Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Forty-Four part three

The Cold Inside
Chapter Forty-Four
part three

Thursday January 26, 1995

It was as though they had driven onto a battlefield. There was smoke and fiery debris, and bodies. Greg had never thought he would see so many lifeless bodies in the same place again.. Greg glanced over at the dead man in the driver’s seat. He only inhaled when he had to speak, his eyes were glazed over and his flesh was becoming mottled. Yet somehow Tristam was in there, making it move, making it speak, even making it drive. He had found this place easily.

The dead man steered around the debris and bodies. Greg flinched from the sight of them, there was something wrong with the way they looked.
“Can’t you feel it?” the dead man said, “it’s like the air before a storm... pressure building up.” He parked the car at an angle.

“I don’t know.” Greg said. All the surrounding buildings were burning save for one; it looked like it might have been a nice hotel a hundred years ago. Now it looked- haunted, there was no other way to describe it.

“I should go in there alone.”

“No. I have to go in there with you.”

The dead man got out of the Camry, he stepped on a slab of wood with a nail through it. He stared at the wound indifferently and then started walking again, “It’s too dangerous here. You should go home.”

“If this really is the end of the world where can I go?” Greg followed him and bent down to pull the nail from his foot, “Better I try to help you then just sit home and wait for something to happen or not happen.”

“You could pray.”

“That’s not always enough is it?” Greg took a closer look at the other bodies; their bones and blood were discolored, their faces were still deceptively lifelike.  He had seen too much to dismiss it as a trick of the light but there was something else as well. They reminded him of Jeff Hayes words to him on that terrible day.
You can’t tell who’s pure and who isn’t until they bleed.

The dead man paused in the doorway of the old hotel, swaying slightly. “This isn’t some game. You could die here.”

“I died once before.” Greg shouldered past him into the lobby. It was wide and empty; the floor was littered with garbage, broken glass and police tape. “I’m not afraid.” 

The firelight cast peculiar patterns on the wall, the dead man’s silhouette seemed to convulse as he spoke, “Haven’t you been paying attention? There is no God, no Heaven, all you saw when you died was a dream. A dying boy’s dream. I’ve tasted dozens of them.”

“Why is it you can believe so easily in Monarchs and ghosts and men with powers but the idea of something better being out there is impossible?”

“Proof.” The dead man walked past him.

“Maybe.” Greg followed, “And maybe you’re just not looking in the right places.”

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