Friday, November 19, 2010

In The Midnight Of His Heart Chapter Twelve part one

In The Midnight Of His Heart


Chapter Twelve

part one


By AL BRUNO III




August 27, 1993





Three days of practically living at the hospital was beginning to show on Phil. He was unshaven and dressed in yesterday's clothes. There was an increasing desperation in his eyes as he sat at Zara's bedside, her limp hand in his. He didn't look up when John cleared his throat.


“When did you get here?”


“Just now.” John eased himself into a chair.


“She hasn't come around since yesterday...” Phil shrugged apologetically, “at least not while I was here. They won't let me stay the night.”


“What did the doctor say?”


“A lot of ifs and maybes.” Phil spoke, never looking away from the still shape on the bed, “He says that as soon as she’s off the respirator they’re going to move her to home for the elderly.”


“Is that wise?”


“He says that the place they want to send her is the number one stroke rehabilitation center in the state. It's pretty pricey but the government's paying for it all.”


“Is it far away?”


“No.” he turned to look at John for the first time, his features shell-shocked “It's the Carvale Home.”


“What?”


“The Carvale Home, she and Victor are going to be neighbors.”


“But you said the place was a snake pit.”


“It was a snake pit. In the years since I stuck Victor there the place has changed hands seven times. It was a fucking sanitarium when I put him there for Christ sakes!”


“You could ask she go someplace else.”


“No. That place is her best chance.”


“We could move Victor again.”


“No fuckin’ way. Not with Gawain Wight watching our every move.”


“He’s not-”


“He is.”


John shook his head, “You’re being paranoid.”


“You believe that?” Phil fixed him with an angry stare, “You really believe that?”


“Yes.”


“Then you're more stupid than I thought.”


“Look-”


“No. No. You look. I have proof something’s up.” he let go of Zara's hand and approached John. He lowered his voice, “See, I still have Victor's old journals and grimmores.”


The confession hung in the air. John tried to sound surprised, “But you said-”


“I know what I said, but truth is I still have them.” the tension bled from Phil's features, “I've always had them.”


“They're dangerous.”


“So's smoking.”


“What did you do with them?”


“Nothing until recently, I just kept them in storage. But I thought that maybe I could use one of the incantations to help Zara.”


“Are you crazy?”


“Shut up and let me finish will you? I went to where they were and... John, somebody's been though them recently.”


Oh boy. John thought as he leaned forward on his cane, “Did anyone else know where they were?”


“No, just me. Not even Zara knew and you know how hard it is to keep anything from her.”


“Uh, yeah.” John said, “But I still don't think-”


“No you don't think! You don't even fucking begin to realize what this means!”


“What does it mean Phil?”


“It means they’re on to us. The Pharos agents have known where we were all along. Maybe they’re still doing Victor’s work. Shit maybe we’re still doing Victor’s work. What if… what if every move we've made for the last forty years has been exactly what he's wanted us to do!”


“Victor?” John couldn't believe it, of all the times for Phil to go apeshit it had to be now? “You think this is all Victor's doing?”


“Victor and the Monarchs.”


“At the risk of sounding like you, Victor can't hurt us. His brain is jelly and so are his muscles. And as long as Victor is the way he is the Monarchs can’t do much more than what they’ve always done.”


“I don't- I don't know what I believe any more.”


“Listen, you've probably had less sleep that I get on a regular basis, so why don't you go home and take a nap?” John put his hand Phil's shoulder and tried to steer him out of the room.


He resisted, “She might-”


“If she wakes up the hospital will call you.”


“She needs me.”


“Yes, she does need you but you won't do her a damned bit of good if you die of exhaustion.” John gave his shoulder a gentle shake.


Phil stood, “Wanna share a cab home?”


“My treat.”


“Damn, you finally crack open one of those safety deposit boxes of yours?”


“Not yet. By the way, what was the name of that police detective you used to help out?”


“Ed Shufon? He’s retired now.”


“What about his partner, don’t you still do favors for him sometimes?”


“You mean Howard Connelly? He hasn’t called since eighty-nine, the Pine Hills slasher case. I think he’s on desk duty now.” Phil gave him a curious glance, “Why?”


“I thought I ran into him a couple of days ago.”


“Where?”


“The supermarket.”


“Ah.” they turned to go, halfway out the door Phil doubled back to the hospital bed to gave Zara a gentle kiss on the cheek. After a brief sobbing breath he whispered in her ear.


John couldn't help but overhear as he told her, “You're everything I ever had.”




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