THE COLD INSIDE
by AL BRUNO III
Friday December 2, 1994
It was the first real snowstorm of the season and as a result a good portion of the student body had called in with vague illnesses. Of course the administration knew that the only real bug going around was ski fever. It always happened when there was a good dusting on a Friday, but as long as it didn't interfere with midterms they let it pass. None of the Seven ever went skiing- Warren did once only to have a panic attack on the chair lift. After that his parents stopped bringing him along on their ski trips.
“For the last time, I am not going to go over to your house to watch Doctor Who,” Rich said as he poked uncertainly at his sloppy Joe.
Yusuf looked hurt, “Why not? You watch everything else in my video collection. How many times have we watched Twin Peaks?”
“Doctor Who sucks ass.”
“Look you may see great art but all I see is crappy effects, weird scripts and bad teeth.”
Greg shook his head, “The great Doctor Who versus Elric debate… again.”
“It's been two weeks already?” Adelphos sighed.
Drew said “Actually, I never got the whole Twin Peaks thing.”
Warren smiled, “Two words my dear, Sherilyn Fenn.”
“Are you crazy?” Yusuf shook his fork at Rich, “Doctor Who is no different than the Eternal Champion.”
“The thematic underpinngs are very different my friend. Doctor Who is good versus evil. The Eternal Champion is law versus chaos.” Rich spoke in a very scholarly tone, “Besides the Eternal Champion gets laid once in a while.”
It was a simple matter for Tristam. He let the tangible world slip out of focus and sifted through the layers of reality, through realms of matter, death and phantasm. When the world had been reduced to sepia tones he stopped and concentrated, one by one his classmates' auras came into view.
The battle lines were being drawn, Greg couldn't resist, “The Doctor is an alien, that's why he doesn't do his companions.”
“He looks human enough to get the job done,” Rich said.
“Yeah.” Adelphos added, “And I saw the way he looked at that Romana girl and she was just as alien as he was. I bet they spent all their time between episodes makin’ whoopie.”
Drew made a retching sound, “Makin’ whoopie? Did you just say that? Out loud?”
Every human shape was like a sculpture carved from stagnant water. The aura was the inscrutable ember that burned at their core. For most people it was just that, an ember, but for some- a rare few according to Phil- that light was a shimmering glow that spread out from beyond the confines of its physical host. It was why he and Tristam seemed to glitter from the inside out. Tristam had hoped he would find something similar here but his friends were all frustratingly ordinary.
Except for Warren, if anything he was a darker shade than the rest. Warren took another bite from his sandwich and chewed thoughtfully “You know it's kind of a bad idea to judge every sci-fi hero by the actions of James T. Kirk.”
“Hey,” Rich said with a slight smile, “William Shatner is the man.”
“No.” Greg corrected, “William Shatner is a bad actor, Captain Kirk is the man.”
Each aura was a gyre of different colors. According to Phil if you could read their patterns and shadings you could discern a great deal about the person you were observing.
Of course that information was for a later lesson.
All Tristam could see now was that Greg was mostly a fiery gold, Drew dark purple, and Rich was a thick ropy swirl of red and black. The rest were so gray as to be unnoticeable among the other students and cafeteria attendants.
“Hey Tristam,” Greg broke away from the debate, “I got something for you.”
Greg’s murky silhouette handed Tristam a small clump of faded brown and black. The heft and feel of it told Tristam it was a book, but what kind of book? He thumbed the pages, “Thanks.”
“It's something my Dad just had lying around. I thought from the way you were talking a couple of days ago that you might like it.” Greg shrugged, “I know you have one for Religion class but this might be a little easier to get into. It's one of the plain English editions.”
Even as he let his vision return to normal Tristam guessed what it was he was holding, a bible. “Hey thanks.”
Greg shrugged “Not a problem, I just thought it might be something you'd like.”
I wonder, Tristam thought, I wonder how many of the miracles in here I will be able to perform someday. I wonder what color Jesus' aura was. How brightly did it glow?
Brighter than mine?