I fell to the ground and rolled over, trying not to scream or do anything to alert the soldiers outside the lab to my suffering. The pain in my stomach was excruciating. I had never been stabbed but I suspected that having knives thrust into my guts over and over would feel something like this.
Agent Simpson was the first to my aid. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘It’s my stomach. I don’t know what’s wrong, it just started this second,’ I stammered.
‘It’s the hunger,’ I heard Doctor Owen say, ‘I feared this would happen.’
‘Give me another shot,’ I pleaded.
‘It’ll probably knock you out for a few hours again,’ the doctor said, looking very concerned.
‘I don’t care how long I sleep for. The longer the better. Just do it,’ I pleaded.
‘No, wait!’ shouted a voice that I didn’t recognise.
I looked up and saw the soldier who had been left in the lab by Captain Stein walking over to me. He lifted me up and sat me down on an empty bed.
‘What do you think you’re doing?’ asked Agent Simpson.
‘Fight through it, Detective. The hunger will subside,’ the soldier said to me.
‘What do you know about it?’ asked Agent Simpson.
‘Listen to me, I know what I’m talking about,’ said the stranger.
‘You’re a vampire, aren’t you?’ said Doctor Owen, more calmly than the situation dictated.
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘but I want to help.’
In a flash, Agent Simpson drew her gun and pointed it at the soldier, who raised his hands and took a step back. ‘Look, I just want to help,’ he said, without a hint on insincerity in his voice.
‘How long have you been here?’ she asked.
‘I’ve been a member of The Brotherhood for almost a year. I’m not the only one, you know.’
‘We know there have been infiltrators. How many of you are there?’
‘I’m not sure. I’ve sensed another two or three here but we’re never told who they are. We have our missions and we carry them out, that’s all.’
I’ve sensed another two or three, he said. I cast my mind back to the line-up of eight soldiers and my suspicions about the vampire infiltrator.
Do I have the same power to sense the presence of other vampires?
‘What is your mission?’ she demanded as I screamed again. It felt like my insides were burning away to nothing. The doctor walked over to me, carrying the syringe that I hoped would take me away from this agony.
‘Don’t give him the treatment, Doc,’ the soldier said.
‘Don’t listen to him,’ I shouted, ‘I’m dying here. I know you want to help me but I can’t take it any more.’
‘This will hold back the effects of the virus,’ the doctor said, ‘why shouldn’t I give it to him?’
‘Don’t listen to him,’ said Agent Simpson, ‘he wants him to turn into a vampire.’
‘No, it’s not that. You said it would knock him out for a few hours,’ said the soldier.
‘So what?’ The doctor stopped to listen to the soldier for a moment. I really hoped everyone would get to the point so I could get the injection and go off to sleep.
‘If you want to get out of here, I can help you, but we have to keep him awake and leave now.’
‘How do we know we can trust you?’ shouted Agent Simpson, still pointing the gun in the soldier’s face.
‘I guess you can’t, not one hundred percent, but you have to have faith in me. I’ve already told you who I am. All you need to do is say the word and the Captain will come back in and force you to chop me up like you did to him. I take it you lot aren’t here of your own free will? Don’t you want to leave?’
Agent Simpson looked at the basins full of internal organs. ‘Okay,’ she said, ‘the doctor will give Detective Ryder the treatment and we’ll get out of here after he wakes up.’
‘We can’t wait that long,’ the soldier said, raising his voice. He had an air of urgency that Doctor Owen and Agent Simpson weren’t picking up on.
‘Because any minute now, the dead bodies recovered from Hartley House will turn into vampires and they’re going to be just as hungry as your friend.’
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