Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Ch 33: Don't Fear the Reaper

The car had indeed gone, and it was whizzing away from Manchester, and in fact was already halfway down the M1 by 6.30am.

London, indeed was bloody calling.

Gene had gritted his teeth at the thought of being seen even driving such a poxy little noddy car but this was no time for vanity or pride. He was on a mission and time was running out.

As he hit 90 on the speedometer he reckoned it wouldn’t be too long before he hit the Smoke. After last night, that was it. The final straw. He thought he could have made a go of it with Mary. Christ. She was beautiful. She had made him forget Alex, made all thoughts of Bolly disappear but then maybe she was still just on the back-burner, not really eradicated. Had it been a dream? It couldn’t have been. It all felt so real, her flesh, in bed, the loving. Yet the nightmare he had woken up to. The corpse lying beside him. If he had been on the piss he could have been forgiven for just being hungover, but no it had been so very real. And that smell. Christ. He almost puked thinking about it. The rotting stench of decay that came from the bed, and the boney fragments lying there. The smell of Death. Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust, what in God’s name was it all about? What? Why? Who bloody knew. All Gene knew was that he had to get away, and fast. He moved quicker than he ever had in his life. Sneaking out of the flat at dawn had been easy. The keys to the car were on the hall table. It was as though it was all meant to be. Maybe old Jimbo Keats had been right. Nobody could be trusted. He had done what he supposed to do, saved Ray, and Chris, and Shaz. There wasn’t much left for him. There was certainly fuck all left for him in Manchester he knew that for certain. And as for them all there, Father Daniel, Sister Maggie, and bloody Mary, well Christ knows, none of them could be trusted. He didn’t know them did he, not really know them? They could be anyone.

The traffic was building up now, the closer he got to the City. All thanks to this Royal Wedding. Still, it was the event that would bring him and Alex together so he shouldn’t be complaining. He imagined what she would look like. Would she be the same, or aged even? Perhaps she would still be clad in some tart’s get-up. He didn’t care. All he knew is that he had made a huge mistake and that he loved her. That was all that mattered.

After over half an hour stuck in traffic his patience began to wear thin. It didn’t take much. The traffic started slowly moving once more and he put his foot down. Something made him look in his rear view mirror. There was a car speeding up behind, almost up his arse. Damn it, if he breaked they would go right into the back of him. He sped up once more. So did the trailing car.

And then he saw the driver, and the passenger.

A bloody priest and a nun.

Fuck.

What in Holy Hell’s name were they doing following him? Couldn’t they just leave him be? It was as though he couldn’t escape them no matter what he did. He put his foot down, and , chancing it, started to weave in and out of the lanes, inside, middle, out. Cars were honking, drivers motioning a variety of abusive signs, but Gene simply ignored them. He turned the radio up and sang along at the top of his voice. A bit of Blue Oyster Cult, there was nothing like it! Actually the smart car was pretty good, it was quite a nippy little thing he thought, perfectly suited for this kind of thing, he would have struggled more in the Cortina or his beloved Quattro. His heart sank at the latter. R.I.P. Quattro he thought briefly reflecting its death for a moment. Yet this was not time for being melancholoy. He needed his wits about him, and his eyes firmly on the road. After some time it appeared he had lost his persuers. Why on earth did they follow him? What did they want with him, or from him. Only the Dark Shadow would know.

As he approached the outskirts of the City of London he decided to dump the car. It’s engine had started smoking a little anyhow. What was it with Gene and cars? The rest of the journey he would do by foot, or maybe the tube.

The City was already brimming with people, both British and foreigners alike. Huge Media vans were seen trawling the streets preparing for World TV coverage. He felt in his pocket for his invitation. Then he tried his other, and his inside jacket. Fucking Jesus Christ – had he lost it, or worst still , left it behind? He stood motionless for a moment wondering what to do. It wouldn’t matter. Sod the bloody Royal Wedding, that wasn’t his reason for being here. His reason was to meet up with Alex Drake, at long last. So what did it matter if he didn’t have the invitation. Would a piece of paper make all the difference whether she turned up or not? No. She would be waiting for him, in all her glory.

He was near Watford and Potters Bar and decided to hop on a tube. As he disappeared into the Underground he found his mood lifted. It was good to be back. He found himself whistling a song he had heard on the radio. What was it called “Judas” by some women, Googoo, or Radio Bloody Gaga whatever. Still he was feeling good. As he jumped over the turnstile he felt elated. He was Gene Hunt, unstoppable, unbreakable, unbeatable. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, and he was on his way to meet the love of his life, Alex Drake, at long last.

Gene Hunt feared nothing.

Ch 32: London Calling

“Gene?” a voice called out.

It was Father Daniel.

“Gene?” He shouted again before turning to Sister Mary Magdalene “Check the bedroom”.

The nun obeyed her instruction, checked the darkened bedroom before returning to Father Daniel. “No sign of him, and his coat’s gone.”. She then added

“Don’t panic Dan, he might have just nipped out?”

“What? At this time of the morning? It was 5.30am. No, maybe you’re right, perhaps he didn’t even come home, I mean we were out all night till late…”

“His bed’s been slept in – so he was here”.

“Oh Maggie. I got a bad feeling about this. We need to find him, and soon.”

“He can’t be far away Daniel, surely. Sister Mary looked out on to the street below. The street lights had just switched off. The pavements looked wet, littered with golden leaves, blowing in the early morning wind.

“I hate Autumn” She declared.

“What the hell’s this doing here?” Daniel kicked the fallen Christmas tree, and scattered and shattered baubles rolled along the carpet.

“Gene must have put it there….”

“Hell. That means he must have had the box out of the attic…..which means…”

“He read the letter” Sister Mary finished his sentence.

“and the rest.” Father Daniel rubbed his forehead whilst the nun picked up the Womble toy and held it close to her chest before sniffing it’s stale odour, as if inhaling another time.

“He’s probably just got upset maybe….” She added.

“No. There’s more to this I just know. The priest scanned the room for clues. Scattered newspapers, remnants of tinsel, nothing much. Then his eyes fell upon something stuck down the side of the sofa. It just looked like a piece of card. He pulled it out.
“What is it Dan?” Maggie asked seeing a strange look come over the priest’s face. He had gone quite pale.

“Christ. It’s this. He’s gone.”

“What is it? A letter , a goodbye note? What? Tell me?” She grabbed the card from Daniel’s hand.

“It looks like a wedding invitation.”
“Bloody read it correctly will you” Daniel was annoyed. He smashed his fist against the coffee table.
“….invited to attend the wedding of William and Catherine (Kate) on April 29th 2011…at…Westminster Abbey…..”2011?!”

“Shit. Yes. He can’t go. He can’t possibly go. It will all be ruined. Everything we have done, worked towards, destroyed with the drop of a hat.”

“We need to stop him then. He can’t be far Daniel”.

“This is Gene Hunt we are talking about Maggie, bloody unstoppable, unbreakable, you name it. I can’t believe it. After all what we have done. I won’t believe it.”

“Then we need to do something about it – we can’t just sit here and watch it happen”. Maggie suggested.

“How in God’s name had he got this invite. It doesn’t make sense.Attending a Royal Wedding for Christ’s sake, not Hunt of all people.”

“Maybe it was planted on him I don’t know do I?” Maggie said equally perturbed.

“Or given to him deliberately, under false pretencies. A red herring. Somebody else out there has an agenda. They too want to keep Gene. It’s blatently obvious. Christ Mary we got to find him”.

“Well maybe we could give him the benefit of the doubt, see if he returns today, and if not, then tomorrow we could start..”
“Tomorrow! Tomorrow is too late. Hell , the date….Mags what’s the bloody date?”

The nun looked at the calendar on the wall, flinching at the Page 3 girl semi clad, especially at this time of year.

“October 30th”. She looked at Daniel who looked back at her. They both froze.

“Fuck” they said in unison before Maggie spoke the obvious
“Tomorrow is Halloween”
“Exactly” Father Daniel replied
“The eve of All Souls”.
“Precisely. And the very reason we have got to get to Gene, before anybody else gets to him.”

They remained motionless for a few seconds before Daniel swung into action.
“Right. Now. We need to get a move on. We need to follow him to London.”
“I’ll check the train times, and make some sandwiches and a flask”.

“Forget it, Mags, no time, we haven’t got it, every single second counts. We’ll take the car”.
Quickly they grabbed coats, and keys and fled the black cat club, down the stairs and onto the pavement, yet the sight that met them made their hearts sink further into the myre.

“Christ, the car’s gone. The bloody car is gone . That’s all we need. What the hell do we do now? ”.