“I didn’t throw beer at your house,” Robert explained to the furious Mr. Portman. “It was my refrigerator.”
Mr. Portman continued as though Robert hadn’t spoken. “You about scared my wife half to…” His voice trailed off as he squinted at Robert. “Jesus, what the hell happened to your face?”
It was true that Robert was quite a sight, what with the blood-soaked rag over his black-and-blue swollen nose and the dried blood from a dozen or so cuts on the side of his face. Mr. Portman’s blunt appraisal did nothing to improve Robert’s spirits. He was about to make an angry retort when Rebbecca cut him off.
“Mr. Portman,” she said, “we’ve had a rather unfortunate afternoon. May we come in and use your phone? We need to call the police.”
Mr. Portman snorted. “Come in? And bleed all over everything? No way.” He was not an entirely unfeeling man, however. “Hang on, I’ll get the cordless.” So saying, he slid the door closed, locked it, and disappeared into the house.
Robert turned to Rebbecca and gave her a look.
“Okay, okay,” she said after a moment or two. “Portman may not have been a good first choice. But I didn’t hear you give any ideas.”
Robert acknowledged her point with a nod. “This isn’t safe to be out here like this, though,” he said. “The refrigerator may have heard Portman yelling and come for us.”
At that very moment, Robert saw past Rebbecca to the corner of the house, where the refrigerator had just emerged. “Oh, shit,” he said.
Rebbecca turned to look just as the freezer door snapped open. There was a shrill roar. Robert saw it happening in slow motion as the blast of evil cold hit Rebbecca square in the chest.
“No!” he screamed. Those of you who have had occasion to scream, “No!” about something will know all too well the desolation and helplessness that Robert now felt. The rest of you will just have to imagine.
Rebbecca was now frozen in a pillar of ice. Her panic-stricken features could just be made out, sickly and pale blue beneath the thick, translucent layer of frost. The refrigerator cackled evilly. “You’re next,” it shouted at Robert.
Just then, Mr. Portman opened the door. “Here’s the cordless,” he said, thrusting a phone at Robert. Then he noticed the imprisoned Rebbecca. “Jesus, what the hell happened to her?” he cried.
Robert leaped into action. Setting his shoulder against the pillar of ice, he pushed it hard in the direction of Mr. Portman and the door. It moved, but it hit the threshold and Robert accidentally pushed it over. Robert’s heart was in his throat as he helplessly watched the pillar fall. If it shattered or broke — but he didn’t have time to think about it, because it landed, and didn’t shatter or break, and he had his own neck to save.
Mr. Portman had leapt backwards into the kitchen to avoid the falling pillar, and now Robert quickly joined him. Just in time. There was a shrill roar, and a blast narrowly missed Robert’s retreating back. It hit Mr. Portman’s propane barbecue grill, which was instantly encased in the supernatural ice.
Seizing Mr. Portman by the shirt collar, Robert dragged the struggling suburbanite to the dining room, which was out of the line of fire from the sliding glass door.
“I want you to listen to me very carefully,” said Robert, putting his face close to Mr. Portman’s in a somewhat threatening manner. Mr. Portman stopped struggling and nodded. “I want you to get yourself and everyone else in this house upstairs,” Robert continued. “With any luck, you’ll be safe there. Call the police and tell them there’s a refrigerator terrorizing the neighborhood.”
“Okay, fine, don’t say that. But tell them something, anything, to get them out here. Lives are in danger. And do what you can to keep that,” he gestured towards Rebbecca’s frozen pillar, “safe.”
Releasing Mr. Portman abruptly, Robert turned and made for the front door.
“But where are you going?” called out Mr. Portman.
“I don’t know,” Robert called back over his shoulder. “Somewhere else.”