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#1: Rebirth - About - Go to Chapter 1

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Monday, 2 March 2009

The Rising - Chapter 105: Ashes To Ashes

Now Skinner was really worried. Bad feelings hung in the air and as he followed Roxy down the corridor, he weighed up the possible outcomes.

He hoped Emily had successfully escaped from the lair but suspected she hadn’t. After all, it was a difficult climb all the way up the stairs and she had to get out without being seen. If she had been seen or caught while trying to escape, it seemed likely that she would give away the name of the person who had helped her, either consciously or subconsciously.

Someone could have tipped Roxy off to the fact that he and Tom were more than just brief acquaintances. Now that Tom was on the loose, they might suspect him of being an infiltrator from The Brotherhood. Of course there was a slim chance that Roxy wanted to congratulate Skinner for a job well done and show him the plans for the next attack.

So there were two possible outcomes: Skinner would either live or die. Skinner was no pessimist but it didn’t feel like the odds were in his favour. Either way, he was sure he was in trouble.

They reached the door to Doctor Forrest’s lab, but Roxy pointed to the metal door on the other side of the corridor.

‘In there please,’ she said.

Skinner apprehensively turned the handle and edged the door open. The room inside was dark, almost pitch black save for the torch light that spilled through the crack in the door.

There was the faint sound of whimpering from inside. Skinner opened the door to reveal Emily, gagged and tied to a wooden chair. She was terrified. Tears streamed down her face over the industrial tape that stopped her screaming at the top of her lungs.

Skinner turned to look at Roxy. He was ready to make all kinds of excuses for her attempted escape but didn’t get the chance to say a word. Roxy punched him square on the nose. He lost his footing as he stumbled backwards into the room and sank to his knees. Roxy grabbed the handle and pulled the door shut.

Skinner jumped to his feet and tried the handle but the door was locked from the outside. The faint sound of him banging on the inside of the door was barely audible from the corridor. The darkness of the room meant he was only just visible through the small window in the door, but he could clearly see Roxy staring at him with the cold, lifeless eyes of a murderer.

The door behind Roxy opened and Doctor Forrest appeared behind her. He walked across the corridor and hit a button on the intercom panel next to the door. The fuzzy sound of Skinner shouting filled the air.

‘You don’t know what you’re doing! This is a mistake! Please, let me out!’

‘I know exactly what I’m doing, Skinner,’ Roxy began, ‘You tried to help Emily escape. Your friend is missing and we believe you have something to do with the problem on the plane.’

‘You’re wrong! I don’t know what happened on the plane!’

‘I can’t believe anything you say any more, Skinner. Not even that bullshit you gave us about what happened at the base. I know you won’t tell me where we can find Doctor Owen and it’s not really that important. We’re close to finding him ourselves, which makes you useless to us.’

‘No, wait! What are you doing?’

‘I’ll make it as quick as I can,’ Roxy said and hit another button on the wall.

The faces looking through the window in the door glowed purple as ultraviolet light illuminated the room. Skinner punched the door in vain. As the first specks of dust fell from his face, the tape over Emily’s mouth broke free and her screams pierced the air. Roxy turned off the intercom.

She watched in silence as Skinner ran aimlessly around the room, searching for shade that he would never find. Exposed areas on his hands and face were slowly dissolving into ash, leaving a dusty trail behind him. Smoke rose from his open wounds and filled the air. Emily struggled to breathe and coughed furiously as she took lungfuls of black dust.

The chemical reactions took hold and Skinner’s body started to burn faster. Ash poured from all over his face until his head had completely disappeared. He sank to his knees and tumbled onto the floor. The pile of clothes lost their shape as the remnants of his body dissolved. Roxy turned off the ultraviolet light and left Emily alone in the darkness, coughing and screaming.

‘Shouldn’t we get her out of there?’ Doctor Forrest asked.

‘No,’ Roxy said without a hint of mercy in her voice, ‘She’ll be leaving here for good very soon so leave her where she is. We haven’t got time to baby-sit her. I’ve got a call to make.’

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