The Heat

January 2, 2018

Tonight was the brightest of August in the sweat-dripping summer of the San Francisco bay region. The full moon, reflecting the glowing rays of the sun, kissed the squeezed houses, as if they were glued to one another. Gulls squawked at the churning waves, constantly crashing against the beautiful sand, littered with naturally perfect dunes. Salt from the water ascended until it was snatched by the sea-odored wind, which thrusted it towards the line of houses, eying the boardwalk. At an hour so late, almost no cars passed by the area. It was one o’clock in the morning, and the gulls who slumbered in the dark, only woke minutes ago, to scream at the residence of the Petersons; specifically the family member that had not yet fallen asleep: Ethros Peterson.
Inside the house, dressed with yellow paint, curling and detaching from the brick behind - flakes gathered on the ground underneath - there was a mental commotion erupting in one of the two bedrooms. The small place was crammed between neighboring homes, organized in a straight row, overlooking the sparkling bay. Every window, poking out of the front of the house, sat on a roofed porch, decorated very little. The family, like its neighboring friends, did not place any kind of appealing furniture in the home. It was bland to the eye, and very sparse compared to some other places that somehow received negative feedback. The Petersons furnished their home as every other neighbor did, to fit into the community and society in the neighborhood.
In the bedroom which never slept that night, the son of the family (the only child), lay frozen to death, underneath the thin blanket, hiding. His heart pumped furiously, on-and-on demanding for more blood. The ridiculous rate made it seem as if the muscle was prepared to shoot from the chest. Ethros’ eyes were slammed shut, as if he was protecting himself from some sort of a threat. A hole in the blanket, that Ethros would rarely peek through, stretched near the boy’s arm. He avoided the damaged area at all costs, lying in the darkness, as banners of light-blue light sank onto the mattress.
There was an enemy in the room that the young boy hid from. His seven year old brain had infected the bedroom, and gave birth to many antagonizing creatures, with dangerous features. The stack of clothes that sat on Ethros’ desk, morphed into a petrifying being. Just last week, the Petersons were praising their son for his talented and idea-spangled imagination. But such a creative mind came with a toll. Tonight was costly. His mind designed rancored nightmares that Ethros could never escape from with sleep. The images were extremely detailed. Every night was an episode of infinite fear.
To add on to the effect, darkness engulfed the room, except for the bright light from the moon that cascaded through the cracked window, half open to keep Ethros from suffocating in the summer heat of California. It was enough light to illuminate the frightening figure sitting on Ethros’ desk. It was one of the most intimidating monsters that the boy had ever witnessed. It was a dark woman, with scrambled hair, mixed with oil and blood. Her eyes were white, and flowed with jet-black tears. Deathly wings curled around her torso. Her scaled body was accompanied with sharpened fangs, horns, claws, and rags. The beast stared straight ahead at Ethros; it had been for the past four hours.
Of course, Ethros had no clue of the time. The only issue on his mind was his bladder. It was ready to explode! He had already experienced the sting of squeezing pain in the form of rumbling. There was also the endless sensation of cramping from holding in the fecal matter which was urging to discharge from his system. Ethros could not take the pain any longer. He had to get to the bathroom.

But there was this one major problem: the monster was still sitting on his desk, watching his every move.
Ethros had no choice. He had to make any move, any decision that would put him on the toilet. It was both strange and scary to know that the beast read his mind instantly, and it made the move for him.
In a screeching whisper she spoke, “My name is Thuma.”
Stuck in a position which he did not move from, Ethros was stranded in thought. What should he do now? What should he say? He thought of taking a friendly verbal approach. He blurted out a reply, “I am Ethros.” He stuttered as he spoke from fright.
“You do not need to be afraid Ethros. I will not hurt you.” Thuma spoke softly. Her muscular arms appeared to prepare to boost up and strangle the young boy. This ran beads of sweat down Ethros’ forehead. They smeared on the blanket. Dripping from it, the sweat showered mostly his face and his torso.
Ethros was at a state of desperation at this point. Anything would work as long as the waste was unloaded. He strategized and planned.  If Thuma says she will not hurt me, she must be lying! She is a monster! She cannot be trusted! But if she is rewarded for trust, there is a chance of survival for me. Then in that case, only a deal would suffice in this situation.
“Thuma,” bravely called Ethros. He had raised the blanket until it wrapped around his body. His head poked through, exposed to the air. Ethros was in a sitting position facing Thuma, who had not moved since she was created. “If you let me go to the bathroom, I will be your best friend forever.”

A smile rose on Thuma’s face and her nasty posture was repaired. Now, she seemed less frightening; so Ethros hopped off the bed and slowly stepped towards the door. He scanned Thuma, just to confirm that she would not attack. It was obvious that she was excited to meet a friend, finally. Monsters must have no friends. They must be outcasts from the rest of the world. But to Ethros, this monster was no different than any other. She was just another beast. As he approached the door, the boy spotted the light switch.  Ha! If I turn on the light Thuma will disappear! Then I will have nobody to be afraid of!
In one churning motion, as if no time passed, Ethros extended toward the switch. Thuma had now identified that who she thought would be her friend was sabotaging the deal! She lunged ahead, claws springing out. But it was too late; Ethros had already clicked the light on to kill Thuma. She transformed into a pile of clothes, crying her last cries, clawing from death, with claws that soon turned to sleeves and socks.
Observing the remains of Thuma, Ethros thought. He had betrayed the monster who had given her life for friendship and he had killed her spirit. For minutes, he stood lost in his mind. Was it wrong or was it right? Should he have done this or shouldn’t he have? But in the end, Ethros became blinded by his own selfishness. The poisonous questions were exterminated from his brain. All there was left to do was go to the bathroom.






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