It was a good day for a spectacle like this to be held outdoors. The weather was neither too warm nor too cold; a fair few people had turned out with flags. As Edward stepped up to the podium atop City Hall’s steps, he found himself truly believing his own motivational speech. On either side of him sat the fifty one members of the City Council, as well as Will Hastings and Edward’s own brothers, George and Richard. His wife Elizabeth was there also – having walked with him from the front doors of the building, she took a seat beside her brothers in law. Further rows of chairs faced the stage from the very bottom step at the face of the hall, stretching back for around twenty rows, themselves flanked on either side by various news stations’ cameras. Behind these rows of chairs where the reporters and various businesspeople sat stood the rest of the crowd – there were a few security officials there, but nothing too heavy handed.Once the applause from the waiting crowd had at last died down – Edward was surprised, and pleased, that he had to raise his hand as a call to silence, rather than the crowds acclaim dying away quickly – he began the conference with a few opening remarks. These were unscripted and very much in his style – professional enough, but with a great deal of good will and humour behind them. He was the type to crack a joke or two, and it seemed the crowd appreciated this. The laughter of several of the politicians near him was forced and fake – Richard and Harriet’s chief amongst this – but they couldn’t be heard over the rest. Besides, Edward wouldn’t have noticed as he was looking at the crowd, and not them. He wouldn’t have cared even if he had noticed. He was in his element now – addressing the people warmly in as friendly a manner as possible from the position in which he stood. Of course, some might say too friendly. But he would ignore them. He addressed them as he would address his friends, even his family – he did mention them at one point, thanking them for their patience with his work in political office, prompting a ripple of laughter as Elizabeth acknowledged this with a wry smile and a nod.His opening remarks done, Edward began his speech properly. Luckily for him, forty five minutes had been enough time to re-read the edited speech a few times and jot down a few notes to make it sound more like him again, and less like the hard-liner the council clearly wished him to be. The crowd seemed to be responding well, the reporters scribbling away or holding their microphones aloft, trying to ensure they recorded the speech in its entirety. Whenever Edward said anything the crowd particularly agreed with there would be a smattering of applause – sometimes even cheers. He noticed a few people – some of the kids especially –waving their small flags with abandon. Had his children been there, he was sure they would have been doing the same – but this speech was nothing monumental, simply another day in the life of their influential father and no cause, their mother insisted, for them to be excused college or school for the day. Ah well. He was taking them and Liz out for dinner tonight before he met with Will Hastings – it wouldn’t be too long before he’d see them. He smiled at the thought even as he continued to speak.It was as his speech turned to the recent tax increase that the atmosphere began to change. It was a gradual change, true, but easily noticeable. Even though Edward spoke persuasively as to why he had deemed such a move necessary, the crowd seemed to become more restless, some of the journalists were frowning, several of the people who were seated had now stood up – the better to display their displeasure in more than looks. A discontented murmuring rose from the spectators, and for a moment it looked as though Harriet Stafford was going to stand and call for order, as she might have done in the council chamber – a look from Richard Plantagenet stopped her. Let Edward deal with this – that was the purpose of this conference, wasn’t it? Edward had caused this trouble and now he had to deal with the consequences.No-one had expected this was the consequence he would face, even as a loud cracking sound split the near silence. A few people looked around, wondering what that noise had been, where it had come from. It soon became obvious. Edward was no longer standing at the podium but slumped against it, holding onto it with one trembling hand, the other clutching his chest. It was only a few moments before his legs buckled and he fell, but this was long enough to see the blood.It seemed for a few moments as though Edward’s world had become mute and everything was moving in blurry slow motion. Richard Plantagenet was on his feet, reaching into an inside pocket of his coat – he carried his gun constantly with him since his years in the army – but he did not withdraw the weapon. He had no time – in an instant George was on his feet beside him, knocking him backwards as he pushed past him to run to Edward’s side. Then the sound seemed to return, a sudden wall of noise, of panic and confusion. People in the crowd were screaming, some people were fleeing the scene, the security officials had pulled out their guns but they were looking anywhere and everywhere without the first clue where the shot had come from. One scream could be heard even above this sudden din - that of Elizabeth Plantagenet. Elizabeth was kneeling at Edward’s side, frantic, desperate, but with no idea as to what to do. Here and there distinct voices could be heard – voices full of shock, panic, fear.“Call 911!”“What the hell’s going on?”“He’s been shot – the mayor’s been shot!”“Oh my God!”These voices and more continued, but they soon became drowned by the incoherent shouts and screams and the sound of people running. Someone called for the journalists to ‘turn the damn cameras off’ but no-one was listening – a few of them even moved forwards to try and get a better view of the fallen mayor, but this proved near impossible as he was surrounded by people. Elizabeth was caught between sobbing and screaming uncontrollably, George tried to pull her away to give Edward some space to breathe but she threw him off. Edward himself was struggling to say something – no-one could hear him even if they had wanted to – he managed to take one of Elizabeth’s hands in his, but this only caused her to panic more, begging him to stay with her, pleading with him not to die.It was then that Richard and Will hurried up the steps, followed by two medical personnel with a stretcher. Although Will’s expression was almost as frantic as Elizabeth’s, there was something different about Richard’s. He was not panicking and he did not seem afraid – if anything, he seemed almost fascinated as the medics examined the wound, but even as they did so he looked away, towards where the crowd had been. There was no-one there now apart from a couple of reporters with their cameras – but they were soon ushered away by an ashen faced member of the security personnel. Whoever the assailant had been, they were long gone.
Later that evening the scene remained virtually unchanged, save for the abundance of police barrier tape and the increased presence of law enforcement officials. The chairs were still overturned, the flags on the fences still fluttered, the steps were still stained with blood. Inside City Hall William Hastings, Harriet Stafford and the rest of the city council were in the midst of a fierce, heated discussion. Was it right to regard this threat to the mayor’s life as a terrorist threat? What would the consequences be of implementing martial law?While this political debate rumbled on, in one of the city’s hospitals it was the personal that was at stake. Edward was in the operating theatre. His political and personal lives had well and truly merged now – and it was uncertain how long either would continue to last...
BREAKING NEWS: ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT AT CITY HALL
Shock waves were felt throughout New York City this afternoon after an unknown assailant attempted to assassinate Mayor Edward Plantagenet on the steps of City Hall.
The mayor was giving a speech regarding some of his latest policies as a follow-up to the press conference on June 3rd when the attack took place at approximately 3:00 PM. The assailant was armed with a SIG Sauer P238 pistol, recovered at the scene, which was fired just once during the attack. This single shot was enough, however, to significantly injure the mayor, and the assailant managed to escape during the confusion which followed. As yet doctors are unable to confirm if this wound to the chest is potentially fatal, but Mayor Plantagenet remains in critical condition in hospital. Those members of his family who were not present at the scene have been informed and are now with him – although Comptroller Richard Plantagenet remained behind to aid the NYPD in their investigation, with his military experience cited as useful in ascertaining the attacker’s methods.
In the hours following the attack a statement was issued by Public Advocate William Hastings which stated, first and foremost: “this attack upon the person of Mayor Edward Plantagenet is being regarded by the government of New York City as a terrorist threat.” The statement outlined measures of martial law which the government intends to put in place for the security of its citizens as well as to aid law enforcement in detaining the mayor’s assailant. These measures included:
All ports and airports shall be closed – citizens are to remain within city limits.
A curfew of 9:00 sharp, seven days a week, is to be implemented. Anyone who does not adhere to this curfew will be regarded with suspicion and potentially subject to criminal proceedings.
Additionally, all bars and clubs will now change their last call to 7:00.
Increased law presences within the city – citizens are reminded that the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies will be given increased powers in light of the severity of this current threat.
Government and law enforcement officials are urging those with information pertaining to the identity or current whereabouts of the assailant to come forward immediately.
Catriona Scott Don't forget to check next week's creative writing section to find out what happens! Disclaimer:This serial is inspired partly by historical fact and partly by historical fiction (that being Shakespeare’s Richard III); however, as the setting (New York City) is very much a real location – as are other businesses and events I have used – I felt the following disclaimer to be necessary. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Visit Rewritten City