Sun and weather had faded the green handle of the garden spade from a pine emerald to the hue of late summer grass. Wiping sweat from his brow, Jessup dug in the clay-rich soil, knocking aside a layer of dust that the winds had deposited overnight.

“I’ll have t’ look t’ fixin’ th’ squeak on the wind mill before it gets too hot,” he said to his old Golden Retriever, Sergeant. “It’s soundin’ a bit rusty.”

Indeed, the shadows from the overhead blades flickered slower than usual in the sparse, hot air.

The heat rose as the morning was swallowed by Noon’s maw. Soon, he set up the white, moisture-capturing netting to protect the vital garden from insects and wind; the black, newly-turned soil contrasting the stems and leaves sharply.

Sergeant whined.

“Yep, boy; time t’ go in,” Jessup said, an eye towards the near-motionless wind mill. It was too hot to work on it now; maybe tomorrow.

He walked back to the hatch in the ground, spun its locking wheel, and descended beneath the blasted wastelands of Minneapolis.

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