The scorching earth. Forests set ablaze, cities drowned in a fiery inferno. Anna would probably call that an exaggeration, but Monika thought it was a pretty apt description of the weather right now. It was the middle of Summer, and the world wanted everyone to know it. Temperatures were through the roof and drought had set in in a few places. Monika sat in the living room, staring out onto the fields in front of their house. The windows were wide open, but not a single gust of wind blew through them. Monika thought she could hear the hot air simmering under the burning sun, but that might have just been her imagination again. There wasn't really any particular sound, just this strange kind of general noise that lets you know it's summer, permeating through everything.
Monika groaned. She loathed summer about as much as it seemed to loathe her. Hot weather really did not become her. Over time it would transform her into a sluggish blob that just flailed about on the floor and moaned. “Weather like this should be illegal,” Monika said. “You should submit an initiative for that, then” Anna replied, as she went on her business in the kitchen. Monika didn't even have the will to glare at Anna, so she just groaned again. “You could go for a swim in the lake. I'm sure the water is nicely cool,” Anna said while she scoured the cabinets for ingredients. “I don't like to go swimming.” “Oh? Why not?” “It's embarrassing,” Monika mumbled quietly. “Hmm? I couldn't hear you,” Anna chirped back at her. Monika said nothing and stared out the window again. It really was just way too hot.
“How can you be so chipper while this,” Monika gestured lazily, “this state of affairs is going on?” Anna just hummed cheerily and figured a response wasn't necessary. Sometimes you just had to let Monika complain. “Must be in your genes or something,” Monika scoffed as she stared out the window again and rocked her chair. A few minutes passed uneventfully, the relative silence merely interrupted by the occasional cricket chirping in the grass outside. Finally, Anna decided she had had enough of her moping about. “Come on, Monika. Just sitting in here all day is not going get you motivated or inspired.” “But I don't want to go out! It's even hotter in the sun, and I don't see how being burned to a crisp would give me any ideas either.” “Well, maybe you'll catch a nice breeze somewhere. Now quit your complaining and hush on out of here.” Monika growled, got off her chair, and stomped upstairs into her room. “Oh, and you could buy some dinner on your way back!” Anna shouted after her.
Once in her room, Monika grumpily dressed herself to head out. She didn't know why she followed Anna's advice, but she didn't know what else to do either. She put on a light, short-sleeved, white t-shirt, a light-blue, knee-length skirt, and a straw hat. Shortly after she stood in front of her house. The sun burned strongly at first, but soon her skin got used to the light and only the heat remained. Monika got onto her bike and started off down the hill. The lake was quite a ways, but for now the ride was surprisingly pleasant. The head wind was nicely cooling and the bright summer colours that painted the landscapes made everything look happy and inviting.
As she rode along the side of the streets, ever closer to the lake, Monika thought about whether it would be possible to make a kind of noir detective story happen in a brilliant and bright village out on the countryside in Italy. After all, standard noir stories relied strongly on gritty and dark settings. As she mused this time flew by swiftly. She soon found herself at the shore of the Türlersee. It didn't have a pretty, sandy beach like you'd find at the sea, but it was nevertheless a nice place. A sizeable crowd of people could be seen bathing around it. Monika parked her bike in the shade and started for a walk. She didn't really think about anything in particular now, and instead just let her eyes roam and take in the scenery. The air was a lot more bearable around the lake, especially with the shade the trees around it provided. Monika felt at ease.
After a good while of walking, the temperature suddenly dropped and it became rather chilly. Monika turned around and saw a bunch of storm clouds that had crept in from the horizon. Things changed rather quickly, now. The clouds moved in front of the sun and everything became much darker. A gust of wind blew over her, and decorated her hair with dust and leaves. The world felt altogether different now. For a moment Monika just stood anchored to the ground, stunned. But then, she finally managed to gain control over herself again and rushed back to her bike. No doubt it would start raining before long, and she definitely did not want to be caught in a rainstorm on her bike.
Monika raced back to the village as fast as she could, the clouds following just behind her. The wind had now started to swell up and roared in her ears. She was just a few hundred meters away from her house when she heard the first few raindrops fall around her. The sky was now almost completely covered in a musky dark grey. Monika cursed in between breaths. Her lungs burned, and despite the massive reduction in temperature, her head felt like it could explode any minute. With a last burst of energy she raced up the hill and threw her bike under the small roof in front of her house. Just then, thunder struck and the rain started to pour down.
Out of breath, Monika leaned against the house wall and just watched the rain fall for a few minutes. Hearing the rhythmic drumming of the raindrops was pleasantly calming. Once her head had cooled off, Monika got up and tried to go inside, but the door was locked. She wondered where Anna could have gone off to and retrieved the spare key from a specific crack in the wall. As she stepped inside, she found a note on the floor. “I'm going grocery shopping real quick,” it said. Monika sighed and let herself fall onto a chair in the living room. The view in front of the window looked very different now. Instead of the bright and burning world she had seen just a few hours back, it now looked very cold and distant.
Slowly, a grin crept onto Monika's face. She now knew how a detective story in a rural Italian town could work out. Suddenly all of her exhaustion from the bike ride had vanished. Excited and eager to get to work she ran up the stairs and into her room where she kept working until late into the evening.
Written by shinmera