THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Monday November 7, 1994
Homework done, chores done, played with the bird and survived a five-alarm lecture from Mom… and it’s only quarter till eleven. Tristam thought as he changed into his T-shirt and sweat pants. His mother had already gone to bed, Pam was on the phone with one of her fellow airheads. Now it was time to work on his journal.
Usually he tinkered with it in the morning when everything was still fresh in his mind, but this morning he’d overslept. He’d been oversleeping a lot lately. It seemed the further he got from his house the more exhausted he’d be the next day.
Which made Tristam more certain than ever that what he had been experiencing these last few weeks where not really dreams. What was it then? He remembered that old campfire ditty- the one about the woman who dreams night after night about walking through a beautiful old house. A year or so later she’s out house hunting and she sees the house from her dreams. Unbelievably it’s for sale, so of course she wants to buy it. She goes in to check the place out and sure enough room for room it’s just like her dream. They speak to the realtor and find out the price is dirt-cheap. When they ask the realtor why the owner is selling it for so little she confesses that the owner- a sweet little old lady- believes its haunted. The owner hears them talking and walks into the room. She takes one look at the prospective buyer and says Of course its haunted. It’s haunted by you! End of story, cue Rod Serling.
Was that the case? Was he doing something straight out of the movie Ghost every night? And if he was, what was he going to do about it?
One thing's for damn sure- I’m not telling my Mom, my Psychiatrist, my sister or my probation officer! Tristam thought grimly as he pulled the battered hatbox out from under his bed. He pulled off the cover to reveal a modest stash of Playboys- nowhere near as extensive a collection as Warren’s but Warren needed them more than he did anyway. Beneath the Playboys was a frayed, spiral bound notebook, a remnant of his freshman year and Mr. Meahar’s English class. Mr. Meahar had made journal keeping mandatory, it had counted for twenty percent of the final grade. You could write anything, poetry, inner thoughts, diary entries, stories, grocery lists- anything you just had to write.
Tristam had filled up the pages with ‘I did this I did that’ style entries and transcribed Nirvana song lyrics. His freshman year he’d been too busy to do much more- parties, dates and school events had been more important.
Now of course he had a reason to keep a journal. It was helping him to make sure his nightly adventures where really happening and he wasn’t just losing his mind.
Tristam shivered at the very thought.
He pushed the box of Playboys back under the bed, got a pen and started scribbling…
Made it all the way to the capital last night. Stayed far away from any other people but a bird did fly through me. For some reason that didn’t hurt…