Thursday, 21 July 2011

CH 36 Back for Good (FINAL chapter)

Silence.

Stillness.

Quietness and calm, all around.

Gene Hunt came out of the darkness, and opened his eyes.

Ouch! By God, that hurt. He closed them again.

Sinking back into the pitch blackness he felt a pain somewhere inside his body, where he couldn’t be certain. His legs felt numb. He pinched himself, gently at first, then harder. Ouch! That did bloody hurt.

Raising his head he tried to open his eyes again, like a baby emerging from its mothers womb, or somebody awakening from a deep coma, he struggled, his eyes hurting against the bright, bright lights that glared down upon him.

So this was it?

Heaven?

Or Hell?

Or was it?

He could hear a clock ticking nearby. Tick-tock, tick-tock. Christ it was loud. He thought he could hear voices too. He glanced at the fluorescent strip above him. Jesus, he hoped to God he wasn’t in a bloody coma. He couldn’t cope. He rested his head on his hands, rubbing his eyes. What year was it now? 1952? 1973? 1981? Or some other year he had drifted into?

He thought he heard footsteps. Getting closer.

Instinctly his hand went to feel for his gun in his coat pocket and as it did so his elbow caught something and he knocked an empty bottle of scotch whiskey onto the tile floor. It didn’t smash but it made an almighty clatter. He bent to pick it up . Don’t say he had just got completely bladdered and had the dream or rather nightmare from hell? Had it all been real, Father Daniel who had befriended him to make him save the lost souls of his team, and who turn had been his own murderer back at that isolated farmhouse in 1952. A life for a life. And Maggie, Mary, Sister Magdalene who all morphed into one, and whose soul Alex Drake had picked so she could save his soul. Alex. How clever to pick the flame haired Maggie, knowing Gene wouldn’t have been able to resist her charms. So who had he made love to back at the Black Cat club, Maggie, or Alex? When Maggie had explained she had wanted to be a nun he had laughed. To get her away from the prostitution and drugs racket. She said one night, she had had a vocation. Only she never got to take her vows due to being brutually murdered and her body being discovered in a make-shift grave in Southern Cemetry. He remembered the woman in the car who had taken him to the police HQ when he had first come back to Manchester. He was certain that had been Maggie too, he remembered her apprehension when they drove down the Parkway past the cemetery. And that little Womble kid, the young Maggie. Yes. Now it all made sense. His killer had come back to gain his own redemption and set Gene free too and Alex Drake had saved his soul, and that’s why she was always out of reach and he had never quite gotten hold of her. So what happened now?

He was absent-mindedly fingering the whisky bottle wishing it was still half full, despite his blinding headache when he was startled by a door opening.

He opened his eyes wide and looked up.

Welcome back, Guv. Heavy night was it?”

Ray Carling grinned. It was Ray Carling, although he looked a little older, a little balder, and a little fatter. The 80s perm thing he had going on had certainly disappeared but all the same it was Raymondo.

Gene looked confused.

He rubbed his hand across his face.

“Am I dreaming Ray?”

“I wish we bloody were, Guv. There’s something kicking off big-style, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about… Chris said if…”

“Chris? Skelton? He’s here?”

Gene stood up, dusting down his coat. His legs were still a little numb, and trembling. He put a hand out on to the desk, his desk he noticed, to steady himself. He was in an office. His old office.

“Chris, here, come and tell the Guv what’s going on, you know more than me.”

Gene stood at the doorway trying to take it all in. It was way too much. Bewildered he looked around. As he started to walk into the room, people started to clap, slowly at first but as he got into the throng of them the applause got louder and louder. He looked around at the sea of faces, very familiar faces, some he hadn’t seen for quite some time. Sure enough, there, large as life, stood Viv, who shook his hand. Standing next to Viv was Skelton, who like Ray and Viv had aged. Gone was the puffy hair too, and it seemed darker in colour, and the Plonk, Grainger, who leaned over to kiss him.

“Nice to see you Guv”.

Gene caught a waft of her perfume. Something quite light. She too looked older, she had a few lines here and there around her eyes, and her hair was longer. She was no longer wearing a copper’s uniform either.

Yet there was one face missing. His heart skipped a beat.

He fumbled in his pocket remembering the last time he had been in this office, although he was sure where he was, Manchester or Fenchurch.

“It’s wherever you want us to be Guv”. Chris Skelton said, patting Gene on the back “It doesn’t matter any more as long as we are together”.

“I think maybe Fenchurch then, am sick of the bloody sight of Manchester”.

They all laughed.

“Here” Gene went across to Chris who was standing with his arm around Shaz. He handed the ring he had taken from Skelton’s desk before his latest time travelling experience. Chris took it from him and placed it on Shaz’s wedding finger.

“It’s a sign of commitment. It’s what I expect from you all, and it’s my commitment to my team.” Gene said.

He walked around the desk to where Carling was taking a phone call and writing something down. Once he put the receiver down, Gene pressed something into his hand.

“Ha, nice one Guv. Did you get any action then?” It was the card from the Black Cat club, with the phone number on the back.

“There was a girl there I once copped off with, huge knockers like this” Raymond held his hands out in front of his chest.

“Oh I’ve had plenty of bloody action alright, Raymondo, enough to last me a lifetime. You wouldn’t believe. But thanks for that. It gave me something to believe in. I don’t know why. Maybe it was luck, you know, black cats and all, but it certainly put me on the right road to follow, even when times were tough and I was about to give up. They say a cat has nine lives, well so does the Gene Genie!”

“Anytime Guv”. Ray replied, sheepishly glad to see Gene.

“We have missed you, Guv” Shaz said, tears welling up in her eyes.

Gene was in danger of getting over emotional himself, especially as there was still one person he needed to see, and now he was beginning to doubt that he ever would.

He felt the crucifix and st. Christopher in his pocket. They had become untwined. For ages the chains had been twisted up and knotted and he had had little time or inclination to unravel them himself. Was it a sign?

He felt a lump in his throat but no way was the Gene Genie going to break down in tears especially in front of this lot.

He got a grip.

“Right you lot! Thanks for the welcome but as you can see, the Gene Genie is back and here to stay. And the first thing you lot need to do is get this place spick and span in shipshape and ready to roll. It’s a bleeding shithole, who’s been in charge whilst I have been away? Carling? “

They all stared at Gene as he went into a rant, as footsteps appeared down the hall.

“ Whoever it is is a complete arsehole …and couldn’t run a piss-up in a brewery…”

At that moment the door swung open. Gene had his back to it yet swung round in shock as he heard a voice say,

“Actually it was me. I am in charge”.

Standing there in all her Bollyknickers glory was Alex Drake. A little older too, hair a little longer and without those god-damn awful shoulder pads and beads. She still looked like Miss Bleeding Prim though he noticed as she was wearing something floral which would have looked more at home at the Tatton Park Flower Show, her string of pearls swinging.

Gene was actually speechless.

Alex.

Alex.

Bloody Bollyknickers.

She was here.

After all this time, all the searching, aching, wanting….she was bloody standing right in front of him.

He reached out to touch her, on the breast, as he had done so many times before, giving her a quick squeeze.

She moved his hand away instantly.

“Don’t touch what you can’t afford! “

Gene laughed. Oh it was Bloody Drake alright. She had all the come on off a tart yet was like Miss Jean Brodie. Well that would soon change, he would sort her out once and for all. Bloody typical re-action.

His heart lept inside him and he thought he would explode. He didn’t care if it was real, or not. All that mattered is that they were there, all of them, his team, together.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out the cross and chain and dangled it in front her.

She took it from him, her fingers brushing against his, whilst everybody around stood in silence , watching. Yet it was as though they were the only two in the room, in the world.

She closed her fingers around the crucifix and he crushed his hand over hers.

“That’s for keeping the faith, Drakey. I always knew one day. One day we would be back together. You gave me hope, and the strength to carry on. I never gave up.”

There was a tender moment. Alex reached up and brushed her fingers against his face.

The she suddenly turned towards her old desk and the spell was broken.

“Right, Guv, I have something for you too”.

There were cries of “oooh”, and Carling’s dirty laugh echoed the station.

Gene smirked “Is this a gun in my pocket or am I pleased to see you! About bloody time”.

His eyes narrowed as she dangled a set of keys in front of him. What else could they be for, but the bloody Quattro., come back to life.

“Come on follow me, I have something to show you”.

“Now there’s an offer I can’t refuse” Gene rubbed his hands and just as they were leaving Skelton handed him a piece of paper.

“Guv, this is the job that’s kicking off up Tottenham Court road. We got a tip off we need to go.”

“No worries Skelton, but it can wait. There’s urgent needs to attend to…”

“Pub?” said Carling

“Pub sounds fine to me Raymondo. We can go into the Railway Arms as many bleeding times as we like and it don’t bloody matter”.

“Yeah and Luigi’s got a nice place. Not quite the same, does a lot of fries and southern fried chicken but its not bad and makes a change from a vindaloo or kebab after a bender”.

Gene, Ray, Chris and Shaz all followed as DCI Alex Drake led the way.

“Bleeding Hell” Gene remarked.

“It’s all yours, Guv. Sorry about the Quattro. Can’t get the parts. Will this do?

“I’ll say this will bloody do very nicely Drakey”.

Gene stared in amazement at the shiny new top of the range Mercedes.

He whistled at the sexy silver machine.

“Wow!”

“Wow indeed! Said Alex “Mind you, it’s only a little one”

“It’s not the size but how you use it that matters, Drake, as you’ll find out later.”

“Shall we take it for a spin?” Chris suggested.

“Right. Fire up the Merc, Raymondo”.

“hmm., it doesn’t have quite the same ring though, does it as Fire up the Quattro” . Typical Alex had to dampen the moment, however Gene soon forgave her as she slinked in beside him into the passenger seat, her flowery dress riding up to reveal her long legs, and those bloody red shoes. Some things never changed.

“I’ve always wanted a ride in one of these” Alex said nonchalantly.

“Later, Baby, laters” Gene winked.

Ray, Chris and Shaz justled in the back.

“Whoa, “ said Ray “I ain’t sitting in between you two lovebirds, move over Chris”.

“Children! Behave. “ Gene was in command. He fired up the engine, and as they drove away from Fenchurch to give it a whirl. As it ticked over Gene felt the power beating out.


“Hey it’s even got a TV look Chris. We can watch “Loose Women”.

“Shaz you plonk. It’s a sat-nat. Gene do you know what one of those is…satellite navigation.. you put in the postcode..” Carling began to explain.

“It’s OK Raymondo I already know. Remember I have been playing Marty McFly for the past God knows how many years, I’ve had more cling-ons that Doctor Who. Now MUSH the lot of you.”

The silver beast roared away through the streets of London, out onto the ring road and headed towards the motorway.

“I need to feel the power. We’ll give it a good run on here and then go back for a drink. What do you say, team?”

They all agreed.

“What about that Tottenham job, Guv?”

“What about it Christopher? It can wait. Sod it. Everything can wait, listen up…” as they sped along the outside lane of the M1 touching 90, nothing could stop them”.

“I am the Gene Genie. You are my team. We may have been heroes in a past life, we may have spent time apart, drifting along as lost souls. But we belong here with each other, each and every one of us. Wherever you go, I go” he looked at across at Bolly who gave him one of those looks that made his knees quiver. She smiled back. He was on a promise no doubt about it – he whip those Bollykecks off before she could mutter the words “Sam Tyler”.

“Just remember all that, never forget. Gene Hunt is alive and kicking, with his team. I am back. We are all back, for good”.

He turned the radio up and inside that car the air was filled with merriment, laughter, fun, and rude comments, and the occasional blaspheme from its driver.

After they had tested their new toy and the novelty was wearing off, the hunger for life and raging thirst overtook them.

“Pub?” Gene uttered in the rear view mirror at Ray.

“Pub.”

Gene turned the car around to make the return journey. Just as they were passing a slip road they saw a figure stood on the hard shoulder, thumbing a lift. Gene slammed his foot on the break suddenly as he passed, causing the car to almost skid, and they all came to a halt with a jolt.

“Good job it’s got airbags ” Alex said in her usual tone.
Gene pressed the button for the electric windows as a face peered in. A face, oh so so familiar. A face that had disappeared such a long time ago, yet had never been forgotten, by any of them?

“Room for a little one, Guv?”

“Drake, in the back, now.” He commanded to Alex who quickly got out, giving the hitch-hiker a hug as she did so”.

“Easy tiger! “ said Gene, although he couldn’t be angry. He felt too elated.

“It’s about bleeding time! Get in, Tyler!”

It was like Carno’s in the Mercedes from that moment on, all speaking ten to the dozen, questions, questions, questions.

“I need to talk about Annie. About what happened. My Dad he…I have moved on Gene.…” Sam Tyler said, rather melancholic.

“Hey, don’t worry pal. There’s all the time in the world for that now. Here. I got something for you..”

With one hand on the wheel, Gene fumbled in his pocket for the final piece he had been holding on to.

Sam held up the St. Christopher.

“I wondered what had happened to this….Thanks, Gene. I just wish I knew what had happened to my leather jacket, cost me a fortune that did at Louis Gross”.

Gene caught Alex’s eye in the mirror and a secret smile passed between them.

“Right Sammy Boy, like I said we got all the time in the world now. My team is back and complete. We are bloody back for good. And now, we are all going to the pub where Nelson will serve us up with some fine alcohol to celebrate”.

As they sped along, they suddenly hit a bump in the road which jostled them all up against each other, especially those in the back.

“What the bleeding hell was that?” asked Gene.

“Have we hit something? Asked Chris.

Shaz looked out of the back window.

“Oh, it’s nothing, Guv. Just looks like a pile of old rags in the road”, said Shaz.

“A bit of broken glass too, looks like a pair of glasses or something and somebody’s old raincoat”.

There followed a silence.

“Do you like the new motor, Sam?” Raymondo said now squashed up between Chris and Alex.

“MMmm. Not bad.”

“Not bloody bad? Tyler it would give your poxy Cortina a run for its money. Dinky toys for little boys…” said Gene.

“Oh Sam, did you have a Cortina? I loved those. My Dad had one…” said Alex her big eyes lighting up as she caught Gene’s in the mirror again.

“Yeah, I’ll show it you if you like, when we take a trip up to Manchester. It’s all changed back there now you know , Gene. You wouldn’t recognise it”

“Tell me about. I bloody wouldn’t” said Gene.

“Yeah Alex, it’s a date. I’ll even take you for a ride in it, if you like…”

This was becoming all too much for Gene.

“Whoa. Listen. I will say who does what, and who goes where? Understand? I am still Gene Hunt. DCI Gene Hunt. I am still your Guv. You do as I say, and not as I do. Get it?”

They all cried back in unison “Got it, Guv”.

Yet Sam continued.

“I was only saying how Manchester is a different city now. It would b nice to show Alex around , you know, take in some sights, show her the new Hilton hotel, Gene you want to see it, its over 23 stories high. It’s a real whopper”.

Alex giggled in the back.

Gene felt his ears starting to steam.

“What do you think Alex, I think maybe you own me one. It’s so cold without my leather jacket. I could take you for a ride, maybe go on a date, and you could keep me warm, what do you sa. That’s if you’re not already attached?”

But Alex didn’t get chance to answer. The air was silent, as she sat quietly, alongside Raymondo, Chris and Shaz.

They all watched as the Mercedes made it’s way back into the centre of London, pulling up outside the Railway Arms.

Desparate for a drink, one by one they headed to the doors of the pub where they now knew Nelson to be waiting with nothing more than a welcoming drink.

“Guv?” Carling stopped.

“Get mine in Raymondo my good man, and make it a large one”.

He watched as they disappeared through the doors, trying not remember the last time, déjà vu, that had happened. Only this time it wasn’t the same. It was different. Gene Hunt was alive and kicking. Nothing could stop him. Nothing would stand in his way. He was back with his team. Back for good. He had fought for his life, and death, he had saved souls and his own soul had been saved. It really was time to move on.

He watched as Sam opened the car door and started to get out.

“Tasty bird Alex isn’t she…I think I may be in with a chance there…”

Gene pulled him back by the collar of his shirt and shouted in a loud, clear voice.

“Oi, Tyler, a word in your shell-like, pal!”




THE END

Monday, 18 July 2011

Ch 35 A Time to Say Goodbye/Save Me



All was quite. Eerily silent. And dark. So very very dark.

Gene tried to move but found he was restricted and banged his head as he tried to lift it. He gasped for breath. Realisng he was concealed into a small place his heart began to beat faster and he was in danger of having a panic attack. He was in a coffin. Lying in a wooden box. Or so he thought. All he could remember was going into that place on the corner, the coffee bar which he now knew to be the Railway Arms, and the last face he had seen was Nelson’s. So this was how it was? It had happened to the others, and now it had happened to him. Yet where were they? Were they all just lying side by side each other in some random cemetery? In a line, himself, Ray, Chris, Shaz, Viv, and Alex. Maybe he was lying next to Bolly on the other side.. Gene turned his head slightly and it was then he felt a breeze across his face, ever so slight. He glanced down his body and could see a tiny pinhole of daylight. He could also hear rustling outside, and voices. Something banged and startled him and he banged his head again. He managed to bring his hand to his head, with extreme difficulty and felt wetness, and from his fingers he tasted blood. There was another bang, and he realised it sound like a stone hitting metal, and voices. Which meant he couldn’t be in a wooden coffin. So where the hell was he? Hidden in vault? There was also a smell, a familiar smell. He glanced down at the window of daylight and saw that it had grown and was slowly spreading along. He placed his hands in front of his chest onto the lid of whatever it was, and with an almighty push, for he was feeling a little weak, he used all his strength as the lid opened and he pulled himself up into the daylight, or rather the fading dusk.

There were screams all around him.

“Arrgggghh”.

“Oh help, it’s a monster”.

“Frankenstein” a child’s voice shouted.

“Run, it might be Dracula”.

Blinking hard, he managed to make out a group of children running away from him, screaming at the tops of their voices. The light was dwindling but he could make out they were dressed in some kind of outfits, one had a pointed hat and cape. Of course, he remembered. It must be Halloween.

For a second he felt amused. Gene Hunt rising from the Dead. That was a good one.

In the twilight he could see a house in the distance. It was quite remote, set back from the road in a field. It seemed familiar. He looked at the chimney stack , and there was a weather vane – in the shape of a black cat.

It was then he realised he was in the boot of a car, and as he was pulling himself out, he knew it just wasn’t any old car, but his baby, the beloved Audio Quattro!

He dropped to his knees in shock, gathered his composure and then pulled himself up once more, bending to kiss the shiny bonnet. They had killed his Quattro and now it had been re-born. No scratches, dents or broken windows. He was in two minds to jump right in and just drive away, that’s if the keys were in the ignition but a voice shouted him, taking his mind away.

“Gene!”

He glanced round. There was nobody there. The trees were rustling quite a bit, already dropping their leaves for the winter. He shivered, pulling his coat around him. God it had suddenly gone very cold. He stared back at the Quattro still in disbelief finding it hard, seeing it again, like new. It was like part of a jigsaw puzzle falling into place and his heart lifted. If the Quattro was back, then all that was left now was Alex. Surely she couldn’t be far away.

He looked around the field. It was fairly desolate, the kids had disappeared, either frightened to death or excited and off to recall the tale of encountering a ghost on the Eve of All Hallows.

“Gene!”

There it was again. Gene spun round, looking in each direction as it continued to shout.

“Gene!, Gene!, Gene!”

He was almost certain it was Alex’s voice. Yet why didn’t she call him Guv? Always Gene?

He suddenly felt dizzy and put his hand onto the bonnet of the car to steady himself, and then he saw her.

She was kneeling on the floor, on a patch of grass, and there was a figure beside her.

For a brief moment he hesitated, wondering what to do, but then started to walk towards her.

“Alex, Bolly”.

She turned, and he saw her face. When she saw him she got up off the ground and turned towards the old house. Gene quickened his pace.

“Alex, wait. It’s me, Gene. I am here. I’ve come back to you”.

He breathing was rapid as he started to run along the dirt track, slipping and sliding in the muddle puddles, almost breaking his neck on the fallen leaves.

“Alex, wait!”

He moved towards a hedge where the leaves were still lying on the ground dry, and they crunched loudly under his boots. In the distance a church bell tolled. A dog barked. Not a normal bark. It was like one of those country dogs, yet somewhere else he heard a howl. A dog? Not a wolf, he laughed to himself, Christ Halloween or not , you had to draw the line somewhere. Yet the bats circling his head were very real, as was the hooting of an owl.

And then the voices, the chattering started and he thought he heard footsteps on the ground behind him. Squelching and crunching. It was rapidly becoming darker and darker and he could hardly seen his hands in front of him. He could voices, evil voices, laughing, almost demonlike. So this was it, he was on the road to hell, and not heaven? No doubt bloody Jim Keats would jump out shortly, the devil incarnate. They were still behind him hounding him, he could tell that whoever it was were getting closer, there was heavy breathing, was it theirs, or his own. The ringing in his ears, pounding of his heart, ba-boom, ba-boom. He continued running and then bang, he fell. Whether he tripped over something or merely slipped on more leaves he didn’t know, but he was face-down in a large muddy puddle, the stench almost unbearable. They say Heaven is a place on earth, yet this was surely Hell on Earth. Panicking he hurled himself up and continued running on the never-ending dirt road. He passed into an opening briefly aware of the outline of a tall figure at his side, yet to his relief the house, or building was in sight, almost in his reach. His heart stopped for the briefest of seconds. Christ, Christ, this was all so familiar, the windows were a little different, the stonework looked brighter, yet he had the overwhelming feeling of Deja-vu.

All the mattered was that he had to get away from who, or whatever was on his trail, out to get him on this deepest darkest night, and as he grabbed the large knock on the wooden door he breathed a sigh of relief slamming it fast shut behind him, unaware that the figure outside slowly turned its head and smiled a toothless smile before taking it’s position back at the side of the mound. A black crow landed on its arm, disturbing a few pieces of straw, which blew down in the wind, down into the newly dug earth of the shallow grave. The raven gave a loud call and fluttered off into the night sky. The Scarecrow smiled, having done his job. The deed was done. The night would soon be over.


Gene breathed a sigh of relief. Glad to be out of the cold, damp, miserable air. He shivered again. Glancing around he found himself in a familiar room. The furniture was a little more modern, granted, but it was the same farmhouse living room. He struggled with his brain, trying to analyse exactly what may be going on but he hadn’t a bloody clue. In fact he hadn’t since the day he had let his team disappear through the doors of the pub. Nothing made sense then, or now. Would it ever ?

Still, he was in a shelter and despite it being the place he never wanted to lay eyes on again he had to turn it around. There was a lot of water under the bridge. He could hear the rain lashing down, beating against the leaded windows. There was a howling gale which gave way to thunder and lightening. Even if there was a raging storm, and it blew the power, he was at least sheltering out of harm’s way. Safe.

He felt even better on spotting a bottle of Bell’s whisky on the table. He poured himself a glass and then spotted the huge object adjacent,

“Wow that’s a big one”. He whistled on inspecting the 42” TV. By God it was huge. He looked for a switch round the back but there was no backing to it, it was just a flat screen. Suddenly it jumped to life, the colours jumping out at him, in high definition. He was mesmerised, and finding a remote control nearby he started to flick some buttons, watching in amazement that there wasn’t just BBC 1,2, and ITV but a whole range of others. Flick, flick, flick. He sipped the scotch and flicked some more. His eyes lit up by the time he got to the late 800-900..and saw the scantily clad birds, some naked.

“Now we’re talking”.

He flicked back to BBC1 and noticed it was the news, showing coverage of some Royal event and then he stopped in his tracks. It was actually a wedding. THE Royal Wedding, the one he should have been attending with Bolly. He peered closely. The faces were so defined he thought maybe, just maybe he would see her in the crowds? A sign? After watching for a few moments he realised it was on for sometime, showing all the highlights. Well maybe he would just get himself cleaned up first, pour some more drink, scout around for food in the kitchen and settle himself down for the night. How bloody ironic. He was actually feeling quite relaxed in the place he had actually been killed. It was almost like being home.

Suddenly there was a loud bang on the front door.

“Bleeding Kids. “ He thought to himself. Well, he would scare them off in this state well and truly. He glanced at himself in the mirror. His face was caked in dried mud, and blood, he had leaves in his hair. He certainly looked like a corpse.

“This’ll teach them”.

He swung open the door.

“Trick or Treat?” Three voices cried in union and before he stood a chance he was pushed so he stumbled backwards back into the farmhouse.

“What..the?” He was stunned.

He stared back at three figures, all adult size, not children. Dressed in black, but wearing masks and costumes. A devil, a witch, and an angel. Maybe they were the parents trying to con him out of some money or something.

He narrowed his eyes, hoping to God the devil wasn’t Keats. He was in no mood for that bastard. His hand went instinctively to his shooter in his coat pocket, just in case.

“Happy Halloween, Gene!”. The witch said, beneath her mask with the crooked nose, and the pointy hat.

“T’is the night of All Souls, the Eve of all Hallows when the dead return to earth to gain the souls of those who wronged them. A time for deliverance, for retribution.”.

“OK quit the crap. How much? Just leave me in peace”. Gene replied eager to get rid so he could watch some sexy girls on the screen and relax.

“Rest in Peace, Gene”.

Although they mentioned his name, he didn’t think twice, too many bizarre things had happened – he was past caring.

He looked back at the Devil, plastic horns on top of his head. What a joke, as if that would scare him. Not even the mask. You could tell it had come from some cheap joke shop. The witch, well she might be a bit tasty looking. He looked her up and down from her purply and white stripey legs, to her hair under the hat. Red, auburn coloured hair, and a shiver went down his spine.

The angel on the end remained silent.

“I am the resurrection, and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this, Gene?”

“What..? What the?”

The devil removed his mask and as he did something silver fell to the floor. A crucifix.

“Daniel!. What the?”

“It’s time, Gene. Your time has come”, the priest announced.

“What you on about? Is this some kind of sick joke? Can’t you just clear off and leave me in peace”.

“Gene. Listen to Daniel. Please!. The witch finally spoke, her soft irish tones instantly recognisable.

“Maggie. Sister Mary. Please. I am tired, and weary. All I want to do is sit here and have a bit of peace and quiet. Don’t you think I have had just about enough”.

“That’s why we are here Gene. To put you out of your misery. To end it once and for all” Father Daniel said placing his devil mask on the table.

“Ha, what are you proposing to do? Shoot me?”

Gene looked up at the three of them and fleeting thought of the three wise monkeys, Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil. He noticed the Angel on the end in her flowing white robes still remained silent, her hands tucked inside her white robe, as if in prayer, looking oddly out of place with the plastic mask over her face.

Sister Mary moved over towards the television and with a flick turned the channel over, and then everything changed. Suddenly there was another Royal occasion being broadcast on t.v. One from many years ago. 1952. Coronation Day. The nun in the witches outfit stepped aside whilst Gene stared at the screen. Shivers ran down his spine, beads of sweat on his brow. It was that day. He was back to that day.

He turned to Father Daniel, about to plead. He found himself staring down the barrel of a shotgun.

Father Daniel had gone. Replaced by another face, one that had haunted Gene since that day. His killer. Yet when he spoke he still had Daniel’s voice.

“When you answered the door just then Gene, who did you think it was? Some kids, trick or treating? Kids messing, like you thought back then?”

Gene was speechless, motionless. Time stood still. Words failed him.

“Do you know why I am here now, Gene.? “ Gene remained silent.

“Do you? Answer me?” Father Daniel, or whoever this guy with the gun was asked again, this time a little more forceful.

“Answer him, Gene” Sister Mary ushered quietly.

“I..I..don’t know. I don’t understand.”.

“Retribution, Gene. An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth and all that.”.

“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, if God doesn’t get you the devil must” Sister Mary muttered. Gene fleetingly wished Jim Keats was there.

“I am giving you a chance Gene. To get your own back. To change your life”.

Gene still didn’t answer and when he did all he asked was “Who are you? Who the bloody hell are you?”.

“Do what you have to do Gene, and you will discover. I am your killer Gene, the guy who took your life, your short life. I disfigured your face, killed you in cold blood and buried you in a shallow grave. Now it’s payback time.”

A clap of thunder roared into the silence, a flash of lightening illuminated the room drowning out the music of the Coronation.

“Daniel. I thought, I thought you were my friend. Bloody hell, I don’t know. I couldn’t make you out, or her” he motioned to Sister Mary, Maggie whoever she was. He really didn’t know.

“Why? Why are you doing this?”

“Don’t you see Gene. It’s the last piece of the puzzle. You have saved them all, your whole team. Raymond. Chris and Shaz.”

“But not Alex. Bloody not Alex. I can’t go yet. It’s not time for me. I need to save Alex. If I don’t save her..it won’t work…will it, all what you told me..I won’t get to see her again. This…isn’t happening…Christ this isn’t bloody well happening.”.

Gene’s temper started to flare, whether through panic, anger, frustration, who knew but he smashed the half empty glass of whisky across the room, splinters of glass shattering across the floor in pieces. Broken like his heart. Gene Hunt, a broken man. Is that what he was? That’s what he had come to?

“Believe me, it’s time Gene. You have to come now. You have to let go” Mary spoke softly from the shadows.

“And who the bloody hell are you?”

He stared as suddenly, Sister Mary the nun. Maggie, his flame haired fancy appeared side by side, next to a small child who stood before him holding out a stuff toy. A womble.

“We are all one and the same Gene. “ Maggie spoke, stepping forward to touch him tenderly on his arm. Gene flinched.

“Get away, get away from me the lot of you. Fucking leave me alone. I have been in hell for I don’t know how long. I am going mad, insane. I can’t cope any more don’t bloody do this to me.” There was emotion in his voice, and tears in his eyes. Gene Hunt, cry-baby.

He sank to his knees. What a sorry sight he must look.

“Please, Daniel. Father. Whoever you are, please, don’t. Don’t shoot me. Not again. Not now. I need to find Alex. My Bolly. Please I will do anything. I am a desparate man. Please just let me have some more time to find her, please don’t shoot me, I beg you.” He was still, waiting, waiting for that single shot.

“Gene. I am not going to shoot you. Rather, you are going to shoot me.”

The air hung in silence again. Gene slowly raised his head, staring back into the eyes, the very eyes which in 1952 had burned into his soul.

“Do as he says, Gene” Maggie uttered.

Gene didn’t move.

“Come on Gene. Do it.” Daniel ordered.

When Gene still didn’t move Daniel got angry.

“Come on Gene! Look at me. I’m the bastard that murdered you, blastered your face to smithereens. Retribution. You have been on the road to redemption. You have almost been forgiven for keeping your team, your friends in your little world for such a long time. You have saved their souls now. It’s time to go.”

“And who is going to save my soul?” Gene simply asked looking up the ceiling. He looked out of the window, across the field. The Quattro was still there, he could vaguely see its outline in the darkness although a mist had come down. He could see figures moving outside, slowly walking towards the farmhouse in a row. One of them looked like Shaz, and Raymondo and bloody Skelton. They were coming for him. But no Alex.

“I can’t I bloody can’t. Just tell me who you are and why.”

“We have told you Gene. “ Sister Maggie said going on to explain. “Like you, we have passed over to the other side. Your murderer wasn’t a bad man, not really. Just somebody who got disturbed, protecting his property. He was in the airforce you know, got medals for saving lives, serving King and country in the war. He came home , glad to be alive and faced with intruders in his farmhouse one dark night. What was he to do?”

Gene looked at Daniel.

“Why a priest?”

Daniel explained, still pointing the gun at Gene,

“Why not? I became religious more so after what I did to you. It was on my conscience, living with what I had done, for the rest of my life. I felt by turning to God to help others I would somehow be forgiven for my sin, the greatest sin to take a life.”

“And you?” Gene turned to the nun.

“Oh Gene. If only you knew. That little cute adorable girl, that was me. I so loved that Womble toy. I was an innocent little child, but it all went wrong, so very very wrong. I got in with a bad crowd in my teens, ended up pregnant, on the streets, on drugs. I was bad Gene, so very bad. I turned to prostitution. “

Gene stared back in disbelief.

“What, and then, so you could be forgiven for your sins you became a bloody nun, just like him? A change of uniform and all’s well in the bleeding world”.

“No Gene” Maggie shook her head “ the nun was actually a red herring. We had to do something to make it believable. To make you believe. We can come back as anything, shape-shift as you know Gene, that’s what the Afterworld people can do.”

“Ha, the bleeding red shoes were a bit of a give-away”.

“I died in tragic circumstances, Gene, before my 30th birthday, a victim of the Yorkshire Ripper some say though there was nobody convicted for my death”.

Still sitting on his haunches, Gene started to take it all in…slowly. So, it had all been a plan. From the moment he had let his team go in to the Railway Arms this had kicked in. The mission to get Gene.

“So, do it Gene” Daniel offered the shotgun to Gene whose head was racing, spinning, irrational thoughts, feelings, emotions. Outside the storm raged, the figures in the dark looming closer. Somewhere a clock began to chime. He counted. Midnight. Halloween. The night of All Souls, The Eve of All Hallows.

“If I kill you, who is going to save my Soul?” Gene shouted.

Somewhere he could hear chanting, voices, “Do it, do it, do it, do it.” They got inside his head, driving him mad, tapping away at his brain. His breath grew rapid, he couldn’t breath. The blood rushed around in his veins and as the thunder crashed down he felt his own heart would either stop at any moment or explode into a million bloody pieces.

He snatched the shotgun in temper, anger welling up. He pointed it at the priest, aiming the barrel at his head, but he just could not pull the trigger. He was frozen to the spot. The noise outside was unbearable. Inside was even worse, and his head, the voices “Gene, Gene, Gene” calling him, pulling him, sucking him down into the pits of hell. Nails digging into his flesh, ripping his skin, pulling his nerve endings, veins, organs. Maggots, worms, beetles, crawling all over him. Rats gnawing, bird pecking at his eyes, all living nightmares flashed before him.

He tried to pull the trigger he tried, really really he did and then there was an almighty BANG!

The sound of a single shot rang out.

The air was eerily silent. Time stood still once more as the voices, the noise, the storm, the figures all disappeared into something that resembled a whirlwind, a tornado or will-o-the wisp.

He was lay on the floor. Little Maggie, Sister Mary and Maggie had all merged into one person, the nuns face aging , turning to a skeleton, the bones crumbling to the floor. The priest lay dead before him. Yet he still held the loaded gun, barrel untouched.

From the shadows a figure in white stepped forward.

“My angel.” Gene muttered, hardly able to speak.

“Save me” he held out his hand. This ethereal beauty before him, surrounded by a glowing aura of light. Never had he seen anything so wonderous in all his life.

“Save me, hold me in your arms, please take me now. I am ready”.

It was then, he saw the outstretched arm in front of him, holding a gun, his own shooter, smoke still protruding from the shaft.

“You! You shot him?” Gene looked up in awe.

“Yes, Gene. I had to save your soul. There was nobody left.” The voice from behind the mask, was soft, gentle, and he noticed a bit posh too.

No! Surely, it couldn’t be. Christ.

“Alex? Alex? Is it you? Is it really you?”

But the angel didn’t answer. He watched as she swept over to the television which was now just a blank screen and some white noise. She turned it to a station. There was a news article about the shooting of a young copper, his first day on the beat. Tears were shed at his funeral throughout the country. It had been a very sad, and tragic end.

“You couldn’t save me Gene. You couldn’t reach me, because if you had, if you had saved my soul, and saved me from being shot in 1981 who would have been left to save you? Here” a tender hand stretched out to his and she handed back the 6620 police tag once more.

“Goodbye again Guv, but this time it really is time to say Goodbye”,

And with that she turned and walked away, her angelic robes swishing along the dirty floor, splattered with blood, and underneath Gene could see her red shoes.

He closed his eyes, feeling himself sinking deep deep down into the black pit, and when he opened them all he could see were stars, one in particular shining very very bright, and he knew. The time had come. His time. It was the end.

DCI Gene Hunt was dead.




Friday, 1 July 2011

Ch 34: Viva La Vida

Gene could hear bells, peeling, ringing out. They were getting louder and louder. Choirs were singing, heavenly joyful voices. The crowds were cheering. Then chanting. “Gene, Gene, Gene”.

There was a jolt, and Gene woke with a start.

“What the……” He stared in front of him. There were no holy sounds, voices, or people. In fact he was sitting on a bloody empty train. He realised he must have fallen asleep and missed his stop. Oh Christ. This was no good. He needed to get off, and make his way to the Abbey, to find Alex. She would be waiting for him. He would soon be there, with her.

He jumped off the deserted train and wandered along the platform. It was open so he knew he was no longer on the Tube. Jesus, he must be further out than he thought and he was horrified when he found a sign that read “Boreham Wood”.

God. He was miles out. He looked at is watch.It was fast approaching eleven. It would soon be noon. Would she wait for him? Time was running out. He felt himself getting flustered and jittery.

“Calm down you tosser” he chided himself. He had come this far. He would make it, he would get to Alex in time.

What to do? Should he hop on a train back? Or maybe if he found a cab. Yes the streets would be deserted with most inside watching the Royal Wedding. A cabbie could whiz him there in no time and also would stop him falling asleep again. He was so tired and weary. In fact he could hardly put one foot in front of the other.

However when he left the station he was disappointed to find no taxis in line. Damn. He was impatient and couldn’t afford to hang about , wasting any more time. He started walking, a fast pace, unsure of the direction, merely like a man possessed. There was no way on earth now he would admit defeat. He was literally hours away from the love of his life, Alex Drake. Come hell or high water he would reach her. He had to, whatever it took.

The town centre and high street was deserted. He deliberated what to do next. Suddenly a car pulled up beside him,

“Get in”

Gene turned to see Father Daniel and Sister Mary Magdalene.

“No fucking way”. he replied rather harshly.

“Gene!. Please. It’s for your own good”. Sister Maggie pleaded.

“My own good? What do you two know about my own good? You don’t give a damn about me. I don’t know in hell’s name what is going on but I am not hanging around to find out. And why have you tear-arsed all the way down here eh? You have followed me. Can’t you just fucking leave me alone?” Gene was getting annoyed.

“Gene. You don’t understand” Father Daniel started to say but Gene interrupted, not wishing to listen.

“I understand perfectly thank you very much. I don’t know what it is about you two, and that other one, Maggie, but I can’t take much more. I have had enough. I am here to find Alex. She is waiting for me. It’s where I belong and that’s it end of. Now mush”.

He carried on, striding out in his well worn boots but the car crawled alongside the kerb.

“Please Gene. It’s all a mistake. A con. There is no Alex. Not here, in London. You have been lead on a wild goose chase” Sister Mary shouted across.

Gene put his fingers in his ears pretending not to listen and started randomly singing.

“Not listening…”

“Gene!. You must believe us. You shouldn’t be here in London. We have come here for a reason. We have come to take you home”.

“Bollocks.”

“Why do you have to be so bloody stubborn Hunt! For once in your life can’t you listen to us. We are trying to help you. Surely you don’t believe Keats?”

Gene stopped in his tracks and stared down at the Priest with narrowed eyes.

“Keats? What the fuck do you know about him?” He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

“He’s done it again to you Gene, lead you up the garden path. Made you false promises. There is no end result.”

Gene looked back at Daniel. Thoughts raced through his mind. Was this just another ploy? Were they right? Was Keats pissing him about? Had he been a complete bastard bollocks Idiot to believe him, after all what he had done in the past?

Suddenly a tune on the radio blasted out from a shop and his heart sank. The last time he had heard that he was with Alex, dancing, smooching, about to…what? Reveal her true feelings….so true, funny how it seems….oh Christ. He could do without Batman and Robin here on his case. He needed to lose them. Pronto.

He started to run. Daniel in turn put his foot on the accelerator. Gene ran faster, turning corners, trying to lose them but they were fast and he started to get out of breath. Then as he turned he saw a pedestrianised area. Brillliant. He legged it through, glancing behind, relieved to see the car stopped at the bollards, but then as he heard footsteps behind him he turned again and saw Daniel and Maggie running after him. What a bleeding sight. It would be funny in other circumstances, Gene Hunt being persued by a Priest, and a Nun. One wearing red shoes.

He felt he was gasping for breath but still, determined to carry on, he continued running, thankful the streets were deserted. Yet he spoke to soon, for as he turned another corner he ran into a crowd that had gathered. It wasn’t an exceptionally large crowd but even so it was in his way.

Gene got jostled as he tried to make his way through. Perhaps he could lose himself in them all, and shake of Danny and Maggie still hot on his tail.

“Oi mate, don’t shove” A bald headed bloke in a vest and with abundant tatooes pushed him back.

“Don’t mate me, Popeye” Gene shoved the burly guy out of the way.

Yet as the crowd partied Gene felt dismay, for before him was a bloody great brick wall,, bigger than the Berlin one. Jesus. He turned to see the angry crowd behind him, jeering, cheering, shouting abuse. My God, there were some freaky looking people, some in what appeared to be fancy dress,closely followed by Danny and Maggie who were literally a stone’s throw away. At least they would fit in with the Rocky Horror Show that was going on.

“Gene! Stop! For God’s sake leave it. Don’t go over that bloody wall”.

Those were the last words he heard Father Daniel say as he quickly, and deftly scaled the brickwork, as he had done once before. A feeling of déjà vu came over him, as it had done from Day One, only this time it didn’t lead into the Blue Peter Garden.

***************

Day Two: And Gene Hunt was in the Diary Room.

“Gene. This is Big Brother. Welcome. What can we do for you today?”

“You can start by getting me out of this fucking Godforsaken place. What a hell hole”.

“Gene, please do not swear”.

“I will do what the bloody hell I like. Do you know who I am?”

“Yes. You are Gene Hunt. What can we do to make your stay more pleasurable. You have some time to go Gene. Do you not like your other housemates?”

Gene sat on the strange chair, angel’s wings sprouting up behind him, like St Peter.

He stared at something in front of him, what he didn’t really know. Was he going do-lally? Talking to a whole in the wall? He really was loosing it. Out there in that stupid glass house, it was like a bleeding goldfish bowl, full of even more freaks, from all walks of life. And they all had stupid names. Mind you there was that tasty brunette with the fit body. She reminded him ever so slightly of Bolly, only a little, just the dark hair, and red lipstick, but apparently she wasn’t a housemate. He had been plied with champagne last night and two blondes with large tits had draped themselves around him, but after a night of no sleep in a dormitory which could be described as a lunatic asylum he had just about had enough. This really was hell on earth, people waling, moaning, farting and snoring, not to mention god knows what those two blokes in the corner were doing.

“I want out. Now. Just get me out”.

“Gene. Big Brother doesn’t think that is a good thing. You have only been in here one day. You will have to wait till the first eviction and then see. Maybe after that if you are not evicted we can assess your situation then.”

“Bloody assess it now, else I will walk”. Gene really was at his wits end, and if he was going to have a nervous breakdown it was certainly not going to be on National television in front of millions of viewers.

“Big Brother can only make the offer for you to wait until after eviction night. You may now leave the diary room Gene”.

“Fucking place!” Gene slammed the door behind him.

*****

Day Eight: Gene Hunt was back in the diary room.

“Right Morons. Get me out of this fucking place”.

“Gene! This is Davina talking. Please do not swear”.

“Davina? David, I don’t pissing care. There’s more gender-benders in here than Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I want out. Now!”.

“Are you sure Gene. You are very popular with the viewers. They love you”.

“I have never been more certain in my life. I wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place. Please. I am on a mission. A serious mission, of love. And this has delayed me. I may have lost it all…” He thought he would go for the sympathy thing, knowing that deep down it could be true. The Royal Wedding long over, and Alex…waiting, waiting, and he had stood her up. He might never see her again. Or the outside world for that matter.

“Gene. Are you absolutely certain? There is no going back if you leave this house. You cannot return.”

“Yes. Davina. Please. I have never been more certain in my life”.

He looked up and in front of him, there on the screen was the girl with the dark hair, Davina. He thought of Bolly and his heart lurched.

“Yes. I want to go”.

There was a moments silence.

“Ok Gene. Big Brother will allow you to leave. Please take your things now and leave by the door on the right. Thank you. Stay safe”.

Gene was gone like dust. He Didn’t need asking twice.

Suddenly he was out. Like being let out prison. The air was fresh. He was no longer cooped up in the goldfish bowl with the teletubby garden going lala. He had come out through a door, in a wall, like the Secret Garden or Alice in Wonderland, yet there was no white rabbit in front of him telling him the time and that he was late. Just Father Daniel, and Sister Mary. For a moment he felt relied wash over him, glad to see them.

It was then he realised he was back in London. In the city centre. The light was fading. Broken flags and streamers littered the streets. The Wedding of the year was obviously over.

“Danny will just go and collect the car. Why don’t we go and get a drink whilst we are waiting for him, Gene?” Sister Mary said, touching his arm tenderly as they walked Father Daniel walk towards the tube station.

“I could sure do with one.”

They walked along side by side in silence. The streets were so familiar to Gene, in fact way too familiar. He looked up at the sky. Jesus, the light had faded fast, too bloody fast.

“How long will he be? Daniel?”

“He has to go back to Boreham Wood remember. Where we left the car. It could be a while. Where shall we go then Gene? You know all the places round here. We could get a bite to eat too? I am sure you could do with drink or two”.

“Scotch more like.”,

“What about that place over there?”

Gene felt suddenly sick. Christ. It was Luigis. No way. No fucking way.

Beads of sweat came onto his brow. His heart beat faster. It was getting dark. The lights of the pubs and bars beckoned though. He looked up at the night sky. And saw it was full of stars.

“Or in here?” Sister Mary stopped on the corner of the pavement and pointed towards a building.

Gene felt a little dizzy. What was happening. Why was he here? Of all the places, in all the world. He was HERE. Not in Mary’s Arms. Not in Alex’s arms. Bloody hell he would rather be in their arms. Not…not ….this.

“You know, Mags. I don’t think I want scotch after all. I am thirsty though, and hungry, but I don’t fancy a pub atmosphere” He suggested, stalling the moment. Christ. Was this it? Just like that?

“OK , Gene. Whatever you want. Hey, let’s go in here then” Sister Mary took his hand

“It’s a nice new place look. It’s opened up as a Starbucks”. They went in together through the doors.

Inside it was surprisingly calm. People were sitting around on comfy sofas, reading newspapers, drinking tea, and coffee. Nobody glanced up.

They stood at the counter waiting to be served. Gene realised Sister Mary was still holding his hand, rather tightly. Her hands were cold, so very cold. She needed something to warm her up, as did he, he thought, shivering.

He looked up at the board on the wall, so many choices, so many fancy names.

It was then he heard the music.

And the voices.

And he saw the stars.

His eyesight became blurred.

Vomit rose in his throat.

He couldn’t breathe.

All the faces were unclear.

He could hardly make out Maggie, just felt the coldness of her fingers, digging tightly now into his own.

His legs felt jelly-like.

And then he heard a familiar voice.

“What’ll it be Gene?” A Nice dark cappucino, or Latte?”

He could just about make out the face him, dark, like the coffee beans, yet oh so familiar.

His legs buckled and he collapsed to the floor.

His last thoughts being it had happened.

Finally.

His time had come. St Peter was calling.

It was time to say goodbye.