The first target was a Kazakh billionairess named Goga Schechter.
She had inherited her oil wealth when her father died ten years previous and had doubled it when she married an Azerbaijani billionaire who had also inherited oil money. The now estranged couple’s fathers shared the common quality of having been in the right place when the Soviet Union collapsed - the dead centre of government - and they had smartly privatised the oil fields of their home territories before anyone else could stop them. Goga had been educated in Moscow during the 80s and had went to university at Oxford during the 90s where she had been a playgirl and had graduated with a third in History of Art. Not that such a paltry qualification held her back - she dynamically surged to the forefront of several manufacturing businesses, many of which she sold off at profit, and it wasn’t until her late twenties that she turned her gaze to fashion design, her true calling.
Now she was a mother of two who split her time between a 17th century palazzo in Milan, where she sat as the head of her own fashion company (you’re not in fashion if you’re not in Milan), and her £34million (cash) Kensington mansion, a few doors down from the Beckhams, nearish to where her boys went to public school (the best schools are in England), and from which she commuted by private jet to Milan four days a week for business, two and half hours each way. It was in her London residence she was attacked and kidnapped and it is from this location that the terrorist group, Ezekiel, rose to infamy.
Goga sat on her grey sofa flicking through a digital folder of new dress designs on her tablet. She wore a Ralf Lauren: grey stitching on a purple dress, open at the leg, socks (blue wool) round her ankles, open at the toe. In public she only wore her own designs, but now she was alone she wore whatever. The bespoke shoes lay on the floor where she had kicked them. Her almost young body was angular like her Eastern cheekbones, big fake lips, subtle make-up. A golden elephant encrusted in silver coins stood next to her sofa, sparkling like a disco-ball, and from its trunk spouted water (sourced from Evian). She liked the sound of flowing water - it reminded her of the river by her childhood summer home in Kazakhstan. The marble swimming pool just outside the glass doors however, had never been swum in. Several Impressionist paintings adorned this room (she had a different room for different artistic eras), including many works worth several million - one of Monet’s lily ponds was here; it went so well with the fountain gurgling.
The terrorist was wearing black; balaclava, boots, gloves. He was in the wardrobe of her master-bedroom, waiting.
Goga closed the tablet and placed it down on the glass table by her side. She yawned loudly. The Milan commute was not easy. She studied her fingers. They were calloused from pin-pricks - she sewed her own material in the design process. She was committed; this was no passing passion. But, the reviews of her company’s first shows had been poor. “Rich bitch plays dolls,” went one. It was all about getting established; anything new was always poo-pooed. Donatella Versace herself had told her that longevity was everything in the fashion game: “Trends come and go. Style sticks. And you’ve got style, Goga.”
The nanny would be home soon and the butler was still out. It was an hour before her stock advisers would arrive (capital needed shifting in respect to the latest violence in the Middle East). She was alone for once, for small seconds, enough to relax a little before the home was worked again by her employees. She ascended the stone stairs towards the room.
So quiet was the house that the terrorist heard the socks and toes on the cold stone steps as the billionairess approached. He lifted the tranquiliser gun as slightly as he could within the cramped and dressless wardrobe space.
Goga entered the bedroom and clicked the buttons on the wall that turned on the en-suite sauna and shower room. Water could be heard flowing through the wall; heat humming. She shed the dress. It lay disembodied on the ebony floor. She had been naked beneath it and she was now naked on the bed, but for her blue woollen half-socks. She began to remove them.
The wardrobe door opened a slit. He could see her. The shower water static drowned both their breathing. Her back was to him as she sat on the bed, bent to her ankles. A tattoo of a zip ran down the nape of her neck, along her spinal column, ending at the ogive of her hindquarters.
The dart hit her at the exact spot where ended the tattoo above her buttocks. It stuck. She inhaled in sharp shock, then folded. Her body flumped off the bed heavily, one sock still on, a nice dunt on the ebony wood, unconscious.
When she awoke it was bright. She felt drunk and happy. She laughed as she failed to find her feet. And then she started to realise. She was in a small cuboidal room. The walls and roof were of corrugated steel. Two spotlights lit everything from low like a catwalk. A row of dresses hung from one end of the space to the other on either side of her. A camera stared from one of the top corners. She was nude. Not even her socks remained on her. The camera kept staring.
The live feed from the camera shone across the internet. Millions had waited across computer screens across the globe as the global media had spread the message that terrorists had kidnapped a billionaire, burned down her house in a spectacular blaze, and their next communication would be via this live stream video site. Everyone was watching the loading screen in anticipation. The news channels were analysing what they knew, which was nothing. As Goga awoke, the screens went live. Screams and sighs and smiles reverberated across web watcher’s living rooms and faces lit up. TV channels quickly censored the naked body, having already broadcasted what they needed, offering false apology for any offence. Goga began to examine the room further, but there was little else to it. It was clearly the inside of a shipping container - metal and windowless. She searched the perimeter then began banging and screaming and crying. Even though there was no sound on the video, many watching started to feel uneasy. Many turned away and switched to the news media itself to receive commentary and suffering from a further proxy.
The hunt was on. The British secret service were on the case. They had nothing. The flames from Goga’s mansion had spread and the burnt Kensington neighbourhood still smouldered - all evidence purged; all that wealth obliterated. Great works of art. Ancient architecture. Finest materials, metals, majesty. The media was in ecstasy. (And, oh, weren’t we all!)
She screamed for a few hours. Then she cried for a few hours. Then she put on the nearest dress from the dress rack. It was an Armani classic from her collection (£23,000) and she took a few others and made a sort of bed from them and fell asleep.
Many weeks later, they found the shipping container containing Goga and her dresses amongst the thousands of crates at Felixstowe Port in Suffolk, a lost piece of lego in the set. The terrorists told the media the location after it was all over. But, astonishingly to all the security services, the terrorist group itself was simply untraceable.
In the meantime however, the days were passing, not that Goga could tell time in her ever-lit crate. She had been provided with two multi-gallon plastic water tanks, one full for drinking from, one empty for defecation. She was using them, but she was starving. Her ribs began to pierce; her skull to show. Her botox lips were bigger than ever. She was starting to die. Panic spread. Vigils were held. All that shit.
Ten days in, Goga, despite her much depleted state, realised what she had to do. She was to choose the dress to die in. She took off every dress from its hanger and tried them on one by one, posing for the camera in her mildly deranged state as she did so. Bookies started taking bets. People were buying copies of the multi-thousand-pound clothing. All added up, there must have been a million bucks worth of designer cloth in that forlorn container. She chose one that was once too small for her, but now it was too big. But it was the closest fit, and a nice colour on her - purple and grey. I can’t actually recall the exact design, but it was by someone we had all heard of.
She lay down in it in a corner of the container. About a day later she stopped breathing. The media who had run the story to death were back on full beam. And just as the live social media mourning began, the live feed switched. The image, once of the familiar container rectangle, with the curled, emaciated, and fabulously adorned corpse in the corner, now cut to a new camera shot. A bare room full of bloated children. They were black kids. Clearly starving. We later found out it was from a camera hidden in a refugee camp in Eritrea. The live feed cut after a minute. A message came across the screen: Ezekiel 25:17.
Although the Biblical reference was not accompanied by further comment, this was how the terrorist group Ezekiel got their name. The quote of course referred to the wrathful vengeance of God against the non-righteous. There was much debate over whether they were Christian or Jewish fundamentalists - or perhaps Islamic fundamentalists disguising themselves as Christian fundamentalists. Generally, it was accepted that they were Christians with ties to powerful figures in either the Vatican, the American Bible-Belt, or the Masonic Order. A minority put it down to Jewish bankers and/or the Illuminati/Israel. The Christian fundamentalist argument held more weight as time passed however, because later terrorist messages pointed to the New Testament - particularly Matthew 19:24 (And again I say unto you: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”), which was posted at the end of a later video in which a prominent music industry CEO was liquified by the fires of a smelting crucible and literally poured through the eye of a needle into the mould of a miniature yacht. The camera cut to refugees drowning by a sunk dingy in the Mediterranean. But, I am getting ahead of myself...
The more frequent kidnappings and live-stream murders of billionaires began soon after the container incident. None were as drawn out as poor Goga Schechter’s, however. The invisible terrorists clearly had a sense of media theatre, and they ramped up the pace of their atrocities according to the tiny attention spans of the social media world. Most videos now lasted about six seconds (the ideal length for engaging Facebook clicks). A new war on terror was declared, but this time to the secret delight of the masses. Those who owned the media attempted to both revel in the horror and simultaneously condemn it, an act of double-think that they normally excelled at, but now that the violence directly conflicted with their personal and corporate interests it became hard for them to maintain the freak-show propaganda. This became particularly problematic for media outlets when viewers had become desensitised to the extent that even the milder citizens of the West were starting to become neutral to the serial killing.
Indeed, a growing number of people were becoming increasingly in favour of it, and, though few dared say it, they were rooting Ezekiel on. One of the main reasons for this of course was the huge boost to the global economy it all caused. The vast quantities of incredibly expensive luxuries that the billionaire victims owned were routinely burned at the site of each kidnapping. This caused for a lovely dip in inflation after a while, and everyone profited (except the murdered ones). The most significant of these drops occurred when a renowned art collector who owned more than £500 million in Picassos and Van Goghs was attacked by Ezekiel and filmed burning to death on the pyre of her art collection. This added a good few points to the FTSE 100.
Other popular attacks included the Swiss banker who was asphyxiated inside his Bugatti after they had taped him to the seat and steering wheel. He had tried to escape by accelerating away, unaware the exhaust had been redirected inside the vehicle. He died just as the car reached 100mph on the autobahn and blew up in a spectacular bomb of flame.
My personal favourite was the corrupt politician who was fucked to death and then eaten by a pig. Many others thought that that was too far.
Obviously, the billionaire class did everything in their considerable power to secure themselves and annihilate the terrorist group. But it was as if they did not exist outside of their videos. Never a single physical trace (beyond general destruction) of their presence could ever be found. The elites began to turn on each other. Who else could be responsible for such empowered and calculated evil than one of their own?
Media tycoon, Sir Murdo Rupert, owner of world’s largest news conglomerate, Media Corp, had been profiting massively from the whole affair of terrors. Moreover, he enjoyed seeing these uppity rich cunts getting slaughtered - none of them had come from nothing like him. Yet, he was afraid for his own safety. His solution was to bargain with Ezekiel. He had his newspapers print “Media Corp Supports Ezekiel” as a headline. He was stating his allegiance. Within various bulletins the papers announced that Media Corp would continue supporting Ezekiel so long as Ezekiel did certain things, including only targeting those who had inherited wealth (“Loungers”) and those who had no ties with companies x, y, and z (Rupert’s key investment partners - “Leaders in Innovation”). Rupert felt that through this way, as had always worked with the structures of power in the past, he would be able to infiltrate the terrorist group’s modus operandi and eventually control the terrorist group itself. After all, the media is the message.
He received a private text message from Ezekiel later that night. It said: “The British Bulldog. Tottenham. Alone. 7pm tomorrow.” It was the boozer round the corner from where he grew up. 7pm would be during the England game. He would go incognito. Sadly, he did not realise this was no meeting point. This was where and when he would die.
He put his phone away and entered his hotel room, leaving the guards at the door, preparing a plan of how to approach this potential scoop d'état (he was even pleased with that pun). After the hotel door closed and he took off his suit, a tranquilliser dart stuck into his varicose neck.
How Ezekiel achieved the next stage of their operation is one of the biggest mysteries. Most put it down to insiders. A conspiracy of some sort. Various theories abounded. What matters though, is that it happened. As Murdo Rupert slept unconscious in a container somewhere in London, his international news network ran with the unthinkable story: the leaked photograph of Sir Rupert standing naked with a lost child. “Paedo Murdo” was the most popular headline. The world went mad for it. But where was Rupert?
He woke dizzy and naked in the toilets of The British Bulldog. It was 6.51pm and the England game was about to start. As he regained full consciousness and overcame the initial confusion, he realised his tongue was not in his face. It had been surgically removed. He staggered out of the cubicle and stared at the graffitied mirror. He could not properly make out his face due to the cracked glass. He tried to cover himself as he shuffled out into the pub. The fans were all there, drunk and ludicrous - abominable animals. They were singing and didn’t notice him at first. But then they did.
There was a moment of silence and disbelief. Then one shouted - “That’s fuckin Paedo Murdo!”
“Fuckin dirty fuckin beast!”
Someone threw a pint. The crowd attacked - sweaty mayhem.
They carried his half-killed naked body out into the streets, chanting. They strung him up a lamppost, first by his cock, and then when that failed after a few falls, by his neck. As he hanged to death they all chanted, “Die Paedo Die! Die Paedo Die!”
And so he did.
The riots began from there.
The live feed went static as the fires started.
Then, without warning, our screens cut to a lone legless Indian crawling up a path through the slums. It was a beautiful image in a way.
As the riots spread it became clear that Sir Murdo Rupert’s predictions and predilections about the nature of the terrorists were indeed wrong. Ezekiel could never be his plaything. They did not stem from the inherent corruption, narcissism and venality of our times. They were, instead, pure products of the psychosphere, our collective subconscious reality, our deepest drivers, our archetypal truth. They are a result of the laws of natural chaos and balance which govern the universe, laws of equals and opposites. Every evil ever perpetrated reverberates and perpetuates through the psychosphere like a bullet jiggles pig fat in slow time. And every evil action done creates an equal and opposite evil to match it. The child whose mother was shredded by freedom-shrapnel, grew into the jacket that was detonated in the marketplace. The father whose sons died in the marketplace, purchased the gun that fired at the peacekeeping soldier whose death on the news justified the next war. And as such Ezekiel were born from the iniquities of the selfish and the tyrannies of evil men. Ezekiel are a plague upon the Pharoahs. Born of the slum slave and borne by the pollution of our own excess.
Mark your doors. For they are coming.