Dead and Alive

Dead and Alive by Dean Koontz Read Free Book Online

Book: Dead and Alive by Dean Koontz Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dean Koontz
Tags: #genre
satisfying dreams were of violent rape, mutilation, and mass slaughter.
    But he was no stranger to fear, which came over him sometimes without apparent cause, long hours of unfocused anxiety. He had been afraid when he witnessed Werner’s catastrophic cellular metamorphosis—not afraid for Werner, who was nothing to him, not afraid of being attacked by the thing Werner was becoming, but afraid that his maker, the Beekeeper, might not be as omniscient and omnipotent as Ripley had once thought.
    The implications
of that
possibility were terrifying.
    With twenty-four simultaneous
, the lock bolts retracted entirely into the vault door. On the control console, the yellow switch turned green.
    The formidable barrier swung open on its single, thick barrel hinge.
    Having burst out of and torn off its garments longago, the Werner thing stepped naked from the transition module, into the monitoring hub. It was not as handsome as Adam in Eden.
    Apparently, it continuously changed, never achieving a stable new form, for it was in significant ways different from the beast that had regarded the overhead camera in the transition module only moments earlier. Standing on his hind legs, the new Werner might have been a man crossed with a jungle cat and also with a praying mantis, a hybrid so strange that it seemed utterly alien to this planet. The eyes were both human now—but they were much enlarged, protuberant, lid-less, and staring with a feverish intensity that seemed to reveal a mind in the triplex grip of fury, terror, and desperation.
    Out of the wickedly serrated insectile mouth came a subhuman voice full of gargle and hiss, yet intelligible:
“Something has happened to me.”
    Ripley could think of nothing either informative or reassuring to say to Werner.
    Perhaps the bulging, feverish eyes revealed only rage, and not also terror and desperation, for Werner said,
“I am free, free, free. I am FREE!”
    Ironically, considering that he was an Alpha with a high IQ, Ripley only now realized that the Werner thing stood between him and the only exit from the monitoring hub.

    BUCKY AND JANET GUITREAU STOOD side by side on the dark back lawn of the Bennet house, drinking their neighbors’ best Cabernet. Bucky held a bottle in each hand, and so did Janet. He alternated between a swig from the left bottle and a swig from the right.
    Gradually the warm, heavy rain rinsed Janet clean of Yancy and Helene.
    “You were so right,” Bucky said. “They really are pussies. Did it feel as good as doing the pizza guy?”
    “Oh, it felt better. It felt like a hundred times better.”
    “You were really amazing.”
    “I thought you might join in,” Janet said.
    “I’d rather have one of my own to do.”
    “Are you ready to do one of your own?”
    “I might be almost ready. Things are happening to me.”
    “Things are still happening to me, too,” Janet said.
    “Truly? Wow. I would’ve thought you’re already … liberated.”
    “You remember I watched that TV guy twice?”
    “Dr. Phil?”
    “Yeah. That show made no sense to me.”
    “You said it was gibberish.”
    “But now I understand. I’m starting to find myself.”
    “Find yourself—in what sense?” Bucky asked.
    Janet tossed an empty wine bottle onto the lawn.
    She said, “My purpose, my meaning, my place in the world.”
    “That sounds good.”
    “It is good. I’m quickly discovering my PCVs.”
    “What’re they?”
    “My personal core values. You can’t be of use to yourself or to the community until you live faithfully by your PCVs.”
    Bucky pitched an empty wine bottle across the yard. He had drunk more than a bottle and a half of wine in ten minutes, but because of his superb metabolism, he would be lucky to get a mild buzz from it.
    “One of the things happening to me,” he said, “is I’m losing the education in law I got from direct-to-brain data downloading.”
    “You’re the district attorney,” she said.
    “I know. But now

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