It happened the following morning while she was driving to the clinic for an early appointment. The sky had been clear all night, and there was a hard frost. She was driving along a straight stretch of empty road, with beech wood to the left and farmland to the right, enjoying the smoothness of the ride, the excellent stereo system, and the way the tree trunks glowed in the rosy light of the sun which had just breasted the hills.
And it happened so fast. Unseen and irresistible hands suddenly grabbed the steering wheel and turned it hard to the left – towards the trunks of the beech trees.
But at precisely that moment the wheels hit a patch of black ice and locked, so that the car swivelled sideways but continued to slide down the road in the same direction of travel as before.
While this was happening, Fay had the presence of mind to undo her seat belt, and as soon as the car stopped she opened the door and tumbled out. Which was fortunate, because now that the wheels had traction, the car accelerated straight into the trunk of a tree and crumpled like a paper bag.
As Fay stood trembling with shock by the side of the road, a sleek black BMW with tinted windows eased to a stop beside her, and the passenger window sighed open to reveal a suited man in dark glasses. But at that moment a number 23 bus appeared from the opposite direction, and the man must have decided to postpone whatever he had in mind. He smiled and nodded at Fay as if to say, ‘You’ll keep,’ the window sighed up again, and the car glided away.
An hour and a half later, she was finally on her way home, being driven by Edward.
‘So how are you feeling?’ he asked.
‘A bit wobbly, that’s all. Nothing that a good sleep won’t fix.’
‘Having seen the car, I’m astonished you’re all in one piece. Shouldn’t we go straight to the doctor for a check-up? Or A and E? You could have concussion. Or internal injuries that aren’t yet apparent.’
‘Yes, I’m very lucky, I know. But I don’t think I need to see a doctor.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes, I’m sure. But thank you, Edward.’
‘As you wish. If you change your mind, let me know… So what happened, exactly?’
‘I hit black ice and lost control of the car.’ Of course it was the other way round, but he didn’t need to know that.
‘That’s odd. You wouldn’t expect black ice to be that much of a problem on a straight road. And you must have hit that tree at some speed. I wonder if there was a problem with the car itself? But what sort of problem would cause that, I wonder?’
‘It’s a bit of a puzzle, isn’t it?’ Fay agreed.
She’d had the same problem with the AA man. The facts didn’t add up. But what could she do? She couldn’t tell them the truth – they’d think she was nuts. And Edward, lovely man though he was, and fond of Fay as he was, was nevertheless scathingly intolerant of Conspiracy Theories.
The stone cottages that Fay and Edward lived in side by side were part of a small group of dwellings that nestled into the curve of a wooded hillside overlooking one of the loveliest valleys in the Cotswold hills, and was shielded from the light and noise of the nearby town by Lark Hill, a local beauty-spot with a spectacular view from the top.
The small group of neighbours – mostly retired, but mostly fit and able – formed a loose-knit community of individualists who gave each other space and privacy, but at the same time ready support and friendship. Fay realised how rare such communities were, and felt very fortunate to be part of one. But although her resourceful neighbours could be depended on to assist in almost every situation, right now she had a problem that couldn’t be shared.
By bedtime she was getting really worried. Despite all her efforts – by landline, mobile, text and email – she had failed to make contact with Tony. She’d sorted out things with the insurer, so that was alright, but the car was a right-off and he really needed to know. What had happened to him? Had the Cabal caught up with him? And if so, was he dead? Or in an even worse situation that she didn’t even want to think about?
She lay awake fretting for a while, but was eventually lulled to sleep by the tinkling of the spring in front of the cottage and the wind in the trees…
…only to be woken at 2 am by a furious battering on the front door.
‘We might have to break down the door.’
‘Fay, can you hear me?’
As she reached full consciousness she smelt smoke, and saw red firelight flickering on the ceiling, where it had no business to be.
She fell out of bed and went to the window. The woods were ablaze.
‘Hello!’ she called out of the window, and was relieved to see Edward and Jim hove into view, rather than the man from the BMW.
‘Fay, you need to get out, quick. The wood’s on fire and the wind’s driving it this way.’
‘Coming!’ she called.
But first she had to find her handbag, which contained Tony’s memory stick, and was hiding behind the sofa. Her neighbours were getting quite frantic by the time she emerged, and scolded her for stopping to fetch it.
Fortunately, two Fire Brigade engines arrived at the same moment. They tackled the fire from two driveways – the one running between Fay’s cottage and the woods, and the one running along the top of the hamlet. And they managed to save all the houses, though a great swathe of the woods was destroyed.
Towards dawn, and to windward of the devastated area, investigators found the point of origin, with signs suggesting the use of accelerant. They took samples to the lab, and the lab confirmed it. It was arson.
The inhabitants of the hamlet spent most of the next day meeting up with each other to share their sadness at the loss of the trees and exclaim at their amazing escape. It turned out they’d been saved by a telephone call from Edward’s cousin in America, who’d simply got his times muddled. Edward’s initial irritation at being woken in the middle of the night had turned to alarm when he smelt smoke, and he’d been able to wake the neighbours and call the Fire Brigade just in time.
Fay was trembling as she packed her bags. It was one thing choosing to put her own life at risk, but now she’d put her lovely neighbours and their property at risk, and that was not okay. And the damage done to the woods was heart-breaking. She had to get away. She didn’t know where, and without a car she didn’t know how she was going to get there. She had some money in the bank, but not enough for an extended holiday.
Before leaving, she saved the evidence from Tony’s memory stick onto her computer, and from there onto three more memory sticks.
She sealed the three extra memory sticks into little plastic bags and hid them. One she buried beneath a spider plant, first lifting the plant out of its pot and teasing a hole among the roots. Number two she sewed into the hem of a curtain. The third she pushed into the middle of a bag of rice. She didn’t imagine any of this would present much of a problem for the professional heavies of the Global Elite, but hey, a girl had to make an effort, didn’t she?
She also cancelled the milk and all her clinic appointments and social engagements, and told her neighbours she was going away for a while, though she didn’t say where. Of course, she didn’t know herself.
Edward was still pushing for a visit to the doctor, which both touched and amused her. He probably suspected her of irrational behaviour due to a knock on the head in the car crash. But there was nothing she could say to reassure him, so she left him to his own conclusions.
She was just about to order a taxi, when she realised that she needed to meditate. In fact, she should have done it first – before all the preparations. But better late than never. It took nearly an hour for her to reach a place of stillness where she could see the situation from a higher perspective. And that’s why she was still in the cottage when the telephone rang.
It was the police. Her car had been found abandoned on a farm twenty miles away.
The Micra appeared to be intact. Also, it was unusually clean, and the petrol tank was full. Somehow, Fay couldn’t see a bunch of Cabal thugs taking it through the car wash and filling the tank. Not unless they were even more devious than she thought, or had OCD.
But there was no note from Tony either. While she was searching for one, she discovered his smart phone in the glove compartment. At first this alarmed her, because Tony was never without his phone. But on second thoughts she knew that the Cabal could use mobile phones to locate people, and he may have decided he was better off without it. So perhaps it was a good sign, after all.
Anyway, she couldn’t spend too much time thinking about that now – she needed to get going. But first she took the Micra to the garage and got it checked over, just in case it had been interfered with in some way. But they couldn’t find anything, so she set off.
She stopped at a Bed and Breakfast forty miles away, and spent half the night reviewing her options, as follows:
- Fly to Hong Kong like Edward Snowden, and try to contact Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian.
- Fly to Virginia, hire a car, and drive to the Pentagon, who were now supposedly working for the downfall of their former masters.
- Fly to one of the BRICS Alliance Countries, and while going through customs, declare possession of evidence of crimes against humanity.
- Pitch up at an embassy likely to be sympathetic, such as the Ecuadorian embassy which had provided refuge for Julian Assange.
The problem with flying anywhere was the likelihood of being intercepted at the airport. Also, a horrific possibility occurred to her – that the Global Elite might consider shooting down yet another airliner in order to get rid of her and the evidence. It seemed unlikely, but having already put her neighbours’ lives at risk, she couldn’t face putting hundreds of passengers’ lives at risk, however unlikely it seemed.
Turning up at an embassy seemed the obvious solution. But how to get there without being intercepted? Surely they’d be watched by the Cabal. And in any case, the Cabal had probably followed her to this very B&B, and could pick her up any time they chose. Her stomach contracted at the thought.
But no. She was forgetting – and how could she have forgotten? She had angelic protection. She’d asked for it and been told repeatedly that it was in place. And now it had been demonstrated twice: by the black ice that had foiled the Cabal’s attempt to kill her in a car crash, and by the transatlantic phone call that had thwarted their attempt to kill her in a fire.
So she needed to trust. She needed to remain calm, centred and grounded, and put everything in the hands of her guides and her Higher Self. Then it would all work out. Whatever decisions needed to be made, the guidance would be there when she needed it.
Well, she’d asked for a Mission, and she’d got one. And in her mind she heard her friend Sharon saying, ‘Be careful what you ask for, because you might just get it,’ which made her smile. But in spite of everything, she was determined not to regret it. After all, it was an important job, wasn’t it? And as she’d said to Tony, it was an honour to be involved.
And if she did get killed, did that really matter? Especially if she was killed while carrying out her Mission.
Having reached that conclusion, she was finally able to sleep.
The following day she drove to Oxford, left her car in a long-stay park, and took the train to London. En route she used her smart phone to look up the address of the Russian Embassy, an action which took her by surprise, because she hadn’t realised until that very moment that that was where she was going. Of course, her unconscious mind had probably known all along, the sneaky thing.
But why the Russians? As soon as she asked herself the question she knew the answer. Because Russia was a major player in the Alliance against the Global Elite. And because Putin was the only politician in the world whom she actually trusted. Everyone else was either a puppet of the Cabal, or had shown themselves to be a bit shonky here or there. Or stupid. Or cowardly. Or corruptible. But not Putin. He was straight down the line. He said what he thought, then acted on it.
The Russian Embassy turned out to be in Kensington Palace Gardens, and you couldn’t get a much better address than that. Fay considered the clothes she was wearing: trainers, walking trousers, merino and fleece, topped by a puffer jacket. She hadn’t thought to dress for Kensington Palace Gardens. But never mind. Kensington Palace Gardens would just have to take her as it found her.
As she emerged from the Tube and turned onto the Bayswater Road, she heard the clatter of a helicopter directly overhead. And it seemed to remain directly overhead as she walked down the road. Was it there in her honour? And if so, what did they hope to achieve by it? Apart from intimidation, of course. She certainly didn’t expect them to drop a bomb or discharge a hail of bullets – not on a busy London street.
But the noise was very annoying – she could hardly hear herself think. None of the other pedestrians seemed to be taking any notice, though. Were they used to this sort of thing?
Most of them were smartly dressed and walking with purpose – after all, it was the middle of the working day for most people. Apart, that is, from one lone skateboarder with long hair and low-hanging trousers, weaving towards her through the throng with grace, nonchalance and a complete disregard for other people’s safety. Skateboarders were beautiful to watch, but at the same time they annoyed her, because they seemed to proceed on the arrogant assumption that they could predict where everyone else was going to be by the time they got there. But what if people suddenly changed course?
She was so mesmerised by him that she didn’t notice a man in a dark suit approaching from the same direction, until he slipped his hand into his jacket, brought out a gun and veered towards her. And it was just occurring to her in a detached sort of way that the purpose of the helicopter might be to mark her location and cover the sound of gunfire, when the skateboarder collided with the gunman. His arm was knocked downwards, the bullet went through his foot, and both men hit the deck in a tangle of arms, legs, and mutual recrimination – which thankfully couldn’t be heard because of the helicopter – while the skateboard shot into the street and went cruising down the gutter all on its own.
Fay didn’t stop to administer first aid. She just ran for it.
But the helicopter came too, and as she turned into Kensington Palace Gardens it continued to clatter along overhead. She didn’t look behind to see if she was pursued, in case it slowed her down, but she did see another man further down the street, running towards her. How far was the Russian Embassy? Would she reach it before the running man reached her? She wished she was fitter and faster on her feet.
But suddenly, there was the Embassy. At the last minute it occurred to her that the Russians themselves might shoot her if she ran straight in the front door, but it seemed worth the risk, because they’d still get the evidence. And probably give medical aid. So she didn’t slacken her pace and ran straight up the steps past the orderly queue of supplicants, and barged unceremoniously through the swing doors.
As they swung shut behind her, three large men in suits converged on her, two of them grabbing her by the arms. They were patting her down when another, smaller man approached at a more leisurely pace and spoke to them in Russian, whereupon they released her.
‘Good afternoon, Ms Woodruff,’ he said in excellent English. ‘It probably wasn’t a good idea to use your smart phone to look up our address, was it? And broadcast your destination to the whole wide world? But never mind, we seem to have got away with it. Please come this way.’
Final part soon
© Sue J Davis 2015
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