The Secret Garden

Chapter One: "A Day in the Life"

Death on Platt Fields

On Manchester’s Platt Fields, the Atomic Family festival is in full-swing. Held on the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, the festival has a vague theme of nuclear disarmament, but it’s little more than an excuse for a party. After their meeting in the Hacienda, WiSK and Moonbeam have agreed to meet up here. WiSK is still in the aftermath of his awakening at the nightclub – and the bloodshed that followed – and he drifts through the day in a haze.

Moonbeam is in the company of a new acquaintance – Bruno – and has also arranged to meet an old acquaintance – Baz – whom she soon locates in the crowd. Baz and Moonbeam share small esoterica. Baz notes that WiSK seems to be in a state of Awakening, which Moonbeam confirms. She plans to “look out for him”. In her own, special way.

Bruno is here to meet his dealer, Strat, but Strat is mainly interested in WiSK. Word on the street is that WiSK killed someone from the Gooch Close mob last night, a low-level hood called Declan. WiSK is horrified that his moment of crisis has led to someone’s death – even if that someone was moments away from putting a bullet between his eyes. Bruno just shrugs and congratulates him.

Strat is not the only one interested in WiSK. Somehow, WiSK’s face has ended up on CCTV and Baz alerts Moonbeam to the fact that police are circulating his picture in the crowd. Moonbeam asks Baz to raise a distraction, and warns WiSK. They start weaving their way through the crowd, seeking an early exit.

Their flight is not without complications, as Bruno is the centre of some attention himself. It turns out that he owes the Gooch Close mob a small sum, and a trio of Goochies hunt him down in the crowd. Bruno is full of excuses at first, and then full of defiance. Bullish words turn to blows and one of the Goochies pulls a gun. Bruno grabs the first thing he can lay his hands on – an eleven year old boy called Derek – and uses him as a body shield.

Four bullets slam into Derek’s body.

The crowd erupts in a panic. Moonbeam, Bruno and WiSK flee the festival, leaving wreckage in their wake. As they depart, WiSK sees a pale figure rise from Derek’s body, bleeding from empty eye-sockets. WiSK closes his eyes against the sight, but it burns within, revealing the truth to his soul.

High on horror and adrenaline, the trio make their way to the Salisbury pub, in the shadow of Oxford Road station. WiSK is teetering on the edge, aghast at the death that seems to be spreading out around him. Moonbeam tries to calm him, telling him that his eyes have been opened to the web of Fate. Only now does he see things as they truly are – interconnected in all their bloody chaos.

Bruno has no interest whatsoever in their spiritual chatterings. He instead amuses himself by selling weed to a pair of local students. When one of the pair tries to impress the other with their faux-druggie slang, Bruno is not amused. “If you’re such an expert,” he growls, “you’ll be wanting something stronger.”

Bruno proceeds to threaten the student into buying a handful of tabs of LSD, and then taking them on the spot. Faced with Bruno’s brute intimidation (a glimpse of a sawn-off shotgun works wonders on the unwilling), the student complies. Bruno sits back to savour what follows – a panicked onset of powerful hallucinogens. Predictably, the poor student flees the pub in terror. Shortly thereafter, he is hit by a bus and fatally injured. Bruno finishes his drink before suggesting that they leave.

WiSK decides against returning to his hotel. His rendezvous with the Thebian will have to wait. Instead they head to Moonbeam’s house on Coronation Street. Moonbeam’s mother Jenny is the very picture of maternal hospitality. It is a welcome dose of normality in a day turned to nightmare. Bruno smokes a fat joint and settles himself on the sofa in Moonbeam’s basement rooms, his cat Ziggy on his lap, while Moonbeam contacts Baz.

Baz confirms that Derek was killed and says that he is trying to contact the child’s spirit in order to usher it into some kind of peaceful hereafter – but Baz is terribly out of his depth and knows it. Moonbeam says she will try what she can herself. And that is WiSK’s final images of the day, as he drifts off to sleep – Moonbeam in communion with her spirit-guide, her own grandmother, seeking help for the departed in a world gone mad. Since his awakening in the small hours of the morning, WiSK has seen three people die. So much death for a single day. Surely tomorrow will be kinder…

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