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Friday, 29 August 2008

The Rising - Chapter 26: The Box Under The Bed

For the second time in under an hour, Detective Dave Thomas found himself standing in front of a building surrounded by crime scene tape. This time he was alone.

At one-two-four Castle Crescent there were no photographers or dumbstruck police officers getting in his way. Tom had told him about the attack on this house. He had even heard about the ensuing helicopter attack on the tactical aid unit on the radio as he drove his then-happy family up to the lake. All they had said on the radio was that the traffic was grid locked due to a ‘possible terrorist incident’. He had half-expected to receive a call telling him to get back to work but the more time that passed without his phone ringing, the more those thoughts faded and turned to his wife and kids.

But that happiness had been all too brief. Dave cast his eyes over the surroundings. The pleasant leafy drive was lit only by street lights and he couldn’t see anyone around. All the excitement in the suburbs had happened more than twenty-four hours earlier and with all the commotion at the police station, the city’s hacks had a much juicier story to get their teeth into.

He knew the early risers would soon start to make their way out of bed and into their cars to beat the rush hour traffic.

If something was going to happen here, it’s best to get it out of the way when there’s no audience to see me screw up.

He walked up the path to the front door and pushed it open. It had been broken from its latch and now that the evidence had been gathered from the scene, securing the building wasn’t a priority for the city’s over-worked police department. Dave ducked under the crime scene tape and made his way inside, shutting the door behind him.

So this is where it all started.

Dave thought about the details of the story Tom had told him. This is where he first came up against a vampire and The Brotherhood at the same time. The smashed window in the door was testament to that, as were the rank aromas of burnt flesh and tear gas residue that hung in the air.

Dave started to look round the rooms, searching for anything that might lead him to the mysterious man who grabbed Doctor Owen’s wife. He passed through the living room, kitchen and dining room. Nothing looked out of place to him. Other than the front door hanging from its hinges, the downstairs could have belonged to any upper-middle class home.

Dave returned to the entrance and slowly made his way up the stairs. The contrast between the scene in front of him and the one downstairs couldn’t have been starker. At the top of the stairs he stopped and stared at the remnants of the demise of the vampire and Officer Myers. There was a wide red patch of blood dried into the carpet where the policeman had fallen, right next to a pile of ash and long burns streaking up the wall.

Trying not to imagine the sticky end that both victims had met, Dave moved into the main bedroom. He scanned the room and was about to move on when he noticed a small plastic box under the end of the bed. He bent down and picked up the box. It was filled with syringes, each packaged in plastic branded with the word ‘Virex’. The syringes were all filled with equal measures of yellow liquid.

The silence was broken by the sound of the front door creaking open. Footsteps made their way inside the house.

Panic washed over Dave and he quickly placed the box back under the bed, then made his way into the en suite bathroom. He moved with footsteps as light as he could manage, trying to keep out of view while leaving a crack in the door to check out the intruder. He knelt down and popped the clip off his holster and drew his gun, knowing that if he was spotted, there would be no escape from the dead-end he was hiding in.

The footsteps made their way up the stairs. Dave clicked the safety catch on his pistol just before the sound of footsteps moved into the bedroom. A tall man with a pale face and dressed in black combat gear cast his piercing eyes around the room. He was tall, at least six foot four and he was stacked. If it came to a one-on-one, Dave knew he wouldn’t have a hope in hell of overpowering this man mountain.

The man’s eyes focused on the box under the bed. He bent down and picked it up, then made his way out of the bedroom and down the stairs. When Dave heard the front door close behind the stranger, he left the bathroom and ran down the stairs. Through the smashed window in the front door, he saw the man get into his car that was parked in front of the house and quietly drive away. With no other sounds outside on the road, it was as if he had never been there.

Dave got his keys out of his pocket, threw open the front door and made a run for his car.

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