The God Machine

The intruder in the doorway was dressed in a long coat with a black cap pulled down tightly on his head. When he saw Hellboy barreling toward him, he lifted Liz Sherman like she weighed nothing and tossed her right at the cloven-hoofed BPRD operative.

Hellboy tried to be gentle, cupping Liz's body against his own to cushion the impact as he caught her and fell backward. He laid her down gently, touching her neck, searching for a pulse. She gasped for breath, the pale skin of her throat already starting to bruise.

"Pal, you better hope your health insurance is all paid up," Hellboy snarled as he rose and spun toward the intruder.

Liz's assailant was no longer alone. There were six of them now, all dressed in the same long coats and hats, standing perfectly still as they watched Hellboy advance.

"You have friends," Hellboy growled, flexing the stonelike fingers of his right hand. "Good for you."

As if responding to some cue, four of them slipped off their coats and tugged off their hats, moving in unison. Hellboy froze where he was, staring at them, trying to figure out what the hell he was seeing.

"What the...?" he managed.

They'd definitely been human once, three men and a woman. But they were long past their expiration date, the stink of death and rot coming off them in waves. They were each encased in some kind of crude exoskeleton constructed from wood and metal.

"It was a near-perfect day up till now. But zombie cyborgs..." Hellboy sighed. "I'm not sure I deserve this much fun."

Other HELLBOY titles available from Pocket Books

The Lost Army by Christopher Golden

The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden

On Earth As It Is in Hell by Brian Hodge

Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon

An Original Publication of POCKET BOOKS

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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright (c) 2006 by Mike Mignola

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ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-4743-3

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For Jack Kirby...The King.


As always, this book couldn't have been written without the support of my loving and beautiful wife, LeeAnne, and the unwavering loyalty of Mulder the Wonder Dog.

A very special thanks to Mike Mignola for allowing me to play with his awesome toys, and to Chris Golden for helping me to get it just right.

Thanks also to Jen Heddle, Dave Kraus, Greg Skopis, Don Kramer, Dave Carroll, Liesa Abrams, Mom and Dad Sniegoski, Mom and Dad Fogg, Eric Powell, Jon and Flo, Bob and Pat, Ken Curtis and Timothy Cole and his Graken Spriggin down at Cole's Comics.

Farewell and adieu.


Lynn, Massachusetts, July 1891

T en-year-old Absolom was frightened, afraid that he wouldn't have enough time. But the boy stubbornly pushed his fear aside, repositioned himself upon the stool and continued to work. Time was running out.

He'd realized how close it would be the other day when he'd heard her coughing in the early hours of the morning. Coughing so furiously that it drew him from the protection of his bed and down the hall, where he'd found himself standing in the doorway of his parents' room. His mother had been sitting at the edge of the bed, his father close beside her, gently rubbing her back. She was coughing into one of her pretty lace handkerchiefs--but it wasn't pretty anymore. It was stained a deep red. Even in the early-morning gloom Absolom could see the color, bright as the beacon of a lighthouse.


His gasp had been loud enough to catch his father's attention. There were tears on the man's face, and he became enraged, angry that his son had seen his weakness.

"Go to your room!" he had bellowed over the sounds of his wife's continued plight, and then he'd slammed the door closed in Absolom's face.

It was then that Absolom knew he had to do something--but what?

He waved away a fly that hovered above his work, remembering how he had wracked his brain that morning as he returned to his room--what could he do?

The voices of the dead had been especially loud that morning.

Boy, where am