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Sunday 5 April 2009

The End... for now

Chapter 119 is the final chapter of The Rising. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Tom, Jane and Doctor Owen will return...

Friday 3 April 2009

The Rising - Chapter 119: Bad Feeling

Everything had moved so fast in the past few hours that I had almost lost track of what was going on. Jane and the doc were handing over all they had on the primary treatment in exchange for Emily and Doctor Forrest. Once we were done here I hoped to God we could go back to wherever they had been hiding out all night so Doctor Owen could continue his tests and work out what the hell was happening to me.

I hadn’t been hit by the hunger for almost twenty-four hours. Not since I’d lost control at the outpost. I wondered how long it would take to come back, and what had happened to my body in the time since my last dose of the doc’s treatment.

How long does it take for my body to become beyond repair?

Will I ever be human again?

I thought of the joy of flying I had experienced and questioned whether I could ever go back to being fully human.

It doesn’t feel right in here,’ Dave said.

I know what you mean,’ I said. Ever since we had walked through the entrance, I’d had a strange feeling nagging in my mind. It was a feeling of belonging but also danger at the same time. I’d felt the same way at the hotel in Blackchapel. I knew vampires were nearby, but we couldn’t know whether they were just part of the crowd or had other intentions.

Tom!’ I heard the shout from behind us.

I looked round and saw the two people I didn’t expect to see in the mall at five in the morning. Jonnie was running towards us, carrying his daughter in his arms.

Tom, I’m so glad we found you.’ He sounded exhausted.

Jonnie, what are you doing here? What happened after the crash?’

I don’t know. We just woke up now.’

What, here?’

In the back of a truck in the car park downstairs.’

A terrible thought entered my mind.

Were all the other passengers with you?’

Before he said ‘Yes’, I had already worked out what was going on. There were hundreds of shoppers in the department store. They were so focused on grabbing the latest bargains that most of them didn’t notice the metal shutters start to drop on the entrance to the store. A handful of them noticed and got out before it closed.

Oh shit. Why the hell didn’t we work it out? The best way for them to rapidly increase their numbers is to lock the infected bodies in with a large number of people and let nature take its course.’

What do you mean?’ Jonnie asked. I realised I hadn’t given him the whole story on the plane.

You know the infection they injected into everyone on the plane?’

Yes, what was it?’

It was vampire blood.’

Jonnie stared at me blankly. ‘Vampire blood? You mean I’m going to turn into a vampire? I don’t believe you!’

Well you should believe me. I know it’s hard to take in but it’s true. You’re not going to turn right away. The treatment I gave you should hold it off for the rest of the day. We’ll get you more. You’ll be okay. I’m sorry I couldn’t stop them from injecting you, but I made sure they didn’t touch your daughter.’

As he thanked me, we heard screams from behind the metal shutters.

Come on,’ I said and led the way towards the south entrance to the mall, where I hoped everything was fine and we could get out of here before the vampires that were about to enjoy their first feed worked out how to get through the metal shutters.

We ran down the mall as fast as we could and met Jane and Doctor Owen running towards us.

What happened?’ Jane asked.

The department store has been locked down. There must be two or three hundred people trapped in there with about a hundred and fifty vampires.’

We all looked around us. All the entrances were reinforced with metal shutters. All windows were covered. Not one speck of sunlight was allowed in the mall.

Where’s Becky?’ I asked.

She’s been captured. The Brotherhood found her and forced her to go with them. I overheard them on the earpiece.’

Well, can you still hear them?’


Maybe they can hear you.’

Good point,’ she said and started to address whoever may be listening to her voice, ‘Hey, if anyone is out there, you have to come in here. There are hundreds of people trapped in the department store. They’re in danger.’

Agent Simpson. This is Captain Sayers of The Brotherhood. I have been ordered not to let anyone in or out of the mall until further notice. You may like to know that Agent Clarkson and the member of our team that was helping her out have been apprehended. It’s doubtful you’ll see them again.’

What are you going to do with them?’

It’s not what’s going to happen to them that you should be worried about.’

Jane hung her head in despair.

We’re fucked, aren’t we?’ I asked.

Jane nodded.

The people who had ducked under the shutters before they sealed the entrance of the department store were frantic. They didn’t know what to do. They were watching their friends inside getting ripped apart by creatures of the night they never thought existed in the real world. Blood sprayed on the inside of the tall, thin windows next to the shutters, which rattled as the bodies of the victims were slammed against them.

With The Brotherhood outside and their rifles trained on every possible exit, and a population of vampires inside that was set to double, or even treble as soon as they’d finished carving through the shoppers in the department store, we all knew there was only one outcome of this situation.

We’re fucked.

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Wednesday 1 April 2009

The Rising - Chapter 118: 'The Rising Has Already Begun'

Jane’s heart sank when she heard the last broadcast from Agent Clarkson.

This is going to end badly. It’s too late to try to run away.

Emily!’ Doctor Owen shouted and ran to embrace his wife as she walked through the south entrance of the mall.

Roxy was standing next to them but they ignored her. They hugged so tightly that they almost crushed each other’s bodies. Doctor Owen couldn’t even comprehend what his wife must have been through.

Are you okay?’ he asked.

I am now,’ she spluttered, fighting back the tears, ‘But there’s something you don’t know…’

If you’ve hurt her…’ Doctor Owen started to threaten Roxy.

She’s fine,’ Roxy said, ‘Can we get on with this? We haven’t got much time.’

Doctor Owen pointed at the pile of bags and cases on the floor by the fountain. ‘Take it, it’s all yours. Where’s Doctor Forrest?’

Roxy smiled and waved to a van that was parked just outside the entrance. Two vampires in black suits escorted a man in dark trousers and a white shirt into the mall. It was Doctor Forrest.

You’re okay!’ Doctor Owen exclaimed as he walked through the doors.

Have you got everything there?’ Doctor Forrest asked, ignoring any concern Andrew had for his well-being.

Er… yes. It’s all there.’

Including the backup tapes?’

Yes, everything.’

Excellent,’ he said and turned to his vampire escorts, ‘Take these back to the van.’

The vampires walked over to the fountain and picked up the bags and cases. As they left the mall, Doctor Owen realised the terrible truth.

You’re one of them!’

What?’ Jane exclaimed from behind him.

He’s right,’ Doctor Forrest said, ‘I’m one of them. I’m a vampire. I always have been, Andrew. I’m sorry I had to deceive you all these years.’

But it was you that kept us working on the cure when The Brotherhood were forcing us to work on the primary treatment.’

That’s right. You see, Andrew, the work on the secondary treatment is already complete. It has been for four years. It was my job to make sure you didn’t make any new developments in that time.’

In what time?’

In the time it took The Brotherhood to build up stockpiles of the secondary treatment all over the world.’

But why would they do that? Why would you want them to do that?’

To maintain a balance of the species.’

You mean you’re going to go public? There will be anarchy. It goes against the terms of the treaty.’

Controlled anarchy, Andrew. That’s the whole point: control. I know you haven’t seen the treaty so let me spell it out for you. This whole chain of events was agreed fifty years ago. The mass-production of the treatment. The building of stockpiles. Even the plane crash earlier today, while not spelled out in such detail, is implied by the need to greatly increase our numbers in a short time frame.’

To what end?’

Co-existence. The Rising has already begun.’

But the Rising would result in total extermination of the human race. You’ve read the Costas report. Vampires wouldn’t be able to stop themselves from drinking the blood of every human. Once that happens, the vampires would die out from hunger.’

That report was only released to make people think it could never happen. The key ingredient left out was political control. This plan is backed by the highest positions in world governments. Once we take our rightful place alongside the humans, a treatment program will begin to maintain certain layers of human society in the event of them turning into vampires. This will ensure peaceful co-existence.’

But the treatment isn’t complete. Once you’ve been bitten, you need to keep taking the treatment every day.’

I know. That’s the beauty of it. Regular treatment means regular payments to Mantek from every national health organisation around the world. Fifty years ago, we stood on the edge of our rise to power. A treaty was signed that agreed a fair share of the future of our planet. That includes its wealth. Mantek is part-owned by us, part-owned by the World Health Organisation.’

I don’t believe you!’ Jane shouted, ‘This could never happen!’

It could happen and it did. Fifty years ago, you were almost beaten. You would have agreed to anything. Now you get to be part of the Rising today.’

What do you mean?’

Some of our brothers and sisters are here, waiting for you. Farewell, my friend.’ Doctor Forrest turned and walked out of the mall. The sun was just starting to rise outside so he ran for the van.

Roxy addressed Jane and the doctor one more time before leaving. ‘Your friend Skinner is dead. And don’t even think of trying to leave. Your friends, our babysitters The Brotherhood, are waiting outside for you with orders to shoot on sight.’

As she left the mall, the doors automatically closed and metal shutters started to drop behind the doors.

Andrew, what’s going on?’ Emily asked.

Screams echoed from the other side of the mall.

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Monday 30 March 2009

The Rising - Chapter 117: 'Wake Up Daddy!'

Daddy! Wake up, Daddy!’

Jonnie woke up to find his daughter Poppy shaking his body as hard as she could with her tiny hands. He immediately sat up and grabbed her, hugging her, holding her tightly.

I’m here now, sweetheart. Everything’s going to be okay.’

Where the hell are we?

Jonnie looked around him. They were in a metal container. The doors were ajar, allowing faint artificial light from outside to spill inside. Everywhere he looked, he saw bodies lying on the metal floor.

The plane.

His last memory was injecting himself and his daughter with a mysterious yellow liquid. A yellow liquid given to him by that man on the plane.


At least he knew he was right to trust the stranger. Both he and his daughter were alive. Jonnie didn’t feel any different. He rolled up his sleeves and checked his arms. Sure enough, there was a bruise on his left arm.

Shit. What the hell did they inject me with?

He didn’t want to hang around and find out what all the other bodies were infected with, especially if he and Poppy were temporarily immune. Jonnie got to his feet and took his daughter in his arms.

Come on, sweetheart, we’re getting out of here.’

He opened the door and jumped down from the edge of the container. They were in an almost-empty car park. Jonnie looked at his watch.

Just after five. Jesus, we’ve been out all night.

The thought of the plane crash hit him again. It must be all over the news. Poppy’s mother must be going mad with worry.

Jonnie headed for the door, hoping their surroundings would soon become familiar to him. He also knew that he somehow had to find Tom again. He had to know what happened on the plane. Why did those people do this to him?

Holding Poppy in one arm, he jogged up the stairs behind the door. As he reached the top, he spotted a single door at the end of the corridor ahead of him but the sight before him was the last thing he had expected as he opened it.

They found themselves standing at the back of a bustling department store. Jonnie instantly knew he was in the mall but he had no idea why. He blended into the crowd who were more bothered about searching for bargains in the early hours than a man and his daughter sneaking past them and out into the mall.

Jonnie’s feeling of complete helplessness turned to hope when he saw a face he recognised across the mall. Deep inside he knew that his presence couldn’t be a good thing. It was too much of a coincidence, but he didn’t want to think about that for now. All he cared about was getting help from someone who might know what they were doing there.

Tom!’ he shouted as he ran across the marble floor.

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Friday 27 March 2009

The Rising - Chapter 116: Loud And Clear

Becky ran up the stairs to a small area on the first floor of the mall that was cordoned off for a selection of coffee and cake stands. She thought the plants, potted trees and statues dotted around the empty tables and chairs would offer adequate cover, at least for the duration of the hopefully short meeting. A single door marked ‘Employees Only’ stood in the corner. Becky tried the handle. It was locked.

As quietly as she could, she dragged a table and chair over to the largest statue and sat down, establishing line of sight to the south entrance and the fountain just inside the doors. In under thirty seconds she had unzipped the holdall, placed all the pieces of her rifle on the table and pieced it together. She surveyed her surroundings.

No one here.

With the rifle no doubt visible to anyone who made their way up the motionless escalator, she would have no choice but to silence them. She knew the rifle would be no good for close combat but she felt confident that one of the many weapons held in her combat suit would do the trick.

Jane, are you there?’ she said into the tiny microphone on her collar.

Yes, I’m here. Can you hear me?’

Loud and clear. Where are you?’

We’re just making our way down the mall towards the south entrance now.’

Good. Try to stay between the doors and the fountain. That’s where I’ve got the best shot.’


Jane peered through the high-powered scope mounted on her rifle and saw Jane walk past the fountain with Doctor Owen. ‘Where are the other two?’

They won’t be expecting Dave and Tom so they decided to try and blend in with the crowd of shoppers and hang around as lookouts.’

Good idea.’

Jane and Doctor Owen placed their bags and cases on the floor then perched on the edge of the fountain. Becky was focused solely on the job at hand.

Guard these people with your life. You need their help. You haven’t got a hope of stopping the Rising on your own.

The silence was broken by the click of a door unlocking. She looked up from the rifle and saw the handle of the door in the corner move. Sunrise was only minutes away. The vampires would be here any second. She didn’t have time for a fight.

Neutralise the threat.

She got to her feet and took three steps forward and one to the left, moving her out of the immediate field of vision of whoever was behind the door. Without looking down, her right hand went to a pocket on her jacket and drew a small throwing knife.

The door opened.

As soon as the man behind the door showed himself, Becky threw the knife as hard as she could. Silently, it flew through the air and embedded itself deeply in his temple. He was dead before he hit the ground.

Becky looked down at the fountain. They’re still safe. I’ve got a few seconds. She ran over to the door and couldn’t believe what she saw.

Becky, they’re here,’ Jane said.

Becky stood over the dead body of a man in camouflage gear. He had an automatic rifle in his hands.

Becky, are you there?’ Jane asked again.

Yes, I’m here.’

Becky?’ asked another voice, one she hadn’t expected to hear.

Will, is that you?’ Becky asked, aware that Jane would be listening to this conversation.

Yes. I haven’t got long. I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch sooner but I haven’t been able to get away. I don’t know what will happen to me if they find me but I have to tell you.’


Get out of the mall. Get the fuck out of there right now.’

Becky stared at the body at her feet. A small trickle of blood ran down his lifeless face. ‘No shit.’

They know where you are. You, Agent Simpson and the doctor. They know everything. Oh shit.’

What?’ Jane asked with desperation in her voice. There was no answer from Will but she heard another voice in her ear, a voice she didn’t recognise.

Agent Clarkson. My name is Captain Sayers. Put your hands on your head and walk through the door.’

Before she could challenge the order, a gloved hand reached round the door and opened it fully. Behind the door stood two soldiers in camouflage suits. The red spots from the infrared sights on their rifles painted targets on her body.

Becky put her hands on her head. ‘Jane, if you can hear me, get out of here now. This is a setup.’

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Wednesday 25 March 2009

The Rising - Chapter 115: 'Give Me A Minute'

My body jerked and I was awake. I looked up and saw everyone standing around me. Everyone.

Jane!’ I said with surprise and relief in my voice. I got up and jumped out of the car. I tried to embrace her but she reeled backwards, like she didn’t want to touch me.

What’s up?’ I asked.

Look at the back seat,’ she said with a look of horror on her face.

I looked at the spot where I had been lying. It looked like someone had been killed. Glass was strewn all over the seat, which was soaked through with blood. My blood. I bent down and checked my face in the car’s wing mirror. Not a scratch.

I felt the spot on my back where I had crashed through some poor commuter’s windscreen. Nothing.

What happened to you?’ Jane asked.

I got in a fight. A few fights, actually. Captain Stein is dead.’

Becky walked over to me and introduced herself without any prompt.

Hello, Tom. My name is Becky Clarkson. I used to work for the World Health Organisation. I’ve been working with your friends today.’

We shook hands. ‘Pleased to meet you, Becky. So what are we doing here?’

We’re going to exchange all the papers and samples we have on the primary treatment for the doctor’s wife.’

But doesn’t that mean that the vampires will have all the research, all the work you’ve done for The Brotherhood?’

That’s right,’ said Doctor Owen, who looked very tired, ‘But there’s nothing else we can do.’

Hey Doc, did you know someone else is using your treatment?’

Did you come across the Virex syringes as well?’ Becky asked.

Yes. I took two and gave them to a guy and his kid on the plane.’

Did they use them?’

I think so, yes.’

Before or after they were infected?’

Before, but only he was infected.’

What happened on the plane?’ Jane asked.

They gassed everyone and injected them with vampire blood. The crash was supposed to look like an accident but the bodies were taken off the plane almost as soon as it went down.’

Where were they taking the bodies?’

I don’t know. Skinner was staying with them. Have you heard from him?’

No. I assumed he was with you.’

The whole situation was disorganised and confusing. After a day of running around, it didn’t feel like we were any closer to finding out what was going on in this city or how we could stop it.

Doctor Owen picked up a medical case and started to walk towards the mall. ‘Can we go?’ he asked.

Wait,’ Becky said, ‘Let me go on ahead. Give me a minute to get through the mall, find a spot and get set up. Jane, put this in your ear.’

Becky threw an earpiece at Jane then ran to the back of the car, picked up a black holdall. She threw it over her shoulder then ran towards the entrance when she saw the coast was clear.

How are you doing, Dave?’ Jane asked.

A hell of a lot better than I would have been if it wasn’t for this guy,’ he said and pointed to me, ‘Last thing I remember was getting punched out by a couple of bloodsuckers, then I woke up in the back seat of the car with this son of a bitch behind the wheel. I’ve got a bad feeling about this place, though.’

Why’s that?’ I asked.

Some of the guys who attacked me work here. In fact, everyone who was staying at that hotel works here and they were all vampires.’

Try not to worry,’ Doctor Owen said, ‘We’ll be in and out of there. Has she been gone a minute yet? Let’s go.’

We all picked up bags and cases and made our way into the mall.

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Monday 23 March 2009

The Rising - Chapter 114: Not A Scratch

Why the hell is it so busy?’ Becky asked as she took her helmet off. She walked towards the car where Jane and Doctor Owen were taking their bags and cases out of the boot.

It’s sale day,’ Jane said, ‘The department store opens early today.’

It doesn’t happen very often, does it?’ Becky asked.

No, why?’

Just seems too much like a coincidence, that’s all.’

Jane stifled a laugh. ‘You think everything’s a conspiracy, don’t you?’

Becky didn’t share her light-hearted mood.

Yes I do, Jane. So would you if you’d seen the things I’ve seen over the last two years.’

Doctor Owen piped up as he threw a bag full of documents over his shoulder. ‘Let’s just get in there, dump all this crap, get my wife and get the hell out of here.’

Can’t argue with that,’ Becky said then returned her tone to serious. ‘Okay, here’s the plan. They don’t know about me so you two go in there and meet with Roxy. I’m going to find a lookout point and watch over you. You can’t take any weapons but remember that I’ll be watching you through the viewfinder of my rifle. I can take a vampire’s nose clean off from a thousand metres away.’

Jane believed her and suspected that she had done just that on more than one occasion.

Then what?’ Jane asked.

I know someone who can help us,’ Becky said, ‘Someone who owes me a favour. He’s a scientist as well. He should be able to keep us safe and allow you to continue your work.’

Finish my work?’ Doctor Owen said, ‘Is there any point now that we’re handing all of this over?’

Look, Doc, we have to go into hiding once this is over. We have to lie low and stay away from the vampires, The Brotherhood, everyone. But if there’s anything you can do to help us stop them, you owe it to everyone out there, especially your friend Tom. We’re running out of time. Where the hell is he?’

Jane was ready to say she didn’t know when they heard a car screech into the car park and skid to a halt next to them. The rear windscreen was smashed and the countless bullet holes made the car’s bodywork look like a cheese grater on wheels. Dave jumped out of the driver’s seat and shouted ‘Help me with him!’

They all ran to the back of the car and opened the doors. Lying among shattered glass on a seat soaked with his blood, Tom was unconscious.

I don’t know what happened to him. I was driving and he fell through the back window. He just told me to head for the north car park at the mall then passed out. He looked like hell when he got in the car. I’m worried he might need medical attention.’

Jane leaned into the car to examine the body, but couldn’t find an injury among the shredded clothes.

I don’t believe it,’ she said, ‘There’s not a scratch on him.’

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Friday 20 March 2009

The Rising - Chapter 113: Mid-Season Sale

Sunrise was still an hour or so away but the staff at the Morningside Mall were already arriving for work. In less than an hour, the biggest department store in the mall was going to open for its mid-season sale. Every sale began in the early hours of the morning and the car park closest to the north entrance was already starting to fill up.

The workers all ran from the coach that dropped them off and made their way inside, past the queue of eager shoppers that was building on the concourse.

On the roof of the mall, several groups of men were working hard, unaware of the reason for the tasks they were performing. All they knew was that someone had called their boss in the middle of the night and offered to pay them all a ridiculous amount of money to get on the roof and nail thick sheets of metal over the skylights that dotted the ceilings inside. No one had told them why they were doing it, but they didn’t care as long as they got paid.

As the shop workers arrived at the store, their supervisors thrust racks of clothes in their direction and barked orders at them to make sure the shoppers were faced with the sale stock as soon as they walked through the door.

The store manager clicked her fingers as she realised she had left her handbag in her car. Following a spate of break-ins in the car park recently, she decided it was best to fetch it as soon as possible. She surveyed the surroundings and saw that all of her staff were busy re-arranging the store layout. Everything was going according to plan so she told herself she had a few minutes to nip down to her car.

She walked back through the store and cut through the fitting rooms. She opened a door marked ‘Employees Only’ and walked down the undecorated stone walled corridor, down the stairs at the end and into the cold darkness of the employees’ car park.

That’s weird, she thought as she looked around and sensed that something was amiss.

In the middle of the car park, a truck sat across several parking spaces, with the driver’s door wide open. She walked up to the truck and looked inside the cabin. As she suspected, there was no one there.

Hey, is there anyone here?’ she shouted. Her voice echoed off the cold stone walls but no one answered her call.

She walked round to the back of the truck. One of the doors was ajar and the realisation of what was going on hit her as she opened it. She was faced with a truck full of unconscious bodies.

Everything fell into place.

Of course. The sale. All the people.

She knew that today was the day. And she would be part of it.

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Wednesday 18 March 2009

The Rising - Chapter 112: Kill Captain Stein

I spotted Stein standing on the roof of a car two lanes across from me. I didn’t have time to make a jump for him before I heard the rattle of bullets tearing through the bodywork of the car I was standing on.

I rolled over the side and crouched down, out of the line of sight of the gunner on board the helicopter above. As I hoped he would, the gunner turned his attention to Stein and started to fire at will in his direction. As far as The Brotherhood were concerned, we were just two vampires and we had to be killed at all costs, no matter how many humans were injured or killed in the process.

When the shooting stopped for a few seconds, I heard the screams of the people stuck in their cars. Glass and bullet casings peppered the road’s surface. I could feel the pain of everyone around me. Too scared to leave their cars, too panicked to stay still, they didn’t know what to do.

The passenger door of a car in the next lane flew open and a young woman in jeans and a white t-shirt made a run for the emergency lane, hoping to find some protective shelter among the trees that lined the edged of the road. Her companions in the car were shouting at her to come back but she didn’t listen to them. She made it to the barrier and jumped over, but she never landed on the other side.

In a flash, Stein flew from his hiding place and plucked her out of the air as she jumped. Her screams became lost in the sound of car horns and the pouring rain as Stein carried her high into the air, tracked by a line of gunfire from the helicopter.

I lost track of them. So did The Brotherhood. The gunship had changed positions and I was now a sitting duck. I made another leap for cover, this time behind a large van that I hoped was empty as its rear compartment was torn apart by a hail of bullets, narrowly missing me as I darted behind.

I knew the van would only offer cover for a matter of seconds before the gunship moved again. Looking around for suitable cover, I spotted a tanker a few vehicles ahead with a badge on the back that signified a non-hazardous load. I took a step forward but I was stopped in my tracks.

A body hit the ground at my feet with an almighty thump. It was the body of the young girl, only her jeans and white t-shirt were soaked through with rain water and her own blood, which was pouring from a gaping wound in her neck. Her eyelids flickered and with her last breath she gargled blood in her throat.

I looked up and had no time to move out of the way. Stein’s hands caught me firmly on the shoulders and the force of his falling body hammered me into the ground. I would have cried out in agony as my left arm popped out of its socket but the force of Stein’s knee crushing my chest forced the wind out of me. He began pounding my face with his fists.

Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!’ he chanted maniacally as he unloaded his rage on me.

My thoughts went to the silver dagger tucked into the back of my belt but I couldn’t reach it with my right hand and my left arm was limp and useless. I felt and heard the horrible crunch in the middle of my face as his last punch broke my nose.

Over Stein’s shoulder I saw an arc of yellowy-white bullets cut through the air and rattle through the van next to us. Stein sensed the danger immediately and let go of me, flying away into the traffic behind. With the pressure on my chest now gone, I had just enough time to take a deep, wheezy breath and roll to my side before the tarmac where I had been lying was shredded to pieces. The pain in my shoulder was magnified a hundred times as I rolled onto my left side. I shrieked in pain and tears welled in my eyes.

With no agility or poise whatsoever I threw myself over the bonnet of the car next to me and crouched down. My eyes were fixed on the tanker once more, but my plans had changed. I no longer wanted to use it as cover. Getting to my feet and ignoring the unbelievable pain in my shoulder and face, I took two powerful steps, feeling my blood flow from my legs into my torso.

Narrowly avoiding another barrage of bullets, I threw myself forward with all of my might. I was airborne, no more than four feet off the ground, heading directly towards the tanker. I looked ahead, making sure I was on my intended course then closed my eyes. I told all the blood in my body to head for my left shoulder and winced in anticipation of the pain that was to come.

My shoulder hit the tanker square on the edge. I heard the pop as my arm reconnected to its socket and screamed in agony as a bolt of electricity shot through my spine to my brain. I blacked out for a second but the impact of crashing headfirst onto the surface of the road brought me back to consciousness.

The warmth of my blood spread all over my body as I wobbled to my feet, using my hands to steady myself against the side of the tanker. I rolled my arm around to confirm it was functional again.

Burning with unbelievable pain but functional.

I took a few seconds to compose myself and heard the thunder of gunfire once more. I looked at the gunship and saw the line of bullets raining down in the direction of Stein, one lane across and two or three cars down.

I took a step sideways and looked round the side of the tanker. I could see Stein darting from one car to another, dancing around the certain death of the trail of silver bullets that was following his every move. The shooting stopped and I began to run. I was almost on top of him when he turned round, but there was nothing he could do to stop me.

I grabbed him by his shirt and head butted him on the nose. When he instinctively lifted his hands to his bleeding nose, I reached for the dagger with my left hand and quickly drew it forward, slicing through his right hand and severing his little finger.

He screamed and looked at his hand. His little finger had almost completely dissolved into ash before it hit the ground. Frozen with the terror of knowing he had only a few seconds left to live, Stein was mine to do with as I pleased. Still gripping him by his shirt, I jumped high into the air, taking his shaking, decomposing body with me. Moving faster than the gunship could rotate, I flew round to the opposite side to where the gunner was stationed and threw what was left of his screaming carcass into the cabin.

I made my escape and searched the traffic ahead for Dave’s car. I looked back only once, to see the gunship flailing in the air, attempting to land in a field. I spotted our car less than a mile down the road. With the adrenaline subsiding and the reality of what had just happened to me setting in, I started to feel faint as I fell towards the rear windscreen.

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Monday 16 March 2009

The Rising - Chapter 111: 'I'm Going To Tear You Apart'

Suspended in the air, I slid down the side of the car and grabbed onto the pair of legs that were hanging over the end of the rear wing. Stein’s hands gave way and the weight of his body pulled me down.

We hit the road with a thump. I gritted my teeth and grunted with pain as the left side of my face scraped along the rough surface of the road. A car that had pulled into the emergency lane stopped right in front of us and the driver sounded the horn.

We were bathed in the white light of the headlights. Stein sat up and looked right at me. For a second he looked deep into my eyes, penetrating my mind with his thoughts.

You did this to me, you bastard. I’m going to kill you. I’m going to tear you apart.

The tarmac exploded next to us. We both looked up to see the gunship hovering over us. Small white hot bullets were almost masked in the rain as they shot down out of the sky towards us. I quickly got to my feet and made a leap for the field next to the road. I wanted to get the attack as far away from the traffic as possible. But no sooner had my feet left the ground than I felt Stein’s hands grab my ankle and pull me back down.

Come here, you motherfucker!’

His hands made their way up my legs and grabbed onto my waist. Stein lifted us off the ground. I looked up and saw the gunship getting closer and closer. We were rising into the air, flying towards the deadly rotating blades above. Stein chose the opposite side of the gunship to where The Brotherhood had planted their heavy machine gun.

We rose faster and faster. Stein held me out in front of him, trying to throw my body into the deadly blades. As we reached the gunship, I threw out a hand and gripped the edge of the opening to the main cabin. I held on tight and we stopped. Stein lost his grip and the downdraft from the blades blew him away from me. Before the soldiers on board could lift their weapons to shoot at me, I let go and the downdraft pushed me back towards the ground.

Blood flowed up through my body into my arms and shoulders. I stopped falling and hung in the air ten feet above the ground. The gunship started to turn to allow the gunner a clear shot at me, but a second later Stein flew into me from behind and pushed my body down. He let go and threw me towards the traffic.

My heart skipped a beat as I crashed through a car windscreen. I heard the screams of the passengers but got to my feet and stood on the bonnet. I looked down and saw blood all over the dashboard, which was quickly being diluted by the falling rain. I thought nothing of it, knowing that my body would repair itself before long.

I felt pain all over, but it wasn’t the type of pain that made me want to rest. It charged me like adrenaline, driving me on to push me harder than ever before. Looking down the emergency lane to see that Dave was disappearing into the distance, I turned all of my attention to the one thing that my life depended on.

Kill Captain Stein.

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Friday 13 March 2009

The Rising - Chapter 110: Emergency Lane

I turned round in my seat and looked out of the back window. The helicopter didn’t look like it was heading towards us, but the shock came when I saw a body fall from the main cabin. It fell towards the ground but stopped before it hit the grassy field next to the road. I knew who it was, the only person it could be.

Stein. He knows I’m here.

Not wanting to stick around and wait for him to find us, I hit the accelerator and swerved over to the emergency lane. I knew my actions would alert him to our presence but I saw no other option.

Get the hell out of here.

I saw a flash of white in the rear view mirror, followed by another, and another. A second later, more vehicles were following me down the emergency lane. I drove as fast as I could, knowing that some of the commuters behind me would get caught in the hail of bullets raining down from the helicopter.

I was certain that Captain Stein had escaped from the clutches of The Brotherhood. Were they taking him to be killed? Whatever their reason for transporting him in the gunship, they were surely regretting it now. He was free, and the more they tried to neutralise him, the more attention they were drawing to themselves and the fact that there was a vampire flying around a freeway intersection filled with normal people who had no concept of what was going on around them.

The windscreen wipers were going as fast as they could but it was still difficult to see through the torrent of rain ahead at eighty miles an hour. I took a deep intake of breath as a car in front of me pulled out into the emergency lane. I jammed on the horn and narrowly avoided smashing into the back of it as it pulled back into its place in the traffic jam.

One look in the rear view mirror told me that Stein was getting closer. The gunship was larger and flashes of gunfire were still falling down towards the road. I heard a screech and looked again. The car that was following me skidded and flipped over onto its roof, smashing into several cars in the process. I was certain I could see bullet holes in its bodywork.

What the hell’s going on?’ asked a voice from the back seat.

Dave!’ I exclaimed, ‘Are you okay?’

I think so,’ he said and surveyed his surroundings, ‘Where am I? Why are we going so fast?’

We’ve got a vampire on our tail. The Brotherhood are trying to kill it, and probably us as well. Can’t explain any more right now.’

There was a loud thump from the back of the car. Dave looked out of the back windscreen. ‘Holy shit! I guess this is the vampire.’

Almost crashing into another car, I turned round. Captain Stein was lying along the back of our car. He looked frantic. I heard a voice echo deep within my mind.

Ryder. I’m going to kill you.

Pieces of the road ahead flew into the air and landed on the bonnet. The gunship was directly above us and they were taking pot shots at the vampire that was clinging on. I knew I had to get Dave away from this situation. He would be the one that Stein attacked first and I couldn’t let that happen.

Dave, climb over here and take the wheel!’ I shouted.

He squeezed his ample frame between the seats into the passenger side. I hit the horn again to stop another car pulling out in front of us then turned to Dave.

Take the wheel,’ I said, and let go of the steering wheel when he gripped it with both hands.

Where are you going?’ he asked.

I checked that I still had the silver-plated dagger tucked in my belt. ‘To get that bug off our car,’ I said and jumped out of the driver’s door.

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