The sky was pink. It was the normal rosy pink of the wee small hours before a snowstorm, but it seemed out of place here.
Linus stood alone in a copse of trees, a chilly mist weaving in and around the black trunks. The air made him shiver, as he stood in a thin sweater and short pants. He looked down. His hairy muscular legs were stick thin and brown as a nut. His hands were small and covered in blisters.
He was a child again, and as soon as he thought this, it was no longer strange. Of course he was a child. He'd never been anything else. Sandy brown hair hung thickly over his baby-smooth forehead, no longer wrinkled with cynicism. His puny arms tried to warm his thin body, wrapped oddly in hand-me-downs from his three older brothers.
As the mist enveloped him, Linus became aware of an odd sensation. He was slowly rising off of the ground. The bare branches of the black trees were inching nearer as his worn shoes left the frozen ground. He tried to make himself rise faster, but with his effort, the floating would pause. He simply had to be patient. He couldn't really control it; it was like balancing on a floating log in the water, one move in either direction would cause him to lose his balance and he would stop, or worse, lurch to one side or the other. It was scary, but exciting.
By now he was at least six feet off of the ground, looking around he could see his grandmother's house. It wasn't her house in real life, but the "grandmother's house" that existed in his dreams; the one riddled with secret passages, hidden treasure, and a room of his very own. He hadn't been here in a good many years, it was the house he went to when he wanted to be a child again. He hadn't wanted that for a long time.
He could see his grandmother at the door to the house, wearing a fawn brown dress and a large white hubbard, her grey hair piled above her soft, velvet face. From high in the air Linus thought he could smell violets. She had always kept violets in the house. In Grandmarmie's hands was a dish of spotted dog pudding, drowning in warm custard. Linus felt his stomach rumble, but the pudding would have to wait, he had flying to do. Grandmarmie nodded with a smile. She understood and would be waiting when he got back.
Willing himself forward, still keeping his balance, Linus shot forward like a sparrow. He whizzed over the trees in a streak of blue. The icy wind felt bracing against his cheeks as he dove over the Pudney River and followed it's silvery path. It was so thrilling, so liberating to feel the rush of speed, the weightlessness as he sped over hills and dunes and glens. He laughed out loud, and then feeling the release of the punctured silence, laughed again. Louder and louder, whooping and shouting: because he could, simply for the joy of hearing his own voice! He was shouting! He was singing!
Flying became easier as he went and soon he was turning circles in the air, looping and screaming as the excitement fizzed through him like electricity. He was free, he was a boy, he was flying, he would be eating hot pudding with custard--
"Daddy?" came a voice, and Linus felt himself fall. His eyes blinked open, and in the dim bedroom he saw Orin next to his bed.
"Huh?" he asked muzzily.
"I threw up," said Orin, tears in his voiced as the boy shivered, grey and pale in the wan sunlight.
Linus sighed and reached for his robe, painfully ripping himself from his bed. His wife, Deirdre was still asleep in the bed.
"You threw up?" he asked his son.
"Okay. I'll take care of it."
Today was going to suck.
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