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Friday, 27 February 2009

The Rising - Chapter 104: Triumphant Return

Skinner could sense something was amiss. The crew had successfully unloaded the bodies from the plane onto the boat, then from the boat into the truck, which was now travelling towards an unknown destination.

But now that the mission was over and everyone was on board the coaches heading back to the lair, Skinner was getting a feeling in the back of his mind. He was an infiltrator, alone in the group, but the thoughts going round in his head were more than just a fear of being discovered.

They know I’m not one of them.

When the boat docked at the pier, he’d told them all that he’d killed Tom. He said that Tom had gone crazy after being a vampire for only a few hours so he had no choice. At the time he wasn’t sure how convincing his story of stabbing him with a silver dagger then dropping the dagger in the water had been. Now he was certain they were all ready to turn on him. Skinner looked round the coach. Even though no one looked at him, he could feel their minds trying to delve into his.

As the coaches passed a sign that told them Blackchapel was just five miles ahead, Skinner saw a car go past at speed in the opposite direction. Tom’s face flashed into his mind. The other passengers on the coach looked at each other and started to whisper between themselves.

Do they know? Did they see the same thing?

Skinner was relieved that Tom was alive. He felt confident that Tom had found his friend Dave and the two of them were driving away to safety. He hoped they had found Emily but couldn’t feel her presence in their car.

As the coaches passed through Blackchapel, the empty lead coach stopped outside the hotel where a crowd had gathered. Skinner sensed the presence of vampires. Dozens of them.

The remaining coach passed through Blackchapel and made its way through the metal gates that secured the entrance to the lair. It stopped in the grassy clearing and the crew disembarked. Finally free of the normal human front they had to put up in the airport and on the plane before take-off, they all ran to the end of the cliff and jumped down into the chasm.

Peter remained in the clearing for a few seconds, just long enough to stare at Skinner, to look deep into his mind. He then held out an arm in the direction of the chasm and said ‘You first.’

Skinner flew down into the chasm and landed on the wooden platform. The main doors to the lair were open and the vampires were all filing into the entrance hall. Roxy had been waiting for them and was congratulating them all one by one.

Peter landed next to Skinner and closed the doors behind him as they walked into the hall. Roxy shook Skinner’s hand and patted him on the shoulder. ‘Good job,’ she said, but her gaze was drawn by Peter behind him. Her eyes narrowed.

Roxy turned to Skinner. The tone of her voice changed. ‘Come with me, Skinner. We need to talk.’

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