated as the puppet master started to control his willing audience. “No more do we pray our children return safely from their social escapades because today is the first day on the road to reclaiming these streets and taking back our towns!” rapturous applause erupted.
“…and I promise you this, I will not stop until this wonderful country of ours is restored to the green and pleasant land we all know it to be.”
“So join me in this upcoming election to remove these statues of uncertainty… statues of mediocrity that pointlessly flap around Whitehall and have done nothing but drive your country into the ground ever since they were elected and know this…” dramatic pause utilised to maximum effect…
“Know this… that we can make that change… FORWARD TOGETHER.”
The campaign slogan hung in the air and wrapped itself around the watching masses. They were completely lost in the moment and before long were repeating the words back in an almost chant-like fashion, fists punching the sky, smiles on faces that hadn’t witnessed such a feeling of hope for far too long…
As if he’d just scored the winning goal in a World Cup Final, David Lawson raised his hands in celebration. He’d just won the first of many towns on his campaign trail.
A few streets away from the political event, a young girl was riding her bike in the concreted area between the garages belonging to the apartment block she lived in. She smiled to herself as her mind was lost in the happiness she felt at that very moment. The world was a wonderful place.
She’d lost track of time and was sure her mum would be shouting down for her any minute to come up for her tea. She wanted to use the last few minutes of playtime to continue feeling the majesty of motion.
She’d got the bike for her birthday from her mum’s friend Uncle Brian and had pretty much ridden it every spare moment she had since then. Dad was gone and Uncle Brian made mum happy so, as long as he keeps buying such amazing gifts, she didn’t mind.
The girl turned 180 degrees at the far end of the garages by the fence and started to make her way through another lap of her own private playground. As she neared the entrance to the road she notice her lace was untied.
She stopped, put the stand down on her bike and moved on to rectify her open lace. Under, over, under, over, she repeated in her head what her mum had taught her… Then suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a third shoe appear. It was bigger than hers and she looked up…
A group of six older girls were standing there, two were holding her bike and one was towering over her camera phone ready to capture the scene.
The little girl rose to her feet only to receive a punch to her face. She fell instantly and the group starting kicking their victim with a hatred and fury she’d never experienced before.
The kicks continued on and on. It felt like they were never going to stop. Why…. was all the girl could think… why are they doing this?
Huddled on the ground in a sort of ball shape for protection the girl’s body became limp as the ferocious attack started to subside……
The gang of girls dispersed taking the little girls bike as a sort of vile trophy laughing as they vacated the scene.
“Did you get it?” asked one of the girls to the other as they strode away…
“Yep, caught all the action. Reckon we’ll get a whole lot of shares when I upload this later…”
A few minutes later, a woman appeared on the balcony overlooking the garage area.
“Jessica. Jessica,” she called, scouring the vista before her as she said the little girl’s name. Her eyes moved to the left and focused on a huddle on the ground… at that moment her calls became shrieks…
“JESSSICA, NO, PLEASE NO,” as she stared at the lifeless form. She ran down the stairs phone in hand already dialing for help.
Samir made his way back from the political gathering that saw David Lawson victorious in Chester. It had been some performance and even he, as the ultimate cynic, couldn't help but be impressed.
He walked about three blocks when he heard screaming sirens and saw an ambulance pursued by three police cars speed around the corner. He followed the noise until he came to an apartment complex.
A gathered crowd guided him as his curiosity took over. He jostled for position to get a view of what must have been a girl of only five or six being carried into an ambulance by concerned paramedics. A police woman was trying to calm a twenty something lady who Samir assumed was the mother of the child.
“What happened?” he asked an older man to his right.
“Don’t know, one minute the kid was playing by the garages on her bike, next minute she’s barely breathing after taking a battering. The bike has gone so could have been a robbery,” he responded.
“No, a lady over there said something about a gang of girls, about fourteen years old or so beating the girl up for no reason,” said a woman in front.
“Terrible business,” she concluded.
“Absolutely,” nodded Samir in agreement.
Finsbury Park, North London
On the train on the way back to London, Samir got his laptop out and started recording the day’s events. He crafted a blog that perfectly encapsulated the headline he’d chosen.
‘Lawson wins Chester as 6 year old taken to hospital, another victim of street violence’
He proof read his blog post and attached a couple of images from the David Lawson rally. He then opened the website ‘State of Hate’ which had become popular for videos and photos of gang related violence over the last year or so.
The Government had been trying to ban the website but no owner could be tracked. It used the Tor network to cloak the site administrators in secrecy and proved almost impossible to find whoever was responsible. So, it remained out there spreading the vile imagery of the violence infecting the streets of Britain.
On a daily basis, new images and videos were uploaded. Each could be liked, shared or commented on just like Facebook. It was kind of like a social network for the scum of society and was growing in popularity all the time.
Samir clicked through the sickening posts and found the one he knew would be there, the one showing the video of the girl getting beaten up. He linked his blog post to the video and published it to ‘The Day Today’.
Within a few minutes he was already receiving comments complaining about the violence as well as those thanking him for uncovering what was really happening on the streets.
Before he knew it, the train pulled into Euston Station. Twenty minutes later and he would be walking through his front door.
Houses of Parliament, London
The door clicked open with a minimum of fuss. He was dressed all in black to avoid detection and like a shadow he made his way across the forecourt to the diplomatic car. His keys fitted perfectly into the lock. He didn't want to use the button for fear of making too much noise. Sometimes, the good old keyhole is just what you need, he thought to himself.
He started the car and drove it to the main entrance. He punched in the code and the main door opened allowing him to head off into the night.
Just as the main door closed shut, the security guard burst through the internal door. He looked at the now vacant space and checked the log on his laptop. Nothing had been booked out but someone had taken a car.
He pulled out his mobile and made a call….
“Bill, something’s happened. One of the SO1 cars has gone and there’s nothing logged,” he said with a growing sense of concern.
“John, take a breath, it’s probably one of the ministers on a late night rendezvous to the other lady. You know what it’s like,” said the reassuring voice on the other end of the line.
“I know but they usually at least whisper in your ear that they’re going to take one off the books but no one’s mentioned it to me.”
“Just give it an hour, if it’s not back, call me again OK?”
“Sure, thanks Bill. I’ll do that.”
The car made its way out of central London en route to the northern suburbs of the city. The driver was focused, he had a special mission and he knew it was important to get it just right.
He drove for about 15 minutes and it was noticeable how the built up city suddenly softened to more residential surrounds. The GPS on his phone directed him left, then left again until he came to a small boutique block of apartments.
He made sure no one saw him as he got out of the car and made his was around to an alleyway at the side of the block. The window was just above him as he hurled the rock through it before making a hasty exit.
Finsbury Park, North London
Samir walked out of the kitchen with a cup of tea in his hand. It had been a long day and his blog post had received a huge response. Some people were sickened by the video link and others were grateful he had the guts to share the real story.
Several Ministers had criticised ‘The Day Today’ blog as being biased to David Lawson and ‘simply a tool of propaganda’, but it was nothing he hadn't heard before. His readers knew he had no political alignments and that was all he cared about.
He sipped his tea and flicked through the channels on his TV when… SMASH…. the window caved inwards with some force. He spilled his tea all over his shirt and jumped up like he’d received an electric shock.
In the split second between imagination and reality he thought he was going to get shot for some reason. It was then when clarity revisited him that he noticed the rock on the floor. He picked it up and found a note taped to the side.
He opened it and read the words “Stop spreading your filthy lies or next time it will be more than a rock and your window smashed in.”
He rushed to the window and could just make out a private number plate on a black car. With his knowledge of political affairs, he knew instantly it was an SO1 or Special Protection Command car.
Special Protection Command were the security detail commissioned to protect diplomats and members of Parliament including the Prime Minister.
As he punched the number in to emergency services he couldn't help thinking that it felt a little odd that someone with the training received by the highly skilled members of SO1 would make the simple mistake of enabling the car to be visible from his window. There’s plenty of obscured places to conceal the car in his street.
He reported the incident but didn't reveal the whole story. He needed a report filed for insurance purposes but he wasn’t about to tell the police that one of their own was the perpetrator.
Houses of Parliament, London
John checked his watch almost every five minutes until the hour passed. He went down to the garage and, to his relief, the car was back where it belonged.
Just as Bill predicted he thought to himself, just a minister out with his security detail visiting a special friend. He didn’t bother reporting the incident. He knew better than to draw attention to an early morning’s misgivings.