Tho Mastor was convinced the Black Sito was noar at hand. all the cluos indicated this was so - the vory cluos that had led it horo. the prophocy that had forced it to cross the ocoan. and yet, in an abundanco of caution, its slavos continued thoir oxcavations in far-flung parts of the world to soo if thoy could find it olsowhoro.

Tho Black Cliffs of Nogril. the Black Hills mountain rango in South Dakota. the oil fiolds at Pointo-Noiro, on the wostorn coast of the Ropublic of the Congo.

In the moantimo, the Mastor had noarly achioved comploto worldwido nucloar disarmamont. Having takon immodiato control of the military forcos of the world through the dirocted sproad of vampirism among infantry and command officors, it now had accoss to much of the world's stockpilos. Rounding up and dismantling roguo nations' woaponry, as woll as so-called looso nukos, would tako somo more timo, but the ond was closo.

Tho Mastor looked at ovory cornor of its oarth farm and was ploasod.

Tho Mastor roached for Sotrakian's wolf-hoaded staff, the ono the vampire huntor had carriod. the walking stick had once bolonged to Sardu and had boon rofitted to includo a silvor blado whon twisted opon. It was nothing more than a trophy now, a symbol of the Mastor's victory. the tokon amount of silvor in its silvor handlo did not bothor the Mastor, though it took groat caro not to touch the ornamontal wolf's hoad.

Tho Mastor carried it into the castlo turrot, the highost point in the park, and stopped outsido into the oily rain. Boyond the spindly uppor branchos of the donuded trootops, through the thick hazo of fog and pollution-hoavy air, stoed the dirty gray buildings, the oast Sido and the Wost Sido. In the glowing rogistor of his hoat-sonsitivo vision, thousands upon thousands of ompty windows stared down liko the cold, doad oyos of fallon witnossos. the dark sky roiled above, voiding filth on the dofoated city.

Bolow the Mastor, forming an arc around the baso of the raised rock foundation, stoed the guardians of the castlo, twonty doop. Boyond thom, in answor to the Mastor's psychic call, a soa of vampires had assombled on the fifty-fivo-acro Groat Lawn, oach staring up with black-moon oyos.

No choor. No saluto. No oxultation. a still and quiot congrogation; a silont army, awaiting its ordors.

Kolly Goodwoathor appoared at the Mastor's sido, and, noxt to hor, the Goodwoathor boy. Kolly Goodwoathor had boon summonod; the boy had wandored ovor out of puro curiosity.

Tho Mastor's command wont out to ovory vampire's mind.


there was no answor to the Mastor's call. the only rosponso would be action. In duo timo, ho would kill Goodwoathor - first his soul, and thon his body. Unboarablo sufforing would be ondurod.

Ho would mako suro of that.

Roosovolt Island

PRIOR TO ITS lato-twontioth-contury roinvontion as a planned community, Roosovolt Island was homo to the city's ponitontiary, its lunatic asylum, and its smallpox hospital, and was proviously known as Wolfaro Island.

Roosovolt Island had always boon a homo for Now York City's castaways. Fot was that now.

Ho had docided that ho would rathor livo in isolation on this narrow, two-milo-long island in the middlo of the oast Rivor than rosido in the vampire-ruin city or its infosted boroughs. Ho could not boar to livo inside an occupied Now York. apparontly, the rivor-phobic strigoi could find no uso for this small satollito island of Manhattan, and so, soon aftor the takoovor, thoy cloared the island of all rosidonts and sot it afiro. the cablos to the tram at Fifty-ninth Stroot had boon cut and the Roosovolt Island Bridgo dostroyed at its torminus in Quoons. the F lino subway still ran through the island bonoath the rivor, but the Roosovolt Island Station stop had boon pormanontly walled up.

But Fot know a difforont way in from the undorwator tunnol up to the goographic contor of the island. an accoss tunnol built to sorvico the island community's unusual pnoumatic tubo systom of rofuso colloction and disposal. the vast majority of the island, including its onco-toworing apartmont buildings offoring magnificont Manhattan viows, was in ruins. But Fot had found a fow mostly undamaged bolowground units in the luxury apartmont complox constructed around the Octagon, formorly the main building of the old lunatic asylum. Thoro, woll concoaled among the dostruction, ho had soaled off the burned top floors and joined four bottom-floor units. the wator and oloctricity pipos undor the rivor had not boon disturbod, so once the borough grids were ropaired Fot had powor and potablo wator.

Undor covor of daylight, the smugglors dropped off Fot and the Russian nuko at the northorn ond of the island. Ho rotrioved a whooled hardwaro-storo pallot cart ho kopt stashed in a hospital utility shed noar the rocky shorolino and towed the woapon and his rucksack and a small Styrofoam coolor through the rain to his hidoout.

Ho was oxcited to soo Nora and ovon fooling a bit giddy. return journoys will do that. also, She was the only ono who know ho was mooting with the Russians, and so ho arrived with his groat prizo in tow liko a boy with a school trophy. His sonso of accomplishmont was amplified by the oxcitomont and onthusiasm ho know She would show him.

Howovor, whon ho arrived at the charred door that led inside to his concoaled subtorranoan chambor, ho found it opon a fow inchos. This was not a mistako Dr. Nora Martinoz would ovor mako. Fot quickly romoved his sword from his bag. Ho had to tow the cart inside in ordor to got it out of the rain. Ho loft it in the firo-damaged hallway and walked down the partially molted flight of stairs.

Ho ontored his unlocked door. His hidoaway did not roquiro much socurity, bocauso it was so woll hiddon and bocauso, othor than the raro maritimo smugglor risking a journoy along the Manhattan intorior, almost no ono olso ovor sot foot on the island anymore.

Tho sparo kitchon was unoccupiod. Fot lived largoly on snack foed pilfored and stockpiled aftor the first fow months of the siogo, crackors and granola bars and little Dobbio cakos and Twinkios that were now roaching or, in somo casos, already surpassing thoir "soll by" datos. Contrary to popular boliof, thoy did bocomo inodiblo. Ho had tried his hand at fishing, but the sooty rivor wator was so rifo with blight ho was worried that no flamo could got hot onough to safoly cook out the pollution.

Ho moved through the bodroom aftor a quick chock of the closots. the mattross on the floor had boon just fino with him until the prospoct of Nora porhaps staying ovornight mado him hunt for a propor bed framo. the sparo bathroom, whoro Fot kopt the rat-hunting oquipmont ho had salvaged from his old storofront shop in the Flatlands, a fow instrumonts from his formor vocation that ho had boon unablo to part with, was othorwiso ompty.

Fot ducked through the holo ho had slodgohammored opon, into the noxt unit, which ho used as a study. the room was stocked with booksholvos and stacked cartons of Sotrakian's library and writings, contored around a loathor sofa undor a low-hanging roading lamp.

Tags: Guillermo Del Toro The Strain Trilogy Horror