It was recently the 7thof July, fourteen years since the terrorist attacks in London City. Whenever the anniversary comes around, I can’t help but remember that day, what I saw and felt and it was one of the moments that you never forget where you were.
It felt similar to 9/11, although the difference is that during 9/11 I was at home watching the atrocities unfold on my TV screen. I had a dream two weeks before 9/11, that I was in a large city with my mum and buildings were falling down all around us, we were hiding, masses of people were running, covered in dust. The dust was so thick that I struggled to find my mum, but when I did, we held hands and ran and ran and ran through the streets. When I watched what unfolded in New York on that fateful day, I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had seen this all before, in my dreams.
My anxiety skyrocketed after what happened in the USA. I knew, I just knew that our time would come too. I was working in London City at the time of 9/11, in one of the tallest buildings at the time and after what happened, everywhere was on high alert. But it was a further four years between attacks. In those four years, I was issued with a hard hat and a dust mask, just in case. I also carried my trainers in my rucksack, I figured if I needed to run home, I could run fifty miles (like Forest Gump right?). I can’t tell you how many trains I left due to a suspicious-looking person. As I say, my anxiety was sky high, I felt a sense of anticipation for months. But I dreamt of nothing, nothing at all to tell me about this particular, forthcoming attack on London.
The day it happened; I went into work late because I had a dentist appointment. When I stepped off the train at London Liverpool Street, it was deathly quiet, I didn’t see a single person in the station. The barriers were all up. I stood and looked at the barriers. Something isn’t right. I can’t tell you how I knew, but I felt something in the air. The energy was different. Something had happened, but I didn’t know what.
As I went up to the escalators and outside of the station, I couldn’t see one car. Still feeling strange, I walked along the street then I noticed a large group of very dazed and confused looking commuters walking toward me. One man stood out more than most. His eyes looked haunted. He had white power all over him, blood on his face and suit. Others followed, powdered, bloody, haunted. “It’s a film, they have closed the road for a film!” I thought, a little excited that I had stumbled upon this. Then my phone vibrated in my pocket. It was my friend, Lorna, sending a group message to all us girls who work in London.
“Get in your building now, we are under attack” was her message. I text back, what? “A bomb has just gone off outside my office, in a London bus. Get off the street!”.
My pace quickened. It was happening, it was now. I called my boyfriend, who was working with a gang of guys out on a job in the countryside. He tried to reassure me when I told him that I had just seen some people that were all bloody and I think it’s a bomb “it’s just a gas explosion” he said, I said he was wrong.
When I got into my office we were on lockdown. Under no circumstances were we to leave the building at all. I was acutely aware of my position in London, I suddenly had flashbacks of what my building looked like on a video I was shown after it was hit by the IRA bomb in the late eighties, my floor, floor number four, completely obliterated.
I worked in Procurement in those days and suddenly our department was the most important department in the entire company (all two of us) – the Directors needed every employee to have a hotel stay in London, the Police had said that no one comes into London and no one leaves. The task of procuring hotel rooms was pointless, they had all gone.
Lunch was brought in, again, we were told not to leave. I looked at my office and then the carpet, would I be spending the night here? I was quickly reminded that people had died today, innocent commuters just like me, I should be grateful I was still alive.
As lunchtime almost ended, my friend text me “I’ve managed to get a lift out of London, meet met at Bank Station in half an hour, red butchers van, we have space for 2 more”.
I didn’t need to be asked twice, I changed my heels for trainers and told my boss I was leaving London, he didn’t try to stop me, even if it was against the rules.
As I walked the ten minutes or so to Bank Station, I couldn’t believe the empty streets. With no cars on the road, London is a very different place. It was like I was walking in a photograph.
I saw the red butchers van and my friend and jumped in. Surrounded by frozen meat, we left the confines of London in disbelief.
As we pulled onto the motorway, I could see lines of traffic trying to get in and then a sign saying “London Lock Down” that normally gives the traffic updates – no one was getting anywhere fast.
That night I reflected on what had happened. I couldn’t believe that I saw what I did, that all the time, all those years I had anticipated this, that it happened. I felt relief, sadness and that things were different now.
Since 7/7 I’ve had many predictive dreams about terrorist attacks. I’m not sure why I didn’t this time around. Perhaps I was too close, I don’t know.
What I have learned from the experience is that energy never lies, the moment I got off the train that morning I knew, I could feel something in the air.
I want to dedicate this blog post to every innocent person who lost their lives that day, who were injured, to their friends and families.
Until next time,