The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Thirty-Three part two
The Cold Inside
By AL BRUNO III
Friday January 20 1995
For the students of Blessed Heart with window seats it seemed as though a never-ending stream of police cars and news vans had descended upon the school. The only ambulance had already left, most of them could only guess who had been taken away. Classes were canceled, students and staff alike were told to stay where they were until the end of the day. The teachers did the best they could but they found their charges anxious and distracted. Most teachers like Mrs. St Amour let them talk amongst themselves quietly, so long as they kept the noise to a minimum.
“I knew it would come to this.” Greg said as he sat with Yusuf and Rich, “I just knew it.”
Rich nodded, “We don’t know if he had anything to do with this. We don’t even know what happened.”
“What happened is he got Evan shot.” Greg said, “I saw the whole thing happen.”
None of the other students heard, they were all to busy gossiping and elaborating on what they thought they knew. The results of their speculations were decidedly cinematic.
Yusuf had his head down, “Look, I do not think Tristam would take it this far.”
Greg’s voice shook from the effort to keep from shouting, “Do you remember what he said? He said that when he got Evan it would be spectacular.”
“Do the police know you saw what happened?” Rich asked.
“No and I’d rather it stayed that way.”
There was a knock at the classroom door. A uniformed police officer and a concerned looking-parent were at the door. Mrs. St. Amour called a blushing student up to the front of the class and sent her home with a modest reading assignment.
Yusuf narrowed his eyes, “How did you know what happened?”
“Tristam contacted me a few nights ago.” Greg explained, “And I don’t mean that he used the phone.”
Rich said, “Well what do you mean?”
“He was in my head. He took control…” Greg was helpless with anger at the memory.
“But why?” Yusuf asked, “He likes you. He likes you the best of any of us.”
“He did it because I kept trying to make him stop, because I kept trying to make him think about what he was doing. I told him I’d find a way to stop him.”
There was a metallic scraping sound followed by a loud crunch. One of the TV news vans had tried to edge around one of its rivals and gotten stuck on the blacktop groove of the embankment.
Students gathered at the windows and cackled at this until Mrs. St. Amour shooed them back to their desks and lowered the blinds.
Rich shook his head, “This is heading into seriously creepy territory.”
“This was always in creepy territory.” Greg said, “And we encouraged him.”
“We did not encourage him.” Rich said.
“We didn’t stop him. We didn’t say anything.”
“And you couldn’t stop him. Who were supposed to tell? The Dean? The police? The X-Men?”
The public address system crackled to life. The assistant dean announced that all further classes and after school activities canceled for the day. Any students that wanted to could be excused in an orderly fashion to call their parents and be picked up. There was a small stampede to the door.
“Even now…” Yusuf said, “What can we do? Who would believe us? For all we know he is listening now.”
Greg shook his head, “I think we’re safe now. He always said that doing something like this always wiped him out.”
Rich said, “That explains why he’s looked so tired lately.”
“But what are we supposed to do?” Yusuf asked again, “Reason with him?”
Rich suggested, “Kill him?”
Greg glared, “Don’t even joke about that.”
“Just a thought.” He shrugged.
“So?” Yusuf asked again. “What do we do?”
A shrill voice interrupted them, “You are supposed to be spending your free time studying Yusuf. We aren’t sending you to this school so you can socialize! Do you think colleges give degrees on chattering away like a washerwoman?”
“Yusuf.” Greg began, “I think your Mom is here.”
Yusuf buried his face in his hands, “Oh fantastic …”