THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Tuesday November 8, 1994
Tristam found himself swirling idly above his body, and rising higher. The Sophmore Class seemed pretty insignificant when seen from above, just a few dozen nobodies in blue sweaters, gray slacks and khaki skirts. How could they possibly do him any harm? They couldn’t even see him right now. He floated down to Kenny Wurman until they were face to face.
“Statistics prove again and again,” The speaker droned on, “that the death penalty is not a deterrent. If anything it raises the stakes, making criminals more likely to kill their victims and less likely to surrender peacefully to law enforcement officers. The only method that has actually lowered the crime rate is a consistent program of rehabilitation and education. If we turned our prisons into schools more than half of these so-called hardened criminals wouldn’t return to their lives of crime. Unfortunately politicians on both sides of the political spectrum lack the moral backbone to take such a stand.”
You were my friend once. Tristam glared at Kenny’s slack-jawed expression, I let you stash your pot in my room when your parents got suspicious of you. You had dinner at my house. Two weeks ago you yanked down my gym shorts in front of the whole class. You don’t think that somehow I’m going to find a way to pay you back?
With that Tristam turned and zipped straight up through the ceiling. The campus shrank beneath him, dwindling to model train HO scale; a cluster of mismatched buildings veined with blacktop roads, cobblestone walkways and dirt paths. Drifting further up he began to see Blessed Heart as a diorama. There were the sports fields that bordered the easternmost side of the campus and over there the solitary old chapel and its cemetery. A well maintained iron fence and clusters of tall evergreen trees bordered the campus on every side.
Tristam grinned, Maybe Butterfield is right. It is all a matter of perspective.
Holding a semi-opaque hand out in front of him he blotted out the school. He wondered what it would be like, to be so tall, to be able to cast the entire campus in darkness. To be able to bring his fist down and with that simple gesture destroy everything.
The fantasy of his tormentors screaming and pointing up at him was so powerful. He could almost imagine the expressions on their faces. He could see his fist descending in a slow arc, the ground shattering, the buildings collapsing like toys, the helpless human figures thrown every which way by the force of the impact.
A sharp pang of guilt startled him, I really shouldn’t be thinking about stuff like that.
From where he was he could see the athletic fields, the upperclassmen had already suffered through the guest speaker, leaving them free to take their final classes. It looked to be a girls’ gym class below so Tristam glided in for a closer look. He couldn’t believe that Coach Franke was making her gym classes go outside. Sure it might be a little warmer than it was last week but it was still almost fifty degrees
Hovering above the field he watched the senior girls kicking a soccer ball back and forth. Pam was down there, playing hard and working up a sweat.
Gotta keep that cheerleader bod somehow I guess.
While his sister might be in good shape, Tristam found Linda Kaspary’s shape much more pleasing to the eye. Rumor had it that her nose and ample bustline had been sweet sixteen presents from her Dad. Linda denied any such thing. They may have operated on her nose but it was for a deviated septum, not for cosmetic reasons. And as for her increasing two bra sizes over the summer? She was a late bloomer that was all.
Yeah right. That rack would fit right in at the Booby Hatch.
He was so busy staring at Linda that he didn’t even notice his sister stumble and collide with another girl. All he saw was a cloud of dust and then Pam was lying on her back in the dirt clutching her lower leg. The game stopped and the coach knelt to examine an ankle that was already swelling.