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Monday, 11 August 2008

The Rising - Chapter 18: Breaking News

The atmosphere in the room was almost tangible. Jane had it in for me, probably with good reason, and she wasn’t afraid to show it. Dave broke the silence that had hung in the air since her last comment to me.

Let’s see if there’s anything about all this on the news,’ he said, and turned on the television. He flicked over to a news channel and I was taken aback by the image in front of us. I looked at Dave, who was staring at the television, open-mouthed in astonishment.

A news reporter was standing in front of a police station that had crime scene tape all around it. Our police station. The red banner headline across the bottom of the screen said ‘BREAKING NEWS: BRUTAL ATTACK ON POLICE STATION. 6 DEAD, 1 MISSING.’

We are getting reports that just a few hours ago, an armed man entered the police station by force and killed almost everyone inside. Apart from the prisoners in the holding cells, the only survivor, a female who cannot be named at this time, appears to have been taken from the cell where she was being held.’

I looked over at Doctor Owen, who turned to me with a look on his face that was a mixture of shock and anger.

It’s Emily, isn’t it?’ he said, ‘They’ve taken my wife, haven’t they?’

But who took her?’ Jane said, ‘We don’t know if it was the vampires or The Brotherhood. We need to get someone over there and find out.’

I’ll do it,’ said Dave.

Are you sure?’ I asked, ‘You’ve already helped us out by putting us up here. You don’t have to get involved.’

My holiday’s pretty much over now anyway. I’m supposed to go back to work the day after tomorrow, but it looks like there’s not much of a job to go back to. I’ll do my best to get in on this investigation. You need someone on the inside with the police and with the state you’re in at the moment, you’re not exactly up to the job.’

Good,’ Jane said assertively, ‘it sounds like we’re starting to come up with a plan. While Dave is checking out the police station, Doctor Owen and I will recover the samples and documents we need. I take it you know where they’re all held?’

Doctor Owen nodded.

Don’t worry,’ Jane continued, ‘We’ll get her back. Remember, we found you, didn’t we?’

What about me and Skinner?’ I asked.

Skinner spoke before Jane could jump down my throat.

I’ll take him to get registered,’ he said.

What do you mean?’ I asked.

We need to register you as a vampire. The vampires have scouts trawling the city looking for new vampires. When they pick them up, they take them to a secure location and put them on the books. They’re very particular about tracking the size of their population. It means we won’t run into any trouble in the future if they’ve got you on their records.’

I’m not sure about that,’ I said, feeling very wary of offering myself up to the vampires.

If nothing else, it’ll be somewhere to hide out until the end of the day. We need to stay out of the sun and you know we can’t stay here for long.’

Sounds like we’ve got a plan then, people,’ Jane said, ‘We’ll head into the city and split up.’

As Jane spoke, I was still weighing up Skinner’s plan in my head. Then it hit me. I knew why I’d removed Commander North’s head and brought it with us.

Give me the head,’ I said to Jane, looking her in the eye, ‘I know what to do with it.’

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