Monday, June 10, 2013

The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Twenty-seven part two

The Cold Inside
Chapter Twenty-seven
part two

Monday January 9, 1995

Another stroke. Another operation. The same damn hospital. The woman he loved was dying by inches and there was nothing Phillip Adorskil could do but sit in dingy waiting rooms and try not to go out of his mind.

Zara. He thought, It should have been me first. I smoke, I drink and I still use magic.

He itched for a cigarette but he didn’t dare move from the room, not until he heard something. Anything. It was going on three hours and all the nurses told him was that the doctors were doing their best. Whenever they said that Phil wanted to punch their frigging lights out. He let his gaze wander from the TV to the soda machine to the faded carpet to the strangers waiting with him; the desperate spouses and worried children. The walls of the room were glass and it made Phil feel like he was on display.

At least with the first stroke John had been waiting by his side. The old monster had never been much of a conversationalist, but he had always been good company. Now John was gone and all Phil could do was stew in his own juices.

Of course any moment now I should have company. Phil thought with a frown. Thirty-six years ago he'd thought he'd dropped off Project Pharos' radar but once Zara landed in the hospital he learned otherwise. So much for all the money he’d spent on fake ID papers. Phil shifted in his seat; he could hear someone nearby making funeral arrangement, just in case.

That kind of thing never sat well with Phil, you didn’t plan for a funeral until you had a corpse. Doing otherwise was either bad karma or wishful thinking.

I wonder when some stiff in a bad suit’s gonna show up to 'talk.'
Whoever was running the Project now was pretty damn cagey. The first time Zara was hospitalized they sent a familiar face, as familiar a face as they could find, all things considered. It was the son of an old friend, Lionel Wight’s boy, following in his father’s doomed footsteps.
 John talked to him, he said the New Project Pharos had been keeping tabs on all the survivors of 1958. He said they were still worried about Victor.

Phil stood, his knees crackled, he walked over to the nurses' station and asked if there was any news. Of course there wasn't any. So he returned to his seat.

More than anything else, what worried Phil was that maybe in the end it wasn't just his own cleverness that was keeping Victor Kovach concealed, maybe it was something more than that. Maybe the powers that Victor had tried to use were protecting him now, hiding him behind a mask of insignificance just like they hid themselves.

And if that was true, it made what Phil was doing with the kid all the more important.

I warned Victor not to get into bed with the Monarchs. Phil thought bitterly, But he just laughed at me. Who's laughing now?

That thought lingered long in his mind.

Who's laughing now?

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