Thursday, 12 July 2007

Chapter 82: Strapped Down

This is not happening. This is not happening.

First I get bitten by a vampire, then I get forced to join a fanatical group of killers and to top it all off, I’m going to be sliced open in the name of science.

One of Captain Stein’s soldiers held me down while the other strapped me to the bed. Stein was wide-eyed and manic, brandishing his gun, threatening to shoot anyone who tried to help me.

Private Skinner was still armed though, our man on the inside from the other side. He was our only hope.

‘What is your problem? Why are you doing this?’ I asked Captain Stein, not expecting a reasonable answer.

‘You’ve been bitten, Detective. You will turn into a vampire and I can’t take the risk. Just over a year ago I lost an outpost in a vampire attack. It happened again last night. I swear I will not let it happen again. All you are good for now is parts for the doctor to run tests on.’

I had resigned myself to that fact several hours ago but I didn’t want all my parts to be separated and experimented on at the same time. Dying wasn’t part of the plan. Not at this point anyway.

‘But the doctor can help him,’ pleaded Agent Simpson, ‘he’s working on the treatment and we have already used it to slow down the effects.’

‘How many times do I have to tell you, Agent Simpson? The primary treatment is the only way forward and it is the only treatment the doctor should be working on. I will not rest until every vampire is turned to dust. Now use this man’s body to find a way for me to rid the world of this curse.’

Captain Stein was not going to change his opinion. He had already gone too far down the path of The Brotherhood and killing vampires was all he knew. His hatred was etched into his mind by ignorance and endless brainwashing by his superiors. It was too late for him to begin questioning his orders.

‘There has to be another way. Killing this man will not bring us any closer to any kind of treatment.’ The doctor tried in vain to bring a sense of reality back to the proceedings.

‘Chopping this man up will provide you with more samples. The more samples you have, the better your chance of finding the primary treatment. You said that yourself. I don’t want any excuses, Doc. Get to work.’

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, there was a series of loud bangs and a painful scream from outside the lab.

Is it the vampire soldiers? Have they been reborn before Private Skinner could dispose of the bodies?

‘What was that?’ exclaimed one of the soldiers.

‘I’ll go and check it out,’ said Private Skinner, and headed out of the door after getting the nod from Captain Stein. He gave me a passing glance as he walked past me. This vampire was our only chance of getting out of here and he had run away to look for his brothers. I hoped he knew what he was doing.

Captain Stein ordered one of his men to strip me. The soldier leaned over me and ripped my shirt open. Doctor Owen reluctantly leaned over me with a look on his face that told me he didn’t know how to get out of this situation. He looked into my eyes inquisitively and placed a finger on my lower jaw, opening my mouth. When he was sure no one else could see his face, he winked at me then reeled backwards.

‘What’s wrong, Doc? Stop stalling,’ said Captain Stein.

‘Look at his teeth,’ the doctor said, his voice trembling.

Captain Stein leaned over again, but before he could look into my mouth, Doctor Owen grabbed him by his shirt collar and held a scalpel at his neck, pressing it against the flesh next to his Adam’s apple. The soldiers gripped their rifles and pointed them in the doctor’s direction but the looks on their faces told me they had no idea how to handle this situation.

‘Get back!’ the doctor shouted at the soldiers.

‘You’ve no idea what you’ve just done,’ said Captain Stein in a cool, assertive voice that contrasted the predicament in which he found himself, ‘you can forget about your work now, Doc. You’re a dead man.’

‘That’s wrong and you know it, ‘said Doctor Owen, ‘you need me to complete the work on the primary treatment. If that’s what you want then that’s what you’ll get but I will not cut this guy up for no good reason. He doesn’t deserve it.’

‘Doctor Forrest’s still out there,’ said Captain Stein, ‘you’re not the only expert in this town. It’s not like you’ve produced anything useful anyway.’

‘How can you say that after all we’ve seen today? We have made giant leaps in understanding vampire anatomy. If that’s the way you feel then I quit. I’m getting out of here.’

‘You quit? You can’t do that. I won’t let you leave here. Agent Simpson, shoot the doctor,’ Stein ordered.

‘I’m afraid I can’t do that,’ she said, ‘I agree with Doctor Owen. We should be focusing our efforts on the secondary treatment. I can’t go along with your methods any more either. We’re getting out of here right now.’

Doctor Owen turned to shout at the armed soldiers with a renewed sense of vigour in his voice. ‘Put your weapons down or the Captain dies! Put them down now!’

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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