The sun beat on his nape and his shirt stuck to his body, too wet to do any good in absorbing the sweat that trickled maddeningly down the center of his back and soaked the waistband of his pants.
His arms ached. Granite did not easily yield.
The soft ripples of the water mocked him, parading a breeze he did not feel. The pillar blocked what small air movement could be had. To add insult to injury, the hot stone reflected the stifling heat back at him. The path was an oven.
A dragonfly skimming the river caught his eye and he paused, mallet in mid-air and chisel in position, muscles bunching under the folds of his damp sleeves.
What if? he pondered.
He shook the thought out of his mind. Let the mallet land.
Who knew what lurked under the surface of seemingly inviting water. Better hot than drowned.