Vampire Breed, page 8part #4 of Kiera Hudson Series One Series
“I won’t eat it!” I seethed.
Knowing that I had to stop thinking about the meat, I pulled the chair across the floor and stationed it under the hole. I tipped it up and removed one of the caps. I was mindful not to use the same cap from the previous night, as that leg was now full of the debris I had hidden in there.
Carefully, I climbed onto the chair and hoisted myself up. I removed the paper that I had put in place and began to scrape away at the edges of the hole.
Throughout the night I worked, stopping every so often to rest my aching arms and sip some of the water I had saved. I figured that I possibly had only one more night after this before Phillips came for me. I really needed to be in a position to make my escape before first light of the following day.
But what about Isidor and Kayla? I wondered. I had to take them with me. There was no way I was leaving them in the zoo. And what about Luke? Where was he? Then, remembering how he’d looked on the floor of my cell beneath the mountains, I feared that he might not be alive anymore. Not wanting to think about that, I pushed those pictures of his battered and cut body from my mind and focused on my escape.
Once out of the cell where would I go? I wondered.
I had no idea of my exact whereabouts in the zoo, but I reckoned that if I could at least find my way to the main entrance, I’d stand a good chance of escaping. I doubted that the animals would have locked the main gates. If what Nik had told me was true about there being no more humans other than me, Isidor, and Kayla, then the animals would have no reason to keep the gates shut – they could come and go as they pleased in their new world.
“But you’re not one of them!” I heard Nik say in my head.
But I was human – in part at least- the better part. I’d always believed myself to be human and I wasn’t going to stop believing that now. I feared that if I did, I would never get that half of me back. There was no way I was going to live like an animal, behave like an animal and eat like one. I was going to get out of this cell, out of this zoo and take my friends with me. I’m Kiera Hudson. I kept telling myself that over and over again in my head. I had to keep hold of that – I had to keep hold of me.
But once I had escaped from my cell, what then? How would I find Kayla and Isidor? I didn’t have the answer to that. But nevertheless, I kept chipping away at the concrete around the wire mesh above me. I had to keep going, I had to keep thinking, planning as it took my mind off that bowl of red stuff that my stomach was now aching for, my throat was thirsty for.
Keep planning Kiera – keep thinking ahead, I told myself.
I’d already decided that once I was out of the zoo, I would head straight for the town of Wasp Water. I would be in familiar territory then – human territory. There would be a million and one places for Kayla, Isidor, and me to hide.
What about food? a little voice spoke up from within side me, and I glanced down at the red stuff. Just one little bite wouldn’t…
There would be shops. The shelves would be stacked with cans of food – normal food. The cans would probably still be in date as they lasted for years. I would be able to find clothes and shoes in disused department stores. We would be alright.
With sweat running off my brow into my eyes, the cravings for the red stuff in the bowl gnawed away at my insides. My stomach was beginning to cramp in sharp violent spasms, and several times I had to stop chipping away at the concrete to lean forward and double up until the pain passed. My throat felt as if it was on fire, but I couldn’t even quench it with the water as I would need that later. Mopping my feverish brow with the sleeve of my hospital gown, I reached up and continued to scrape away the ceiling around the wire mesh.
By daybreak, I had completely removed the plaster around one entire edge of the mesh. I poked and pulled at it with my fingers and yanked it free. The wire gave under the strain and bent downwards revealing a gap big enough for me to put my arms through.
The urge to carry on throughout the day was overpowering, as the smell of freedom now seemed intoxicating. It was so strong that it even masked the stench from that hole in the corner of the cell, which I had been using as my toilet. But I had to be focused. If I were to be caught now, I would certainly never be given the chance to escape again.
So I climbed down from the chair, piled up the lose chippings and poured them into the hollow chair leg and replaced the cap. The hole in the ceiling was now twice as large as the one I had made the previous night and would definitely be noticed by any one of the animals that came into my cell.
Reluctantly, I ripped some pages from my book – or perhaps it was my escape manual? I worried that if Phillips, Sparky, or Nik happened to pick up ‘The Wind in the Willows’ they would notice that the pages had been torn out.
Once I had ripped the pages into strips, I placed them in what was left of the water and filled in the gaps above me. When I had papered over the last of the cracks, I climbed off the chair and looked up. The paper was a different shade to the ceiling and it did look more obvious than the papier-mâché I’d created the night before. I now had to cover a larger area with it. Screwing up my eyes, I squinted up at my handy work, and like that it didn’t look too bad. It looked like a big damp patch. That was the best I could do in these circumstances and I just prayed that none of my captors noticed it.
Confident that I’d hidden every trace of the work I’d carried out overnight, I curled up in the corner of my cell and closed my eyes. My stomach ached, and I felt as if I was going to be sick. My skin felt hot and clammy. I knew that I could make the pain go away and I looked over at the bowl that sat by the hatch. Turning away, I tried not to think about that red sticky meat and my head raced with thoughts of escape. Over and over again, I tried to plan for every conceivable outcome – but at no point did I ever consider failure – because for me, that wasn’t an option.
The thought of being free of this stinking cell, to be wearing clean clothes, and to sink into a nice warm bath was overwhelming. I imagined walking free along a beach, with waves crashing up onto the shore and I could smell…
…disinfectant. I knew it was disinfectant that they were spraying up and down the corridor outside because it wafted through the gaps beneath the door. It smelt bitter and it made my nostrils sore and my eyes sting.
Doctor Hunt sat beside my bed and read from a book. Mister McGregor was chasing a rabbit named Peter through the vegetable patch. Peter Rabbit was trying to escape!
With bleary eyes I studied Doctor Hunt’s face, well the top half, as he continued to hide the lower part of his face behind that blue surgical mask.
His eyes looked older somehow as if since his last visit to my room much time had passed. Nets of wrinkles were engraved around the corners of his eyes and I was sure that they hadn’t been there before. The Doctor’s usually jet-black hair was now spattered with flecks of grey and his hands looked boney and worn as they curled around the edges of the book that he held in his lap.
“Have you gotten older?” I mumbled feeling half asleep.
Doctor Hunt closed the book and looked at me.
“No,” he replied softly. But even his voice had sounded different, and I realised that it was worry – fear – in his voice that I could hear and see in the wrinkles around his eyes.
“How long have I been here?” I asked.
“Two months,” he whispered and glanced over his shoulder at the door to my room, as if making sure that it was closed.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, sensing his fear.
Hunt looked at me and his eyes smiled, but his look was insincere and hid his true feelings.
“I’ve performed a miracle, Kiera,” he whispered, snatching another quick look back over his shoulder.
“What sort of a miracle?” I asked him, my foggy mind trying to make sense of what he was telling me.
“So what’s the miracle?” I asked him, fighting to keep my eyes open.
“I cracked the code!” he whispered with excitement. “I’ve found the cure!”
“But that isn’t a miracle- that’s a curse,” I told him, my speech starting to slur. “The Vampyrus will now be able to breed their army of half-breeds. I saw one, it looked like Kayla…”
“But I haven’t given the Vampyrus the correct code. It works to a point, but it will never produce the perfect half-breed – not like you, Kayla, or Isidor. They will grow weak, become ill, and die. ”
“You were bitten on the leg by one of those murderous Lycanthrope,” Hunt said. “The wound has become infected and spread throughout your system. Your leg will eventually heal – your immune system will fight off the infection. But I tweaked the DNA code that Phillips has, so in the half-breeds that they manufacture, the virus will slowly take over their system and kill them. ”
“But isn’t Phillips going to figure out at some point that you’ve deceived him?” I asked.
“Not for a while,” he said, “and by the time they do, it will be too late – I’ll be dead. ”
“Dead?” I breathed.
“I know what the Vampyrus have planned for me once they think my work is complete,” he said matter-of-factly.
“So why didn’t you just drag out your work?” I asked. “You could have made your research last for years. ”
“The work was too important for me and Ravenwood not to finish,” he said. “Remember, it’s a cure for those future half-breed children that are born, and there will be more, Kiera. ”
“But let them kill you?” I yawned, fighting the meds that I’d been given. “You could escape. ”
“Ravenwood tried that with half of the completed code. Although the Vampyrus believe that they have the complete code, we separated the original,” he explained. “I don’t know how far Ravenwood got, I’ve not seen or had word from him since, but I’m certain he managed to hide his half of the code somewhere safe. ”