The Hanging Christian – Episode 9
It’s finally time for the violent climax as everything kicks off on King’s Parade…
Catch up on Episode 8 here.
At a table in Cafe Nero, Professor Seydowsky sat with an untouched espresso. Satisfied that the target was close enough, he triggered the detonator.
“Fuck,” he said. He pressed the button again. Still nothing.
“Never get any bloody signal in Nero,” he spat to himself, before tapping his headset, “Plan B, everyone. Eviscerate the motherfucker.”
Across the street, Freya opened her eyes and experienced about a second of miraculous joy at not finding herself blown to bits. Then a spray of gunfire erupted all around her.
For the first time in her life, Freya was thankful for tourists. The radical rationalists camped out at first-floor windows overlooking the parade were laying down a comprehensive blanket of well-aimed bullets, but the street was so packed with sightseers that neither Freya nor the Prince were hit.
Instead, American screams cut through the smoke-filled air and Nikon cameras exploded in their owners’ hands.
Bodies were riddled and shredded, dropping to the ground like very suprised bowling pins.
A Hollister-attired tour guide took a hollow-point to the skull and splattered the road and his shocked Japanese patrons with brain matter.
An already morbidly obese woman cinched with tight bum bags popped like a fleshy balloon as she was hit repeatedly, showering Freya with hot blood.
She was too dazed and stunned to even dive for cover, but in a couple of seconds Prince William had pulled her to the ground and was yelling into his phone.
Freya couldn’t hear anything apart from constantly ringing screaming, and the rain-like patter of impacting gunshots. Most people were either dead, injured, or crawling on the wet tarmac. She pressed herself down into the pavement.
She felt a bullet skim just over her shoulder and looked up to see a Chinese man who’d been crawling towards her sit backwards onto his bottom, dribbling blood from his mouth and now neatly trepanned forehead.
Then she saw them, striding out of the smoke and chaos, bald, in black, and of course wearing reflective sunglasses. The trio of heavy set men stood in front of the Prince and began laying down return fire up towards the windows with bulky matt black pistols: Wills’ bodyguards were turning a massacre into a battle.
There was a shattering of glass and a high-up scream as a cultist was hit, but then the rationalist’s attack only increased in fierceness. Rounds pinged and bounced off the bodyguards’ protective armour.
They began to beat a gradual retreat, hauling Prince William in front of them, and Freya realised she would soon be left alone amongst the slaughter, at the complete mercy of the cult.
“THIS IS THE POLICE. CEASE YOUR FIRE”
Armed police swarmed out of response cars at the end of Trinity street. As they charged down towards Freya the cultists diverted some of their fire away from the pulped tourists and Wills and his guards. Three or four police officers twisted and fell, but others took up positions behind parked cars and opened fire, whilst the rest started dragging bleeding tourists out of the middle of the street.
An officer took her arm and hurried her across the killing ground and over the low wall that separated the pavement from the lawn outside King’s college. The policeman was Declan.
“Keep down, Miss Lee!” he shouted as he poked his head above the wall and fired off a couple of rounds.
“What in hell’s name happened?” he said to her as he ducked down to reload.
“I… I’m a walking bomb,” she said.
Declan slowly holstered his gun and nodded for Freya to show him. She pulled up her blouse, revealing the packs of C4 padlocked in a metal grid to her stomach.
“Ah shit,” said Declan, “Shit shit shit shit shit. Right, come here.”
Freya inched forward, and Declan pulled out a swiss army knife-esqe tool and began poking and prodding at the explosives rig. The gunfire and screaming continued around them unabated.
After three tortuous and seemingly infinite minutes, Declan managed to snap the padlock, and carefully hauled the bomb off Freya. They both looked at it, lying on the grass.
“It’s still live,” said Declan, “I’ve no idea how to diffuse it.”
Declan started to rise, “I’ll bring in bomb disp-“