This was written a month ago when I was in a not so great place (deadlines & crap), but had also been thinking about well the subject that this story is about.
There is a line of common thought that can be drawn from an email I wrote to some friends at new years about the state of fiction (genre & "proper") through most of my stories written in the first four months this year. This is one knot in that line of thought. Hopefully finally pushing it to the Internet will let me get on with the next thought after it.
Cameron heard and felt the taxi's wheels bounce over the chevrons painted in the road as the driver broke the speed limit. "Don't worry mate, we'll be at the airport soon. We've just cleared a large accident," the driver said.
"That's good," replied Cameron.
He'd never flown from Heathrow before. Luton and Stansted on holidays to Spain with his family a couple of times. Most of the year he was away; deployed on operations with his unit. Before his two families, the SAS and Cathy, he'd never had the opportunity to go away. He knew the layout of Heathrow airport perfectly though from his briefing sessions.
The taxi slowed down. "Almost there mate. We're just joining the M4. Where are you flying to, anyway?"
"How long you going for?"
"Just a weekend. That's why I've only got the one bag. Hand luggage is far easier than checked for short trips."
"Sure is. My wife always wants to take everything with her when we go to the Costa Blanca though. Costs a fortune on Ryanair." The driver laughed.
Cameron grunted, and driver after getting the impression that his passenger didn't want to talk turned the radio up. Listening to the evening drive time programs Cameron thought about his wife and kids. It was almost two years since the terrorist attack in Wotton Bassett. An Islamic militant drove a car through the roadblocks on a repatriation day.
They had travelled to the town to watch the bodies of Cameron's friends return. Cathy had gone to be with her friends. To stand with them, and help them, through a time she never hoped would come.
Rebbecca and Sam's bodies were found in a demolished nursery on the high street. Cathy's body had never been found. Cameron had heard at the inquest that she'd been spotted on CCTV next to the bomber's car.
Cameron checked his pockets for his passport and ticket information. He did not need them, but if checked he'd have them. Terminal 5 appeared outside his window and the car stopped. "We're here. I'll get your bag from the boot."
The driver stepped out and went around the back of the car. Cameron undid his seat belt and joined the driver under the spotlights. His bag sat on the concrete. "Everything okay?" asked the driver.
"Yeah," Cameron said, looking at his watch, "plenty of time. Should be able to get a pint in as well."
"Sounds good. Have a safe trip."
"I will," Cameron said.
At the check in desk he presented his passport and a printout with his ticket code on. The woman on the desk asked him to put the bag in a steel basket to check the size. It just fitted in. When asked about a window seat Cameron responded that he didn't mind, because it didn't matter. She gave him his ticket, and then she warned him that it would be best to go through security now before it got busy in half an hour.
Cameron went and sat in The 5 Tuns with a pint of Stella. He put the bag under the table with care, and he waited for the security lines to get busier. The mobile phone in his jacket pocket buzzed with a text message from his MI5 handler. "Are you at the airport?"
"Yes. I'll be heading through security soon," he tapped into the phone as his reply.
Savouring every last drop of the Stella Cameron decided that this was going to his last drink. The mission brief meant waiting for the moment when the security lines were at their busiest. A tactic decided with cold logic to cause the maximum shock and awe. But Cameron knew he could only evade detection for so long. He knew that other groups within MI5 would be after him. Groups with different and wrong agendas.
He was not doing this to avenge his Cathy, Rebecca and Sam. He was doing this for his country.
Mark, his oldest friend, sat down opposite him. He had a pint of Guinness in one hand and a new phone in the other. "Good evening Cameron."
"I've got a new phone for you. One that hasn't been used." He put the phone down on the table. It was the same model as his. "Take it. We'll get rid of your old one."
Cameron swapped the phones, and when he put his hand in the pocket he kept the phone he felt a small plastic wallet. It was a laminated picture of his family that he always kept with him. "Can you take something for me?"
Cameron pushed the photograph across the sticky table.
"Oh I see," said Mark. "Do you have any other personal items?"
"Just the passport I was given."
"Good. Remember that not being identified is important."
"I know. Can you make sure my parents get told something positive? Caught in an IED trying to save some orphans, something like that."
Mark smiled. "Of course. You are being a hero after all."
Cameron drained the bottom of his pint glass. "It's time to go and be the hero. You'd better leave."
"Godspeed," said Mark, as he left The Three Tuns. Cameron picked up the rucksack. It was filled with fifteen kilograms of plastic explosives and nails. He put it on his back, and walked towards the security line. The line was was spilling out of the marked lines and into the check in area.
Cameron was not seeing people in the line any more. He saw no children holding their mother's hands; he saw no businessmen looking forward to returning home; he saw no young couples eagerly waiting to go on holiday; he saw only numbers. Standing in the middle of the queue of hundreds he took the mobile phone that Mark had given him out, and he dialled the number he'd memorised the night before.
The phone on the other end of the line was in his bag attached to the bomb's detonator. It didn't even ring once.
A blog to show very short fiction that I write on the spur of the moment.
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