Folding The Umbrella
By Ben Hawk.
It is now the early autumn of 2013. I know not what date it is for your dear reader but I write this now while it is still fresh in my mind.
This personal writing is the only perspective I can truly speak from.
Others who lived through the times I am about to tell you of may hold different views and if there is anything that is incorrect in your
view, then let us simply agree to disagree.
The way I put things in this book, as my lovely lady Joanna will tell you, is me. We squaddies/former squaddies can be a serious bunch
but only behave that way when we have to. So it may seem like it's all a joke to us by outsiders most times but that’s how we deal with
the dark side of situations.
Any of the persons depicted herein are real people and out of respect and security, are referred to by first name and single letter surname.
Some whom it was my pleasure to know and call friends and others whom it was displeasure to know as they were my enemy.
I have no problems naming proper names there.
I write this for those who had neither voice nor choice in the matter. The citizens of Racoon City, Those on the Spanish Island,
The people of Portsmouth and most of all as it's my home, the great city of London.
The attack, there is no other applicable term in my mind, upon the city of London and its people was an act that still defies reason.
Or at least 'reason' as defined by what could be called rational minds. The minds of those who planned and executed this are beyond
the full understanding of the ordinary man or woman I believe.
For that I am thankful, for those who could fully understand may be the ones capable of doing it again. This must never happen again.
To my darling Joanna. who knows my soul and heart as I know hers, for we have both been here before.
To My Little Angel, I owe you more than I can ever repay in this lifetime.
To Martha, for her quick thinking that kept me from becoming a walker snack.
To those I was privileged to stand beside and who stood beside me in the fight.
To Chris R. for keeping to our agreement, you are an honourable man sir.
To my fellow Londoners who didn't’t make it.
To my children and hopefully grandchildren yet to be,
I did what I had to so you could read about what happened rather than living
through it as we few did. I hope you learn, understand and can forgive me for some actions which I believed necessary.
To those who believe they are gods and use people as lab experiments for their own twisted ends,
take it as wisdom and warning when I say that there are always those like me who will stand against these acts and seek retribution.
And there are always more of us than you.
From Light To Darkness
The day had unfolded like the many days of the year thus far.
April 2013, a typical beginning to an English spring/summer season with the ever-present spectre of winds and driving rain arriving with
The workday was as familiar and comfortingly unremarkable as usual; A Tuesday as I recall.
Having served for six years in Her Majesty's Parachute Regiment and three in the Special Air Service, I had done what I believed was
'my bit' and was getting comfortable in civilian life having spent the last year working for a well-known building firm in London.
Being somewhat larger than the average individual made me useful in being able to carry loads almost twice the norm so a fairly handy
attribute to those in the construction business. Being in possession of hands large enough to carry up to eight mugs of tea around
the site without spillage didn't hurt either apparently.
Knocking off time, followed by the standard rowdiness from the crews planning their evenings either at home or in the pub, widely
regarded as a second or even first home for some as the works buses dropped us off close to our respective abodes. For me, it was
my flat. The top floor of a converted Victorian townhouse not far from the Thames.
A solid as a rock structure, which had withstood the ravages of time and people. It will still be standing firm I strongly suspect,
long after I've gone.
Climbing the stairs and opening the door to my humble home, my nostrils were greeted by the subtle aroma of paper, long stacked on
bookshelves. I always find comfort in the faint smell of books and having a personal collection numbering several hundred made for
much comfort in my mind.
I have always loved immersing myself in printed pages and not the ones with many colourful pictures and words
like ZAP, KAPOW or SNIKT in them either, though I know some love that kind of thing and to each, their own.
Real, honest to goodness books, from Socrates to Stephen King and all points in between. Books call to us, the thoughts of those from
months or millennia past still speaks to us in those pages. Wit & wisdom, knowledge both old and new enrich our minds and feed the soul.
The words offer us a means to impart meaning and whether trivial or profound, they all have value in the things they tell.
Shower, dinner and I found myself in the mood for a German beer and my old friend Wordsworth, after the now standard catching up
with the world and local news on TV. Said news from both far and near was the usual mix of good, bad and sensationalist.
Nothing new there. One news item did make me stop and watch, I had known about the influenza problem which was not quite at epidemic
proportions but gathering pace in its spread if the media were to be believed.
Apparently some unusual measures were being taken, namely an airborne dispersal of vaccine to combat the spread of this rather virulent
strain was underway. I'm no virologist but this sort of activity was something new. The usual talking head media and political brigade
were in abundance but the representative of the Umbrella Corp. was another matter. Albert Wesker had the kind of look that stood very
neatly between cardboard cut-out and a man from PR heaven.
In an all-black ensemble with swept-back blond hair that had a slightly unsettling symmetrical vibe. If he had stood side on to a
full-length mirror, you would have been hard pushed to tell a difference between the real and the reflection. A little bit too perfect.
He could have passed for a CGI actor, his look was almost that flawless.
It’s only a personal thing, but the hangar at London City Airport where the interview was taking place wasn't exactly brightly lit, so why
the dark sunglasses he was wearing remained firmly fixed to his face I know not. This is why I freely confess to having no small amount
of mistrust of those that insist on wearing them indoors.
My experience has taught me that you show your eyes to those you are trying to get the trust of. My almost immediate distrust of this
character would bear out in later times.
My thoughts were interrupted by a car horn blaring outside my window, followed rapidly by the screech of tyres skidding and the
inevitable and rather expensive sounds of a vehicle collision. Looking out, I saw this is exactly what had occurred and it was no
gentle nudge either. Covering the distance from the top floor to the ground level in fairly swift fashion, I went out to see if anyone
was hurt. Sadly they were and it was none too pretty for the driver of the rear car judging by the amount of red stuff running down
the inside of the windscreen.
The woman in the front car seemed conscious and unhurt, at least physically but more than a bit pale and shaky. She managed to blurt
out she was ok.
Training kicked in at that point and to go with the old saying in battlefield first aid “If they're screaming, they're breathing”
so I moved to the fella in the rear car, he was out of it good and proper after his head had an argument with the steering wheel,
then windscreen and lost badly to both.
Grabbing my mobile phone from a front pocket and finally remembering to shove the small book of Wordsworth I still had in hand in my
back pocket, I hit 999 and waited while looking over the bloke to see if he was still in the land of the living. A faint pulse greeted my far
from dainty digits pressed to his neck through the driver’s side open window.
The ringing tone on the other end sounded for way longer than usual, after what must have been at least two minutes, there was a click
and the voice of a lady came on the line, she sounded rather hurried. I let the much-extended phone ringing issue drop without comment
and requested ambulance and fire to attend. I gave her the location details but the air of uncertainty in her voice and the very obvious
sound of a large amount of activity and raised voices in the background did not fill me with confidence. It was all a bit hurried rather
than the usual calm manner these things are known for with the emergency services.
She took the details, relayed she would try to get someone there as soon as possible then hung up rather abruptly. What confidence I had
left in the swift arrival of the men and women of the ambulance and fire services was fast beginning to evaporate.
I went to the passenger side of the rear car and leaned in through the open window to see if this poor fella was dented anywhere else than
his head and face. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt so I didn't think it was a good idea to open the drivers side door and have the
unfortunate fellow go crashing to the tarmac.
It was at this point that idiot driver syndrome must have been spreading; I looked out the rear window just in time to see a large MPV,
travelling at no small rate of knots I might add, a split second before it hit the back of the car I was leaning inside of.
Sadly I was only mostly out of the window when it hit, the door post and the back right quarter of my head had a bit of an altercation at
A drop of good luck would have done wonders at this point. As it turned out, my good luck immediately legged it without so much as a
“Be back later old chap!”
It was a pretty good whack to the back of my head and after trying to pick myself up off the pavement where I landed, only getting in a
half-hearted attempt before noticing the patch of red liquid which seemed to be coming from me, soaking through the collar of my t-shirt.
At this point and to avoid throwing up the rather nice Balti curry with naan bread I’d recently eaten, I stayed where I was for a moment.
Then my brain played an ace and decided it was lights out time.