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By the light of the moon

By the light of the moon

Titel: By the light of the moon
Autoren: Dean Koontz
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Also by Dean Koontz from Headline
    One Door Away from Heaven
    From the Corner of his Eye
    False Memory
    Seize the Night
    Fear Nothing
    Sole Survivor
    Dark Rivers of the Heart
    Mr Murder
    Dragon Tears
    Cold Fire
    The Bad Place
    Strange Highways
    Demon Seed
    Winter Moon
    The Funhouse
    The Face of Fear
    The Mask
    The Eyes of Darkness
    The Servants of Twilight
    The Door to December
    The Key to Midnight
    The House of Thunder
    Twilight Eyes
    The Voice of the Night
    Darkness Comes
    The Vision
    Night Chills
    Dean Koontz
    Copyright © 2002 Dean Koontz
    The right of Dean Koontz to be identified as the
Author of
the Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
    First published in Great Britain in 2002 by
    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication
may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted,
in any form or by any means, without the prior written
permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated
in any form of binding or cover other than that in which
it is published and without a similar condition being
imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
    All characters in this publication are
and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead,
is purely coincidental.
    Cataloguing in Publication Data is available from
the British Library
    ISBN 0 7472 7073 2 (hardback)
ISBN 0 7472 7076 7 (trade paperback)
    Typeset by Palimpsest Book Production
Polmont, Stirlingshire
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
Mackays of Chatham plc, Chatham, Kent
A division of Hodder Headline
338 Euston Road
London NW1 3BH
    This book is dedicated to Linda Borland and Elaine
Peterson for their hard work, their kindnesses, and their
reliability. And, of course, for catching me in that once-a-year
mistake that, if not drawn to my attention, would mar my record of
perfection. And for discreetly concealing from me that the real
reason they stay around is to ensure that Ms. Trixie receives all
the belly rubs that she deserves.
    And at his prow the pilot held
within his hands his freight of lives, eyes
wide open, full of moonlight.
    — Night Flight , Antoine de
    Life has no meaning except in terms
of responsibility.
    — Faith and History , Reinhold
    Now take my hand and hold it tight.
I will not fail you here tonight,
For failing you, I fail myself
And place my soul upon a shelf
In Hell's library without light.
I will not fail you here tonight.
    — The Book of Counted Sorrows

    Shortly before being knocked unconscious and bound to
a chair, before being injected with an unknown substance against
his will, and before discovering that the world was deeply mysterious in ways he'd never before imagined, Dylan O'Conner left
his motel room and walked across the highway to a brightly lighted
fast-food franchise to buy cheeseburgers, French fries, pocket pies
with apple filling, and a vanilla milkshake.
    The expired day lay buried in the earth, in the asphalt. Unseen
but felt, its ghost haunted the Arizona night: a hot spirit rising
lazily from every inch of ground that Dylan crossed.
    Here at the end of town that served travelers from the nearby
interstate, formidable batteries of colorful electric signs warred
for customers. In spite of this bright battle, however, an
impressive sea of stars gleamed from horizon to horizon, for the
air was clear and dry. A westbound moon, as round as a ship's
wheel, plied the starry ocean.
    The vastness above appeared clean and full of promise, but the
world at ground level looked dusty, weary. Rather than being combed
by a single wind, the night was plaited with many breezes, each
with an individual quality of whispery speech and a unique scent.
Redolent of desert grit, of cactus pollen, of diesel fumes, of hot
blacktop, the air curdled as Dylan drew near to the restaurant,
thickened with the aroma of long-used deep-fryer oil, with
hamburger grease smoking on a griddle, with fried-onion vapors
nearly as thick as blackdamp.
    If he hadn't been in a town unfamiliar to him, if he hadn't been
tired after a day on the road, and if his younger
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