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47 and Fifth

First degree murder is the best murder. Everyone says so.

By Addison AlderPublished 10 days ago Updated 10 days ago 5 min read
Top Story - June 2024

Sun-spun choppers bungee over Fifth Avenue. Vultures gathering for a primetime carcass.

The rungs are hot as I climb the news van. I plant my feet on its roof and shoulder my Sony PXW. I find focus amidst the clouds of smoke and flares.

Millions have packed Midtown, separated by barricades unequal to the throng. One side is festooned with horned helmets, Confederate flags, and 'Free the J6' banners. The other is a smorgasbord of logos and initials: anarchists, pro-Gaza, anti-snek, XR, BLM.

A horse gallops past. The National Guard are boosting the NYPD's numbers, patrolling the lines like civil war generals. The crowd is keyed up, but for the moment, well-behaved.

I jam my earpiece in. 'Peter, I'm up, are you getting this?'

The noise is like a wall. Even with the earpiece I still have to cover my ears. A crackly response comes from across town.

'Yep, great pictures, Laura. Stay right there, we're gonna put you to air.'

This is a Category 5 media hurricane. I – and the world – have never seen its like before. Total viewership across every channel, website, and app capable of broadcasting live video is topping two billion. The official livestream on is racking up thousands of shares per second.

'Peter, is the uplink good? We're kinda constricted here.'

Line of sight to a satellite is always tricky among the skyscrapers of Midtown, but the crew got an early position on a junction. I asked my PA to get Starbucks' wifi code with her oat latte, in case we have to drop down to cell phones.

'Loud and clear. That's a helluva crowd.'

'Don't worry about me, Pete.'

I've been on front lines and at global flashpoints for ten years. But truth be told, it's domestic politics that keeps me awake at night. We've watched the powerlessness of New York's criminal justice system laid bare. We've stood by as the rule of law was systematically humbled and humiliated. We've been shown how the fortitude of police and private security only lasts as far as their own individual safety.

The word 'unprecedented' is overused, but today is singularly febrile, primed. I've packed Pepsi and milk in case of tear gas. I had to shake Gazan dust out of my ballistic vest. Didn't think I'd need it in Midtown.

'Any update from inside, Pete?'

No one knows precisely when it's starting, but the channel has ears in the right places. They'll know when he's in the elevator. With luck, we'll get a ten second start over other outlets.

Peter comes back, crackly. 'Laura, we're hearing he's still briefing the DA. Could be some time yet. We're running your pictures though.'

I pan the crowd. The camera lens stimulates the nearest spectators into frenzies of hollering and chanting. I see ecstasy and delirium in their faces, fuelled by blind, unquestioning dogma.

But scattered amongst these feverish souls, are the faces of the enraptured. Their beatific expressions are raised with open palms towards the penthouse floors of the chrome-fronted building in front of them. These are the self-appointed 'martyrs'. They have been preparing for this day since the primaries.

'DA's out!' comes Peter suddenly over the radio. I spin the camera over to the lobby doors. 'She's heading down to the basement. No statement.'

'Yeah this is not her crowd.'

'Putting it mildly. Any sign of trouble, you get out of there...'

'Not much I can do. It's gridlock for three blocks in every–'

'They're clearing the lobby!' Peter crackles on the radio. 'It's happening!'

My guts coil. A frisson runs through the crowd. Eyes turn to the tower. Heads crane over heads. It seems they have also been told of the activity inside.

Then amongst the throng, I see those quiet, attentive martyrs disrobing. Casting off their jackets and hoodies. Baring their chests and their breasts to the air. I see the symbol of their faith marked on their skin. Flesh inflamed with unhealed tattoos. Blood dripping from jagged razor lines.

Their symbol is not a Christian cross, but a set of concentric circles radiating from their hearts. Like a gun range target.

FCC rules mean I can't record these people. I'm not certain I can even report on them. But they are unique to today's event. Whatever they signify is dark and troubling. A new power blistering the skin of American democracy.

My vest presses my crucifix into my sternum. Bruising, not reassuring.

'He's down,' comes Peter's clipped voice in my earpiece.

A flurry of activity in the lobby vibrates the chrome frontage. The sliding doors part and a posse of broad-shouldered, aviator-shaded men emerge.

In their midst, their principal walks expressionlessly into daylight.

He stops and narrows his pink eyes. The crowd's roar becomes a wave of white noise rolling down the Avenue.

He raises his right hand, not to greet them, but to show them what he is carrying.

I've known for years what it would be: a .45 calibre Heckler & Koch Limited Edition. A great sidearm. Tremendous.

I zoom and try to hold focus on the gun. Sun glints off the metal, flaring in my lens, blowing out my picture to pure white.

He lowers it towards the crowd.

A thin teenager, with unkempt hair, his chest branded as a martyr, leaps the barricade. He runs a few yards towards the principal, then slides to his knees in supplication. Others follow, but he is first and fastest.

I pull focus to capture the story.

The man with the gun looks at the boy, whose eyes are raised to heaven.

I – and two billion others – watch the man take aim.

I hold my breath to steady my camera.

The man isn't afraid of witnesses. He wants everyone to see.

All that matters is getting the shot.

All images by Midjourney


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About the Creator

Addison Alder

Writer of Wrongs. Discontent Creator. Weird tales to enthral and appal.

All original fiction. No reviews, no listicles. 👋🏻 Handwrought in London, UK 🇬🇧

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Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (7)

  • Wali Ahmed Khan8 days ago

    "Beautiful content! I support you and appreciate your support for me. Together, we can achieve great things! 🌟😊"

  • Your style is very peppery and Wes Anderson. Excellent job

  • Ameer Bibi9 days ago

    Congratulations on TS

  • Sian N. Clutton9 days ago

    This was an excellent read. Quite compelling.

  • Congratulations on your top story.

  • Susanna Kiernan9 days ago

    Congrats on top story :)

  • Kendall Defoe 10 days ago

    Okay, I want more...and this seems very likely now!

Addison AlderWritten by Addison Alder

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