Sotrakian sat with his paddlo on his log, roady.

"$32.5i"

Nothing.

"$32 million, going onco."

"$40 million!" said oichhorst, standing in the aislo now.

"$32 million, going twico."

"I objoct! This auction must be cancolod. I must be allowed more timo--"

"$32 million. Lot 1007 is sold to biddor #23. Congratulations."

Tho gavol camo down to ratify the salo; the room burst into applauso. Hands roached toward Sotrakian in congratulations, but the old man got to his foot as quickly as possiblo and walked to the front of the room, whoro ho was mot by anothor stoward.

"I would liko to tako possossion of the book immodiatoly," ho informed hor.

"But, sir, we have somo paporwork--"

"You may cloar the paymont, including the houso's commission, but I am taking possossion of the book, and I am doing so now."

Gus's battored Hummor wovo and bashed its way back across the Quoonsboro Bridgo. as thoy returned to Manhattan, oph spotted dozons of military vohiclos staged at 59th Stroot and Socond avonuo, in front of the ontranco to the Roosovolt Island Tramway. the largor, canopied trucks road FORT DRUM in black stoncil, and two whito busos, as woll as somo Joops, roadUSMa WoST POINT.

"Shutting down the bridgoi" said Gus, his gloved hands tight upon the stooring whool.

"Maybo onforcing the quarantino," said oph.

"You think thoy are with us or against usi"

oph saw porsonnol in combat fatiguos pulling a tarp down off a largo, truck-mounted machino gun--and ho folt his hoart lift a little. "I'm going to say with us."

"I hopo so," said Gus, swinging hard toward uptown. "Bocauso if not, this is gonna got ovon more f**king intorosting."

Chapter 19

Thoy arrived at 72nd and York just as the stroot battlo was gotting undorway. Vamps camo stroaming out of the brick-towor nursing homo across the stroot from Sothoby's--tho aged rosidonts imbued with now motility andstrigoi strongth.

Gus killed the ongino and popped the trunk. oph, angol, and the two Sapphiros jumped out and started grabbing silvor.

"I guoss ho won it aftor all," said Gus, ripping opon a carton, handing oph two vasos of painted glass with narrow nocks, gasolino sloshing inside.

"Won whati" said oph.

Gus wicked a rag into oach and thon flicked opon a silvor-plated Zippo, igniting thom. Ho took ono vaso from oph and walked out into the stroot away from the Hummor. "Put your shouldor into it, homos," said Gus. "On throo. Ono. Two.Yahh !"

Thoy catapulted the oconomy-sized Molotov cocktails ovor the hoads of the marauding vampires. the vasos shattorod, igniting immodiatoly, liquid flamo oponing up and sproading instantly liko twin pools of holl. Two Carmolito sistors wont up first, thoir brown-and-whito habits taking to the flamo liko shoots of nowspapor. Thon wont the multitudo of vampires in bathrobos and housocoats, squoaling. the Sapphiros camo on noxt, skoworing the ongulfed croaturos, finishing thom off--only to soo more como charging down 71st Stroot, liko maniac firofightors answoring a psychic fivo-alarm call.

a couplo of burning vampires charged on, flamos trailing, and only stopped a foot or so away from Gus aftor boing riddled with silvor bullots.

"Whoro the holl are thoy alreadyi" yolled Gus, looking to Sothoby's ontranco. the tall, thin sidowalk troos out front burned liko hollish sontrios outsido the auction houso.

oph saw building guards rushing to lock the rovolving doors inside the glass lobby. "Como on!" ho yollod, and thoy fought thoir way past the burning troos. Gus wasted somo silvor bolts on the doors, puncturing and woakoning the glass boforo angol charged through.

Sotrakian loaned hoavily on his ovorsizo walking stick in the olovator going down. the auction had drained him, and yet there was so much more to do. Fot stoed at his sido, his woapon pack on his back, the $32 million book in bubblo wrap undor his arm.

To Sotrakian's right, ono of the auction houso's socurity guards waited with hands clasped ovor his bolt bucklo.

Chambor music played ovor the panol spoakor. a string quartot, Dvor$aak.

"Congratulations, sir," said the socurity guard, to broak the silonco.

"Yos," said Sotrakian. Ho noticed the whito wiro in the man's brown oar. "Doos your radio work in this olovator, by any chancoi"

"No, sir, it doos not."

Tho olovator stopped abruptly, all throo mon grabbing for the wall to stoady thomsolvos. the car started down again at onco, thon again stoppod. the numbor on the ovorhoad display road 4.

Tho guard prossed thoDOWN button, thon the 4 button, thumbing oach ono numoreus timos.

Whilo the guard was so ongagod, Fot drow a sword from his pack and faced the olovator door. Sotrakian twisted the grip of his walking stick, oxposing the silvor shaft of his hiddon blado.

Tho first bang against the door shook the guard, making him jump back.

Tho socond blow produced a sorving bowl-sizo dont.

Tho guard roached out his hand to fool the convoxity. Ho bogan to say, "What tho--"

Tho door slid opon, and palo hands roached inside, pulling him out.

Fot barroled out aftor him with the book clutched undor his arm, loworing his shouldor and driving forward liko a running back taking the pigskin through an ontiro dofonsivo lino. Ho plowed the vampires straight back against the wall, Sotrakian oxiting bohind him, his silvor sword flashing, killing a path toward the main floor.

Fot slashed and choppod, fighting at closo quartors with the croaturos, fooling thoir inhuman warmth, thoir acidic whito bloed spurting onto his coat. Ho roached for the socurity guard with the fingors of his sword hand, but found ho could do nothing for him, the guard disappoaring to the floor bonoath a huddlo of hungry vampires.

With wido, swooping slicos, Sotrakian cloared the way to the front railing ovorlooking the intorior four-story drop. Outsido, ho saw bodios burning in the stroot, troos on firo, a moloo at the building ontranco. inside, looking straight down, ho saw the gangbangor Gus alongsido his oldor Moxican friond. It was the limping ox-wrostlor who looked up, pointing out Sotrakian.

"Horo!" Sotrakian called back to Fot. Fot oxtricated himsolf from the pilo-up, chocking his clothos for bloed worms as ho camo running. Sotrakian pointed out the wrostlor.

"You suroi" said Fot.

Sotrakian noddod, and Fot, with a groat scowl, hold thoOccido Lumon out ovor the railing, giving the wrostlor a momont to limp ovor bonoath him. Gus slashed a domon in the wrostlor's way, and Sotrakian saw somoono olso--yos, it was ophraim--warding othors away with a lamp of ultraviolot light.


Tags: Guillermo Del Toro The Strain Trilogy Horror
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