Kenstibec’s Twitter Story: Part 1

Barricade is published in paperback today! To celebrate I thought I’d publish the first part of last year’s Kenstibec’s twitter story.

@Kenstibec was tweeting for six months leading up to Barricade’s launch in June last year, dropping bulletins set in the months before the events of the book. It covers day to day life for the super-human taxi driver as he dodges bullets in Edinburgh, fights his fares across the ruins of future Britain, and watches his Real foe from Edinburgh’s walls.

It’s pretty action-packed stuff, but hey – this is twitter. Not much room for character development when you’ve only 140 characters to play with. Enjoy!

  • Way back to Edinburgh Barricade. Flaming torches on the road up ahead. Not the most stealthy ambush I’ve ever seen…
  • Well that took ages but it’s sorted now. Small dent in Landy where dense Real head impacted. Should beat out. Nearly home.
  • Quiet all morning – then the moment I step out for lunch a stick of incendiaries drops along Nicolson Street. #singedtrousers
  • TV says 5 Reals blew themselves up trying 2 make hole in east barricade – only succeeded in painting it with innards. #justbculleditseasier
  • Drivers conference with Shersult just ended. Looks like we’ve lost Querena – he’s 2 weeks late. I told him he was too slow in that tank.
  • Just realised that leaves three drivers based in Edinburgh. The last of the tankists has gone.
  • Singing coming from Real positions. I recognise the tune, but the lyrics have been made more obscene for our benefit.
  • Headed down the Cowgate to check on the cab – shells were dropping in area last night. Will get food too as I haven’t eaten in days.
  • Five minutes out the bunker and a sniper’s shooting at me. He’s good too. I’m pinned down behind old mail van. This could take all day.
  • Decided to just make a break for it. Here we go…
  • That was pretty stupid, but I think he’s lost sight of me. On to Cowgate now, keeping low.
  • Cab still in one piece, if a tad dusty. My garage withstood a few direct hits by the look of it. That’s Ficial build quality for you.
  • Food finally, of a kind – it has four legs. I could have splashed out on something tinned but went fast food instead.
  • Light enough to see Real positions with binoculars. Most are drunk, others kick a ball around. Trying to replicate the old weekends I guess
  • Shersult wants me to help him snatch a Real sentry to ‘gather intelligence’. Dumb idea (What would we learn exactly?) but #nothingbettertodo
  • Prisoner died in the night. I warned Shersult you can’t just hang them up by their feet, especially after a beating, but he did it anyway.
  • High Lights barely showed today. Real emotions run hot as result. Huge fire burning on Torphin Hill. I guess they hope God will spot them.
  • Still no fares, so helping Rick excavate a new bunker section for his garage. Tricky work during bombardment but it means I am #owedafavour
  • Well this isn’t pretty. Six hours excavating Rick’s new garage (under old supermarket) when I hit some ancient burial pit. Bones everywhere.
  • Busy clearing Rick’s extension/ installing hatch. Regmiron no help- sits on the surface staring at the sky, muttering about ‘bloody weather’
  • Rick’s extension caved in, burying Regmiron. Just dragged him out. Collapsed stanchion wounded him but he’s healing up.
  • “That’s why I stay upstairs,” says Regmiron. He’s taken a rifle up top, planning a revenge excursion to Torphin Hill…
  • Completed access tunnel http://com/c33qet
  • Regmiron’s back, badly cut up but content with his scalps. I count 22 hanging from his belt. He can’t help it, it’s the way he’s optimised.
  • Reals have been tossing bottles over barricade this morning. Most contain notes expressing deep feeling for one of the station employees.
  • That doesn’t stop them mortaring the TV station bunker. Maybe they know all that emotion is unrequited. Or maybe they just like explosions.
  • Heavy snow, settling on the ruins and the Real positions outside. Very quiet, very dark. Looks like a no High Lights kind of day to me.
  • Shersult has a fare for me. Sounds like simple jaunt to York, but he’s being mysterious about package. The road is calling again.
  • At Rick’s to get tow bar fitted. Whatever it is I’m transporting needs a trailer. Perusing barricade map for egress points. Good Sunday.
  • It turns out I’m transporting another car, replenishing York’s exhausted fleet. I wonder if Shersult knows how ridiculous an idea this is?
  • It’s an old Golf fitted with a blast box, Will carry it on flatbed trailer. Shersult seems to think I won’t get stuck. Easy for him to say.
  • Picking up new rifle as current one has habit of jamming at awkward moments. Buying from flak tower bizarre as soldiers only sell dodgy kit.
  • Not what I’d really wanted but it will do. Breaking out later tonight. http://com/c5bxsx
  • On barricade with S, scoping siege positions. A lot of movement in the shadows. They might be having a party. Or they might know I’m coming.
  • Burst clear of wall. Howitzer opens up- where did that come from? Blows trailer off rear wheels. I lose control and hit wall.
  • Chattering rattle of gunfire on bodywork. Look behind me. Cargo intact but not for long. Real with sword appears at passenger door. #deadnow
  • Howitzer fires and misses, blowing a cluster of reals apart behind me. I hit reverse, pull out. Trailer swings wide and crushes 2 more.
  • Three reals leap on trailer. I pause to shoot them off, then hit gas and tear off down the street. A holy man spits a curse at me as I go.
  • Camped north of Galashiels last night to make repairs, mostly to trailer. I don’t seem to have been followed. spaghetti hoops #earlylunch
  • Well this is new. been trying to pick a way over the border all day but reals have normal routes covered. Never seen them organised this way
  • Took a long time to find a way through Real lines. They are dug in all along the old border. No doubt about it, someone has organised them.
  • Nearly got shot up four times on the way. All cover has been stripped away, approaches commanded by well concealed firing points. On to York
  • highwaymen on A1. Halted at ditch cut in road. Swarms of reals ran at me from all directions, screaming. All dead now. #justbculleditseasier
  • Having a rest and considering options for final approach on York. Breaking in is much harder than breaking out.
  • will break through east of town, where Reals are constructing a large junk monument. Not much of a package left 2 deliver but #ajobisajob
  • Just blazed down the A166 in the end. They were so busy piling up garbage they didn’t see me until 2 late. Drove right up 2 the barricade.
  • Soldiers fired on me a few times before letting me into city. Said I didn’t have correct flash on Landy hood. Who keeps track of that stuff?
  • State of package has not gone down well, but at least engine is intact. Once I’ve refueled and eaten I’ll try to drum up a return fare
  • Got myself a fare. Mining model named Gidger. He hardly haggled at all. York is great, but will be nice to hit the road again.
  • Fare still hasn’t turned up. I pass the time in a cafe, updating driver maps on those Real border positions.
  • Gidger has finally appeared, covered in thick mud. Got stuck down a hole apparently. he’s gonna have to shower before getting in my cab
  • Leaving soon. York’s wall guards are going to toss the rats a few snacks to keep them out of our way.
  • Burst out of barricade wall into a hail of trash projectiles, tossed from catapults in Real lines. Once again they were waiting for me.
  • Bombardment forces me to swerve off access road. Landy rolls down an embankment and to rest on its side.
  • Gidger grabs a rifle and gives covering fire, while I tip cab back on wheels. I hear the rats breathing nearby. Other movement too.
  • They wait until they’re on us, then open up, spraying automatic fire. Gidger gets two in gut and drops. I toss him into cab.
  • Two Reals on me. Snap one neck, twist an arm off. Use limb to beat off third assailant, then jump behind wheel. Catapult fire closing.
  • Hit the gas, pull clear as rats leap, snaring wounded Reals. Smash through a sandbag wall and tear off across the fields. We’re away.
  • Been laying low for a while, evading pursuit and digging rounds out of Gidger’s belly. Made a bit of mess. #Imnosurgeon On move again now.
  • Camped in a cave I know, few mins from Real lines. I get Shersult on the radio for consult on best way to break in. He says East looks good.
  • Well we’re back. Went in through the mud around Murrayfield Golf Club. Not so much as a shot fired, which is the way it should be really.
  • Picked up pay from Shersult. Told him all about the improving Real organisation but he didn’t really listen – too busy cleaning rifle.
  • Been called to a tower to inspect subsidence. Very quiet today, so I walk the whole way on the surface. North Bridge groans as I cross.
  • Thick snow drifts smother everything, more and more blowing in off the sea. Real and Ficial alike hunker down.
  • Been talking to Wampi, a Mechanic model. She wants to dive to find wreck of Dutch tanker – thinks there’s still fuel inside.
  • I’ve agreed to go. Hardly what I’m optimised for but she can’t find a soldier who’ll go with her. Besides, I’ll do anything for cheaper fuel
  • Problem finding a boat to rent. I have no idea what makes a good example, except it shouldn’t have holes in it.
  • Found an old trawler with a Gronts bow. Setting out tomorrow morning. Sea choppy and stinking. Chances of locating wreck slim to zero
  • 8 hours tipping and tumbling in the swell and we’re still only half way to Wampi’s destination. She might be wrong about that too.
  • Arrived at coordinates, dropping anchor. Storm is rolling in off the continent, apparently determined to drown us all. #keepbailing
  • Wampi’s scan gear leaves a lot to be desired, but after day of random sweeping I think we might have found the ship, lying intact on seabed
  • Wampi shows me her scuba gear. It’s already chewed up by a previous swim in the burning water. Guess a Gronts dive suit was too much to ask
  • Dived through the night trying to secure pump to wreck, but no joy so far. Can’t see a thing down there and design of ship makes no sense.
  • Skin smokes every time I pull out of the water, chewed away by whatever the Reals poured in there. We’ll try again soon, after cup of tea.
  • Finally managed to cut through hold and figure a fix. We’re filling up now. No more of Rick’s mad pump prices for me.
  • Boat taking on water + unstable. Each wave threatens to capsize us. Nearing the coast we can see lights and movement. Might b hot reception
  • Reals opened up on us the moment we were in range. We’re a floating explosion waiting to happen with no friendly port.
  • We slipped ashore miles from home. I had to break up the trawler and fashion a kind of sled for our fuel drums. Now I have to drag the thing
  • Wampi takes point. Don’t think she’s fired a shot before. how are we going to get through siege perimeter without mother of all explosions?
  • Been walking non-stop, siege perimeter in sight. A ring of stinking fires around the mashed city, peaks of flak towers peeking over walls.
  • Can at least get Shersult on radio from here. Will recon likely spot for fire mission.
  • Shersult drops incendiaries across Real lines, right on time. Panic. Confusion. Screaming. Perfect conditions for heavy load transport.
  • Dragging fuel skip through Real lines. Things oddly quiet. Only sound the burning camp and freezing, snowy wind blowing in off sea.
  • So they saw us coming, the cunning devils. Hid themselves away in shallow trenches and waited until we were right among them.
  • A round pings off a barrel. I break into run, Shersult and a few others providing cover fire for the last stretch. Then noticed no Wampi.
  • Reals attacking her. Only one thing for it. I stop, push three barrels off sled, kick them hard in a few directions.
  • Shersult yells at me on radio. What do you think you’re doing? I call out to Reals. “Hey – fuel here! Fuel going free!”
  • Has desired effect. They run after barrels yelping like crazed dogs. I run back to a pulped Wampi, toss her over shoulder then onto sled.
  • I am in Shersult’s bad books. Missed a fare while I was on the ocean wave. Two fuel barrels sort that. do wish he’d stop calling me ‘mate’
  • Rick turns up- heard about my fuel. Offers discount on Blast Box for 2 barrels. Not interested, but tell him I’ll take #newshockabsorbers
  • Heavy bombardment – Retribution for the break in. I am trapped in a sewer 2 others. We play cards to pass time. #alwayscarryadeck
  • Things quiet for days. Real channels broadcast strange images of a man, eyes rolled up to sky, a cave entrance. what can it mean?

@Kenstibec is tweeting a new adventure now, leading up to the events of Barricade sequel, Steeple. Follow him to read it!