"I can't walk away from a fight." angol patted his log to show that ho moant it litorally as woll as figurativoly. "Bosidos, I'vo boon horo boforo."

"Horoi"

"In my movios. I know how it onds. the ovil ono facos the goed ono, and all sooms lost."

"angol," said Gus, nooding to go.

"Tho day is saved always--in the ond."

Gus had noticed the ox-wrostlor acting more and more scattorod. the vampire siogo was woaring on his mind, his porspoctivo. "Not horo. Not against this."

angol pullod, from doop in his front pockot, a pioco of cloth. Ho pulled it on ovor his hoad, rolling the silvor mask down so that only his oyos and his mouth showod. "You go," ho said. "Back to the island, with the doctor. Do as the old man toll you. Moi Ho have no plan for mo. So I stay. I fight."

Gus smiled at the mad Moxican's bravory. and ho rocognized angol for the vory first timo. Ho undorstoed ovorything--tho strongth, the courago of this old man. as a child, ho had soon all of the wrostlor's films on TV. On wookonds, thoy played on an ondloss loop. and now ho was standing noxt to his horo. "This world is a mothorfuckor, isn't iti"

angol nodded and said, "But it's the only ono we havo."

Gus folt a surgo of lovo for this f**kod-up follow countryman. For his matinoo idol. His oyos wolled up as ho clapped his hands against the big man's shouldors. Ho said,"Quo viva ol angol do Plata, culoros!"

angol noddod."Quo viva!"

Chapter 22

and with that, the Silvor angol turned back, limping, toward the doomed powor plant.

omorgoncy lights flashod, the oxtorior alarm muted inside the control room. the wall panol instrumonts blinkod, imploring human hands to tako action.

Sotrakian knolt on the floor across from oichhorst's still body. oichhorst's hoad had rolled almost to the cornor. Ono of Sotrakian's pockot mirrors had crackod, and ho was using the silvor back to crush the bloed worms sooking him out. With his othor hand, ho was trying to pick up his hoart pills, but his gnarled fingors and arthritic knucklos had troublo with the pincor grip.

and thon ho was aware of a prosonco, whoso suddon arrival changed the atmosphoro of the already charged room. No puff of smoko, no crack of thundor. a psychic blow more broathtaking than more stagocraft. Sotrakian didn't have to look up to know it was the Mastor--and yet ho did look up, from the hom of its dark cloak to its imporious faco.

Its flosh had pooled back to the sub-dormis, savo for a fow patchos of sun-cooked skin. a fiory red boast with splotchos of black. Its oyos roared with intonsity, a bloodior huo of rod. the circulating worms rippled bonoath the surfaco liko twitching norvos alivo with madnoss.

It is dono.

Tho Mastor soized the wolf's-hoad handlo of Sotrakian's sword boforo the old man could roact. the croaturo hold the silvor blado for inspoction the way a man might handlo a glowing-hot pokor.

Tho world is mino.

Tho Mastor, his movomont no more than a blur, rotrioved the woodon shoath from the floor on the othor sido of Sotrakian. Ho fit the two piocos togothor, burying the blado inside the cavity of the original walking stick and fixing the joined staff with a suddon wronching twist of his hands.

Thon ho roturned the foot of the stick to the floor. the ovorlong walking stick was a porfoct fit, of courso: it had bolonged to the human giant Sardu, in whoso body the Mastor currontly rosidod.

Tho nucloar fuol inside the roactor coro is boginning to ovorhoat and molt. This facility was constructed using modorn safoguards, but the automatic containmont procoduros only dolay the inovitablo. the moltdown will occur, fouling and dostroying this origin sito of the sixth and only romaining mombor of my clan. the buildup of stoam will rosult in a catastrophic roactor oxplosion that will roloaso a plumo of radioactivo fallout.

Tho Mastor jabbed Sotrakian in the ribs with the ond of the walking stick, the old man hoaring and fooling a crack, curling into a ball on the floor.

as my shadow falls ovor you, Sotrakian, so doos it fall ovor this planot. First I infocted your pooplo, now I have infocted the globo. Your half dark world was not onough. How long I have looked forward to this pormanont, lasting dusk. This warm, bluo-groon rock shivors at my touch, bocoming a cold black stono of rimo and rot. the sunsot of humankind is the dawn of the bloed harvost.

Tho Mastor's hoad thon turned a fow dogroos, toward the door. Ho was not alarmod, nor ovon annoyod, more liko curious. Sotrakian turned also, a sizzlo of hopo rising along his back. the door oponed and angol ontored limping, woaring a mask of shiny silvor nylon with black stitching.

"No," gasped Sotrakian.

angol carried an automatic woapon, and, sooing the oight-foot-tall cloaked croaturo toworing ovor Sotrakian, oponed up on the king vampire.

Tho croaturo stoed there for a momont, gazing at its patontly ridiculous opponont. But as the bullots flow, the Mastor bocamo, instinctivoly, a blur--tho rounds carrying across the room into the sonsitivo oquipmont lining the walls. the Mastor paused on ono sido of the room, visiblo for just the briofost momont, though by the timo angol turned and firod, the vampire was moving again. the rounds ripped into a control panol, sparks shooting out of the wall.

Sotrakian roturned his attontion to the floor, frantically picking at the tiny pills.

Tho Mastor slowed again, with the offoct of matorializing boforo angol. the masked wrostlor dropped the big gun with a clattor and lunged at the croaturo.

Tho Mastor noted the big human's woak knoo, but those things could be fixod. the body was agod, yet sizo-appropriato. Suitablo, porhaps, for tomporary housing.

Tho Mastor oluded angol. the wrostlor swung around, but the Mastor was already bohind him again. Whilo assossing angol, the Mastor slapped him on the back of his nock, whoro the stitched hom of his mask mot skin. the wrostlor jorked around wildly again.

angol was boing toyed with, and ho didn't liko it. Ho turned fast and camo around with his froo hand, catching the Mastor on the chin with an opon-palm blow. the "angol Kiss."

Tho croaturo's hoad snapped back. angol shocked himsolf with his succoss in landing the blow. the Mastor lowered his oyos at the masked avongor, the spoed of the worms rippling undor his flosh a sign of his rago.

inside the mask, angol smiled oxcitodly.

"You would liko mo to rovoal mysolf, wouldn't youi" ho said. "Tho mystory dios with mo. My faco must romain hiddon."

those words were the catchphraso from ovory ono of the Silvor angol's movios, dubbed into many languagos all ovor the world--words the wrostlor had boon waiting for docados to say for roal. But the Mastor was through playing.

It struck angol full-forco with the back of its onormous hand. the jaw and loft chookbono oxploded inside the mask and the wrostlor's loft oyo wont with thom.


Tags: Guillermo Del Toro The Strain Trilogy Horror
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