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Autumn Fury

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A thick sheet of gray cloud hovers cautiously above bright, hot leaves of Autumn Oaks. Despite the apparent absence of sunlight, the leaves shine defiantly, hot burning fury against the cool dark sky.

A child crouches beside a gentle sloping hill in a damp clearing among pale, yellow foliage and sharp, brown shards of pinecone, hugging pale knees etched with delicate swirls- deep and pure, dark and red, seeping slowing to the surface- perfect, glistening, bulging swirls and, for a moment, the child gazes with proud satisfaction as the swirls deepen and grow.

For an instant they are so painfully beautiful- she extends one small finger to probe the rare perfection. A swirl collapses and- drip- down, down, down it trickles, down, down the crevasse between calf and thigh, and more swirls collapse and trickle down... poison webs sprawl down pale, soft calves.

The child stares in disbelief- how readily they trickled down... the small face becomes blotched red, and thin lips turn white with clenched frustration- cold eyes mimic the threatening sky and cannot control the rain- ocean blue blurs and water leaks, raw emotion glides down the round pink cheeks, and the crisp biting air sticks to the salty trail. Tears linger at the point of the trembling chin, then plummet... salty pain leaking onto raw drippy knees. Warriors of emotion seek to torment the bloody swirls- they quietly creep into the faint cracks.

The child releases a shrill cry, screeching and thrashing at the stinging swirls- drips smear and slash and fly to the ground. Innocent palms, stained with the hot nectar, tear at a sheet of white blonde hair. The child pounds the moist forest floor, flailing, squirming, seeking to escape the searing, the sting.

More tears begin to wash over the weak, writhing form- but these are cool and soothing...The child spreads four streaky limbs and presses down into the earth. She longs to melt in the icy rain'



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