The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Forty part three
The Cold Inside
By AL BRUNO III
Thursday January 26, 1995
Investigating Tristam’s friends and sister only confirmed Gawain Wight’s suspicions. His son had left Pam alone but two of his friends’ minds had been marked by intrusions. The one boy, Greg, had been under his son’s control for a brief period, the other one, the fat one, had been altered by Tristam, parts of his basic personality erased and modified.
Gawain shuddered at the thought.
Once he had made sure the local police were busy chasing false leads Gawain set out to find his son. To begin with he stopped at St. Peter’s hospital and visited briefly with Evan Crawford. The boy was badly wounded and under guard; he had pulled an unloaded gun on a pair of police officers and though he was certain to live he might very well spend the next ten years incarcerated. Gawain bullied his way into the room and inspected the boy’s mind to find it as damaged as his body. Tristam had overtaken him multiple times, erased memories and unmade impulses.
A sociopath. Gawain thought as he took a moment out to smooth over the worst of the damage. Hoping it would be enough to help Evan hang on to his sanity, The dog was a warning I should have realized. This is my fault.
There was a girl waiting outside the room, bright eyed and pretty save for a large birthmark on the side of her face. Gawain spoke to her briefly and found out she had been waiting there for a chance to speak with Evan, she had been there most of the day. You didn’t have to be a psychic to know she was in love; foolishly and unreasonably so but it was love none the less.
A few well placed phone calls and threats and Gawain got permission for her to be in Evan’s room for as long as she wanted. The police officers on guard duty were furious but Gawain didn’t care, someone tonight deserved a chance for a happy ending.
Then Gawain made his way to the hospital roof, the memory of Ector’s death playing through his mind with every footstep. He’d had to strangle him, it was the only way to be sure but even in those last moments his son’s eyes had mocked him.
The roof was cold and covered with frozen snow, Gawain stepped carefully until he was standing as close to the ledge as he could. For a moment he saw his other son, poor Lucan, kneeling before him, his eyes desperate, “I can hear the whole world Daddy. I can hear it in my head.”
“My boys…” Gawain said, Why does it always go so very wrong?
It wasn’t the first time he’d asked himself that question, and as usual his first thought was to blame their mothers. Each of them had left Gawain when his sons were still in diapers; Ector’s mother had been driven away by his temper, Lucan’s mother by his infidelities and Tristam’s mother? Tristam’s mother had simply woken up one morning to decide she didn’t love him anymore.
Would being there have made a difference? Gawain didn’t know, work might have kept him away enough where the end result would have been the same.
But just once, just once, he would have liked to try.
Gawain let his senses expand, peeling aside the facade of the mundane world to reveal the domain of spirit and nightmare. The air around the hospital was choked with ghosts; Gawain used them as a blind, he didn’t want Tristam, or anything else, sensing he was here.
He found nothing; it was as though his son had simply vanished.
It’s hard to be sure. Gawain frowned; the spirit world was turbulent, practically tearing itself apart. There was a gash in the very fabric of reality, Gawain’s senses recoiled from it. This was the sort of thing that would draw Monarchs and madmen alike.
“Tristam…” Gawain wondered how long it would take him to get there, “What have you done?