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Friday, 1 August 2008

The Rising - Chapter 14: The Cabin

I breathed a sigh of relief as we reached the top of the second hill and took in the view ahead. A massive lake lay in the valley below, its surface shimmering in the cool night breeze. The full moon reflected in the lake, painting a scene of serenity before us, completely at odds with the crisis we were struggling to deal with.

We were under no delusions. We were in mortal danger. We knew The Brotherhood must have been tracking the helicopter and now that it had stopped moving, they almost certainly had a fix on our location.

But how did I know to bring us here?

I had no recollection of telling the others to bring us here. I knew that Dave would help us but the way I told them was very disconcerting. Sarah always said I talked to her when I was asleep. Sometimes it was complete nonsense but other times she said she could hold a conversation with me. According to Sarah I would tell her things in my sleep that I would never have thought to say in my waking life. This made me wonder if the reason for us being here was due to my nocturnal foibles or another new talent I had inherited from the vampire that had bitten me.

The vampire that sucked my blood just last night.

It felt so long ago. We had been through so much since my old friend Greg Myers had turned into a vampire and bitten me, but our journey was far from over.

We stopped for a second and looked across the lake at the cabins in the distance. Tiny dots of light indicated that most of the cabins were inhabited.

Not far to go,’ Skinner said optimistically.

Are you sure we can trust him?’ Agent Simpson asked.

Of course,’ I replied immediately, ‘he’s my partner. I’d trust him with my life.’

I’m still not sure,’ she said, ‘He’s a cop. We can’t trust anyone any more.’ She was still being cold with me. I was worried that we’d end up taking our frustrations out on each other, when we’d worked so well together so far.

Well, look at it this way, Jane,’ I said, ‘We don’t have much choice, do we?’

No Tom, we don’t. But that’s because you brought us here.’

Doctor Owen walked ahead of us. ‘Come on,’ he said, ‘we won’t get anywhere standing around bitching.’

The doctor led the way down the hill to the edge of the lake and we followed it round to the path that led us through a small, tidy collection of young trees to the cabin complex.

Which cabin is he in?’ Skinner asked.


We walked along the road that followed the side of the lake and counted down the numbers of the cabins we passed.

It’s that one up ahead,’ Skinner said.

I saw the cabin Skinner was talking about. The lights were on and there were two cars outside, one on the drive and one on the road in front. As we approached, a group emerged from the front door and walked down the drive.

I turned round to face the rest of the group. ‘Wait,’ I said.

What’s wrong?’ Jane asked.

He’s with his wife and kids.’

So what?’

So they don’t need us wading in, that’s so what. He’s getting rid of his family to help us out. Let him say goodbye to them first.’

We were so focused on finding shelter that we were in danger of doing it at the expense of everything else, including social graces. With torn clothes and dirty and bloody faces, we would have been fooling ourselves if we had expected to be welcomed with open arms.

Remember,’ I announced to everyone, ‘Dave doesn’t know why we’re here. He doesn’t know who any of you are and look at the state of us. No sense in giving his kids nightmares.’

Everyone kept silent but I knew they agreed with me.

Dave was in the same position I was in yesterday. He had no concept of vampires in the real world. I had a lot to tell him but I needed him to take it all in quickly if he was going to help us.

We watched Dave’s wife load their kids into the car. She kissed him goodbye then got into the car and drove away from their cabin. I hadn’t seen a through road behind us so I had assumed she would drive away in the opposite direction but she was heading right for us. As the car passed our motley crew of strays, her stare cut through the darkness and hit me right in the eye.

She knows we’re the ones who’ve ruined her holiday.

Wait here,’ I said.

Why?’ asked Jane.

Like I said, he doesn’t know any of you. It’ll be best if I go ahead and talk to him one on one.’

Once again, silent agreement washed over our team and I realised we’d have to work on our communication skills. Maybe it’s just because we’re all tired, I thought and pushed that concern to the back of my mind.

Dave had gone back inside the cabin. I walked along the road, up the drive and knocked on his front door. He opened it and paused for a second when he saw me.

Holy shit, Tom. What the hell happened to you?’

Make me a strong cup of coffee and I’ll tell you all about it.’

Will do. Didn’t you say there were others with you?’

They’re waiting round the corner. I thought I’d better check you’re okay with this first.’

Don’t worry about it, partner. I couldn’t leave you wandering the hills all night, especially looking like that. Bring them in and I’ll put the kettle on.’

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