Posts Tagged ‘Fall of Freedom’

In the not so distant future, news had been flashing ceaselessly on television screens around the world. For the first time nations shared a common ground. World leaders and others of importance were being killed indiscriminately. It was still unclear who was responsible but the west began looking to the east and the east to the west and tensions were high. Because of the widespread nature of the murders it wasn’t easy to point the heavy finger of blame in any particular direction. The killings were different each time and despite many militia and terrorist groups laying claim to the assassinations, the culprit was thought to still be on the loose. CIA, FBI, NSA and all the other lesser known government agencies had been searching for the killer or the group offering him the opportunities. The terrorist cells responsible were particularly difficult to place because they seemed to have no real motive. There was no political statement made and no payments demanded. Many terrorist groups throughout the world were claiming the killings as their own but their claims were always found to be without merit.

President Philip Owen had been stirred from his bed as new news was emerging of yet another death.

“You must come immediately,” said the emotionless voice over the telephone. His entire body leapt from sleep to wake in cold shakes. He looked to his wife Jackie lying beside him. The phone was still buzzing on the night stand so he switched it off and without turning on a light he left his wife sleeping and made his way to the Oval Office, pulling a green sweatshirt over his pyjamas to try to make himself more presentable at such an ungodly hour.

Inside the Oval Office a member of his staff had already switched the television on in anticipation. A news report was being carried out by a young journalist wearing a long black coat and a smug expression. President Owen had seen his face so often recently as he kept the world up to date with the exploits of the ‘Chaos Killer’. He was an American reporter named Jaimya Van Hols and he always managed to get himself the exclusives on the murders. People were dying but he could only offer a small amount of care because it was causing his career to flourish. Words scrolled underneath which read ‘Chaos killer strikes in the Middle East’. His Highness Mohamar Al Sayeed Ambhad, a Saudi Arabian prince had been found hanging from the ceiling by his feet in his stately room in the palace. His throat had been cut in a ceremonial way and when his security happened upon his body, blood was still dripping from the wound. Someone had managed to make their way in and back out of his chambers with the swiftness of a cat but no money had been taken and there was no sign of a struggle. It almost seemed like he had gone willingly to his death. Amateur footage that had been taken earlier showed Mohamar hanging and his distraught attendants weeping close to his body.

Prince Mohamar Ambhad had been a pioneer in building relations between his country and the rest of the world. He was beloved by his people and respected by his counterparts in the west. He had no known enemies and his death would only hinder progress.

President Owen dropped his head into his hands and brushed his dark brown hair back, which was gathering more grey as the death toll increased. He reached out to take some water but his hand was met by an empty glass. Jackie appeared in the doorway still in her nightdress.

“Another killing?” she enquired. Philip looked back at the screen without replying. “They will find the one who is doing this.” Whether as a wife, mother or politician Jackie was always found the same way. Her optimism was why the American people loved her.

Philip had met Jackie at a political conference back when they were both starting out in their careers. Both of them hailed from old political families. Their parties were in direct opposition so when their union was announced the nation rejoiced because it meant that the entire spectrum of American politics was brought to the centre. Jackie’s grandfather had been a man of great influence in political circles but Jackie was not without her own astuteness. She was a caring wife and mother but also an excellent partner. They would be married twenty years the following Tuesday and Philip didn’t know how he would have handled the past few weeks without her.

Beside President Owen the faint buzz of the telephone sounded again. It was hardly noticeable to him because the ringing had begun to merge with all the thoughts calling out in his mind. It wasn’t until a commotion erupted in the corridor outside, as the Secret Service agents on staff began to discuss the latest killing that he finally answered.

Please hold for the Prime Minister, sir,” said the sweet voice of Emily Miller, the secretary for the Prime Minster of England. The voice was very familiar to Philip Owen although they had never met in person. She was always pleasant and he had come to know her so well over the telephone that he had sent her flowers of condolence when her mother had died recently.

Soon her sweet voice was replaced by that of the Prime Minister, Selena Samson. It was harsher and much less formal. “Another one Philip,” she greeted.

The President fell silent for a moment. “They will be lucky if they do find the killer. Already half of Europe is looking for him not to mention Australasia and still nothing concrete has turned up. He has been wanted by Interpol since the first.”

It had all began when Jacques Marlode, the prime minister of Belgium, was found in the bathrooms of The Hague. His body was trapped inside the window where the authorities believed he had been trying to escape his attacker. Jacques’ body was intact but his head had been taken cleanly. This was followed closely by Antonio Romero of Italy, who was discovered in the back seat of his silver car with diplomatic license plates showing no discernible cause of death. Arnold Grigsom, an Austrian official, had been murdered on his favourite golf course on the outskirts of Vienna. A cart carrying his body came crashing into the club house where guests were being served lunch. His torso had been torn and his heart removed. The assassinations had caused such an upset that the tabloids had dubbed the assassin ‘The Chaos Killer’. The latest killing in Saudi Arabia showed the assassin was continuing on his murderous rampage and they were no closer to finding him.

“He is definitely a professional. He has found his way into some of the most secure locations,” Selena was saying. “You and I seem to have been kept safe enough though. If I didn’t know any better I would swear it was one of us.”

President Owen immediately became defensive. No matter how late the hour, he would always be alert enough to return a challenge. “Something like this would never be funded on US coin!” he said. He had been particularly edgy lately.

Selena began to laugh, easing the tension. “Of course not. I’m just saying what others are thinking. Something has to be done so I’m calling an emergency summit. We will meet in the coming week or so.”

“A summit at this time?” He felt his people would feel safer if he remained in the United States at the present time.

“What else do you suggest? We wait around to see who is murdered next? None of us are safe you know. We had a break in at number eleven last week. We thought we had him at first when MI5 took him into custody. After hours of questioning it seems he was just an enthusiast.”

President Owen sighed. “I guess we have no choice.”

“My office will co-ordinate with yours,” said Selena. The President agreed and just when he was at the point of disconnecting the call she added. “Oh and Philip… Keep safe.”

President Owen’s eyes were immediately drawn back to the screen. Now the report was showing a large map of the earth with red markings on the places in the world that had been affected by the recent killings. South America and Canada had been touched but so far the U.S. had managed to evade attack.

“I don’t trust her,” Jackie was saying to her husband, stirring him from his swimming thoughts. “She is a little too ambitious. She would knife your back as soon as sit you on a pedestal.”

“I don’t trust her either but she is the Prime Minister of England and a good ally for us,” Philip assured.

“Doesn’t anyone think that having all the world leaders in one room together gives the assassin ample opportunity? It doesn’t seem likely he would make an attack in such a public area but you can’t be too careful.”

President Owen shrugged his shoulders. “Security will be very tight.”

Jackie Owen pursed her lips tightly. “I was in Saudi Arabia last month. I was on a diplomatic mission but it took me several hours to get through that security. This killer managed to get in and out without anyone noticing. Security doesn’t seem to concern him.”

Philip looked at his wife. He was used to having debates with her; it gave him well rounded opinions to take to his cabinet. They always argued over their political differences but this time she was genuinely concerned.

If I’m called I can’t refuse to go. We need to show that we are doing everything possible. Besides, it might draw the attacker out. With so many people there it might cause him to make a mistake.”

“I am going to make a few phone calls,” she told him. “I’ll send for some coffee. I think it’s going to be a long night.”

“Send for water instead,” Philip called after her pushing the empty glass away from him.

Philip Owen laid his hands on the desk that he had fought several years to sit behind and for the first time in his political career he had no idea what to do next as the world began to wake to the terrible news.

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COMING SOON as a graphic novel!

The boy was screaming again. His parents had insisted on a photograph of him on his own to commemorate young Adrien’s Bar Mitzvah. He was a man now in the eyes of his faith but being high on the autism spectrum meant that the fuss and the pomp and ceremony of the day had left him feeling over stimulated. The attack of sensations on his senses caused him to act out wildly.

Julianna Beltane, proud citizen of New York City and freelance photographer of three years was used to dealing with difficult clients. Most people she met were nervous in some way. They were nervous at having their picture taken, they were in the midst of an event they had been planning for the best part of the year or they were just anxious to be done with the photo. Julianna’s full cheeks and round face she got from her mother and the caring, almond eyes she got from her father were soothing. Most people responded warmly to her. She had a natural ability for drawing people from their nerves.

Adrien dropped into a chair. He gave a heavy sigh. The red tie with black leaf print had been pulled off. His crisp white shirt was torn open at the collar.

Your mom would like to get a photo of you,” Julianna said softly as she took the chair beside him. “How are you feeling?”

Adrien didn’t answer. A frown tightened the skin between his thick, black eyebrows.

You should enjoy your day. It only comes once,” Julianna added.

Adrien liked her. She had the scent of honey around her. Her pale skin was scattered with freckles, mostly concentrated across the bridge of her nose.

What if we do it whist everyone else is busy?” Julianna suggested, knowing that the boy would feel better with the other’s being distracted.

The storm in Adrien’s face dissipated. He formed a smile but kept his gaze below Julianna’s eye line. She angled her camera. Click. Her instict told her that the unposed and spontaneous photographs would look much better than anything that could be staged. There would be some eye catching images for Mrs Adams of her son as he danced on the cusp of manhood.

The photographer was no stranger to Autism. Her younger brother was also afflicted. When he had a meltdown only his Jules could calm him.

Adrien settled into his party after that leaving Julianna to capture special moments. It was the reason she started her photography business. Cementing memories in an image to enjoy in future years was a special kind of magic.

Thanks for your help,” Mrs Adams said to her at the end of the day.

Julianna didn’t doubt the appreciation of the mother. Mrs Adams had especially noticed Julianna’s patience in dealing with Adrien, even when the boy was determined to be difficult. However, she was far too distracted by the hoard of thirteen year old kids in her care to show it.

It was a beautiful day to be a part of,” replied the photographer. She wasn’t lying. It was a highly emotional day that marked the beginning of a shift in the parent/child relationship.

Julianna beamed a wide smile. “I’ll give you a call in a couple of days. I’ll bring some prints by and you can choose the ones you like best.”

Yes, yes,” said Mrs Adams.

Adrien waved to Julianna from amongst a collection of his friends before the door was closed on the photographer and the party could continue on with invited guests only.

***

A small, one bed apartment in Queen’s close to where her last job had been was where Julianna called home. She decided to walk that day. The weather was mild and she felt she needed the exercise. She had been stuck indoors a lot lately. Work was her excuse. The truth was she met new people so often she never made a real connection any more.

She pushed open the door, dropped her bag and habit drew her finger over to press the button on the answering machine.

‘No Messages’ said the emotionless voice.

The house was eerily quiet. Even the upstairs neighbours weren’t making any noise. Normally they were in the midst of a drunken brawl by three, breaking up by five, packed up by six and back together by eight. It was a pattern they had gotten themselves into that showed no signs of changing.

Although Julianna told herself she was fine with the solitude she most definitely didn’t like the silence. She switched on the television to create the illusion of having someone else in the house.

A muscular man and woman danced onto the screen. He wore a t-shirt so tight it could have fit a child. She wore pink Lycra. Her shiny, golden hair was tied in a ponytail that danced around her shoulders. They enthusiastically invited those at home to join them at a local gym chain.

Julianna caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror that hung above her fireplace. She looked so dull and pale. Not like the warm, healthy glow of the gym girl.

We interrupt this commercial for an important news broadcast from Torrance Global.”

Julianna’s attention was seized by a news reporter wearing a black mourning tie.

This morning, Prince Mohammar Ahmbad of Saudi Arabia was found dead in his home in Abu Dahbi. Although there has been no official statement from the palace it is assumed that this is the latest in the chaos killings. Authorities are warning to be vigilant. If you see anything suspicious, report it immediately.”

Julianna sighed. An image of the Saudi prince was shown. He was hanging by his feet. His head had been removed. Attendants were throwing themselves in front of the decapitated remains to prevent the press photographers for catching them.

Julianna worried that it was far too early to be showing such gore. Little children who couldn’t understand what was happening would be frightened. Adrien and his friends could be watching.

It hit her hard that such brutality could happen to Prince Mohammar. She had watched broadcasts of him speaking out for women’s rights. When the chaos killings began he worked tirelessly, urging those of every nation to come together in solidarity when it would be easy to run in fear.

For months now the ‘Chaos Killer’ had been targeting world leaders across the globe, killing indiscriminately. Wherever he lurked, chaos followed, giving him his apt media tag.

Even with the combined might of the world’s security agencies they were no closer to finding the culprit, establishing opportunity or even motive. Prince Mohammar would not be the last.

The horrific pictures of the prince were replaced by those of Belgian Minister, Jacques Marlode. The screen was filled with the Minister with his two daughters. Holding his two young daughters, he was grinning wide with genuine pride that suited him better than his usual political astuteness. He had been the first victim of the ‘Chaos Killer’. His decapitated remains were found in a bathroom of the Hague.

A bleep sounded from Julianna’s phone. Feeling morose at the state of global affairs she drew herself away.

HOPE YOU’RE HAVING A GR8 DAY

Julianna smiled. She had been having an online relationship with Todd for months. Although they hadn’t met in person he had become a large part of her life. Not a night had went by since their first chat when they didn’t swap messages. She knew what he looked like from the photos of his skiing trip he had sent her. He was handsome, coal haired and had an endearing smile.

She hoped to meet him in person. Perhaps someday soon. It was all she could think of to distract her from the dismal state of the world.

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Follow Julianna’s story as the tense Conflict begins to brew around her.

Part 2 GETTING TO KNOW HIM will be available exclusively on vivikawidow.com 6pm (UK time) 15th April 2017.

When it was decided I would work on a graphic novel I thought to myself it would be easier than a novel. I was so wrong! There are a lot more details to consider before a pen even hits the paper.

One thing I realised though it that it can be so gratifying. When writing a novel the characters and settings come alive in your imagination. You write them out as best as you can in the hopes that it will light something in your reader too. With a graphic novel the characters leap from the page and the settings laid out like photographs. Working on the Conflict series has helped me become involved in the writing of a story in ways I have never experienced before.

It is a lot of hard work too. My days are eaten up at the moment with the Ragdolls Foundation so as the sun falls and the shadows settle in for the night I am preparing to painstakingly note each chapter, character, location and event as I make my way through original manuscripts written for Conflict back in 2014.

It has been great getting to know the graphic novel community. Whilst I have always loved graphic novels and have friends who are also fans it hasn’t been until lately that I have really engaged in conversation with the wider collective. Thanks to social media I have been able to share my love of V for Vendetta and the Walking Dead series.

The concepts that have been released so far have been well received. I thank everyone who has commented, shared and liked what they saw from Conflict.

It’s still early days at the moment but I look forward to bringing you more from the Conflict series soon.

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It’s a series that has been in the works for over a decade. I couldn’t be more excited to announce it is coming your way.

Set in the not so distant future, Conflict is a bold attempt to capture the global effect of war as seen from various angles, walks of life and cultures. It has been said that it the “political thrills are what captures the tension whilst the slight touches of science fiction offer a universe that is of epic proportions.”

But don’t just take my word for it or the words of the critics. Watch this space for updates, info and images from the highly anticipated graphic novel series, adapted from the award winning screenplay by Leo St Paul and my best selling novel ‘Fall of Freedom’.

With many sides to choose from, (each with their own heroes and villains) take your pick and prepare to battle.

Subscribe to this page and stay informed.

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Over 9000 likes!!!!

Conflict of the Throne creators Leo St Paul and Vivika Widow celebrate 9000 likes on Facebook by sampling first sample of the front cover for the first novel in the Conflict of the Throne series.