Author Topic: The Horde chapter 3  (Read 1357 times)

Hunter

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The Horde chapter 3
« on: May 21, 2008, 05:25:54 AM »
The protestors retreated from the police cordon in scattered formations. Groups loitered to a halt further up the road, taking up sitting positions along the verges. Blankets and first aid kits appeared from rucksacks and carrier bags, people tended to wounds and passed around bottled water. Hunter weaved through the stragglers, a step behind Swain.

      ‘So you’re a reporter,’ the American said.

      Hunter squirmed, trying to conceal his discomfort. ‘Who told you that?’ 
 
      The American smirked. ‘It’s okay. You’re safe with me. We need your help to expose these bastards and once we’re inside the facility, you’re gonna have a hell of a story to tell.’

      Who is this guy? Hunter thought. Some kind of New Age minder – all whiskers and piercings? ‘What has Nina told you exactly?’ he said, bristling with annoyance.

      ‘Only that you two work together. The Daily News right?’

      ‘What! Who else knows?’

      Swain shrugged. ‘What’s the big deal? You’re part of the team, dude. You should be proud.’

      Team? What team? What the hell is Nina up to? They were supposed to infiltrate the extremists, not join their bloody crusade. Hunter tried to remain calm. ‘You’re not making sense. What did you say your name was?’

      ‘Call me Tom.’ Swain raised his hands, a concilliatory gesture. ‘Look, I’m just the messenger sent to get you. All I know is you’ve got clearance to join us. The rest you’ll have to find out from the lady herself.’

      ‘She told you I was an activist?’

      ‘Nope. She just said you’re gonna help us?’

      Hunter sighed, and wiped his sleeve across his face. It came away spotted with blood. He had to figure this thing out before getting involved any deeper. These people were highly motivated and he didn’t want to cross them. He’d only known Nina what – six months? Did he really know her well enough to trust her? He looked up at Swain. ‘So Nina’s a member of your group? Animal Rights?’

      The American laughed. ‘Sort of. Let’s just say she planned the break-in. She wants you in on it. That’s why she sent me to save your sorry ass.’ Swain’s brow arched quizzically. ‘What were you doing climbing all over those people back there anyway?’

      Hunter felt his face heat up. No wonder Nina had been so keen to come down here; it was her damn story. But why hadn’t she been straight with him from the beginning? Swain waved him on, and minutes later they reached a mud track leading to a small coppice set back from the road. He saw Nina standing beneath the shade of trees, huddled in conversation with three men, all kitted in army surplus. Parked nearby was an old, beat up minibus.

      ‘What did I tell you?’ Swain said. ‘One tough lady.’

      Muted cheers and congratulatory handshakes awaited their arrival. Hunter wanted to thank them all for nearly getting him killed, but didn’t. Eventually he saw his chance to grab Nina. He took her arm and steered her away from the others.

      She snatched away from him. ‘What the hell are you doing?’

      Releasing her, he scrutinized her bruises. There was no blood but her left cheek was swollen. He was still annoyed. ‘You set this whole thing up.’

      ‘Is that all the thanks I get for helping you?’ She wound her hair back, fixing a ponytail.

      ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were involved with these people? All that crap about infiltrating the group. You’re bloody part of it.’ Hunter lowered his voice. ‘And that American knows I’m a reporter.’

      ‘There’s no time to argue Matt. We’re about to execute the plan. You’re here to write the story but if you don’t want it, I can cope without you.’

      ‘Really? Well this whole thing stinks. You’ll be arrested before you even get across the first field.’

      Nina rolled her eyes. ‘What’s wrong with you? All that shit about being up against it, fearing for your job. I’m handing you a scoop, no strings. Trust me, this will make headlines and you’ll be writing them. Do you want it or not?’

      She was right. He needed a story to get Bryant off his back. If he didn’t put himself out there and take a risk, he'd be out of a job. Nina seemed to be on his side, maybe he had to trust her. ‘Okay so I need a story, but I’m not a charity case.’

      ‘No, you’re a damn good reporter. But it’s time to rough it up a little Hunter; time to get your hands dirty.’ She smiled and cuffed his shoulder. ‘You can do this.’

      And there it was, the whole reason he needed her. She believed in him. What did she see that no one else did?

      Hunter jerked his thumb at the others. ‘Who are these guys anyway?’

      ‘Just some friends of mine.’

      ‘I need a bit more than that. I want to know who I’ll be sharing a cell with after we get arrested.’

      ‘No one’s getting arrested Matt; not if you stay close and follow my lead. Come on, I’ll introduce you.’

      Nina called everybody to attention. Besides Tom Swain, there was Phoenix, Amazon and Turk; bizarre names that transpired to be self-appointed call-signs. Amazon and Turk struck Hunter as chilled out hippies, the type that might hang around street corners strumming Simon and Garfunkel tunes, disheveled dogs in tow. Both had tousled, unwashed hair, fuse wire goatees and eyebrows sprouting thin metal spikes. The only difference was their colouring. Turk was dark skinned, black hair, and Amazon was a red-head.

      Phoenix was altogether different; a muscle-bound black guy with a South London accent. He didn’t say much but when he did speak, everyone listened. Hunter felt uneasy, sensed a whiff of violence about him. The big guy was marked with scars on the left side of his face and across the dome of his shaven skull. But the longest scar was on the nape of his neck; a three inch pink line scored into his black flesh. Hunter felt a chill of trepidation and averted his eyes when Phoenix looked at him.

      Nina outlined the plan. The earlier assault on the barricade was a ruse to test police strength. Some of the protesters had purposely got themselves arrested to keep the police vans busy. The rest were now regrouping; preparing to make another surge at the blockade and create a further distraction. With the police overwhelmed, Nina’s unit was to assail the eastern perimeter and sneak into the Zarcom complex unopposed.

      ‘We know Zarcom have made cut backs on security,’ Nina said. ‘There’s only skeleton cover at the weekend, so our main concern is the law.’ She looked at Hunter. ‘If you get in trouble, use this.’ She tossed him a sliver canister; identical to Swain’s.

      He caught it one-handed. ‘What is it?’ he said.

      ‘Mace. Keep it safe and don’t be afraid to use it.

      Before he could object, Nina told them to move out. Hunter was given gloves and a ski-mask, plus a backpack of equipment. He felt completely bewildered. Nina’s plan seemed terrifyingly akin to a terrorist plot and her friends undoubtedly belonged behind prison bars. And yet, as he lined up to board the minibus, he felt a curious feeling of excitement.

      Phoenix got behind the wheel and started the engine. The bus rattled down the track leaving a cloud of exhaust in its wake. They turned left onto the road and away from the protest, before circumnavigating the fields to the far side of the facility. Phoenix pulled into the shelter of a circle of trees, five hundred yards from the outer perimeter.

      Nina stood at the front of the bus and made a brief address before they disembarked. ‘This will be our assembly point, so if anything goes wrong we'll meet back here. The facility is protected by two fences, and the second is electrified. I’ve arranged for the power to be isolated but don’t go charging into it until we’ve double checked. Any questions?’
 
     Hunter was incredulous. How much influence would you need to cut the power supply to a place like this? he wondered. And as the group filed out of the bus he was uncertain whether or not to follow. He clenched his fists. Just go Matt. You need the damn story.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 05:30:05 AM by Hunter »

Offline ma100

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Re: The Horde chapter 3
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2008, 06:35:03 AM »
Hey Hunter
Yep well written again mate. The thoughts and descriptions
were really good.
Well done
Ma ;D

PaulW

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Re: The Horde chapter 3
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2008, 06:37:33 AM »
Good dialogue and really nicely paced. It kept my attention. Good stuff. ;D