Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 11 ‘A silent voice’

Mac knew that every step he took was counted.

Accounted. Noted. Recorded.

Strangers would stare at him.

Fixing their gaze.

Smirking. Mocking.

He heard a silent voice.

‘You’ll never find her. She’s gone for good.’

That may very well be the case,’ replied Mac, ‘but I doubted her once and will not ever again.’

Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 10 ‘Each and every twitten’

Steeling himself for the task, Mac set out the next morning.

Armed with an umbrella and his politest manner.

Mac walked the crowded streets. Jostled and bothered. Elderly but intent. Miles every day. Following crowds. Peeling back sleeping bags.

Every laneway. And alley.

Each and every twitten.

Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 9 ‘What use a man like me?’

What with the weeds and the new visitors, the city swelled, creaking.

Crowded. Hostile. Noisome. At night the streets were lined with people trying to sleep. Or choosing not to.

Mac watched from his window. A lonely vigil. Scanning the crowds.

Hoping that one face from the thousands would speak to him.

‘I swore I would protect her,’ he sobbed. ‘What use a man like me?’

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter II ‘A New Signal’

Verse 2

The audience never came home from the homecoming concert. Not one single member. For a country well versed in statues bleeding, springs springing forth at the roadside, and many other modern-day miracles and mysteries, the disappearance of the audience left everyone totally baffled. A thorough forensic sweep of the stadium didn’t reveal a single, solitary clue. The newspaper headlines took up the story.

‘VANISHED, PRESUMED DEAD’

‘WHERE HAVE THEY GONE?’

‘AND THEN THERE WERE NONE’

‘WHO HAS SEEN OUR CHILDREN?’

‘LOST IN MUSIC?’

‘A NATION MOURNS’

‘‘MY BUS WAS DELAYED’ SAYS LUCKY ‘SURVIVOR’’

‘IT SHOULD’VE BEEN ME!!!’

‘THE NEW DISAPPEARED’

‘(WITH OR) WITHOUT YOU?’

ROCK BAND IN CONCERT MYSTERY’

‘PROMOTERS BAFFLED’

‘THE CONCERT OF DOOM’

‘WHO ARE THE5?’

And has always happened at the site of any disaster, friends, families, relatives and complete strangers marked the tragedy with candlelit vigils and public masses. And then the posters started; handwritten, typed, taped, photocopied, cheaply printed – the faces of the missing were stuck to fences and lampposts and anywhere else that a poster could be placed. Handbills as well, flyers, holy cards, medals, banners, balloons, photographs, portraits, paintings and bouquet. Like countless doom-weighed blossoms falling from the most hopeless of trees, the streets around Croke Park very quickly filled with these petals of despair. Though he knew it was helpless, Mac carefully pinned his card with the rest of them.

Loss always hits hard and holds firm and deep and long and even after a lifetime of solitude Mac now found he was unable to deal with a brand-new loneliness. There simply is no substitute for presence. Not ever. Mac had first met desolation the morning he lost Sibeal. The choking crushing numbness of her death broke him into a million desperate pieces and forced him so deep into his grief-shaped heart that he thought he was sure to drown in the throbbing, choking pain. It took him years to fish himself at least partially free, one lonely saddened sodden piece at a time. And each piece he rescued became a new word in a new sentence and then a new sentence in a new paragraph and then a new paragraph on a new page and then slowly these new pages grew to be new chapters. And so the Miscellanea became eventually Mac’s carapace, his shell, and like an elderly tortoise discovered on some far-flung archipelago, Mac carried the weight of his barely-repaired life heavy on his bent back. It was a price to pay and an obviously obvious weight to bear but it was something. In fact, it was everything. Now, Inteachán gone and his integument ruptured, Mac feared for the pieces of his frangible heart once more.

‘I’m a selfish cowardly fool,’ he told himself. ‘That a man should send a child to right the breaking world.’ The urge to punch his face with a bony fist was almost impossible to resist. Or pull the last of his straggled hair free from his temples.

‘I had no right, no right at all.’

Mac’s eyes filled with tears.

‘And now she is gone like all the rest.’

As he walked across Front Square the morning after the concert Mac felt that the world was now only different in every imaginable way. He knew the First of the TheFive was here. The disturbance was unignorable and as if his original burdens were not enough, Mac now carried the fact of Butler’s fears coming true like a sodden overcoat clinging stupidly to his sorry shoulders. This fact was a distant bell that tolled everywhere he listened. It was a newly damaged nerve that caused his eye to always gently twitch. It was a trouser cuff that kept getting caught on the heel of his shoe.

The tread of each step on the stairs as he returned to his flat weighed heavier now, only slightly but enough to feel the difference each day. In the same way, lifting a cup to his lips, a fork to his mouth, or the sheet at night to cover his shoulder, each and every ordinary movement that accounted for the passing seconds of every day, seemed to have acquired a new and denser gravity than before.

***

That night Mac dreamed he was alone in an empty black desert. Five bright black moons hung low in the endless sky and glimmered like the deadliest of precious metals as they sped through the darkness like the bearings of some infernal gear. Ahead of him loomed seven vast dunes. The temperature was way below zero but even though he was only wearing his pyjamas Mac didn’t feel the cold. The sand gathered between his toes and started to swirl around him as a sudden wind appeared from nowhere and picked up speed.

‘wE R heer,’ said the wind as it licked Mac’s face. ‘wE AV wated 4 This MOMENt for orl tiMe.’

Mac turned his head to one side to stop the sand blowing straight into his eyes.

‘fliNcH nOt,’ said the wind. ‘BeHOLd ouR MAjeSTi!’

The wind gripped the sand and drew it up into the air like a swarm of angry bees. The sand around Mac’s feet eddied and whirled as it formed a column around him and then Mac found himself being lifted off the ground. The wind forced the column higher and higher until Mac found himself floating in the black mouth of space.

‘AlL tHIngs b4FOR uS FaLL,’ screamed the wind. ‘VaST GALAXiES AnD SINGEL trEES. ALL R aS NUFFiN 2 OuR SPLENda. Wee thrUGH a tINy PEBBel acrOSS thE VASt and broKE thE DINOsorS.’

A comet issued from the column and streaked out into the black. Mac followed it with his eyes until he couldn’t see it any more. The wind laughed softly, delighted by its own artistry.

‘ThaTz tHe COMet THAt 3 FOOlish pEEPING Men wiTh teESCOPes WIll FOLLOw TO a FIND a BASTArd BAbY.’

Mac’s mind whirled. He found himself saying things that were not his thoughts.

‘But surely the principles of the galaxy are such that you should be keen to seek balance and not redress? For who has caused you such grievous harm as to render all discourse irrelevant.’

‘NoT wont NO DIScouRse. Not Us. Not ALL. ONLy WONT iLL AnD deSTRUCtion.’

‘That may be so,’ ‘said’ Mac, ‘but ultimately such intent merely signals only malice. Can such energy ever result in maintaining the equilibrium?’

‘Is SUcH. TRUe SEd! MALicE onLEE ORLL. NoT ELLSe heeR. We NO ONlee wUN THINg wICh is HArM.’

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter II ‘A New Signal’

Verse 1

Priory Hall.

Two words that stand as a simple testament to an ignorant nation’s stupid, craven greed – that special kind of breathtakingly galling greed reserved for the self-appointed nobility of this ridiculous island; the bankers and builders and business leaders and breakers and burglars and broadsiders and backsliders and bastards and bollox and buffoons and landlords and layabouts and kiters and cutpurses and swindlers and sweat drippers and debt collectors and drubbers and tally men and tossers and sewage hounds and arse lickers and no-gooders and politicians and pie-dippers and chancers and swindlers and shitflickers and not ever once forgetting the plain and simple good old boys from back in the day.

Now, as befits maps and mythologies everywhere, this particular broken beacon of a building forespeaks, speaks for, speaks of, denotes, indicates, screams, ‘this is a broken country.’ At night the wind laps this particular folly like a poisoned tongue on a mouth of broken teeth. Follies used to be architectural indulgences, used for the flashing of wealth and the winning of bets.

Now, the same indulgences related to the winning of a different bet, one that has nothing to do with anything other than avarice. The same bets that forced a government to add a levy to all insurance policies. The same bets that allowed the country to never learn from its mistakes but just kept making them again and again and foolishly again. But not anymore, the country has run out excuses and these mistakes will be among the last that the country and, indeed, the world will witness. For these same bets have now been collected by a brand-new bailiff.

Priory Hall stood empty now, a monument, a gravestone, a mausoleum, and a warning to the people who passed it by, not that they knew it yet, that this particular gravestone now stood as a marker as well to what was about to commence, indicating in no uncertain terms that the end was beginning.

In one of the many badly designed flats on the fourth floor of the building a black, shiny, unknown stone of clearly alien origin sat glowering on the bathroom floor next to a leaking toilet bowl. The flats of Priory Hall had been closed down due to fire safety issues but clearly the inspectors responsible for closing the building had not factored in alien cosmogeology as another reason for declaring the properties unfit for human occupation. A trail of liquid waste flowed out from the cracked toilet pan. All this piss and shit and spittle and drip and bodily issuance wet the shiny stone which, in turn, due to its peculiar porosity, added its own cosmic foulness to the now freely flowing stream of sewage.

Now on the move, the porous flooring and cheap bricks were no match for this unholy water and in very little time the main waste outlet system was breached and as the flow got greater so did the pressure on the already broken system and in very little time the sewage began to puddle and pool on the grass above the pipes.

Inspired, suffused, attuned, the natural world met a new stimulus with the black stone’s outflow and as the sewage seeped into the earth around it so the hated hectares of Priory Hall became the site for a total recalibration of an old burden, Fallopia japonica, more likely known as Japanese Knotweed. As this new flow continued and found other new water systems to infect so the roots and shoots and rhizomes, the small delicate flowers with petals like crystals, the broad oval leaves, and the red stems began to assemble aggressively all over the city with a vigour never experienced before.

Japanese Knotweed has always been one of the most voracious herbaceous perennials known to gardeners, posing a chronic danger to foundations and flood defenses, forming dense and deadly colonies that choke the life out of their riparian rivals for light and space. This new alien stimulus imbued the weed with a renewed compulsion, an urge to begin further accelerating, out-stretching, entwining, redoubling its unsighted efforts to bury this pathetic island beneath a vast sea of its ruby racemes.

Across the history of the planet, cities normally surrender themselves to the natural world long after their final desertion. For example, waves of sand will eventually level even the tallest towers. Other architectural edifices inevitably fall inwards towards their own cancerous centre of gravity, as if opening their own navels and ingesting themselves. All civic buildings of import and significance eventually lose these same values and become the halls of apes and other primates whose behaviour on the whole speaks of a more measured approach to city life than those of the previous occupants. Fountains fall silent, choked, strangled, barren, and unable to sing anymore.

Slowly, troublingly, desperately, inexorably, inspired by the black stone’s issuant, the weeds of Priory Hall began to exert their new cosmic choke on the now barely breathing city.

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 11

With a dramatic sweep of his hand, Bart signaled for the film to start. A series of cursed emojis flashed across the giant screen and bathed the crowd in their infernal light.

SKULL. SMILE. TURD. SKELETON. SKULL. GLOBE. WITCH. SMILE. CRY. FEAR. DOUBLE TEARS. SKULL. ZZz. ROBOT. SCREAM. X-EYES. SKULL. ALIEN. THUMBS DOWN. EYE. DOUBLE EYE. PRAYER HANDS. FINGER POINT. BABY FACE. RED LIPS. UNICORN. SHAMROCK. HALF MOON. RAIN. SNOW. LIGHTNING. LIGHTNING. FIRE. BLAST. DOUBLE SKULL. STONES. STARS. DESERT. SKULL. SMILE. TURD. SKELETON. SKULL. GLOBE. WITCH. SMILE. CRY. FEAR. DOUBLE TEARS. SKULL. ZZz. ROBOT. SCREAM. X-EYES. SKULL. ALIEN. THUMBS DOWN. EYE. DOUBLE EYE. PRAYER HANDS. FINGER POINT. BABY FACE. RED LIPS. UNICORN. SHAMROCK. HALF MOON. RAIN. SNOW. LIGHTNING. LIGHTNING. FIRE. BLAST. DOUBLE SKULL. STONES. STARS. DESERT. SKULL. SMILE. TURD. SKELETON. SKULL. GLOBE. WITCH. SMILE. CRY. FEAR. DOUBLE TEARS. SKULL. ZZz. ROBOT. SCREAM. X-EYES. SKULL. ALIEN. THUMBS DOWN. EYE. DOUBLE EYE. PRAYER HANDS. FINGER POINT. BABY FACE. RED LIPS. UNICORN. SHAMROCK. HALF MOON. RAIN. SNOW. LIGHTNING. LIGHTNING. FIRE. BLAST. DOUBLE SKULL. STONES. STARS. DESERT. SKULL. SMILE. TURD. SKELETON. SKULL. GLOBE. WITCH. SMILE. CRY. FEAR. DOUBLE TEARS. SKULL. ZZz. ROBOT. SCREAM. X-EYES. SKULL. ALIEN. THUMBS DOWN. EYE. DOUBLE EYE. PRAYER HANDS. FINGER POINT. BABY FACE. RED LIPS. UNICORN. SHAMROCK. HALF MOON. RAIN. SNOW. LIGHTNING. LIGHTNING. FIRE. BLAST. DOUBLE SKULL. STONES. STARS. DESERT. SKULL. SMILE. TURD. SKELETON. SKULL. GLOBE. WITCH. SMILE. CRY. FEAR. DOUBLE TEARS. SKULL. ZZz. ROBOT. SCREAM. X-EYES. SKULL. ALIEN. THUMBS DOWN. EYE. DOUBLE EYE. PRAYER HANDS. FINGER POINT. BABY FACE. RED LIPS. UNICORN. SHAMROCK. HALF MOON. RAIN. SNOW. LIGHTNING. LIGHTNING. FIRE. BLAST. DOUBLE SKULL. STONES. STARS. DESERT. SKULL. SMILE. TURD. SKELETON. SKULL. GLOBE. WITCH. SMILE. CRY. FEAR. DOUBLE TEARS. SKULL. ZZz. ROBOT. SCREAM. X-EYES. SKULL. ALIEN. THUMBS DOWN. EYE. DOUBLE EYE. PRAYER HANDS. FINGER POINT. BABY FACE. RED LIPS. UNICORN. SHAMROCK. HALF MOON. RAIN. SNOW. LIGHTNING. LIGHTNING. FIRE. BLAST. DOUBLE SKULL. STONES. STARS. DESERT. SKULL. SMILE. TURD. SKELETON. SKULL. GLOBE. WITCH. SMILE. CRY. FEAR. DOUBLE TEARS. SKULL. ZZz. ROBOT. SCREAM. X-EYES. SKULL. ALIEN. THUMBS DOWN. EYE. DOUBLE EYE. PRAYER HANDS. FINGER POINT. BABY FACE. RED LIPS. UNICORN. SHAMROCK. HALF MOON. RAIN. SNOW. LIGHTNING. LIGHTNING. FIRE. BLAST. DOUBLE SKULL. STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

STONES. STARS. DESERT.

As the images flickered and repeated so the terrible truth began slowly pouring from beyond. The crowd went wild.

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 9

‘There are many privileges to being the biggest rock star this country has ever produced and courtesy of off-shore accounting and other tax tricks, the biggest one of them is having enough money to spend however I like.’

Bart smiled.

‘Some stars spend their money on sports cars and beachfront properties in California or racehorses or islands or hotels in Dubai. I prefer to collect things; not the sort of ordinary things that ordinary people collect but the sort of extraordinary things that only extraordinary people like myself are able to collect.’

Bart looked very pleased with himself.

‘After years of spending more money than you could ever hope to even see, I currently have one of the world’s biggest collections of occult paraphernalia. I have cloaks and wands and books and globes and fetishes and familiars and gems and spells and curses and any other splendid arcania that takes my fancy.’

Bart smiled as he thought about his extensive collection. He pointed at Inteachán.

‘As you also know, I have recently acquired the Flute of Thelema and of all the things I have collected over the years this is the one thing that gives me the most pleasure.’

Bart paused.

‘Do you want to know why?’ he asked Inteachán.

‘Not really,’ answered Inteachán. Bart laughed.

‘Because The5 gave it to me as a gift.’

‘The Five?’ said Inteachán.

‘Not The Five, The5,’ corrected the Rock Star. ‘I’m sure that Mac has told you all kinds of ludicrous stories about the NotBeSpeak.’

Inteachán nodded.

‘Well,’ said the Rock Star. ‘He doesn’t know the half of it.’

Inteachán said nothing. Bart was thrilled to share his knowledge.

‘You cannot begin to imagine what I have seen and heard,’ he boasted. ‘Your tiny little mind would simply shatter.’

Bart cracked his knuckles.

‘The5 first spoke to me during a late-night recording session in our studio. The rest of the band had gone home hours before but I wanted to re-record a vocal so I stayed behind. As I mixed the track I kept noticing a slight vibration in the background.’

Bart stared at Inteachán, convinced he was impressing her with his knowledge.

‘It took me a while but eventually I was able to isolate the vibration and digitally transpose it, re-modulating it as I did so. At first I still couldn’t make anything out but by further transposing across four of the channels I was finally able to convert the vibration into legible sound.’

Inteachán wasn’t sure if Bart really knew what he was talking about. Unperturbed, he continued with his explanation.

‘I first heard a series of garbled voices whispering about stones and stars and other things that I couldn’t understand. It quite freaked me out, I can tell you.’

Bart mock-shivered. Inteachán didn’t laugh.

‘I must have fall into some kind of sleep at that stage because the next thing I knew I was standing in a pitch-black desert looking up at five shiny black planets in splendid orbit. A sudden wind appeared from nowhere.

‘We aRE The5,’ the wind whispered. ‘YoU ARe OuR fuTURe.’’

Bart looked extremely pleased with himself.

‘Then I was back in my studio as if nothing had happened.’

Bart smiled.

‘It isn’t everyday that beings from beyond our consciousness ask for help and so naturally I couldn’t say no.’

Bart kept crowing.

‘The5 must have seen one my concerts and realised just how much messianic potential I truly possess. They told me about the Flute and where it could be found. They also told me how to play it and why.’

‘Why?’ asked Inteachán.

‘Precisely,’ said Bart mystically. ‘Why, indeed.’

He put his hand inside his jacket and pulled out an ornate wooden box. He opened one end of the box and took out a small silver flute. Inteachán fancied that she saw its outline shimmer slightly. Bart put the flute to his lips and pretended to play it.

‘She’s a beauty, isn’t she?’ he said boastfully, ‘but I mustn’t play it now. I have to wait until later.’

He put the flute back in the box and placed the box upon the table.

‘Only then will the time is exactly right.’

Bart looked at Inteachán and raised an eyebrow.

‘What do you think will happen when I play the flute during the concert?’

‘Something rotten,’ Inteachán replied. Bart laughed.

‘Something rotten? Something rotten? How about more like something mightily amazingly magnificently marvelous?’

Bart clicked his Cuban heels together.

‘When I play the Flute of Thelema The5 will know that their entry into this world is assured.’

Bart rubbed his hands together.

‘As Mac has no doubt explained in his clumsy, geriatric way, The5 exist in the spaces between things,’ explained the Rock Star. ‘The white between the words on a page, lines of a book or the cuts of a film.’ Bart continued.

‘Tonight, The5 will first reveal their intentions towards the world via the specially-commissioned video that will be playing on the massive wall of screens behind the band.’ Inteachán said nothing. Bart leapt to his tiny feet.

‘As the concert’s crescendo is reached I will play the Flute of Thelema and The5 will anoint me with their magnificence and then turn their attention to the audience. They will also be anointed by The5,’ said the Rock Star, ‘but obviously not quite as much as me for they have chosen me especially. The crowd will go wild and this dirty old town will be taken by sunrise.’

Inteachán didn’t see the fist that hit the side of her head and knocked her to the floor unconscious.

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 8

The city at night is a dark and dangerous place. Revellers and ruffians vie for space. People die in dirty alleys while others walk past and laugh. Sadness turns to anger turns to murder. And for many people the streets where they walk are also where they live and so go about their business unhindered by public eyes as they share needles and doorways and grimy bottles.

Small enough to pass unnoticed and alert enough to walk unhindered, Inteachán enjoyed the freedom that the darkness of the city usually offered. Tonight, however, the streets were full of hordes of people all heading towards Croke Park. This was nothing unusual and the various finals played out at the stadium meant that the streets were regularly full of crowds of singing fans. As Croke Park loomed in the distance Inteachán found herself swept along by the horde of fans thrilled by the prospect of the country’s biggest band making their triumphant return.

It was a relatively simple process for Inteachán to use the crowd to enter the stadium and once inside she made her way towards the area behind the stage. Security was very tight but no match for such a determined child and it wasn’t long before Inteachán found herself in the main dressing room backstage. Clothes and bags were scattered everywhere. A giant poster of Bart was carelessly taped crookedly to one of the walls. Directly beneath the poster a low table groaned beneath the weight of plates and plates of cheap fried chicken with thin salty fries in greasy paper bags. Large bottles of corner shop cola completed the pre-gig tableau.

‘Well what do you know?’ said a voice behind her. ‘What have we got here?’

Inteachán turned to find Bart standing in the doorway. He was smaller than he looked on the television and Inteachán wrinkled her nose as the smell of his aftershave began to fill the room. Bart stepped forward and closed the door behind him. He smiled and pointed at the groaning table.

‘What do you think of our spread?’ he asked. ‘I’m sure the band won’t mind if you help yourself to a chicken wing and a couple of fries.’

Bart laughed at his own generosity before falling serious.

‘I know who you are and I know why you are here, Inteachán,’ he said. ‘They told me you were coming.’

Inteachán didn’t reply. Bart took another step closer.

‘They also told me that you are being manipulated by that old doddering fool of a professor.’ Bart stopped right in front of Inteachán and tried his hardest to loom right over her. It didn’t work. Inteachán stepped back. Bart put his hands on his hips.

‘Mac may think he knows what is going on but let me tell you he hasn’t got a bloody clue.’

Bart sat down on a plastic chair and put his cowboy boots up on another. He motioned for Inteachán to sit down. She stayed standing.

Terminal Transit, Book III ‘The Free State of Phoenix’

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Hi Everyone

With the Papal visit rapidly upon us this weekend, I thought I would share the section of Terminal Transit where Dublin’s Phoenix Park is taken over by a group of cosmically-inspired malcontents and declared a free state.

Terminal Transit, Book III ‘The Free State of Phoenix’

Verse 1

It all began with the plumes of black smoke that started to be seen in the vicinity of the zoo, plumes of black smoke bearing pink feathers that caught on the evening breeze and fell gracefully to earth across the puzzled city. A delegation of city officials and armed officers were despatched to investigate and discovered that the zoo was now under the control of an army of squatters, refugees, the homeless, the curious and anyone else who had gained entrance.

‘Welcome to the Free State of Phoenix’ said a badly painted sign on the front gate. ‘Trespassers will be fed to the animals.’ A huge berm had been raised around the perimeter with freight containers and cars stolen from the surrounding car parks used to further strengthen the perimeter. Occupiers armed with a huge array of weapons including shotguns, pistols, crossbows, swords and hunting knives manned the barricades. The road that led to the main entrance was now lined with tour coaches parked end to end on either side with a series of roadblocks leading up the gate. These roadblocks were busy night and day as more and more refugees sough to gain entry to the Free Republic and violence was a regular occurrence as anyone deemed suspicious by the guards would be savagely beaten or shot. The bodies of the dead were shoved beneath the coaches to fill in the gaps.

Mac watched in horror as television images from a traffic helicopter showed the zoo ablaze at night, with huge bonfires roaring upwards and hundreds of people dancing and chanting with an abandon that seemed perfectly in keeping with the times that they were now living in.

It was the domestic animals in the petting farm that were the first to go because people were far more familiar with how to butcher a cow or a sheep than they were a gorilla or lion. Each animal was killed by a spike being driven through its head and then slaughtered the Republic’s team of resident butchers. Huge fire pits were dug in the grounds of the farm and the smell of meat being cook over open flames was noticeable for miles around. In many ways, this initial slaughter was a logical response to the need for a new state to marshal its available resources in order to feed itself but needless to say the national media was up in arms about what it tagged to be ‘an army of militant malingerers callously working its way through your children’s’ favourite petting farm.’ ‘Who are the real animals?’ asked the headlines. All of this outcry belied the fact that the zoo was originally created so that members of the medical profession could get access to primate corpses with having to rob graves. Nevertheless, the People’s Republic of Phoenix became a very emotive subject.

An early television interview with the anonymous leader of the occupation revealed to the watching world that the zoo was now a separate state from the rest of the country. The man used the nom de plume Jodocus Meaddowcraft.

‘This country sprang from the loins of a declaration and today is no different from then.’ Jodocus looked into the camera. He wore the skull of a hornbill as a helmet. ‘The time is right for those who care to stand up again and make new choices for themselves and their families.’

‘But what about the animals?’ asked the concerned interviewer looking at the hornbill helmet. ‘What is happening to them?’

‘They are safe with us,’ lied Jodocus. ‘With there being no need for them to be on public display anymore we will put them to good use. They will feed and clothe us and we can trade livestock for other necessities with anyone interested.’

The interviewer was mortified.

‘But you can’t do that,’ he spluttered. ‘These animals belong to all of us. They are not yours to eat and skin.’

‘They are now,’ said Jodocus. ‘There is always blood to be shed in the founding days of any new state and things are no different here. We might call the denizens of this fine zoo casualties of war but I prefer to think that they are to be feted for the sacrifices they are making on behalf of us.’ Jodocus smiled at the camera.

‘Look at my beautiful crown,’ he said. ‘You can’t tell me that the death of a single bird wasn’t worth it for this. I look regal and magnificent.’ Jodocus stopped smiling.

‘Now get you and your cameras out of my sight before I feed you all to the lions.’

Verse 2

Over the coming days endless reports of the ill treatment and slaughter of animals kept appearing on all available news platforms. Armed units of the Garda surrounded the perimeter of the zoo and the stand off began. Mac had always a particular fondness for the zoo, having visited it as a child and then returned to it years later as a graduate student. He spent six months combing local newsletters, pamphlets, footnotes, tracts, brochures, opuscules, bulletins, lexicons, monographs, periodicals, and ecclesiastical circulars for references to the Royal Zoological Society of Dublin. Mac wasn’t particularly interested in the establishing of the society itself in May 1830. He was more interested in the rumour that some of the anatomists who helped found the society, and hence the zoo, were involved in occult practices related to animal sacrifice and saw the zoo as the perfect place to practice their particular predilection.

One anatomist in particular, Aurelius Hamson, had long been surrounded by rumours of depravity and had been thrown out of his local branch of the Hellfire Club as a result of unsubstantiated stories of pelts and bones being found in his lodgings. Everyone knew about the hunting lodge built on the site of a Stone Age tomb but Mac was more interested in another subterranean lodge that had allegedly been built beneath the zoo’s entrance lodge in 1833. Following his banishment, Hamson set up his own breakaway club for evictees like himself and this rumoured lodge was where the members of corpus delecti met regularly.

In 1844 the zoo received its first giraffe but three weeks after its arrival the poor creature vanished overnight and though it could never be confirmed, Hamson and his followers were immediately suspected. In 1897 when preliminary work on Haughton House began, workmen uncovered a partially collapsed tunnel and were stunned to find a small box covered with richly melanised hide containing three cervical vertebrae and an ossicone. Hamson had died penniless and drunk in 1873 and though the box became an object of intense fascination for many people it was never formally connected to the anatomist.

Verse 3

An intense debate began to rage about the Free State of Phoenix. In keeping with the rebellious spirit that underpinned the country’s original constitution, many people saw the zoo’s occupation as a radical response to the intense overcrowding and homelessness on the streets of the city. Previously, buildings standing empty due to bankruptcy had been claimed by activists and used as emergency accommodation for the homeless but these were sporadic and short-lasting acts that could never be properly sustained. Now, the occupation of the entire zoo was a different prospect altogether.

For many other people the Free State of Phoenix represented the collapse of law and order and signalled society’s descent into total chaos. The arrival of the NotBeSpeak had thrown the country into a new kind of socio-political orbit and previous democratic traditions were rapidly disappearing as the innate hucksterism and land-grabbing that lay just beneath the society’s surface began to make its reappearance. It was simple greed that created the climate suitable for the initial incursion from beyond and this greed now began to flow free and fast again like the sewage that ran beneath the streets.

Scheme after scheme after scheme was announced to allegedly tackle the current housing crisis and every available space in the city was soon became a construction site for apartments. All planning permissions and regulations were effectively suspended and the developers who had helped cripple the country previously were now given free reign to have another go. With so many people on the streets manpower was not an issue and, indeed, became the answer to the country’s rapidly rising unemployment figures, and so it was that shoddy, unsafe tower blocks and other unregulated buildings sprang up everywhere, sporing like a new crop of architectural fungus. There was serious money to be made in this new chapter in the city’s history and so the usual speculators and regulators and government officials and non-governmental agencies and bailiffs and tallymen and civil servants and agents and reeves and procurators and middlemen and lobbyists got rich. Once more. Again. Even richer.

Verse 4

On the thirty-fourth day of the zoo’s occupation an interview with one of the zoo’s staff was aired. A young girl had managed to escape by climbing over one of the fences and, visibly shaken by her experience, tearfully told her story live on national television. This is the transcript of the interview as published in all the papers the same day.

‘My name is Eleanor Nolan and I am seventeen years old. I come from Drimnagh and still live at home with my ma and four younger brothers. I left school last year and after months of looking I finally got a part-time job in the zoo’s shop stacking shelves and helping out at the till when things got busy. It isn’t what I want to do for the rest of my life but with everything getting more and more expensive the money is handy at home.

It was a Thursday afternoon just as the zoo was closing that I suddenly heard shouting and loud bangs in the street outside. At first I thought it was kids letting of fireworks but when I heard people screaming I realised that it was something more serious. My manager looked really worried and told me to wait in the back room while she went to find out what was going on. I crouched down behind some boxes and heard her speaking to someone over her radio. I heard her shout ‘No’ and ‘You can’t do this!’ I also heard another bang, this time much louder, and my manager screamed. I peeped out the window and saw her on the ground with a pool of blood beside her head. A large group of angry looking men and women were shouting and cheering. I was petrified and crawled inside a stationary cupboard. I heard lots of people run into the shop and start grabbing things. I heard things being hit and broken. Someone came into the room where I was hiding and I thought they were going to kill me. They were snooping around but left in a hurry when someone started shouting. I was so frightened that I wet myself.

I hid in the cupboard all night but I couldn’t get any sleep as all I could hear was shouting and screaming. I could also hear the animals howling and crying. I also heard loads of vehicles outside revving their engines. It was terrifying. I finally found the courage to crawl out of the cupboard and tried the phone on the desk but the line was dead. I crept into the shop and saw that everything had been broken or stolen. The front door was off its hinges and there were loads of people gathered around big bonfires in front of the lake. No one paid me any attention and I started to look around for anyone I knew.

I saw two lads I knew from the maintenance team sitting to one side and went over to join them. One of them had a black eye and the other had a ripped shirt. I smiled but they were too frightened to smile back. We didn’t speak. Just then a crazy looking man wearing a hat made from one of our dead hornbills came down from where the tigers live, dragging another man behind him. ‘A spy,’ he started shouting. ‘A bloody, bastard spy.’ The man being dragged was terrified and was looking around desperately for someone to help him but no one did. We all just sat still and tried not to look. The crazy man forced his victim to kneel down and then pulled a pistol from his belt.

‘On behalf of the Free State of Phoenix,’ yelled the man, ‘I sentence you to death for the crime of treason.’ He put the pistol to the poor man’s head and I heard a bang and then the man fell forward onto his face.

Verse 5

‘The days that followed just got worse and worse and worse. Anyone who wasn’t part of the security team manning the barricades was forced to work during the day. I was lucky. I ended up cleaning the places where everyone lived. It was filthy, dirty work and I hated every minute of it but it was far better than looking after the animals. See, what had happened was that all the keepers and other experts had been killed in the takeover. They had all tried to protect the animals from the intruders but couldn’t fight off the mob and so they were killed. This meant that the animals still needed to be looked after, even if only to feed everyone, but there was no one left qualified to manage them. It was fine with the flamingos and that’s why they were the first to be killed and eaten but gorillas and tigers and elephants are a different thing altogether. In the time I spent there the bigger animals killed six people; two were crushed by the same hippopotamus as they tried to move one of its young, one was strangled by the big silverback and another three were severely mauled by the lions when they went into the Asian Forests section.

The night times were even worse because every evening at ten o’ clock nine prisoners being held in the Reptile House would be forced to fight with the animals.

‘Just like the games of old,’ Jodocus roared. ‘You can win your freedom or die trying.’ The gathered citizens of Phoenix cheered and jeered as the petrified prisoners prepared to meet their fate.

‘Tonight, for your absolute pleasure,’ yelled Jodocus, ‘we present a streak of nine hungry Asian tigers.’ He raised his arms above his head. The crowd fell silent.

‘Prepare the gladiators.’

Each terrified prisoner was handed a litter spike and dustbin lid and one by one were dropped into the enclosure. The tigers pounced straightaway and tore into the first four prisoners, ripping and rending them apart. The next five were lucky in as much as the tigers were preoccupied with their existing catch to begin with as they gorged on the corpses. This gave the rest of the prisoners at least enough time to orient themselves within the enclosure. It wasn’t long before an inquisitive cub whose blood was up began to walk towards the cowering prisoners and started to menace them. To begin with they were able to fend the tiger off with their litter spikes but sensing that one of their young was in danger the rest of the streak advanced on the prisoners. The crowd roared its approval as the tigers attacked again. Jodocus turned to the assembled audience. ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ he began to chant and the crowd followed him.

The prisoners were no match for the blood-frenzied tigers and the screams of agony rang out in the dreadful night. During the melee one badly mauled prisoner managed to drag her wounded self up the nearest tree where she clung precariously for the next forty minutes before her blood loss became too much and she lost her grip and fell onto the ground. The tigers engulfed her with a roar.

Verse 6

The testimony of Eleanor Nolan and the public outcry it caused finally forced the authorities to act and the Army was mobilised. Two battalions from the 2nd Brigade supported by the 1st Armoured Cavalry Squadron advanced on the zoo and threw a cordon around it. The country’s media joined them as the battle lines were drawn. To begin with, the Army sent an expert team of negotiators to try and resolve the siege peacefully but fourteen hours of tense discussion were abruptly ended when buckets of dead rare birds were hurled over the fence by impatient occupiers. Jodocus Meaddowcraft smiled at the negotiators.

‘My apologies, everyone. It appears that you have your answer.’

Under cover of two armoured cars, elements of the 2nd Brigade got themselves into position by the old entrance. A fire support team commandeered three of the houses that overlooked the zoo and two sniper units set themselves up with a clear view of the central area. They were ordered to hold fire. Fourteen armoured cars and a bulldozer from the Cavalry Squadron moved up through Phoenix Park and took up a position in the car park. Six mortars were set up behind barricades in front of the Tea Rooms and at 5.48am precisely began to launch 60mm Red Phosphorus mortar rounds over the fence. At the same time the bulldozer ploughed its way through the fencing south of the African Savanna, followed by the armoured cars. The sniper units were told the fire at will and the assault began.

Attacked on all sides at once, the defenders of the Free State initially sought to block the assault by burning the huge piles of tires that they had assembled at key entry points. However, the thick black smoke combined with the smoke rounds and made it impossible for anyone without the proper training and equipment to fight. As the troops advanced and the shots rang out, the defenders resolved to make their last stand on Chimpanzee Island that had been specially fortified for the purpose.

The Free State’s ragtag army was no match for the regular soldiers and their assault weapons and very soon it was only Jodocus and a dozen of his most fanatical followers left to fight for their independence. Despite various entreaties and promises of amnesties the final battle was ended quickly when a salvo of high explosive mortar rounds decimated the defenders. Perhaps angered by the destruction of such an emotive landmark or inspired by the cosmic evil that now clearly permeated all aspects of this island the first units to reach Chimpanzee Island proceeded to violate the bodies of the dead defenders. One of the solders removed Jodocus’s head with their combat knife and placed it on a fencepost.

‘See how you like it!’ shouted the enraged soldier.