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Heat Wave part II

The heat wave intensifies for Keziah

By MATTHEW DRAUGHTER
On January 23, 2014

And she controlled her universe with the swipe of her finger, or so she thought. The skidding of the tires along the slick street resounded in her ears - it's all she could remember.
"Did I push the car into the light post?"
Keziah saw the totaled car as it smoked in the mist under the stars. What was going on? The heat hadn't allowed her to stop, to put her hand down, to stop tracing the car's movements. The sweat on her neck dripped down and hit the collar of her shirt, dispersing its wetness and many molecules of water through the fabric.
The night began to buzz and glow as the lights of police cars began to dance along the street. Keziah's neighbors were starting to stir, crowding around the mangled car.
She heard footsteps from her parents' room. When she looked back at the clock, she swiftly and quietly closed her window, locked it tight and jumped back into bed.
Keziah turned her head to look out the window, her back already beginning to dampen with sweat. She looked back at the moon as it gazed down from its shelf in the sky.
The neighbors' bodies had finally found their way back to their homes, the whispers had ceased, and as Keziah's parents walked back to their bedroom, she continued her staring contest with the moon.
                                                                                                  •••••••

The sun hung in the cloudless sky as the bell rang over the playground. The patter of children's feet quickened as the doors opened and recess commenced. The light wavered between the leaves on the trees, the children had placed their lunch boxes and book bags along the walls and the games began.
A slight smirk ran across Keziah's face, then quickly faded as she looked at the very top of the jungle gym. The sun was being blocked out of her sight and she could feel the breeze under the shadow of the oak trees. The absence of heat made her uneasy.
Shrieks of delight and laughter swam around her as she stood in the midst of the fun, always between the action and never really choosing a side. She ran her fingers through her hair and closed her eyes.
She contemplated what happened the night before - the accident, the rain, the presence of the heat that moved through her limbs and gave her a sudden jolt of energy - as she gripped the green, chipped paint of the jungle gym and started to climb.
The top of the playground was her favorite. She could see everything that was going on in the yard below - she saw a little boy running with his friends, panting along with the rest of the children. When she saw him, her eyes locked onto the movement of his feet. She suddenly felt warm. As his feet pattered along the ground, she could hear the raindrops from the night before, the sound of the screeching car.
Maybe she didn't cause the crash. Maybe the driver just lost control of the car.
Keziah's hand rose as she tracked the boy on the playground. She held out two fingers and traced the movements of his feet.
Keziah's fingers trembled and she could feel the heat through her arms, her hands, her fingertips. Then, she flicked her index finger and the boy tripped and fell in the midst of the running children. Keziah watched as he struggled to get up.
The recess bell echoed throughout the playground as the children scrambled into line. Perched atop the jungle gym, Keziah watched the boy as he joined his classmates, basking under the sun on her own personal skyscraper.
Matthew Draughter can be contacted at mcdraugh@loyno.edu


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