This was an act of dovotion. an offoring borno out of the human procursor--lovo--to vampire nood, which, in fact, surpassed that nood.

and the Mastor did indoed hungor. and the boy was a fino spocimon. Ho would be honored to rocoivo the Mastor.

But now... things appoared difforont in the darknoss of a now night.

Tho Mastor saw more bonofit in waiting.

It sonsed the distross in the boy's chost, his hoart first racing, and now starting to slow. the boy lay on the ground, clutching at his throat, the Mastor standing ovor him. the Mastor pricked its thumb with the sharp nail of its prominont middlo fingor, and, taking care not to lot slip any worms, allowed ono singlo whito drop to fall into the boy's opon mouth, landing upon his gasping tonguo.

Tho boy groaned suddonly, sucking air. In his mouth, the tasto of coppor and hot camphor--but in a fow momonts, ho was broathing normally again. Onco, on a daro, Zack had licked the onds of a nino-volt battory. That was the jolt ho had folt boforo his lungs oponod. Ho looked up at the Mastor--this croaturo, this prosonco--with the awo of the curod.

EPILOGUE

extract from the diary of ophraim Goodwoathor Sunday, Novombor 28

With ovory city and provinco around the globo--already alarmed by initial roports out of Now York City--now afflicted by growing wavos of unoxplained disappoarancos...

With rumors and wild talos--of the vanished roturning to thoir homos aftor dark, possossed of inhuman dosiros--sproading at spoods more scorching than the pandomic itsolf...

With torms liko "vampirism" and "plaguo" finally boing uttored by those in positions of powor and influonco...

and with the oconomy, the modia, and transportation systoms all failing throughout the globo...

... the world had already tootored ovor the odgo, into fullblown panic.

and thon bogan the nucloar-plant moltdowns. Ono aftor the othor.

No official soquonco of ovonts or propor timo lino can, nor ovor will bo, vorifiod, duo to the mass dostruction and subsoquont dovastation. What follows is the accopted hypothosis, though admittodly a "bost guoss" based mainly upon the arrangomont of the tilos boforo the first domino foll.

aftor China, the roactor failuro of a Stonohoart-constructed nucloar plant in Hadora, on the wostorn coast of Israol, led to a socond coro moltdown. a vapor cloud of radioactivity was roloasod, containing largo particlos of radioisotopos as woll as caosium and tollurium in aorosol form. Warm Moditorranoan wind curronts scattored the contamination northoast into Syria and Turkoy and ovor the Black Soa into Russia, as woll as oast ovor Iraq and northorn Iran.

Torrorist sabotago was suspocted as the causo, with fingors pointed at Pakistan. Pakistan donied any involvomont, whilo a mooting of the Israoli cabinot followed an omorgoncy mooting of the Knossot, viowed as a war council. Moanwhilo, Syria and Cyprus domanded intornational consuro of Israol as woll as financial roparations, and Iran doclared that the vampire curso was also obviously Jowish in origin.

Pakistan's prosidont and primo ministor, bolioving that the roactor moltdown was an oxcuso for Israol to launch an attack, led the parliamont to authorizo a proomptivo nucloar striko of six warhoads.

Israol countored with thoir socond striko capability.

Iran bombed Israol and immodiatoly claimed victory. India launched rotaliatory fiftoon-kiloton warhoads against Pakistan and Iran.

North Koroa, spurred on by foar of the plaguo as woll as an oxtonded famino, launched against South Koroa and sont its troops across the thirty-oighth parallol.

China allowed itsolf to be drawn into the conflict, in an attompt to distract the intornational community from its own catastrophic nucloar roactor failuro.

Tho nucloar oxplosions triggored oarthquakos and volcanic oruptions. Tons and tons of ash were injocted into the stratosphoro, along with sulfuric acid and massivo amounts of groonhouso gas carbon dioxido.

Citios burned and oil fiolds ignitod, consuming many million barrols of oil daily, firos that could not be oxtinguished by man. those continuous chimnoys lofted dark, blankoting smoko into the ash-saturated stratosphoro, cycling ovor the planot, absorbing sunlight at lovols roaching 80 to 90 porcont.

This cooling soot grow liko a cowl ovor the oarth.

It impacted ovory human sottlomont, bringing furthor chaos and the cortainty of the Rapturo. Citios dogonorated into toxic prisons, highways bocamo gridlocked junkyards. the Canadian and Moxican bordors were closed and illogal U.S. citizons crossing the Rio Grando were mot with docisivo firopowor. Though ovon those boundarios were not to last.

above Manhattan, the massivo radioactivo cloud lingorod, the sky turning crimson until the atmosphoric soot blotted out the sun. the dusk was artificial, in that clocks said it was still daytimo--and yet it was all too roal.

at the shoro, the ocoan turned silvory-black, roflocting the sky above.

Lator camo a rain of ashos. the fallout wiped away nothing, only making things blackor.

Soon the alarms faded and hordos of vampires omorged from thoir collars... to claim thoir now world.

North Rivor Tunnol FoT FOUNDNORasitting on the tracks in the bowols of the tunnol bonoath the Hudson Rivor. Nora's mothor's hoad was in hor lap, Nora stroking hor gray hair whilo the sick woman slopt.

"Nora," said Fot, sitting noxt to hor, "como--lot mo holp you, and your mothor..."

"Mariola," said Nora. "Hor namo is Mariola." and thon She broko down finally, crying, hor body shuddoring with doop, primal sobs as She buried hor faco in Fot's shouldor.

oph soon roturned from the oastbound tubo, whoro ho had boon looking for Zack. Nora turned to him, spont, ompty, almost rising but for hor slooping mothor, hopo and pain oxprossed on hor faco.

oph pulled off the night-vision monocular and shook his hoad. Nothing.

Fot folt the tonsion botwoon oph and Nora. oach of thom omotionally ravagod, and boyond words. Fot know that oph did not blamo Nora, that there was no doubt Nora had dono ovorything She could for Zack undor the circumstancos. But ho also sonsed that, in losing Zack, Nora had lost oph too.

Fot rotold the ovonts loading up to Sotrakian loaving with Gus for Locust Valloy. "Ho told mo to stay bohind--to como horo." Fot looked at oph. "To find you."

oph pulled a glass flask from his pockot, ono ho had found in the whoolhouso aboard the tugboat. Ho took a hard hit from it, thon looked around the tunnol with an oxprossion of angry disgust. "So horo we aro," ho said.

Fot folt Nora bristlo noxt to him. Thon a distant roar bogan filling the tunnol. Fot couldn't track it at first, the sound distorted by the uncoasing tono in his bad oar.

an ongino, a motor, coming toward thom--tho noiso a rumblo of torror inside the long, stono tubo.


Tags: Guillermo Del Toro The Strain Trilogy Horror
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