“Any place that claims human compassion ought at least to have some human life present within it. But I digress.”
That day on London Bridge. Mona and I. Time slowed down.
“He’s got a knife,” someone shouted.
It was busy – close to Christmas, the middle of rush hour, and the bridge was crowded with business people and families all making their way somewhere-or-other. Suddenly people were running and colliding and someone had fallen in front of us, people were shouting and a woman screamed somewhere nearby. We ducked into a crowded public house as someone cried “bar the door!”, and tables were turned over as others searched around for anything they could find to use as weapons to defend themselves, or to go out and help out the innocent people who were almost certainly dying out there even now.
Seconds later, the blue flashing lights raced by and it was all over. This time it turned out to have been nothing more than a false alarm, caused by someone who maybe thought they had seen something and that had quickly escalated out of control.
You couldn’t blame people. There had been a spate of similar attacks recently, and no one even knew who to blame. Or at least, the government wasn’t saying so. This particular day, we all felt lucky just to get home alive.
These days no one really lives at the heart of London, except perhaps the Queen, and perhaps that is why the whole place often feels so cold and unwelcoming. In the place where that warm centre should be there is in fact, a vaccuum devoid of feeling from which only coldly rational edicts governing the masses must be issued by the few. Any place that claims human compassion ought at least to have some human life present within it. But I digress.
Piercing the sky close to that heart is the building they call the Spike. The tallest tower block in our present day London, it also happened to be where the tech company Mona and I worked for had their central offices. I wasn’t even supposed to have started there yet, but she and I would both spend a fair amount of time there in the next few days trying to avoid thinking about what had just happened… about what could have happened to us. In one way it was selfish, both retreating into our work, not talking about it. In another way, it was self-preservation.
I guess it was inevitable that before long I would stumble into Manny’s lab there to see what he was working on…