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Friday, 5 December 2008

The Rising - Chapter 68: Meeting Roxy

As the tall wooden doors closed behind us, a loud bang of wood hitting stone echoed off the cold bare walls of the entrance hall to the vampires’ lair.

The hall was huge. The ceiling was at least twenty feet high and shrouded in darkness. The only light came from the flaming wooden torches that hung at regular intervals on the walls along the full length of the hall. A massive fireplace in the middle of the opposite wall roared and crackled and warmed the hall against the cold stone walls. I struggled to imagine how long ago this lair had been carved out of the rock and how many generations of human life had passed while vampires lived down here.

Jackson handed the box of syringes to the woman in combat gear.

Excellent,’ she said, ‘He will be pleased. Thank you for your work today, Jackson. You are excused. Get some rest. I’ll deal with these two.’

Jackson nodded and walked away, leaving me and Skinner faced with the baddest looking woman I had ever seen. Dressed all in black, with a pistol on one side of her belt and a knife on the other, I wondered what manner of weapons were held in the multitude of pockets on her pants and vest.

Welcome home,’ she said to Skinner, completely ignoring me.

Thank you, Roxy,’ he replied, ‘I thought I might never see this place again.’

You have been away from here for a long time but I must press on with the matters at hand. What happened at the regional headquarters?’

It all went according to plan. The bodies from Hartley House were smuggled into the base. They turned and escaped. Almost everyone at the base was killed but they managed to kill all our brothers and sisters before I could get away with the doctor. He escaped with an agent from the World Health Organisation.’

Where did they go?’

I don’t know.’

But you got away. How?’

I fought my way out.’

How did you do that?’ I could tell Roxy didn’t know whether to believe him or not.

While everyone else was preoccupied with the attack, I got a chance to get away and I took it. I couldn’t get the doctor but I did leave a message for The Brotherhood.’

What was that?’

Skinner bent down and opened the metal case at his feet. Roxy looked surprised when she saw the face staring back up at her from the case. I suspected she wasn’t lost for words very often.

That’s Commander North,’ she said with an air of respect for our achievement in her voice.

Skinner nodded.

Impressive,’ she said, ‘I will take you to Marcus. He will want to meet the man who killed such a senior member of The Brotherhood. This will be an excellent addition to his collection.’

She turned to me but kept talking to Skinner. ‘And what about him?’

I had no choice. I turned him after my escape. My hunger was uncontrollable.’

Roxy smiled. ‘So you’ve got a taste for live flesh now? This is certainly a day for surprises. Take him down to the training room. At midnight we will need as many of our brothers and sisters as we can pull together.’

Why is that?’ Skinner asked.

You’ll see. Follow me,’ she said and led us down the hall into the darkness ahead.

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