Refrigerated Dreams (Act 4)

The boy from the refrigerator was perched upon a steel beam like a vulture high above them in the old shoe factory. His slick black hair was more slick than usual. The dead eyes of alien blue that punctuated his pale face swirled like a spiral arm galaxy as he looked down at them. He cocked his head in an odd manner as he listened to them talk beneath him. Adam Longo recognized the boy as one of them that was there when they locked him in the old refrigerator that day. He was one of them that held him roughly by the arms as they led him down into the pit of the dump. The girl was someone he recognized from that school he knew as his living hell. She was the one he stared at when she wasn’t looking. She was the one he thought about at the closing of the day when he would lie atop his bed in his quiet room at home. She was his only good memory.

Then Adam Longo recalled how the other one, the red-haired one, their leader, had laughed without remorse, how he had gotten right in his face and said something like, “Are your balls all shriveled up… Is that why you don’t ever talk?” His breath was overpowering. Rudy was his name. He hated Rudy. And now here was one of his rooks and that girl thinking they were all alone in this immense place lost in time. He thought about leaping out into the air and floating down and he would come upon them in a fury of revenge. He could do that now. Something drastically changed after he went into that refrigerator unwillingly. Sheer human cruelty had given him a power he never expected.

Veronica took a step back from him. “You were part of that?” she wanted to know.

Andy paused for a moment. “I was against it.”

“But you still allowed it to happen.”

Andy looked up and sighed with frustration.

“What!?” the girl snapped. “You’re angry because I’m upset you let a boy get locked in a refrigerator? He could have died.”

Andy bent down and picked up a metal rod and tossed it into the void. It tumbled and clanked loudly. “Why are you getting bent out of shape? Let’s just get high.”

“I think I want to go home,” Veronica said.

Andy’s demeanor suddenly changed, and he grabbed her by the shoulders. “What’s your problem?”

“Let go of me!”

He pushed her away and turned. “Fine. Do what you want,” he said, and he started to walk away.

She called after him. “Where are you going?”

“Just go home,” he called back, and then, like the sudden snap of a bone, something fell from above and was on top of him. It attacked him with the ferocity and conviction of an angel bred by animals, and the boy struggled and shrieked as he was mercilessly beaten and clawed.

In the epilogue of the boy’s torn moans, a panting Adam Longo turned to look at her through the dim light. He was mystically aglow, and his gaze froze her in place, and like in a dream she struggled to run but her legs refused to receive and follow the command. Veronica had no control over her own self now and could only watch in wonder as the figure stood. He was just a boy, but nothing like a real boy. He looked down at Andy twitching on the dirt-strewn floor of the factory. Then he looked up, toward the place from where he came, and he suddenly ascended in a completely inhuman way.

Her legs became free from their dream burden and Veronica ran toward the lighted frame of the doorway they had entered. She burst into the outside world and leapt down the iron stairway, past the loading bays and toward the hole in the chain-link fence. She scrambled through, a piece of metal bit into the top of her shoulder and she winced as she dove into the sea of weeds and tall grasses on the other side. She went for her bike, lifted it up and got on. She pedaled toward town with an urgency and fear she never knew she could possess.

Once she was long gone, her scent and heartbeat now carried away to the place where the terrible people were, Adam Longo curled into himself for comfort and warmth as he perched on the wide beam. He watched the day turn to night through the broken factory windows. Living had been lonely enough he thought as his eyes set on the few stars he could see, but now, now this, whatever it was, whatever he now had become. It was lonelier than death itself — lonelier than the dirt piled upon the lost ones.


Read the previous part of this story HERE.

Refrigerated Dreams (Act 1)

He opened a door and went into a room that looked like an old, empty kitchen. The floor was a dirty white and blue tile. The walls were once virgin cream but now a nicotine-smeared yellow. There was a goldenrod-colored refrigerator from the antique days against one wall and it hummed like an old man sleeping in a comfortable chair after a few too many Rob Roys. He went and pulled on the handle of faux wood and hardened aluminum. There was no food inside but instead a hot gray sky with spotlights of white gently boiled there like mystical magic dreams. The bare branches of trees reached toward the stars in the upper corners like crooked black fingers. Rows upon rows of Wizard of Oz green corn below stretched toward some infinite horizon he puzzled over.

He stepped inside and closed the door behind him. It was suddenly dark and smelled a bit musty. He wanted to get back out and so he pushed on the door, but it would not open. He started pounding on it, but it was useless. There was no one out in that old vacant kitchen that would help him. He was alone. His breathing sped up. His heart began to race. He was scared. But they said it would be fun. They said it would be a great exercise in imaginative play. Now he was trapped, and somewhere in the distance, on the crest of the junk heap, they were pointing down and laughing at him. They shook their heads and climbed onto their bikes and rode home with an odd sense of war-time victory.

Someone had left out a plate of cookies for the leader of the young gang of present-day bullies, future politicians and obnoxious assholes. He was big for 13 and he had a round head and orange curly hair and freckles on his ever-angry face. He scooped up the plate and took it into the room where the video game console was set up. He plopped down into the worn couch with crumbs scattered about, turned on his game and started killing bad people with medieval weapons. He laughed and felt superior when the blood splashed, and the bodies fell.

The leader’s cell phone lit up. It was his mother sending a text, and she was going to be late coming home from work — again. He shook his head and tossed the phone aside without replying. “Bitch,” he mumbled, and he went back to slaying the innocents that wandered the cobbled streets of some historical playground.

The kid’s name was Rude Rudy, and his gang was known as the Black Disciples — a crew of white suburban middle school latchkey bullies who thought they were invincible kings in their sheltered kingdom of neon convenience stores, strip malls and fast-food hangouts rung by littered forests and low hills perfect for hideouts and fooling around with chicks. Rude Rudy’s “queen” was a neighborhood girl by the name of Veronica Genesis — a rich kid intellectual with shiny chestnut-colored hair who wanted to be a psychiatrist when she grew up so that she could “Mess around with people’s brains,” as she liked to say.

Now she came calling.

“Come in!” Rude Rudy yelled out, for he could not be troubled with getting up and opening the door, not when he was in the midst of a deadly multi-combo barrage of melee attacks.

A moment later, she stepped into the room.

“Hi,” she said, and she went to sit down uncomfortably close to him.

He bucked his shoulders to get her off of him. “Not when I’m playing. Never when I’m playing,” he reminded her.

“You’d rather play your stupid game than kiss me?” she asked him.

He turned his head but kept his eyes on the game. “Do it quick,” he told her.

She gave him a short peck on the corner of his mouth. She suddenly pulled away and made a face. “Have you been drinking?”

He laughed. “Yeah. It’s so cool.”

“Where did you get alcohol?”

“Our high school friend, Steve. He works at the grocery store and sneaks it out, duh. I thought I told you that we can party whenever. When I talk, people listen. They react. They do things for me.”

Veronica Genesis sighed aloud. “I don’t know why I waste my time on you,” she complained.

Rude Rudy laughed again through a sneer. “Because I’m the best you’re going to get, little lady. I’m a powerful figure in the underworld of Grainer Falls.”

She shook her head in befuddlement. “Are we going to go do something or not? I don’t want to sit around here watching you play video games for the rest of the day. Can’t we go to the mall or something?”

He suddenly hit the pause button on his controller and turned to look at her. She was wearing makeup and her face looked like a glossy picture in a teen magazine. “Do you want to see a dead body,” he asked with all seriousness.

She stared at him, stunned, and then she laughed. “What are you talking about? What dead body?”

“You know that kid, Adam Longo?”

“The new boy you’re always picking on?”

“Yeah. What a loser dweeb.”

 “Did you do something to him?”

“Me and the fellas dragged him down to the dump and shut him in an old refrigerator,” Rude Rudy bragged. “He might be dead by now… Come with me and we’ll go check.”

Veronica Genesis put a finger to her lips and thought about it for a moment. “If he’s still alive, I would like to document the state of his mind… For scientific purposes. The research could help me get into a good university.” He looked at her and shook his head and then he leaned in and awkwardly kissed her. “Let’s just go take a look.”