'So Damn Hot' by Carol Rosalind Smith
It was so damn hot. My t-shirt stuck to my skin. I remember my brother in his shorts, plasters across both knees. Dad had a fan in his office so we snuck inside to cool ourselves while he worked. He soon shooed us off when two men arrived. We raced each other to the auditorium. Light slipped through the blinds casting patterns across the rows. Mucking about, we jumped from seat to seat, until, exhausted, we flopped down letting the red velvet absorb our sweat. That’s when we heard it. A crack so loud it made us start. My brother turned to me, questions etched all over his face. I couldn’t answer. My stomach was in my mouth. I’d heard the sound before. “Let’s go and play on the stage” I whispered. I told him we were going to play hide-and-seek; told him to get behind the curtain. He looked confused when I didn’t leave him but didn’t say anything. We hid for ages — me too scared to go and investigate. “Well, what have we got here?” a man said. I froze. My brother didn’t. He poked his head outside the curtain. I willed him to run, but he just stood there looking up in the direction of the voice. All I could see was a pair of men’s shoes splattered with red. I didn’t want to contemplate what it might be. I wanted to grab my little brother and get the hell out of there. “What we gonna do with him, Jed?” A shot reverberated around the room. My brother crumpled to the floor. “I told you, no names,” I heard as I edged away. The only time I slowed was when I passed Dad’s sprawled body. His face was gone, his white shirt turned red. I kept on running. I’m still running now.