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Friday, 19 December 2008

The Rising - Chapter 74: Learning To Fly

Go on, Tom,’ Peter said, ‘Just try it.’

I was standing ten paces away from the jagged stone wall of the training hall. Pete had spent the last ten minutes trying to convince me I knew how to fly. He had told me it’s programmed into us from the moment we become vampires. Our blood knows what to do and all it needs is a helping hand from our minds.

Just run towards it as fast as you can, jump towards it, get a foothold and push yourself away with your feet.’

The look on my face told him that I wasn’t as confident in my abilities as he was. I knew he must have been right though. I thought back to when I saw Officer Myers behind the hospital. He had only been a vampire for a matter of minutes and had instinctively scaled the hospital walls without thinking about it.

That’s the key. Don’t think about it.

I realised that my moments of gravity defiance thus far had also been instinctive. I had jumped high into the air to kill the vampires that were feeding on Commander North and stopped falling outside the vampire lair because somehow my body knew it had to be done, not because I stopped to think about it first.

To hell with it, Tom. Just do it.

I took a deep breath and sprinted for the wall. Two paces from the wall, I jumped with both feet forward, planted them and pushed away from the wall. The warmth in my legs flowed up through my body into my arms. I threw my arms forward. For a moment I was flying. I was suspended in the air without support. Another moment later, my face hit the floor.

My private curses failed to drown out the cackles I could hear from the other vampires in the hall. Peter walked over to me and extended a hand, helping me to my feet. As I got up, I felt for the syringes I still had stashed in my sock. I breathed a sigh of relief when I knew they were intact.

Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘That happens to everyone.’

Great. Thanks for telling me first.’

If I’d told you to expect to hit the ground on your first attempt, would you have felt more or less prepared?’

My silence was enough of an answer for him.

Exactly. All you can do is keep trying.’

The other vampires were all drawing near, leaving their training positions to see who the new guy was.

Hey Peter,’ said one burly-looking man who must have stood a clear six inches taller than me, ‘I hope you’re not pairing him up with me tonight. I don’t want to baby-sit another noob.’

Don’t worry,’ Peter said, ‘We’re not doing this mission in pairs. Everyone has their own job but we’re part of one big team. Right?’

Everyone apart from the big guy nodded their heads. He walked over to me, stood toe-to-toe and had to look down to eyeball me. ‘You can just stay out of my way, okay?’

In any kind of normal situation this man mountain was the last guy I would be messing with but I had an idea. Without warning, I took a step back and punched him in the face. It was a good, fast jab that landed right on the end of his nose. I took a quick step to the side as blood sprayed from his nostrils.

What the fuck?’ he exclaimed, with tears in his eyes, ‘Come here! I’m gonna tear you apart!’

With the giant in hot pursuit, I made a run for the wall. Just like my last attempt, I leapt, planted my feet and stretched my body out when I felt the warmth of my blood start to flow through my body. But unlike my last attempt, I didn’t hit the ground after a couple of seconds. Instead, I kept rising. I kept my eyes focused on the stone wall directly ahead of me. Before I knew what had happened, I had reached the ceiling of the training hall.

I could hear whoops and cheers from the crowd far below me. I wanted to bask in the glory of my first flight but my inspiration was hot on my heels. I turned round to see him heading right for me. I instinctively moved to my right as quickly as I could, narrowly avoiding his charge. He hit the wall head-on and knocked himself out cold.

His huge, limp body fell from the wall towards the floor. The warmth of my blood quickly moved to my feet and I pushed myself away from the wall again. I fell towards him, faster than he was falling. As I neared him, I reached out an arm and just managed to catch hold of his boot.

We stopped dead.

We hung in mid-air just inches above the stone floor of the training hall. The warmth spread around my body and we slowly dropped to the ground. I lowered him onto his back and I landed on my feet.

There were no whoops and cheers this time. As I looked around, all I could see were stunned faces. ‘What’s up?’ I asked.

Peter walked up to me. ‘Tom, that was incredible. Are you positive you only turned today?’

Yes. Why?’

Because some of your brothers and sisters here can’t do what you just did and they were reborn many years ago.’

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