In a world where law is enforced by the gun and people are divided by mistrust and violence, Cardiff remains isolated from the outside world ever since 'the events' took place.
A small commune has survived and has become aware of a warp in reality which they cannot explain, whilst still struggling to survive day to day in the broken world around them.
It had all started at the international Arena – on a rather warm breezy night for Cardiff City in autumn – where people had begun to congregate after the events late last year that transformed the city from a prospering metropolis to a world devoid of growth and vitality. Last night it was the scene of Moit Hawksworth’s last day, losing his life in the new world like so many people had done over the recent months. Drunk and angry, he had accidentally started a confrontation with a small group of Somali men who had taken to salvaging scrap from the local shoreline and then selling anything they found onto the people who decided to remain in the rubble of the city centre, too afraid to attempt the short walk themselves since the gangs had taken over the roads and residential areas in between.
It was a new world since the events took place here and around the rest of Britain, things had changed significantly. Initially the government told us to remain calm, everything was going to be okay, and we believed them. We waited for it all to be over, we waited and watched as society descended into anarchy, as vigilantes took over the streets and were repelled by neighbourhood and racial gangs. Everyone fell into their respected groups, the blacks with the blacks, the Muslims with the Muslims, The Polish with the Polish and the British with the British. There were also a number of communities where racial differences had been put aside –namely Cathays and Whitchurch- and members had taken to providing for each other and remaining close in fear of any raids by people from elsewhere. The city was divided through fear and mistrust and people struggled to survive in the ever growing turbulent environment which was growing around them, unlike anything they had seen prior, and unlike anything they were prepared to handle.
Moit had been part of a group who were based in the Heath area of Africa Gardens, about an hour’s walk north from the arena before the events of last year. He was part of a small group sent out to trade electronic equipment for food and medicine as the shops and supermarkets in Heath had become depleted, and vacant homes had become bare since the residents realised that there were no imports arriving from outside the city. Scavenging had become common place and the task itself became increasingly more violent as survivors were forced to venture further away from their communes in search of food, this itself resulting in more interactions with people who were growing increasingly mistrusting of anyone who was an unknown or wasn’t a member of their own group.
The small group consisting of the founding males of the Canada Road commune had decided it was time for them to travel to the international arena and trade supplies in the market hub that had developed in the large sheltered building that was central to all the communes and groups in the greater Cardiff city area. It had become a reasonably ‘safe’ area where weapons were not allowed and to enter you must possess items which may be tradable, these few precautions generally allowed the building to be immune to the constant hostilities of outside.
Angharad, one of the female members of the group, had become ill over recent days and the group had become fearful of her declining well being. Miss Stevens was living out of town in the rather more depressing and feral city of Newport, but was staying over at her then boyfriends house when the events occurred and public transport was cancelled and all public roads shut down with immediate effect. Her boyfriend at the time, Tim Major had died soon afterwards after he decided to raid a local supermarket in the middle of the night and was confronted by an overly eager security guard who had taken refuge there himself.
They were primarily looking for antibiotics, and any other source of food they could salvage with the items they brought. Cables, computer chips and electronic components all gathered and in abundance at the Canada Road address since all members where computer enthusiasts and since the events all computers had become unusable for an unknown reason. They were still in working condition but something seemed to have happened to the satellites and computer mainframes making the items redundant to anyone who was unable to transform them into workable homemade devices. These homemade devices however were scarce and in high demand as people still pursued the idea of reaching their families overseas and gathering information which could somehow help solve the mystery that lies within the sudden loss of society and what caused these events to happen and how.
The Cardiff international Arena – CIA- was a large dome like building that sat adjacent to the main train tracks that led into and out of Cardiff city and this location close to the central city, train tracks and with the shoreline not too far away made it an ideal building for trade. Originally other locations were suggested such as the castle which was deemed inappropriate due to it being open to the elements, The St David’s centre and original Cardiff Market building, both of which had been ruined and were the scenes of much violence since the events, they had become dangerous areas where attacks took place, and scavengers dwelled
The Canadian Road group had a basic plan when entering buildings of this magnitude with this many people, all of which had no trust for one another and could spark violence at any moment. It was only wise for them to remain wary in the world where law was now enforced by the gun, it was the only way they had managed to live this long, they were now the only ones who lived in the small, once lushly vegetated streets of Africa gardens.
First of all Moit would remain behind the other two and act as a look out in case anyone decided to cause trouble ahead or steal without the other two noticing, he was an expert observer , very quiet and wouldn’t miss a single detail of his surroundings where ever he went. Like a sniper in the army, he was an expert stalker and reconnaissance member and could always be trusted to search and salvage by himself in even the most dangerous of communities. Since Tim’s death he had began to seem increasingly unmotivated and had taken to drinking the spirits he always managed to find hidden in the abandoned buildings and steal of the unaware street walkers.
Then there was Alan Stealth, the shortest of the three but by no means the slowest. He was the brains of the operation, aware of the working of societal matters and a predictor of similar events occurring long before the events actually occurred, making him somewhat more prepared and immune to the impact than many others who were caught in the aftermath. He was a necessary member of the commune for knowing what was needed and where to find it, he was also an expert with communication devices and would spend hours a day using salvaged computer parts to build devices for contacting anyone outside of the Glamorgan area and to gather any information which may be available, unfortunately to no avail so far.
There was Mr Hindle. Myles was the most outspoken and dominant of all members of the commune and was important for the overall defence and negotiations when the time arose. Before the events occurred he was a very social person who got along with a lot of people in the area and these traits and contacts became very useful after the events occurred. He would negotiate the trades and have the willingness to push further than the other members to get the job done. He was the tallest and most muscular and was known to have some savage encounters with anyone that opposed his crew or himself.
Then there was Dhalia who was a mysterious character who seemed to appear and reappear at the commune long before the events took place, he reappeared a couple of days after the events without a single mention of where he had been and how he had gotten there. He was an expert at travel and survival techniques and was known to be able to travel away for weeks on end to places far away without the use of transportation and then return with exotic or unique necessities as well as being able to find the valuable recreational drugs the commune enjoyed when times were rather peaceful (peaceful as they could be in an apocalyptic world). He would also hang back behind the other two and as Moit went left, Dhalia gained a different view point by moving up the right side of the building.
Alan and Myles had reached the main stall for medical supplies while Dhalia and Moit had flanked them at a safe distance on either side pretending to be interested in certain stall items but all the time keeping a close eye on their counter parts and the business they made.
Moit had slowly been drinking the entire walk from the commune and by the time they had gotten to the negotiations he was in a state of intoxication that the rest could see as becoming dangerous to himself and anyone around him. Regardless of the concerns they had voiced, he wouldn’t listen. He was now standing next to a stall which had an array of salvaged items from the sea – shells, fish, ropes and boat parts, parallel -but at a large distance- to where Myles and Alan were negotiating a price for a small bottle of ten or so antibiotics the stall holder seemed to want to keep a hold of if he could.
Moit was slowly stumbling forward along the aisle making his way towards them whilst holding a bowl he had forgotten to replace when walking away from where he had picked it up. A man who was having trouble speaking English came after him grabbing his shoulder and spinning him around making Moit lose his balance and fall upon the Seaside stall which was ran by a group of Somali men.
“What the fuck asshole!” He screamed, as he tried to pick himself up of the crumbled boxes and fish products before stuttering and scrambling to his feet “Fucking-the fuck was that? Dammit!”
The Somalis had then joined in the confrontation and unlike the shoulder grabber, they were able to speak in English after the bowl owner had taken possession of his item.
Moit turned to the Somalis wiping the dirt -and what seemed like an oily slime- off of his jeans and apologised to the men after realising what he had done and more to do with realising he was outnumbered by the much larger and much more sober Africans.
“No harm right?” he smiled shrugging his shoulders in a friendly apologetic gesture not wanting the situation to slide into violence.
The Somali men’s faces remained placid as the larger of the men in the centre took a step forward and with one hand in his pocket, he started to point at Moit with the other.
“This world we now live in” he began quietly “Life for a life,
Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, hand for a hand, foot for a foot,
Burning for a burning, wound for a wound, stripe for a stripe”
“It was an accident” Jon replied “I’ve been drinking”
“Oh! A big man drinking! Well what am I to do with all this fucking fish shit lying all over my stall now Mr Drinker? Do I look like some kind of bitch to you Mr Drinker?” The Somali mans aggression grew with every word until he was at the point of snapping at any moment.
At this point Dhalia had taken his eyes of Myles and Alan who were deep in negotiations and hadn’t yet noticed the trouble Moit was finding himself in, they were closing in on the agreement believing that they would soon be leaving with the medicine and being able to return and help Angharad.
Dhalia turned towards Moit, seeing him in trouble, he started to break into a fast walk through the crowd, pushing and breaking his way through the throngs of people who had their back to him and had turned towards the commotion caused between the Somalis and Moit. The people were making it difficult as they had seemed to congregate in their areas along the narrow aisles and making the already vast distance between Moit and himself that little bit further.
Dhalia’s shouts were in vain, the crowds commotion began to build and the Somali man was in such a frantic state that even if the people were silent Moit probably still wouldn’t be able to hear his friend shout his name over the torments and abuse.
The crowds that gathered watched as Moit swayed on his feet looking at the ground with his hands by his side, slowly clenching into tight fists as he tried hard to concentrate on keeping his anger under control as well as from falling yet again on to the stalls around him.
“. . .So Taffy, as I was saying my mother raised me right, there’s no doubt about that I have done rather well for myself considering what the world has thrown at me. Don’t you think? Don’t you think Taffy drinker?”
“Yeah” Moit agreed, unlike he normally would, but this wasn’t a place for confrontation especially in his state of intoxication he wouldn’t fare too well and saw his only way out of this situation was to agree and hope he would be let go soon before he passed out.
“Then why do you disrespect me so? Come here and treat me like a bitch and think I would just let you go. Well as I said my mother raised me right, and she was the most graceful woman that ever walked god’s green earth. Wasn’t she graceful Mike?”
“A true angel” one of his accomplices replied.
In a moment Moit swung his fist at the larger Somali and failed to make contact as the man easily dodged his attempt and grasped his arm before he fell to the ground yet again.
The Somali let out a smile and continued.
“She didn’t like violence, she always taught me manners and to respect fellow man no matter how much of a bitch they are” The man returned his hand into his pocket, shrugged his shoulders and looked down at the ground for a moment before letting out a short chuckle and lifting his head to look back at Moit “Well my mother raised me right, but I guess it’s true what they say, I truly am my father’s son”.
With that he pulled his hand out of his pocket revealing a concealed pistol he must have snuck into the arena and pointed at Moit’s face for no more than a split second before pulling the trigger and sending blood across everyone who was nearby the incident.
Dhalia froze in his place and all the air escaped his lungs in a sudden burst of shock. “No, Moit no, not again!” but it was too late, he knew Moit was gone, he had seen it all before and knew he could do nothing about it now. Since the events strange things had begun to happen that defied reality and Dhalia knew all of this had happened before and he already knew the outcome. Walking to Alan and Myles he grabbed them whilst keeping his head down low.
“We got to go, it’s happened again” He stated to them as Myles placed the antibiotics into his pocket. “Moit is gone. We need to leave now”
With that Myles and Alan were aware of what Dhalia meant, and all of them begun to leave the arena avoiding where the confrontation had occurred and leaving Moit alone on the floor, still and faceless lying amongst the filth of fish products, shit and blood. It was a grim picture but they all knew nothing could be done. This wasn’t the world of humane justice or reasoning anymore. They had attempted that all before and knew how it would turn out. All they could do was return to the commune with as many of them as possible.
The events changed the way everything worked. An hour walk before now took a considerable amount longer due to the dangers of being attacked by other groups and the fact that rubble had built up on almost every street and road along the way making a once flat walk into a dangerous hill side hike.
They had travelled in silence, only stopping to scan and check for any risks that may lie ahead or to check inside a car shell for anything that may be of value.
They finally reached Canada Road just before dusk and walked towards their disguised commune, build out of two building with the walls opened between them so they could go between without needing to risk going outside. Alan knocked on the door always looking around in case they were being watched and a familiar answer replied with a similar knock pattern.
“Knock. Knock. . . .Knock”
“Mac it’s us, let us in”
The Mac opened the door warily and looked around the depleted group from one person to another and before he could say a word Dhalia had already spoken.
“Moit’s gone - It’s happened again”.
Sweet Animosity is the home for all projects and writings undertaken by Dhalia.