When Hell Freezes Over

by Richard L. Trulson
December 1994

A smile broke across my face despite my best efforts to stifle it. The sight of Mrs. Holitree falling on her ass was just too amusing. She had slipped on the ice by the drug store. Her arms, flailing out to the side like an angle's spread wings, circled frantically in the air trying to keep her balance just like in cartoons. It was even more funny when her hand slammed into the balls of the man behind her. He doubled over with his hands clutching his crotch, his face turned pale in agony. That even made me laugh.

I was rewarded with the taste of blood as my chapped lips cracked open. I continued to wander down the otherwise quiet Main Street. The afternoon sun cast long shadows over everything. My blood tasted bitter in my mouth. I sucked my lower lip, trying to get more to come out. I was a vampire born anew.

* * *

Skipping the last half of school was worth it after all. My bad mood had been bothering me all day long. It started out slowly with not wanting to get out of bed. The warm, snugness of the comforter held me prisoner unable to rise. I lay there staring at the ethereal glow through the window curtains. Finally, reluctantly, I raised slowly to a sitting position. My back trembled with the morning chill.

By the time I headed downstairs, Mom had already smoked half a pack. She was warming up with a shot of bourbon. I poured myself the remaining milk for breakfast. I choked it down quickly since it tasted sour. She didn't offer me any lunch money again, so I grabbed some hard doughnuts from the shelf. I decided to return Mom's cold attitude with one of my own.

Her one night stand must not have been very satisfying. Either that or he didn't even offer to get her anything. Just a quick fuck and that was it. Ever since Dad left three months ago, Mom has let the place, and herself, turn into a slum. The green mold growing on the bathroom floor had spread to the tub. My stomach knotted in pain from the thought and the sour milk.

By the time I got to school, I was frozen. Snow had soaked to my socks and turned my feet into a numbed mass. No less than five times I was hit with snowballs. One expert marksman had managed to throw the snowball, complete with tactical rock core, right in my face. Fortunately, the rock hit my glasses and put a small scratch on the right lens instead of hurting me. Now I had a matching pair.

My day only worsened when Couch Wit-- or Witless as the class called him-- decided to use me as an example for the rest of the class. My grades had been a respectable B throughout the semester, until now. As he handed me my paper, I was disappointed but not surprised at the F I had received. Considering Mom had slapped me hard enough to bruise my eye the night before the exam, I didn't study since I cried myself to sleep.

I could deal with the F. I couldn't, however, deal with Couch Witless, a crappy imitation of a history teacher, ranting off to the class about how underachievers like me were dragging the school's reputation down the drain. I believe the phrase I used was "who give's a shit." I apparently didn't mumble it low enough since I was sent to the principals office.

My ass stung when the principal paddled me. He seemed to take great glee in my screw up. On the way back to class, I got the idea to leave. At first the idea seemed absurd, but it grumbled at the back of my brain until it practically shouted that I should leave. Who am I to argue?

I ran down the hallway and didn't even slow down at the doors. They exploded loudly against the wall and echoed across the snow-covered tundra of the deserted schoolyard. I continued to run without watching where I ran. I just ran and ran. I finally stopped when I hit an ice sheet and lost my footing. I did the same maneuver Mrs. Holitree, except I slid for 10 feet until ramming into the ice-incrusted shrubs. Olympic skaters would have been proud of my performance, at least a 8.9.

After my ass quit throbbing, I realized I had ran seven blocks before even slowing. I had came to a stop at the park on the South end of Main Street. Yesterday morning's ice storm left a straight-jacket of ice on everything. Three inches of snow during the afternoon created a winter wasteland. The sunlight flickered through the maze of frozen tree limbs. Reflections bounced the light across each other and into prisms of color. I sat hypnotized. The cold started to sear the tiny scratches on my face.

All the trees' limbs were bent downward making them look like artificial Christmas trees. Their limbs needed to be bent back up at the proper angle to create the proper seasonal appearance and atmosphere. But these trees sagged as if passed by for a better choice. They dragged their many arms along the around.

Today's wind blew the snow from the limbs to reveal the clear ice underneath. They became crystalline figurines, perhaps a spider's web or an octopus. I wanted to take a hammer to shatter them into thousands of tiny pieces. I wanted to hear the clinking of glass shrads falling on the showroom floor. All I heard was the gentle moaning from the trees under the excess burden they had to endure, multiple Christ's bearing crosses.

This afternoon's warm temperature was starting the melting process. Small streams and puddles were running along the gutters or forming in the low areas. Occasionally, falling ice was cause a miniature blizzard below the trees. The cracking, breaking ice played a symphony similar to crickets on hot, summer evenings. An occasional cymbal crash was made by the larger ice chunks.

I stood up when I began to loose all sensation in my cheeks. I rubbed my ass to get the feeling to return. I almost felt like one of the jock football players congratulating a teammate by patting them on the ass. Only I was my own most valuable player. No apparent damage, but I would probably feel pain sitting for a while.

My eye locked on a larger piece of ice lying on the ground. I grasped the foot long ice piece in my right hand. It was wedge-shaped and had a blue-white tint to it. I slowly ran the sharper edge across my wrist. The cold surface sent chills up the underside of my arm while my hot blood caused a small trickle to run down and around behind my wrist. I ground ice edge across the vein for a full minute until my hand began to loose its grip. The color returned to my wrist since the cold and pressure was no longer there.

I trembled.

The ice chunk landed with a thud instead of shattering. I kicked it across the road and started walking. I kicked it again and again down the street until it finally broke into three pieces after colliding with a light pole. I continued walking. Only a few minutes passed until I saw Mrs. Holitree walk out of the drugstore.


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Converted to HTML on May 23, 1996 by Richard L. Trulson at richlt@HiWAAY.net