He woke up to bright sunshine, wrapped in a blanket that was drenched in sweat. A quick look at his alarm clock made him hesitate. 2:47am. Why was the sun out?
He kicked the wet blanket away, to the foot of his bed, and sat up. A long dark stain covered the sheet where he’d lain. It should reek of sweat and salt, but it had no smell at all.
There was no way he’d be able to get back to sleep like this. He’d have to close the blinds more to keep the sun out. Then, he’d have to take a shower and change the sheets. Why was it so warm?
He got up and walked over to the window to take care of the blinds when noise from outside caught his attention. It was the lively chatter of voices.
Peeking through the half-closed blinds, he spotted his friends on the sidewalk before his house. They sat on the curb or leaned on the oak tree under the beaming hot sun. Their clothes were light and short, summery.
Sparing no thought for what he himself was wearing, he walked outside to greet them. Some of his friends were eating ice cream, others drank cold sodas from glass bottles wet with condensation.
There you are, said James. The others turned towards him. James’ black shirt had a print logo on it, but he could not read it.
What are you all doing here? I haven’t seen you in years, and it’s the middle of the night, he said.
It’s a beautiful day. We thought we could all go to the lake or play some basketball, like in the old days, answered James with a shrug.
Why is it a beautiful day? It’s December, it shouldn’t be that hot.
Yeah, remarked Tony. It is hot. That’s weird. Feels like I’m melting.
I don’t mind it, said James. The lake’s not far and we can always get more ice cream and soda. My car has a/c now, too. Come on, let’s go.
The others, muttering in agreement, stood up and got into the car. The air just above its shiny red roof shimmered with heat.
What are you waiting for, asked James. He’d put on dark sunglasses and grinned out of the driver’s window.
No, this isn’t normal, he said. I’m going back inside. You guys have fun.
The others didn’t say anything, so he turned around and returned to his colorless house. He heard his friends chatting and laughing as they drove off.
© Ash_Green 2023-02-15
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