This is another bit of fiction I’ve written, though it’s effectively completely based on fact: I wanted to bring some real things that happened into a modern setting so readers can connect with it better. Everything in this short piece is real and has happened, but I fast-forwarded it to modern times, or a bit into the future. Every aspect of this story is just the modern equivalent of what happened in the 1930 and 1940s.
It’s quite “flash fiction” in itself, but it does form part – at least in an exploratory sense – of other stuff I’m working on.
THE COACH with its mesh covered windows trundled into the facility, engine growling. The vehicle looked quite a bit older than the usual civilian coaches, with its rounded corners and tin-like coating. Inside, however, the only seating was two wooden benches along each side; the previous seats were pulled out and most likely scrapped. The coach was full — very full — with people crammed against each other constantly for long hours; many had to undertake their natural functions in the place in which they stood, against the person standing next to them.
The vehicle took a corner and Jonathan saw the large, partially refurbished stadium ahead. He had never been to this part of the city, but he knew that such old sports facilities were re-purposed for processing.
Jonathan asked of the slumped-over old man beside him, ‘What’s happening? Are we being evacuated from Manchester?’
The man forced himself to uncurl his bent back and look up at Jonathan. ‘Don’t you see? We’re finished!’
The coach jostled to an abrupt halt, and the doors slid open. There was a wave of fresh air that relieved the smell of stale piss and shit; but only for a moment. They were quickly back in the stadium reception building, full of the smell of vomit and death.
‘Get out!’ the guard roared. ‘Get the fuck out now!’
The old man quickly pushed past Jonathan, eager to vacate the sickeningly stuffy bus, and Jonathan followed behind. As Jonathan stepped off the ledge of the coach a black-masked guard shoved him gruffly then pulled his collar and pushed him to the ground.
‘Is that a watch you’re wearing, you piece of shit?’ There was a rifle in Jonathan’s face.
He glared back at the guard, unsure of what to say.
‘I fucking said: Is that a fucking watch?’
‘Ye… Yeah… Here…’ Jonathan quickly unclasped the watch from his wrist and handed it over to the guard. The guard grabbed it in his gloved hand, gave it a cursory glance, and looked back at Jonathan. Immediately, his arm rose and Jonathan suddenly felt a sharp pain on the back of his head. And another, this time on his left shoulder.
‘Fucking move it!’ said the guard, in a thick Liverpool accent.
Jonathan clambered to his feet, a hand caressing the bump on his head. He felt dizzy, but he was somewhat coherent. He rejoined the stream of people coming off the coach who were headed toward a gate, feeling cheated and hateful after what had just happened.
It was the old turnstile entry to the former stadium, and overhead there was a large scrolling LED display stating ‘ANFIELD CENTRE: BRITISH LABOUR FOR BRITISH UNITY’.
To his right, Jonathan saw a row of three people who had just gotten off another coach. They were kneeling on the ground and almost as soon as he spotted them the guards covered their heads with sacks and placed rifles to the backs of their skulls. He looked away then but he still heard the three sharp cracks of the bullets.
A toddler lay next to them. Still. Her head and torso bloody.