Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Chapter 78: Second Thoughts

Private Skinner was shocked. Standing in the medical lab with the recovery crew, he had witnessed the death of one of his brothers, but for the first time he believed the death wasn’t in vain. He had witnessed the massacre of many humans and vampires, all of them killed for no good reason that he could fathom. Every battle was a futile exercise that resulted in a pile of dead bodies without any advancement for either species.

This time the death seemed to have some value. The people doing the experiments wanted to help everyone, not just the humans. They wanted what was best for all species. Private Skinner was a sworn enemy of The Brotherhood but these people weren’t like the others.

These people, Doctor Owen, Detective Ryder and Agent Simpson, weren’t bloodthirsty animals. They had a measured approach towards these experiments. Not once had they mentioned the primary treatment.

He had only been a vampire for a relatively short time and could still remember life before his rebirth. He hadn’t chosen this life. It had chosen him one drunken night when he fell over on the long walk home and passed out in the street. When he woke up in hospital he had a bandage on his neck and a splitting headache. The hunger set in and he fought it for a few days, thinking he was just suffering from the worst hangover of his life.

Then one day he had a craving. No amount of Alka Seltzer or full fat milk could quell the burning in his stomach. Without thinking, he went to the fridge, took out a large beef steak, ripped open the packet and started to feast on the raw meat. The old Skinner, somewhere in his head who liked his steaks well done, was repulsed at the thought of what he was doing. The new Skinner finished it off within seconds but the pain did not subside. He wanted more.

From that day forward, he had a compulsion to eat only raw meat, but while this felt natural to him, it failed to keep the hunger at bay. Visits to the doctor were fruitless: they couldn’t diagnose his problem. It had been the height of summer but he seemed to suffer from sunburn a lot more than he usually did and he decided to change his shift as a security guard and work nights instead. He stayed inside all day, either sleeping or searching the internet for people with similar problems.

Eventually he made contact with a mysterious character on a chat room who said she could introduce him to hundreds of people just like him and make the pain go away. He had no choice.

Roxy was her name and she was very welcoming. She showed him a new life with people of his own kind. She showed him the superiority of his brothers and sisters and he bought into the whole way of life. She had given him his first taste of human blood. Part of him had been repulsed but it was the only thing that could satiate his hunger.

The new Skinner had ruled his head ever since but in the past few minutes, the old Skinner had started to talk to him again.

Help them
, said the voice in his head, you have to help them because they can help you. It’s what you really want.

Rebirth is available from the following online retailers:

Amazon UK - £7.99
Amazon US - $16.95
Barnes and Noble - $15.25

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