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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The Rising - Chapter 19: Arrival At The Lake

One helicopter was already on the ground as the second gunship glided over the hills. It set down next to a small lake just over the hills from Lake Arcadia. There were just two men on board the well-armed and well-stocked helicopter: the pilot and Captain Sayers.

Sayers had been relishing the chance to take on this mission since he received the call from General Graham. A call directly from the general meant two things. One: he had handpicked Captain Luke Sayers for this mission because he knew about his successes in the past. Two: the previous captain must have really screwed up.

Stepping out of his helicopter, Sayers marched across the grass towards the earlier arrivals. He counted five soldiers scattered around the hills, including two in diving gear who were making their way towards the edge of the water. General Graham was already walking towards him and they saluted each other as they met.

We’re in some pretty shit, Sayers. I hope your men are ready to go,’ said the general.

Yes sir. Thank you for this opportunity. Where are we at the moment?’

This is the approximate position where we lost the signal from the tracking device on the helicopter the targets stole. We’ve checked the surrounding area and there’s no sign so I’ve sent divers into the lake.’

How could they dump a helicopter into a lake without anyone getting hurt?’

Think about it. What if one of them were a vampire?’

Captain Sayers raised his eyebrows involuntarily, immediately realising how serious this mission was. ‘How many of them are there?’

Four. Doctor Owen, who I’m sure you’ve heard of, Jane Simpson, an agent of the World Health Organisation, Tom Ryder, a cop from the city and Private Skinner, a member of our force. At least one of them, the cop, is a vampire. They also took Commander North’s head.’

What? He’s dead? He was my commanding officer when I was a private. Why would they take his head?’

Who the hell knows. We discovered his decapitated body at the base and couldn’t find his head so I assume they have it with them. Anyway you cut it, this situation is a real fuck-up.’

What about the captain who was in charge?’

Captain Stein? Just wait till you see what happened to him.’

General Graham led Captain Sayers over to the second helicopter, but put a hand on his shoulder to stop him getting inside. They were faced with Captain Stein’s white figure and cold, dead eyes staring out at them. What was left of his legs was wrapped in bandages that had long since soaked through with his own blood.

Jesus Christ,’ Captain Sayers exclaimed as his hand went to his pistol, ‘He’s one of them. Why haven’t you killed him?’

We still need him. You still need him.’

What? Why?’

They can smell their own. You’re looking for a vampire. The best way to find the cop is to use Stein to sniff him out.’

Captain Sayers took the general to one side, out of Stein’s direct line of sight, and whispered to him.

This is very irregular, sir. We can’t keep him like this forever. We have to dispose of him. He’s a threat to every man here and everyone out there in the real world.’

Look, we’ve got to get the doctor back. I don’t care if you have to use every vampire out there to do it. The doctor must finish his work.’

But surely if we let them go, they’ll let their guard down in a few days’ time and we’ll scoop them up.’

No. Time is critical. I suspect we may only have a few hours until I’m given the order to cease all operations. Don’t ask me why. Just find the doctor. Once you have, you can do whatever you want with the captain.’

Out of sight of the conspiring pair outside the helicopter, Captain Stein sat quietly inside wondering how he could hear everything they were saying, and if there were any other new talents he hadn’t yet discovered.

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