"I feel bad," she said, leaning awkwardly against the wall.
"Me too." The effort of talking hurt my paper-dry throat. I needed a drink.
The wallpaper next to Jen's head curled and browned, and her hair started frizzing. A charred scent was beginning to overpower with the smell of steam and heated metal.
Jen's head lolled, half conscious. I grabbed her shoulders and steadied her, holding her upright. I needed to leave the house and find water.
I steered her through the door and into the backyard. The sky was a swirling mess of black on black, roiling like an angry storm that built and built but never broke. The wind that whipped us was hotter than I expected. It gusted furiously and ripped Jen from my grip. She fell as I staggered, then it eased for a second before coming again, even angrier and even hotter.
I pushed against it and made my way to the garden tap. I grabbed a towel off the clothes line, wrapped it around the tap and tried to turn it on. The tap and half the pipe came off in my hand, molten tin dripping from its broken connection.
I shook my head. It was so hot even the solder was melting.
I dropped the tap and searched desperately for another source of water. It was getting hotter and my thirst was unbearable. I felt my insides were withering away, desiccating second by second. But dry as they were, my guts still churned, making me feel like I was deadly scared, and I was scared, but it wasn't fear that made them swirl. It was that constant droning sound, depressing and overwhelming.
Jen was on her knees by the lemon tree, her eyes squeezed closed in pain. Behind her was my sanctuary, standing out against the dark night.