The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Thirty-Seven part three
The Cold Inside
By AL BRUNO III
Wednesday January 25, 1995
Gawain Wight came straight from the Albany airport to the police station on Central Avenue. He showed up without warning, flashing his credentials and demanding to see all the paperwork on Carol Bloom’s murder. He put the entire investigation under the control of two of his local Lambs, Detectives Barbara Myles and Howard Connelly. When the Chief of Detectives raised jurisdictional questions, a shouting match ensued.
The two men might have come to blows if Gawain Wight had traveled to Albany alone, but Thalia Blackwell was with him. The tall, aquiline-featured woman got between the two men and got them to grudgingly agree not to report each other to their respective supervisors. She hastily escorted Gawain out of the building and got them back into the rental car.
Thalia insisted she do the driving, Gawain was in no shape. In her life Thalia had come to understand that each man dealt with grief in his own way but in the end they all saw it as something to be fought like an illness or an adversary. That had never been her style, death simply was.
Of course her three years with Project Pharos had taught her to temper that philosophy. Experience had taught her that under the right circumstances death could be cheated or withdrawn. In her time she had met beings as mindless as they were endless and savants with the lifespan of an insect.
They pulled into the parking lot of the Albany Medical Center. They got to the morgue just as they were wrapping up the autopsy. Thalia could only stand by as Gawain rudely ordered the coroner from the room. He stood over the body, tracing his thumb along the underside of Carol Bloom’s chin. Thalia busied herself by going through the autopsy notes but there was nothing there they didn’t know already.
Gawain’s voice was shaking, “Violated.”
“What?’ Thalia felt her stomach go cold. “The rape kit found nothing.”
“I don’t mean physically violated.” Gawain shook his head, unable to believe what he was saying, “He tore out her soul. She’s empty… hollow.”
“Who would do something like that?”
“Who? It was my son.”
“Why would Tristam do this?”
“Why? Because he’s gifted like I was, like his mother was,” Gawain turned away from the body, “He’s experimenting, flexing his muscles. This is like Ector all over again.”
Ector Wight was Gawain’s middle son; what little Thalia knew about him was from the gossip of her Wolves. All anyone really knew was that the boy was dead and all files relating to the case had been purged. The only Agent that really knew what had happened had been killed over a year ago. Thalia said, “Are we sure that’s what happened?”
“I saw inklings of what happened in my dreams.” Gawain turned to go “I might have seen this coming if I hadn’t been so focused on Zara Kovach and Phil Adorskil.”
Thalia had to hurry after him, “Zara Kivach did pass away last night. The two events may be connected somehow.”
“Ridiculous.” Gawain brushed past the coroner, ignoring what the man had to say. “I would have seen it. I suggest you just stick to killing people Agent Blackwell, it really is your forte.”
Thalia got in front of him, blocking his way, “Don’t you dare talk to me like that.”
They glared at each other in the middle of the quiet hallway, “You should go home.”
“I don’t think you’re acting rational.”
“I’m not feeling particularly rational.” Gawain said, “And I don’t need you here second guessing me.”
“Second guessing?” Thalia imagined herself punching him in the face, knowing he would see it, “I’m trying to help you.”
“I don’t need your help.” Gawain said, “This is between a father and a son.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“It’s a story as old as the world.” He shook his head, “Come on, I’ll drive you back to the airport.”
“You’re talking about killing him.” Thalia wanted to shake him, feeling bewildered and disappointed. Did all fathers turn out to be monsters in the end? “How can you look so damn calm and tell me you’re going to kill your own flesh and blood. Unless…”
“On second thought.” Gawain shook his head, “You can call a cab.”
Understanding made her mute. Thalia watched her friend and mentor walk away. She willed him to turn around, to tell her that she was wrong in what she was thinking; instead he walked through a doorway and was gone.
“It’s a story as old as the world.” His words left her feeling chilled all during the lonely taxi ride back to the Albany Airport.