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Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Rising - Chapter 94: Choking

I took the case of syringes out of the pocket in front of me and rose to my feet, placing a hand on the headrest in front to steady myself. Looking round the cabin I could see that all of my brothers and sisters had done the same. Some of them were already brandishing their blood-filled syringes.

We’ve got five minutes.

I unzipped the case and placed it on my empty seat. I took a syringe in my right hand. With the gas mask obstructing my vision I had to hold it up high to remove the cap. Having watched plenty of hospital TV dramas in the past, I held the syringe upside down, flicked the chamber to pop the air bubbles and pressed the plunger until a small drop of blood squirted out. If I was going to turn these people into vampires, I wanted to at least make sure they didn’t have air bubbles flowing through their veins as well.

I didn’t want to make Poppy my first target so I sidestepped past her and focused on Jonnie. I moved into the aisle and knelt down next to him. I straightened his head in his seat and rolled up his sleeve. Tapping the top of his forearm and trying not to think about the fact that I’d never given anyone an injection before, I tried to find a big fat vein on his muscular arm that would make it easy for me.

I looked at my watch and realised I had already wasted over a minute. Damn it, I’m supposed to do at least five of these every minute.

The cabin shook and Jonnie’s head fell forward. I straightened him up again and looked into his lifeless eyes.

I can’t do it, I thought, I can’t turn him and his daughter into vampires. I can’t do this to anyone on this plane.

I put the cap back on the syringe and placed it in the case, which I then zipped up and sat back down in my seat. Within seconds, the tall figure of Peter was standing in the aisle, the stare of his eyes burning into mine through our gas masks.

‘What the hell are you doing, Tom?’ he demanded in an eerie, muffled voice.

I didn’t offer a response.

‘Shit,’ he exclaimed and shouted on another member of the team, ‘Hey, are you done yet? Tom’s choked! I need you to treat as many of this lot as you can. We’ve only got a couple of minutes!’

Peter leaned over and snatched the case of syringes out of my hands. I tried not to react, knowing that giving the impression that I’d bottled it would be my best chance of getting through the next few minutes and the best chance of survival for the passengers around me. He opened the case and took out a syringe. Without checking for air bubbles, he jabbed it into Jonnie’s arm and pressed the plunger, sending a measure of vampire blood surging into his veins.

Another one of my brothers arrived and picked up a handful of syringes, immediately turning to the passengers seated across the aisle from me. Peter took the cap off a second syringe. He leaned over Jonnie and roughly grabbed one of Poppy’s tiny arms.

I saw red.

In one move, I flicked his gas mask off his head with my left hand and buried my right fist into his jaw. Peter was sent sprawling backwards and fell on the vampire behind him. They both hit the ground. Peter quickly put his gas mask back on before he could breathe in any of the remnants of the gas that still hung in the air.

The vampires got to their feet and turned to look directly at me. I was convinced they were going to tear me limb from limb. But for a moment my life was spared. They had more important things on their minds. At that second, the plane started to dive.

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