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    Heat Wave

    • Writing

    The Challenge

    For this challenge we want your character to react to the worst part about summer, the heat. Whether that's because the AC is out, sweating on the beach, hiding in the AC or whatever! The only restriction is that your character must mention or react to the summer heat.



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    Directory link to the site you are supporting:  Eleutheria

    Entry: 

     

    Gods alive, it was hot out.  

     

    Leni shifted the broom in her hands so she could wipe the back of her wrist over her forehead.  She felt tendrils of hair stick to her skin and she used her palm to push them back. She could see the Aegean sea from her position on the portico.  Could almost feel the cool salt water on her skin. The blue of the water sparkled beneath the sunlight making it just about the most enticing sight she’d seen in weeks.  But she had work to attend to; chores and upkeep of the temple that she was responsible for.

     

    She turned from the water; wishing for a breeze.  Anything that might help alleviate the horrid weight of humidity that set over the city.  Corinth was a bustling metropolis on a normal day, but it had ground to a halt in the wake of the heat wave.  No one had the energy to fight against the sun. She could feel sweat beads slide down the center of her back; following the line of her spine in its failed attempt to cool her.  But she set about pushing the broom around. Flower petals from sacrifices made to the Goddess of Love were strewn about the floor. The remains from what she’d already taken away from the altar.  There’d been a few morning stragglers, but the heat of the day ensured that even the most stalwart pilgrims would remain at bay. So the main naos was devoid of followers and even her fellow priestesses had retired somewhere cooler; likely a bath or one of the lower level rooms used for storage.  

     

    As she bent to gather up the petals, her linen peplos clung to her frame making the heat that much more unbearable. Her face contorted as she hurried through her chores and then went to dispose of the petals; tossing them off the portico and into the street.  Again the sea beckoned to her and the sun made her hair feel as if it was on fire. She turned with her broom in hand and went back inside; considering how much work she had left. ...If she could slip away for a short amount of time and cool off she knew she could be more productive.  

     

    With none of the priests milling about, she put the broom away and escaped through the back of the temple; padding down the hall towards the rear exit.  She would hurry, but rushing only made her hotter so she set a measured pace; stepping back out into the sun but away from the city center where the hills lined the temple and led down to the coast.  She descended the stairs and followed the narrow path cut into the dirt where others had walked before. At the end of the path was a private alcove where the beach was made up of round pebbles rolled in the sea for centuries.  It was peaceful and the water was crystal blue. From above it was like a private paradise and a respite from the rest of the city, her chores and the temple itself. But the hill that led down to the beach was steep and she had to take her time traversing it.  

     

    When she finally took the last step off the beaten path and onto the beach, she flicked off her leather sandals and tossed them to the side before hurrying over the heated stones.  She could have groaned out loud as her feet slipped into the water. The bottom was clear and it wouldn’t matter how far she walked out, she’d still be able to see her toes. Which was just fine for her as she’d never learned to swim.  

    She waded into the water; tugging up her dress to keep it from getting wet.  Her legs felt cool but the rest of her still seemed to glow from the blazing sun.  So with no more than a moment's hesitation, she released her gown and waded in further.  And then further still until the water lapped around her hips and then waist. At her bust, she finally felt relief and ducked beneath the water to fully submerge herself.  Beneath the sea, the ocean muffled the sound of the waves and she felt the heat of the day seem to slake off her skin. She stayed under the calm surface until she needed to breathe and then stood back up.  Finally, the summer sun held no power over her. She’d defeated the heat wave and stood victorious within Poseidon’s realm. But she was sure she hadn’t won the war. There was no escaping the summer sun. Her only relief was here and it was only as good as time allowed.  

     

     

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    Entry: 

    The skin was loose. There had been shade between the buildings where Samael stood, but the dual suns were directly overhead now. Their heat collected on the skin and made it feel unbound. Slick with sweat on the outside, but the same was happening on the inside. If he moved from this spot where he stood, the skin would simply fall off of him, melted. He could feel it.

     

    He would not have wanted to relocate even if he could, though. Only here, he could see and not be seen.

     

    The eyes remained on the door across the alley. The old wood was set poorly in the frame of the cobbled stone wall. Even the capital city of the Kingdom of Myrh had its downtrodden areas.

     

    Areas where no one would notice, or perhaps care, if someone went missing.

     

    The left hand turned the small hourglass in its grasp. Two hundred and thirty turns. Two hundred and thirty-one. Four, five, or six more turns, and the door would open.

     

    A man would exit from the door. The man would be sickly, with clear indication of red agitation in the eyes, and irritation of the lungs as evidenced by the wet coughing that produced blood with increasing frequency. It made him wonder, was there now blood inside the lungs itself? The man’s skin had been seen to sweat more than the average amount, though whether that was due to the sickliness or the heat in the air was unknown.

     

    He would come to know, though. Something under the man’s skin held the answers. He would find it.

     

    Two hundred and thirty-two.

     

    Two hundred and thirty-three.

     

    The door opened. The man stepped out. At least two turns early.

     

    Imperfect.

     

    The left hand returned the small hourglass to the left front pocket of the coat, then pulled a small vial of clear liquid from the same pocket. The coat was habit. The pockets were useful. He was beginning to think the coat was more detrimental than useful in the heat.

     

    A problem for a later time.

     

    There was a location five or six turns away which would be in a more opportune location. The man would enter a shop that would not be open yet, and be alone. On silent and swift feet, Samael could close the distance and enter the shop before the door closed again. It was the best time and place for the procurement of the subject so that the lungs could be properly studied.

     

    The man turned left down the alley. Samael waited until the man was a small distance away, then stepped out fully into the alleyway to follow.

     

    The limbs felt heavy as he tried to move them. The fault of sloughing skin. He did not think he would be able to catch the door in light of this.

     

    This was the only other possible location for the procurement.

     

    The feet began to move forward, silent, but earnest. The right hand pulled a cloth from the right front pocket. The thumb of the left hand pushed the lid off of the vial of liquid, and the hand poured the contents of the liquid onto the cloth. The odor of the liquid - a sedative of his own making - was in the air quickly. The movements of the feet hastened in response, though they slipped about in the shoes, the skin no doubt having lost all traction against the muscle and bone underneath.

     

    The world only tilted because the skin would not stay in place.

     

    The left hand caught the wall, the glass vial pressed uncomfortably between the two. The eyes closed as the feet seemed to sway in place. The sound of his own breathing entered his ears. The eyes opened again and, now struggling to focus, looked forward to see the man also paused, coughing into the arm.

    He had known it was a mistake to move.

     

    The feet moved forward again, the left hand staying on the wall to keep himself upright, and in that way, he caught up to the man whose coughing had drowned out the sounds of the now shuffling feet.

    The left hand grabbed on to the man’s shoulder, and the right brought the cloth around and worked its way between the man’s mouth and the arm. There was a sharp gasp from the man and they lurched backwards as the man attempted to throw Samael off. The right hand was firmly around the mouth and nose now, though, and the left hand held on well, so the man backed them into the wall of the alleyway. The back his the wall hard, and trapped there now, the sensation of heat was now being pressed into the skin. From the wall on the back. From the breath on the hand. From the suns above. It made the skin crawl and scream and the eye’s sight swim and the lungs gasp.

     

    He could not sustain this.

     

    But the man fell first, having taken gulping breathes of the sedative in the struggle.

     

    The feet, now free, stumbled out into the center of the alley as the hands dropped what they held, then struggles to free the arms from the coat.

    He needed out.

    Out of this skin that burned. That melted.

     

    The coat fell to the ground atop shattered glass and forgotten cloth, followed by the shirt worn underneath.

    He stopped himself from trying to remove the skin as well.

    This was as much as he could do.

     

    The gaze of the eyes swung until they found the man again, lying still on the ground. To move it would require touching it. To see the lungs would require touching it.

    He could not bring himself to do it.

    The feet would not move towards the man.

    The hands would not reach to grasp it.

     

    Only once he took the shirt up again to use as a barrier between the hands and the man would the feet move again.

    On unsteady steps, the man was dragged back to the door from which he came.

    Then inside the building, to lay in wait for when the skin would settle, and the real work could begin.

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