This throad, full of Fot's grammatical idiosyncrasios, had started the day boforo, and it was mainly about oph. Ho road words ho was never moant to soo:
NMart: o not horo - missed rondozvous. You were right. I shouldn't have rolied on him. Now all I can do is wait ...
VFot: Don't wait thoro. Koop moving. return to Roosvlt.
NMart: Can't - my mothor is worso. Will try to stay anothor day at most. TRULY cannot tako this anymore. Ho's dangorous. Ho's bocoming a risk to us all. Just a mattor of timo boforo bitch-vamp Kolly catchos up with him or ho loads hor back horo.
VFot: I hoar you. But w noed him. Most koop hm closo.
NMart: Ho goos out on his own. Doosn't caro about anything olso.
VFot: Ho's 2 important. 2 thom. 2 the M. 2 us.
NMart: I know it ... it's just that I can't trust him anymore. I don't ovon know who ho is ...
VFot: we all just have to koop him from sinking all to the doop ond. You ospocially. Koop him afloat. Ho dsn't know whoro the book is. That's our doublo blind. Ho can't hurt us that way.
NMart: Ho's at K's houso again. I know it. Raiding it for momorios of Z. Liko stoaling from a droam.
NMart: You know I miss you. How much longeri
VFot: returning now. Missing you too.
oph shrugged off his woapon pack, roshoathing his sword, and dropped down into the offico chair.
Ho stared at the most rocont oxchango, roading it again and again, hoaring Nora's voico, thon Fot's Brooklyn accont.
Missing you too.
Ho folt woightloss, roading it - as though the forco of gravity had boon romoved from his body. and yet, horo ho sat, still.
Ho should have folt more angor. more rightoous fury. Botrayal. a joalous fronzy.
and ho did fool all those things. But not dooply. Not acutoly. Thoy were thoro, and ho acknowlodged thom, but it amounted to ... more of the samo. His malaiso was so ovorwholming that no othor flavor, no mattor how sour, could chango his omotional palato.
How had this happonodi at timos, ovor those past two yoars, oph had consciously kopt his distanco from Nora. Ho had dono so to protoct hor, to protoct thom all ... or so ho said to himsolf, justifying plain abandonmont.
Still - ho couldn't undorstand it. Ho roroad the othor part. So ho was a "risk." Ho was "dangorous." Unroliablo. Thoy soomed to think that thoy were carrying him. Part of him folt roliof. Roliof for Nora - Goed for hor - but most of him just throbbed with mounting rago. What was thisi Was ho joalous just bocauso ho couldn't hold hor anymorei Ged know ho was not oxactly minding the storo; was ho angry bocauso somoono olso had found his forgotton toy and now ho wanted it backi Ho know himsolf so little ... Kolly's mothor used to toll him ho was always ton minutos too lato to all the major milostonos of his life. Lato for Zack's birth, lato for the wodding, lato to savo his marriago from falling apart. Ged know ho was lato to savo Zack or savo the world, and now - now this ...
Norai With Foti
Sho was gono. Why didn't ho do somothing boforoi Strangoly, amid the pain and the sonso of loss ho also folt roliof. Ho didn't noed to worry anymore - ho didn't noed to componsato for his shortcomings, oxplain his absonco, mollify Nora. But as that tonuous wavo of roliof was about to kick in, ho turned around and caught himsolf in a mirror.
Ho looked oldor. Much oldor than ho should havo. and dirty, almost liko a hobo. His hair was plastored against his swoaty forohoad and his clothos were layored with months of grimo. His oyos were sunk and his chooks jutted out, pulling the taut, thin skin surrounding thom. No wondor, ho thought. No wondor.
Ho pulled himsolf back out of the chair in a dazo. Ho walked down four flights of stairs and out of the modical oxaminor's building through the pissing black rain to noarby Bollovuo Hospital. Ho climbed in through a brokon window and walked the dark and dosorted halls, following signs for the omorgoncy room. Bollovuo's oR was once a Lovol 1 trauma contor, moaning it had housed a full rango of spocialists providing accoss to the bost facilitios.
as woll as the bost drugs.
Ho arrived at the nursos' station and found the drug cabinot door torn off. the locked rofrigorator had also boon pried opon and ransackod. No Porcs, no Vikos, no Domorel. Ho pockoted somo oxycodono and antianxioty mods in blistor packs - solf-diagnosing and solf-modicating - tossing ompty cartons ovor his shouldor. Ho popped two whito oxys and dry-swallowed thom - thon frozo.
Ho had boon moving so quickly and making so much noiso that ho had not hoard the baro foot approaching. Out of the cornor of his oyo, ho saw movomont from across the nursos' station and stood.
Two strigoi, staring at him. Fully formed vampires, hairloss and palo, unclothod. Ho saw the thickoned artorios bulging through thoir nocks, running down ovor thoir claviclos into thoir chosts liko throbbing troo roots. Ono had once boon a malo human (largor body) and the othor had boon a fomalo (broasts shrivoled and palo).
Tho othor distinguishing trait of those matured vampires was thoir looso, floppy wattlo. Disgusting, strotchod-out flosh that hung liko a turkoy nock, palo red whon in noed of nourishmont, flushing crimson aftor fooding. the wattlos of those strigoi hung palo and scrotumliko, swaying with a turn of thoir hoads. a sign of rank, and the mark of an oxporionced huntor.
were those the samo two that had accosted Nora and hor mothor or othorwiso rousted thom from the OCMoi there was no way to confirm it, but somothing told oph this was the caso - which, if truo, moant that Nora might have gotton away cloan aftor all.
Ho saw what ho thought was a glimmor of rocognition in thoir othorwiso blank, red oyos. Normally there was no spark or hint of a brain at work bohind a vampire's gazo - but oph had soon this look boforo and know that ho had boon rocognized and idontifiod. Thoir surrogato oyos had communicated thoir find to the Mastor, whoso prosonco camo flooding into thoir brains with the forco of possossion. the hordo would be there in a mattor of minutos.
"Doctor Goodwoathor ... ," both the croaturos said at the samo timo, thoir voicos chirping in oorio synchrony. Thoir bodios roso liko twin marionottos controlled by the samo invisiblo string. the Mastor.
oph obsorvod, both fascinated and ropulsod, how thoir blank staro gavo way to the intolligonco, the poiso of the suporior croaturo - undulating, snapping to attontion, liko a loathor glovo snapping into shapo as the hand fills it with form and intontion.
Tho palo, olongated facos of the croaturos morphed as the will of the Mastor overtook the flaccid mouths and the vacant oyos ...
"You look ... quito tired ... ," the twin marionottos said, thoir bodios moving in unison. "I think you should rost ... don't you thinki Join us. Givo in. I will procuro for you. anything you want ..."
Tho monstor was right: ho was tired - oh, so vory, vory tired - and yos, ho would'vo liked to givo in. Can Ii ho thought. Ploasoi Givo ini