No one knows what started all this. I mean, we know what cause Britain to go dark, but no one knows who was behind it and how they executed their plan. Some people think it was ISIS, others thought it was the Taliban, some crazy fool was convinced that it was a Neo-Nazi cell and Hitler was actually alive, orchestrating the whole thing. To be honest, I didn’t care who started it. Whoever wanted this to happen would have had to be highly trained, highly motivated and heavily finance to achieve such an evil act.On the day of the attack, I was at work. I was an IT Support Officer at an insurance firm where I spent most of my day telling people to try turning off, then turning back on their computers, or resetting passwords because they had managed to forget it over the course of the weekend. Whatever they had drunk to make them forget their eight-character password, I desperately desired to help me forget my working week. I know I sounded like a whiny teenager but to be honest, at that stage of my life, I was stuck in a job with no prospects and no drive to excel. The job had sucked all the life out of me, causing me to spend the rest of my working life as a zombie. At home I wasn’t any better, spending hours in front of my computer playing first person shooters, or RPGs. Some would say I was a ‘stereotypical IT guy’ but I wasn’t. I’m the way I am because I’m am an only child, with career driven parents who spent little time exposing me to social activities with other children, instead I was given a book or word search to keep myself entertained.
That being said, when I wasn’t playing video games, I was watching survival programmes. I would watch Ray Mears and Bear Grylls religiously. I didn’t accept everything they told me on those tv shows, however. I watched a video on YouTube that showed one of the survival experts walking on large jagged rocks in what looked like a desert. The video is then replaced with a gentleman, I’m guessing the person who uploaded the video, walking on the same jagged rocks in the same desert. The camera pans 180 degrees revealing a busy freeway. Drivers beeping their horns to say hello whilst the man criticises the survival expert’s programme. I understood the setting was used for dramatic effect. Everything else he said made sense to me so I didn’t think too much of it.. I became an expert in surviving in harsh conditions without leaving my flat. I have an obsessive personality so if I saw something that interested me, or felt it would be useful to know, I’ll research every book, visit every web site until I have it memorised in my brain. It gave me the motivation to go out and learn more. Search through the internet I had an advert pop up advertising a wilderness course that would teach me valuable skills such as building shelters, finding or purifying water, making a fire and knowing what to eat and what not to eat. At first I ignored it, but the more I researched, the more this advert would appear until all I would think about was enrolling. So I enrolled. I didn’t enjoy or understand the need to work with other people on the course. If we were to be stranded on an island like that bloke from Castaways, I would need to learn how to do it all on my own. But I grin and beared it and to be honest, it proved useful and it’s what has kept me alive long enough to tell this story.
Choosing a hobby that meant I would be outside was one of the best decisions I ever made. Breathing in the sweet vigorous overabundance of fresh air is enough to bring a new wave of energy. Being amongst the trees washed away any stress that may have been accumulated from work. When I close my eyes I can hear the welcoming sound of silence, no disturbing noises from car engines, workers using powerful drills to dig up the road, or hundreds of people talking nonsense on their phones. All I need to hear are the reassuring tweets from the birds above to tell me that all is good in the world.
When I was back in the city I paid attention to news reports. I heard Scotland Yard had foiled 15 terrorist plots in the space of 6 months. You can call me paranoid but from that moment I made a contingency plan in the event that an attack happened. Whether the attack was located in a controlled area, or a national catastrophe. I gradually bought enough canned food to last me a few months. I bought the essentials like camping equipment, fishing gear and hunting and cooking accessories. My prize possession were my bows. The first, a long-range compound bow, used for hunting. The second was a much smaller one, used for short range shots and rapid pulls. I was ready for whatever came my way.
The date was the 1st of June 2017. I was on my 7th logged call of the day, watching the clock, waiting for 5pm when I could finally go home. I finished re-imaging the computer I was working on, all that was left to do was hit restart. I hovered the cursor over the restart button and paused. I had no reason to hesitate but something didn’t feel right. I shook my head as if to remove any self-doubt, I’ve pressed restart thousands of times, why would this by any different? One click was all it took, and the screen went blank, like it should. I waited for the screen to light back up, but nothing happened. I went under the desk to check the plug socket, battling my way through the week-old chocolate wrappers and biscuit crumbs. As I reached for the plug that was connected to a foolish plug bank that was only designed to power two computers maximum but was instead powering four, I was halted by the commotion of confused co-workers. A power cut throughout the whole building. I looked out the window and spotted a mother pushing her child along a path parallel to the building. Her child was playing with a tambourine toy that seemed to light up whenever they moved it. The mother was pushing the buggy with one hand whilst looking at her phone with the other. I thought this was bad parenting until I saw her stop dead in her tracks. The hand that was pushing the buggy was bought up to her mouth as a look of dread spread across her face. Her actions attracted passers by who ran up to her, placing their hands on her shoulder to offer support. One person grabbed the phone off her and gazed at the screen, horrified at what he was reading.
Our manager came into the office and spoke loudly to gain control of the room. “Team, I know you’re all wondering what is going on. Before we had a power-cut, the news had reported that the parliament building had been attacked.” Gasps and general dismay filled the office. Question after question was asked. “Was anyone hurt?” “How did they do it?” “Has the government issued a statement?” “Are we safe?” The manager continued, “I have asked some members of staff to go to the business’ nearby to see if we can gain some more information. Whilst we wait for this information, please remain calm.” All electronic devices were disabled, no internet, no means of obtaining information immediately like we have relied on for years. We were left vulnerable, with no way of knowing if we were safe or in danger.
I didn’t know what to expect. If it was a localised attack then, although it would awful news, as a country, we would come back stronger. An hour had passed before our manager came back into the room. “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s important that I have your attention. We’ve ascertained that there have been multiple attacks in the UK. Major government buildings along with Scotland Yard, the Gherkin and Downing Street have been destroyed. Power grids are down and military bases have also been attacked. We still don’t know who is behind this but I would recommend the you all go home and wait for further instructions.” As I packed up my belongings and made me way back home, my belief in humanity slowly dwindled away like a sugar cube dissolving under the power of boiling hot water.
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