Creative Writing – La Ferens

This was a piece I did for my university course, it is set in a dystopian parallel London, it is an exaggerated world playing on the themes of political correctness and freedom of speech.

SS47589 straightened the pin on their lapel. The only identifying item owned in a batch of indistinguishable suits waiting to cross the road. Standard silence, the hollow breathing emitted the only human noise amongst the rumbling traffic. The lights changed and flashes of green glyphs made sure any gender, race or sexuality could cross. SS47589’s eyes rolled, ‘bureaucracy’. SS47589 strode along, eager to get home. Desiring to catch a glimpse of fearful white eyes, as numbers hurried, and hid away like mice in the light avoiding the snooping microphones that covered the city likes ants on honey.

SS47589 left the house, straightened the pin on the lapel and marched the route back to work. The same route, the same fearful eyes. SS47589 pushed open the police building, the ID card beeping on the security gate as SS47589 slotted into the elevator, blending in perfectly with the other monotone sheep.

3:33pm, “SS47589 you’re required in room P34” SA99398 proffered the information in passing. SS47589 ambled towards P34, anything involving GN13333 wasn’t good. SS47589 knocked on the frosted glass, the bland Times Roman font staring blankly back daring him to; “Come in.” GN13333’s assertively drab voice called. SS47589 entered, immediately saluting. A small black person stood in front with the same lapel pin. “FW42987, has reportedly called their iPhone a ‘piece of gay shit’. Find and execute them.”

“Yes GN1333,” SS47589 chanted reactively. ‘God damn!’ FW42987 was their neighbour; before the election they had been friends. ‘I don’t want to do this.’

SS47589 left the room, a single bead of sweat dripping down; dull eyes scattily scanned in paranoia.

Copper jacketed lead clicked into the chamber. SS47589 armed themselves for any eventuality. SS47589 dawdled towards the building, silently loathing what was about to happen. Hating a system of blind correctness and failed freedoms. Climbing step after unsought step towards FW42987’s door.

Knock once, knock twice.

No answer.

SS47589 stepped back and kicked the door down. Pistol drawn, crouched and creeping, surveying the apartment. A mannequin with a blood target sprayed upon its face, an envelope nailed to its forehead.


I am offering all you seek, I am not hiding, only enticing. Do you remember, old friend? Down by the docks, warehouse 94. Come with a voice and come alone, and I promise you will leave knowing the single most important thing a man can known. One’s purpose. – Nathan’


         SS47589 read and re-read, scanning the note, looking for any detail that might provide further clue. SS protocol dictated all evidence towards a case should be returned for analysis. SS47589 planned otherwise; now trotting down the stairs, and pacing towards the harbour bridge. SS47589 didn’t often smoke, but now felt as good a time as any. Watching warehouse 94, tar oozed into lungs and smoke curled into cloud. Waiting until darkness drew, pacifying unstable nerves. Numbers thinned out as the air disbanded the warmth and crisply called in the cold. SS47589 decided to make their approach.

SS47589 padded along the waterfront, counting the warehouses. Number 94, normally indiscrete, stood out amongst the row of doors. It creaked as SS47589 pushed, opening into eerie empty space. A staircase adorned by two candles, side by side. A welcome-mat at the foot of the staircase. Guarded SS47589 took a candle and crept below.

Hearty voices drifted towards him. Cheering and laughter. Sounds that reverberated brilliantly after such absence. SS47589 felt lips twinge, his cheeks raise, eyes smile. A warm confidence returned as he found himself drawn towards the voices. He reached the end of the staircase, a door, the word ‘La Ferens’ in big spray-painted letters. A golden glow emanated from the cracks and exuberance seeped through the wood. SS47589 pushed the door open.

“Glad you could make it Jordan, mate!” Nathan jumped up from a worn leather sofa embracing his friend. The room was filled with beaming faces; warm, mixed, diverse. Sofas lay in big circles, outrageous words and phrases slapped across the walls, bottles everywhere. Jordan took a moment, the wave of information stirring conflict between his desire to embrace and his moral obligation to reject. Overpowering restraint; Jordan took Nathan’s hand and shook it, his face again contorting into a wry smile.

“Fuck it all, where can I get a drink?” Jordan exploded. Amidst gulps; words, thoughts and opinions fell out of his mouth like bricks. Every bottled-up emotion, every downtrodden thought burst, erupting from a dam of consciousness. Cheers and nods of agreement sounded after each bumbling sentence, as offensive hatred and aggressive love attacked and devoured like hounds. Freedom to feel and express one’s mind, at last. Slumping into the cushions, he felt relief like no other; muscles relaxed, his tirade come to an end.

Jordan spent the whole night amongst ‘La Ferens.’, infatuated with freedom. Clutching, clinging onto every last word. Yet in the back of his mind, his profession remained; his loyalty, his life. He played with the ideas, as if food on a plate. Running each situation through, none seemed to end any better than fatally.

The night was in full swing, more and more people filled the room. Debate fired, vulgar offence resounded and it was glorious. Yet Jordan, head heavy, knew it was time to dismiss himself from the situation. He had a task to attend to, after all. He found Nathan and wished him well.

Leaving heaven, SS47589 plodded back up the stairs into bleak reality. SS47589 felt the phone, heavy in their pocket. SS47589 fumbled around for a lighter and lit a cigarette in the mist of the harbour. The phone started to buzz. SS47589 let it ring out; already knowing the ending, what that call meant. It began to buzz again, SS47589 pulled it from their pocket and answered.

“SS47589, please report on the progress of your mission.” SS47589 swallowed, thought carefully and replied. “Please tell GN13333 that the target is…”


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