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Midsummer
  by Manuel Arguilla

HE PULLED DOWN his hat until the wide brim touched his shoulders. He crouched lower under the cover of his cart and peered ahead. The road seemed to writhe under the lash of the noonday heat; it swum from side to side, humped and bent itself like a feeling serpent, and disappeared behind the spur of a low hill on which grew a scrawny thicket of bamboo. There was not a house in sight. Along the left side of the road ran the deep, dry gorge of a stream, the banks sparsely covered by sun-burned cogon grass. In places, the rocky, waterless bed showed aridly. Farther, beyond the shimmer of quivering heat waves rose ancient hills not less blue than the cloud-palisaded sky. On the right stretched a land waste of low rolling dunes. Scattered clumps of hardy ledda relieved the otherwise barren monotony of the landscape. Far away he could discern a thin indigo line that was the sea...



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