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Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Rising - Chapter 40: The Hunger

They’ve got to be kidding!’ I shouted and banged on the door. ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’

Skinner knelt down next to the young girl who had been dumped on the floor of our room like a sack of garbage. I felt sick. Not just because of the fire in my stomach or the thought of feeding on this little girl, but the nonchalance of our hosts. How could they drop this little girl at our feet like she was nothing more than a room service dinner?

Tom…’ Skinner said.

I ignored him and banged my fist on the door again. ‘Come back here! You can’t do this to a little girl!’

I beat my fist on the door again and again until it felt like my fingers were going to break, but I kept on shouting and screaming.


You sick fuckers! What if this was your little girl?’



I looked down and saw Skinner holding the little girl in his arms. Her limbs were limp and her head was hanging back over Skinner’s arm.

Tom. She’s dead.’

I winced and dropped to my knees as an explosion ripped through my guts. My new instincts were telling me the only thing that could satisfy my hunger but I tried with every excruciating breath to hold onto my humanity.

She’s dead?’ I asked, struggling to get my words out.

Her neck’s broken,’ said Skinner as he cradled her head, looking into her lifeless eyes.

There was a knock on the door. ‘Hey,’ Carl shouted, ‘let me know when you’re done.’

I struggled to my feet, clinging onto the rusty bed frame to steady myself. ‘Why are you doing this? Why this little girl?’

The streets were quiet this morning. That’s all he could find. Chow down, Detective. From the screaming in there I guess breakfast arrived just in the nick of time, eh?’

What are we going to do?’ I asked.

If you wait long enough, the pain will pass,’ Skinner said.

And then what? What happens when the pain comes back?’

I’m not going to lie to you, Tom. It’ll be worse. A lot worse. But you learn to live with it. You have to learn to live with it if you don’t want to turn into one of them completely.’

Shit!’ I exclaimed as the pain stabbed me in the chest again, ‘I can’t take it now. I don’t want it to get worse.’

I looked at the dead girl in Skinner’s arms and remembered what had happened when I sank my teeth into Captain Stein’s neck. I had felt amazing. Reborn. With his blood in my system I had felt like I could take on the world. Memory of the taste flooded back and as repulsive as I found it, saliva started to gather in the sides of my mouth.

What am I contemplating here? Don’t do it, Tom.

I remembered that turning into a vampire had given me incredible power. My physical form had been stronger and quicker. My mind had been more alert, hearing words that people only thought but never spoke.

I was super-human.

Don’t you get the hunger?’ I asked Skinner, with the agony of my burning stomach breaking my voice.

Yes, but not every day. I’ve trained myself to be able to do without feeding for days at a time. That’s what you can do if you fight the hunger.’

But can I fight the hunger now?

My eyes were transfixed on the little girl. She had the ability to take away my pain. Like an oasis in the desert, she could quench my thirst and give me the energy I needed.

But at what cost? I knew what Skinner meant when he said that I didn’t have to turn completely. With every drop of human blood I drink, I become less human. I knew that somewhere in the city right now, this girl’s parents were frantic. They were searching everywhere they could think of in a blind panic, hoping to find their princess alive and well.

But she wasn’t alive and well. She was dead, her neck broken so she could be food for these vile creatures of the night. Vile creatures of the night like me.

Is this where all missing children go? Do all missing children end up like this?

I stared into her empty blue eyes.

They won’t hurt any more children here. You were the last, little girl. But I need your help to stop them.

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