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Friday, 28 November 2008

The Rising - Chapter 65: Hanging In The Darkness

The car stopped in a clearing at the edge of a cliff. Shadows from the mountains kept us in relative darkness but I was still worried about getting out of the car.

I had no idea how much ultraviolet light my skin could absorb before it started to burn. One of the few things I remembered about leaving The Brotherhood’s regional headquarters the night before was lying in the helicopter feeling like my skin had been removed inch by inch with a potato peeler. I had only been in direct sunlight for about thirty seconds.

Jackson got out of the car and opened my door. My hesitation spoke volumes. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘We won’t be out here for long.’

Why, are we getting picked up?’ I asked.

No, this is the end of the road. Have you flown yet?’

Erm, no. Not really. Why?’ I asked. I almost forgot that I was supposed to have been a vampire for only a few hours, not a flying, murdering, Captain-eating son of a bitch.

You know the fight or flight theory?’


Well, for your brothers and sisters it’s more literal than it was when you were human. Get out of the car and I’ll show you what I mean.’

I hesitated again, but Jackson had finished being friendly. He leaned over, grabbed me by my shirt collar and dragged me out of the car.

Hey, what the hell are you doing?’ I shouted as Jackson picked me up and lifted me above his head, ‘Put me down!’

Time to learn how to fly, new boy.’

Jackson ran to the edge of the cliff and threw my struggling body into the darkness below. My whole body tingled as I felt myself tumbling down. It was like the dream where you’re falling forever and only ends when you wake up in a cold sweat.

Only I didn’t wake up. I was more awake and alert than I’d ever been in my life. I screamed as I fell feet first. The warmth of my blood spread up through my body and collected in my head and shoulders. The air in the dark chasm became colder the further I fell.

Then, just when I thought I was destined for a bloody end on the rocks, I stopped falling.

My descent slowed and slowed until I was hanging in mid-air. I stopped screaming and looked all around me. It was the strangest feeling I had ever had. I could see the sharp rocks below me on the base of the cavern but something was stopping me from falling, suspending me in the air just a few metres from a small ledge and a pair of large wooden doors built into the rock.

Did I do this? Am I controlling my body?

I looked up and saw two figures appear in the bright band of sky above and fly down towards me. In a swift intricate move, Jackson flew headfirst towards the ledge and performed a back flip in the air to land perfectly on his feet. Skinner stopped next to me, holding our metal case in his arms.

That was a shitty thing for him to do,’ he said, ‘Are you okay?’

I guess so,’ I said, still in shock from the fall.

Skinner grabbed me by the collar and dragged me across the chasm, setting me down on the ledge as he landed. I took a couple of steps, steadying myself on my feet.

Jackson banged on the wooden door. After a few seconds the sound of unlocking bolts filled the chasm. The doors creaked open.

Two vampires dressed in black cloaks, with swords at their side held the doors open as a female figure dressed in black combat gear stood waiting for us.

Welcome home, Jackson,’ she said, ‘All of you come inside. I need to speak to you. Now.’

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