Walkers by Graham Masterton Read Free Book Online

Book: Walkers by Graham Masterton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Graham Masterton
Tags: Fiction, General, Horror
ask me,’ said
Phil. ‘They take dope, they swim, and they think they can swim all the way to
    ‘I guess we were just as crazy in my
day,’ said Mrs Van Buren. ‘In those days, of course, it was bootleg liquor. We
used to drive up and down the Pacific Highway in a De Soto CK Six, high as
kites on McNamara’s home-brewed whiskey, and see how far we could get without
putting our hands on the steering-wheel. First person to grab for the wheel was
a chicken.’
    Phil laughed. ‘Why now, Mrs Van
Buren, I didn’t know you were a juvenile delinquent.’
    ‘You show me a juvenile who isn’t,’
said Mrs Van Buren, ‘and I’ll show you a juvenile who’s never going to get
anywhere in life, not anywhere at all.’
    ‘I don’t know about that,’ said Gil.
‘This girl only got as far as the beach.’
    Phil glanced across at his son
questioningly. Gil was conscious that he had sounded as if he had known the
girl, or seen her. He deliberately changed the subject by rubbing his hands
together briskly, and saying, ‘Want me to slice up some ham, Dad?’
    ‘Sure thing, and maybe some of that
Italian salami, too, the dry salami.’
    Gil walked between the shelves of
groceries to the back of the store, to the glass-fronted deli counter. He went
around it, ducking his head to avoid the plastic cloves of garlic which hung
from the ceiling, and through to the stockroom, where there was a washbasin and
a mirror. He washed his hands thoroughly, and dried them. In the mirror, his
face looked detached and expressionless, and not at all like the face of
somebody who had just witnessed a hideous death and a frightening accident.
    Back at the counter, he hefted up a
large Maryland ham, covered in golden breadcrumbs and positioned it on to the
slicer. He switched on the motor, and began to slide the slicer backwards and
forwards, heaping up thin pink stacks of aromatic ham. His father had finished
with Mrs Van Buren, and came down to the back of the shop, wiping his hands on
his apron.
    ‘By the way,’ he said, ‘some girl
came by, asking where you were.’
    ‘Some girl? It wasn’t Gina Chappell,
was it?’
    ‘I don’t know; I don’t know what
Gina Chappell looks like.’
    ‘Blonde, gappy teeth, very small
    His father grunted in amusement.
‘No, this wasn’t Gina Chappell. This one was tall, and dark, and I have to say
that she had very big -’ He left the word unspoken, but held out his hands as
if he were comparing the weight of two large cantaloupes.
    Gil switched off the slicer, and
lifted the ham with a spatula. ‘Don’t know who that could have been.’
    ‘She seemed quite anxious to see
you. She said she’d have a cup of coffee down at the bookstore, and then she’d
come back.’
    Gil smiled at his father, and
switched the slicer back on again. ‘Maybe it’s my lucky day. For the first time
in my life, a beautiful girl has come chasing me’
    ‘She’s probably an officer of the
court, trying to serve you with a summons for all those parking tickets of
    ‘Don’t shatter my illusions, Dad.’
    Phil watched his son for a moment or
two, and then said, ‘Are you okay?’
    Gil glanced up. ‘Okay? Why shouldn’t
I be okay?’
    ‘I don’t know. You look kind of
worried about something.’
    ‘Well, I don’t know. You look like
you’ve got something preying on your mind.’
    Gil shook his head. ‘Nothing that I
can think of.’
    But his father didn’t seem to be
satisfied. He stayed silent a little while longer, and then he said, ‘It’s not
like you, to miss out on your swim.’
    ‘ I jogged. The jogging was enough.’
    ‘Your leg isn’t hurting?’
    ‘My leg is fine. What is this, the
third degree? You’re going to beat a confession out of me with a Hungarian
    Phil laughed again, but without much
amusement. ‘I know you. I know you better than you know yourself. That’s
because you’re just like me. And when I’m worried about something, I

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