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Monday, 14 July 2008

The Rising - Chapter 6: Waking Up

I opened my eyes.

I was expecting to be in pain, just like the terrible feeling of a hangover I had when I woke up after being bitten by a vampire twenty-four hours earlier. However, on first impressions I wasn’t feeling too bad.

I sat up and found myself on the seat in the back of a helicopter. The air was cold. My shirt was soaked through with sweat. I shivered and rubbed my arms, which were covered in goose bumps below my torn and bloody shirt sleeves. Then it all came flooding back to me.

The autopsy.

The attack.

Oh my God, I killed three soldiers and the commander.

I chopped his head off.

My eyes caught a metal box sitting on the floor on the opposite side of the cabin. I lowered myself onto my knees and edged over to the box. In an attempt to prepare myself for the worst, I took a moment to try and picture the horror that was held inside.

Maybe it was all a dream. Maybe I didn’t really do that.

I unlocked the catches on the front of the box that held the airtight lid in place. Very slowly I lifted the lid but I heard a shout and jumped, dropping the lid before I had a chance to look inside.


I looked up, outside the helicopter. I hadn’t even thought to look outside. We were sitting in a grassy clearing. Ahead of us was a thick forest and behind was a small lake. It was still dark outside, with only the moonlight illuminating our surroundings.

Doctor Owen had seen me and was running back to the helicopter.

‘Tom, you’re awake! How are you feeling?’

After having moved around for a minute or two, I reassessed my state of well-being.

‘Okay I think,’ I said, ‘A bit of a headache but definitely a lot better than I felt when we left the base. How long have I been out?’

‘Just a couple of hours. The treatment must have worked a lot quicker than it did last time.’

‘Is that a good or a bad thing?’ I asked.

I didn’t get an answer and the look on his face didn’t fill me with confidence. The doctor took my head in his hands and looked at my face in great detail.

‘Incredible,’ he said, ‘you’ve completely healed.’


‘Yes. When we left the base, the short run from the entrance to the main door resulted in you absorbing a small dose of the sun’s ultraviolet light. Your face in particular was heavily sunburnt. Now, just hours later, you’re back to normal.’

It wasn’t the first time my body had miraculously healed since I had been bitten by a vampire. He looked concerned.

‘I would have expected the treatment to slow down the effects of your infection, but…’ He stopped talking abruptly and his face, that had been happy to see me just moments before, turned into a look of fear and shame.

‘But what?’

‘You fed on Captain Stein’s blood. That would have provided you with a significant amount of energy. The treatment must have reduced the ability of your body to control its movement, hence your unconsciousness, but your blood, which is starting to be self-aware, followed its natural instinct to heal your body.’

You fed on Captain Stein’s blood.

My hand immediately went to my mouth. My fingers probed my canine teeth. They were back to normal.

‘Your teeth only extend when you’re ready to feed,’ the doctor said.

I couldn’t believe what I’d done. I had mutilated Captain Stein’s body and drank his blood. That was surely a fate worse than death. I’d cursed him with the same destiny that I was struggling to deal with. I was still struggling to decide whether I’d be better off dead.

At least I’ve got the doctor to help me.

‘I never thanked you for last night,’ I said.

‘What do you mean?’

‘When they strapped me down, you talked to me. You told me I could break free.’

‘Really? I had no idea that worked. I tried to project those thoughts, but I never thought you would hear them. Very interesting.’

‘Where are we?’ I asked.

‘We’re in the hills, near Lake Arcadia.’

‘What are we doing here?’

‘Just after I gave you the treatment, you were drifting in and out of consciousness but you said something to us. You told us to come here. You said you would know what to do.’

I was very confused.

‘Where are Jane and the other guy?’

‘Private Skinner? They got tired of waiting for you to wake up and went off to check the area out to see if they could work out why the hell you dragged us here.’

I started to feel very guilty.

‘Their words, not mine,’ he laughed.

Why have I brought everyone here? What are we going to do if I can’t remember? Wait a minute…

‘If I didn’t say why we should come here, why did we?’

‘Where else could we have gone?’ the doctor asked, ‘The Brotherhood are almost certainly going to go to our homes and we need somewhere unfamiliar to base ourselves.’

Then it hit me.

‘Where did you say we were?’ I asked.

‘Lake Arcadia.’

‘That’s it. My old partner Dave has a cabin by the lake. He’s up here right now teaching his kids to fish. He’ll take us in for as long as it takes to get our heads together.’

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