The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Thirty-Eight part three
The Cold Inside
By AL BRUNO III
Thursday January 26, 1995
It was a city block of buildings that had been lost to fire and decay. For almost a generation the elected officials of Troy, New York had promised to scour the eyesores from the skyline but something always got in the way of the promised renewals. Every year, as the city fell further into debt and mismanagement, that promise became less and less feasible until the politicians stopped making the promise at all. The people of Troy, be they upstanding citizens or self-serving criminals learned to ignore those blackened edifices. Many people thought that there was something not quite right about those buildings and that too much time spent in their vicinity could cause cancer or madness.
It was here that the boy found himself, standing at the base of a hotel that had long ago been condemned. The decrepit structure was over thirty stories in height, with windows that had been boarded over. The walls of the building’s penthouse floor had given way to the elements, leaving only rusted girders and rotted wires. His skin tingled at the thought of completing what he had begun over thirty five years ago.
He had left Phil to die in the dark little room, loaded the things he thought he might need into the back of Phil’s old Escort and headed out here via the scenic route. He had taken his time, noting with some amusement how much the world had dwindled; the people looked worn down and the air tasted foul. He wondered to himself how much of what he was seeing was humanity’s own innate nihilism and how much was due to outside influences
Mankind. He thought, Was there ever a race so eager to enslave itself?
Chimera was nearby, still burbling with delight over its vengeance.
A trio of black sedans pulled into the parking lot; the boy took a moment to note the unblemished exteriors and tinted glass. Two men got out of each vehicle; they wore gray jumpsuits and dark jackets. Their short haircuts and plain features rendered them an almost uniform appearance. The boy admired the way they moved towards him in unconscious synchronization; each man had a firearm in a shoulder holster concealed beneath his jacket.
The boy smiled, “Gentlemen, I was just thinking about you.”
One of the men spoke, “Sir we must insist you leave the area immediately. This area is posted as unsafe.”
“Is that the statement you feed to the prying and the foolish? A thousand years ago you might have said that this was a location marked by the gods, or by demons.” The boy said, “That is the trouble with the world now. It has lost its sense of the fantastique, but then again I gather that is precisely the way your masters wanted it.”
“Sir to remain on these premises is trespassing.”
“Well said, you must have rehearsed it often.” The boy stepped up to the speaker and glared into his empty eyes, “Now attend to my words you simple-minded Drone, while my body may have changed your masters have long known my soul. We have uncompleted business, the Monarchs and I.”
All six men froze in place for a moment. The boy could hear Chimera preparing to defend him, he stilled the creature with a thought.
“Sir.” The lead Drone spoke again, his simple face struggling to convey an expression of repentance, “We were not aware of your divine nature. The Monarchs are pleased to have found you again.”
“Found me?” The boy chortled, “I am going to enter that building to make arrangements so that we might conclude the great work interrupted so long ago.”
“Of course. The Monarchs’ joy is as boundless as their wisdom.”
“Indeed. Now I will need you six to guard against any interruptions.”
“And I will also need you to send for Mr. Kriely.”
There was another brief pause, it was enough to make the boy arch an eyebrow in curiosity.
“Sir,” The lead Drone said, “we regret to inform you that Mr. Kriely is no longer the Monarchs’ emissary.”
“How remarkable.” The boy opened the escort’s trunk and retrieved the things he needed, “Then please send to me whoever has replaced him in that capacity.”
“It has already been arranged sir.”
“Of course.” The boy found his way into the old hotel through one of the poorly boarded up windows. The Drones watched after him, standing perfectly still.