The Heatwave. Short Story.

Jack wiped the sweat from his forehead, the damn heat was starting to drive him crazy. It had been two weeks since the heat wave began, with everyone promising it would end soon. Two weeks of scorching heat and no air conditioning. Jack stood from the couch and peeled his t-shirt away from his body, it was only 11 A.M. and already he was drenched in sweat. He went into the kitchen and grabbed a glass, filling it with water, he took a sip and swallowed, even the damn water was lukewarm. There was ice in the freezer but not much, he wanted to save it until later, every shop he’d been to were sold out of ice, not that he’d have been able to get it home before it melted.

Jack turned off the radio, the weather report claimed the heat would break tomorrow, but they had been saying that for the last three days. No one seemed to know when things were going to go back to normal. A breezed moved through the room and Jack closed his eyes, enjoying it, however warm and slight a breeze it was. It was the first breath of fresh air that had entered the house all day, despite all the windows being wide open. He looked around the living room and again noted it would have to be cleaned, but on a cooler day, already he was considering having another shower and it was only midday. He shook his head, it was the first weekend he’d ever wished he was in work, at least the building had air-conditioning.

Jack woke the next morning with the thin sheet clinging to his sweat drenched body. The heat was still unbearable. He went to the bathroom and had a cool shower, feeling a little better he dressed and went to the kitchen. He flicked on the radio out of habit while he made breakfast, just as he was finishing the weather came on. Jack rolled his eyes as he heard the opening jingle, he knew where this was going, the heat wave will break tomorrow, we swear this time for real. “Today will be a cool and pleasant day with a few scattered showers, which I’m sure we’ll all be thankful for!” Jack paused, spoon midway to his mouth, he grabbed his phone and checked, the temperature was only supposed to be fifteen degrees today but it felt just as hot as every day before it. Jack went to the window and stuck his head outside, looking around he saw people were walking down the street again, and they were wearing jeans rather than shorts.

He had taken his temperature three times and it said it was normal, but if that was the case why was he so hot? He had tested going outside but found it almost unbearable to stand in the sunlight, the heat was just too much.

Jack sipped his water, he was feeling hotter now than before, he kept periodically checking his temperature but the thermometer said it was well within the normal range. Sweat ran down his body in thin rivulets, his entire body felt drained, like he had been running about the place all day.

As night began to fall Jack breathed a sigh of relief, with it should come some cool breezes. He had decided that it was just his body being weird after the heat wave, hopefully by tomorrow he’d adjust and everything would be normal again. The internet wasn’t much use, mostly it just told him he was either anxious or experiencing menopause. Jack stood from the couch and went into the bathroom, the heat wasn’t dying off, if anything it was starting to get a little worse. He turned on the shower and stepped in, breathing a sigh of relief as the cool water washed over him. The relief only lasted for a few seconds before he felt hot again, even the water touching his skin seemed warm. Jack groaned in frustration and turned the water colder. He stood under the spray with his eyes closed, the water was as cold as it would go but it still felt warm. After a few minutes he decided he should stop, if it was psychological the cold water probably wasn’t doing him much good. Jack opened his eyes, the bathroom was full of steam. He looked down at his body, the water wasn’t steaming until it hit him. He turned off the water and gasped, the heat was almost unbearable, he reached out to turn the shower back on then started screaming, blisters were appearing on his skin, giant angry looking swellings filled with fluid. The pain was almost unbearable, he turned the shower back on.

Jack stood under the water, whimpering. The pain was getting worse and the water was feeling hotter. He wouldn’t make it to the phone without considerable agony, even now blisters were appearing on any skin that wasn’t under the water. Something was boiling him alive in his own skin. Jack took a deep steadying breath, he just had to make it to the phone, dial 911 and run back to the shower. He could do that, right? He stepped out of the shower and started running, he made it to the hallway before he collapsed, he writhed on the ground. Jack could no longer scream, his throat was full of blisters, he could barely breathe, his breath coming in high pitched gasps. With a sudden roar of flames his entire body caught fire, the flames licked at the ceilings and walls, it wasn’t long before the entire building went up.

Faulty wiring, that was the final verdict, and a man who couldn’t outrun the smoke. The case was discretely filed away with all the other strange cases, the ones that no one liked to talk about. There had been several others like it that occurred during the heat wave, but no one was looking into it. They knew that investigating something like that was dangerous, you’d never know what you’d find, or what would find you.




About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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