“Whitley Strieber's fantastical Hybrids is a nightmare culmination of many science fiction and horror films, both classic and modern… I actually lost sleep; I couldn't put it down.”
“Is this the stuff of nightmares or established fact? This is the question posed by author and authority on all things otherworldly, Whitley Strieber.”
From the Back Cover
Get the lowdown on keeping your dog healthy and content Loyal and intelligent, the German Shepherd has a long history as a working dog and as a family companion. This fun and friendly book provides insights into the German Shepherd temperament, sensible advice on taking care of and training your dog, tips on participating in a variety of dog competitions, and much more.
Discover how to: Choose the right German Shepherd for you Acclimate your puppy to his new home Educate yourself and your dog Maintain good health through proper exercise and diet Handle behavioral problems
The Dummies Way Explanations in plain English "Get in, get out" information Icons and other navigational aids Tear-out cheat sheet Top ten lists A dash of humor and fun
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About the Author
WHITLEY STRIEBER is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the legendary Communion; Warday; Nature’s End; and The Coming Global Superstorm (with Art Bell), the basis of the movie, The Day After Tomorrow. His science fiction thriller, The Grays, is currently in development to be made into a film.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
JUNE 13, 1986
It was terrible now and she was so afraid and not just for the baby. This wasn’t the hospital she’d been promised, and Sergeant Walker was no midwife. She wasn’t even sure what kind of doctor Dr. Turner was. They were in trouble with her and were just guessing and there was blood, so much blood, and she was getting real tired, and here it came again, another contraction, and despite her ample hips, this baby was big, he was too big, and she screamed and pushed as best she could, but she was so tired.
Then it ended.
“Is it out?” she gasped. But she knew it wasn’t, not nearly, and she cried then, because she thought this was the last day she would ever see and she was scared.
She’d needed the money. Dr. Turner had promised her the finest care. He’d had the face of a liar, that was for sure, with those eyes that always looked away. It was as if there were something in her face he feared to see. Furtive. His hands were long and white, like a woman’s. She didn’t like his touching her.
She’d answered an ad in SF Weekly. She’d been hungry and she didn’t want to party, and there were no damn jobs for a GED from Arkansas. She’d come out here because Mom had always regretted leaving, and maybe there were boys with some money or some kind of a good job, not like home. They couldn’t all be gay and she was pretty, she knew that. She’d assumed that she could waitress, but it had just not happened. Nothing had happened for her, and she was about out of the cash Mom had left her.
“Go to San Francisco,” she’d said in her dying days. “I never shoulda left, girl, it was my mistake.”
They had relatives here, supposedly, but she hadn’t found them. Nobody wanted a damn waitress who sounded the way she did, a drawling, red-state cracker. So she was living in a four-flight walk-up she couldn’t afford, eating less and less often, looking and feeling more tired every passing day.
So the ad: Big money to participate in an accredited medical experiment. Safety guaranteed. Major hospital.
More of a major nondescript old building with only one open office, this one. She’d sat in the waiting room with a dozen other girls. Sergeant Walker had interviewed her. Not in uniform. He was a warm, twinkling man who listened well. He’d asked about her friends and associations—none. About her family—none. Relatives—none she could find. Making some gentle joke, he had measured her hips.
He’d asked her, “Are you willing to carry a baby?”
That was the medical experiment? She’d visualized tubes and things.
She had been far from sure, until she heard the money, which was $2,000 a month for the duration, plus a $5,000 bonus after delivery.
Hired to have a baby, damnedest thing. Eighteen grand, doled out two grand on the first of every month in cash, no taxes, no records, plus the little nest egg to look forward to.
It’d be an easy pregnancy, Sergeant Walker had said. Dr. Turner was a genius. The highest level of care throughout. So, yeah, she’d carry their baby.
At first, all had seemed normal. The first trimester had been a matter of coming in, getting ultrasounds, and walking out with a purse full of money. She felt that she was blossoming, somehow. She’d feared morning sickness, but there was never any sign of it.
When she began to get big, she walked the streets proudly. They’d given her a gold band, and she wore it. People loved her. Guys were protective. It was wonderful.
But there had been no real hospital and this was not even a decent birthing room and Sergeant Walker was hardly an obstetrician, or even a midwife. It was all dingy and Dr. Turner was like some kind of looming crow or whatever, always asking questions about her private things, urination and whatnot. Disgusting man, those eyes that always avoided hers, those hands, fingers as cold as snakes, touching her. Loathsome.
Now it was the fifth hour of labor, and what had begun as just a little tightness had become a swaggering monster, slamming her spine and tearing her muscles.
It was wrong, the baby was too damn big even for a widesider such as her, she could feel herself breaking.
“I need a real doctor.”
“I’m a doctor,” Dr. Turner said for the millionth time.
“I hate you, Dr. Turner. So much.”
Another contraction came, so ferocious that she thought her churning gut would explode the baby out into their damn faces. Then there was another gush of blood, another one.
“I’m sick, I’m gonna throw up, I’m bleeding too much.” Red agony as Sarge held her over a metal trash can full of bloody towels, and she vomited on them, black vomit. “It’s full of blood,” she gasped. “I’m dying, you bastards.”
Turner watched her, his narrow face carefully emptied of expression. Like an executioner.
This was a government thing and this was a government place that wasn’t supposed to look like one.
She tried to shout at him, but all that came out was a whisper. “For God’s sake, get me to an emergency room.”
“You’re fine, Martha.”
“I need a cesarean. Get me a damn cesarean.”
Outside, she could hear the cable car coming up California, rattling and clanging, and imagine the tourists and the rushing sky and the pearly bay.
Why had she ever thought some jerk who hires you to do a thing like this and pays cash was anything but what he looked like, which was a damn snake? Dr. Turner, the serpent.
Sergeant Walker sat waiting for the next contraction. Turner hovered now, simpering.
“I need a cesarean.”
“It’s going to be all right.”
“I demand an emergency room.”
She could smell her blood and hear it dripping, a lot of it.
Sergeant Walker—Sarge, as he liked to be called—offered her some Dr Pepper. She spat it out. What were they doing with sodas in a birthing room?
“It’s supposed to be ice cubes,” she managed to rasp, “not this crap.”
“Now, you need it, you need the strength,” Walker said in his drawling voice. He called himself an Alabama boy. Yeah, probably another damn lie. Maybe he wasn’t even military and maybe this wasn’t even a government place. Except she knew different, because even though it only went up two stories, she’d seen that the basement also went down into the fault-ridden depths under the city. Insane, who would go down into a death trap like that? If an earthquake came, you’d be buried alive.
Oh, here it came again, and, God, it hurt, GOD GOD GOD!
What in hell was in her, a damn giant?
Sarge tried again with the soda. “He needs it, too,” he said, his voice now wheedling. “The baby needs his strength, too, Martha.”
“It’s a Dr Pepper for chrissakes!” This damn place—it had a rep in the neighborhood. Scary. No sign on it. Just a hard-tile lobby and an elevator that took its own sweet time, then these offices, linoleum, steel desks, picture of Reagan on the wall to make it all look official, which was total BS.
Oh, God, it was worse this time, a great, steel wave of agony that started in the depth of her guts and spread with the speed of a flash fire all the way into her throat and even into her eyes, her scalp, the ripping agony, spasmodic, causing her to arch her back, causing the sergeant to shout again, “Push, Martha, push!”
“Damn you, get it out!” Turner screamed. “Get my baby out!”
“We’re killing her!”
A sudden, agonizing lurch, a feeling that she was being shoved backward, then it was as if the world itself had drained out of her.
“Push, damn you,” Turner screamed, his claws clutching, his eyes swarming with fear.
She could not push, not anymore. She was like a dead fish, that was it, a dead salmon lying flat on the butcher block, ready for the gutting.
Oh my God, my God, this is death, this total inability to move. I’m young and I’m pretty and I want boys and I want life. I want life!
She felt movement between her legs and heard a strange sound, the mewling of an ocelot, perhaps, awful. It was a monster, they had bred a monster inside her, she’d known it, and now here it was.
Another wave came, growing and growing until it completely enveloped her, becoming something beyond pain and outside of life altogether, a storm from another reality, a wave made of blood, a rain of tears.
Through the agony, there came silence. Someone was screaming, but in the distance, somewhere along the tattered edges of the world.
She listened to the screaming and imagined gulls out on the bay, wheeling in the sun, their voices echoing with fatality and the vastness of the sea.
At first, it had all seemed so excellent. She’d been able to pay her rent, get a few nice things, eat regularly. She’d wanted to tell her mom, except she had no mom to tell. She still hadn’t got her mind wrapped around that. Moms don’t die like that, at age forty-five. Moms get old and get white hair and rock in rocking chairs.
Oh, who cared about that, her mind was wandering, she was in trouble here, she wasn’t able to tell them how much … or maybe she had told them and they didn’t care.
Turner’s face was like a moon hanging in a winter sky. Lonely night sky, sky of loss. He went off across the room with Sarge, and they talked together, arguing. Sarge’s face was practically purple, Turner’s like gray, dead smoke.
She wanted to cry out, she wanted to tell them again, but it was just too hard to talk now. Her eyes closed, she did not close them. She felt as if her skeleton were sinking out of her skin, sinking into the...