THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Tuesday November 8, 1994
Unfortunately the Booby Hatch wasn’t open, it wouldn’t open until six p.m. That left Tristam with nothing but rainy skies and frustration. He flew through the clouds, making patterns in the air. He wanted to pay a visit to Monique’s house but he was afraid of what he might see.
He wondered how Warren could stand being tormented every day of his life. Was he used to it now? Then again maybe he was just in denial. That certainly would explain his hopes for Solana.
When you got right down to it the Magnificent Seven all had their little talismans didn’t they? Warren had his Venezuelan beauty. Drew had her computers. Rich had his devotion for the works of Michael Moorcock. Yusuf had the twin passions for his religion and Star Trek- he knew the sacred text for both subjects inside and out. Adelphos wanted to be the protector of his friends, half the times he got detention it was because he was trying to shield someone from abuse. Greg was the most pitiful of all; he was still carrying a torch for his first love Iris Tillman and she had been dead for years.
Am I any better? Obsessed with Monique to the point where I’m chasing her down the hallways?
Descending slowly and dreamily he passed through the walls of an apartment and watched a family having dinner. They were a young married couple and a toddler in a high chair. The toddler was coated with Spagettios, they slicked his fingers and his clothes, they dripped from his chin. There was a radio playing classic rock on the windowsill. Drifting around the room Tristam realized that by the time he was this age his parents had already split up. They were married barely eighteen months before his Mom kicked his Dad to the curb. He had never known a moment like this. Hell, all he knew of his father was rushed visits and Sunday afternoons in restaurants.
The toddler was cawing in his chair, laughing hysterically and pointing.
Waitaminute. Tristam froze, Is he pointing at me?
The toddler stopped gesturing and babbling long enough to knock his dinner plate to the floor, sauce and noodles splattered everywhere. Tristam watched the child stare at him as his parents scrambled to clean up the mess. He waved and the toddler squealed with laughter.
He does see me! But they can’t? How is that possible?
The toddler’s attention suddenly flicked from Tristam to something behind him. Tristam spun around but all he saw was his shadow.
A sharp cry made Tristam turn back around, he saw that the little boy had a lock of his mother’s hair in his grimy hands. She pried away one hand only to have him grab another fistful. The mother called for help but the father was too busy laughing.
I have a shadow? Tristam’s mind ground to a halt, Since when do I have a shadow?
He spun in mid-air, passing through the dinner table. The gray shape was gone. All he saw now was faded wallpaper.
A shiver swept through him. Maybe I’d better do some homework. Low to the ground, he sped back to his body, occasionally casting uncertain glances behind him.