Read Three Faces of West (2013) Online

Authors: Christian Shakespeare

Three Faces of West (2013)

BOOK: Three Faces of West (2013)
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The sky was as grey as the mood on the ground. This Tuesday morning, there was nothing unusual about the rush associated with the vibrancy of the city at this time of day. In the light rain, the clock outside the train station, and those within struck 07:28 reminding passengers to the schedule of their hectic day ahead. London King’s Cross was one of the major hubs in the nation’s capital, even so at this time in the morning the whole building was abuzz with a hive of activity.

Inside the trains were pulling in out of the platforms with harmonious pandemonium, all releasing their passenger loads before taking on the next ones. Around the main area local businesses and shops were drumming up custom and profit, some serving tea and coffee, other magazines and publications, others foodstuffs. This aurora of normality rumbled on in the station as another day began to unfold.

The clock struck 07:29. Platform 1 was a filling up nicely, more so in the last few minutes as commuters began readying themselves for their travel. Professionals, students, young and old, all bound by their desire to get to where they needed to with as little hassle as possible. Finally the station lights turned green and further down the line, out of the grey morning gloom the 07:40 from Colchester and going to Edinburgh pulled into view. The huge train with its many carriages thundered into the station shaking the ground as it slowly pulled up alongside the platform.

Something did not feel quite right as the locomotive brakes let out that familiar, yet tortured squeal signalling the end of the journey. This was a train that had performed this many times before, almost daily, yet this morning the mood was slightly off. It was almost as if a primeval telepathic feeling permeated through the commuters. What turned out to be even stranger was that this disturbing atmosphere was not just restricted to the platform, but the surrounding waiting areas and shops.

The train, by now halted, opened its doors, and as customary the carriages spilling their passengers onto the already crowded platform. The clock struck 07:30 precisely. Just as platform 1 was at its busiest. There seemed to be sudden shouting and general commotion further down the train. Sounding as if it is coming from the third carriage back, it was louder and more profound than the surrounding ambient noise. Through the crowds people shouted accompanying by pushing and shoving, drawing the attention of people to the event just because of their curiosity was exactly what was planned to happen. Next was a bit of a blur, a flash, first blue then orange then a bang. Coming from inside the third carriage, the crowd of people caught the full force. A second bang came instantly afterwards, this time ripping through the carriage causing pieces of shattered and splintered debris of all kinds of material to fly through the air, mercilessly tearing through anything in the way, including flesh.

Smoke and darkness flooded the area both immediate and beyond. What seemed like an eternity was only punctured by the inevitable haunting sounds of people in distress accompanied by alarms ringing echoing through the thick smoke. A second flash and explosion disrupted the chaos, this time from the second carriage of the train. Blasting away walls, throwing the locomotive off the tracks, this one was more violent. The second one deposited even more debris across an even greater area, increasing the damage and the injury.

The chaotic overspill spread to the outside. Thick, black choking smoke rose up through the London air high above King’s Cross like a morbid signal to the site of the incident. Drawing attention to the site through both the general public, the streets quickly became choked with traffic and people. Screams and wails from both the shocked and the injured became permeated by the sirens of emergency services trained in rapid response zeroing in on the site of the incident.

Kings Cross quickly became a scene akin to something out of a film. One could be forgiven for thinking this was a movie setup, but this was no tale, it was a very real scenario. Rapid response teams congregated around the smoke filled entrance sealing off any further inroads by the general public. Through the smoke, by now as thick as it was black blocked the view of the rescuers to investigate what had gone wrong. Brave souls donning breathing apparatus entered the building by crossing the threshold into the darkness, keeping their cool under intense pressure as the world seemed to collapse around them.

Seconds seemed like minutes, which in turn seemed like hours as people streamed out of the disaster zone into the blinding daylight of safety. Some screaming, others shocked, some conscious others unconscious all gave hints to the apparent carnage within. Everyday commuters, ordinary people flowed out, helped out by emergency crews blood-stained but alive. Somehow they were the lucky ones. Inside a totally different picture emerged indicating that what was going on above was just the tip of the iceberg.

Everything completely dark except for a restricted area of light directly above platform 1 greeted anyone who ventured inside. Part of the roof had been blown completely off leaving behind only jagged twisted metal blasted across the tracks and waiting areas for those that were not still hanging from above. The sound of cracking and crunching could be heard as you could not help but walk over shattered debris of various things that littered the place. Hauntingly the carnage was accompanied by the disturbing sound of people, still in peril crying out, some for help, some under a shock spell. Priority was given to those who could not move, but the immediate action was to get everyone out as quickly as possible.

The rescue effort moved rapidly forward, crews and teams putting into action the training given for exactly this type of scenario, and to save lives. That was until platform 1 greeted the workers. Unrecognisable and undistinguishable between the twisted metal and the concrete, the train that had pulled in earlier completely destroyed. The locomotive at the front smashed, the carriages ripped, the platform covered in bodies - and body parts. Limbs, extremities, heads and corpses with half their torso’s blasted away strew the vicinity of the explosion. The walls, repainted with the horrific pinkish reddened tint of human flesh and organs greeted the sight of the onlookers. The stickiness of the floor felt underfoot from a blood-washed platform creating the horrible squelching sound usually reserved for a nightclub dance floor on a Saturday night. Even by hardened, trained men’s standards, it was a sickening sight.

Laying in momentarily stunned silence, the rescue teams, trained for this could not help but freeze the human emotion. Reaction suddenly kicked in, spurring the professionals into action over the scene to try and find anyone still alive.

Outside the situation was just as confusing. Almost instantly the mass media had drawn the attention of a worldwide audience. Internet and social media outlets meant that the situation could not be noticed locally. The fringes of the site, crammed with onlookers and the media at the cordons the police had put up resembled something of a scrum. The sky, active with helicopters above the chaos all desperately scrambling to airlift the priority wounded away. Others representing the media, constantly looking down beaming the events live across the country and to the wider world completed the aerial armada above the thick black rising smoke.

Chapter 1:

Light streamed in through the three large tall windows in the room. A flicker made by the rustling of the tree leaves in the garden outside disrupted the light in the room of the ever brightening sky outside. It clearly was opulent surroundings, expensive blue patterned flock wallpaper draped over each wall, adorned with valuable 18
century oil portraits and landscapes. Leather bound volumes covered one wall indicating to any visitor that the occupier was one of high social and intellectual class. The room was active, despite the situation outside. The dark blue uniforms and the white paper suits worn by the occupants indicated that here was a crime scene. Despite the commotion there was a strangely still calm to the man standing at the window looking out on the world beyond.

The figure stood tall, his short black hair mirroring the colour of his coat thus completing the silhouette of his figure against the window light.

“What do you think Jack?” Said a voice from behind, “Why do we get jobs like these?”

“What do you mean John?” He replied,

“Well look at it, all this going on at King’s Cross and we are stuck with this case. Can’t you hear the sirens outside?”

Jack turned round from the window. Looking John in the eye, ignoring his brown hair and grey coat,

“Unfortunately we are. Look the reason we are here-‘

John interrupted, “What about the police? This should be a matter for them not us.”

Jack responded calmly, repeating his sentence from the beginning again,

“We are here because the police responded first to report the theft of a rather precious item. They are waiting for the special branch to turn up. Apparently it’s so important that it requires even people like us to get involved.”

He continued, “I’m guessing the reason why there is only uniform outside is because of the incident at the train station. Sound like chaos to me.”

Proceeding to move closer to his partner, Jack could not help but examine the surroundings. Only snapping out of his thought pattern by John’s next remark,

“You know the media are saying there’s been a gas explosion at King’s Cross, everyone else thinks it’s a terrorist attack” He said rather cynically.

Jack replied in a typically quirky style,

“You might be right. You know this is the one of the apartments of the Duke of Westminster. His seat is Eaton Hall up in Cheshire, but this is one of his London residences. That is why we have been drafted in, to make sure that what happened was only criminal and nothing deeper.”

“Well let’s hope it is only criminal and nothing else.” Replied John.

Jack turned around to look at the evidence in the room. He wasn’t a detective anymore, but the investigative instincts inside him still profoundly empowered him. There were certain niggling things out of the ordinary that rang alarm bells, as he surveyed the surroundings knowing that he was absolutely forbidden to interfere with anything.

“What’s this?” He asked himself noticing objects draped down beside the mantelpiece. Upon it the ornaments, a complete mess, tipped up and broken showed some signs of activity here.

John’s attention had shifted to a cabinet case in a centre of the room. Clearly the focus for the police officers and forensics, Jack, knowing not to contaminate the crime scene by touching, wasted no time in moving closer to observe and analyse the clue,

“Looks very secure to me.” John remarked, “But it’s easy to see how such a crime could have happened.”

Moving toward the cabinet case Jack could see the structure was tampered with,

“Is it alarmed?” Asked Jack,

“Almost certainly” Replied John.

Looking at the glass lid of the case in greater detail betrayed some of the clues to the robbery. It clearly had been cut in a circular fashion. The extra glass fell inside the case and was resting on the base where the precious contents once displayed. The hole itself was only just big enough for the smallest of hands to get through. Jack paused in his train of thought for a minute, then reacted,

“If someone stole this, then they must have entered from somewhere” He pondered.

“Just out of curiosity,” John asked, “What was in this case?”

Jack turned to John giving him a knowing look. Clearly the intelligence was accurate in his briefing before being sent out on this assignment.

“This John, used to house a brooch. But not just any old precious one, it was made of two diamonds. Both called Cullinan. Ever heard of the Cullinan Diamond?”

“Yes, the largest rough diamond ever found on Earth. It was discovered in a mine in South Africa. But they are the part of the crown jewels.” Said John promptly.

“Well,” Continued Jack, “Not all the diamonds went into the crown or the sceptre. The Cullinan was cut into smaller pieces as well as the larger ones. Two of these small stones, called Cullinan III and Cullinan IV held together as a brooch, the one that has been stolen.” He said pointing to the empty cabinet.

“So this is a theft of the crown jewels!? It sounds like something out of a film. Anyway they are safely locked away either in the Tower of London or displayed in Buckingham Palace.” Replied John.

“I know, usually they are. But not every Cullinan Diamond is under such guard. The ones that made this brooch for instance were meant to be worn.”

“By whom?” Asked John

“By the wearer of course, the Queen herself.”

John raised his eyebrows in surprise, “Why? What the hell it is doing here? What is her majesty doing loaning one of her personal artefacts to the Duke?”

“That John, we are not privileged enough to know. That is one for the police and special branch. Our job is to assess any apparent security threat. ‘

Jack went back to his original thought of the entry of the perpetrator. His intuition, leading him back to the windows noticed that one of them showed no sign of forced entry. No broken pieces, splinters or anything obvious in the first instance except for a small semi-circular mark on one of the panes. Looking closer the marks on the glass was of the same pattern as those on the cabinet, and of a similar size. Whatever made this mark was obviously the same instrument that had cut the glass on the cabinet. Inside Jack knew from the grooves that what had indeed made these cuts was harder than glass, diamond.

BOOK: Three Faces of West (2013)
2.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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