Infected Page 101
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Otto nodded, then sat back.
They quietly waited.
A NICE HOT BATH
Perry raised the tiny flame to the rum-soaked hand towel. It caught instantly, bursting into flame with a loud whoof, singeing his hand. He whipped the flaming towel behind him like a horse flicking its tail to ward off a swarm of flies. The flames slapped against the bandolier towel’s wet spot.
It, too, ignited instantly, scorching the thin flesh above the Triangle. The flames caught Perry’s hair, which disintegrated in a scalp-searing whoosh. The smell of rum, burned flesh and singed hair filled the bathroom.
Scalding pain raged against his back as flames scampered up the towel. He started to stand, his instincts screaming to MOVE, to RUN,to STOP, DROP and ROLL. His skin bubbled and blistered — he let out a small scream but forced himself to sit back down on the tub. He switched the knife from his left hand to his right.
Letting loose a roar mixed of equal parts pain, fury and defiance, Perry stabbed the blade into his left forearm, right through one of the Triangle’s closed eyes. He knew it went all the way through, because he felt the blade tip dig into his own flesh on the other side. Blood and purple gushed onto his hand, almost making him lose his grip on the knife. With a primitive growl and a sick smile of insane satisfaction, he punched the knife tip in again and again, like a pointed pick into a bowl of ice.
His back continued to burn.
Face contorted with pain, he fell backward into the tub. There was a quick hiss as he landed in the cold water. The fire ceased, but the burning sensation continued. A wave of joy washed over him even as he writhed in agony.
“How do you like that? How the fuck do you Howdy Doody like that?”
His ravaged arm filled the tub with diluted blood, making the water look like cherry Kool-Aid.
Not done yet, kids, Perry thought. No bout-a-doubt-it, got one more round to go.
With his right hand, he squeezed down on his left forearm. He thrashed in the shallow red water, his face twisting into a gnarled mask of agony.
Dew ignored his aching knees and crouched in front of the door to Apartment G-104. His thick fingers worked lock-picking tools with the delicate grace of a ballerina pirouetting across the stage.
The lock clicked with a tiny sound, and Dew silently turned the deadbolt back. He stood, pulled his .45, and took a deep breath.
They’re gonna pay, Malcolm.
He opened the door and slid into an empty living room, devoid of any furniture. He did a fast check to make sure there was nothing in any of the rooms — they were empty as well. He ran out the door into the hall, headed for the next apartment.
THE CHICKEN SCISSORS
Perry lurched out of the tub, bloody water sloshing all over the floor. He grabbed a clean towel, looped it into a granny knot, then bit back the screams as he pulled it tight against his mangled forearm.
He was in serious pain, but he could handle it. Why? Because he had discipline, that’s why. His arm bled like a proverbial stuck pig. The towel quickly soaked through with bright red — he didn’t know if he’d hit an artery and he didn’t care, because he’d punched through all three of the Triangle’s eyes. A thin, greasy black tentacle hung from the cut, blood coursing down it to piddle on the floor.
It didn’t matter. He’d be in an ambulance inside of five minutes. He grabbed the towel’s ends, took a deep breath, and pulled the terry-cloth tourniquet even tighter. A fresh wave of pain erupted from his arm, but he bit back the scream.
The Triangles awoke.
No, not Triangles, Triangle.
The one on his back was dead, burned to a crispy-crisp, and the one on his arm was sliced in half. Only one remained.
Which meant there really was only one thing left to do.
stop ST O p StoP
The voice in his head sounded weak, thin, frail. He couldn’t understand many of the words.
“Shouldn’t have fucked with a Dawsey, big dog. You understand that now, don’t you?” He shuffled slowly forward, resting against the sink counter.
bastar ty fucker t
fuckert Stope STOPE
“There’s no help for you,” Perry said. “Now you know what it’s like.” The butcher’s block sat on the sink counter. It called to him.
The bathroom door rattled violently. Tentacles slid under the door and squirmed like lunatic black snakes. In jagged disbelief that cut through his hazy vision, Perry watched the doorknob turn.
He launched himself against the door just as it began to open, his right shoulder slamming it closed. He locked the door and took a step back, eyes wide with shock as the black, ropy tentacles continued to worm their way under the door.
He heard the clicks and pops of the hatchlings, but he heard more — he heard their womanly voice in his head, not as strong as the confused pleas of his own Triangle, but strong enough, and desperate, angry. The voices were separate now. They all sounded the same, but were individual instead of the group they had been while still inside Fatty Patty’s body.
So many words crushed together. It was like trying to focus in on one snowflake during a blizzard, but he picked out bits and pieces.
Stop! Don’t do it! Sinner! You’ll burn in hell!
Don’t kill him don’t kill him!
The tentacles pushed and pulled at the door, rattling it, trying to force it open, but they didn’t have enough strength. Perry watched in horror as they slithered in, pulled at the door, slid back under — too many to count, moving too fast to track.
Infected Page 101
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Infected Page 101 summary
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