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Monday, 26 January 2009

The Rising - Chapter 90: Boarding The Plane

I tried my best to cast my insane dreams from my mind and focus on the job in hand. The dream had been vivid, so realistic, but I knew it was just my exhausted mind playing tricks on me.

Everyone stood up but Peter had one more thing to say to us before we left the coach.

‘We’re going to go into the airport one at a time. We’ve got people on the inside but that doesn’t mean we won’t arouse suspicion if we all go in together. We won’t need to go through luggage check-in so head directly for departures and follow the signs for flight BA159. See you on the plane.’

Peter stood at the end of the coach and waved us all off. One by one my brothers and sisters left the coach and made their way towards the main terminal building. The syringe packs had straps on them that we used to secure them round our waists. As I reached the front of the coach I asked Peter a question.

‘What do we say if anyone asks to look inside these cases?’

‘Just tell them you’ve got a medical condition and you might need to treat yourself on the plane. Trust me though, no one will ask to look inside them.’

As the last of my brothers and sisters made their way into the main terminal building, I left the coach and did my best to walk naturally across the road. My heart was pounding, which made me wonder whether this was just due to nerves and if my body actually still had a biological need for my heart to beat.

If my heart’s still beating, do the rest of my internal organs still work? Is it still possible to save my body?

I reached the main entrance to the terminal and was faced with a sight I hadn’t seen for a long time. It had been many years since I had flown and even longer since I took a holiday. Feelings of nostalgia and sadness gripped me as I took in the sight of countless families waiting in line to pack their luggage onto the planes that would take them to far away lands for a well-deserved break.

Some of you aren’t going to get there. We’re going to turn you all into vampires.

Massive flat screens hanging from the ceiling showed which gates everyone had to go to. I looked up BA flight 159 and headed for gate four. Without a second thought, I walked past all the retail outlets where I would normally have spent a small fortune on music and aftershave if I had been heading away with Sarah without a care in the world.

Instead I headed directly for the departure lounge, where a long queue for security checks was waiting. Standing at the back, I looked down the line. I couldn’t see anyone from the coach.

Did they make it through already? Have they all been found out?

The line seemed to take an eternity to shuffle towards the security team. With each step forward I was getting more and more nervous. A member of the security team kept walking up and down the line looking at everyone. On one of his journeys past, he stopped right next to me and looked me in the eye.

‘Sir, will you come with me?’

I didn’t know what to do. ‘Me? Why me?’

‘Come with me please, sir.’

With no other alternative, I followed him past the line of passengers waiting to walk through the metal detectors and put their hand luggage through the X-ray machines. He unhooked a rope barrier and we walked round the security section towards a door in the corner of the room.

‘Where are we going?’ I asked, my voice breaking slightly with fear. I received no response.

He opened the door and asked me to walk through. Very reluctantly I did so, expecting to see a tiny room where I would be held and probably beaten, but instead I was faced with the departure lounge. People who had made it through the security checks were milling around the retail outlets and enjoying their last coffee or something stronger before they boarded their flights.

I turned round and quizzically stared at him.

‘Good luck my brother,’ was all he said and shut the door behind him.

Peter was right. They’re everywhere in here.

I heard the call of the public address system announcing that my flight was now boarding and made my way towards gate four. As I arrived at the gate I recognised the faces of my fellow vampires. Some were drinking coffee, some were reading the early editions, but all of them were blending in with the crowds. No one knew what was about to happen.

The cabin crew were checking tickets and ushering people onto the plane. I showed my ticket and made my way down the tunnel and was greeted by more members of the cabin crew as I boarded the plane. I was shown to my seat by the window and removed my case of syringes, placing it in the pocket attached to the seat in front.

Peter was right again. No one asked me about the case.

The one thing I hoped above all was that no one would sit down in the two seats next to me. I needed some semblance of privacy to get my head round what I had no choice in doing.

My hope was not realised. Two people sat down next to me: a tall man who looked to be about thirty-five years old sat on the end and his daughter sat down between us. He was wearing jeans and a jumper and was well built. His daughter was wearing jeans and a pink jumper, with her long brown hair tied in a ponytail. She couldn’t have been any older than eight and was quite possibly the cutest kid I’d ever seen.

‘Hello mister,’ she said, ‘My name’s Poppy. What’s your name?’

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