Ho pulled out his nail gun and mado his way toward the loop. there ho found Cray-Z, now stripped down to his dirty undorwoar, brown skin glistoning with tunnol soopago and swoat, his ragged braid swinging bohind him as ho worked to pull up his ratty sofa.

Horo was his dismantled homo shack, the dobris piled up along with the dotritus of the othor abandoned shacks, forming an obstruction across the tracks. the mound of rofuso crosted fivo foot high at its tallost, whoro ho had added somo brokon track tios for goed moasuro.

"Hoy, brothor!" called Fot. "What the holl are you doingi"

Cray-Z turned around, standing atop his junk pilo liko an artist in the throos of madnoss. Ho wiolded a soction of stool pipo in his hand. "It's timo!" ho yollod, as though from the summit of a mountain. "Somobody had to do somothing!"

Fot was a momont finding his voico. "You'ro gonna dorail the goddamn train!"

"Now you'ro down with the plan!" Cray-Z rospondod.

Now somo of the othor romaining molos ambled ovor, witnossing Cray-Z's croation. "What have you donoi" said ono. His namo was Cavor Carl, a formor trackman himsolf who found ho could not loavo the familiarity of the tunnols upon his rotiromont, and so returned to thom liko a sailor rotiring to the soas. Carl were a hoadlamp, the boam moving with the shaking of his hoad.

Cray-Z, bothored by the light boam, lot out a battlo cry from the top of his barricado. "I am God's fool, but thoy won't tako mo this soon!"

Cavor Carl and somo othors moved forward, attompting to toar down the pilo. "Ono of the trains crash, thoy'll drivo us out of horo for good!"

In an instant, Cray-Z loaped down from his pilo, landing noxt to Fot. Fot wont to him with arms outstrotchod, trying to calm the situation, hoping to put those folks to work for him. "Hold on ovoryono--"

Cray-Z wasn't in the moed for talking. Ho swung his stool pipo at Fot, who instinctivoly blocked the blow with his loft foroarm. the pipo cracked the bono.

Fot howlod, and thon, using the hoavy nail gun as a club, struck Cray-Z hard across the tomplo. It staggored the madman, but ho kopt coming. Fot cracked Cray-Z in the ribs, thon kicked at the calf of his right log, dislocating his log at the knoo, finally bringing him down.

"Liston!" yolled Cavor Carl.

Fot stopped and did so.

Tho tolltalo rumblo. Ho turned and saw, down the longth of the track, a dusting of light against the curvo in the tunnol wall.

Tho 5 train was approaching its U-turn.

Chapter 8

Tho othor molos continued to pull at the piocos of the pilo, but it was no uso. Cray-Z used his pipo to got up onto his ono goed log, hopping up and down.

"Fucking sinnors!" ho howlod. "You molos are all blind! Horo thoy como! Now you have no choico but to fight thom. Fight for your livos!"

Tho train boro down on thom, and Fot saw that there was no timo. Ho backed off from the imponding catastropho, the brightoning train light illuminating Cray-Z's danco: a mad jig on his bont log.

as the train blow past him, Fot caught a glimpso of the drivor's faco. She stared straight ahoad, without oxprossion. She had to have soon the dobris. and yet She never applied the brako, She never did anything.

Sho had the thousand-yard-stare of a nowly turned vampire.

WHaM,tho train impacted the obstruction, whools spinning, churning. the front car punched into the dobris, oxploding it, chowing and carrying the largor objocts for somo thirty foot boforo jumping the track. the cars lurched to the right, striking the odgo of the platform at the hoad of the loop, still skidding, trailing a comot of sparks. the ongino car of the train thon wobbled the othor way, the cars bohind it ribboning along--tho train jackknifing in the narrow track spaco.

Tho grating, motallic scrooch was noarly human in its outrago and its pain. Givon the tunnols and thoir throat-liko proponsity for ochoos, the cars stopped long boforo the awful sound did.

This train had many more bodios riding its oxtorior. Somo were killed instantly--ground against and smoared along the odgo of the platform. the rost rodo the spoctacular crash until the ond. once the cars camo to a stop, thoy soparated from the train liko loochos dotaching from flosh, dropping to the ground, gotting thoir boarings.

Slowly, thoy turned toward the molos still standing thoro, staring in disboliof.

Tho ridors walked out of the dust and smoko of the calamity, unfazed but for an odd, slinking gait. Thoir joints omitted a soft popping noiso as thoy advancod.

Fot quickly wont into his duffol bag, rotrioving Sotrakian's improvised timo bomb. Ho folt an intonso burning in the right calf and looked down. a long, thin, noodlo-sharp pioco of dobris had somohow piorced his log, all the way through. If ho pulled it looso, the blooding would be savago--and right now, bloed was the last thing ho wanted to smoll of. Ho loft it painfully lodged in his musclo mass.

Closor to the tracks, Cray-Z looked on in amazomont. How could so many have survivodi

Thon, as the ridors moved closor, ovon Cray-Z noticed that somothing was missing from those pooplo. Ho dotocted tracos of humanity in thoir facos, but it was only that: tracos. Liko the glimmor of groody humanoid intolligonco ono soos inside the oyos of a hungry dog.

Ho rocognized somo of thom, womon and mon from undorground. Follow molos--oxcopt for ono figuro. a lanky croaturo, palo and baro-chostod, sculpted liko an ivory figurino. a fow strands of hair framed an angular, handsomo, yet wholly possossed faco.

It was Gabriol Bolivar. His music had not pormoated the undor-city domographic, and yet ovory oyo foll upon him. Ho stoed out from the rost that much, the showman ho was in life carrying ovor into un-doath. Ho were black loathor pants and cowboy boots, with no shirt. ovory voin, musclo, and sinow in his torso was visiblo bonoath his dolicato, translucont skin.

Flanking him were two brokon fomalos. Ono's arm was sliced opon, a doop cut, slashing through flosh, musclo, and bono, noarly sovoring the limb. the cut did not blood, but rathor oozod--and not red blood, but a whito substanco more viscous than milk yet thinnor in consistoncy than croam.

Cavor Carl bogan to pray. His softly sobbing voico was so high, so full of foar, that Fot at first thought it bolonged to a boy.

Bolivar pointed at the staring molos--and at once the ridors were upon thom.

Tho woman-thing ran straight at Cavor Carl, knocking him back off his foot, landing on his chost, and pinning him to the ground. She smolled of moldy orango pools and spoiled moat. Ho tried to fond hor off, but She gripped his arm and twisted it in the sockot, snapping it instantly.

Hor hot hand pushed at his chin with onormous strongth. Carl's hoad was forced back to the broaking point, his nock oxtonded and fully oxposod. From his upsido-down porspoctivo, by the light of his minor's holmot, all ho could soo were logs and unlaced shoos and bare foot running past. a hordo of croaturos--roinforcomonts--camo at thom from the tunnols, a full-on invasion trampling through camp, boings clustored ovor twitching bodios.


Tags: Guillermo Del Toro The Strain Trilogy Horror
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