The Cold Inside
By AL BRUNO III
Saturday November 12, 1994
One moment he was watching Arnold Schwarzenegger kill cops the next he was staring down at himself snoozing on the couch. He must have been more tired than he thought. He spun in midair; Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn were going at it on the screen.
Well that’s that. He thought.
A perfect end to a perfect Saturday.
He dropped back into the house, hovering over his body once more. He had never returned to his body on purpose. What did he do? Just fly back into himself? Did he dare? What if it hurt like it always did when he brushed against something alive and bigger than a breadbox?
What if it hurt worse?
Pondering his options, he drifted slowly around the parlor. When he neared the birdcage Cookie began squawking wildly, fluttering about and smashing himself against the bars of his cage.
Tristam hovered closer, Cookie became more frantic. feathers flew, food dishes where knocked over.
The bird sees me! Why do birds always...
The front door creaked open and Pam stepped inside, even in the dark he could tell that her cheeks were flushed and her hair was in a mess. She spied his body dozing on the couch and put her hands on her hips, watching him sleep.
She better not be thinking of putting my hand in warm water!
There was a roar of souped up engine, a pair of headlights receded out the driveway. Pam groaned, “Wake the whole house up Ronnie.”
Cookie was fluttering hysterically bashing herself against the walls of the cage. Pam glanced into the murk, “It’s Ok birdie, it’s just”
His sister gasped, “Who’s that? Who’s there?”
Oh crap. Tristam froze in mid-hover, She sees me too. She really sees me.
“I said- Who’s there?” She took a few tentative steps forward.
Tristam panicked, tumbling backwards through the parlor wall and into his bedroom. He stayed there a moment, he could hear his sister grumbling to herself and then trying to calm the bird. Cautiously Tristam inched forward, pressing his head through the wall. It was a strange sensation; the solid matter of the wall seemed to lap at him. It reminded him of lying in the bathtub with just his face sticking out of the water.
When Cookie had stopped fluttering and squawking she covered his cage. She stared down at her brother’s body while he slept. With a roll of her eyes she grabbed the comforter from the love seat and draped it over him.
Well I’ll be dipped. Smiling to himself Tristam sped up through the ceiling.