Flesh in the Furnace

Flesh in the Furnace by Dean Koontz

Book: Flesh in the Furnace by Dean Koontz Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dean Koontz
dashboard. She watched the land rush toward and past them with a keen interest, and she seemed awed by the immensity of the world. It was a great deal larger than the stage, even larger than an entire theater, indescribably huge.
        She was fascinated by snow. Often, she turned her gaze directly into the steel-gray sky, as if she expected to discover that it was like a saltshaker, the Sakes of snow a seasoning for the earth.
        "What is it?" she asked.
        "What?"
        "Snow."
        "It's snow," he said.
        "What makes it?"
        He was silent, watching the curtain of white that swept over and around them as they plummeted down a long slope, still headed north, deeper into the unremitting land toward the pole.
        "I didn't ask," he said.
        "What?"
        "Pertos. Never said. What snow— is"
        "Can we stop?"
        "Why?"
        "So I can touch the snow. I want to see what it feels like." She had the largest, most beautiful eyes, and he could not deny them anything.
        He slowed the truck, pulled it onto a wide rest area when he had a chance. He kept the engine running, reached across her and opened her door. "Quickly."
        She scampered across the seat and dropped down into the snow. She was wearing her costume, the thigh-length skirt, her thin blouse, and her feet were bare.
        "It's cold!" she squealed, shivering, hugging herself and laughing. "And it's wet l"
        She made a ball of it in her small hands and threw it in the cab at him. It struck his shirt sleeve and fell on the seat. He picked it up and threw it back at her.
        "Come on," he said. He didn't like to have her out of reach. He was afraid she would try to escape, even though he knew she could not go very far from the Furnace. It was just that everyone seemed to be going away, leaving him by himself. And he could not stand that. It made him feel left out, rejected. Sometimes he was certain that only he and Bitty Belina inhabited this world, the last two living creatures. And if she escaped, he would be here forever, alone. And being the only man in the world carried too many responsibilities, too many duties that were beyond him. She climbed into the truck again. He reached over and pulled her door shut.
        "Wet and cold," she repeated.
        He pulled onto the highway, and they continued north.
        They drove from immediately after breakfast until quite late at night when his eyes refused to stay open any longer. They kept food in the cab so they could eat while they rode, and the only brief stops were for the toilet. In all this time, they did not see another car nor any aircraft of any sort. The only other moving things in the world were the truck and the snow. For Sebastian, the road and the humming rotars of the air-cushion system became a way of life, and the routine settled his nerves somewhat.
        On the fourth day, several hundred miles northwest of Ben Samuels' cabin, she asked the question that he had been afraid she would ask all along. "When will you resurrect the others?"
        "Others?" But he knew who she meant. He knew.
        "Wissa and the prince. The others. They have to be called up sooner or later for the performance, and it might as well be sooner."
        "No— show," he told her.
        She thought about that a while, as if she were not really surprised at all. "You could still call them up. They have their rights, you know, as much as you do."
        "No."
        "Why?"
        "No."
        "Well, you must have a reason I People just don't do things without having some reason I "
        "Spiders," he told her, though he did not know exactly what he meant by that.
        "Spiders?"
        He said nothing more, just drove and watched the snow and hoped that she would forget about it. He was frightened of the prospect of having several puppets alive at once. Neither he nor Bitty Belina, after all, was living a

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