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Friday, 5 September 2008

The Rising - Chapter 29: Arrival At The Outpost

Heavy clouds hung above us and the sky was turning a lighter shade of grey. During our relatively short journey the cool night breeze that had felt so refreshing at the lake had turned into full-on wind. We stepped out of the back of Matthew Duffy’s car. In any other circumstance I would be happy to be free of the rank stench of sweaty dog but my mind was on other things.

Skinner and I faced our destination. In a deserted industrial estate we found ourselves outside a seemingly abandoned two-storey office building. With blacked-out windows and surrounded by a ten foot high metal fence, it was a very unassuming location. The ideal place for creatures of the night to hide out.

How many more of these locations are dotted around the city, the country, the world?

Our driver’s dog stuck its head out of the car window and started to bark in our direction. I then heard barking behind us and turned round to see two Alsatians just like Goldie run round from the back of the building towards us. They stopped when they reached the fence but continued barking.

I’ve never been a fan of dogs. It probably all started when I was chased by a big black Doberman when I was just eight years old. It was only for a few seconds and no harm came to me but ever since then I’ve had a bad relationship with canines. It struck me that I should try to get used to having them around if I was going to be spending a lot of time surrounded by vampires.

Matthew opened a gap in the rusty fence and waved us through. As we crouched to get through the gap, the dogs kept barking but kept their distance from us. He escorted us across the yard and knocked on the front door. I heard a faint whining sound and looked up to see a small security camera focusing on us.

After a few seconds that seemed like a lifetime, I heard buttons being pressed on the other side of the door and a low buzz to indicate the security code had been entered correctly. The door opened to reveal a short, stocky man with the friendliest look I’d seen on a vampire’s pale face.

Just the two, is it?’ the man asked.

Yes,’ replied Matthew, ‘I’ve just picked them up. I would have taken them back to the lair but it’ll be daylight soon and I didn’t want to risk the journey.’

The short man nodded in agreement. ‘Either of you a rebirth?’

Me,’ I said.

Hungry yet?’

I shook my head, pretending not to know what he was talking about.

He smiled. ‘Well, you will be soon. Don’t worry, we’ve got takeaway on the way. Are you coming in, Matthew?’

No, I’ve got time to get back. I’ll leave these guys in your hands if that’s okay.’

Fine with me. Come in.’

As Matthew turned and headed back towards his car, we followed the short man into the building. He shut the door behind us.

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