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Synopsis

THIS IS CHAPTER TWO. The Story Of The Man is a surreal picaresque piece intended for adults. With regard to tone, it juxtaposes between the mundane and the extreme whilst also underpinned with an ironic dark humour.

It’s written in first person from the point of view of a nameless, naive, good natured young man who finds himself in a harsh alternate dystopian version of present day Britain. He appears to have no agenda and similarly approaches all situations from a neutral journalistic manner. This contracts greatly with most of the pivotal characters who are introduced with nightmarish back stories.

As the story progresses he is presented with a Faustian bargain whereby ultimately he must follow what he believes to be morally correct and suffer the consequences or either be coerced into leading a more materially comfortable but corrupt existence.

-It doesn’t end particularly well.


Chapter 2

London

It’s late afternoon and there’s a stickiness in the air. I gaze up and observe the deep pink and orange sky, torn into it are pale blue vapour trails from passing aeroplanes that merge and fade into purple grey candy floss clouds. In the distance a number of shiny steel and glass stacks of tower blocks stand silently waiting for the night to fall and somewhere down below there’s me. I’m on the footpath, making my way over the river on a sturdy bridge that’s made of red brick. To my side a road channels a constant traffic of blurred primary colours and loud wall of atonal engine hiss. Every now and then there’s congestion where everything will grind to a halt, this is followed by a most unharmonious medley of shrieking electric banshee wailing. The vehicles’ inhabitants sit in a line, one after another with no other choice but to stare forward impatiently before gradually the flow resumes.

In contrast the activity on the pavement never lets up. There’s constant movement with a barrage of men and women pacing in two basic directions, forwards toward some unknown destination in front of me or to some other place from where I came. As they flash momentarily before me, there’s that same fixed static expression. I wonder what must be going through their minds. Most are dressed sharply in matching ties, shirts and suits of which only there’s a slight difference in dark shaded colours of blues, blacks and greys. Curiously, along with the rest of this attire I observe that many also wear sports shoes that range from the full spectrum of primary colours along with some most unsettling combinations of bright lime greens and fluorescent pinks. In addition to this too, judging by their tattiness I can only presume that they’ve been subject to many long hours of pounding on similar stretches of concrete. There’s a red triangular metal sign by the kerb with white words that read PEDESTRIANS ONLY. It’s at this point I realise for the last few minutes I’ve been dragging my feet and fallen from the pace. I feel someone barge into my side with the impact almost knocking me over however I catch my balance just in time to see my assailant effortlessly side step ahead of me.

‘Facking wanker! Shouldn’t be allowed on the pavement if you can’t walk properly!’ He snarls from over his shoulder.

‘Pardon?’ I reply.

He’s some yards away when his head twitches sharply, he pauses then turns around to stare directly at me. He’s a tall man with angular features and short spiky blond hair. His thin lips tighten into a grimace and his brow knots into angry creases. I gulp nervously. He then purposefully weaves in and out of the flurry of people until he is right in front of me.

‘What did you facking say? Say it now to my face! Kant!’ He growls.

‘What?’ I burble.

And then with no warning whatsoever he grabs me by the collar until his face is close enough for him to kiss me. I feel a hot searing pain behind my eyes. He’s just struck me very hard on the bridge of my nose with his forehead.

‘There is no what!’ He yells, releasing his grip and walking away.

I’m laying on my back gazing up as the fluffy clouds drift by, for a moment I feel as though I’m floating up there with them too. Groggily, I raise my right hand and gently feel the wet sticky area between my eyes. I realise that I must be bleeding. As I attempt to sit up I’m surprised to see that I’m suddenly surrounded by multiple pairs of stationary feet pointing towards me.

‘That man just hit me.’ I say. There’s no response. I slowly try to stand up but a man wearing black rimmed glasses remonstrates loudly.

‘No! Don’t move!’

‘It’s okay, I’m fine.’ I reply.

‘I don’t care how you are! Just stay still! I haven’t finished drawing you yet.’

I’m puzzled by this remark and even more so when I see that him furiously scribbling on a scrap of paper with a pencil.

‘Has anyone got any cadmium?’ he shouts. ‘I need some colour!’

The rest of them also seem too preoccupied with scribbling on their own bits of paper to acknowledge him. Consequently, the man with the black rimmed glasses then lashes out and snatches a red pencil from the woman with the blue hat.

‘Hey!’ She says.

‘Look at him…he’s bleeding all over the pavement.’ He proclaims.

‘Has anyone got a tissue?’ I ask.

The woman snatches back her red pencil from the man who in return shoves her. In seconds a scuffle has broken out between them and it’s not long before the whole lot of this group of people are hurling insults and trading blows with each other. I decide that this is a good moment to gather myself and depart. Behind me I hear the dull sound of someone hitting the concrete followed by a faint yelp.

Walking straight towards me at great speed is a thin woman in a dark blue pinstriped suit. She has that same serious glare of intent in her eyes, and for a moment I even consider the possibility that she could be related to the man that assaulted. I pause before side stepping to my right but so does she. I glance down at her white plimsolls in a bid to try to predict which direction she may be taking. I step to my left, again she follows. In seconds we’ll confront each other and then she’ll probably want to hurt me. I look up at her face, beads of sweat glisten on her forehead, it’s possible but she may be as scared of me as I am of her. Without further hesitation I swiftly turn myself away and depart at speed in the opposite direction. There I am, with no idea where I’m going, all but running just to keep up with the other pedestrians. I decide it’s better to follow and be like them rather than cause a scene.

Ahead of me, at the end of the pathway I can see that the crowd of pedestrians are being siphoned off in three directions. I’m a little apprehensive at this point as I’m not sure which one is for me however it transpires that I’m pushed towards the path which leads left.

There’s an ugly grey underpass and some steps that leads towards some graffiti which reads YOU ARE ORIENTATED TO TIME AND PLACE. Below that there’s an old man with scraggly white hair that sits alone in a dimly lit concrete alcove. I realise that If I’m lucky I could possibly reach it and stand there to get my bearings and rest for a moment. I step clumsily to my immediate left and tumble into the man next to me. In a panic I hop onto the heel of my right foot in such a way that allows me to regain my balance before winding myself around a fat woman. I then grit my teeth and aim myself towards the alcove. My feet leave the ground and I’m away!

‘Sorry!’ I shout as my elbow accidentally scrapes against man’s face. My bones ache as I slam against concrete. I made it!

The old man peers down at me over the bulbous shape of his nose, instantly I’m drawn to the brittle black hairs that sprout from his nostrils. He teeters gently from left to right with his pale blue eyes, glazed and distant. I’m not entirely sure he’s registering me.

‘I’m out of it.’ I say, unravelling my twisted limbs and looking out toward the hectic mass of passing pedestrians.

The old man nods his head and grins at me with the few cracked yellow teeth that he has. I’m suddenly overcome by an awful smell of urine, glancing down I notice that he’s standing in the middle of a dark puddle. In his huge sausage fingers he holds out a partially peeled orange.

‘Take a piece.’ He says.

Despite my initial reservations, I accept his offer as I realise it may be unwise to rebuff his generosity, this is his alcove after all. So without further hesitation I take the orange from him, pluck a segment and place it in my mouth. The sour tang takes me by surprise and causes me to cough as though I’d been poisoned. The old man finds this amusing and chuckles heartily.

‘Hello there. You look like you’ve had a busy day,’ he says. ‘What ails thee?’

‘There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just a bit lost. Do you live around here?’ I reply.

‘I’m just an old man that’s been standing in the same spot for the last fifteen years’, he says melancholically. ‘I don’t have much…just an old mattress and a few of bits of loose shrapnel bouncing around inside my head…but I know how a man can get himself back on his feet. I know someone. I haven’t seen him in a while but he’s helped me out a few times. If a young man’s lost, a young man can find himself but first he has to find Mike.’

I really don’t know what he’s talking about but as I gaze out at the scores of suited pedestrians I realise that I could use a little assistance. ‘I just need someone to point me in the right direction.’ I hear myself say.

‘Course you do. Ain’t no shame in that. Mike will put you on the right path. He’s a good man, a real gentleman of the old school he is. First though, can you role up your sleeves? Come, show me your arms.’

I’m puzzled by this request but nonetheless I comply.

‘Good.’ he says as he scrutinises the insides of my arms. ‘Now listen, first you go back into the crowd. Go with them through the tunnel until you reach the entrance to the station and then you need to get on the underground. Take the route that that runs on the black line but make sure it’s the one that heads north. You go two stops then you change at Moongate and then take the purple line up to Craw Park.’

I nod my head to give the impression that I understand him.

‘From then on just follow the other people. They’ll all be going to the same place.’

‘Where?’ I ask.

‘You’ll see…and when you see Mike, you tell him it was Matthias Linklater that helped you. You got that?’

I nod my head again and tentatively rejoin the pedestrians. I’m under no illusion that whilst I’m amongst these people that if I falter for one second or lose my pace I will surely be roughly jostled and stamped down into the ground just like before. So with that in mind I weave in and out of them for my dear life, nervously I glance up to see the angry grimace of the man next to me, like the rest of them he’s in a suit. He turns and glares at me, his top lip curling into a terrible sneer. A cold chill down the small of my back.

‘Don’t stop!’ I hear a voice whisper in my head. ‘Keep going or he’ll smash you up!’

Ahead looms the tunnel that the old man spoke of, as I enter it I’m aware of the sound of the multiples of footsteps echoing against the shiny white tiled surfaces of the walls. There’s a symbol at the far end of a red ring with a horizontal blue line running through it’s centre, along this blue line are the bold white words LONDON BRIDGE. I carry on walking towards it up some metal steps and then there’s a sharp right turn which takes me by surprise. I’m next confronted by the sight of a large hanger.

I make the mistake of pausing to take in all this information before I’m nudged by a man behind me. There’s a bank of metal gates which are about the waist high where the pedestrians halt and form queues, once through these gates they then disburse down another series of steps and out of view. Then my attention is drawn to a sign that reads BLACK LINE – THIS WAY. I realise that this is where I need to go so I hastily join the queue.

Peering over the woman in front of me to I try and understand how these gates work. Apparently there’s some kind of function which unlocks the gate. As I reach the gate I look down to see a strange looking slot with an image of a green arrow on a small screen. An urgent jabbing sensation against my left shoulder then causes me to turn around to see the person behind me.

‘Are you going through or are you going to stand there all day?’ He says angrily.

‘I’d like to but I don’t know how.’ I reply.

‘Where’s your ticket?’

‘I didn’t know I had to have one.’

And with that, he simply pushes me to one side before slipping an orange ticket into the the slot. The metal gates slide open and then he passes through and takes his card that has popped up from another slot. From the sidelines I stand there for a moment watching the procession of people effortlessly repeating this action, there they go one by one, out of the pocket comes the little orange card, into the slot it goes, the gates open with a clatter and then they go through.

‘You can purchase a ticket from the booth over there. You can’t stay here if you aren’t going to buy one. We’ll have you taken away if you’re not careful.’ Says a voice from behind me.

I turn round to face a man wearing a navy blue uniform, complete with a peaked hat. In his hand he holds a large black plastic brick which omits a strange crackling sound followed by a series dislocated words that are virtually incomprehensible over the noise of the banging gates and commuters. Whilst staring straight at me he raises the brick to his mouth. ‘Yeah Roger that.’ He says.’I’ve located a male standing by the turnstiles by the North Entrance. I’m dealing.’ He then replaces the brick to his belt and points over my shoulder to a raised metal cabin where another man dressed in the same navy blue uniform sits behind a pane of glass.

After joining another queue and waiting for a few minutes I step forward.

‘Hello, I’m a commuter.’ I say.

‘Where do you want to go?’ Asks the man in the cabin.

‘Craw Park.’

‘Take the black line, change at Moongate. Is that a return?’

‘I’ve no idea.’ I reply.

He pauses and gives me a suspicious look. before saying ‘That will be cost four pounds fifty for a single to Craw Park. Have you got the money?’

I plunge my hands into my pockets and feel a piece of paper, take it out and hold it.

‘It’s a cheque for one hundred and twenty nine pounds and ninety nine pence made payable from the account of Mr J. Rainbird.’ He says.

‘Will that be okay?’ I ask.

‘Yes. Here, take this leaflet. It’s a map of the underground. I think you will need it.’ He replies whilst taking the cheque through a narrow gap under the glass and exchanging it for the orange ticket and the map.

I thank him for his assistance before once more joining the queue for the gates. As I open up the map, it’s made up with many different coloured lines of red, blue, yellow, black, pink, green, purple, brown, and grey which overlap. These lines a punctuated with small circles dotted with names of destinations however it all confuses me and just looks like a swirling pattern. I turn round to the young lady behind me.

‘Excuse me, do you know where we are on this map.’ I ask politely.

‘Are you being funny? We’re at London Bridge,’ she replies pointing. ‘There…on the black line.’

I trace my journey from LONDON BRIDGE past MONO-MOMENT, then BLANK and up to MOONGATE, it’s a change at the purple line until I reach CRAW PARK. Although it looks straight forward enough I glance down at the flecks of blood that stain my shirt and realise that it would be a little presumptions of me at this stage to believe that my journey will be completely without incident.

So I pass through the metal gates with the help of my little orange ticket and follow the people whilst all the time a steady line of other people passing me in the opposite direction. That’s when I the woman directly in front of me slows her pace and then stop completely, causing me to almost bump into her. Then something catches my foot and jerks it forward provoking a moment of terror to race through my mind. My arms flap wildly and then miraculously I regain my balance. It would appear that I’m on a kind of moving automatic sloping metallic staircase. To my immediate left and moving upwards towards the hangar above there’s the rest of the other line of people. I’m fascinated by this means of travel but incredulously as it would seem, it appears I’m the only person that feels this way if any of the sullen faces that surround me are anything to go by, am I really the only person here to acknowledge this great ascending, descending device?

The commuters in front of me then begin steadily stepping forward one by one until I’m once more on the ground. I believe I’m in some sort of white tiled subterranean tunnel with the temperature being much warmer down here, and although I’m feeling little claustrophobic I’m reassured by how brightly lit this place is. As I continue to follow the crowd of commuters I find myself walking down a series of steps and along more passages until I notice a sign that reads BLACK LINE – THIS WAY followed by an arrow pointing to a passageway to the right hand side. I stand there for a moment as commuters mill around me. Remembering the old man’s words I manoeuvre myself through the crowds and follow it until I come to another tunnel however the pathway ends abruptly leaving only a raised platform which runs parallel to it’s entire length. As I stand there not really knowing what to do next, I gaze down into a chasm that drops a few feet. It’s clearly not a walkway as there are no steps giving access to it. Even if there were, the amount of dirt, dust and grime as well as the two very uninviting thick metal rails that jut out, would prove it a most perilous venture. It’s all very confusing but at least I can take some comfort from the fact I’m not the only one here as more commuters line up either side around me.

As I wait there, further taking in my surroundings, I notice a series of large billboards that are adorned on the curved wall of the tunnel. One of them shows a photograph of a man lying on a pebble beach, his hands are tied together with a thin rope and are raised above his chest, his skin is a strange greyish blue shade and his grimace would suggest that he’s in some discomfort. On further inspection, I see that his eyes are tightly shut and he has a number of depressions and creases over his forehead, below the photograph there is a text, black words against a white background that read TEST THE SPIRITS AND SEE IF ONE IS GOD. I slowly walk along the platform to view the other billboards. Like the first one they all show people in odd positions, the one to my immediate left for instance shows the face of a young woman staring impassively with two large swollen bruises under her eyes with the text underneath reading THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU BUT THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY! A cold chill runs through me as I contemplate the meaning of these harsh images, then as I gaze at the expressionless commuters around me, I wonder what these must mean to them.
A few minutes pass by during which more commuters join the platform, as well as it quickly becoming heavily congested it also means that I’m forced to move move closer to the edge. That’s when I hear a low rumble coming directly from my left hand side where the end of the tunnel disappears into a huge black hole in the wall. The sheer uncertainty of my predicament fills me with fear, causing all sorts of nightmarish scenarios to flash through my mind. What if some sort of huge disaster is being played out on the world above? What if the buildings are falling down? We’d all be trapped down here under the debris! What if the lights went out? What would I do then in the dark with no escape?
The noise is louder and accompanied by a terrible high pitched wailing, it sounds inhuman and it’s coming this way! I attempt to turn back to go from where I came but it’s no good, I’m blocked in from all sides. They just stand there! Why aren’t they reacting to the noise? Are they all deaf! I’m just about to throw myself down into the chasm and run along it to safety when a warm gust envelopes me. Instinctively I brace myself and close my eyes. The volume suddenly ceases but there’s no pain, I feel nothing. When I open my eyes I’m confronted with a stationary carriage that’s literally only centimetres away from the tip of my nose. It would appear that it’s just one of a series of featureless dirty, box-like metal containers, flanked by a series of grime covered windows. Through these windows I can see that some seated but most are standing, pressed up against each other. My attention is then distracted by the shrill sound of an alarm that rings from within, instantly the side doors of the carriage automatically fold open followed by the dizzy flurry of colour as people disembark onto the platform and pass by one by one. Behind me the crowd of waiting commuters stand to one side in order to create a path however once the last one passes through there’s a surge forward and I’m pushed inside.

Facing each other on either side of the carriage are a line of seated commuters with others left with no other option but to hold onto a railing and stand in all other available areas. More commuters spill inside causing me to be bent, pushed with my face against the glass window in a most uncomfortable manner. This is followed by the chime of an electronic alarm, I’m not certain because there’s no way I can possibly turn my head round, but I presume that the doors will be closing at this point.

Through the window I can see the platform outside and the impatient faces of commuters that were unlucky to board the carriage, they effortlessly glide past as we begin to move, slowly at first and then faster, all becoming a fuzzy blur before all of a sudden there is nothing of the outside world but darkness. There’s an eerie noise as the air whistles amongst the sound of the scraping of metal, persistent rattling from below my very feet vibrates up through my body. It’s like being held captive within the workings of some huge, angry mechanical beast.
I close my eyes and try to think about something more pleasant that hopefully may lead me to some other place but it’s useless, in this present heightened, fearful state, all that my imagination will offer me is the horrific face of a panther waiting in the shadows with it’s teeth bared. I’m sweating, shaking with fear, convinced that my heart will wear out from beating so hard. Then suddenly, there’s a jolt that bounces me momentarily from the window and against the person standing directly next to me. The noise subsides and it would appear that we’ve come to a halt. Opening my eyes, I look around the carriage and realise that the other commuters still wear that detached, impassive expression. Then there’s the chiming sound of the alarm followed by the noise of the carriage door sliding, a handful of people exit leaving an empty seat nearby so quickly take it.

Once more people have filed onto the carriage and we begin to leave the platform that dreaded feeling of claustrophobia returns however at this point I’m beginning to suspect that there may be some degree of irrationality at play here when I consider the now familiar unaffected and even bored gaze of my fellow commuters. Others are preoccupied with books or other reading matter, like the man immediately opposite me whose newspaper is stretched out with it’s articles headed in bold large capital letters, MAGNETS IN THE BOY’S EYES TURNED HIM INTO A HUMAN CALCULATOR reads one, and below that, KILLED BY 20 TONNES OF DEBT. There’s a rectangular photograph of an unknown grinning man with immaculate teeth along with the caption CHICKEN IN A BASKET PERFORMER DROWNS IN PIT OF MUD. As I peer up towards the top of the page the man behind notices me, he says nothing but merely fixes me with an icy glare before shaking the paper in one sharp movement. I decide to avert my eyes from him.

That’s when my attention is drawn to something else, a high pitched sound. It’s faint but just audible enough for me to follow it’s source to a man with an untidy hairstyle and large chin sitting next to the man with the newspaper. He’s gently nodding his head whilst tapping his fingers against his knee whilst his eyes stare glassily upwards to some unknown place. On closer inspection it would seem that there’s a couple of black wires attached to each of his ears. My initial thought is that he may be in some distress, perhaps he is in some early stages of paralysis and is valiantly trying to attract someone’s attention in a cry for help? Therefore as a fellow commuter and human being I decide I must take action and assist this poor man.
I stand up, holding onto one of the lime coloured poles and lean over to him, reach over and yank out one of the black wires from his ear. Immediately the sound of angry trumpets spill out into the carriage followed by a most surprised expression from the man. He lunges at me and slaps me sharply on the side of the face, making me recoil and topple backwards onto the lap of a seated commuter. Luckily for me she’s a big lady so there’s no real physical harm done however it has to be said that by this point my mental well being is now in tatters especially when that man that slapped me bears his teeth and shrieks ‘Get away from me you facking nutter! Don’t you ever facking touch me again.’

I stand and try to compose the best I can and consider what the honourable thing to do would be in this situation. I apologise to the lady but her expression tells me that she’s not happy.

‘I’m so sorry,’ I stutter. ‘I didn’t mean to upset the man. I thought there was something wrong as I thought he looked ill …you don’t have to worry …I’m not a trouble maker or an attention seeker. I’m just like you but I’m having a really bad day of it. Earlier on when I was on the pavement a man hit me for not walking fast enough.’

I look into the scores of faces of the other commuters that are now staring at me and hope for some sort of response or gesture but there’s no reply from any of them. I become more upset, for a couple of seconds I close my eyes and hold my breath, turn to the nearest seated man but before I can say anything he simply looks away towards the doors whilst the woman that sits next to him coughs lightly into her handkerchief before averting her eyes in the opposite direction.

That’s when I feel the vibrations of the carriage ease and slow down, we must be coming to another platform. Under the circumstances I decide that the best thing to do is to get off. From out of the window the blackness merging into blurred dark greys flash by, then there’s light. In front I can clearly see the people standing. A feeling of relief flows through me as I steady myself, clear my throat and wipe the tears from my face, the doors have barely opened before I’m out of the carriage and back in the white tiled tunnel shaped passageway.

Despite the fact that I don’t actually know where I’m going it feels good being inconspicuous to be amongst the crowds of people, always going forward and never daring to look back. That’s when I come to a junction. For a moment I’m confused as to which way I should go before something catches my attention. A few yards ahead of me there’s a group of three young men, all have shoulder length long hair and are dressed almost identically with loose fitting black clothing and heavy kicker boots. On their t-shirts emblazoned are the words MIKE AND THE THIN MEN along with a cartoon depictions of grinning white skulls surrounded by a ring of orange, red and yellow coloured flames. I cannot help myself but wonder if this was the same Mike that the old man mentioned? ‘If a young man’s lost, a young man can find himself but first he has to find Mike’ isn’t that what he said? I decide to follow them but at a cautious distance.
So I watch them ambling along in a most relaxed manner, there’s also a hint of confidence and swagger about them that I can’t help but feel a little bit envious of. After a few minutes of watching them over the heads of the other commuters they come to another junction with just the option of two exits to the left and right. They choose to go right. I quicken my pace until I reach the junction pausing just long enough to spot a sign that’s headed with the words PURPLE LINE THIS WAY, below it is a list of further destinations that read BARBARIAN SLANT, FAR AND DOWN, CHRIST CROSSING, S’AINT PANCREAS, USED-ON SQUARE, NORTH GULLIVER, CRAW PARK …That’s it! Craw Park! That’s where I need to be.
Without hesitation I follow the right arrow and find myself once more on a platform. It’s the same in appearance to the one I stood on before along with the same endless crowd of waiting commuters however there’s one notable difference, there are considerably more young people scattered about dressed in a similar manner to the three that led me here. I sneak a sideways glance at a girl’s jacket which features the words MIKE AND THE THIN MEN. She’s in conversation with two young men complete with long black hair and pale white complexions. I’m slightly taken aback to see that they also wear belts with some vicious looking metal studs on them and can barely contain my shock to see that one of them even has a metal spike piercing his eyebrow. Overall it’s quite a confrontational fashion statement but oddly seems unconvincing due to them being so obviously effeminate and rather malnourished, I can’t help myself but wonder what sort of influence Mike could have over these youngsters. My attention is then drawn to a familiar rumbling sound. The commuters swarm and claim their positions as the metal carriages arrive. I pause for a moment with a feeling of doubt, uncertain that I should get aboard however once the alarm rings and the doors open I’m pushed forward until it’s only a matter of seconds before I’m staring out of the window as the platform slides away. Throughout the course of the journey we’re joined by more of Mike’s people until soon the carriage is predominantly full of them. I can’t help noticing how more socially open they are with each other compared to my earlier experiences with the other commuters. Despite my slight self consciousness of not wearing the same clothes as them I like them, and they don’t seem to mind me standing amongst them.

When we arrive at Craw Park I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. I wait a few moments for Mike’s People to file out of the door before tagging along behind them, through the white tiled tunnels and eventually onto the metal moving staircase until I’m free of this subterranean nightmare! Once I’m outside two things surprises me, the first being how dark the sky has become since starting my journey and secondly, the sheer amount of numbers of Mike’s people, there are crowds of them and far too many of them for me to count, presumably all heading towards the same place. We march along the pavements and across a bridge, follow numerous signs that helpfully read MIKE AND THE THIN MEN -THIS WAY, until finally there’s a vast white building complete with four levels and blackened out windows. Towards the entrance there are three large queues lines of Mike’s people with more joining all the while so with no other option I simply join the nearest line and stand there like everyone else. From their enthusiastic chatter and smiling faces it’s not hard to feel a degree of excitement, I must admit despite having got off to a bad start, I’m looking forward to meeting this Mike.

As I reach the front of the queue I notice that there are a group of five tall, well built men with closely shaven hairstyles wearing matching dark blue T-shirts with the word SECURITY written on them in bold white type, they appear to be stopping them at the entrance. It’s like some weird embrace that they repeat on every single one of the youths, they ask them to lift their arms out horizontally before patting their bodies up and down, it’s a most abrupt way of welcoming someone and not to mention a little one sided.

‘Ticket?’ The man asks. I search my pockets and give him the orange card.’What’s this?’

‘My ticket, I was given it in exchange of a cheque for one hundred and twenty nine pounds and ninety nine pence. It’s all I’ve got. Is that okay?’ I reply.

‘Are you taking the piss or something?’

‘No. I’ve come to see Mike. Matthias Linklater told me to come here.’

He looks at me with a puzzled expression before placing his large hand on my shoulder. ‘Just a second, I can’t promise you anything but I’ll see what I can do.’ He says.

He turns away and disappears into the entrance leaving me to stand and watch other people in the queue hand over their green tickets to the other men with SECURITY written on their t-shirts, in return they are given a bright blue band which they must wear before entering the building. Glancing down at my orange card I can’t help but feel dejected and also a little foolish. Suddenly the man returns beckoning me towards him.

‘Shouldn’t I be going with them?’ I ask, pointing to umpteen numbers of Mike’s people that swarm past into the building.

‘Not yet.’ He replies before leading me to a blue coloured door with the word STAFF ONLY written on it. He opens it, revealing a dark corridor, he then gently pushes me forward.

‘Wait outside the second door on the left. Someone will come for you in a bit.’ He says.

I let my eyes adjust before tentatively taking a few steps forward until I can I spot a series of doors lining the corridor. As I pass the first one I’m aware of a massive continuous rumbling noise coming directly above, I hazard a guess and deduce that this would be where Mike’s People will be. I’m about to knock on the second door when I hear a male voice groan followed by some laughter, it’s quiet for a few moments before there are some muffled exchanges and then footsteps, the door bursts open to reveal a young woman standing directly in front of me, she is breathing heavily in a way that suggests that she’s been taking part in rigorous exercise and her appearance is one of general disarray, her lipstick being smudged across her cheek along with an extremely unkept hairstyle with the fringe not so much as hanging down but curling and sticking against her perspiring cheek. Her expression is one of surprise as though she was not expecting to see me and in addition her movements seem agitated, her fingers quickly snap at the buttons on her shirt before she then reaches down and rearranges her skirt in one sharp movement. Before I can say anything she violently pushes me away out of her way and runs down the corridor, for some reason she’s only wearing one shoe.

‘Do you want to come in?’ A male voice asks.

The door is now wide open, although the room is smokey and dimly lit I can see a man standing facing me. He wears a pair of mirrored sunglasses, has long unkept hair and dark stubble on his face. Naked from the waist upwards, he has a wealth of black body hair that covers his chest as well as his flabby stomach.

‘I’m not sure.’ I reply.

He seems unconcerned with my answer, grins and waves me in. ‘You’re in the right place. Close the door behind you.’

The room is not very big but sparsely decorated with a heavily stained double sized mattress taking up most of the floor space. In addition it’s very humid in here, there are no windows or other visible means of ventilation. This is a shame as I expect it would probably go some way as to remedy the awful musty smell of perspiration that hangs in the air. I’m also aware that there are another further two men that are either side of me, the largest one of them sits in the corner at a table to my left, he has his back to me and is preoccupied, staring at a glossy magazine, his right hand is hidden underneath the table but I can see his elbow sticking out and moving in odd back and forth slow movement.

‘Hey!’ Says the man with the mirrored sunglasses, clicking his fingers and pointing to the wooden chair to my left.

I sit down, in the other corner of the room the third man holds a small metallic box to his right eye whilst his other is firmly closed, it emits a soft whirring mechanical noise and has a shiny glass barrel aimed towards my direction.

‘Don’t look at the camera. Pretend I’m not here. Make it seem more natural.’ He instructs.

The man with the sunglasses clicks his fingers again. ‘So, before we get started, tell me a bit of yourself. Where did you hear about us and why did you want to get involved?’

‘An old man called Mathias told me that I should come here so I could meet Mike, so I thought I’d give it a try.’

‘You’ve got a strong chin. Have you done any videos before?’

‘No I haven’t.’

‘Have you got a girlfriend? Does she know that you’re doing this?’

‘No one knows I’m here, just you and that man that brought me here.’

‘Tell me about the sort of things that you like.’

‘I like it when people are friendly.’

‘Yeah, yeah but not the usual things because everyone likes to screw and get screwed.’

‘Well I’m not sure…’

‘Anything, anywhere, anytime?’

‘I suppose so. I was in a tunnel earlier today. I wasn’t keen on it at first but I soon got used to it.’

‘Good.’ He says turning to the second man. ‘I think he’ll basically do what ever we want him to do once we get him warmed up. Do you want to go for a close up first?’

The man with the mirrored sunglasses doesn’t say anything but slowly moves closer to me until my head is level with his waist, his hands fall to his crotch followed by him unclasping his metal belt buckle and prising open the buttons of his trousers. I’m not sure what he’s going to do next but I’m beginning to feel a little ill at ease. His hands delve into the front of his trousers and he starts to breathe in a slow measured manner, glancing up at him I see his chest and arms tensing up. It’s as though he were preparing himself for some sort of physical exertion.

‘And …action!’ Says the man with the camera.

Immediately I’m overcome of by the pungent smell of his penis as he holds the end of it just inches away from my face. ‘You know what to do if you want to see Mike don’t you?’ he says, whilst stroking it slowly with his right hand.

Instinctively I arch my head away but he nips my nose sharply between his fingers and tilts my head back. He then lunges forward and positions his penis unceremoniously between my lips and into my open mouth. It feels like I’ve got a warm fish sliding against my tongue and poking the back of my mouth but even worse, with his hand clasped roughly around my neck I’m also finding it difficult to breath. I begin to panic, my hands frantically push against his thighs however it’s to no avail, he’s much bigger than me and my struggling only causes his grip to tighten, I’m helpless! I close my eyes attempt to block it out, pretend I’m elsewhere but it’s all to no avail. The torment goes on until I feel groggy and start to drift out of consciousness. Amidst the hypnotic sound of heavy breathing and the squelch of saliva there’s an occasional exchange of voices…

‘…Yeah …mmmm …uhh..yeh ..good…Ahh…Go on Ray Fack him
….mmm… Look at that…Takes like a duck to water…It’s been fourteen years since my wife has done anything like that to me …You love it don’t you? Sissy boy! …ahhhh…’

And then I pass out.

My eyes open, they slowly focus on a fly that hovers around a flickering lightbulb hanging directly above me. I’m suddenly aware of an awful salty taste in my mouth, provoking me to sit up and cough up a strange phlegm like jelly. I look down at myself, I’m on the filthy mattress and my trousers along with my underwear are wrapped in a bundle around my feet. As I bend forward to pull them up a stabbing pain hits me on my lower back area. I groggily look around, there’s no one else in the room but the overweight man that I saw before, he’s still sitting at the table and staring directly at me with a blank expression on his face, from this position I can also clearly see that he’s jiggling his flaccid penis between the fingers of his right hand. I wince as I carefully stand up.

‘Haven’t you forgotten something?’ Rasps the overweight man.

‘Pardon?’ I reply.

‘Your ticket.’ He says, taking a small green piece of coloured card from his pocket and handing it out to me, written on it in bold letters it reads MIKE AND THE THIN MEN. DOORS 7.30pm. SEAT NUMBER 10. ROW K. Enjoy the show. When you see Mike, say hello to him from me.’

I leave the room, stagger down the corridor and exit through the blue door whilst an eager gaggle of Mike’s people waltz past me and bound up a white staircase. I follow them towards the rumbling noise.

________________________________________________________________

I’m sitting on seat number 10 on Row K. I’ve never seen so many people under the same roof, thousands of them, all here waiting to see Mike. Just like the ones I followed earlier on they all look as though they’re aged in their late teens to early twenties with the majority being male. I’m impressed with the overall amiable manner of these youngsters as they drink their drinks from their plastic beakers and converse with their neighbour. Admittedly I do spot one or two incidents of rowdy behaviour that unfortunately let the side down. one such example would be the group of individuals who took it in turns to climb on each others shoulders and chant lewd rhyming couplets at anyone in their vicinity.

I’m not entirely certain on the actual size of this structure but as I watch the people dream in from so many different entrances I would presume that we are in the heart of the building. It can only be described as an enormous hangar with a floor space designed not only to accommodate the hundreds here today but also specifically enable an unobstructed view of a raised and cordoned off platform situated at the far end. Surrounding the floor space are tiers of bright tangerine coloured plastic seats that are arranged to form a steep ascent along the walls, I suppose the best way to describe all this in it’s entirety is that we’re all crammed into a giant bowl!
Above us all are the metal rafters stretching impressively along the full length of the curved ceiling, hanging up there are from strategic points are a number of black cabinets, most are completely still but some move with a mysterious life of their own alternating between violent jerky motions and strange mechanical pirouettes, they also shoot searing beams of colour that cascade all around our heads and create a splendid show of light. I stare at the other cabinets for a while and wonder why these remain still before realising that these must be responsible for the continuous loop of muddied reverberation of stray electronic bleeps, muffled bass and persistent pounding beats that provides a background noise to the gibbering staccato chatter from the crowd below.

My attention is drawn to a ripple of disturbance in the standing floor space area, a proportion of the crowd parts to form an alley where a single figure of a man slowly walks unperturbed. I find this hard to comprehend as there is no conceivable reason why or the crowd should react as a collective in such a sudden manner. As I further observe there follows more peculiarities, portions of the crowd appear to have worried expressions on their faces and seem deeply affected by this individual. Some of them seem twitch sharply as though if touched by a live charge of electricity. Some try to avert their view or bow their heads to the floor whilst others clutch at the person next to them. Curiously as this man passes through the pit of spectators he leaves behind an empty single curling line in his wake, from this distance it looks like they’ve been split down the middle by a giant winding snake.
As a beam of light falls from above and illuminating this scene, I instantly understand what it is that provokes such a response, his face bears all the markings of extreme mutilation! The head resembles a misshapen giant egg with the skin being of a sickly white waxen pallor and stretched tautly with no folds or creases, he’s completely without hair, no eyebrows or whiskers on his chin, not any stray tufts on his scalp, his eyes are cold black baubles and no other discernible features but simply two horrible pink coloured scars that run from either side of his forehead and down to his jowls to create a large X in the middle of where his nose and mouth should be. The only orifice I can see is a red circular gash in his neck, I presume that this must be his main air passage. How one would become like this surely defies the most vivid imagination! After the initial shock of being witness to this spectacle a moment of self consciousness comes over me, I realise I’ve been staring at this poor man’s affliction without any consideration whatsoever for his personal circumstance. Yet despite my shame there’s also some degree of admiration for how someone so hideously disfigured can walk so brazenly amongst a gathering of so many people. I’m certain that if it were me in his place I would surely seek refuge in the nearest dark corner.

The disfigured man abruptly turns to his left departs from the standing room crowd, for a moment he disappears from out of my view however I can still easily judge his whereabouts by relating to the scores of faces that are transfixed by his every move. I’m vaguely aware of some murmurings nearby when all of a sudden from the shadows of the aisle way that divides Row L with K I see his head and shoulders as he slowly strides up the steps. A grave and terrible sinking feeling washes through my veins as the disfigured man halts at the end of my row just nine seats away, my head drops down and I stare at my shoes in some vague notion that this action may somehow render me impervious to his gaze. Unfortunately my nerves become the better of me and I start to gag, my stomach involuntary lurches and I gulp up a stream of hot acidic tasting vomit. I’ve make a mess of myself. When I look up from my stained shoes I’m surprised to see that he’s standing on the seat directly in front.
He faces his audience below and in return he has their undivided attention, a sea of hundreds of thousands of tiny eyes stare back at him. At this point something very strange happens, something that I can only describe as being akin to an atmosphere of tranquility that gently descends not only over me but also amongst over everyone else here. This sensation feels rather pleasurable at first but soon becomes overwhelming to the point where I feel lightheaded and sluggish, my outward perception has become muddled and confused leading me to believe that time itself has somehow been captured, drawn out and slowed down to an almost precise stillness, sound itself has become absence but for the lethargic pounding of my own heartbeat. I fear for my safety and try to rise to my feet however I’m at once aware of a huge pressure that weighs me down to the the seat.

And so I sit there and watch as this absurd phenomena continues to cast it’s spell. The disfigured man’s right hand hangs only inches from my face, I can’t help but notice that he has immaculately manicured fingernails with not one speck of dirt beneath them and the fingers are smooth too, completely hairless. He holds a white handkerchief, offering it to me. I manage to lift my heavy eyelids and gaze up at him, he’s turned his head and is staring right back with those two unmoving black eyes. As if with a life of their own I catch sight of my own hand rise and take the cloth between the fingers before it clumsily wipes away the vomit from my chin.
Looking up I notice he’s facing his audience again, in one slow fluid motion he conjures a dark garment from somewhere below and pulls it over his shiny white head before it emerges like a full moon. I immediately recognise what the garment is from the image that I’ve already seen many times today …it’s the grinning skull and fire motif as worn by Mike’s people. What follows is clearly intended to be a grand gesture to the crowd as he stands there boldly like a statue. I believe he’s trying to make his presence felt as deliberately as possible but I’m uncertain for what reason, maybe he’s trying to express a desire that, regardless of his deformed physical appearance, he is here for the same reason as them because he is one of Mike’s followers too!
After what seems like an age he comes down from the seat and calmly walks back towards the aisle way just pausing to fix me one last look, nodding ever so slightly and disappearing down the steps. Instantaneously with his leave everything is plunged back into real time, the cacophony of noise, the coloured beams of light dancing over the sea of bobbing of heads, I would have thought that I had dreamt the whole thing if I were not still holding the handkerchief.

It’s not long before the amount of people in this venue has increased to the point where all the tangerine coloured seats have been filled and the people below in the standing area has swollen to capacity, in addition the sheer volume of noise now has reached near deafening proportions. Behind me my attention is drawn to a couple that are squabbling with each other, I can’t pick out their exact words but it’s obvious from their interacting body language, how the young man is clenching his fists and how the veins in his neck rise prominently. For her part the woman stares sullenly with her her arms wrapped around. Unbeknown to the pair of them they are being watched by a group of teenagers who are seated directly behind them, they clearly find their argument entertaining as they unashamedly mimic and point at them before collapsing into hysterical fits of laughter.

I look about myself, I’m surprised to that similar scenes of discontentment and cruel jibe making are also taking place. It’s as if the people are being agitated by some unforeseen matter. To my left there’s a scuffle, a beaker full of popcorn is thrown through the air and its contents are being scattered over several people who react angrily. I decide that this place is becoming too hostile for me and that I should leave before someone gets seriously hurt so I stand up and shuffle along the seated row who in return retort with some spiteful glances and expletives for having disturbing them. Eventually I descend the steps of the aisle until I’m on the edge of the standing crowd, I’m struck by the amount of heat coming off the crowd, there’s literally steam rising from the tops of heads and sweat glistening on their faces. In a moment of creeping paranoia I imagine that the cabinets that hang above could actually be performing some other sinister function, perhaps they are controlling the temperature in this place or maybe they are sucking the oxygen away! A real fear begins to grip me, l cast my eyes around this place in an attempt to spot a way out. Through the alternating shards of light and dark haze, somewhere in the distance I notice something that’s stands out like a beacon of hope, it’s vibrant electric green letters reads EXIT. Just as I make my first tentative paces towards it the main stationary overhead lights start to dim. Within seconds everything has gone pitch black.

There’s a deafening roar from what sounds like just about everyone here under this roof before sheer pandemonium ensues. The crowd surges behind me, I’m being manhandled back and forth, pressed and hemmed in tightly against whoever happens to be the nearest to me. After a few minutes of this my arms have gone numb from the massive pressure inflicted upon them, my neck twists upwards in a bid to I gulp for air however I’m only to be rewarded with a fetid mixture of salty perspiration and odour of other peoples hair. I ask myself how I could have let myself be tricked into this situation. Next comes an almighty explosion of scalding white light, instinctively my eyes squeeze shut but when I open them all I can see are traces of fluorescent patterns floating like mischievous fairies. For a few seconds there’s sound which I can only describe as a kind of tonal discharge that rings from a very high pitch to a very low frequency followed by the most excruciating stabbing pain in both my ear drums. Luckily this sensation soon dissipates, I quickly try to adjust my senses in order to try navigate my bearings, apparently I’ve been jostled into the middle of the crowd and am now only a few metres from the front of the empty staged area, at the foot of it there’s also an empty enclosure where I can see a line of five tall muscular men with closely cropped hair. All are dressed Identically in black T-shirts with the word SECURITY. I wave my arms frantically in an attempt to attract the attention of one of them.

‘Hey.’ I shout. ‘I don’t belong here!’

Unfortunately this is to no avail. I go unheard and unnoticed, lost amongst the other people that incidentally also scream at the top of their voices and wave their arms in the air. On the stage a myriad of strobe lights flicker into life, through the rising mist I make out silhouettes of three men. They must be wearing very tight clothing as I can easily make out the contours of their wiry shapes. All look identical however two of them are carrying similar strange angular instruments about their midriff. I have no idea who these people are but I realiseI must be in a minority considering the crowd’s ecstatic response. The silhouetted figure in the middle, the one without an instrument, steps forward followed by the sound of an amplified voice punctuated with sharp intakes of breath.

‘Woregdeh ruoyni eltsuba serehtfi.’

I strain to decipher the words but there’s something not quite right, he’s making no sense at all. I glimpse at the people that surround me, most are still yelling hysterically at the tops of their voices whilst others punch the air and hold up their arms as though they were offering an invisible gift to this mysterious trio. Personally, I find this blatant display of fanatical devotion both fascinating and extremely disturbing. Suddenly the stage is lit up. I can see that the three men are dressed in matching black shiny outfits, all have long scraggily hair and appear to be wearing white face paint that’s been been thickly applied to cover the whole area of the face apart from the eyes and lips which are smudged in black. The overall look is really quite garish and not at all attractive. I realise that the one gentleman in the middle is the person whose voice was heard, I can’t be certain but presumably this would be Mike as he seems to be the focal point of everyone’s attention. He precedes to hold a shiny metal phallus shaped device close to his mouth and continues to deliver his garbled speech whilst simultaneously flexing his arms and posing in striking combative stances. This seems to excite the crowd and seems to me like he’s goading them in some strange courtship.
The other two men flanking him also strike up poses but appear more restrained than their colleague and more preoccupied with the shiny black instruments that they hug to themselves. These devices are similar in shape, both have strings fretted to them that cover most of the length from it’s rounded body to the narrow top end of the fretted board or neck however the one held by the man on the right looks slightly more streamlined and is adorned with a row of switches or toggles, more interestingly however it has six strings compared to the other which only has four which are also notably much thicker. I have no idea what these objects are but I assume that they are objects of considerable desire as some members of the crowd simply star at them in an almost reverential manner. Towards the back of the stage I spot a fourth member of this group, he’s sitting down and is almost obscured completely by a pile of black cylindrical drums of varying size and joined together by an intricate metal framework. This man also has a white painted face but there’s something about him that makes him different to the others, he appears a little unkept and has a rotund physique, his manner is different too. He carelessly slouches behind his kit, gurning for all his worth like some ridiculous clown whilst the others seem more serious and self aware.

Without warning an ear piercing siren fills the air. Before I can establish what the circumstances are for this emergency there follows more high pitched notes, on stage the man on the right is jabbing vigorously at his six-stringed instrument whilst the fingers on his left hand are moving at an alarming erratic speed, up and down they flicker, pressing down the strings in various designated places along the whole length of it. I realise that this shrill metallic cadence that’s amplified overhead is being created by this same man. In response to this performance the man thought to be Mike, holds the metal phallus closer to his face before quite unexpectedly begins to match these notes with an equally high-pitched scream of his own. This is followed by a deep rumble that is of such an intensely loud volume that I can even feel it vibrate along the floor, through my feet and into my chest. I anticipate this as being the onset of an earth tremor and expect the firmaments to come crashing down at any moment. The man sitting at the back however seems unconcerned by this and simply adds to it buy flailing his arms up and down against the cylinders with a pair of sticks in each hand. The sound that follows is akin to that of war explosions and disaster. Worryingly, the effect that all this has on the crowd is one of further heightened levels of excitement, the whole floor is now pulsating with a new charge of energy with me somewhere in the middle at it’s mercy.
Amidst all this chaos I’m thrown against a member of the crowd, unable to move due to the force of weight impacted upon me I squint and look up from his shoulder, his eyes have serious intent and although he knows I’m here, practically with the tip of my nose in his ear I’m intrigued with the bizarre notion that he has absolutely no idea who I am and vice versa, we are strangers stuck together like glue! That’s when another surge catches us from behind, I stumble and feel something in front buckle, I fall onto something soft. Instinctively I try to protect myself, clasping my arms around my head and bunching my knees together to form a human ball. Despite a foot knocking into the base of my spine I remain in this position, even when someone collapses on top of me I don’t dare move. That’s when I feel pairs of hands take hold from under my armpits and hoist me up. I’m dazed and confused, more hands lift me up until I’m dragged out of and dumped into the enclosure between the crowd and the stage.

So I sit there for a few moments as this madness unfurls me when I feel something hit me on the top of the head, I look down to the floor I see a small metal bolt roll by my feet. Puzzled, I turn round to see where it could have come from. Behind me the metal barrier that pens in the crowd is starting to bend and the people at the front being squashed. Although I can’t hear I can see the pain etched on their faces. The security attendants attempt to push people back in order to create some room so they can pulled out but it’s impossible due to the sheer weight of the crowd. Some people a little further back, not caught in the immediate crush, begin to frantically clamber to the front after having found leverage from the heads and shoulders of others. More follow until the enclosure is becoming a scrum for survival. Inevitably, the security attendants are rapidly overwhelmed until finally the barrier gives way and collapses completely, people spill out, some are trampled underfoot and remain at the bottom of a mount of entwined limbs whilst others are thrown into the enclosure by sheer force. Incredulously throughout all this mayhem the four men on stage continue their sonic racket. As though to remonstrate against them a man lunges forward and pulls himself up onto the stage, on seeing this a security attendant tries to stop him but is grappled to the floor by a group of youths. My mouth then drops open in disbelief as I catch a clear view of this stage invader. It’s the disfigured man!

Now on the stage, he staggers to his feet and whilst facing the crowd he holds his fist defiantly above his head. In response to this there’s the biggest roar I’ve heard yet! He then strides up to Mike, who is still at this point caterwauling into the metallic phallus, crouches by his feet and gathers up a length of the thin cable that’s attached to the other end of the phallus. He then rises up behind Mike and with a portion of the coiled length of cable he methodically loops it around his neck. Oddly, Mike seems oblivious to this and all the while continues his performance.
The disfigured man repeats this action, wrapping the cable three more times before brutally yanking the two ends of the cord. Mike’s body seizes up and for a second even appears to be levitating an inch above the stage, with his eyes now bulging, still holding the phallus in front of his mouth he then lets out one final wail. For a almost a minute the pitch and sustain is perfect until finally it withers and left hanging in the air. He then drops the phallus with a dull thud and his body goes slack.
As the disfigured man merely stand there looking out to this human ocean of insanity the other sounds from the stage are more become more abrasive, punctured by random squarks and altogether unrhythmic and punctured by random electric squarks. Waves of people flock through what’s left of the broken barrier, their only aim it would seem is to join the disfigured man. To the left side the stage the man with the four stringed instrument leapt upon and mugged by a frantic group of stage invaders, struggling briefly before disappearing underneath them, one of the group now wields the instrument in the air as if it were a cudgel before plummeting it down in one vicious arc vicious arc, the mob disperses and to reveal the bloodied, broken body of the man. The person that delivered the blow is barely a teenager. Again he raises the instrument and brings it down one final time until there’s an explosion of bone, strings and wood.

Despite the fact the stage and it’s rigging being violently torn apart, Mike’s other colleague, the man with the six stringed instrument, continues to stare down as his fingers continue their feverish interplay. Such is his concentration that even when a young girl clings onto his back and starts biting him he doesn’t even flinch, nor does he seem to notice that there no longer is a steady beat to play to. Indeed, it transpires that the fourth man is no longer sitting on his stool or banging away with his two little sticks. He’s now taken off all his clothing and with a maniacal grin, is flinging his drums around as though they were toys. It would seem he has an intention to destroy them before any of the invading hordes can. Then there’s a bloodcurdling scream followed by an awful thick noxious smell, my attention is drawn back to the man with the six stringed instrument, flames shoot up his legs before he’s covered by them. Not too far from him is the girl that was on his back, she’s now holding a lit standing next to a metal container that has liquid oozing from its spout. This spectacle also attracts the attention of a handful of other youths who refrain from trying to topple over a sound cabinet, gleefully they gather to watch from a safe distance as he flails around in agony. It’s only until his blackened charred body finally slumps to the floor that they extinguish the flames with dozens of stomping feet.

As I look around myself I’m flanked by thousands of Mike’s dispossessed people all indulging in acts of extreme violence and depravity, young men and women in various states of undress, some covered in blood …someone else blood, others brandishing crude weapons that they’ve improvised from whatever they can tear from this building. Then I see the disfigured man once more, being carried over the heads of the crowd with his arms stretched in some bizarre salute of victory. Suddenly there’s an almighty groan. The remnants of what once was the stage is straining from from the excess weight of the deluge of people running riot on it. In a whirlwind of dust I see faces, arms, legs and bodies collapsing before me. The scaffolding has come undone! There’s no way I can get clear! I duck down and try to find something to protect myself with but it’s too…

________________________________________________________________

I’m cold. I hurt all over. I’m face down in an unknown place. How did I get here? I open my eyes. It’s dark and hard to focus. I can only move my head fractionally as there’s an enormous amount of pressure holding it down. I wonder if I’ve died but just not realised it yet. Unexpectedly from somewhere above I hear someone whistling a happy tune. I want to shout and get their attention but I’m so weak and can only manage a faint groan. The whistling continues. With all the energy that I can muster I try another slightly louder groan. This time the whistling ceases.

‘Hello. Is someone down there?’ A voice says.

‘Mmmmmmmmnnnnn….’ I reply.

I hear movement directly above, a sort of frantic scrabbling sound. ‘Don’t move, I’m right here. We’ll have you out in a minute. Hang in there friend.’ The voice says.

After a few moments I feel the weight over my shoulders gradually ease.

‘Don’t move. You might be injured. You could easily break your neck with just the slightest movement!’

I comply with the man and let him dig me out until soon I’m being lifted up from my pit, the sudden exposure to daylight causing me to wince.

‘We were told that there were to be no survivors.’

I open my mud caked eyes to what looks like the aftermath of a great disaster. Huge metal girders lay bent and broken, smoke billows from holes punctured in the sides of the building and an eerie layer of white dust covers everything.

‘What happened?’ I murmer.

Two men dressed in matching green overalls, both armed with sweeping brushes face me ‘We don’t know.’ Says one. ‘We were just given instructions to clean this place up. Are you hurt?’

Finally I will my body to move, as I stand up it feels like every muscle is aching but there doesn’t appear to be any serious damage. I shake my head before bursting into tears.

‘Hey come on.’ One of the men says. ‘We can’t be having you making a scene. We’ve got a job to do. Frank, escort this young man off the property.’

And with that, the man called Frank let me hold onto his arm whilst I fought to keep my balance over the piles of debris. As I made my way past the flickering green sign that read EXIT sign I saw many other men dressed in green overalls busily hosing down the damaged walls with water cannons and shovelling human remains into the back of large trucks.

________________________________________________________________

I’ve been walking in the middle lane of a long stretch of road. I realise that this would normally be considered a most foolhardy thing to do however there literally hasn’t been any traffic all night. Not only is the road deserted, the surrounding area succession of rows of fields and further in the distance just the dark outline of woodland foliage blowing against the dark night sky. Despite my exhaustion I’m determined not to sleep out here since earlier, when I’d taken a moment to rest but and drifted off, when I did wake up it was with such a shock as I had managed to end up lying flat on my back in the middle of the road. So with that in mind I’ve decided that my best choice is to keep on going forward until I reach a town.

From the dimness of the road ahead something catches my eye, reflected moonlight on a curved shiny surface causing me to ignore my fatigue and break into an eager jog. As I approach nearer I realise it’s a black shiny four wheeled vehicle, on roof there’s a brightly lit yellow sign along with the words FOR HIRE. My initial thought is that this is the aftermath of a traffic accident such as the way it’s parked in a haphazard manner with half of it’s rear end pointing off of the road. On closer inspection I’m surprised to see that there appears to be no obvious damage to it. I circle the it, pausing at the tyres and prodding them with my finger, despite my lack of knowledge on vehicle maintenance I don’t think they’re damaged or flat. Moving around, I then notice the driver’s door is slightly ajar, I take hold and slowly open, lowering my head to see inside. Immediately I’m aware of a sweet smell. As my hand scrabbles around in the dark for the light switch I realise the surface seems to be slightly wet with a sticky residue. When I eventually find the switch and illuminate the inside of the vehicle I’m horrified with what I see next.

The whole interior is drenched in blood, the smooth leather upholstery, the floor mats, dashboard, everything. I look down at myself and notice that, in disturbing this scene I’m also daubed myself in the red stuff. I jerk backwards, hitting my head against the archway of the door and stagger away in a daze. Suddenly I hear the soft hum of a mechanical engine. Parked in front with head lights flashing directly at me is a second black vehicle. Squinting past the glare I can just make out the outline of a man at the driver’s seat.

‘Do you need a lift? Where are you going?’ He says.

‘That way.’ I reply, pointing at the long road in front of me.

I’m at once aware of my bloodied appearance and am about to explain myself as well as my absolute lack of knowledge regarding the abandoned vehicle however he interrupts me before I can even begin.

‘Well are you getting in or not ?’ He asks.

As we pull away from the mysterious scene I’m almost instantly overcome with the warmth of the fan heater and comfort of the soft leather, it’s not long before I fall into a deep sleep.

I’m roused from my slumber by the sound of a voice singing in a gentle, high pitched manner. I only catch a few words, something about not understanding why he loves the man. Then there’s another voice that speaks loudly with barely a pause.

‘One afternoon I’m driving home and the traffic is barely moving. I’m stood still for over two and a half hours. Further up the motorway there’s dirty babylon and blue lights flashing everywhere and they’ve cordoned off everything. What it was, there used to be a laboratory complex round here , the sort they have that looks after sick animals. It turns out one of their monkeys had escaped! Awful fucking hairy thing and he weren’t Happy. All foaming at the mouth and going crazy and shit. He came down over the hill across the causeway like a runaway train and managed to get through three lanes before he got hit by a motorbike. Imagine! The bloke on the bike goes flying through the windscreen of the car behind him which then spins out and creates a pile up. Apparently there was a coach party on the way up to Blackpool. Total fucking carnage! It’s in all the papers. Thirty-seven injured, fifteen critical and nine dead …and guess what? The monkey only survives! He’s pretty fucked up though. The people from the Laboratory, they come and take him back. And he’s still there now though all he does is sit there strapped up in his cage. It’s a life I suppose but not one I could ever wish for.’

My neck aches from the cramped position I’ve been in. I gaze out of the window in the vain hope that I may get my bearings but it’s hopeless, there’s nothing but the pitch black of night. In front there’s the back of the driver’s head, the fine white head of hair and rough texture to his skin on his neck would suggest that he’s considerably older than me.

‘Thank you for picking me up.’ I say.

‘That’s okay. I appreciate the company,’ he says. ‘It can get lonely out here on your own.’

‘This is the only vehicle I’ve seen all night.’

‘That’s no real surprise considering the present climate.’ His pale blue eyes glare at me through his rear view mirror.

‘Present climate?’

‘Have you not heard about the recent spate of indiscriminate killings in this area?’

‘What?’

‘He’s a right vicious bastard this one. No one knows his identity or why he chooses to target the innocent black taxi cab driver. He mutilates them beyond recognition, and the passengers. He’s written off nine jobs already this year.’

‘That’s terrible. Why are you still on the road?’

‘This is all I know. I’ve done it for too long to quit now. Anyway just because I’m out here on my own doesn’t mean I don’t take precautions.’

His left hand leaves the steering wheel and opens the glove compartment. Inside there’s a handgun. He takes it out and holds it up in front of my face.

‘No my friend,’ he says. ‘When he comes for me I’ll be ready for him.’

‘I’ve never seen a real gun before. Can I touch it?’ I ask.

‘It’s a Tanfoglio nine millimetre pistol. I got it from a registered firearms dealer. Be careful with though as I always keep it loaded in case of emergencies.’

He passes the gun to me, it’s heavier than I thought it would be but the handle fits
comfortably into my palm. For some reason I can’t resist looking down the end of the barrel and giving it a sniff. Then I look up and notice that we’ve stopped moving, the driver’s turned around and is now facing me, his pallor is of a deathly white and his bottom lip is quivering. There’s a look of fear in his eyes.

‘Why have we stopped?’ I ask.

He unlocks his seat belt and opens his door, gets out and then opens the door on my nearest side.

‘Why don’t you step outside.’ He says.

‘I think I’d like to stay here if you don’t mind.’

‘Don’t you mess about! I’ve been waiting a long time for this!’

Nervously, I Decide to try to placate in the hope we may resume our journey. I ease myself out of the vehicle. As he walks slowly to the front of the vehicle, illuminated by the headlights, I can now clearly see that he looks to be aged around his mid fifties, he’s not a particularly a tall man but he’s stockily built. I also notice that his nose has a flattened look about it as though it has been broken more than once. Curiously he then raises his arms above his head with his large palms facing me, I understand this as being a gesture of passivity or surrender however I am still wary to approach him as I doubt I could defend myself against him.

‘There’s one thing you have to do.’ He says.

‘What’s that?’

‘Raise the gun. Point it at me.’

I look down at the gun. I’d forgotten that I still had it in my hand.

‘No! I don’t want to,’ I exclaim. ‘Here, you have it.’

‘Go on. You’re a bullet!’ He says.

He’s really starting to scare me now! Against my better judgement, I find myself raising the gun. As I do this, still with his hands in the air, he slowly assumes a kneeling position on the road.

‘Now,’ he says. ‘Move closer to me.’

I take four steps forwards until the gun is aimed only a fraction away from his left temple.

‘Okay,’ I whisper. ‘I’ve done what you want me to do. Can I just go?’

‘Yes. But first you have to pull the trigger.’

‘I’ve never fired a gun before. I think you’re mistaking me for someone else.’

‘Shhhh …don’t be scared. I’m easy an target. Here let me help you.’

His left hand lowers, I feel his large fingers gently close around my mine with his thumb pressing over the trigger. We stay like this for a moment. I close my eyes and then he says something quite surprising.

‘When you see Mike, say hello to him for me, wont you?’

Horrified, I break away from him but in the process the gun goes off. He’s still kneeling. I freeze, standing there as he looks back at me with a lopsided grin. For a second I think that I see him blink but then he slumps over onto his side. I stand there, waiting to see if there’ll be any more movement from him but there isn’t, I’m fairly certain that he’s dead.

In those crazed moments that follow, a number of questions race through my mind in some attempt to comprehend what had just happened. Did I actually just shoot an innocent man? Or did he shoot himself? It was obviously some sort of freak accident as I know for certain that I didn’t consciously mean to do it. I hardly knew the man! There was definitely a degree of provocation from him as if he was playing some sort of sick game. He was just teasing me and then it went all wrong. And so as I stand there holding a smoking gun in my hand whilst a man is lying dead with blood pouring from a large hole in the side of his head, I realise I’ve got to get far away rom this place.

My head’s all tangled up. I can’t seem to make any sense of this night. I don’t know
which direction I’ve been walking in the last hour but, as the aroma of almonds wafts on the cool breeze, I realise I’ve accidentally wandered off of the road and am now surrounded by the dark countryside. I pause to gaze up through the branches of the trees at the full moon shimmering ever so gently up there …if you half close your eyes you can see the shaded imprint of a giant face. That’s when something strange happens.

A condensed beam of pure white light fixes around me from somewhere above, this is followed by a faint hum from some nearby place, a warm then fog then materialises from the darkness and drifts closer, enveloping me, instantly I feel an acute tingling through my clothes, the sensation prolongs until it starts to sting, then burn, I can’t help but want to itch and tear at myself in a furious manner but I’m shocked to discover that no matter how I try I can’t. I’m paralysed! With my last effort I manage to raise my right foot only to find that it freezes within an inch off the grass leaving me to stand helplessly rigid on one leg! The aroma of almonds intensifies to a pungent, toxic mixture that would under normal circumstances make me retch and gag, it’s as though the air has become thick with some sort of gas and now smothers me, as I breathe the fumes in I can feel my lungs have expand involuntarily against my chest. In a desperate last effort, I try to spit this awful muck out of me but in the process I just end up swallowing more of it. Starved of oxygen I begin to lapse in an out of consciousness until the last thing I’m aware of is a fox that’s only metres away, sitting by a tree, unaffected and casually scrutinising me. If only I could speak, I would surely plead with it for some assistance.

________________________________________________________________

I open my eyes. I’m lying naked on a metal slab surrounded by pure white. I would presume that I’m in a room as I’m obviously not outdoors but not like any conventional room I’ve been in before. For instance, I can’t actually see where the walls start or how high the ceiling is, in addition there are no furnishings for me to ascertain any sort of distance or depth so with this in mind the term room can only be used as loosely. When I attempt to sit up I’m met with the realisation I’ve somehow lost the ability to move any part of my body from the neck down. I’m further hindered by my having no memory of how I came to be like this …it would appear that also like this room, my mind is a blank. My thoughts then turn to the horrendous prospect of how long I may be left on my own.

‘Hello,’ I shout. ‘Is there anyone there?’

I spend the next few minutes hollering at the top of my voice until my throat is sore, then from my peripheral vision there is movement. Turning my head I see a pale figure behind me, another appears in the opposite direction and pauses by my feet, followed by a third one from my right hand side. My initial reaction is to offer my most sincerest gratitude for them coming to my aid however this is rapidly succeeded by utter disbelief upon my realisation that these are the strangest looking people I have ever seen.

Not only are they dressed the same, in a white one piece body stocking, but are also physically identical in every other way. They are extremely tall, possibly even seven feet in height and emaciated to the point that I am able to see the sharp angular workings of their skeletal frames. The skin on their faces is as pale to the point of near translucency and is stretched tautly over impossibly high cheekbones, a look that forbids even the slightest of facial dexterity, the only earthly face I could compare them with would be that of a siamese cat after being shaved of it’s all it’s hair. These fellows do have some hair though, in the fashion of a streak of bright red mane that stands up to attention on the top of the skull and is longer at the back, hanging loosely around the nape of their thin necks.

Initially I attempt to communicate with them but there’s no response, they seem more concerned with the series of different sized metallic boxes that are on a trolley. Finally I can take no more and begin to shriek at the top of my voice whilst violently rocking my head from side to side. For a few moments they continue to be unperturbed until one of them turns to another and nods subtly. He then moves forward and takes hold of my left arm with his thin long fingers. I consider this a violation of my person and definitely do not want him to touch me but there’s nothing I can do. He takes something from the top of the trolley and then with his other hand presses against my forehead, forcing me back against the slab. Then in one smooth motion he inserts a metal capsule up my left nostril that causes a stinging, burning sensation. As I watch smoke curl softly from the tip of my nose I channel all my energies into sneezing the thing out however it would seem I’ve lost the ability to even do that. Surprisingly, a sudden calmness begins to take hold of me and for some unknown reason I attempt an incoherent conversation with my captors.

‘Can somebody just ask me an honest question?’

Although those are definitely my words I’m taken aback by how distant my voice sounds. I try to speak again but I’ve no longer the ability to construct any sort comprehensible sentence. During this, my captors continue to mill around the array of metallic boxes on the trolley, some have been opened up and have dangling from them strange lengths of chrome tubing that gently stir and writhe as though with a life of their own. My attention is then drawn to an azure television screen that somehow has materialised from nowhere, there’s the flicker of static before, instantly my mood has changed to one great elation as a succession of primary colours flash before my eyes. A joyful flourish of an orchestra echoes around the room to introduce a cartoon! Amazingly I find that I’ve all but forgotten about my paralysis or my strange looking captors.

A large blue cat chases after a small brown mouse. The cat will go to any lengths to catch his prey but despite his efforts and the number of elaborate traps he lays the
mouse is always a bit quicker than he is and so consequently always manages to evade him.

…from the corner of my eye I’m vaguely aware of a figure using a scalpel to slice a hole into my lower abdomen…

And this is the really funny bit! The mouse is making fun of the cat who in turn becomes really annoyed …hahaha …but the cat has a different idea, he’s prepared a lump of cheese in a mousetrap and placed it on the table top before hiding under the table.

…a pair of hands tug aggressively at my hair. A large clump comes away at the
root…

The mouse is too clever though. He’s jammed open the spring on the trap with a spoon and has taken the cheese …hahaha …he then tip-toes with great care, takes the end of the cat’s tail and gently places it in the mouse trap.

…a transparent thin tube is roughly inserted into me…

The mouse is now within a safe distance from the cat. He carries the huge lump of cheese on his back and whistles loudly to attract the cat’s attention who in turn is furious that his plan has been foiled …hahaha…

…more tubes. Liquid passes through …hahahaha …they lead to the different sized metal boxes…

The cat Instinctively leaps from the table to give chase to the mouse but he is too big and clumsy. He bangs his head, disturbs the spoon and the trap snaps shut on his tail …ouch! …hahaha …the mouse eats the cheese while the cat screams in agony.

…I’m alone again in the white room. A warm feeling of contentment descends upon me as I fall into a deep sleep. I’ve been a good boy and that was a funny cartoon. All is well.

________________________________________________________________

I wake to the sound of a steady heartbeat. It’s so humid in here and I could easily drift back to sleep however despite my lethargy I resist this temptation and slowly gather my faculties. It would appear that I’m curled up naked in a fleshy cocoon of some sort. I shift from one side of my body, squinting with encrusted eyes and notice that I’ve received a number of bruises to my lower abdomen and legs. I’m unnerved by this due to my inability to remember how they came to be on me or indeed, how I came to be in this vessel. I prod the inner layer of membrane to discover that it’s coated in a slimy lubricant and has a thin rubbery consistency to it. Further pressure I exert on it leads me to believe that it can’t be punctured, it just moulds around my finger. I then push my face against it, although visibility is poor it’s possible to make out something of the environment outside such as the pulsating shades of orange and purple that pass overhead. There’s also a gentle rocking sensation that leads me to believe that slowly in transit. With no other point of reference, other than evidently not being on actual solid ground, I imagine that I’m being swept along a slow river in some kind of subterranean cave …although judging by the terrible smell in here I wouldn’t be surprised if it were a stream of sewage!

As I stretch at the membrane with both hands to in the hope to decipher more of my surroundings I become aware of two dark oval shapes on either side of me. To my surprise I see the long outline of a horses head pull from within of one of them, from the other I catch the flailing silhouetted arms of a small human figure and for a second I even swear I can hear the muffled wail of a frightened child. I try to communicate by shouting words of comfort but I’m pushed further away by the current. That’s when my journey becomes turbulent as I find myself being jostled and rolled against strange spongy walls and sucked down smooth blood-red tunnels, as a result I soon become exhausted from trying to stay upright by clinging onto the lining of my sack. Then I become aware of a bright spotlight refraction against the outer wall of the cocoon. Through the opacity of the I’m able to follow the beam of light and make out that it’s coming from a narrow vertical slit from the darkness ahead of me.
Suddenly there’s a violent push from the waves, the tunnel walls rumble and converge back and forth against each other as though with a life of their own, the next thing I know is I’m being scooped up and propelled into the air before being slammed against the wall. Luckily the impact is not harmful as the surface seems to be made up of layers of soft glutinous jelly like substance that seems to yield in a similar way to that of the membrane sack does.

And so I hang there inside my sack that’s melded with the wall, to my left I can see the blast of light from the vertical slit. I presume it must be a way out of this place so with all my strength I lunge for it. The force causes a portion of the sack to come unstuck with a wet slapping sound. I repeat this until I discover that by carefully distributing my body weight I’m able to detach and re attach the sack onto the wall whilst gradually shuffling towards the slit just like a slug until bullseye! I’m perched just over the rim. I position my head over the chasm and watch as part of the sack begins to fold and wrinkle where it’s being sucked by the vacuum of air. It won’t be easy but I’m confident that once my head and shoulders have squeezed through the rest of me should be able to follow.

Straining through the elasticity of the membrane I grip the two sides of the chasm in my hands, they feel like two enormous warm pieces of raw meat. Curiously I notice it’s slowly coming apart and then drawing upon itself in regular intervals. I wait a moment for the gulf to widen, then without further hesitation I jam myself towards the light. I feel sudden pain as it constricts on me in a vice like grip leaving me held hanging half in and half out. As well as this, with the sack reacting to the outside air it soon becomes shrivelled and stuck to my head causing me to gag for air. Like a wild animal fighting for survival I bite at the sack with my teeth and tear at it with my finger nails. From the other side, my legs kick with all their might. There’s a sickening ripping noise followed by the realisation that I’ve become loose before I feel the impact of hard concrete.

I lay there in a daze before I begin to stir and rouse myself. As I sit up I realise that I’m naked and covered in a mixture of blood, excrement and sticky transparent lubricant. Down by my feet there’s the shrivelled remnants of the sack with steam rising from it. I appear to be sitting in the middle of an empty road during night time with the only illumination coming from the moon above. Then I’m aware of a
burning sensation to my nose, realising that there’s something blocking one of my nostril’s I press on my clear nostril with one finger and then abruptly snort down hard to release the other. As I glance down into my palms. I expect to see a portion of cartilage or a hot ball of mucus but to my surprise I find that I’m holding a bullet. Before I can consider how it ever got up my nose from out of nowhere I hear footsteps followed by the sound of cruel laughter echo around me.

‘Hahaha …Ashi bkkulth, heh? deftk svanm.’

‘Ghed uj…ee. Pqut.’

They’re voices belonging to males but it’s a language I’ve ever heard before. I turn around to face them but all I see are silhouettes of two men against against a set of headlights. Before I can say anything one of them lunges and roughly grabs me by the hair, forcing my head back. This is followed by an unknown implement, something hard and precise that strikes in the ribs until before I’m thrown down onto the road. There’s another outburst of laughter as I instinctively try to crawl away before a tight grip on my right ankle yanks me backwards and drags me along the cold tarmac. Around this point things become unclear as how many times I’m hit, there’s a kick to my stomach followed by more blows falling down on me, another to my head, a heavy stamp on my right shin, then a nasty kick to my lower back. After a while the pain doesn’t even register, all I can do is wonder if it’s normal for my body to naturally defend itself in circumstances such as these, by simply becoming numb?

As as I feel myself slipping effortlessly in and out of consciousness I notice something in my periphery. I roll over a see that there’s someone lying on the road, a man. He’s not moving and he’s got a wound to his head. There’s a gun on the tarmac next to him. Further behind there’s a black shiny vehicle that’s lit up from the inside with it’s rear passenger door wide open. I think I’ve seen it before but in my present state I can’t be certain.

My arms are pulled behind my back and my wrists are secured tightly together. In a last bid to stay alert I try to focus on my assailants, I’ve never met them before but I’m familiar with the black uniform that they wear. They each grab me from under each armpit and pull me towards a four seated stationary vehicle. From it’s roof, two rotating electric blue beacons cast an eerie wash of light. As I get closer I’m able to see more clearly. The vehicle is predominantly white but marked with two thick red lines which run horizontal along it’s side. Also written in large letters is the word POLICE.

One of the men holds the door open and spits in my face before throwing me onto the back seat. A radio crackles into life followed by more spoken word of unknown origin.

‘Kggrm vhu sqrttle toi ewmuf ?’

From the front of the vehicle one of the men picks up the receiver and speaks into it. I close my eyes and begin to fall into black sleep. Just as I go under he begins to speak in a familiar language.

‘Hjuuf re lm ek. Ds era noogh IC1 W ug pash. Oweh lkz, you are not obliged to say
anything however anything you do say can be used as evidence against in a court of law. Do you understand?’

________________________________________________________________

INTERVIEW

DC Portent: My name is Detective Constable Arthur Portent. Today’s date is Thursday the 12th of July 2013. The time that I’m commencing this interview is 18:32 hours in commentary room number three. Also present is PC 430 Cecil Hope. Hello Cecil.

PC 430 Hope: Hello Arthur.

DC Portent: You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. You have the right for free and independent legal advice. You can speak to a solicitor in private at any time day or night. You can speak to a solicitor in person. If you do not want to speak to a solicitor in person. You can speak to a solicitor on the telephone. If you would like legal advice the interview can be delayed where certain exceptions apply. Do you want to speak to a solicitor?

Defendant:

DC Portent: For the purposes of this tape recording I’d like to state that the defendant offers no reply. I therefore take his silence to mean that he would not prefer to speak to a solicitor. You were found at 04:14 hours of this morning on the M1 between Luttleworth and Woolford in close proximity to the deceased body of taxi driver Mr Owen Driver who had become estranged from his vehicle. The only physical markings on him show a large gunshot wound to the right hand side forehead. The bullet that we believe has been retrieved on scene and believed to have been fired by a Tanfoglio 9 millimetre pistol which was also found at the scene. Consequently you were arrested on four counts. Suspicion of murder, possession of a firearm, resisting arrest and for using threatening words and behaviour towards a constable. Do you understand the seriousness of these offences?

Defendant:

DC Portent: If you wish to say nothing for the purposes of this recorded interview please can you offer a reply with the words no comment?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Thank You. Firstly I’d like to ask where you had been during the time shortly before you were arrested?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Can you tell us where you live?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Can you tell us where you were going?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Were you with anyone else?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Can you confirm that, upon being arrested you were nearby to Mr
Driver’s vehicle.

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: How did you feel about being stopped?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Did it make you feel angry?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Were you upset?

DC Portent: Did you say anything when you were told you were going to
be searched?

Defendant: No comment.
PC 265 Portent: Did you say ‘You pair of fucking cunts get your hands off me.’

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Did you say ‘I’m going to kick you in the head.’

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Were you taken to the floor?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: At 04:16 hours this morning you were arrested for using threatening words and behaviour against a constable. Would you agree that this is fair?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Did you resist or struggle with the officers?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Did you spit at the officers?

DC Portent: Our forensic officers took a series samples of fingerprints from the rear side of Mr Driver’s taxi cab and also the Tanfoglio 9 millimetre pistol. These were compared to your own fingerprints. The result was a positive hit, meaning that all fingerprints were identical. Is there anything else you would like to say at this point?

Defendant: No comment.

PC 430 Hope: Would you like a glass of water?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Were you at any point in the back of Mr Driver’s vehicle?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Did you a gun that resulted in the death of Mr Driver?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: There is something else that I must put to you. We discovered another black taxi carriage only eight miles away from the alleged incident that involved yourself. This vehicle is registered to a Mr Ahmed Situ. At this moment of time our pathologists are still working on identifying the number dismembered body parts that were dispersed around the area however we can confirm that upon arrest, you had particles of the remains’ exact blood type smeared about yourself. Can you explain why that was?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: If you can offer us no explanation then you leave us no choice but to presume that you are guilty of murdering these two individuals.

PC 430 Hope: Do you know what can happen to young men that commit acts of serious crime of this nature?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Look I’ll level with you right down the line. There’s no doubt that you will be found guilty. There’s too much evidence stacked against you. You’re looking at thirty years imprisonment, possibly less. Who knows, you’re young. The judge might take a shine to you.

PC 430 Hope: Try to think about what the grieving relatives must be feeling. Don’t you think they deserve to know the truth of how their family member died?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: The amount of paper work that we have to produce will be phenomenal. If you could offer us some description in your own words of how you came to murder Mr Driver and Mr Situ, it not only would save a lot of time and effort but would also be doing us a huge favour.

Defendant: No comment.

PC 430 Hope: You tell us and that’s it, we can wind this thing up and all go home.

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Okay to summarise. From the early hours of Thursday the 12th of July 2014 I was walking on the hard shoulder on the M1 when I flagged down a black taxi cab driven by a man that I now know as Mr Ahmed Situ. I disagreed with the estimated price of fare that Mr Situ gave me. We argued over this matter for a few minutes until I became agitated. At this point I took it upon myself to hold Mr Situ very firmly with my two hands around his neck until he stopped breathing. Then with a hacksaw from a toolbox that I found in the boot of the vehicle I attempted to hide Mr Situ’s body by cutting it up and scattering the remains around the nearby woodland area. Not long after this I accepted the service of another black taxi cab driven by a person I now know to be Mr Owen Driver. After the vehicle had travelled a short distance a conversation was struck up. Mr Driver informed me that he kept a handgun in the glove compartment of the vehicle for protection purposes as there had recently been a number of well publicised stories in the newspapers regarding the recent number of indiscriminate murders of taxi drivers. On hearing this I became anxious that he may suspect me as being the perpetrator of these crimes. Consequently I took Mr Driver’s gun from the glove compartment and told him that if he didn’t stop the cab immediately then I would shoot him. When the cab was stationary I told Mr Driver to get out of the vehicle. Mr Driver asked me to let him go and promised that he would not tell anyone that he had seen me. At this point I told him to be quiet and shot him at point blank range in the head. Directly after this and for reasons known only to myself I then proceeded to take off all my clothing and smear myself with my own faeces. That was when I was arrested.

DC Portent: This Is what we would like you to say. Is it an accurate account of your actions? Do you agree with that?

Defendant: No comment.

DC Portent: Would you like to add anything to the account that I have just described?

Defendant: No.

DC Portent: I have no further questions. This interview is terminated at 18:57 hours.

________________________________________________________________

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