Last Hues of the Sun

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As the sun set over the hills, the shadow of the forest crept further out from its edge. It was just reaching Jacob’s boots when he ended the silence.

“They’ll be getting there by now.”

Alexander turned slightly. “Hmm?”

“They’re probably getting there.”

“Yes.”

The temperature was dropping and they both could feel it. There was a steady wind coming from the forest, sweeping over the clearing and down through the fields. The large, flat boulder they were sitting on remained warm and they clung to it. A light turned on in the cabin down the hills below.

“Won’t be too long.”

“Are you sure you want to stay?”

“Of course.” He looked at Alexander’s hands. “It was as much me as it was you.”

“I’m sure that’ll go over well.”

“You know we can’t keep running. I don’t want to be Marc or Gregory or Taylor.” He looked at his own hands now. “I don’t want to live like that.”

“Or die like that.” He felt the small, hard Swiss Army knife in his pocket. It was cold, and his fingers were probably too numb to open it. “I did enough running at school.”

Jacob smiled a moment. “I did enough running in the last week.”

The hills were darkening. The only remaining light was a sliver topping a peak on the other side of the valley the house lay in.

Their boulder was cooling quickly, and there was nothing above their heads but the night.
“Next time we do this, I’ll bring a heavier coat” Jacob forced through a hard shiver.

Alex rocked back where he sat. “And I’ll bring champagne!”

This should have made them both sad, and it might have, but they laughed at it instead, pretending the joke outweighed the memories.

The hills had turned a deep, heavy purple that was almost black. There was still a dim orange glow at their edge of the sky that faded into soft starlight at the other, making the thick darkness of the valley a lake against the night.

“They’re probably coming up by now.” The light from the house was reaching them like a slowly sinking flashlight.

“They’re probably coming up,” he said again, turning. Alexander made a small coughing noise to show that he had heard.

If Jacob had been able to see him, he would have known Alexander was crying.

The stars were spreading slowly overhead, replacing the last hues of the sun.





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