Act Four Chapter forty
Maxie phones home
-‘Run for your life missus. The monsters are in the village.’-
That covered terrace wasn’t the best place for a meeting, they’d closed the shutters up, but the rain was rattling the roof. The lightning had passed however and we’d put the lights back on.
They had the TV on loud and everyone was sucked into the invasion reports, as we all filed in, with Moonie and Josie, and the yunkers still in their towels.
-‘Oh my god they’re going to kill them!’-
They were showing part of the video of the murder of Oscar and Mary, earlier that morning.
Both were dressed in white feathers and CLAN Eagle gear, waving, chained by their ankles to the Salmon Bridge in Foxford, holding up the invading army column on the old coast road.
Under the high reinforced banner reading..
–‘Foxford CoOp Pool. LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED.’-
-‘Don’t watch it. It’s horribly bloody.’- said Bernie. -‘They shouldn’t show that on TV. The kids..’-
I picked up the staring Josie, then Moonbeam in the other arm, and whisked them out of sight, as the first tank obeyed the signal and lumbered forward over Mary and Oscar, on the screen.
-‘Oh crap no they can’t, poor things, oh shite that’s gross!’-.
Everyone just stared in disbelief, the TV was subtitling demo and transport details, the tank just drove ahead. I craned back to see.
Their bodies popped open, like ripe tomatoes.
Their insides got squirted over the road, everyone was yelling.
In the same moments I felt and heard the mobile phone.
Buzzing and vibrating in my left tit pocket.
I hadn’t realized I was waiting for Maxie to call.
But at the first ring I’d dropped Josie and shoved Moonie in Lucy’s arms.
I was dancing back away from the noisy horror, with the cellphone in my hand.
She was leaving this message. I could hear her but she couldn’t hear me.
-‘Hello Barney. Hello can you hear me this is Maxie. Hello. Oh shit.. Well um just to say yes. I am alive and Peters.. How stupid. Hello? Well bye bye wonderful family it was.. Oh yes they got Macker I’m afraid they’re hurting him. Can er, can somebody tell the Clanners and.. Um hello? Oh forget it.. Hello Maggie? Kazoo is dead you’ll never see her, they got Kazoo as well.. Okay bye bye, um, kisses for Moonbeam if you can hear this… ‘-
Veera was right. Everything was normal when we arrived in Hankshill and very friendly as well, with Rose the midwife taking great care of me and it was –‘Oh Maxie this.’– and –‘Oh Maxie that.’– and –‘What would you like to drink with your medicine?’–
Rose was so warm and loving to me she almost convinced me my miscarriage was just nature’s way of avoiding a probably dead or damaged child.
While I was feeling inside that this was a punishment.
I was to blame, for my sins. And for mocking God
I got a sedative in the forest and then an anesthetic while they cleaned and sewed up my arm. Only four stitches. Then more pills maybe antibiotics.
Plus I was exhausted and shocked and grieving..
How could they expect me to cheer up and have a real nice day?
-‘Hey look they’re showing your photo on TV you look great.’-
-‘What? Oh no..”-
-‘Hang on that was a preview, it’s Fox News.’
But it was the first item up, hot news.
-‘After only twelve hours in action the Pacification Force, PIF, have identified a number of dangerous terrorists. Four brave soldiers have sacrificed their lives for Humanity. Three in accidents and one in unclear circumstances…
Don’t be fooled by this pretty young girl. She tried to blow up our peace keepers before they even crossed the frontier. The name on her purse is Maxie Moon and this is her rifle and mobile command unit..’-
It was a good photo of me, unfortunately. Leaping and running from the helicopter, turning my head to glance back. It looked like I was flying through the air..
-‘And this evil looking fellow, already detained, threatened to put a bomb under Samuel and Duggie’s Humvee, when they were having a Coca Cola on a well earned break..
And now we go back to Reverend Paulson who’s embedded with our troops.. Reverend we were discussing with our experts earlier on about how a lot of youngsters over there go round half naked and showing….’-
The cameras zoomed in and lingered, on a succession of uncovered tits and bums, shots gleaned from stock footage of a Clanners demo against the upcoming invasion.
-‘Is this due to a breakdown in parental control or a serious perversion of family values?…’-
It all faded out for me. I couldn’t focus on it. I didn’t cheer up, in fact I went all groggy and had to lie down. Shit. I hadn’t even noticed I’d lost my pussy cat purse in the explosion.
Soon after that I was evacuated from there to Foxmouth village, which they said had a boat service for refugees. It seemed Hankshill would be taken after all.
In Foxmouth I was taken to the Pools Center which was a big ex pub and oddly deserted. I was given a cup of tea from a machine, and parked again in front of the telly, while Myra checked out the best solution for me.
She never came back. Then a woman was rushing in and out with some boxes.
-‘You can’t stay here darling, this place has already been evacuated.’-
But she didn’t say where I should go and I didn’t ask.
And anyway I was doing some good thinking now. Remembering through some important conversations I’ve had with friends, mainly with Maggie. Which I mustn’t forget ever.
Pools TV was on the box and I saw my photo again, only I somehow wasn’t too interested. I think they were denying it was even me, fair play to them.
I forced myself to concentrate when a list of kidnapped prisoners came up. A to Z.
Yes yes yes! –‘Macker Mucdunna. Famous children’s magician. Probably detained.’-.. So he was probably alive!
-‘Yippee.’- I finally woke up and leaped to my feet.
Only to suffer a new wave of nausea. I staggered to the jacks with stomach cramps, where I stopped to retch and dribble a bitter bile..
When I finally found my way out the bar was deserted. Maybe Myra had come and missed me? Now the local TV reporters were openly crying. Hysteria doesn’t help, I thought, self righteously. Then I saw the clip repeating, of Oscar Chang, of Chinese father, and Mary Wested who had apparently picked straws to stand on the Salmon Bridge in Foxford that morning.
But Foxford must be near here!
The first armoured car refused to fire on the brave pacifists, who were blocking the narrow tourist bridge, it even tried to turn around. And only after a general in a jeep had remonstrated with them did someone open fire.
Even then only Oscar was hit, it looked like they got his left arm, and Mary stood there heroically till the tank went over them. Their bodies just seemed to burst, then they were mangled up to a pulp in the tread.
That image paralyzed me with horror. I was alone. Now they had really called our bluff, this had to mean all out war! And I remembered the talk of thousands of mines under all the roads and bases..
Two masked boys ran into the pub, shouting at each other.
Glanced around, and scampered for the back exit.
-‘Run for your life missus.’– one called. -‘The monsters are in the village.’-
-‘Maybe I should hide in the storeroom.’- I thought, too depressed and terrified to move.
-‘We repeat the warning from Pools Fed that all houses within two kilometers of the old coast road need to be evacuated immediately. Due to death squads operating ahead of an army column.
We remind our viewers that the Ultimatum is now in force and they have seven hours left to halt all killings, rapes, torture and detentions now going on. We have received new atrocity videos which..’-
-‘Unbelievable.’– I said out loud. They were going on with the pacifist line while we were being killed in the streets!
I noticed a man coming in the pub doors, backwards. A youngish half bald man sidling into the empty pub, looking back out. It was Christy Peters. But I didn’t know him then. When he turned I saw his face was streaming tears.
-‘Anyone left here?’- He was turning back to leave.
-‘Yes me!’- I shouted, waking up. -‘I’ve been left here by mistake and I’m a wanted terrorist!’-
-‘Oh dear me you’re Maxie Moon. Um. Come on follow me we’ll run across the fields.’-
I tried to do just that and lurched a few miserable steps.
-‘You go on.’- I said -‘I can’t run I got shot and lost my baby.’-
-‘No no. I’ll get the motorbike from the shed. Wait two minutes. We’ll take the boat, the Yellow Tubmarine.’-
And he too slipped out the back.
A boat. I would go in a boat. Then I must phone home.
I picked up the bar phone. It had a tone. Tapped out the first number in my head. It was Little Agnes Street. But the ansaphone came on.
-‘Hello this is Maxie, um.. I was looking for Macker but. Well I’ll phone back.’-
I cut off, disappointed. Tapped a second number from memory.
It was Barney’s cellphone.
It rang and answered immediately. But I heard only a light buzz.
-‘Hello Barney. Hello can you hear me this is Maxie. Hello. Oh shit.. Well um just to say yes. I am alive and Peters.. How stupid. Hello? Well bye bye wonderful family it was.. Oh yes they got Macker I’m afraid they’re hurting him. Can er, can somebody tell the Clanners and.. Um hello? Oh forget it.. Hello Maggie? Kazoo is dead you’ll never see her, they got Kazoo as well.. Okay bye bye, um , kisses for Moonbeam if you can hear this.. ‘-
-‘Maxie is alive! Maxie is alive, they’re both alive, she just phoned.’- I yelled.
-‘Hurray, Maxie’s okay. Is she okay?’-
-‘I couldn’t speak to her. She couldn’t hear me, it went dead. Hang on I recorded it, I’ll play it back.’-
I consulted the settings, found a little jack lead, plugged into the music amp and pressed EXT and play. Bernie had turned off the TV and we hushed and leaned close, hearing Maxie’s strange and stilted voice. I was trying the number again.
-‘Hurray she’s alive and she’s free.’- said Bernie, at the end. -‘But she’s seriously drugged or something….’-
-‘She’s off the planet. She asked for Maggie!’-
-‘She was being ironic.’-
-‘No no she’s lost her baby, she was pregnant, she called it Kazoo.’-
-‘What? I didn’t even know that.’-
I was totally shocked. A lump had come up in my throat and tried to choke me.
-‘Why did she keep saying bye bye?’- Lucy asked.
-‘Oh my god. Because she’s suicidal!’-
There was an ominous silence.
Filling up slowly with the cruel screaming wind.
I had looked up the number on the net.
-‘She rang from Foxmouth Pools Center formerly Jackson’s pub.’- I croaked.
Trying the dead number again.
-‘She’s okay, she’s okay then?’– said Duna.
-‘Just a minute. Isn’t Foxmouth on the evacuation list?’-
-‘That’s Foxford.’- said Tessa.
-‘The whole coast is evacuated now.’-
-‘There was no background noise?’– said Bernie. -‘In a Pools Center?’-
-‘Yes, yes there was, I heard shots and screams.’-
-‘What! She’s alone in the Center with the death squads outside!’-
-‘Bernie can you look for any phone numbers in Foxmouth. Tessa could you get onto Pools Defence Central, um, Lucia could you phone Sol. I’ll try my contacts. The rest of you, let’s get our stuff ready to move straight out of here now! The meeting will have to be without us.’-
I needed to zoom over there right that minute!
–‘Okay bye bye, um, kisses for Moonbeam if you can hear this..‘– I finished…
I knew I was talking to myself. The line was now totally dead. Then I was hearing loud fireworks. Or gunfire and yelling! I whirled round.
Expecting to see the bogeymen come charging in the door!
But it was good old Christy Peters. Panting as he got my arm over his shoulder and ushered me out.
-‘I’ve got the bike, we still have time. They stopped in the other pub. They’ve..they’ve disemboweled Martin, the landlord. He’s still alive.’-
-‘Oh my god.’– I said again. -‘We’ve got to fight them now.’-
-‘Tomorrow. If they don’t stop. That’s what we agreed. Hold very tight.’-
I gripped his waist but nearly got wrenched off the back, as we zoomed down some back lanes and arrived immediately, at a little jetty in the woods just south of the village. A little inlet within the bay.
The tide was ebbing but the big motorboat was afloat, beside a wrack of seaweed.
Two grey seals were right up on the steps. After fish guttings.
They splashed back down, honking possessively.
The boat was covered in with a perspex roof, which proved to be just as well. Christy was staggering down the steps with a thirty liter bottle of ammonia.
-‘Let’s just go we haven’t a moment to lose!’- he said.
I glanced out at the little patch of foaming white beyond the headland of the bay.
-‘Lets hope we don’t have to swim for it then.’- I said.
- Serial of The Free Ch 39. Adventure Way (thefreeonline.wordpress.com)