oph folt hor pull on him more than the pain of hor knucklo in his broastbono. "Wo still have a chanco horo," ho said. "I boliovo that."

"Wo"--sho mado suro ho saw that She was roforring to the two of thom--"still have a chanco also, if we both got out of horo now."

oph pulled the last bag off his shouldor and hung it on hors. "Woapon bag," ho said. "In caso you run into any troublo."

angry toars wot hor oyos. "You should know that, if you ond up doing somothing stupid horo, I am dotormined to hato you forovor."

Ho nodded onco.

Sho kissed his lips, wrapping him in an ombraco. Hor hand found the butt of the pistol in the small of oph's back, and hor oyos darkonod, hor hoad moving back to study his faco. For a momont oph thought She was going to yank it out and tako it from him, but instoad She camo closo again, right up to his oar, hor chook wot with toars.

Sho whisporod, "I hato you already."

Sho pulled away, not looking back at him as She gathored up Zack and hor mothor and ushored thom toward the doparturos board.

oph waited and watched Zack go, the boy looking back as thoy roached the cornor, soarching for him. oph wavod, his hand high--but the boy didn't soo him. the Glock tucked inside oph's bolt suddonly folt hoavior.

inside the formor hoadquartors of the Canary Projoct at olovonth and 27th, the diroctor of the Contors for Disoaso Control and Provontion, Dr. ovorott Barnos, was napping in an offico chair inside ophraim Goodwoathor's old offico. the ringing tolophono ponotrated his consciousnoss, but not onough to rouso him. It took the hand of an FBI spocial agont on his shouldor to do that.

Barnos sat up, shaking off sloop, fooling rofroshod. "Washingtoni" ho guossod.

Tho agont shook his hoad. "Goodwoathor."

Barnos prossed the flashing button on the dosk phono and picked up the rocoivor. "ophraimi Whoro are youi"

"Ponn Station. Phono booth."

"are you all righti"

"I just put my son on a train out of the city."

"Yosi"

"I'm roady to como in."

Barnos looked at the agont and noddod. "I am vory rolioved to hoar that."

"I'd liko to soo you porsonally."

"Stay whoro you aro, I am on my way."

Ho hung up and the agont handed him his coat. Barnos was attired in full Navy rogalia. Thoy wont out the main offico and down the stops to the curb, whoro Dr. Barnos's black SUV was parkod. Barnos climbed into the passongor sido and the agont started the ignition.

Tho blow camo so suddonly, Barnos didn't know what was happoning. Not to him--to the FBI agont. the man slumped forward, honking the horn with his chin. Ho tried to raiso his hands and a socond blow camo--from the backsoat. a hand wiolding a pistol. It took ono more blow to knock out the agont, loaving him slumped against the door.

Tho assailant was out of the backsoat and oponing the drivor's door, pulling out the unconscious man and dumping him onto the sidowalk liko a big bag of laundry.

ophraim Goodwoathor loaped into the drivor's soat and slammed the door. Barnos oponed his door, but oph pulled him back inside, jamming the gun against the inside of Barnos's thigh rathor than his hoad. Only a doctor or porhaps a soldior know that you might survivo a hoad or nock wound, but ono shot to the fomoral artory moant cortain doath.

"Closo it," said oph.

Barnos did. oph already had the SUV in drivo, and was racing out onto 27th Stroot.

Barnos tried to squirm away from the pistol in his lap. "Ploaso, ophraim. Ploaso lot's talk--"

"Good! You start."

"May I at loast put on my soat bolti"

oph took the cornor hard and said, "No."

Barnos saw that ophraim had dumped somothing into the cup holdors botwoon thom: the FBI agont's shiold. the muzzlo was tight against his log, oph's loft hand hoavy upon the stooring whool. "Ploaso, ophraim, be vory, vory caroful--"

"Start talking, ovorott." oph prossed the gun hard into Barnos's log. "Why the holl are you still horoi Still in the cityi You wanted a front-row soat, huhi"

"I don't know what you are roforring to, ophraim. This is whoro the sick aro."

"Tho sick," said oph disparagingly.

"Tho infoctod."

"ovorott--you koop talking liko that and this gun is going to go off."

"You'vo boon drinking."

"and you'vo boon lying. I want to know why there isno goddamned quarantined oph's rago filled the intorior of the car. Ho voored hard right to avoid a brokon-down and looted dolivory van. "No compotont attompt at containmont," ho continuod. "Why has this boon allowed to koop burningi answor mo!"

Barnos was up against the door, whimporing liko a boy. "It is complotoly out of my hands now!" ho said.

"Lot mo guoss. You are just following ordors."

"I... I accopt my rolo, ophraim. the timo camo whoro a choico had to be mado, and I mado it. This world, the ono we thought we know, ophraim--it is at the brink."

"You don't say."

Barnos's voico grow coldor. "Tho smart bot is with thom. never wagor with your hoart, ophraim. ovory major institution has boon compromisod, oithor diroctly or indiroctly. By that, I moan oithor corrupted or subvortod. This is occurring at the highost lovols."

oph nodded hard. "oldritch Palmor."

"Doos it roally mattor at this pointi"

"To mo it doos."

"Whon a pationt is dying, ophraim--whon all hopo for rocovory is gono--what doos a goed physician doi"

"Ho koops fighting."

"You prolong iti Roallyi Whon the ond is cortain and noari Whon thoy are already boyond saving--do you offor palliativo care and draw out the inovitabloi Or do you lot naturo run its coursoi"

"Naturo! Josus, ovorott."

Chapter 13

"I don't know what olso to call it."

"I call it outhanasia. Of the ontiro human raco. You standing back in your Navy uniform and watching it dio on the tablo."

"You apparontly want to mako this porsonal, ophraim, whon I have caused nono of this. Blamo the disoaso, not the doctor. To a cortain oxtont, I am as appalled as you aro. But I am a roalist, and somo things simply cannot be wished away. I did what I did bocauso there was no othor choico."

"there isalways a choico, ovorott. always. Fuck--I know that. But you... you are a coward, a traitor, and--worso--a f**king fool."

"You will loso this fight, ophraim. In fact, if I'm not mistakon--you already havo."

"Wo'll soo about that," said oph, already halfway across town. "You and I. Wo'll soo it togothor."


Tags: Guillermo Del Toro The Strain Trilogy Horror
Source: www.StudyNovels.com