The heat in the old house was relentless, a thirsty living thing that burned the moisture from Harlan’s skin as well as the still, weighty air. It was so hot that every room smelled of the old wooden shingles that mostly covered the house he’d lived in his entire life; a few had fallen off in disrepair. Harlan began to feel feverish, a little shaky. Volatile. Just a natural reaction, really, a process as old as the birth of the stars. Heat, giving rise to expansion, building up unbearable pressure, consummating into irreversible combustion.
And that’s how it came about, the thing that forever changed his life. It was simply too damn hot.