It's Always Cold in Summer

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: The Imaginarium
Sarah has lived with the affliction all her life. Now, the entire population joins her. Is there hope in Summer?

Submitted: June 11, 2019

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Submitted: June 11, 2019

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It's Always Cold in Summer
 

The jingle of the third ice cream van sliced through the brick. The Summer was coming and still the children played in the sun.

Sarah pressed the pillow against her ears with the rosary beads in her hand.

Her mother walked into the shaded room in a loose-fitting white shirt and a pair of jean shorts.

"I got you an ice cream."

"I don't want it."

Her mother's hair had that wiry look it had when quickly dried with a towel.

"It's bubblegum."

"Have you been in the pool?"

"Sarah-"

Sarah shot up and threw the pillow at her mother, knocking the bubblegum ice cream onto the tiled floor.

"Ice cream is cold," she said. "I've lived with cold all my life. I don't want cold."

"They'll be none left soon."

"I hate Antarctica. I wish I died in England."

Sarah's mother picked up the ice cream and took a bite. She sat on the end of the bed and looked through the blinded window at the silhouettes darting around outside.

"You don't mean that."

"I do. We've come here and the sun's followed and all their friends and family are dead and England is ash and the rest of the world is ash and all they can do is laugh and play in the sun."

"We all have our ways of coping. They're trying to forget."

"How can they forget? Antarctica has turned into Africa, the penguins lie dead in a landfill just down the street, Satan is in the sun and he is glaring at them, and he took Dad."

Sarah's mother patted Sarah's thigh.

"I'll leave you alone."

She kissed Sarah on the forehead and left the room.

Sarah thought about her father and cried. Satan had been trying to send her to Hell since she was born, she couldn't say why, but why else did the sun hurt her so? And then the Summer had arrived without warning and she knew it was true. People started to peel and crack in the streets as though trapped in the inferno. The scientists blamed the people. They had warned them for decades about Global Warming and this was the final act: they had handed the sun its victory. Sarah had been in her bedroom with the blinds down and the air conditioning on. It was September, it had been a long summer but no one could have predicted that it would last forever. There had been a commotion downstairs. Screaming. She wanted to run down but she couldn't know whether the windows in the entire house were covered. Then her father burst through her bedroom door. At first she didn't think anything of the sun burn, she had seen her friends that sometimes came and played with her have a rash on their face and their body and they said it was from the sun. Her mother warned her not to touch them, even the radiation from their skin could affect her. But then she saw the blood seeping through the cracks in her father's face as his skin peeled away like burning wallpaper. She ran to hug him but he slipped away in her hands. He collapsed onto her bedroom floor and she knew the scientists were wrong, the people were not to blame, this was Him.

Ever since then she had been waiting. He was so close now, and he had cut through the population to get her like a machete in the rainforest. There was no chance for the Last Judgment. It was clear now that Christ had lost. How could bodies be resurrected if they had been turned to ash?

Hell had spat at the equator first. The survivors had evacuated upwards and downwards until there was no more up and no more down, but the Summer was chasing, and soon it would destroy the world. Part of Sarah wanted it to. The Sun had been her enemy since she had been born, and yet for everyone else it seemed like their best friend. They were happy to play tea parties and jenga and monopoly with Sarah when it was raining and when it was winter, but when it was sunny they always left her. If the enemy of your enemy is your friend then a friend of your enemy cannot be your friend.

"Sarah, there's someone here to see you," her mother called. "Come downstairs."

Sarah slumped down the stairs with the rosary beads in her hand and saw the stranger.

She looked at her mother.

"Yeah?"

"This is Professor Barton. He works for the SEP."

"Sep?"

Her mother was bouncing, unable to contain her happiness.

"The Summer Evacuation Programme. Sarah, they've done it, they've beat the Summer!"

Sarah frowned.

"We're going to Mars!"

"What?"

"They've built a city there, the scientists have been working on it since they predicted the Summer. You can go outside all the time."

"In the cold?"

 "Yes, without fear of the sun! You can play with everyone outside as much as you want."

"...In the cold?"

"I thought you'd be happy? You'll be like everyone else, with the same opportunities as everyone else. We leave tomorrow."

It all made sense. He hadn't destroyed the population to send her to Hell, all she ever wanted was to feel the heat. She had lived with the cold all her life. She didn't want cold. She couldn't live in the sun, but she couldn't live in a sunless world. A sunless world was a world without hope.

She moved towards the front door.

"Sarah, what are you doing?"

She ran.
 
Her mother tried to grab her but missed, and before she could react Sarah had opened the door and was outside.

The Summer had not yet reached Antarctica, but it was as good as for someone like Sarah.

As her skin began to peel away she ran towards the rest of the kids. She laughed along with them and when they saw her and began to scream she continued to laugh. Her skin burned. If the extreme of cold was numbness, the sensation of not-feeling, then burning was the opposite of that. She felt everywhere, her entire body flaming up, sensations sparking. The rosary beads fell from her hand.

It would never be cold in summer again.


© Copyright 2019 Obscure. All rights reserved.

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