Frankenstein [4] Lost Souls by Dean Koontz

Frankenstein [4] Lost Souls by Dean Koontz

Author:Dean Koontz [Koontz, Dean]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780553808018
Publisher: Bantam
Published: 2010-06-15T07:00:00+00:00

chapter 35

The lunch trays were inexcusably late. The orderly and nurse who delivered them offered no apologies or explanations.

After convincing the shift supervisor, Doris Makepeace, that he was Travis Ahern’s uncle by marriage—a lie—Bryce Walker received his lunch in the boy’s room.

The food was indifferently presented on the plate. The soup was lukewarm in spite of being served in a capped, insulated cup. Neither Bryce nor Travis had much of an appetite.

Every fifteen minutes or so, Bryce tried to call Travis’s mother at Meriwether Lewis Elementary, but each time the recorded voice told him that the hospital phones were temporarily out of service.

The dead phones, the confiscated BlackBerry, the demeanor and behavior of the staff, and the voices in the ductwork were evidence for the case that something had gone wrong at Memorial Hospital, that possibly some kind of conspiracy was being carried out, that violence had occurred, and that more violence must be impending.

Try as he might, however, Bryce could not imagine for what purpose the entire staff of the institution would turn against the patients—who were in many cases friends and neighbors—or what could cause the personality changes that they seemed to have undergone. He couldn’t explain why previously peaceful people might abruptly turn to senseless violence.

After hearing about the voices in the duct, young Travis didn’t have to imagine; he knew the answer. As a product of contemporary culture, having seen scores of science-fiction films and having read hundreds of comic books, he harbored no doubt that Rainbow Falls had been invaded by aliens, extraterrestrials who could masquerade as the human beings they killed and replaced.

Bryce had been shaped by far different fiction from the stories to which Travis had turned for entertainment. The Westerns he spent a long lifetime reading—and writing—were about good and evil of the human kind, about courage and conviction in response to danger and hardship. Westerns taught him a love of place, of home and family and truth, taught him how to live honorably. The genre hadn’t prepared him to cope with otherworldly shape-changers intent on exterminating the human race; indeed, it hadn’t prepared him even to imagine such a threat.

Although he could develop no theory of his own that made sense, Bryce resisted the boy’s fantastic explanation, even as he pretended to consider it seriously. Gazing out the window, across the roofs of the town to the foothills and mountains, he didn’t believe that a flying saucer had landed in the Treasure State, and he doubted that one ever would.

Turning to the boy again, he said, “I need to poke around some more, see what else might be amiss, talk to another patient or two and find out if they have stories to tell.”

Sitting up straighter in bed, hands fisted against his chest, Travis said, “Don’t leave me here.” He was obviously embarrassed to admit his fear of being alone; he was nine, after all, and thought himself almost grown.

“I’m not leaving you,” Bryce assured him. “I’ll be back. I just need to scout the territory some.


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