The Demonata #10: Hell's Heroes

BOOK: The Demonata #10: Hell's Heroes
6.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Copyright

Copyright © 2009 by Darren Shan

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Little, Brown and Company

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

www.HachetteBookGroup.com

Visit our website at
www.lb-teens.com

Little, Brown and Company is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The Little, Brown name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

First eBook Edition: May 2010

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

ISBN: 978-0-316-12633-5

Also in
THE DEMONATA
series:

Lord Loss
(Book 1)

Demon Thief
(Book 2)

Slawter
(Book 3)

Bec
(Book 4)

Blood Beast
(Book 5)

Demon Apocalypse
(Book 6)

Death’s Shadow
(Book 7)

Wolf Island
(Book 8)

Dark Calling
(Book 9)

Contents

COPYRIGHT

THE LAST LAUGH

CLOCKING OFF

MR. GRUMPY-PUSS

IN DREAMS I WALK WITH YOU

EXECUTIVE BOARD

HOME SWEET HOME

ROCK ON

SHARK ATTACK

WHO’S THAT GIRL?

UNSTILL WATERS

KNIGHTS IN SLIMY ARMOR

SOULFUL

AN UNHOLY QUARTET

LIGHTS OUT

TUNNELING THROUGH

BIGGER, BETTER, BADDER

LA MOSES

THE MISSING LINK

THE WINK

WITH A BANG

AH YES, I REMEMBER IT WELL

DEVILMENT

ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING

START ME UP

A PREVIEW OF
THE THIN EXECUTIONER

For:

Liam, Bidely, and Bas—the Father, the Mother,

and the Holy Bust!!!

OBEs (Order of the Bloody Entrails) to:

Geir, Wiedar, Jon, and all the nocturnal

Norwegian Shan crew

Road Managers:

Geraldine Stroud—the ripper skipper!

Mary Byrne—the tipsy first mate!

Editor-in-chief:

Stella Paskins—10 rounds, not out!!

Apocalyptic agents:

the Christopher Little chorus line

And an extra special thank you to all of my demonically delightful Shansters, especially those of you who have kept me company on the web through the run of the series. But take heed—if you desert me at this point, heads will roll!!!!

THE LAST LAUGH

I
miss Cal,” Dervish says. “We fought a lot when we were young, like all brothers, but we were always there for one another.”

We’re lying in the mouth of a cave, admiring the desolate desert view, sheltered from the fierce afternoon sun.

“It’s funny,” Dervish chuckles. “I thought I’d be the first to go. The life I chose, the risks I took… I was sure I’d die young and nastily. I pictured Cal living to be eighty or ninety. Strange how things work out, isn’t it?”

I stare at the hole in the left side of Dervish’s chest. Blood is seeping from it and I can see bone inside. “Yeah,” I grunt. “Hilarious.”

Dervish shifts and grimaces. He’s in a lot of pain, but he won’t have to suffer much longer. My uncle was in bad shape before we took on an army of demons. Now, having come through hell, he doesn’t have a prayer. He’s finished. We both know it. That’s why we came up here from the underground cave, so he could die in the open, breathing fresh air.

“I remember one time,” Dervish continues, “not long after Cal married your mum. We had a huge fight. He wanted me to quit being a Disciple, marry and have kids, lead a normal life. He thought I was crazy to do what I did.”

“He wasn’t wrong,” I snort.

“You love it really,” Dervish grins. Blood trickles down his chin.

“Save your breath,” I tell him, trying not to shudder.

“What for? I won’t need it where I’m going.” He raises an eyebrow. “You don’t think I can survive, do you?”

“Of course not. I’m just sick of listening to you whine.”

Dervish laughs softly. The laugh turns into a blood-drenched cough. I hold him as he shakes and moans, spewing up blood and phlegm. When the fit passes, he asks me to move him out of the cave. “I don’t think I need worry about sunburn,” he murmurs.

I pick up my dying uncle and carry him outside. He doesn’t weigh much. Thin and drawn, overstretched by the world. He rests his head on my chest, like a baby cuddling up to its mother. I prop him against a large rock, then settle beside him. His eyes stay closed. He’s dozed off. I study him sadly, memorizing every line of his creased face, brushing the wilting spikes of hair back from his forehead, remembering all the nights he comforted me when I’d had a nightmare.

With a jolt he wakes and looks around, alarmed. When he sees me, and the hole in his chest, he relaxes. “Oh, it was only a dream. I thought we were in trouble.”

“Nothing can trouble us here.”

Dervish smiles at me lopsidedly. “I loved having you live with me. You were like my son. Billy was too, but I never got to spend the sort of time with him that I did with you.”

“If you were my real dad, I’d have asked to be put into foster care.”

Dervish’s smile widens. “That’s what I like to hear. You’re a true Grady. We don’t do sympathetic.”

His eyes wander and he sighs. “I hope I see Cal again. Billy and Meera. Even Beranabus. So many who’ve gone before me. Do you think there’s an afterlife, Grubbs? Will I be reborn? Or is there just… nothing?”

“There has to be
something
,” I mutter. “Why would the universe give us souls if not? It’d be pointless.”

Dervish nods slowly, then frowns at something behind me. “What’s that?” he wheezes.

My head shoots around and I scan the surrounding area for danger. But I can’t see anything except dry earth and rocks. “There’s nothing—” I begin, then stop. Dervish’s eyes have glazed over. He’s not breathing. His face is calm.

I tremble and reach out to close his eyelids, blinking back tears. My fingers are just a few inches from his eyes when…
snap!
Dervish’s teeth clamp together and he bites the tip of my index finger.

“Hellfire!” I roar, toppling backwards, heart racing.

BOOK: The Demonata #10: Hell's Heroes
6.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Spellbound by Sylvia Day
Exile by Rebecca Lim
Arranged by Wolf, Sara
His Abductor's Desire by Harper St. George
Veiled Seduction by Alisha Rai
Rising of a Mage by J. M. Fosberg