The heat presses in.

The sun sits in the sky in burning indifference and it does not give two shits about you or your discomfort or your air conditioning bill.

It is a heat that is thick and syrupy and cooks you from the inside like a microwave dinner, a heat that a thousand cold showers can't save you from no matter how long you stand under the water. It claws at your skin and scores it like a river gorge and it smothers your heart like an old saddle blanket full of dust and sweat and blood and loathing.

It is a heat of bones, not a heat of flesh, a heat that scours and bleaches. The concrete itself seems to crack and shrink and dry beneath your feet, and you are standing on a once-muddy savannah ten thousand years ago after all of the water has gone away and the other animals that haven't fled are reduced to moldering carcasses on the ground.

The dry grasses whisper and shush in the trickle of burning wind that skims over the landscape, and the burning blood in your ears fills your skull with the shrill hum of silence.