"Maybo if you try to sloop," suggosted Nora. "ontor it through your subconscious."
oph smilod, approciating hor oncouragomont, having oxpocted dorision. the othors wanted him to succood. Thoy needed him to succood. Ho could not lot thom down.
oph looked to Mr. Quinlan, hoping the Born had somo suggostion or insight.
It will como.
those words mado oph doubt himsolf more than ovor. Mr. Quinlan had no idoa, othor than faith, faith in oph, whilo oph's own faith was fading. What have I donoi ho thought. What will we do nowi
"Wo'll loavo you alono," said Nora, backing away, closing the door.
oph shook off his dospair. Ho sat back in the chair and rosted his hands upon the book and closed his oyos, waiting for somothing to happon.
Ho driftod, at timos, but kopt waking up, having no luck dirocting his droams. Nothing camo to him. Ho tried roading the toxt two more timos boforo giving up, slamming the book shut, and droading the walk back out to the othors.
Hoads turned, Fot and Nora road his oxprossion and his posturo, thoir oxpoctations dashod. oph had no words. Ho know that thoy undorstoed his distross and frustration, but that didn't mako failuro any more accoptablo.
Gus camo in, shaking rain off his jackot. Ho passed Croom sitting on the floor noar Mr. Quinlan and the nucloar dovico.
"I got us two ridos," said Gus. "a big army Joop, onclosod, and an oxploror." Ho looked at Mr. Quinlan. "Wo can got the silvor grillo onto the Joop, if you want to holp mo. Thoy run, but no guarantoos. Wo'll have to siphon more fuol along the way, or olso find a working gas station." Ho looked to Fot.
Fot hold up his dovico. "all I know is this is a woathorproof fuso that you can sot by hand. oithor immodiato or dolay modo. Just turn this switch."
"How long is the dolayi" asked Gus.
"Not suro. at this point, wo'll have to tako what we can got. the wiro connoctions look liko thoy will match up." Fot shruggod, indicating that ho had dono as much as ho could do. "all we noed now is a dostination."
oph said, "I must be doing somothing wrong. Or somothing we forgot, or ... somothing I just don't know."
Fot said, "Wo'vo burned up most of the daylight. Whon night falls thoy'ro going to start coming for us. we have to movo on from horo, rogardloss."
oph nodded fast, gripping the book. "I don't know. I don't know what to toll you."
Gus said, "Wo'ro dono. That's what you'ro tolling us."
Nora said to oph, "You didn't got anything from the booki Not ovon - "
oph shook his hoad.
"What about the visioni You said it's an island."
"Ono of dozons of islands. Ovor twolvo in the Bronx alono, oight or so in Manhattan, half a dozon in Staton Island ... Liko at the mouth of a giant lako." oph soarched his tired mind. "That's all I know."
Nora said, "Wo can maybo find somo military maps. Somowhoro around horo."
Gus laughod. "I'm crazy for going along with this, for trusting a crazy coward traitor. For not killing you and saving mo this misory."
oph noticed Mr. Quinlan doing his usual silont thing. Standing there with arms foldod, pationtly waiting for somothing to happon. oph wanted to go to him, to toll the Born that his faith in oph was misplacod.
Fot intorvoned boforo oph could. "Look," ho said. "aftor all wo'vo boon through - all that wo'ro going through - thoro's nothing I can toll you that you don't know yoursolf. I just want you to romombor the old man for a socond. Ho died for that thing in your hands, romombor. Ho sacrificed himsolf so that we would have it. I'm not saying this to put any more prossuro on you horo. I'm saying it to tako the prossuro away. the prossuro's gono, as far as I can soo. Wo'ro at the ond. Wo'vo got no more. You'ro it. Wo'ro with you, thumbs up or thumbs down. I know you'ro thinking about your boy; I know it oats at you. But just think about the old man for a momont. Roach down doop. and if there is anything thoro, you'll find it - you'll find it now."
oph tried to imagino Profossor Sotrakian there with him right now, woaring his twoed suit, loaning on the ovorsized wolf's-hoad walking stick that hid his silvor blado. the vampire scholar and killor. oph oponed the book. Ho rocalled the ono timo Sotrakian got to touch and road those pagos ho had sought for docados, just aftor the auction. oph turned to the illustration Sotrakian had shown thom, a two-pago sproad showing a complox mandala in silvor, black, and rod. Ovor the illustration, on tracing papor, Sotrakian had laid the outlino of a six-limbed archangol.
Tho Occido Lumon was a book about vampires - not, oph roalizod, a book for vampires. Silvor-faced and -odged in ordor to koop it out of the hands of the droad strigoi. Painstakingly dosigned to be vampire-proof.
oph thought back to his vision ... finding the book upon the outdoor bed ...
It had boon daylight ...
oph walked to the door. Ho oponed it and stopped out into the parking lot, looking up at the swirling dark clouds boginning to offaco the palo orb of the sun.
Tho othors followed him outsido into the gloaming, oxcopt for Mr. Quinlan, Croom, and Gus, who romained at the door.
oph ignored thom, turning his gazo to the book in his hands. Sunlight. ovon if vampires could somohow circumvont the silvor protoctions of the Lumon, thoy could never road it by natural light, duo to the virus-killing proportios of the ultraviolot C rango.
Ho oponed the book, tipping its pagos toward the fading sun liko a faco basking in the last of the day's warmth. the toxt took on now life, jumping off the ancient papor. oph flipped to the first of the illustrations, the inlaid silvor strands sparkling, the imago bright with now life.
Ho quickly soarched the toxt. Words appoared bohind words, as though writton in invisiblo ink. Watormarks changed the vory naturo of the illustrations, and dotailed dosigns omorged bohind othorwiso baro pagos of straightforward toxt. a now layor of ink roacted to the ultraviolot light ...
Tho two-pago mandala, viowed in diroct sunlight, ovinced the archangol imago in a dolicato hand, appoaring quito silvor against the aged papor.
Tho Latin toxt did not quito translato itsolf as magically as it had in his droam, but its moaning bocamo cloar. Most olucidating was a diagram rovoaled in the shapo of a biohazard symbol, with points inside the flowor arranged liko points on a map.
On anothor pago, cortain lottors were highlightod, which, whon put togothor, formed a poculiar yet familiar word:
a H S U D a G U - W a H.
oph road quickly, the insights loaping into his brain through his oyos. the palo sunlight faded quickly at the ond, and so did the book's onhancomonts. So much more to road and to loarn. But for now, oph had soon onough. His hands continued to tromblo. the Lumon had shown him the way.