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Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The Rising - Chapter 4: Funeral Pyre

Present Day

The full moon shone through a gap in the clouds, touching the edges of the landscape with white light. The snow-covered tips of the mountains shone like beacons in the distance. It was a beautiful scene that didn’t last long.

General Graham looked up into the sky and saw the clouds gathering together. Darkness descended on the regional headquarters. He stood in a clearing at the end of the tarmac, looking over the edge of the cliff at the deep chasm below.

The small gang that had caused this unholy mess were on the run. His men were tracking their helicopter from the control room inside the base. He knew they wouldn’t go very far. After all, they had at least one vampire with them, maybe two if their suspicions were correct from what they’d seen on the surveillance tapes. Sooner or later, they’d have to find shelter before sunrise.

There was only the sound of wind in the air until an electric whine cut through the tranquillity. General Graham turned on his heels and saw one of his men driving a white buggy up the ramp out of the base. It stopped at the helicopter pad where he was standing.

The buggy was piled high with body bags, mostly uniformed soldiers, victims of the attack just hours earlier. It had been a long time since there was a vampire attack on a base belonging to The Brotherhood. Now they were cleaning up the mess of the second in less than twenty-four hours.

‘This is as good a place as any,’ said General Graham and the driver of the buggy hopped out, ‘The wind’s blowing away from the base so they shouldn’t stink up the place while we finish off inside.’

‘Good job.’

He helped the driver unload the body bags onto the ground. Even though the victims were sealed inside their zippered caskets, he could feel the softness of their bodies. Blood was washing around inside the body bags and there was a loud squelch with each body they threw onto the growing pile.

Pools of blood formed at the bottom of the mountain of bodies as it grew. Streams of red followed the imperfections in the surface of the ground and trickled in every direction.

One body bag felt a lot lighter than the others. The soldier knew exactly which poor soul was inside. Newly reborn vampires often struggle to control their hunger and unfortunately for the soldier who had been guarding the morgue, the whole squad had a taste for flesh as well as blood.

Within hours of the attack, some of the men who suffered at the hands of the vampires had already turned and were found lurking in the depths of the base, waiting for reinforcements to arrive. They were despatched quickly and all that was left of them was their clothes, which were being thrown in with the rest of the bodies.

The soldier reached inside the front of the buggy and lifted out a can of petrol and flare. He opened the can and threw the contents evenly over the pile of bodies, then handed the flare to the general.

‘Is there anything you want to say first?’ asked General Graham.

The soldier shrugged and shook his head.

The general lit the flare. Everything surrounding them was bathed in red light, like they were standing in the pits of Hell. He threw the flare onto the mountain of dead bodies. Within seconds the funeral pyre was ablaze.

He saluted the burning soldiers and the soldier next to him followed his lead.

Is this another random attack or is it something bigger?

Is this the beginning of the Rising?

General Graham lowered his arm and his thoughts turned to the one remaining witness of the massacre who was locked in a room deep inside the base.

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