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Friday, 26 December 2008

The Rising - Chapter 77: Interrogation

Confident that no one had heard his conversation with Emily, Skinner made his way back through the long corridors of the vampire lair to the door where he had left Roxy.

The whole place felt like a tomb. It had been a long time since he had been there but he had never seen it so empty. The long corridors and large halls were usually buzzing with squads of vampires training and sparring. Now the only sound was Skinner’s footsteps. The effect of the attack on Hartley House was plain to see. The vampires had increased their numbers considerably, but now they were back down to the levels that The Brotherhood had previously thought were normal.

How can they possibly be planning an attack now with such a small clan?

Skinner reached the door and noticed it was slightly ajar. He heard Roxy talking to Marcus inside. Skinner had met Marcus several times but didn’t really know him. He always seemed very hands-off unless something major required his immediate attention, delegating many of his responsibilities to Roxy. Skinner couldn’t hear what they were saying but the tone of their voices was very serious.

Skinner stood at the door for only a second before the talking stopped. He raised his hand to knock on the door but it swung open before he made contact. Roxy stood before him with an intense expression on her face that told him she was eager to get him inside and find out everything he knew. Marcus moved round his desk and sat in his chair.

Come in, please. Take a seat,’ she said and he complied with her orders.

This is the survivor?’ Marcus asked Roxy as soon as Skinner sat down in the creaky wooden chair.

That’s correct, sir.’

Roxy’s interrogation began immediately and Skinner quickly began to feel like he was being cross-examined in court.

Skinner, you survived the attack at The Brotherhood’s regional base.’

Yes, that’s right.’


I smuggled the bodies from Hartley House into the base as planned. They turned into vampires when we expected them to. The Brotherhood were preoccupied with fighting our brothers and sisters, so I had the opportunity to get the doctor out.’

Why didn’t you?’

There was an unforeseen complication. In addition to Doctor Owen, The Brotherhood also had an agent of the World Health Organisation in their custody. Between her and the doctor, they used the vampire attack as cover for their own escape.’

But they are all part of the same team. Why would they want to escape from The Brotherhood?’

They don’t believe in the work they were forced to do. They believe in curing us, not killing us.’

The secondary treatment?’ Marcus asked incredulously and looked at Roxy. They both cracked a smile.

If only they knew,’ Marcus laughed.

Yes sir,’ Roxy said.

Skinner looked round, hoping they would let him in on their secret, but they didn’t.

So they somehow gave you the slip, did they? Then they hot wired a helicopter and made their getaway?’

That’s correct.’

I’ll be honest, Private. I don’t like your story. Something about it doesn’t add up, but for now I have no choice but to believe you.’

Skinner tried not to look like he was breathing a sigh of relief. There were no more questions for him.

Skinner noticed something sitting on Marcus’ desk that hadn’t qualified for his attention when he was being bombarded with questions. On a marble base, a skull was suspended on a wooden stake. Marcus noticed that Skinner had spotted it.

You like it?’ Marcus asked and turned the skull round to face Skinner.

Impressive,’ was all that Skinner could think to say.

It’s yours,’ Marcus said, ‘Roxy had him cleaned up for me. Commander North will take pride of place beside me from now on.’

Skinner raised his eyebrows in surprise. He was lost for words. How do you respond to someone who just told you he’s had a human skull cleaned and mounted on his desk?

Do you have a job for him?’ Marcus asked Roxy.

In the absence of any brothers or sisters who have seen action recently, Private Skinner is automatically my second-in-command. He will be leading the extraction team.’

Extraction team?’ Skinner asked, ‘Is there going to be another attack? What can I do?’

Roxy looked at her watch. ‘I’ll need to tell everyone else soon anyway. I suppose I can give you the details now.’

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