"Three, two, one..." The low grinding turned back into the familiar whir of the AC. Mom always said to take a breath, and count down from three. It would always come back on, she promised. Thomas was crying, his tighty whiteys soaked in sweat as his tiny 4-year-old frame hugged the concrete floor of their darkened basement, lit only by the flashlight in Derek's hand. A wave of sizzling heat was blasting them again, snaking through every crack and crevice in the house while the AC was struggling to do its job. ​ “These air-conditioners are good for 300,000 hours. They have to replace them for free if they stop working before 34 years are up.” Mom had tried to reassure her boys as the ticker on CNN continued to climb, the number of heat related deaths rapidly rising as day after day of record breaking temperatures bore down upon them. Rolling blackouts left so many vulnerable to the heat, and where once 134 degrees Fahrenheit was a record breaking global temperature, it had now been the local temperature in places as far north as Juneau, Alaska. After a month of this, death-rates were in the millions, according to television and the internet. Ice-sheets had all but melted, billions of gallons a day, flooding entire cities off the map. At this point, Derek was pretty sure the human death toll was in the billions, but the internet had shut down completely a few days ago. ​ A catchy jingle on an infomercial had been enough for mom to use all her savings for Solar Central Air, which was run on specialized solar panels. It was a genius idea back when temperatures had been in the 110's. But the creators hadn't anticipated the dust. Field after field, street after street baked in the heat. Death, everywhere. Plants, animals, humans whose bodies it was too dangerous to move. Sour death rent the air. Dirt gusted around in heated winds, coating the solar panels. Blocking them. Bleeding the stored energy that much faster. ​ Mom had gone to attempt to sweep the panels hours ago. She always went in the early morning, just before the sun came up. She would have had just a few minutes before the roof became too hot, too dangerous to stand on. Before her hands and feet would have blistered, despite the fact she wore gloves and thick shoes. She should have been back by now. Derek squeezed his eyes shut, not wanting to look at his little brother. Not wanting to consider what would be left of him when the AC stopped altogether. What his tiny skeleton would look like shriveled up on a steaming concrete floor. ​ The grinding began again. The system surged, and lurched, and struggled to turn back on. Deep breath. “Three, two, one...” The grinding continued. Lower now. The heat trickled in. “Three...Two...One...” Sputtering. It had to come back. Mom promised. “Th-three...Two...One...”

Story is told by megmatthews20

S L. K

wOw !!!! that sux, cOuld U even fathOm temptures that ****'n X•stream,? i already **** bOut it bein just abOve 100°?