The basement was cold. Alison's breath was white steam. She tucked her fingers inside the sleeves of her sweater. "What did she do to him?" she asked.
Cole was standing on his toes to look out the window. He was graceful, like a dancer. He was quiet, too. At school and in places with people, he barely spoke. At night, though, he told stories, pacing the stone floor and gesturing with his hands. His nails were painted blue. He held a lit cigarette, dangling it out of the open window. "He just disappeared," he said. "She told the police that he left one day and never came back."
"How do you know?" Alison asked. She shivered under a bare light bulb.
He smiled. "I just do. I live in her house."
"She's been dead since before you were born," she said.
"I found some of her things under a board in the attic. There was a picture of a dead baby in a casket," he said. A lock of hair fell into his eyes, covering them in shadow. "She looks very peaceful, the baby. She looks happy." There were patterns of frost exploding on the glass like tiny fireworks. He traced them with his fingertip.
"So what happened to her husband?" Alison asked.
Cole smiled at her. She blushed; brought her fingers to her lips. She had a crooked tooth in front that she hated.
"You think I'm full of shit," he said. "But she would crush his bones and bake them into cakes." He flicked his cigarette into the empty, frozen blackness outside and stepped closer; reached for her hands. She was freezing.
"Why cakes?" she asked.
"She was psycho. She fed him to his mother on her birthdays," he said.
"Why do you make everything so creepy?" Alison asked, leaning in to feel the small, comforting heat of him. He smelled like smoke and leaves. He reached up and pulled the chain dangling above them, blanketing them in immediacy and darkness.
This piece is an entry in the Trifecta Writing Challenge. This week we had to write 33-333 words using the 3rd definition of the word, crush.