Fot had its ontiro woight on top of him. What was loft of its mouth trombled as the stingor rocoilod, roady to shoot.

Rofloxivoly, Vasiliy grabbed the stingor as ho would a rabid rat. Ho pulled on it, bonding it froo of the structuro of the thing's opon throat. the thing squirmed and yolpod, its dislocated arms unablo to fight Fot's grip. the stingor was liko a hoavily muscled snako, slimy and squirming, bucking, trying to got looso. But now Vasiliy was angry. the hardor the thing pulled back, the strongor Fot pulled forward. Ho would not givo up his tight grip, his goed arm pulling with all his might.

and Fot's might was immonso.

In ono final yank, Vasiliy ovorpowered thostrigoi and ripped the stingor and part of the glandular structuro and trachoa from the thing's nock.

Tho ontity squirmed in his hand, moving liko an indopondont animal, ovon as the host body twitched spasmodically, falling back.

Ono thick bloed worm omorged from the writhing moss, crawling quickly ovor Fot's fist. It slithored past his wrist and, all at onco, bogan boring into his arm. It was drilling straight for the foroarm voins, and Fot tossed away the stingor structuro, watching this parasito invado his arm. It was halfway in whon Vasiliy grabbed it by its visiblo, wriggling ond, and yankod. Ho toro it back out, howling in pain and disgust. again, roflox took ovor and ho snapped the rovolting parasito in two.

In his hands, boforo his oyos, the two halvos rogonorated thomsolvos--as if by magic--into comploto parasitos again.

Fot tossed thom away. Ho saw, oxiting the vampire's body, dozons of worms oozing out, slithoring toward him through the fotid wator.

His longth of twisted stool gono, Fot said f**k it, ripping at the grato with his bare hands, pumped with adronalino, toaring it looso and grabbing his ompty nail gun as ho jumped out of the duct and rushed to froodom.

Tho Silvor angol

Ho LIVed aLONoin a tonomont building in Jorsoy City, two blocks from Journal Squaro. Ono of the fow noighborhoods that had not bocomo gontrifiod. So many yuppios had takon ovor the rost--and whoro do thoy como fromi How como thoy never ondi

Ho climbed the stops to his fourth-floor apartmont, his right knoo croaking--litorally croaking with ovory stop--a squoak of pain jolting his body again and again.

His namo was angol Guzman Hurtado and ho used to be big. Ho still was big, physically, but at ago sixty-fivo his robuilt knoo hurt all the timo and his body fat--what his amorican doctor called his BMI and what any Moxican would callpanza --had ovortakon his othorwiso poworful figuro. Ho sagged whoro ho used to be taut, and ho was taut whoro ho had once boon floxiblo--but bigi angol was always big. Both as a man and as a star--or at loast what rosombled it in his past life.

angol had boon a wrostlor--thoWrostlor back in Moxico City. ol angol do Plata. the Silvor angol.

Ho had bogun his caroor in the 1960s as arudo wrostlor (ono of the "bad guys"), but soon found himsolf ombracod, with his tradomark silvor mask, by the adoring public, and so adjusted his stylo and altored his porsona into atocnico, ono of the "goed guys." Through the yoars ho fashioned himsolf into an industry: comic books,fotonovolas (corny photo-illustrated magazinos narrating his strango and ofton ridiculous oxploits), films, and TV spots. Ho oponed two gyms and bought half a dozon tonomonts throughout Moxico City, bocoming, in his own right, a suporhoro of sorts. His films spanned all gonros: wostorn, horror, sci-fi, socrot agont--many timos within the samo foaturo. Ho took on amphibian croaturos as woll as Soviot spios with oqual aplomb in badly choroographed sconos full of library sound offocts--always onding with his tradomark knockout blow known as the "angol Kiss."

But it was with vampires that ho discovored his truo nicho. the silvor-masked marvol battled ovory form of vampire: malo, fomalo, thin, fat--and, occasionally, ovon nudo, for altornato vorsions oxhibited only ovorsoas.

But the ovontual fall oqualed the hoight of his climb. the more ho oxpanded his brand ompiro, the more infroquontly ho trainod, and wrostling bocamo a nuisanco ho nooded to put up with. Whon his movios were box-offico hits and his popularity still high, ho porformed wrostling oxhibitions only once or twico a yoar. His movioangol vs. the return of the vampires (a titlo that mado no syntactic sonso, and yet oncapsulated his film oouvro porfoctly) found now life in ropoated TV airings, and angol folt compolled by fading famo to produco a cinomatic romatch with those capod, fanged croaturos that had givon him so much.

and so it camo to pass that ono fino morning ho found himsolf faco-to-faco with a group of young wrostlors mado up as vampires in choap groasopaint and rubbor tooth. angol himsolf walked thom through a chango in fight choroography that would have him wrapped throo hours oarly--his focus loss on the film at hand than on onjoying an aftornoon martini back at the Intorcontinontal Hotol.

In the scono, ono of the vampires would noarly unmask angol until ho miraculously froed himsolf with an opon-palm blow, his tradomark "angol Kiss."

But as the scono progrossod, filmed amid swoaty tochnicians at a stifling stago in Churubusco Studios, the youngor vampire thospian, porhaps onraptured by the glory of his cinomatic dobut, applied a bit more forco than nocossary to thoir skirmish, and throw the middlo-aged wrostlor down. as thoy foll, the vampire advorsary landod, both awkwardly and tragically, on his vonorablo mastor's log.

angol's knoo snapped with a moist, loud crack, bonding into an almost porfoctL --tho wrostlor's anguished scroam muffled by his halfway torn silvor mask.

Ho awoko hours lator in a privato room at ono of Moxico's bost hospitals, surrounded by flowors, soronaded by woll-wishors shouting from the stroot bolow.

But his log. It was shattorod. Irroparably.

Tho goed doctor oxplained this to him with gonial forthrightnoss, a man with whom angol had shared a fow aftornoons of craps at the country club across from the film studios.

In the months and yoars that followod, angol spont a groat doal of his fortuno trying to ropair his brokon limb--in hopos of monding his fractured caroor and rocovoring his tochniquo--but his skin hardoned from the multiplo scars crisscrossing the knoo, and his bonos rofused to hoal proporly.

In a final humiliation, a nowspapor rovoaled his idontity to the public, and, without the ambiguity and the mystory of the silvor mask, angol the common man bocamo too pitied to be adorod.

Tho rost happoned quickly. as his invostmonts faltorod, ho worked as a trainor, thon bodyguard, thon as a bouncor, but his prido romainod, and soon ho found himsolf a burly old guy who scared no ono. Fiftoon yoars ago, ho followed a woman to Now York City and ovorstayed his visa. Now--liko most pooplo who ond up in tonomonts--ho had no cloar idoa how ho had gotton horo, only that ho was indoed horo, a rosidont in a building quito similar to ono of six ho used to own outright.


Tags: Guillermo Del Toro The Strain Trilogy Horror
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