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Friday, 22 August 2008

The Rising - Chapter 23: Hanging Around

Thirty minutes had passed since we were dropped off and we had barely seen anyone go past us at all, never mind the vampire taxi Skinner was expecting. I sat down on the metal box containing Commander North’s head.

Are you sure this is going to work?’ I asked.

It worked for me,’ said Skinner, ‘I was told to wait on a quiet corner in the early hours and someone would pick me up. There’s always someone out there looking for new vampires so they’re bound to come round this way eventually.’

Well, they’d better hurry up or we’re both going to need a shit load of sunscreen.’

You especially,’ said Skinner, ‘I was amazed how quickly you burned when we left the base. We’ve got to be careful with you. How do you feel now?’

I’m expecting the hunger to kick in at any minute. It’s been a few hours since I woke up from the treatment. I don’t feel too bad but after seeing that vampire’s guts yesterday, I’m worried about what the virus is doing to my insides.’

I know what you mean. For what it’s worth, my body still works like it should when I need it to.’

But you can still do all the vampire magic tricks?’

When you flew last night, did you feel the blood flowing round your body?’

Yes. Whenever I did anything physical, I could feel something happening in my body. It was like a warmth spreading to the part of my body I was using.’

That’s your blood moving around your body. Blood moves to your muscles quicker, which means you can punch and kick harder than you ever could before.’

I thought of the organs we ripped out of the vampire’s body. Doctor Owen had been surprised to find that they were filled with blood, almost soaking it up like a sponge.

It comes at a price, though,’ Skinner said, ‘You saw that guy’s body yesterday. The virus breaks down the tissue in your organs.’

I know. I’m trying not to think about it. If that’s what happens to all of us, how can we ever be cured? Surely our organs can’t recover from that, even if the virus is removed from our bodies?’

A silence hung in the air as I contemplated what might happen to our bodies if non-infected blood tried to work its way through my sieve-like circulatory system. What Skinner was saying made perfect sense. Doctor Owen had struggled for many years to come up with a treatment and when he did, it only worked for a matter of hours. Even if the virus was destroyed, our bodies would almost certainly collapse from the damage done to our organs.

We were distracted by the sound of a car turning the corner at the end of the road. As the car approached us, it began to look familiar. It was a blue Toyota and there was a dog’s head hanging out of the passenger window, barking at us. I spotted a bullet hole in the door, but the rear windscreen had been repaired.

This is the car that picked up Officer Myers last night. If I hadn’t chased after this car, I wouldn’t be turning into a vampire now.

The car drew to a halt next to us. A tall, pale man got out of the driver’s door and looked at us.

Good morning, my brothers. My name is Matthew Duffy. I’m here to help you.’

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