The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Thirty-Nine part two
The Cold Inside
By AL BRUNO III
Thursday January 26, 1995
…In her dream she stands on a cold beach. Thick purple storm clouds blot out the sky, the wind whistles around her. She stumbles in place, disoriented. Her brother is standing a few yards away. In the dream Pam doesn’t know where she is or how she got there but she remembers Tristam and she knows what he has done.
She recoils, hand drawn up over her mouth like some silent movie heroine. Tristam shouts at her, but the wind drowns out his voice. She can only hear fragments.
“...I am a brother to…”
Pam wants to turn and run but the dream only allows her to back slowly away, her bare feet crunching over the ruined toys and glass baubles half buried in the sand. Her brother tries to keep pace with her but something is wrong with him, his flesh is torn and icy mist bleeds from the wounds. Whatever was happening, Pam hoped it hurt. He became more frantic as she moved further and further away. A few more steps and she would be rid of him.
And wasn’t that what she always wanted?
“…ascending out of the…”
Her back pressed against something hard and chitinous. She turned to see a giant column rising up out of the sand…
Shivering Pam stirred and drew the covers up to her chin. She reached back and felt for Ronnie but he wasn’t there. She was alone in his bed. Groggy and uneasy she sat up, uncertain of the time. It was dark outside but was it the same evening or the next morning? And why didn’t Ronnie have an alarm clock?
Because his Mom wakes him up every morning. She realized with a twinge of worry. All his life there had been a woman to take care of him, now that he was heading off to college was he looking for a lover or someone to wake him up and fold his laundry? Was he looking for a wife or a caretaker?
Don’t think that way. She told herself, That’s Mom talking.
The surge of guilt she felt at thinking of her mother that way was enough to make her want to crawl back under the covers and never come out. It took a moment to gather the will but she made herself get on her feet and put on a bathrobe. She peered out the window and realized Ronnie’s Dad was home early; usually he was never home until after five. There was an unfamiliar car parked behind it, one with rental plates.
Who’s- Pam started to think, then she realized, It’s him. He’s here.
She strode out the room to see Ronnie, his Mom, Dad and sisters gathered around the coffee table, listening solemnly to Gawain Wight. The very sight of him made her head ache with anger. Before she could speak he turned in his seat to look at her, she felt his gaze run over her body to settle on her face.
“There you are.” He said, “I just wanted to check in and make sure-”
“You ruined my life.” Pam had wanted to say those words for years, “You and that son of yours.”
Ronnie looked stunned, his parents shifted uncomfortably in their seats, the two Miller sisters exchanged glances, but Gawain just nodded with sympathy. That only angered Pam further, couldn’t they see him for what he was? Ronnie’s Dad cleared his throat before he spoke, “Agent Wight was just updating us and making sure you’re all right.”
Gawain took a sip from his coffee cup before speaking, “I know you’re upset but if there is anything I can do…”
“Find Tristam-” Pam began.
He nodded, “I have my best people working on that.”
“Find him and put a bullet in his head. Then put one in yours too.”
Ronnie’s mother paled, “Pamela!”
But there was no stopping Pam now, she crossed the room until she was a slap away from him, “Of course if you’re as shitty and FBI agent as you are a father we’ll all be dead by morning.”
Gawain’s expression remained stony, he stood up, “You’ve suffered a terrible loss Pam. I can see I’m only making you hysterical.”
“Did you really think that coming by to check up on me would make me feel better? Your son killed my mother.”
“She’s very upset.” Ronnie’s Dad said.
Gawain put his jacket back on, “I’ve left my number here. If you need me, or if you have any new information about Tristam let me know.”
The Miller family nodded obediently. Pam glared at him.
“I’ll let myself out.” Gawain said with a weary smile, “Thanks for the coffee.”