“Sectarian bastards!” the woman standing next to him shrilled. “SOPpy scum!”
There was a man at the front who was slightly more diplomatic. He pointed his finger and shouted:
“You are dividing the Proletariat with your reformist policies!...”
On the other side of the road the Socialist Organizers hurled abuse back at them: “Petit-bourgeois trendies!”... “Stalinists!”... “I spent three years in the WRSL so I know what a dirty organization you are!”
The choices of weapon for both lines in the battle were angry words and their stacks of newspapers which they brandished in their arms like spears. The Socialist Organizers carried copies of Direct Action, a similar tabloid the WRSL’s Socialist Times, which they were trying to sell to the policemen on the roadblock. The attempted persuasion and coherent insults eventually broke down and two sides resorted to simply gibbering and grunting at each other like apes at a waterhole: Expletives rose above the clamour: “Fuckin’... Fuckin’... Shit!... Fuckin’... CUNT!... Fuckin... Fuckin’…” Eventually a group of police officers left the roadblock to break it up.
The protest had begun peacefully. The newly-formed umbrella group Toxic Skies- No Thanks! had organized a simple gathering and demonstration at the
Mark had jumped on the first train from
They had to wait for two other comrades with cars to arrive in order to reach the roadblock because all busses to Belswill had been cancelled and the town’s railway station lay inside the exclusion zone; a temporary replacement bus service ferried railway passengers around the zone, after the trains, from and to
“Well, we’ve never had a helicopter carrying ninety litres of concentrated polyethylspidroxic acid crash in Belswill before.” replied Mark without looking at him.
“Why aren’t the police enough on their own?”
“Do you know how dangerous that stuff is?” butted in one of Mark’s comrades, a man called Mick or Chris or Rob; Glyn couldn’t remember.
“I know it’s very nasty stuff.”
“Nasty?” Mick/Chris/Rob frowned at him. “One drop of it on your skin can give you liver cancer! You're not going to be able to eat the vegetables grown in your garden for the next eighty years! The farms round here will have to close.”
“Still, why the squaddies with guns?... And look!” Glyn pointed. He had been gazing across the verdant fields and pewter sky when he saw a huge steel vehicle with a domed superstructure, like the carapace of a tortoise. It growled like a lorry as it rolled across the sward a few hundred yards away near the edge of some woods; its caterpillar tracks hurled clods of mud into the air behind it. They all stopped and looked at it. “A tank?”
“That’s not a tank, it’s an armoured personnel carrier.” said another of Mark’s comrades, who Glyn thought was called Steve. “The army always uses them to move troops around; it’s nothing unusual.”
“Are you sure? It looks like a tank to me; it’s got a turret and a big gun barrel…”
“Yeah, well my brother’s in the army so I should know the difference, thanks!” Steve snapped at Glyn.
Glyn jumped at Steve’s sudden sharp tone and stopped for a moment; the WRSL posse walked on without him.
The police wouldn’t let them get closer than about ten feet from the cordon, but it was easy to see past their shoulders to the second army roadblock about a hundred feet inside the police one. The soldiers there were standing or crouched with their rifles raised; not quite pointing at the protesters but slightly above them, in a semi-threatening way. It occurred to Glyn that if they opened fire then the police on the outer cordon would be cut down by their fire along with their targets in the crowd. Behind the row of troops another tank was parked, its gun barrel raised in a phallic salute over the helmets of the soldiers. Behind this stack of exclusion the road continued into the town; the streets deserted, the houses and shops empty. “Mark.” Glyn privately plucked his brothers elbow and said in a quiet voice. “That is a tank; it’s not an armoured personnel carrier. Why would the army need tanks just to keep people out?”
“I don’t know; I’m not Stormin’ Norman!” Mark’s tone sustained his comrade’s irritation. The others all turned and glared at him. Their looks said more than their words did. Glyn wished they’d all come out and just tell him to his face. He almost asked them to.
The main features of the demonstration began soon afterwards. A large white van with the letters BBC stenciled on the side of it appeared and a group of cameramen emerged with a suited reporter behind them. Technicians set up a portable satellite dish on the roof of the vehicle. This activity galvanized the WRSL contingent; they nodded to each other and started edging closer to the front of the protest with their wads of newspapers held up. They kept catching each other in the corners of their eyes as they moved forward, tactically coordinating their movements. As soon as the cameras were rolling and the reporter started speaking the WRSL members were conveniently placed in the background behind the reporter, their newspapers arranged in their arms for all the viewers at home to see. Jonathan Capel and the other main Toxic Skies- No Thanks! management scowled at them and moved forward themselves to try and upstage them. At the same time the BBC camerman stepped to one side and changed his angle to try and frame out the activists in the background. The reporter kept talking as if nothing were happening. The WRSL contingent moved accordingly back into shot while Capel and his friends attempted to outmanoeuvre them. To Glyn it looked like a game of chess on the rain-washed tarmac of the road. Then the WRSL’s rival group, the Socialist Organizing Party, turned up and the slanging match broke out that ended the protest. Eventually the police threatened to make arrests and Mark and his gang slunk off muttering insults at them; Glyn followed.
Once they were back in the cars Mick/Chris/Rob turned to Glyn. “So, Glyn, are you coming with Mark to the TS-NT public meeting tonight?”
Glyn shrugged. “Might as well; I’ve got nothing else to do.”
“Great that’s settled then. Mark, you’ll bring Glyn along, won’t you?”
Mark was sitting in the front passenger seat directly in front of Glyn. He turned round and looked at his brother, his face a mask.
The comrades dropped Glyn and Mark off at the stadium; as they walked towards the main entrance Mark stopped and grabbed Glyn’s shoulder. “Listen.” he said. “Are you… are you serious about coming to the public meeting tonight?”
“Yeah, sure I am.”
“Then… could you please do me a favour... and don’t mention… you know what.”
Glyn rolled his eyes. “What?”
“No, I don’t.”
Mark sighed. “That… bullshit that those morons in there were telling you… I know they’ve been talking to you and I’m worried you might be thinking of taking them seriously.”
“Do you mean about the UFO?”
Mark flinched at the sound of the word. “Yes! And it’s a load of bollocks!”
“But, Mark; don’t you think people have a right to say what they saw in…”
“Don’t bring it up at the meeting, Glyn!” Mark jabbed a finger at his chest. “Please do not!”
“Because it will discredit the entire campaign and make us all look like nutcases!... Surely you’ve seen the TV! This issue is gaining national and international importance! The bourgeois government has been caught out collaborating with transnational Capitalist corporations to endanger the environment, not to mention the health and lives of ordinary people! Don’t you realize we’ve caught them with their pants down!? Didn’t you see the headlines in papers? ‘HELICOPTERGATE’. The last thing we need right now is to be associated with a bunch of ditsy space-alien enthusiasts!”
Glyn paused. “Mark, this is a public meeting; that means…”
“No!” he shouted. “You promise me now that you won’t mention that shite! Do it now, or I won’t drive you there; you can stay here!”
Glyn put his hands in his pockets and gazed at the ground.
“Right! Stay here then!” Mark strode off away from him.
Glyn didn’t want to tell his parents the truth about why he wanted to money; he thought up an excuse, but before he had the chance his grandmother came up and gave him the cash. She told him that she would not be attending herself without explaining why. Glyn however knew. As he walked out of the stadium entrance he looked back to see his father and grandmother sitting by the tea-bar chatting. Beryl Southsea needed to talk to her son.
Glyn headed out of the stadium without talking to anybody else and made for the closest London Underground station, which was only a short walk away. It was getting dark (Check sunset times. What time is it? It’s September) and the rainclouds were clearing. With his Grandmother’s cash he bought a return ticket to Wood Green. He sat huddled on the Tube train, glancing over his shoulder at the other passengers, as it hurtled along the Piccadilly Line; after everything that he’d heard he couldn’t resist a frisson of paranoia. Toxic Skies-No Thanks! had exploited its new-found publicity by hiring one of the most prestigious venues in
There was an hour before the conference began so Glyn went to the cafe where he’d agreed to meet his new friends. They saw him as he entered the room and smiled at him furtively. He bought a cup of coffee and went and sat beside them. There were four of them including Glyn, just four. Only one had been a complete stranger; the other two had been vague acquaintances within the Belswill community; all had been thrown together by the extraordinary events of the past few days. They’d caucused in the stadium as soon as they realized that they were not alone. Unfortunately, out of the original two dozen people who’d admitted their experience, including Daisy, just these four stalwarts were left. As Glyn sat down Judith, a pretty young secretary from a firm in Barnet, said to him without greetings: “The Parkinsons have been reported dead.”
She held up a page from the Evening Standard and pointed to a paragraph half way down the leading story. “… Among the casualties named were Graham and Dia Parkinson whose house on
“But… but… this is crazy!” protested Glyn. “She was in hospital when it happened. My
“Well she’s dead now. And so’s her husband.” said Joe, a man in his sixties who’d been at the seance in Dia’s house. “It says she was killed that morning in the helicopter crash.”
There was silence around the table as the implications of this news sank in.
“This means our lives are in danger.” said Gary, a young foreman at Belswill Tesco who was balding prematurely, despite only being twenty-nine.
“Then let’s forget all this and go home!” said Joe.
“No!” retorted Judith. “We agreed! The world has a right to know!... Besides, our best chance is to get the word out in public. Then if anything happens to us like what happened to Dia nobody will believe it. We also need more witnesses to come forward… There must be two hundred or more who saw the thing! Where are they?”
“Well then, somebody has to get up and speak during the Q and A.”
There was a long silence. Three pairs of eyes slowly turned in Glyn’s direction.
He caught on. “What!?... Why me?”
“They’re more likely to listen to a little posh kid like you.” There was derogatory tone in
Judith glared at him and then smiled at Glyn. “You’re young and innocent. You’ll be believed. The rest of us will just be accused of making it up. What’s more you were there the night before; you saw what kicked the whole thing off.”
“So was Joe.” he protested.
“Yeah, but I’ve done time for burglary.” said Joe.
“That was a long time ago wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was in 1982; I got a year; six months suspended. But mud sticks, Son.”
“It’s the kind of shit the papers can dig up.” added Judith. “They’ll make out Joe’s a fraudster.”
Glyn felt himself on a downhill slide as irresistible as an avalanche.
The throng organized themselves into the rows of seats in the auditorium and the meeting began with a raucous vocal uprising of cheers which quickly solidified into repeated chants of “TOXIC SKIES- NO THANKS!... TOXIC SKIES- NO THANKS!... TOXIC SKIES- NO THANKS!...” The chairman, a suited and political-looking man raised his arms in an appeal for order. The clamour subsided. “Thank you, Comrades! Thank you very much! It fills me with hope to hear such feeling, such passion. And now, with no further ado, I present to you, the man who has had the guts to stand up to the scorn of Government! The scorn of his party! The derision of the Press…” and he added a great deal more complimentary description… “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jonathan Capel MP!” There was an almost deafening earthquake of applause as Capel took to the stage. The audience turned into a row of wide-mouthed faces, eyes screwed up in a mixture of rage and adulation.
Jonathan Capel was a long-standing backbench Labour MP from
Capel raised himself up to his full height dramatically. "Ladies and Gentlemen..." he began in a deep, educated voice. "We are being bombarded! We are having poison dropped on our heads by incompetent and uncaring corporations..."
His speech lasted about forty-five minutes; it would probably have been about half and hour but for the raucous and worshipful applause and whistling that followed most sentences he uttered. "...These are chemical weapons in effect, not intent; if you're riddled with cancer and your child is born with three arms it doesn't matter a jot to you what the intent was of the people who caused it. Does it matter if 'Sorry! It was an accident!' is sent to you..." "...Today in Vietnam four generations after the war birth defects are still a hundred times the world average..." "...the effects of polyethylspidroxic acid are identical to those of Agent Orange..." "...The time has come for the people of
Other speakers came on stage as supporting acts, talking for shorter periods of time; a local Belswill councilor, a farmer, a schoolteacher and several others. Then it was time for a question-and-answer session.
Capel then replied through his own mike: "Not as yet, although with the calls from some of the Opposition MP's together with my own..." A few other questioners followed and the various speakers answered. Glyn kept his hand in the air and it was starting to ache when the steward finally squeezed himself along the row of seats, the people half-standing to let him past.
Glyn stood up and took the device and held it up to his face. It was heavier than he expected; it felt warm in his hand and smelt of electronics, like an open TV cabinet. "He... hello." Glyn flinched slightly as heard his own voice reverberate around the auditorium. He felt exposed in the open space above that huge plain of people's heads. "I have a question for Jonathan. I... I live in Belswill and I was wondering if any of you had heard about the... the stories that I have; that a..." He felt his voice lock with nerves. "That what crashed on that house in
All the speakers on the panel frowned in confusion. There was a muttering from the crowd. "A what?" asked Capel.
"What like a rocket?"
"No, a spaceship... from... outer space, a UFO."
Somebody in the audience chuckled and within a second there was a burst of laughter and derisive sneers. Capel smiled thinly with embarrassment and scorn.
Glyn began to shake; his head was spinning and his cheeks blazing. "I was there the night before and saw something strange in the sky. I'd just been to a Spiritualist meeting..."
The laughter redoubled. Capel sniggered too. "I don't know what you're talking about, but it sounds ridiculous." He lowered his brows sternly. "This is actually an emergency conference to discuss a serious issue: a real threat to the health and lives of our communities. Nobody came here to waffle about space aliens. Maybe you're at the wrong meeting, Sonny." He emphasized the address with an angry snap. "The loonies convention is down the road."
The audience laughed and applauded Capel's dismissive wit. Glyn felt himself wilt as he handed the mike back to the steward and sat back down.
The meeting moved on to the next questioner, but when Glyn looked up he saw that Jonathan Capel was still staring at him. The politician was too far away for Glyn to read his expression. A moment later Capel looked round as somebody poked their head out from behind the backstage curtain. He and Capel exchanged a few words before the head vanished.
The meeting ended about ten minutes later. The audience all stood up and condensed into the same social groups in which they'd come in. "That wasn't very good, Glyn." moaned
"Leave him alone!" Judith countered. "He did alright." Joe nodded in agreement and smiled at Glyn.
The throng diffused slowly towards the bar where a crowd of well-wishers and admirers gathered around Jonathan Capel and the other speakers. Glyn and his friends joined them. Glyn had no time to react when a pair of rough-looking suited men with the emblem of
Glyn shrugged. "No."
He didn't have time to add that he hadn't even been to the bar yet before the bald, craggy-faced bouncer retorted: "Yeah you are! We don't like people coming in here and being abusive to our staff! OUT!... NOW!"
"Erm... what are you...?"
The two men seized him by the arms and shoulders, digging their fingers in hard.
"OW!" yelled Glyn. He heard Judith and
Glyn struggled to his feet and rubbed the gravel off his grazed palms.
A man was standing nearby holding a placard. He was wearing a suit with a wing-badge on the chest and striped epaulets, a pilot's uniform. As soon as he saw Glyn he strutted over and shoved his face close in, making Glyn lurch back. "You people!" he spat. "You fuckin' people! You don't fuckin' know what you're talking about and you're fucking up our businesses!"
Glyn looked up at his placard. It read: "HELICOPTER AIRFREIGHT IS SAFE! THE BELSWILL CRASH WAS NOT OUR FAULT!"
"Are you OK, Glyn?" asked Judith. She was driving steadily though the carotene wash (rep- Ed) of the street-lit main road into
Glyn was sitting in the rear seat next to Joe. His hands and knees were still sore, but the bleeding had stopped. "Fine thanks, Judith."
There was a lot of tension in the air. When they got into Judith's car Gary and Joe had started arguing over Glyn's performance at the meeting.
She only seemed to half hear his answer. Her eyes widened and she turned the steering wheel slightly. "He's slowing down!"
They were following the expensive black BMW being driven by Jonathan Capel. After the
"Henry Davidson and Claude Moraine."
The other three gasped.
"I've got a photo; it came out perfect." He held up his mobile.
"Yeah." said Joe. "He dines well for a troublesome backbencher. Hanging out with the Shadow Cabinet."
"Where to next?" asked Glyn.
Joe winked. "My place!"
Judith was beautiful, Glyn finally admitted to himself. He watched her by the kitchen sideboard as she cut and spread jam sandwiches. Her profile was strong and elegant and her dark reddish-brown streaked hair was stacked neatly behind a headband with two sweet locks cascading down each side of her face. She had a voluptuous and shapely figure and she moved nicely, and her eyes were the deepest brown with long thick lashes like a horse's. But she was very old, twenty-three. Far too old for him, and he knew it. There were six years between her and Gary too, the same age gap as with Glyn; but with
As if on cue the man in his thoughts spoke suddenly, making him jump. He must have entered the room quietly while Glyn was daydreaming: "Glyn, Joe's finished; we're just going to test it. I'll give Jude a hand with the tea."
He glared darkly at Glyn and stood in the doorway until Glyn had left the room. Had he seen Glyn looking at Judith?
Glyn entered the lounge of the converted farmhouse Joe shared with his two brothers in Radlett. It was now almost and he had been tinkering with the camera for over three hours. As Glyn walked in he was still hunched over the dining table with an assortment of tools and electronic spare parts. His long grey hair was slightly sweaty and ruffled from hard work. He looked up as Glyn came in and gave him a triumphant smile. "It's ready, Glyn. I think it's going to work." He held up his apparatus. "The cam only needed a different lens and a bigger film chip. The real problem was fitting it into the sling, but I've done that now."
"Are you sure it won't fall out?"
"Positive. I've sewn it in really tight. I've also weighed it and it's definitely not too heavy. Old
Gary and Judith entered the room carrying mugs of tea and a plate of sandwiches. "I don't know why they call people like you 'fanciers'." said
"The English language just hasn't caught up with the times... Thanks, Jude." Joe took a mug and jam sandwich from the tray. "Ours is a passion that goes beyond the mere sexual,
"I can't imagine any passion beyond sexual." replied the younger man. He glanced at Judith. He was leaning back on the settee next to her, his arms spread out on the top of the seat back. The tips of his fingers were giving her shoulders just the lightest of touches. She appeared not to notice.
It was the morning of the fifth day since the Belswill disaster. Glyn had slept on a put-you-up in the lounge next to
"I'll go and fetch my lady." said Joe as soon as they'd finished eating and drinking. He went out into the shed in the back garden and came back with a pigeon held deftly in his hands. His face wore a proud grin and he muttered sweet nothings to the bird. "Everybody, this is
"We will." said Glyn. "How does she find her way home from so far away?"
Joe flashed him a kindly smile, as if grateful that somebody understood even a small part of his zeal. "One of the great mysteries surrounding this most enigmatic of species, Columba Livia Domestica." he gushed. "In
"Feathered rats!" snorted Joe. "That's what my dad called them because they shit on him in
Joe turned his head and grimaced. "They never shit on me, Gary. Why is that? Think about it."
"Reverse cause and effect,
"We have to try." said Joe. "We can just let her slip out of one of the car windows." He lifted
"Like the proverbial crow." Joe replied. The pigeon flapped her wings a bit as her owner adjusted the sling; she appeared uncomfortable in it. "There there, Dixie." he soothed. "You won't have to wear this for long. I'll take it off when we get home." The camera lens stuck out from a pouch over the bird's belly. Joe switched on the device and then wound down the window and let her out. The pigeon glided down to the side of the road and perched briefly on the tarmac, then she took to the air again and sped off south westwards over the fields and woods of the countryside. She quickly gained speed and height, her wings flapping rapidly despite her unnatural cargo. "Go, Girl, go!" muttered Joe fervently as he watched her.
"Do you think we're going to get away with this?" asked
"I don't see why not." said Judith. "The Army will be desperately watching out for people breaking in or flying there in hang-gliders and things like that; none of them will notice a little pigeon flying overhead. There's no signal to trace cos the camera's recording to the memory chip only; it's not transmitting anything."
"How long will she take to get back?" asked Glyn.
"She'll be home long before us." said Joe, still watching
"Good." replied Glyn. "
"She's that already." Joe mused.
Sure enough, the pigeon was back in her loft when they arrived back at Joe's house. She was pecking hungrily at a plate of grain, the camera still safely tucked into its pouch on the sling. Joe beamed as he walked into the loft. "Good girl,
They all clustered round Joe's laptop as he plugged the camera into a USB interface and copied the film file to the computer. When this was done they all sat down with cups of tea to watch the silent footage. They all saw the interior of Judith's car wheel about as
"Great! We aimed her just right! She's passing right over the..." Joe's voice dissolved into silence and his mouth gaped.
Judith gasped and leaned forward to stare at the monitor screen.
"Oh my fuckin' God!" exclaimed
"We were right!" said Glyn quietly.
The Prime Minister was interviewed on the news that evening. "I can assure all residents of Belswill that the clean-up operation following the toxic spillage is almost complete and the town will be reopened within four days at the latest..."
"Good!" said Arthur Southsea. "We've had enough of being kept away from our homes, thank you."
His father looked at him. "Glyn, you've been very quiet since you came home. Are you alright?"
"Yeah." responded Glyn in a preoccupied tone.
He noticed his mother glance over at him curiously too. "Glyn... who are these people you stayed with last night?"
He shrugged. "Just some friends."
"Mark said they were crazy people, alien-believers." There was a pause. "Have you got a girlfriend?"
Normally he would have been embarrassed; the Grigsbys were on the other settee.
The stadium was now almost empty as the Belswill refugees were granted temporary hospitality in their friends' houses; the news that the "Helicoptergate" cordon would soon be lifted was very welcome news indeed. Glyn and his family had been offered accommodation at the home of some friends of theirs in
"No, Mum, I haven't got a girlfriend." he snapped. "I need to go out for a walk." He got up and left the room. He left the house and wandered up the street towards
He texted back: "NET CAFE." There were computers in the house, but he didn't think he'd be allowed to use them for the purpose he wanted. Mark had told Arthur and Marianne Southsea that Glyn had been brainwashed by a group of UFO fanatics, but his plan backfired somewhat because their parents scorned this accusation more than they did Glyn himself. Mark's vindictiveness cut Glyn like a blade. His bother had hardly spoken to him since the Sunday conference and this felt so unfair. Perhaps he'll change his mind when he sees what is about to hit the Internet. Glyn chortled. He reached a street in the retail district and found an Internet cafe. Its neon signboard stood out in the evening streetlight. He found an empty workstation and put two pounds into the slot, giving him an hour's access to the Worldwide Web. He used Google to find the website that Judith had set up earlier in the afternoon, www.hertsroswell.com. The page design was crude and not customized away from the host's template in any way. It was intended to deliver information, not to look good, and Judith had had no time to include any cosmetic frivolities. The title box of the site included a brief introduction; it said directly and to the point: "The British Government have been lying to us about the Belswill Incident. No helicopter carrying toxic waste crashed in Belswill at all. Instead it was an extraterrestrial spacecraft, a UFO! Think that sounds crazy? Understandable. But we have the evidence. Watch this video to find out more:" And there was a large arrow pointing to an embedded YouTube pane. Judith had also established a YouTube account called "HertsRoswell" and it already had a dozen subscribers even before the single video had been uploaded.
Glyn glanced over his shoulder; nobody was paying him any attention. He pressed the play button and the film began:
The film opens with a shot of a man and a woman sitting in a normal lounge with everyday furniture around them. Captions under their images identify them as "Judith Wright" and "Joseph McAndrew". Judith is a young woman with brown hair. Joseph is an older man with long, grey hair.
Judith says: "Good evening. Everybody by now is aware of the story dominating the headlines at the moment: that last Thursday a helicopter carrying toxic chemicals crashed in the town of
"But we have been lied to! What really happened there was that an alien spacecraft, a UFO, came down and either crashed or landed at the place the lying Government claim a helicopter did. This is why they have sealed off Belswill, because they want to keep that secret. I'm not a 'UFO nut' and neither is my friend Joe here. We are simply people who witnessed what really happened there. I myself saw an unknown flying object hovering in the air over the main road last Thursday morning while I was on my way to work. I went online and learned everything I could about UFO's, as quickly as I could, and I found out that this is not the first time this has happened. In July of 1947 at
The man, Joseph, takes over the story: "Yes, Judith. The evening before the craft landed I attended a Spiritualist seance organized by the medium Dia Parkinson. I think that it's this seance that triggered the appearance of the UFO, for whatever reason or by whatever means. BBC News reported that Dia Parkinson was killed when the helicopter crashed on her house..."
The picture changes to a screenshot of the story about Dia Parkinson's death on the BBC News website.
"...but in fact Dia died of a heart attack soon after the seance. She was admitted to
Judith then says to the audience: "You may well ask: 'But how have the Government managed to fool the world in this way?' A fair question. Part of the answer is that they have managed to persuade the MP Jonathan Capel to lie for them..."
The picture changes to Jonathan Capel MP's official parliamentary portrait.
"He is the man leading the Toxic Skies- No Thanks! campaign, but he knows the truth really... or at least he knows that the helicopter story is a lie. That's why he's so fiercely publicizing the helicopter story. To lead the public as far as possible down a blind alley. Here is a photograph..."
The picture changes to a slightly blurred image taken through the window of a restaurant from the street outside showing Jonathan Capel sitting at a table talking to two other men.
"...of Jonathan Capel holding a meeting with two senior Opposition MP's: The Shadow Home Secretary Henry Davidson and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition Claude Moraine. These are two men he claims to be fighting and claimed, at a recent all-party investigation committee, were, and I quote: 'the scourge of the British people. Selfish, deceitful, irresponsible and incompetent' because of their successful attack on the Government's veto of changes to air freight regulations that allowed this supposed 'accident' to happen. What's he doing meeting up with them like best buddies so soon after slagging them off? What's more there was an emergency TS-NT conference at
"You might think that this means nothing, that Capel could just be attempting to do an honest behind-the-scenes deal or something. But what if I were to tell you that we have proof that the BBC have been faking aerial photographs and film of the crash site. We've all seen the news reports showing videos of a broken helicopter wreck lying on top of a demolished house and people in chemical suits working round it, but they're faked! We've proved it. We've managed to obtain real footage of the crash site using a very original method. Tell us about it, Joe."
Joseph turns to the camera. "I'm a keen pigeon racer and own a number of homing pigeons. We attached a small camera to one of them and released it from a point which means it would pass over the crash site on its way home. We knew that the military guarding the site would probably not notice a pigeon flying overhead. The camera obtained footage which show something very different to what we've been shown in the news."
Judith then adds: "Right, we're going to run that footage now."
The picture changes to a silent, slightly blurred video from a fast moving source flying about a hundred feet in the air. It is flying over a street full of large suburban houses. Bordering this is a dual carriageway. The roads are empty of all traffic except stationary military vehicles and a few large white lorries. A number of men in military uniform and a few others in white overalls are wandering about on the ground. Nobody looks up at the passing camera. A huge white tent has been erected over the broken brickwork of one of the houses. The video freezes.
Judith says: "Right, we're going to pause the video there. This is the most important frame of all because here..."
A cursor appears on the screen pointing towards the entrance to the tent.
"... you can see that the fabric at the door to the tent is slightly pulled back and what's that inside?"
The cursor indicates what looks like one section of a metallic disc-shaped object, just peeking out from inside. It is dark grey in colour and shiny, slightly reflective. A number of indistinct human figures are standing around it.
"From what the viewer can see and the size of the tent I estimate that the craft is about a hundred to a hundred and thirty feet across. This is exactly what I saw last week hovering over this road!"
The picture changes back to the shot of Judith and Joseph sitting in the lounge.
Judith says: "Please, if you are watching this then spread the word! Upload this video and mirror it on your own channels. Show it to your friends, show it at work, show it to your family! We have been deceived in a massive and disgusting way! The biggest story in history has been kept from us... yet again! Don't let the Government get away with their lies... yet again! Thank you."
Joseph says: "Thanks you."
Glyn refreshed the screen and saw that the video had already had over 200 views. He logged into his Facebook and Twitter accounts, copied the link to the video and posted it onto as many pages as he could and Tweeted it." Then he left the Internet cafe and called Judith.
"What do you think?" she asked cheerily.
"Brilliant! It'll spread like wildfire! We did a good job there!"
"I couldn't have done it without you and Gary, Glyn. Sorry we didn't give you a mention."
"That's OK, Judith... What will happen to you though. I hope you won't get nicked by the police."
"No! If anything like that happens to us everybody will know we're telling the truth and the video will go viral."
Glyn ran back to the Grigsbys house and found Mark drinking tea in the kitchen. "Mark! I've got to show you something!"
His brother was too surprised and curious at Glyn's excitement to maintain his hostility. But when he'd watched Judith and Joe's video he sighed and rolled his eyes. "Glyn, this is fake."
"It's not. I helped film it."
"Glyn, is this what you've been up to these last few days? These morons you've been hanging round with Photoshopped this while your back was turned."
"But I saw the pigeon when we got home..."
Mark cut him off by jumping to his feet and hurling his mug at the wall. It shattered loudly. Tea fell like rain. "It was one they prepared earlier you fuckin' dumb little twat!" he shouted. "Can't you see you're turning into a fuckin' reactionary fascist anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist!?"
Glyn stared at him open-mouthed, trembling.
Mark's face was a red circle of outrage. "Just stay out of my way, OK!? I've got a Revolution to fight for. I'll be damned if anybody's going to distract my focus by feeding me any crap about little green men from Mars!... I don't care if you're my brother! You obstruct the Revolution and you become my mortal enemy!" He glared at Glyn for another few seconds and then paced out of the room.
Glyn awoke suddenly and sat up. He didn't know what caused him to be launched so explosively out of his sleep. The bedroom was completely dark; Mark was snoring in the other bed. Glyn got out of bed and stretched. The illuminated clock said ; Glyn groaned. He knew from long experience of suffering from insomnia that it was a waste of time trying to go straight back to sleep when he awoke like this. He'd just spend hours staring at the ceiling. He walked over to the window and pulled back the curtain. The street outside was an amber tableau, not a thing stirred. Then a cat jumped down from a fence and padded across the road. Glyn let the curtain drop back into place and looked down at his brother. A small amount of streetlight filtered through the curtain to illuminate his upturned face and open snoring mouth. The atmosphere in the bedroom had been like a freezer when they'd gone to bed after their argument the previous night. They had undressed in aching silence, ignoring each other. Glyn finally could bear it no longer and muttered "'Night, Mark." Mark had paused undressing and seemed to be wondering whether to answer, then just said: "Hmph." in a neutral tone and carried on kicking off his trousers. Glyn couldn't wait till they were allowed back into their own home, each boy with his own bedroom. "Just four days the Prime Minister said." Glyn whispered, half to himself half to Mark. Shortly afterwards Mark would then have to return to
Glyn decided to go for a walk. He dressed and headed downstairs; he was about to exit the front door but then he changed his mind and headed for the garden. He used the spare key that the Grigsbys had lent him to open the door and step outside. The sky was clear, which made a nice change, but it was cold, almost frosty. Glyn went back for his jacket and then started strolling aimlessly, breathing in the chilly fresh air. The Grigsbys' garden was huge, well over an acre, and it was neatly-kept by Clive Grigsby's full-time gardener, another source of ire for Glyn's father no doubt. The sky was black with just a hint of deep blue that foretold the coming dawn. The garden was well-shaded from the streetlights by the Grigsbys large house allowing the night's sky to put on its full display of stars. Glyn descended the patio steps to the smooth lawn and walked out into the middle of it. He puffed deeply and his breath condensed in the frigid air, briefly distorting the stars. An owl hooted from the trees at the end of the garden and it was answered by the quail of a fox. There was no other sound.
Then he did hear a sound, a low rumble like distant thunder, but it was steady and it grew swiftly in volume until it was recognizable as the roar of a jet engine. The sound flowed and ebbed as a jet aircraft approached and receded into the distance, but it was quickly followed by another. This time the aircraft flew directly overhead. It was just visible in the predawn sky as a dark arrowhead-shaped fighter jet and it eclipsed one of the brighter stars briefly. Warplanes flying overhead had become extremely common during the past week and Glyn had got used to them; however it was unusual for them to be active at this time of night. When the noise of its engines faded away into the background silence Glyn realized that there was another sound, this time one that was very unfamiliar. It was a steady, muttering, low pitched growl coming from the east. As with the aircraft this sound increased in volume, but this time more slowly. It changed in nature to a repeated whipping, slapping sound as if somebody was beating out a rug at very high speed. Before long Glyn's ears discerned several different sources for the sound, but all coming from the east. He finally recognized the sounds just before he saw the helicopters. They were a group of five flying in formation; but they were not the small and agile patrol helicopters that the army had been covering the local skies with over the last week. These were the big heavy-lifting transport helicopters with double rotors. They had a strange name and Glyn had to think for a moment to remember it: "Chinook" he muttered to himself.
The five helicopters were cruising slowly towards him, heading almost directly from east to west. They were in a square cross formation with one in the middle, but when they got closer Glyn realized that the one in the middle was not a helicopter. He gasped as he realized that it appeared to be some kind of circular disc-shaped object. It was hard to tell when it was silhouetted against the dark blue early morning sky, but it looked very like the object that Joe had picked up with his pigeon camera that they had put on the Internet the previous evening. It was slightly bigger than the helicopters and was curved smoothly and evenly on its upper and lower surfaces so that it resembled an athletic discus. At it's widest point in the middle it must have been about twenty to thirty feet thick. Glyn strained his eyes; his heart pounded as he understood the implications of this vista. I'm actually seeing a spacecraft from another world! It was not lost on him that it had come from the direction of Belswill too. The formation of aircraft were passing dead overhead now and Glyn had to lean right back to watch them. As he did he thought he saw tenuous strands of some kind linking the disc to the four helicopters; they were almost invisible in the darkness. He had begun to sense that the UFO was flying under its own power and the four helicopters were flying in formation around it, as an escort perhaps, but now he realized that he was wrong. The strands he saw were cables; the helicopters were carrying the UFO.
This unearthly haulage mission cruised away towards the west, never altering their course and speed. The rattle of the helicopter engines eased as the distance increased. For a moment Glyn considered running inside and waking Mark up and showing him, but abandoned the idea. Mark would probably not agree to even come and look, and if he did he'd probably refuse to believe his eyes and end up scorning his younger brother even more than he currently did.
Instead Glyn returned to his bedroom only to retrieve his mobile phone; he dialled Judith and waited, but her phone just rang, which surprised him at that hour. He left her a voicemail briefly explaining what he saw and asked her to call him as soon as she could.
Glyn spent the day using up all his pocket money at the Internet cafe reading the comments on the YouTube video and his Facebook posts. These were very numerous as the video now had thousands of views and a few mirrors had emerged on other users' channels. The comments varied a lot and ranged in credulity from: "You're a bunch of bullshitting fucking loonies. UFO retard cunts!" to "That looks like a scout ship from the Cassiopeian Council." Glyn left the cafe and headed back to the Grigsbys for dinner; when he was halfway there his phone rang. "Hello?"
"Glyn!" a breathless voice hissed in his ear.
"Is the you, Glyn?"
"Yes. Who's that?"
"Are you alright,
"No... Listen, Mate. I'm going away, and I advise you to do the same."
"What? What are you talking about?"
"Glyn! Do what I'm doing and get out of there!"
Glyn paused. "Where are you,
"I'm going away; my mate Craig is letting me stay at his house in
"Get me? What do you mean?"
"Have you called Joe today?"
"Don't bother. Joe's dead."
Glyn stopped walking; his heart skipped a beat. "What... what...!?"
"His brothers found him the bath dead. He'd slashed his wrists. Suicide... or at least that's what it looks like."
"Get away, Glyn! Get out while you still can!"
A horrible thought crossed Glyn's mind. "
... have you spoken to Judith today?" Gary
"No. I called her, but she's not picking up."
His tone of voice illustrated both their thoughts.
"Don't go home, Glyn! Get away! Go somewhere they won't find you."
ended the call. Gary
Glyn dialled Judith and quickly as his trembling fingers would allow. There was no answer. He tried again, but there was still no answer. This time he called
. They told him that they had nobody on their own list
called "Judith Wright", but after a few more enquiries they
discovered that somebody of that name had been admitted to Watford General Hospital a few hours ago. Glyn ran as fast as he could to the
railway station. An hour later he was pounding through the entranceway of Barnet General Hospital in north Barnet General Hospital . As soon as he'd reported in to the Emergency
Department reception desk he was directed to a small waiting room. He passed a
group of people in the corridor who were weeping; one of them was a young woman
who looked a bit like Judith. Her
sister!? A pair of policemen stood nearby. A few minutes later a young
doctor came to see him. "Mr Southsea, I understand you're a friend of Miss
"I'm sorry to have to tell you, Miss Wright died about an hour ago. She was assaulted in her home and sustained critical injuries; we did all we could, but were unable to save her. I'm deeply sorry.
Glyn went outside for some fresh air. His breath was coming in uncontrollable gasps and his heart was thudding painfully in his gullet as if he'd just run a long race. The world was spinning round his head. Ambulances driving past him sounded far away and indistinct. After a few minutes he felt himself slowly calm down. His shock had given way to a raging thirst. The membranes of his mouth and throat ground together like sandpaper. He went back inside the hospital and gulped from the water fountain in the main waiting room. He'd just finished when he saw one of the policeman he'd noticed earlier approaching him. It was too late to do anything, say anything or think anything. "Excuse me, Sir. Are you Glyn Southsea?
"I'm arresting you under Section 43A of the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2005. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you may later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. As you are under eighteen years of age a parent or guardian will be informed before any further procedure is undertaken."