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Monday, 1 September 2008

The Rising - Chapter 27: Deserted

With no answer to his second stronger knock, Captain Sayers kicked the door in. The wooden frame splintered as the door swung open to reveal a deserted cabin.

Are you sure this is the one?’ Captain Sayers asked, turning round to look Stein in the eye. Stein nodded but didn’t say a word. His mind was filled with anger and pain. His feet had barely started to grow back but he was being forced to hobble across hills and fields to look for the man who mutilated him.

Two soldiers had their arms round his shoulders, helping him walk, but they were more bothered about their own safety than minding if he stumbled and went over on his new ankles. Stein didn’t have a grip on his new powers but he did what he could to be useful to Captain Sayers. The unnatural way he sniffed out the trail of the vampires they were chasing scared everyone in the squad and they all hoped they would be given the order to kill him soon.

Sayers led his men inside. The cabin was still warm, retaining heat from the log fire that had only just burned out. The embers of the fire were still glowing so Sayers knew that they weren’t far behind their targets. From the outside, the cabin was identical to the rest of the holiday homes that lined the lake. Small and functional, it was designed for sleeping and eating between hikes, fishing trips and water sports. It wasn’t designed to conceal four fugitives from The Brotherhood.

Sayers surveyed his surroundings. There was no sign of a struggle. Everything looked like it was in its right place.

They must have come here for a reason. No one would let a bunch of strangers in at this time of the morning. Why this cabin above all the others?

One of Sayers’ men approached him. ‘Nothing, sir. No personal items were left behind. The beds have been slept in, though.’

Sayers thought for a moment. ‘One of them must have known whoever owns this cabin. They must have known they would be here this week.’

Should we start knocking on doors?’

No. That’s clutching at straws. We’d only cause distress and word of our investigation would get to them before we do.’

Sayers lifted his radio. ‘Private Hindle, are you there?’

There was a moment’s silence before the reply. ‘Yes sir, we’ve just arrived at Hartley House.’

Good. We’re at the lake, in a private cabin in the Waterside development. When you get the systems back online, I need you to find out who owns cabin sixty-six.’

Yes sir. Have you found something?’

Maybe. Stein led us to an empty cabin, but it looks like someone left not very long ago. We’re going to head back to join you at Hartley House. The sun will be rising soon and it will be better to continue the search by ground.’

Yes sir.’

As Captain Sayers clipped his radio back onto his belt, he heard Stein’s voice behind him. He sounded angry and desperate. Sayers almost felt sorry for him.

Do you still need me, or are you going to tie me to a post outside and leave me to burn? If you want to kill me, just get it over with.’

We still need you,’ Sayers replied, ‘Anyway, we don’t want you to burn here. You’ll stink up the place and put the tourists off their breakfast. Get back to the chopper. We’re leaving.’

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