Tweet of the Day: Lighting the Fires of Life
Whitechapel, City of London, UK, 29 July, 09:03hrs GMT
Figures rattled inside the Prime Minister’s head as he made another foray into the city:
More than ten thousand homeless,
Three to five thousand wounded,
Over a thousand dead or missing,
And the ever present caveat at the bottom of every report, “And still counting.”
He did what was expected of him, shake hands, listen to sad stories, nod his head and give pithy speeches. He even managed a personal record of a smile an hour, with a brief smirk every thirty minutes. But the people of Whitechapel didn’t need him. Sure they welcomed him and thank him, but they had a strength that was beyond his reach. They picked up the pieces with grim determination. Among the quite sobs and ashes, the people of London knew what to do. Everywhere he looked an obscure world war slogan reduced in recent years to an Internet meme appeared plastered on walls and windows: Keep Calm and Carry On.
But is it enough? How do you fight an enemy that can bring forth armies of skeletons and dragons?
He had no answers to those questions. His military chiefs pressed for an all out offensive against the Welsh, but seeing first hand the devastation of war, he had no wish to visit the same horrors on others.
I’m many things, but not a monster. Or at least I’m not there yet.
He knew he lacked the sanguine drive of his predecessors like Churchill. Yet this was a war he must win. While he contemplated his options someone pressed a piece of paper into his palm. The PM looked about, but whoever delivered the message disappeared among the crowd. He read the missive.
Light a candle at St. Paul’s and it will show you the way.
The message made no sense to him, but he re-read it a dozen times in his car on the way back to 10 Downing Street. St. Paul’s had been the site of an impromptu concert at the height of the attack that the media called the miracle at St. Paul’s.
Perhaps the miracle will rub off on me?
“Driver, turn here,” he said.
“Where too, sir?” asked the driver.
“St. Paul’s,” he said.
Refugees, aid workers and police crowded the steps of the cathedral. The PM shook hands with dozens of people from all walks of life, from young university students to church going matrons. Inside the church his security detail fanned out to create a bubble around him. He went to the altar and lit a candle. A young woman lit the one beside it.
“I’m glad you came, Prime Minister,” said the woman in a soft Welsh accent.
“Is this some kind of trap,” the PM said in his best even tone although his knees shook.
“You can call me Joan, like press does,” she said.
“You’re the one that killed the dragon?”
“I did. But I didn’t come here to brag. Somebody has to stop this war before it kills us all.”
The PM looked around. None of his retinue noticed the tall dark haired woman that stood right beside him. If she wanted to kill him, she could do so and simply walk away.
“I don’t have time for games, young lady,” he said.
“These bastards need to be stopped and we need to work together to do it,” she said.
“I thought they were your people,” he said.
“They are no more my people than those idiotic bigots that started this mess are yours. Or are they?”
“Of course not!”
“Then help me.”
He sighed, “What do you need?”
“Right now, I want you to keep the lines of communications open. We are doing are best to get information about the Prince. Once we have it we will share it with you and we can come up with some sort plan to stop them.”
“And if I don’t?”
“They managed to burn half a city in a single night. They grounded the air force and sunk a fleet. Force alone won’t solve this.”
“How do I contact you?” he asked. She slipped a mobile into his pant pocket and walked away. He bowed his head in prayer, uttered a few pious words and left the cathedral.
I must be insane!
He motioned to his driver, “Richard, time to go.”
“Where to?” said the driver.
“Thames House,” said the PM.
The world may have gone mad, but he was not foolish enough not to follow up on his meeting.
Trust but verify.