It was a proper summer day, sun laughing from the sky. In the afternoon, it turned sweltering.
The leather bag dug into my sore left shoulder. The chili dog from earlier rebelled, and pressure settled in my stomach. The weather made it hard to breathe. A sure sign, I was getting old, and tired after a late lunch break.
It never bothered me before, whether the heat nor the chili.
The Pied Piper ice truck lurched in the street. Its jingle drowned out the barking dogs. The ice cream was the second-best solution to this blistering heat. The best waited for me in my fridge, a chilled beer and five of its buddies.
This was the last street on my route for today. Generously built houses lined up at Coral Lane, reminding me that I could never afford a place like this.
The sky was blazing with the boldest postcard blue. Birds chirped, and the grass was as lush as it’d be in horse heaven. I walked faster towards my beer.
I still had some magazines and one letter to deliver.
Guns, Hustler, Playboy and Men’s Fitness for the goodie two shoes with the curvy wife and little twin monsters. I thought he needed to get out of that closet and get to know the whiskey-soaked loner, with the Writer’s Digest.
That one letter was for Miss Dyer. She lived in the only house with a vegetable garden, in the front yard. The address was stamped in by a typewriter: Coral Lane 8. My fingertips left damp spots on the handmade paper envelope. The weight of it, the odd greenish color, it screamed money.
The woman worked in the front yard. “Good afternoon, Miss Dyer!” I waved the letter at her.
Her lips broke into a smile, like thin ice under heavy boots. I thought I saw a shadow swim in her pale eyes.
“Mr. Postman. Is that for me?” I nodded and gave it to her. Must be my imagination.
Her dirty hands tore the envelope open, and she read the letter right on the spot. Those pale eyes scanned the paper and gasped.
“Everything all right?” I asked.
“Family business calls me home, to Innsmouth.” She answered.