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Monday, 16 February 2009

The Rising - Chapter 99: Room Service

The TV news had all but stopped reporting on the attack on the police station. Twenty-four hours was a long time in journalism. No new information had come to light about the attack or the missing individuals the police were supposedly looking for so the reporters had been fed various pieces of banal news to pass the time.

Just that second a bright red band flashed across the bottom of the TV screen, along with large white letters that read ‘BREAKING NEWS’. The male reporter said that a plane had gone missing shortly after take-off and was thought to have crashed into the sea.

Dave didn’t hear the report. He was asleep.

Slumped in his chair by the window where he had held his vigil for Tom, Dave had reached the point of no return and given in to the insistence of his eyelids. However, he did hear his phone ring and the piercing sound jerked him awake. Without thinking, he got to his feet and answered the call.

‘Hello?’ he croaked.

There was no answer. The caller hung up almost immediately.

Must be a wrong number. Dave thought nothing of it and hung up the phone. He rubbed his eyes and checked his watch.

What the hell am I doing here? he thought, not for the first time since checking in at the Cliffside Hotel. Tom saw me in the car. He must know I’m here. I’ll stay here as long as it takes to be sure he’s okay.

Dave considered calling his wife again to check how she was but then looked at his watch again and thought better of it. He decided to get his head down and have a few hours’ sleep in his bed. He picked up his mobile and was about to program the alarm function with a time to wake him up when his thoughts were disturbed by another sound.

There was a knock at the door.

Very carefully and as quietly as he could, Dave edged towards the door and put his eye up to the spy hole.

Oh, for Christ’s sake! Not him again.

It was the concierge.

‘Hello?’ Dave said.

‘Hello sir, may I have a word?’

‘It’s past two in the morning. Is this absolutely necessary?’

‘Yes sir, I’m afraid it is. I’m very sorry. I wouldn’t wake you at this time if it wasn’t important.’

‘What is it?’

‘Sir, may I ask you to open the door? I’d rather not wake the other guests by shouting through the door.’

Dave flipped the metal coil over the bolt on the door and opened it slightly. The concierge immediately pushed on the door and it banged against the bolt.

‘Sir, will you please open the door? I’d prefer not to talk through a gap in the door.’

‘Will you tell me what this is about first?’

‘Room service, sir.’

‘But I haven’t ordered any room service.’

The door burst from its hinges and knocked Dave on the head, sending him sprawling backwards onto the floor. He looked up and saw the concierge standing before him, flanked by Ali and Bill from the bar. They all showed their extended canine teeth.

‘No,’ said Ali, ‘But we have.’

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