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Friday, 3 October 2008

The Rising - Chapter 41: Pouring Rain

Jane stopped the car at the side of the street opposite the First National Bank. She looked at her watch. It was 8:45am. The bank wouldn’t be open for another fifteen minutes. She sat in silence with Doctor Owen for a moment and looked ahead through the windscreen.

The city was bustling. It was rush hour and the people of the city were going about their daily routines, blissfully unaware of what was really going on in the world around them, unaware of how close they were to death every single day of their lives.

The weather had turned. After the longest September hot spell in many years, dark clouds were gathering above them. A spot of rain hit the windscreen. Then another. Jane and the doctor watched as the people walking to work suddenly started to run, holding newspapers and jackets over their heads to protect them from the rain that was now beginning to fall in torrents. The falling rain became so heavy that they could no longer clearly see out of the car. A clap of thunder and a flash of lightning confirmed the heat wave was officially over.

Jane sighed. Last time she’d stopped to think, she had been on vacation. She’d taken two weeks off to recharge her batteries before the doctors presented the results of their research into the primary treatment, after which she knew her life would be turned upside down. But that was all a distant memory.

She turned to the doctor. ‘I was going to ask you if you wanted a coffee two minutes ago before the rain started. There’s a coffee shop just over there.’

That’d be great,’ Doctor Owen said, ‘but let me go.’

No, it’s okay. I won’t be long. I’ll pick up a paper as well. We’ll see if there’s anything in there about Emily.’

Jane braced herself, then opened the door and ran for cover. The coffee shop was only two doors down so she managed to reach shelter before being soaked to the skin. There were a few people huddled together in the small coffee shop, desperately hoping the rain would stop as suddenly as it had started.

The girl behind the counter took Jane’s order. As she took her coffees and paid for them, the girl said something that Jane thought was odd.

Hey, do I know you? You look familiar.’

Jane looked at her and thought for a moment. ‘No, I don’t think so. Sorry.’

They both shrugged it off and smiled cordially at each other. Jane headed towards the exit but clocked the cover of a newspaper that had been abandoned on an empty table. She quickly scooped it up and put it under her arm. She was desperate to read the cover story but didn’t want to risk it in front of anyone in the coffee shop.

The rain hadn’t stopped outside. If anything, it was heavier, coming down in sheets and bouncing off the road. Jane ran for the car. With a coffee in each hand and a newspaper under her arm, she opened the driver’s door with a spare finger and landed in the seat. Doctor Owen took the coffees from her and she shut the door behind her.

Thanks,’ Doctor Owen said, ‘Is there anything in the paper?’

What do you reckon?’ Jane said with anger in her voice as she unfolded the copy of the tabloid City Star in front of him. On the cover was a massive picture of her with the headline ‘FUGITIVE SOUGHT FOR LAB BOMB’.

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