Abruptly, Hector realized he was sweating. The increase in temperature had been gradual enough that it snuck up on him, and he was suddenly reminded of why he was wearing this cumbersome suit.
‘Should I turn this thing on?’ Hector asked.
‘Yeah, go ahead,’ said Garovel.
Hector flipped the series of switches on his chest and then hit the button in the center. The cooling unit on his back roared to life, loud enough that Hector nearly jumped, and after a few moments it settled into an only slightly quieter hum, like a wild dog growling endlessly behind him.
It worked, though. Boy, did it work. It felt like he’d been dunked in ice water. Quite the relief, at first, but soon, he decided to turn the knob on his stomach a couple times. The temperature in the suit gradually balanced to a comfortable level.
When the elevator finally began to slow down, Garovel invoked the vigor so that Hector could actually stand up again.
The elevator eased to a crawl, then jostled into a dead stop. The half-circular doors slid open, and Hector saw a crowd of earlier arrivals. Hector and the others exited and joined the mass of waiting Rainlords.
His suit garnered its fair share of attention. He could tell that the noise was disrupting a few conversations, so he tried to put some distance between himself and everyone else.
Garovel followed, of course. ‘This feels familiar,’ the reaper said privately, though with a hint of laughter.
‘What do you mean?,’ said Hector.
‘You all on your own while the other kids are having fun.’
Hector found a conspicuously bench-shaped rock and clunkily sat down.
‘Sorry,’ the reaper said. ‘If I’d realized this would happen, I might not’ve agreed to have you wear this thing.’
‘I think I’ll be fine, Garovel.’