Download The Strain: Book One of The Strain Trilogy PDF

TitleThe Strain: Book One of The Strain Trilogy
File Size2.4 MB
Total Pages416
Document Text Contents
Page 2

guillermo del toro


chuck hogan

Page 208

Ann-Marie was afraid her trembling lower jaw would be detected

in her speech. “I will. I . . . I’ll call you back.”

She hung up and looked out the back window, at the graves. Two

patches of overturned dirt. Thinking of the dogs lying there.

Ansel. What he had done to them.

She scrubbed her hands, then went through the house again, just

the downstairs this time. She pulled out the mahogany chest from the

buffet in the dining room and opened up the good silver, her wedding

silver. Shiny and polished. Her secret stash, hidden there as another

woman might hide candy or pills. She touched each utensil, her fi nger­

tips going back and forth from the silver to her lips. She felt that she

would fall apart if she didn’t touch every single one.

Then she went to the back door. She paused there, exhausted, her

hand on the knob, praying for guidance, for strength. She prayed for

knowledge, to understand what was happening, and to be shown the

right thing to do.

She opened the door and walked down the steps to the shed. The

shed from which she had dragged the dogs’ corpses to the corner of

the yard, not knowing what else to do. Luckily, there had been an old

shovel underneath the front porch, so she didn’t have to go back into

the shed. She buried them in shallow soil and wept over their graves.

Wept for them and for her children and for herself.

She stepped to the side of the shed, where orange and yellow mums

were planted in a box beneath a small, four-pane window. She hesitated

before looking inside, shading her eyes from the sunlight. Yard tools

hung from pegboard walls inside, other tools stacked on shelves, and a

small workbench. The sunlight through the window formed a perfect

rectangle on the dirt floor, Ann-Marie’s shadow falling over a metal

stake driven into the ground. A chain like the one on the door was

attached to the stake, the end of which was obscured by her angle of

vision. The floor showed signs of digging.

She went back to the front, stopping before the chained doors.


No more than a whisper on her part. She listened again, and, hear­

ing nothing, put her mouth right up to the half inch of space between

the rain-warped doors.


200 guillermo del toro and chuck hogan

Page 209

A rustling. The vaguely animalistic sound terrified her . . . and yet

reassured her at the same time.

He was still inside. Still with her.

“Ansel . . . I don’t know what to do . . . please . . . tell me what to

do . . . I can’t do this without you. I need you, dearest. Please answer

me. What will I do?”

More rustling, like dirt being shaken off. A guttural noise, as from

a clogged pipe.

If she could just see him. His reassuring face.

Ann-Marie reached inside the front of her blouse, drawing out the

stubby key that hung on a shoelace there. She reached for the lock that

secured the chain through the door handles and inserted the key, turn­

ing it until it clicked, the curved top disengaging from the thick steel

base. She unwound the chain and pulled it through the metal handles,

letting it fall to the grass.

The doors parted, swinging out a few inches on their own. The sun

was straight overhead now, the shed dark inside but for residual light

from the small window. She stood before the opening, trying to see



She saw a shadow stirring.

“Ansel . . . you have to keep quieter, at night . . . Mr. Otish from

across the street called the police, thinking it was the dogs . . . the

dogs . . .”

She grew teary, everything threatening to spill out of her.

“I . . . I almost told him about you. I don’t know what to do, Ansel.

What is the right thing? I am so lost here. Please . . . I need you . . .”

She was reaching for the doors when a moanlike cry shocked her.

He drove at the shed doors—at her—attacking from within. Only the

staked chain jerked him back, strangling an animal roar in his throat.

But as the doors burst open, she saw—before her own scream, before

she slammed the doors on him like shutters on a ferocious hurricane—

her husband crouched in the dirt, naked but for the dog collar tight

around his straining neck, his mouth black and open. He had torn away

most of his hair just as he had torn off his clothes, his pale, blue-veined

body filthy from sleeping—hiding—beneath the dirt like a dead thing

that had burrowed into its own grave. He bared his bloodstained teeth,

eyes rolling back inside his head, recoiling from the sun. A demon. She

the strain 201

Page 415


This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and
dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be
construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons,
living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

THE STRAIN. Copyright © 2009 by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck
Hogan. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American
Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have
been granted the non-exclusive, nontransferable right to access and
read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be
reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse
engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage
and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic
or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the
express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader May 2009
ISBN 978-0-06-188227-2

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Page 416

About the Publisher

HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty. Ltd.

25 Ryde Road (PO Box 321)

Pymble, NSW 2073, Australia

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
55 Avenue Road, Suite 2900
Toronto, ON, M5R, 3L2, Canada

New Zealand
HarperCollinsPublishers (New Zealand) Limited
P.O. Box 1
Auckland, New Zealand

United Kingdom
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
77-85 Fulham Palace Road
London, W6 8JB, UK

United States
HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022

Similer Documents