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#1: Rebirth - About - Go to Chapter 1

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Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The Rising - Chapter 25: 'Where Are You Taking Us?'

I had no idea what I was getting into. As a detective, I had never really done any undercover work, certainly not for any significant amount of time. Now I found myself stepping into a world I never thought existed just forty-eight hours earlier, when I was sitting in my car with Dave staking out a suspect.

Skinner took the lead and opened the back door of the car for me. We got in and were immediately hit with the pungent smell of the dog that was sitting in the passenger seat. The car was grimy and the interior was in a serious state of disrepair, like it had been permanently on the road ever since it rolled off the production line. The seams of the upholstery were tattered and fraying and all exposed surfaces held a thick layer of dust.

I put my hand down on the leather seat and immediately pulled it away when I felt it stick. A shiver shot down my spine as I imagined the blood that had probably been spilled on the back seat of this car. I thought this man who had picked us up was not a lot different from Travis Bickle; transporting the questionable types of people who only come out at night from one side of the city to the other.

This here’s Goldie,’ said Matthew, patting his companion, ‘Without him I might not have found you. That’s why he gets to ride up front. What are your names?’

I’m Skinner and this is Tom.’

I take it he’s a rebirth?’ Matthew said, looking me up and down and trying to look into my mind to find out my story without asking.

Yes. I had to feed. Couldn’t help myself. I’ve been looking after him ever since.’

Matthew turned to me.

How do you feel about that, son?’

I ignored him and looked out of the window. It was a rude gesture but I figured this guy must have come up against a lot of attitude from people who had just found out about their new vampire life and I was happy to let Skinner be the talker. This guy must have dealt with reborn vampires all the time so I was probably well behaved, especially if the state of the car’s interior was anything to go by.

Fair enough,’ Matthew said in response to my silence and started the engine.

Where are you taking us?’ Skinner asked.

I would normally take you back to the clan but the sun will be rising in a little while and I’d rather stay out of view. There’s an outpost not too far from here that can put you up until the sun goes down.’

Great. We’ve got to spend all day with this guy and his four-legged friend.

We’ll get your friend here registered and they’ll have something for you to eat.’

I didn’t like the sound of that. My first thought was that they’d lay on some breakfast but then it hit me that whoever was at the outpost was probably expecting a certain numbers of new vampires every day and they would have fresh meat available for their new brothers and sisters to feed on.

Very occasionally I have a habit of immediately making situations worse in my head before I’ve begun to deal with them, especially when I don’t have any facts available. As a detective I’m compelled to remain impartial, analysing only the facts but at that moment I was imagining an initiation ceremony where I’d have to feast upon human flesh and blood from a living body while other vampires cheered me on. I began to hope the outpost was a small place where everyone was sleeping and they would leave us alone all day, kind of like a bed and breakfast for bloodsuckers.

What’s in the case?’ Matthew asked.

Skinner paused for a second. ‘I’d better not show you here. It’s best to wait until we get to the outpost.’

Very cryptic,’ Matthew said and hit the accelerator, taking us deeper into the derelict outskirts of the city.

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