A woman’s green eyes plead for mercy.
Her strawberry blonde hair is matted and soaked with sweat. It clings to her slender shoulders and the tight skin across her chest. She shivers in the freezing night and slowly raises her trembling hands; zip-tied and red-raw at the wrists. Blood trickles down her forearms, burning bright red in the harsh light of a phone’s torch.
“Please let me go. Please. I want to go home.”
But her captor shoves her hard in the middle of her back, causing her to stumble. And for a moment the camera scans downward, past the woman’s bloodied thighs and onto thick tree roots all around her bare, muddied feet.
She cries hysterically “I don’t want to die!”
But the voice that replies is calm, and mechanically cloaked and only tells her to “keep walking...”
The naked woman with the matted hair and the zip-tied hands veers to the right and around a thick English oak. She turns back and pleads:
“I have children. Please. They need me!”
“And all the other children you would harm” replies the voice.
And the woman stops breathing until she moves again and shakes her head, back into the business of saving of her life:
“I haven’t harmed any children!”
But her captor only laughs.
“Listen to me. Listen please, I can get you help-”
The perpetrator kicks out, flat footed and sure against the woman’s soft backside and she yelps and lurches forward and cries out:
“Why are you doing this to me?”
But the captor only laughs, and then mocks the woman’s whiney voice:
“Why are you doing this to me? Me, me, me.”
“I haven’t done anything!” She scathes.
“No? You haven’t done anything!” The voice roars and the phone shakes with rage. “Don’t you dare look at me! I never said you could look at me!”
The woman sobs and cowers, and then starts to wail.
“Please. Please God help me.”
But her cries only find emptiness and cold night air.
“How many children must have pleaded with God... and all because of you?”
Cold night air, and silence and shame.
“Now show them...” the voice commands.
But the woman shakes her head, feebly.
“Please” she says. “Please don’t make me. I don’t want to.”
“Show them. Show them what we do to women like you.”
The woman cries loud and long. And the camera pans, stopping midsection as the naked woman covers her breasts.
“Lift your arms and show them what we’ve done to you.”
The woman submits and lifts her arms high above her head. And the camera moves back and forward until the image sharpens on a wide, deep slit across the whole of her stomach.
Her blood is thick and fresh below the wound and above it her skin is pale. And there is steam where the warmth of her inside meets the cold night air. And then taut, all the way to the thick English oak where her intestines wrap their way around its trunk; pinkish, mottled and dripping from stomach to tree.
“Now carry on walking, until it all comes out of you. And everyone can see.”
The woman sobs heavily and carries on walking around the tree. Her intestines squelching as they leave her body and slide through her bloodied hands.
A woman with tightly pulled-back hair and a roundish face munches on snacks in a packed train carriage. Commuters all around her perform their last, lulling task of the working day and the man next to her is in his head phones; resolutely fixed on the shapes of the city that pass by.
She thumb-scrolls with one hand and reaches into a family sized packet with the other, nestled on her lap. Tiny orange crumbs rest on her black skirt, full to bursting with her thighs.
The train rocks and creeks and suddenly she gasps “Oh my God!”
She quickly scans around in wide-eyed embarrassment, making sure everyone is pretending not to have noticed.
The man in the headphones is not so oblivious after all, but a taller man sitting immediately opposite lowers his large broadsheet and asks her “is everything okay?”
“Yes” she tells him. “I thought something was real but it wasn’t.”
“Oh” he replies.
They share a laugh and even an elderly woman wearing pearls and a tweed blazer cracks a smile. But then there is a loud scream from further along the carriage.
A woman with glossy hair is holding her phone away from her face and crying into her boyfriend’s chest.
Upbeat ‘ident’ music and a rhythmical beep, sampled from a pulse monitor. BREAKING NEWS appears across the bottom of the screen. A smartly dressed female newscaster addresses the camera in studied earnest:
“The female victim of a ritualistic murder in a London public park just three days ago has been identified as Alice Reason, a thirty-nine-year-old children’s social worker from...”
A still from Alice Reason’s snuff-video fills the screen. Her petrified face dissolves into another, happier expression from a warm family portrait. She appears to be in her early thirties; full of life and with a broad smile.
“... Miss Reason had worked with Haringey Children’s Services for over a decade. Her colleagues are said be in shock. Tammy Coleman reports.”
Tammy wears a loose cable-knit scarf over a lapel neck overcoat. She has left it wide open, despite the cold, making sure to reveal her thigh gap.
Behind Tammy is the large sign for Haringey Children’s Services: a stick-mother holds a stick-child’s hand and the father stands some way off. All are embraced by a rainbow and all have happy, smiley faces.
Tammy holds a fluffy microphone with the news channel’s logo on it, matching the one on the screen.
She speaks into the camera with a studied earnest:
“I’m here outside Haringey Children’s Services this evening where colleagues are said to be in shock, following the announcement today that the victim of the horrific murder in Regents park just three nights ago was in fact their colleague, Alice Reason. Police have also confirmed the video of Alice Reason’s murder was distributed through fake social media accounts, posing as domestic abuse refuges and women’s support groups...”
Thousands of women hold a candle lit vigil for Alice Reason, despite the cold.
Both images of Reason are sanctified with transparent sticky- back-plastic, flowers and brown cardboard placards. Messages scrawled in thick-black-marker-pen:
“Where am I safe?”
“Male violence is a male problem.”
“Racist Cis-ciety must protect trans women.”
Police officers cordon off the oak tree and stand guard, protecting the crime scene from public mourners and public grief...
“We are all Alice Reason.”
A male reporter interviews a woman with multi-coloured hair, standing in front of a banner: ‘Stop Gender Based Violence Now’.
Behind them, a platoon of multi-coloured hair, nose rings and woolly hats with bobbles stand in solemn solidarity. One woman holds her fist in the air and another sports the feminine glyph on her cheek.
A middle-aged, white male reporter addresses the camera with studied earnest:
“I’m here in Regents park tonight with Imogen Smythe, founder of the women’s group ‘Stop Gender Based Violence Now.’ Imogen, some may ask and can you connect the dots for us? How does a ritualistic murder in Regents Park relate to domestic abuse?”
Imogen takes a deep, intentional breath. Her nose rings catch the light.
“Alice Reason’s murder is an attack on women, or ‘womyn’ spelt W-O-M-Y-N across the whole of the UK, because the UK is nation which endorses domestic abuse through its lack of action to prevent it.”
Multi-coloured hair, nose rings and woolly hats with bobbles nod in solemn solidarity.
“And every single week in the UK a woman is killed by a man. Which is to say a male perpetrator of domestic terrorism.”
The white, middle-aged and male reporter is confused.
“You think there’s a statement being made here against women in general?”
A womyn behind the banner rolls her eyes while another shakes her head in slow motion, mouthing an elongated ‘WOW.’
But the leader takes another deep, intentional breathe...
“Yes, there is a statement being made against women in general. The killer created fake social media accounts for women, which he maintained for years just so he could distribute his abuse.”
Upbeat ‘ident’ music and a rhythmical beep, sampled from a pulse monitor. BREAKING NEWS appears across the bottom of the screen. A smartly dressed male newscaster addresses the camera in studiest earnest:
“Police have released this image of the man they are searching for in connection with the ritualistic murder in Regents park five nights ago.”
An elderly man with wild grey hair and a dark cable knit jumper fills the screen. He has a violent smile.
“Dr Asulf Neilson, a Danish professor of European folklore at Finchley Green University, North London, left his native Denmark twelve years ago following allegations of sexual abuse from a nineteen-year-old female student...”
The frame slowly zooms in on Neilsen’s smiling face “... allegations of sexual abuse from a nineteen year old female student... Tammy Coleman reports.”
An army of multi-coloured hair, nose rings and woolly hats with bobbles marches across a university campus. Loud horns, placards and painted faces.
“Shame on you. Protect the Fem.”
“Respect our existence. Or expect resistance.”
A boy chants aggressively from within a rainbow which frames his maddened, reddening face. The bold words written in the strata:
“This is... what a... feminist... looks like...”
Meanwhile, Tammy has opted for a classic-fit navy duffel coat with over-sized toggles and wellies. She stands alongside a middle-aged black woman with thick rimmed glasses, a heavy black overcoat and sensible, black shoes.
“Well what was a peaceful vigil has now become an angry protest on campus at Finchley Green University with so many students understandably outraged by Dr Neilson’s employment. I’m here with Abigail Adams, Minister for Women and Equalities to ask what the government’s position is?”
“Well the prime minister is deeply disturbed by this most horrific murder” Abigail Adams MP speaks with absolute sincerity. “And she agrees with me that an enquiry must be launched immediately, with the full cooperation of universities across the whole of the UK. So that we might come to understand how such a man could be employed to teach vulnerable young women in the first instance.”
Tammy receives the MP’s answer with a studied earnest. She nods emphatically.
A rhythmical beep, sampled from a pulse monitor. BREAKING NEWS appears across the bottom of the screen. A female newscaster looks into the camera with stern seriousness and the frame pulls in:
“Disturbing scenes as women’s rights protestors clash with police this evening, following frustrations at the continued manhunt for Dr Asulf Neilsen. An activist was left unconscious after officers attempted to make an arrest. Viewer discretion is advised.”
Captured in the shaky POV of a protestor’s phone, women and men scream as they clash with a line of officers trying to push them back. A rakish woman with short blue hair and a cold red nose slips under and through, twisting back on herself in the process.
A black female officer grabs the womyn’s arm and she seems to say ‘ok, I’ll stop.’ But when a male officer turns to assist his colleague the activist panics. She wrenches away with her whole body, slips in her flat trainers and goes down hard, smashing her own skull against the curb. Her blue hair turns red.
The frenzied mob surges on the wide-eyed officers, and the screaming fills all existence.