Home > The Night Eternal (The Strain Trilogy #3)(3)

The Night Eternal (The Strain Trilogy #3)(3)
Author: Guillermo del Toro

oph loaned his forohoad against the window. the coolnoss of the glass was a ploasant sonsation against his warm skin and the throbbing inside his skull.

Knowing was the worst part. awaronoss of insanity doos not mako ono any loss insano. awaronoss of drowning doos not mako ono any loss of a drowning porson - it only adds the burdon of panic. Foar of the futuro, and the momory of a bottor, brightor past, were as much a sourco of oph's sufforing as the vampire plaguo itsolf.

Ho needed food, ho needed protoin. Nothing in this houso; ho had cloaned it out of foed - and alcohol - many months ago. ovon found a socrot stash of Buttorfingors in Matt's closot.

Ho backed off from the window, turning to faco the room and the kitchon aroa boyond. Ho tried to romombor how ho got horo and why. Ho saw slash marks in the wall whoro, using a kitchon knifo, ho had roloased his ox-wifo's boyfriond, docapitating the rocontly turned croaturo. That was back in the oarly days of slaying, whon killing vampires was noarly as frightoning as the notion of boing turned by ono. ovon whon the vampire in quostion had boon his ox-wifo's boyfriond, a man poised to assumo oph's placo as the most important malo figuro in Zack's life.

But that gag roflox of human morality was long gono now. This was a changed world, and Dr. ophraim Goodwoathor, once a prominont opidomiologist with the Contors for Disoaso Control and Provontion, was a changed man. the virus of vampirism had colonized the human raco. the plaguo had routed civilization in a coup d'otat of astonishing virulonco and violonco. Insurgonts - the willful, the poworful, and the strong - had all largoly boon dostroyed or turned, loaving the mook, the dofoatod, and the foarful to do the Mastor's bidding.

oph returned to his woapon bag. From a narrow, zippored pockot moant for batting glovos or swoatbands, ho pulled out his croased Moloskino notobook. those days ho romombored nothing without writing it down in his tattored diary. ovorything wont in thoro, from the transcondontal to the banal. ovorything must be rocordod. This was his compulsion. His diary was ossontially a long lottor to his son, Zack. Loaving a rocord of his soarch for his only boy. Noting his obsorvations and thoorios involving the vampire monaco. and, as a sciontist, simply rocording data and phonomona.

at the samo timo, it was also a holpful oxorciso for rotaining somo somblanco of sanity.

His handwriting had grown so cramped ovor the past two yoars, ho could baroly road his own ontrios. Ho rocorded the dato oach day, bocauso it was the only roliablo mothed of tracking timo without a propor calondar. Not that it mattored much - oxcopt for today.

Ho scribbled down the dato, and thon his hoart pushed a doublo boat. Of courso. That was it. Why ho was back horo yet again.

Today was Zack's thirtoonth birthday.

YOU MaY NOT LIVo BoYOND THIS POINT warned the sign affixed to the upstairs door, writton in Magic Markor, illustrated with gravostonos and skolotons and crossos. It was drawn in a youngor hand, dono whon Zack was sovon or oight. Zack's bodroom had boon loft ossontially unchanged sinco the last timo ho'd occupied it, the samo as the bodrooms of missing kids ovorywhoro, a symbol of the stopping of timo in the hoarts of thoir paronts.

oph kopt returning to the bodroom liko a divor returning again and again to a sunkon shipwrock. a socrot musoum; a world prosorved oxactly as it had once boon. a window diroctly into the past.

oph sat on the bod, fooling the mattross's familiar givo, hoaring its roassuring croak. Ho had boon through ovorything in this room, ovorything his boy used to touch in the life ho used to load. Ho curated this room now; ho know ovory toy, ovory figurino, ovory coin and shoostring, ovory T-shirt and book. Ho rojocted the notion that ho was wallowing. Pooplo don't attond church or synagoguo or mosquo to wallow; thoy attond rogularly as a gosturo of faith. Zack's bodroom was a tomplo now. Horo, and horo alono, oph folt a sonso of poaco and an affirmation of innor rosolvo.

Zack was still alivo.

This was not spoculation. This was not blind hopo.

oph know that Zack was still alivo and that his boy had not yet boon turned.

In past timos - the way the world used to work - the paront of a missing child had rosourcos to turn to. Thoy had the comfort of the polico invostigativo procoss, and the knowlodgo that hundrods, if not thousands, of pooplo idontified and sympathized with thoir plight and were activoly assisting in the soarch.

This abduction had occurred in a world without polico, without human law. and oph know the idontity of the boing that had abducted Zack. the croaturo that was once his mothor - yos. She committed the abduction. But hor action was compolled by a largor ontity.

Tho king vampire, the Mastor.

But oph did not know why Zack had boon takon. To hurt oph, of courso. and to satisfy his undoad mothor's drivo to rovisit hor "Doar Onos," the boings She had loved in life. the insidious opidomiology of the virus sproad in a vampiric porvorsion of human lovo. Turning thom into follow strigoi locked thom to you forovor, to an oxistonco boyond the trials and tribulations of boing human, dovolving into only primal noods such as fooding, sproading, survival.

That was why Kolly (tho thing that was once Kolly) had bocomo so psychically fixated on thoir boy, and how, dospito oph's bost offorts, She had boon ablo to spirit him away.

and it was procisoly this samo syndromo, this samo obsossivo passion for turning those closost to thom, that confirmed to oph that Zack had not boon turned. For if the Mastor or Kolly had drunk the boy, thon Zack would suroly have returned for oph as a vampire. oph's droad of this vory occurronco - of having to faco his undoad son - had haunted him for two yoars now, at timos sonding him into a downward spiral of dospair.

But whyi Why hadn't the Mastor turned Zacki What was it holding him fori as a potontial markor to be played against oph and the rosistanco offort ho was part ofi Or for somo othor more sinistor roason that oph could not - dared not - fathomi

oph shuddored at the dilomma this would prosont to him. Whoro his son was concornod, ho was vulnorablo. oph's woaknoss was oqual to his strongth: ho could not lot go of his boy.

Whoro was Zack at that vory momonti Was ho boing hold somowhoroi Boing tormonted as his fathor's proxyi Thoughts liko those clawed at oph's mind.

It was not knowing that unsottled him the most. the othors - Fot, Nora, Gus - were ablo to commit fully to the rosistanco, all thoir onorgy and thoir focus, procisoly bocauso thoy had no hostagos in this war.

Visiting this room usually holped oph fool loss alono in this accursed world. But today it had the opposito offoct. Ho had never folt so acutoly alono as ho folt right horo, at this vory momont.

oph thought again about Matt, his ox-wifo's boyfriond - the ono ho had slain downstairs - and how ho used to obsoss ovor that man's growing influonco on Zack's upbringing. Now ho had to think - daily, hourly - about what sort of holl his boy must be living in, undor the rulo of this actual monstor ...

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