Heat

My neighbor, Mrs. Cuevas, was a city lady. Mama said I had to be nice to her because she was a stranger who didn’t know anyone in our village. That can be lonely, Mama told me.

One day I was feeling really nice and really bored, so I went to Mrs. Cuevas’ house to bring her some mangoes. I took the long way through the woods to stay away from the worst of the heat. The radio man had said that it was 106 degrees in the shade, and joked about having boiled his eggs by leaving them in a room with zipped up doors and no windows. I was starting to believe him. Even indirect sunlight felt like flames on my skin. 

I heard howling, and stopped to turn my ear towards the sound. When my feet quit crunching leaves, I heard whining, scratching and panting. I ran to it, and found the Cuevas’ dogs trapped in a woodshed.

I rushed to the house, yelling for help. “Mrs. Cuevas,” I banged on the door, “the dogs are in the shed.” I held my middle to keep from wheezing too hard. “I can’t get them out. The latch’s too high,” I said when she finally came to the door .

“The animals need to stay in there,” she said. 

I didn’t move. I couldn’t. I wanted to say that the dogs were going to die from the heat, but nothing came out of my mouth.

“They are destructive. They were running wild in my garden. Go home, Maelynn, it’s too hot to be outdoors.” She closed the door. 

I really hate city people, I thought as I stared at the Cuevas’ Home Sweet Home sign.

I hid in the edge of the woods, waiting for Mrs. Cuevas to stop watching through her blinds. After I saw her outline disappear from behind the window, I walked to the shed. 

I took a large aluminum milk can that sat rusting next to the shed. I dragged it to the door, and put it upright under the latch. After climbing on top of the can, I reached for the latch. It was still too high.

I jumped and reached at the same time, but the only thing I managed to open was my forearm. I looked at the bloody mess and cringed. “I hate that damn woman.”

I tried again and was able to pull the latch. I also tipped the can and fell down, face first. The door swung open and the dogs stumbled by me, looking all hot and tired. They panted and licked my face, before running through Mrs. Cuevas’ garden, heading for the beach. 

I fed Mrs. Cuevas’ mangoes to the pigs and followed the dogs. I was afraid to stay near that woman’s house. I didn’t know if I could stop myself from waiting until she went into the shed, and locking her in the same hell she had created for the dogs.

***
This short bit used to be part of “Regret.” The woman in this story is Victor Cuevas’ mother. I reread the tale—after a couple of years—and noticed that Maelynn, the main character, appears to be older in the “Heat” story. I also believe that although the motifs are similar, they are different at the core.

Summer Heat, by Thomas E. Cook

21 comments:

  1. Love the imagery in this! Now I have a craving for hardboiled eggs. Can't wait for your short stories to be published!

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    1. Well, I'm eating watermelon now. But when I was rewriting this, I also craved eggs lol

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  2. Talk about "Innocence Lost" ! So many thoughts:

    - a child, expecting help from an adult only to be shocked by the adult's behavior

    - the frantic terror of knowing you are the last hope

    - swallowing a consuming anger, knowing it will be back to gnaw at you

    Magaly - this is intense.

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    1. So much weight in such tiny shoulders...

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  3. Maelynn has such a practical approach to her hatred. Undo the bad and then????? I love it.

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    1. She does indeed. I wonder what she'll do next *wink, wink*

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  4. Yeah, that bitch didn't deserve mangoes!

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    1. I think you've just insulted bitches everywhere by comparing them to Mrs. Cuevas.

      And yep, no mangoes!

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  5. Can't wait to read the whole collection.each little nibble gets more and more delicious :D XXX

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  6. You do it to me every time.. suck me right in and make me the main character somehow.. lol I love this!

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    1. And your comments fuel my writing tank!

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  7. Wow! I felt like I was there.! Magaly, you are awesome!

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    1. Hope you had something icy to drink, then ;-D

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  8. I would have (and have) done the same thing in Maelynn's place.

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    1. I really hate Mrs. Cuevas.

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    2. Some people's behaviors don't evoke a lot of love... The lady is not very awesome. Nope, not at all.

      And wait until you meet Maelynn, the woman. She totally ROCKS!!!

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  9. wow!!!I love how your stories provoke such deep emotions!!
    personally, I'd wait for her to go in the shed.

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    1. Emotions are very good here ;-D

      I wonder what a taste of her own medicine would do to dear Mrs. Cuevas...

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  10. I say, lock her in the shed ;o)

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    1. LOL, I'll relate the message to Maelynn ;-D

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