Beastchild

Beastchild by Dean Koontz Read Free Book Online

Book: Beastchild by Dean Koontz Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dean Koontz
Tags: #genre
been layered with. Hulann picked up a few of these that seemed the boy's size and ordered him to put them on over his own clothes, explaining that they might have to spend time outside of a shelter in the early hours of their escape.
        "But where will we go?" the boy asked.
        "Beyond the city."
        "There is nothing out there."
        "We will find something."
        "What?"
        "You ask too many questions. We don't have time for them now. Hurry."
        They went back through the rooms to the first cellar where Hulann turned off the lights. They climbed the stairs, moved through the quiet building to the empty doorway where the snow was blowing in and drifting against the frame. Leo huddled against himself, kept to the right and slightly behind the naoli. Hulann stepped into the street, his wide feet sinking in the soft whiteness. When he had looked both ways and listened intently for the sound of life, he motioned the boy to follow him.
        They progressed up the avenue, keeping against the still erect walls of as many buildings as possible. Though they listened for approaching naoli, there was nothing for their ears but the wind and the swish of the calcimine fluff, the biting squeak of their own footfalls. Hulann had drawn his double lids down to leave as little of his big eyes exposed as possible, but he remained vigilant.
        They left the avenue for the comparative safety of an alleyway cutting off to their left. It was a narrow path, twisted and unevenly paved. The buildings rose so high and abruptly on either side that the snow had only put an inch or so of depth here. Though there was little likelihood of being seen in such a sheltered, dismal place, they nevertheless hugged the shadowed walls and moved with caution.
        Hulann made more changes of course until, in time, they came to the mouth of another alley which was blocked by a tumbled wall and the overturned hulk of a human military vehicle. They crept over the bricks and mortar until they were stretched out against the flank of the vehicle, looking beneath the turret of a large gun. Beyond, the sleek naoli occupation force structures sat in a leveled area, free of human artifacts.
        "What have we come here for if we're running?" the boy asked.
        "We couldn't expect to get far without food, could we? And even a naoli needs warmth sometimes. We ought to have heat units. And weapons. And I don't want to start walking until we have to."
        "You have a car?"
        "No. I have no need for one. But I know someone who has one I may be able to get."
        Which was Fiala. Aside from her own courses of research, she was the courier for the archaeology teams in Boston. Once every afternoon, she made the rounds of the various sectors, delivering notes from team directors and collecting whatever artifacts the directors thought would do more good with another director's line of study. Whether he could persuade her to let him have it on some pretext was highly unlikely, but he had no other choice.
        "Wait here," he said. "If I get the car, I'll pull it over close to the alley and open the door on your side. Get in as quickly as you can."
        Leo nodded.
        Hulann pushed up, went around the tank, clattered down the hill of debris, and strode off toward the naoli complex and the tower on the end where both he and Fiala-and everyone else on this team-had a room. He was almost to Fiala's door when he decided his idea was full of holes big enough to crawl through. Perhaps Banalog was sympathetic, but that was no guarantee Fiala would feel the same. If she suspected him, she could call for help through the Phasersystem before he could do anything to stop her.
        He went up a few more floors to his own quarters. He packed an equipment case full of food which he dialed from the tower kitchen. He hoped there was not a repairman monitoring the food system; this large an order would draw

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