It was another sticky summer day in July. Cotton ball clouds were strewn about a cornflower blue sky. The sun beat down against the concrete, heat haze shimmering in the air. A warm breeze danced through the leaves of the dominating beech sending the shadows dancing. The heat was oppressive, claustrophobic and cloying. It wormed its way into your head and stole your memories or put you to sleep.
"Hon, wake up! You've got a job to do." My aunt shook my shoulder gently, pulling me from clammy unconsciousness.
"Is it my turn to do the dishes?" I pressed the heel of my hand into my eyes, rubbing the sleep and haze from my mind.
"No no, nothing like that. One of the hens has built a nest outside the henhouse and we've gotta find it in case there's a pile of eggs hidden somewhere. We can't have 'em cooking in the heat much longer." I rose from the sofa, my back and arms sticking to the brown leather, and stepped outside. My face scrunched up in a vain attempt to stop the white light of the sun from blinding me. Gentle music drifted from my uncle's den in the pig byre as I crossed the yard to the barn. The barn was filled with various bits of junk hidden in the dark ranging from cat food to refrigerators to sticks. Lots and lots of sticks. What's an adventure without a good poking stick? There was kindling, logs and twigs, but I settled for an old broom handle. It was long and sturdy. There was always a risk of splinters, but this stick felt good in my hand. It had the diameter of a two-pence coin and when propped upright was almost the same height as my shoulder. It was perfect.
Back across the street, past the rusty water troughs, taking a moment to greet my uncle in his den and I was ready to start my adventure. Marram grass scratched against my legs as I traipsed through the fields. My stick pushed nettles and brambles back from my ankles. Warm air fluttered my skirt and stirred my hair back from my face. A gorse bush loomed above me. The marigold yellow blooms and prickly thorns scraped against the stick as I began rooting around in the bush. No nest of eggs, but Vala the farm cat slept nestled in amongst the thorns. Following my path of trampled grass I ran from the field and through a side alley. Dry chicken droppings stood stark and white against the dark concrete floor. A promising lead...
The back garden was very different from the fields. The grass was well kept, the flowers plenty, and the sun seemed so much closer. Sweat beaded on my forehead and trickled down my back. The heat made blood rush to my face, made my head pound and deafen me. I stumbled towards a large bush, hoping to find some respite offered in the shade of its lower boughs. Collapsing upon the grass, the sun wrapped me in its suffocating embrace. The heat was dry and sticky. It was a heat that wormed its way into your mind, stealing your memories and lulling you to sleep. Nestled in amongst the leave my eyes grew heavy and shut. There was nothing else to feel escept warm.