Sunday, 13 November 2011

Chapter 20 - Time for a last stand

The second winter I had spent on the streets was drawing in. The previous winter had been bad, this one promised to be far worse. This would be a winter that thins the numbers of homeless from the streets. I had weathered the previous winter, but this one I wasn’t so sure. I didn’t even know if I wanted to.

Over the past two years I have changed. The most apparent change is physical, I have aged considerably, if I look at my reflection in the glass of the shop fronts I don’t see a young man in his early twenties. I look much older, the seasons have weathered my skin. A ragged beard covers my face, my hair is longer, a matted mess across my shoulders.

I have changed mentally as well. I still maintain the twice daily routine. I still trawl through the thousands of minds that pass me by each day. One every morning and one every evening, two people every day tormented by my whim.

It passes the time and provides some focus to the day this infecting people’s lives. I no longer worry too much about the judgement, their crimes don’t really matter. It’s the effect that keeps me going. I have to confess that it no longer provided the thrill that it once did. It’s almost a habit rather than a cause now.

Now one of the few things beyond my power  is forcing a choice. I could continue as things were, I might survive the winter, or I might not. I could have secured warmer accommodation and continue the daily routine. Or I could have done  something completely different. For a time I pondered these choices and I came to a conclusion. There was nothing I wanted to. What I did each day provided me with no satisfaction.

This lead me to thinking of my legacy, I had none. I was the ultimate grey man. No-one knew who I was, no-one knew what I had done. If I died now, no-one would ever know anything. I would be just another statistic. That bothered more than not having a future. I had brought great ruination to many and they wouldn’t know. That hardly seemed fair. It wasn’t fair on them, or to me.

I remember smiling as a plan began to form. I should be judged. I should be judged for what I am and for what I have done. Yes and in their judgement I shall bring a mini apocalypse at the heart of what they hold dear. Take the laws, and the courts and the prisons that protect them and take them away. I would take away their faith in the system.

It would be a glorious last stand and I would have my legacy. First I would need to get arrested and I would need an audience.

Once decided on my course of action, I wasted no time. I stood up from the pile of dirty blankets that swaddled me. The nearest person was an old lady, walking unsteadily to the shops. It was her pension day, the long trek for her weekly pittance. I snatched the cane that supported her and struck her across the head. She collapsed without a sound. The crowd around me panicked, so moved quickly away, averting their eyes. Others froze in shock.

Only two made a move towards me. The first was an old man, the pride in his past glories driving him forwards. The other was a younger man, his youthful immortality filling him with bravado. The old man was nearer, so I took him down first. I used the old woman’s cane to batter him to the ground. The cane broke as I brought it down one last time across his head. I drove the broken remnant into the stomach of the young guy as he charged in.

More people ran away as the young man clutched his stomach, squealing shrilly. He was no longer feeling immortal and very much feared his own mortality. There was a dead zone around me, people feared to cross into this circle.

I stood, waiting for the first police to arrive. Their response time was pretty good. The young man had stopped screaming, he still held his stomach, but his voice was only a low moan. It sounded like this faithless boy was praying.

The two officers got out of their patrol car and approached cautiously. I could see that they didn’t want to approach. They would rather have waited for reinforcements, but that didn’t suit my plans at all. I wanted a spectacle that all here would remember and something juicy enough for those watching the news later on to enjoy.

I had a sudden temptation  to urinate on the old woman’s face, that would shock them into moving, but it would also leave me at a disadvantage. So I kicked the wounded youth instead, driving a louder moan from him.

The two officers still hesitated, but they had me outnumbered and I appeared unarmed so they moved in. They held their batons tight and approached me, diverging so I had to split my attention. It was a good plan, but it wouldn’t save them. The one on my blind side felt my mind smash through his like a freight train. His body continued to live for some time, but he would never have a thought or feel any emotion again.

The other paused seeing his partner collapse for no apparent reason. This allowed me to close the distance, he swung the baton, it struck a glancing blow on my arm, the many thin layers of clothing dulled the blow. I kicked his legs from beneath him, he tried another desperate strike as he fell and another as my hands closed around his throat.

I was still strangling him long after he had died and the armed response team arrived. Now I would have to be careful. As I’d hoped there was still a large crowd witnessing the events and as the armed police piled out of their van I let the dead officer fall into the road and stepped away with my hands held high.

The armed response team could see their dead colleagues and their  trigger fingers tightened. Their training held their fire, but I could still feel their desire for me to make the wrong move. They almost willed me to make the move that would give them the excuse. I calculated that I  could take some before the bullets fired, but could I take them all quickly enough? I thought not, besides, I wanted to get captured. Phase one was complete, now I had to survive long enough to see a courtroom.

I stepped away from the bodies, my hands held open and empty, I turned slowly and obeyed the shouted instructions. Within moments I was face down on the ground, a knee painfully in my back as I was handcuffed, before being dragged into the waiting police van.

The journey back was a bit rough, a few fists and kicks came my way. It was only to be expected and the sergeant in command of the team prevented it from getting too serious. I took the blows without comment, now was the time for keeping silent.

At the police station they tried to process me. I refused to provide my name or any details about myself. I refused to make any comment when they tried to question me, I declined legal representation. The only answer I would provide was “Now is not the time”.

After twelve hours they brought me a meal, burger and chips, but outside the door I had heard them spit in it, so it remained uneaten. Shortly afterwards a doctor visited and questioned me. Prison was where I wanted to go, not a nuthouse so I implanted what he needed to know and he confirmed that I wasn’t mentally incompetent, so finally I was charged with five counts of murder, along with sundry other charges before being taken before a magistrate and remanded in prison for rial.

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