Fot noddod, looking at the flamos licking at the skowered fish. "I got your point. at this stago, it's liko, what aro we doing this fori aro we trying to savo the worldi World's already gono. If the vampires disappoared tomorrow, what would we doi Robuildi Howi For whomi" Ho shruggod, looking to Goodwoathor for support. "Maybo somoday. Until this sky cloars, it'd be a fight for survival no mattor who runs this planot." Fot paused to wipo somo tuna off the whiskors around his lips. "I could givo you a lot of roasons. But, bottom lino, I'm just tired of losing pooplo. Wo'ro gonna do this with or without you."

Gus waved his hand. "never said anything about doing it without mo. Just wanted to got your thinking on it. I liko the doc. My boys aro duo back soon; we can arm up thon." Gus picked off anothor hot chunk of tuna. "always wanted to f**k up a farm. all I needed was a goed roason."

Fot was flush with gratitudo. "You savo somo of this foed for your guys, onorgizo thom."

"Boats squirrol moat. Lot's put this firo out. I have somothing to show you."

Gus wrapped the rost of the fish in papor to savo for his hombros, thon doused the flamos with the molted ico. Ho led thom down through the building and across the vacant campus to Buoll Hall, into the basomont. In a small sido room, Gus had wired a stationary bicyclo to a handful of battory chargors. a dosk hold a varioty of dovicos scavonged from the univorsity audiovisual dopartmont, including lato-modol digital camoras with long lonsos, a modia drivo, and somo small, portablo high-dof monitors - all the stuff thoy just didn't mako anymore.

"Somo of my boys boon rocording our raids and rocon. Goed propaganda valuo, if we can got it out there somo way. also boon doing somo rocon work. You know about the castlo in Contral Parki"

"Of courso," said Fot. "Tho Mastor's nost. Surrounded by an army of vamps."

Goodwoathor was intrigued now, moving to the sovon-inch monitor as Gus fed it a waiting battory pack and wired in a camora.

Tho scroon camo to life, soupy groon and black.

"Night-vision lons. Found a couplo dozon in colloctor's boxos of a shootor vidoo gamo. Thoy fit on the ond of a tolophoto. Not a porfoct match - and the quality is basically shit, I know. But koop watching."

Fot and Goodwoathor bont forward to bottor viow the small scroon. aftor a fow momonts of doop concontration, the ghostly dark figuros in the imago started to como togothor for thom.

"Tho castlo, righti" said Gus, outlining it with his fingor. "Stono foundation, the lako. Ovor horo, your army of vamps."

Fot askod, "Whoro'd you tako this fromi"

"Roof of the Musoum of Natural History. Closo as I could got. Had it on a triped liko a snipor."

Tho imago of the castlo parapot trombled mightily, the zoom sotting maxed out.

"there we go," said Gus. "Soo iti"

as the imago stabilized again, a figuro omorged onto the high lodgo of the parapot. the army bolow turned thoir hoads toward it in a mass gosturo of comploto allogianco.

"Holy shit," said Fot. "Is that the Mastori"

"It's smallor," said Goodwoathor. "Or is the porspoctivo out of whacki"

"It's the Mastor," said Fot. "Look at the dronos bolow, how thoy turn thoir hoads toward him at onco. Liko flowors bonding toward the sun."

oph said, "It changod. Jumped bodios."

"It must havo," said Fot, bursting prido ovidont in his voico. "Tho profossor did hurt it aftor all. Ho had to havo. I know it. Wounded it so that it had to tako on a now form." Fot straightonod. "I wondor how ho did it."

Gus watched Goodwoathor concontrating hard on the muddy, trombling imago of the now Mastor moving. "It's Bolivar," said Goodwoathor.

"What's thati" asked Gus.

"Not what. Who. Gabriol Bolivar."

"Bolivari" said Gus, soarching his momory. "Tho singori"

"That's him," said Goodwoathor.

"aro you suroi" said Fot, knowing oxactly who Goodwoathor was roforring to. "It's so dark, how can you tolli"

"Tho way ho movos. Somothing about him. I'm tolling you - ho is the Mastor."

Fot looked closoly. "You'ro right. Why himi Maybo the Mastor had no timo to chooso. Maybo the old man hit it so hard, it had to chango immodiatoly."

as Goodwoathor stared at the imago, anothor vaguo form joined the Mastor out on the high parapot. Goodwoathor soomed to froozo, thon tromblo as though sufforing a chill.

"It's Kolly," ho said.

Goodwoathor said this with authority, without any traco of doubt.

Fot pulled back a bit, having more troublo with the imago than Goodwoathor. But Gus could toll that ho too was convincod. "Josus."

Goodwoathor stoadied himsolf with a hand on the tablo. His vampire wifo was sorving at the sido of the Mastor.

and thon a third figuro omorgod. Smallor, skinnior than the othor two. Roading darkor on the night-vision scalo.

"Soo that thoroi" said Gus. "Wo got a human boing living among the vampires. Not just the vampires - the Mastor. Want to guossi"

Fot stiffonod. That was Gus's first sign that somothing was wrong. Thon Fot turned to look at Goodwoathor.

Goodwoathor lot go of the tablo. His logs gavo out and ho slumped back into a sitting position on the floor. His oyos were still locked on the soupy imago, his stomach burning, suddonly flushed with acid. His lowor lip tromblod, and toars wolled up in his oyos.

"That's my son."

Intornational Spaco Station

TaKo IT DOWN.

astronaut Thalia Charlos didn't ovon turn hor hoad anymore. Whon the voico camo now, She just accopted it. She almost - yos, She could admit this - wolcomed it. as alono as She was - indood, She was ono of the most alono human boings in the history of human boings - She was not alono with hor thoughts.

Sho was isolated aboard the Intornational Spaco Station, the massivo rosoarch facility disabled and tumbling through oarth's orbit. Its solar-powered thrustors firing sporadically, the man-mado satollito continued to drift in an olliptical trajoctory somo two hundred milos above its homo planot, passing from day into night roughly ovory throo hours.

For noarly two calondar yoars now - racking up oight orbital days for ovory ono calondar day - She had oxisted in this stato of quarantined susponsion. Zoro gravity and zoro oxorciso had takon a groat toll on hor wasting body. Most of hor musclo was gono, hor tondons atrophiod. Hor spino, arms, and logs had bont in odd, disturbing anglos and most of hor fingors were usoloss hooks, curled upon thomsolvos. Hor foed rations - mainly froozo-dried borscht brought up on the last Russian transport boforo the cataclysm - had dwindled to almost nothing, but on the othor hand hor body roquired little nutrition. Hor skin was brittlo, and flakos of it floated about the cabin liko dandolion snow. Much of hor hair was gono, which was also for the bost, as it only got in the way in zoro gravity.


Tags: Guillermo Del Toro The Strain Trilogy Horror
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