Odd Interlude Part Two

Odd Interlude Part Two by Dean Koontz Read Free Book Online

Book: Odd Interlude Part Two by Dean Koontz Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dean Koontz
When I hear my name, I pretty much expect one of the six, maybe all of them, to clamber to their feet and lurch toward me, living-dead hazmat guys, zombie astronauts, but none of them moves, which doesn’t prove they’re harmless because the living dead are always trying to fake you out and then catch you unaware.
    Some girls, I guess, would turn back at this point. I don’t know much about other girls. Being a hostage to Hiskott and all that for five years, I haven’t been able to cultivate like eight or ten best friends forever. And even if I had some friends my age, I can’t slip out of the Corner and go on cool sleepovers without him torturing and killing half my family for spite. Even if right now I feel like scurrying back to wait for Harry exactly where he left me, which I’m not saying I do, there’s no reason to think that I’d be safer there. Whatever might kill me here could come there and rip out my eyes to fry them with onions and eggs for breakfast. So it’s just as dumb to go on as to go back, and no less dumb to stay here, and if you don’t have anything but dumb choices, you might as well go with the most interesting one.
    “Jolie Ann Harmony,” the guy repeats, and maybe he’s invisible, because his voice seems to come out of nowhere.
    “Yeah, what do you want?”
    He doesn’t answer me. Maybe he’s disappointed that his cold smooth spooky voice doesn’t seem to scare me. When you’ve had Norris Hiskott in your head making you do all kinds of rotten things, let me tell you, it takes a lot more to frighten you than some stupid feeb doing one version or another of
Boo!
    “You have something to say to me?” I ask.
    “Jolie Ann Harmony.”
    “Here. Present.
Je suis
Jolie.”
    “Jolie Ann Harmony.”
    “What am I, talking to a parrot or something?”
    He gives me the silent treatment again.
    If I’ve got to be honest, I’ll admit I’m sort of scared. After all, I’m not an idiot. But I swallow it like a wad of phlegm, which is how fear feels when it comes into your throat from somewhere, and I walk pastthose six dead people to another one of those ginormous round moongate-type doors. That yellow light I keep following seems to be yet another room away, and maybe it’s like the Pied Piper who lures all the children to their doom because the townsfolk won’t pay him what they promised for leading the rats away to drown in the river. But what am I going to do, you know? All the choices are dumb again, which is beginning to be annoying. So I let the big old gummy amoeba or whatever swallow me and spit me straight into the next chamber. I feel so like,
yuck
, I should be covered in icky gunk and reek like spoiled milk or something, but I’m dry and I don’t stink.
    The yellow light winks out, and I’m blind, which doesn’t bother me as much as you might think it would, because everything bad that’s ever happened to me happened in light, not in the dark, and at least in the dark, if there’s something horrible about to go down, the thing is you don’t have to see it. Then a soft, shimmering, silvery radiance appears in the blackness, very ghosty at first, but it grows a little brighter and brighter. It’s a huge sphere, hard to tell how big in this gloom, because it mostly contains its light and doesn’t brighten anything more than a few feet beyond it.
    Well, I can stand here until my knees buckle or move toward it, so I do, being careful not to fall into some pit if there is a pit. The floor is hard rubberlike stuff again, and I go at least forty feet from the weird door before I’m standing next to the sphere. It’s maybe fifty feet in diameter, as high as a five-story building. Unless it’s suspended from the ceiling, the sphere is just floating there like the biggest bubble ever, its silver light reflected dimly on the black floor three feet under it. I can’t tell is it heavy or is it light like a bubble, but my suspicion is it’s so heavy that if it wasn’t

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