The Unseen Path – Part Forty Eight

1642again, Going Postal

It was bad, not inevitably terminal, but beyond her ability to fix properly.  No trace of heart damage, but the bullets, as these modern horrible ones seem designed to do, had fragmented on hitting the lowest rib, puncturing his left lung and perforating a section of his upper colon.

Not too much damage lower down, seems okay, bowel too, but I’m so rusty.  Blood loss was a problem, she could slow it further and they would have enough of his type for several manual transfusions for a day or two, but no more, and it was out of the question to carry him home over the moor.

They had spent the time until the arrival getting ready, erecting new lighting, cleaning every surface as it had never been cleaned before, disinfecting everything that might be required, whatever might do for Georgy it wasn’t going to be a lack of hygiene.

She didn’t know him well, other than as the talkative colleague of Sam and devoted son of Thea, everyone seemed to know her, but when they had brought him in her first reaction had been one of relief: at least it wasn’t Sam, the impact that would have had on Martha, her friend, and of course the girl, it was impossible to tell.

She had done what she could quickly and without fully sealing him up: they needed to keep draining the blood away anyway.  She washed up and went out to Alan.  “That man, David Kingsbridge, are they still nearby?”

A nod.

“I’m going to need him, Georgy is, I’m afraid, otherwise…  Can you get them on the phone, ask them to knock him up if they think he’s on his own and then pass the phone to him so I can talk to him?”


At four fifteen that morning David Kingsbridge, eminent consultant surgeon, received one of the greatest shocks of his life, not being woken at an ungodly hour by two fit looking men whom, if they hadn’t knocked and spoken respectfully, he might have thought to be intended burglars, but by a voice from the long past, the very long past.

“David, is that you?  It’s Gill, you remember, d’you recognise my voice?”

“Who is this, is it really you Gill?  We thought you were dead, you disappeared without trace twenty years ago.”

“It is, it really is, I’ll tell you all when I see you.  I was very sorry to hear about Mary.  But you need to come with these men, a man’s life is at stake and I’m in over my head, I need you.  They won’t hurt you.”

“Are you alright?  Is there something wrong?  This must be some kind of trick.”

“No, I’m happier than I’ve ever been, but I, he, needs your expertise right now.  Please?”

“I’m sorry sir, can we come in?  I’m afraid you don’t have a choice.”

And then the second big shock of the night: a pistol with what looked like a silencer fitted was pushed into his rib cage, forcing him gently back into the hall so the two men could shut the door behind them.

Gillian’s voice was again in his ear.  “I’m sorry David, we’re desperate, we can’t take a no, you’ll see why later.  We’ll need your instruments, anything you’ve got for stomach and lung wounds, whatever’s in the house really, any fine surgery viewing equipment, walking boots, glasses, outdoor clothing, any medications, a couple of cases of clothes.  The guys will help you.”

One of the men was already returning from checking the house, carrying wellingtons, walking boots, coat and hat, smiling at him sheepishly.  It was strange, her familiar voice from long ago, urgently friendly, pleading, their smiling abashed demeanours contrasting with the cold threat of the weapons.  “Oh, alright, but it had better be one hell of a good explanation.”


In the office by seven and another early start thought Andy Bowson as he walked in the door where could see he was far from being one of the earliest.  At some time overnight they had all heard the news. They’d been summoned, leave cancelled, contingencies for more resources, more people in other words, being put onto operational duty; the truth being that they were actually at breaking point.

The Birmingham enquiries had already consumed huge resources, not just the CT Command, to little effect, and now these London shootings.  Sure, the two cornered loonies had died trying to break out, thankfully taking no one else with them, but the rest had disappeared, and a huge manhunt was spreading out from London into the provinces.  Even the straitened military were having to post personnel to some sensitive sites.

There was nowhere near enough manpower though, insane government priorities had seen to that; some pundits were even talking about calling up the Territorial Army for God’s sake.  As if that weren’t enough, last night had seen what seemed to be a car bombing and arson in Swindon and another arson in Reading, both sets of victims according to neighbours being good Muslims, pillars of the community, blah blah blah.

No one here gave that any credence at all, the parallels with the Birmingham house arson were just too close: no confirmed survivors, gas explosions and apparent liberal use of accelerants to minimise residual evidence.  Maddening for the forensics teams, who were working really hard for their money but so far coming up with little of value.

It appeared though that something had gone wrong at Swindon; a shot had been reported, a neighbour had recognised it for what it was and called the emergency services, and then only when peering out their window had seen a figure bundling another into the back of a plumber’s van.

Others had witnessed another man, heavily laden, get in and then, shortly after a fourth before the van drove away.  Someone had even taken a couple of photos with their phone, but at night, under the dimmed street lighting and at distance it was poor quality, even after a digital clean up.

Nevertheless, they had the registration.  A team was on its way to the registered owners now, but he knew in his bones they would be cloned plates, whoever it was just too professional. Eventually the van would be found, just like the others, dumped, cleaned and burned out.

The fire-fighters were still damping down the scenes so that the painstaking sifting process for forensic traces could begin.  The Swindon site in particular had been levelled, almost consumed so that only dust and ash remained, the distraction bomb, clearly what it was, had kept them away long enough for that.

Everyone, the full complement except for those already on the streets, was in the morning meeting, getting their orders from the chief himself: Dager standing at his right hand looking composed, serious, even a little smug.  What a change from just a few days ago.  Given their recent injuries, not mentioning his family, they wanted him and George in the office, helping to co-ordinate and sift the torrent of material that was inevitably headed their way. 99.9% would be dross, but they had to keep trying to find the perhaps one golden key to it all.  That suited him fine right now; he wanted to stay close to where ‘Henry’ could contact him: he was making a lot more sense than the rest put together these days.

© 1642again 2018

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