Disclaimer: This is purely fiction. References to any
student groups or police forces are not mentioned but it by no means implies
references to any country or university.
"No! Not again!" I thought, as the banner once more managed to slip down the pole I was trying to attach it to. I, Lauren Bebbington, was on a mission. My friends and I were first year University Students and we were heading down to London to protest against the removal of any financial assistance for students who could not afford university accommodation. Silly government and universities across the countries were trying to cut back on such help "to save costs" when clearly it would affect potential and present students. Despite taking a science degree and having just enough money (from my parents), I was keen to make my voice heard.
I managed somehow to attach the large printed cloth to the pole and rolled it
up. We headed to join the throng
boarding the buses, the banner in my hand.
As we climbed on, I realised there was no room, so I stared to climb up
to the upper deck.
"Lauren, next time, try wearing something more practical," my friend Leah remarked, as she came up behind me. I was the only girl wearing a skirt (with tights as it was winter). "All my jeans are in the wash," I protested, though that was slightly not true. I had one more pair. I've always been close to (but not) a girly girl and I do prefer wearing skirts as opposed to jeans or slacks. Besides, it was a denim mini skirt, and I thought it looked quite nice with my black tights.
a long bumpy bus ride, we were at the location for the demonstration. There were thousands of other students
already gathered, shouting and waving cards. We picked our way through the
human mess and found an open spot, albeit close to the riot police, who had
deployed almost the same number of personnel as there were students. No one is
going to stop from getting our message across, I thought as I looked over to
where the media circus had parked, the vans lined up and the cameras filming
An hour went by, with us chanting and the police watching, until the time came to start the march. As the police moved back slightly, opening a space for us to go through, someone shouted “Onward!" and the huge division of students surged forward, banners and cards bristling. I swear, as Leah and I moved forward we thought everything was going well, until we heard someone shout “Get them!”
Suddenly, a whistle was blown from the police side and the men in blue simultaneously raised up their shields. Leah looked at me, her eyes saying “What the?” as some idiot threw a rock at the police line. It bounced of one of the shields and before I knew it, a number of what looked like grenades were thrown into the crowd, a grey cloud spewing forth from them.
It turned out to be just smoke, but that was enough to cause us to choke and make us all scatter. "It's a peaceful protest!" many of us yelled but the next move was the sound of shouts to stop by the riot police. Leah and I looked at each other and had exactly the same thought - RUN!
saw Leah go in one direction as I dropped the banner and ran the other way,
trying to avoid bumping into anyone. It
was total confusion, however, and the smoke was making my eyes water. Suddenly I was forced to the ground, my face
almost being scratched against the tarmac.
"Hey!" I yelled, more because my hands were being yanked and a sharp pain was cutting through wrists--I was being handcuffed, and tightly, the metal cutting into my bare wrists. I turned my head to protest, saying "Hey! I didn't do anything wrong! Why..."
"Silence, girl," came the reply. I was about to protest further, but was turned around to stare into the visor of a black helmeted man, wearing a black boiler suit. He had something in his hands, and as he pressed it down over my face stickiness came against my lips--I was tape gagged. "Mmmmpph!!!" I yelled. Hands next dragged me--literally lifting me of my feet--until I saw an open van. Inside, five other girls were locked in individual mini prison cells, all similarly bound and gagged. I was pushed into the last cell, a seat belt strapped across my waist and the door slammed shut, leaving us all in darkness.
my eyes adjusted to the gloom, I looked at the others, as they looked at
me. They were all much the same age as
me, wearing jeans and jackets, and all were thinking by the look in their eyes
what I was - “What the hell is going on here?”
For the next thirty minutes, all could be heard was the rumbling of the engine and the muffled wails of us gagged girls. As I sat there, trying to get my wrists free, I was beginning to realise something was very wrong here. It was strange that there were only girls in this van, and the police would not normally gag those they arrest - well, not in this country anyway. At least Leah wasn’t here - but where was here, and where were we going? Something is definitely wrong, I thought and struggled frantically against my manacles. That only served to have the cold steel cut into my skin.
Suddenly, the vehicle screeched to a halt. The doors slammed open, and the men quickly unbuckled us, dragging us all out into what appeared to be a dark underground car park. We all looked at each other, as our worst suspicions were proved to be right.
ladies," one of the "policeman"-- by now it was obvious they
were anything but -- said, levelling a pistol at us. We walked forward and were
forced into an extremely bright room,
causing me to blink rapidly.
"Now ladies, time to process you--a strip search" We all protested through our gags and tried to move away, but the sight of more weapons made us surrender in the end. One by one they took us and - well, it was the most humiliating experience for me ever.
My clothes were not just removed, they were cut away, especially my favourite bra and knickers. As I stood there, naked and unable to cover myself, I was touched---I don't want to talk about it. Let’s just say it was a very, very probing and thorough search.
Once they had finished, one of the armed men said “Keep your trap shut,” as the tape was ripped violently away from my mouth. Another man held up something I had never seen before in front of my face. It was a large leather rectangle, on one side of which was a large rubber, well teat for want of a better word. There were straps to the side, and it only took me a moment to realise this was to silence me even more.
“No, please, don’t OUCHMMMDFMSM.” I spoke, but someone pinched me hard on the bottom and the masked man forced the bung into my mouth, pulling the straps either side of my face and forcing them behind my head. By now I was shaking, in fear and anger, as the straps cut into the sides of my cheeks.
My hands were released and my arms held up as an oversize white t-shirt was pulled over my head and my body. What? No underwear? Before I had a chance to react, my hands were forced together behind me and a pair of cuffs fastened round them. There were short chains attached to them, which were held like a leash as I was pulled over towards a door at the far side of the room. I looked over my shoulder as someone said “Next!” and a second girl was separated from the group.
The door opened into a smaller room with an old iron bed in the middle of it, a soiled mattress thrown no top. “Plsltmg,” I called out as I tried to pull away, but the guy holding the chain was too strong for me, as he pulled me over and pushed me onto my back on the bed, fastening my wrists to the metal headstand before he took another pair of restraints and fastened them around my ankles, the ends of which were attached to the foot of the bed.
“Frgdsskstpts,” I called out, but he just laughed as he looked at me, before leaving me again in darkness, the door firmly locked. The taste of rubber in my mouth was disgusting, but I knew by the tightness of the straps around my face there was no way I was going to force it out. I also knew that there had been cases of people choking to death in these situations, so I tried to calm myself down as I lay there, listening to the muffled screams on the other side of the door.
I had no idea how much time had passed, before there was silence outside. I wondered where the other five girls had gone, and offered up a prayer that Leah got away safely. More to the point, I offered up several fervent prayers that I would be released. I’m not a religious person, but it seemed as if it was the only thing I could do for now, as I waited to see what would happen next.
As I lay there, thinking “Gosh, please, someone end this nightmare,” my cell door banged open. The four “cops” came in, now hooded in ski masks, and stood there looking at me as I struggled.
"This one first," the same voice I had heard before said. "She's a 34C, she'll fetch the highest price!" My eyes must have opened wide, as my worst fears were realised. These were slavers, and I was about to be sold like so much chattel?
"MMmmmmmph!!!!" I wailed, as the men approached me, reaching for my straps as I tried to twist out of the way. I closed my eyes, thinking “Please let this end, please let this end, please let me wake up....”
There was a loud bang, and I opened my eyes in time to see a bright light fading in the room outside and smoke billowing into the room. As the four men turned round, they saw two armed men, dressed in black suits and helmets, kneel and point their assault rifles at them.
"Special Units! Freeze!!!" As they shouted this, four more men came in and forced the gang to their knees, disarming them as they used zip ties to secure their hands behind their back. In the clearing smoke, I could see dozens more in the outside room, heading through other doors.
From me position, strapped on the bed, I watched as the ski masks were pulled off the four men. I didn’t recognise any of them - well, why should I, they had worn visored helmets and masks the whole time - but these new arrivals seemed to know who they were, as they were marched out of the room.
A hand reached over and unbuckled the restrictive gag, allowing me to cough as the foul tasting plug was removed from my mouth.. "Than...k you," I said, as I was freed from the medical restraints, and I was helped to sit up. “You saved me from - what were they anyway?”
“We’ve been tracking them for some time,” the officer said as I rubbed my wrists, “there have been a number of such disappearances from rallies. With luck, we will find those who went before.”
"Well, thank you any... What on earth?" I cried at their next
move, as my wrists were secured behind once more in handcuffs. "Hey! I'm
the good guy!"
"You're still under arrest Miss Bebbington. You may have been the victim of a false arrest, but your protest group failed to submit the right papers for an application for a protest. Now, you’ll have to join your friends in lock up. We'll process you properly this time."
"No! Not again!" I thought. As I was taken out, and saw the other five, I could see they thought the same thing - bugger.