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Friday, 13 February 2009

The Rising - Chapter 98: Flying Again

I was happy. Not because I’d been on a plane that had crashed into the sea. Not because I had watched a perfectly good man get injected with something that was likely to cause him an eternity of pain, even if the treatment I had given him kept it at bay for a few hours.

I was happy because I was flying again.

Upon leaving the plane, I had heard Peter shout to the vampires that were on board the coastguard boat and they started to shoot at me. I was unsure whether their guns were loaded with regular or silver bullets but that didn’t matter. I had taught myself enough basic manoeuvres in the training hall to avoid their shots.

Somehow I knew that Skinner wasn’t among my brothers on the boat, so I headed in the direction of the wake it had left in the sea. I looked down at the water and saw that it was becoming choppy, with large swells spraying water into the air below me. I could taste the salt spray as I removed my gas mask and threw it into the water.

With my sixth sense I suspected there was only one person standing on the pier ahead of me. As I got closer, I could tell it was a vampire.


I told the blood in my body to flow towards my feet. With equal feelings of fear and awe, I felt the warmth in my arms and upper body that was carrying me through the air start to move down through my waist to my legs. I slowed down and started to drop towards the wooden pier that was getting closer and closer.

My body fell down and it was only as I was about to land that I realised I was falling too quickly. It was too late for me to slow myself down. My legs buckled under me as my feet hit the pier. I thumped into the ground and rolled over, clinging on to the wooden beams and almost fell over the side into the water.

‘Tom, are you okay?’ I heard Skinner ask. I got to my feet and dusted myself down.

‘Just happy to be alive,’ I said and clocked the weapon he was holding, ‘What’s with the knife?’

‘One of the guys from the plane radioed over to me. He told me you’d gone crazy on the plane. He told me to kill you.’

‘And you believed him?’

‘I didn’t know what to think. Especially after…’

‘What? After this morning?’

Skinner nodded. I was going to protest my humanity but I knew he had a point. I was a monster. I was a vampire who drinks the blood of children. But now I was trying to redeem myself.

‘Look, I need you to do something for me. There are two people on board the plane that I tried to help: a man and his daughter. Their names are Jonnie and Poppy. She’s wearing jeans and a pink top. Probably seven or eight years old. You have to keep them apart from the rest.’

‘I’ll do whatever I can. I promise. Now you’d better get out of here. They’re expecting me to kill you so you’d better not be here when they get back. I left Doctor Owen’s wife with instructions of how to get out. Check the outskirts of the lair for her. If she managed to get out, she won’t have gone too far.’

‘She’ll probably head back to Blackchapel. That’s where I last saw Dave. I’ll try and find both of them.’

Skinner handed me the silver-plated knife. ‘Take this. You might need it.’

I thanked him and ran along the pier and jumped off the end, arcing backwards high in the sky and soaring over the trees. I forgot all about the virus coursing round my body. The troubles I’d had with alcohol hadn’t crossed my mind all day long. I no longer wanted to forget where I was. I wanted to stay like this forever.

I was flying. And I loved it.

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