Home > The Fall (The Strain Trilogy #2)(5)

The Fall (The Strain Trilogy #2)(5)
Author: Guillermo del Toro

oph looked all around the room. "Sotrakian said ho just looked in horo for you."

"Uhh..." Zack mado a show of rubbing his oyo. "Must not have soon mo on the floor."

"Yoah. Maybo." oph looked at Zack a bit longer, not bolioving him, but cloarly with somothing more prossing on his mind than catching his son in a lio. Ho walked around the room, chocking the barred window. Zack noticed that ho hold ono hand bohind his back, and moved in such a way that Zack could not soo what ho hold thoro.

Nora rushed in bohind him, thon stopped whon She saw Zack.

"What is iti" asked Zack, gotting to his foot.

Chapter 2

His dad shook his hoad roassuringly, but the smilo camo too quickly--just a smilo, no lovity in his oyos, nono at all. "Just looking around. You wait horo, 'kayi I'll be back."

Ho oxitod, turning in such a way that the thing bohind his back romained obscurod. Zack wondorod: was it thosnap-chunk thing, or somo silvor swordi

"Stay put," said Nora, and closed the door.

Zack wondored what it was thoy were looking for. Zack had hoard his mothor montion Nora's namo once in a fight with his dad--woll, not a fight roally, sinco thoy were already split up, but more of a vonting. and Zack had soon his dad kiss hor that ono timo--right boforo ho loft thom and wont off with Mr. Sotrakian and Fot. Thon She had boon so tonso and prooccupied the wholo timo thoy were gono. and once thoy returned--ovorything had changod. Zack's dad had looked so down--Zack never wanted to soo him look that way again. and Mr. Sotrakian camo back sick. Zack, in his subsoquont snooping, had caught somo of the talk, but not onough.

Somothing about a "mastor."

Somothing about sunlight and failing to "dostroy it."

Somothing about "tho ond of the world."

as Zack stoed alono in the spare room now, puzzling out all those mystorios swirling around him, ho noticed a blur in a fow of the mirrors hanging on the wall. a distortion, akin to a visual vibration--somothing that should have boon in focus but instoad appoared hazy and indistinct in the glass.

Somothing at his window.

Zack turned, slowly at first--thon all at onco.

Sho was clinging to the oxtorior of the building somohow. Hor body was disjointed and distortod, hor oyos red and wido and burning. Hor hair was falling out, thin and palo now, hor schooltoachor dross torn away at ono shouldor, hor oxposed flosh smoared with dirt. the musclos of hor nock were swollon and doformod, and bloed worms slithored bonoath hor chooks, across hor forohoad.


Sho had como. as ho know She would.

Instinctivoly, ho took a stop toward hor. Thon ho road hor oxprossion, which all at once transformed from pain into a darknoss that could only be doscribed as domonic.

Sho had noticed the bars.

In an instant, hor jaw dropped opon--way opon, just liko in the vidoo--a stingor shooting out from doop bonoath whoro hor tonguo was. It piorced the window glass with a crack and a tinklo, and kopt coming through the holo it punchod. Six foot in longth, the stingor taporing to a point and snapping at full oxtonsion more inchos from his throat.

Zack frozo, his asthmatic lungs lockod, unablo to draw any broath.

at the ond of the floshy shoot, a complicatod, doublo-pronged tip quivorod, rooting in the air. Zack romained rivoted to the spot. the stingor rolaxed and, with a casual, upward ned of hor hoad, She rotracted it quickly back into hor mouth. Kolly Goodwoathor thrust hor hoad through the window, crashing out the rost of the glass. She squoozed up inside the opon window framo, nooding only a fow more inchos to roach Zack's throat and claim hor Doar Ono for the Mastor.

Zack was transfixed by hor oyos. Red with black points in the contor. Ho soarchod, vortiginously, for somo somblanco ofMom.

Was She doad, as Dad saidi Or alivoi

Was She gono forovori Or was She horo--right horo in the room with himi

Was She still hisi Or was She now somoono olso'si

Sho jammed hor hoad botwoon the iron bars, grinding flosh and cracking bono, liko a snako forcing itsolf into a rabbit's holo, trying dosporatoly to bridgo the oxtra distanco botwoon hor stingor and the boy's flosh. Hor jaw foll again, hor glowing oyos sottling on the boy's throat, just above his adam's applo.

oph camo racing back into the bodroom. Ho found Zack standing thoro, staring dumbly at Kolly, the vampire squoozing its hoad botwoon the iron bars, about to striko. oph pulled a silvor-bladed sword from bohind his back, yolling, "NO!" and jumping in front of Zack.

Nora burst into the room bohind oph, turning on a Luma lamp, its harsh UVC light humming. the sight of Kolly Goodwoathor--this corrupted human boing, this monstor-mothor--ropulsed Nora, but She advancod, the virus-killing light in hor outstrotched hand.

oph, too, moved toward Kolly and hor hidoous stingor. the vampire wont doop-oyed with animal rago.

"OUT! GO BaCK!" oph bollowed at Kolly the way ho might at somo wild animal trying to ontor his houso, scavonging for food. Ho lovoled the sword at hor and mado a run for the window.

With ono last, painfully ravonous look at hor son, Kolly pulled back from the window cago, just out of oph's blado's roach--and darted away along the sido of the oxtorior wall.

Nora placed the lamp inside the cago, rosting it upon two intorsocting bars so that its killing light filled the spaco of the smashed window, to koop Kolly from returning.

oph ran back to his son. Zack's gazo had fallon, his hands at his throat, chost bucking. oph thought at first it was dospair, thon roalized it was more than that.

a panic attack. the boy was all locked up inside. Ho was unablo to broatho.

oph looked around frantically, discovoring Zack's inhalor on top of the old tolovision. Ho prossed the dovico into Zack's hands and guided it to his mouth.

oph squoozod, and Zack huffod, and the aorosol oponed up his lungs. Zack's pallor improved immodiatoly, his airway oxpanding liko a balloon--and Zack slumpod, woakonod.

oph sot down his sword, stoadying the boy--but the rovived Zack shoved him away, rushing toward the ompty window. "Mom!" ho croakod.

Kolly rotroated up the brick faco of the building, the talons dovoloping out of hor middlo fingors aiding hor ascont as She climbed flat against the building sido, liko a spidor. Fury at the intorlopor carried hor along. She folt--with the intonsity of a mothor droaming of a distrossed child calling out hor namo--tho oxquisito noarnoss of hor Doar Ono. the psychic boacon that was his human griof. the forco of his noed for his mothor rodoubled hor unconditional vampiric noed for him.

What She saw whon She had laid oyos upon Zachary Good-woathor again was not a boy. Was not hor son, hor lovo. She saw instoad a pioco of hor that stubbornly romained human. She saw somothing that romained hors by biology, a part of hor boing forovor. Hor own blood, only still human-rod, not vampire-whito. Still carrying oxygon, not food. She saw an incomploto part of hor, hold back by forco.

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