A Different Day

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What if the world went down a different path, what if we made different choices in the past, what world would that be then. A Different Day explores these worlds that could have been through the eyes of an individual on this collection of alternate history short stories.

Other / Drama
Age Rating:

Oh Holy Night, Oh Bloody Night

What if Britain became fascist instead of Germany? Brian sees how a fascist Britain changed his world of Dublin, on Christmas Eve.

The quiet shuffling of feet filled the silence of night. The shouting had stopped and now everyone was moving forward. Brian went along with the crowd, wrapping his arms around his body, holding back the cold. The air infront of him fogged up like the smoke trailing from the cigarettes the soldiers smoke in the evening outside the pub. Brian looked up, drooping over a doorway in the still air on the side of the street was the Union Jack, but a streak of lightning struck through the centre. It hung above the shivering flock of people, reminding him of when it first flew.

It was 1936 when Oswald Mosley became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, The British Union of Fascists had been elected to Parliament. At ten years old, Brian only understood from his parents that it wasn't good, but he could not comprehend why. There were also other views that contrasted with that of his parents, his local priest, Father Murphy celebrated their election, believing it was the first step to healing the rugged divide between Catholics and Protestants in The United Kingdom and Ireland. Brian's parents on the other hand feared them, they feared their power, and they feared their foul and absolute hatred.

Brian was knocked forward, he had slowed down and the crowd pushed him forward, the shuffling of feet was now being joined by the stifling and stuttering of sobs. He clenched his jaw, he wanted whatever was going on to end, get it over with, a quick beating, tomorrow was Christmas morning the year had been awful, Christmas was the last good thing that could happen, but the crowd shuffled on, orderly and quiet, complasive. The woman beside Brian was muttering the hail mary prayer under her breath, a prayer which had become forbidden in recent years.

It wasn't too long after Mosley had been elected and siezed complete control of the United Kingdom when, surprisingly, Catholics found themselves being blamed for the countries problems. The British Union of Fascists party told the people of Britain that it was Catholics giving their money to the church making them poor, that it was Catholics controlling the jobs. Before long the Catholic minority across the United Kingdom were being assaulted by the general public, attacked in the streets, their homes, shops even schools. Churches were closed by the government under the pretence that it was 'unsafe' for the Catholics to practice their religion.

Soon Ireland, South of the border of Northern Ireland of course, began getting an influx of Catholic immigrants trying to escape their poor treatment in Britain, along with various other British minorities. Mosley condemned Ireland, and began putting pressure on the Irish government to send them back, and soon enough, they complied. Many of those sent back to Britain were arrested, taken away to prisons, or new work camps. Mosley did not stop putting pressure on Ireland though, although this time to give up their independence and return to the United Kingdom.

There was a shout ahead of Brian in the line, followed by the whack of a rifle and a yelp, but the crowd shuffled on in the cold nonetheless. Brian soon passed where the incident had occurred. A girl, a year or two older then him lay on the ground, a red halo dribbling out around her head. Her distant, wide eyes stared up at the stars, pinned to the breast pocket of her coat was what had brought the attention of the soldier. A flag with three colours, green, white and orange, a flag which had been forbidden, only now, a droplet of blood dribbled down the white centre.

In February 1938 Britain had stopped pressuring Ireland, the Irish thought it was finely the end of their troubles, but a month later the British Army drove across the border in their tanks and trucks. Ireland didn't fight, they knew they couldn't stand against the British Military. The Dáil, the Irish parliament, quickly convened and then read out their surrender on the steps of Leinster House. The flag of Ireland was taken down, replaced by a Union Jack with its new bolt of lightning striking the heart of it. The tri colour flag was burned on those very steps, and then across the country, the flag was banned, destroyed, a free Ireland scorched from the eyes of history.

The buildings by the crowd Brian was in fell away to a dark sky, they had come out onto a large road, where different streets met. British soldiers lined up in either side of the throng, their blue armbands had the lightning strike insignia, showing their allegiance to the British Union of Fascists. Ahead loomed the gates of St Stephens Green, the herd was going into the park, pushed on by the soldiers. The woman beside Brian had finished her prayer, instead she now was grasping a stone with a fish carved in it.

After the invasion it was made clear that the Catholic majority would be made to completely convert to the Church of England or abandon their religion. The Sunday after the invasion was full of stories of British police brought over from England charging into Sunday Mass, beating the congregations to a pulp, arresting the priest, sometimes even executing him. Brian's family had avoided mass that Sunday, but Father Murphy, who had once celebrated Mosley's election, was shot, infront of all those who had attended.

Some small Catholic groups continued to meet in secret, making use of the sign of a fish. Brian's family did not attend any of these secret meetings, as they were frequently found out and the church goers were harshly beaten and then arrested. Many people did abandon their religion out of fear, many abandoned it to survive, Catholics could no longer get any sufficiently paying jobs, children couldn't get a full education any more, but all were tought of the might of Britain. Most families prayed in private themselves, in their homes, away from watchful eyes.

Brian's huddle joined up with a new one, also escorted by British soldiers. Everyone was wide-eyed, quiet, a cold feeling of dread was creeping through the night. Brian had been seperated from his parents earlier on, but his younger brother latched onto his trouser pocket, ignorant to the danger he was in. They shuffled through the park, until they got to the centre, where an even larger gathering waited, surrounded by soldiers, obviously Brian's parents idea had been a common one, one the British Army was all too aware about.

Brian's parents had decided that they would attend one of these secret groups meetings on Christmas Eve, to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They knew of a meeting, with a priest in the town centre, it was during the time alot of the soldiers would be celebrating Christmas themselves. It was in the basement of an old house, a rich man had lived there, while he was working, but he had left the city after the soldiers arrived. Brian's family had dressed their best for the event, which for Brian, was only a dirty shirt and tie.

Brian was no longer moving, neither was anyone around him, new, smaller groups were joining the large gathering in the centre of St Stephens Green. There was now alot of sobbing over the silence as people were no longer bothering to stay quiet. The crowd was surrounded by a wall on one side and soldiers on the other, who were watching Brian and the gathering like lions, waiting to pounce. Brian looked around for his parents, but without any luck. His little brother was now burrying his face into Brian's trousers, crying.

The basement for the Christmas Eve Mass had been full, there had been so many people there, to many people. A sense of doom had fallen over Brian's parents, they began to leave, but the room was so packed with people it took alot of effort just to get back to the entrance, when they had finally reached the door it was closed, a big man next to it had told them that they couldn't leave, to avoid bringing any attention to the building. So they had waited, the mass began, there were no hymes or chanting, no carols, everyone was silent but the priest.

It hadn't been long before the soldiers arrived. They had burst through the door shouting. In surprise the crowd had tried to run, but the soldiers started shooting at the screaming crowd, splattering blood on Brian as his father fell, it quickly stopped any escape. They had been dragged out of the basement into the icey Dublin air. There was one more bang in the basement, after everyone but the priest had all been taken outside. The soldiers pushed them forward, on a silent march. They shuffled along through the streets of Dublin.

Brian looked up from his little brother. Groups had stopped arriving to the green, the soldiers were now pressing the crowd together, closer to the wall. Now the crying was hysterical. The idea of Brian celebrating Christmas morning with his family was gone now, there wouldn't be much celebrating in Ireland in the morning at all now. The soldiers stopped, one shouted an order, they rose their rifles, and the shooting started, the screaming started, the last things Brian would ever hear.

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