I’m moving away from standard creepy story material and venturing into social issues in my novel, a psychological thriller set in the north of England.
The marchers are getting closer…now they’re passing us, staring straight ahead at the main road cleared of traffic. Momentary silence as they pass. I spot Lenny and his mate Ken with a bunch of market traders, walking in unison, holding a collective banner: Chrissie. I don’t see Kaz Bradshaw from the trucker’s cafe, just loads of angry looking men and women, lips curled in snarls.
The marchers have passed, more have joined. There are thugs close by, standing on the opposite side of the road with dogs, friends of Chrissie Badgers and friends of theirs. The familiar Union Jack tattoos and St George flags. More police officers. The mood resonates with disharmony and hatred. Growling chants, racist comments. Someone’s to blame for Chrissie’s death, someone’s going to have it. Talk of bashings. Singing, jeering. Crying and weeping among the second batch of marchers, but entirely different to the sort I remember for Craig. More like screaming and rage. We mourned for Craig back then but we also respected him and we didn’t want to unsettle or frighten him as we laid him to rest.
The crowd in the Shopping City shift restlessly. People glance about and make eye contact, or avoid doing so altogether. But the chants and threats continue from all around – streets, Shopping City, the line of marchers that keeps increasing well above the original few
And Chrissie’s killer is somewhere close by, watching. I don’t know how I know, it I just do. I think of Mel and Robert, and I regret coming now. I return to my car and drive away. I can still hear the chanting and shouts.