Hey, James here. LB’s fingers are still messed up. I’m not letting him near the keyboard, which means updates to the archive side of this are going to be going slow for a while. He prefers to do that part himself. It’s kind of his pet project. He was pretty reluctant to let Phil finish up the document he started, even.
Anyway. Christie says that, since we’ve got this thing set up already, we may as well use it. There’s other Runners out there that update things like this, anyway, so we may as well join them. What we go through might be useful to somebody.
Plus it’s another layer of community between me and the Cold Boy, even if it’s just a small one, and that’s never a bad thing. I don’t know if “there are people following my blog online” count as “not being alone”. Probably not. But hey, worth a shot. It’s not like it takes much time to update this thing.
Still running. Yeah, what else is new, right? We think we’ve caught sight of Thaddeus a couple times. I think he’s driving a maroon Kia Forte or Optima or whatever they’re called. Can’t be sure, though. He never takes the same exit we do, assuming it is him, and I can’t really get a good look at his face.
LB – it just feels weird to call him Archibald, it’s too much like Archie, and “Mister Sullivan” is just weird when you’re running with a guy, too formal – is kind of funny to watch, honestly. I’m typing this on an iPad while we’re all in the car, and he’s sitting in the back seat with his folders and his fingers all bandaged up and he’s still trying to read through them, turn the pages and everything. I don’t think he really gets how much damage he might have done to his fingers. Or the Cold Boy did to them, anyway. He used to be a chain smoker, he’s old, and he’s in terrible shape. His circulation is probably crap, and it was like an icebox in there. And there was him in thermal underwear and fingerless gloves holding a shotgun, with a bunch of blankets piled up around the electric heater in a room that must have been in the single digits. Or the negatives.
That’s why I fucking hate the Cold Boy. He hits you when you’re alone, so there’s no one you can go to for help. And he hits you with this cold that isn’t just like there’s no heat, it’s like he’s turned cold into something that actually exists and sucks the heat out of you and everything around you. It’s not just like there’s no warmth there, it’s like there’s anti-heat or something.
That’s what happened to me when I first ran into him. I’m a med student. Or I was. Anyway. Lots of work. Lots of work. No real time to make friends, and I’m living alone in this apartment, and Mom and Dad are living halfway across the country, and I’m spending lots of nights up and studying in the middle of winter. And I’ve never been the most sociable of people anyway.
You’ve really gotta wonder how they pick their targets. I know I wasn’t the only med student up late and alone in my class. Or even in that apartment. But he chose to go after me. You really don’t want to know what it’s like to be in the shower when he shows up. It sounds funny at first, like an AFV video or something, some guy just screaming when the water gets too cold too fast. It wasn’t. You really don’t want to know what it’s like to be covered in water when the temperature goes so low that it starts freezing on your skin. And you’re naked and it happens so fast that you’re frozen in place before you can move, and the shower’s still on, so you’re just getting more and more ice piled on you while you’re stuck there, and then you hear that kid start singing. I can still remember what it was. “Sing a song of sixpence, a pocketful of rye. Four-and-twenty blackbirds, baked into a pie.” He got that far while I was stuck there, and he was just standing outside the stall. The curtain was closed, but I could see his silhouette there. And then I ripped myself out and jumped out of the stall, and he was gone.
I’ve still got the scars from where the skin ripped off. I almost died of hypothermia anyway, but I made it. And then I found out what he was, and I went on the run. I was just lucky that Christie was running already. I was still stupid enough to be wearing the Operator symbol openly, so I could find someone else to run with and get the Cold Boy to back off a little. I still don’t go into the bathroom alone.
Anyway. That’s me, and I’m going to end this post here, because we’re stopping for food. We’ve decided we want to cross at least one more state line before we stop for the night. Thaddeus is probably still on our trail, and he’s probably going to stay there no matter what we do, but we’re not going to make it easy for him.