The Children of October

November 4, 2009
As the leaves turn and the days grow darker and deeper with each wind’s breath, a boy becomes, as many like him have every year since roots took up soil and sprang trees high into the sky their branches dropping leaves of golden orange. As he sleeps, he sways and waits for the first leaf to drop.
The beginning of the end came into focus through the auburn eyes of Autumn. The first leaf falls, swaying gently as if weaving through a maze suspended in air. The boy sits up from his bed of decaying compost and feels the wind whisper as he yawns, sending leaves twirling to the ground. He stands, and staggers to the nearest tree. As he approaches, his feet rustle against the soon-to-be leaf-stained sidewalks. The tree wobbles wildly in greeting, sending more leaves to their fading green graves.

Restlessly, Autumn continues stepping through days as each leaf drops. He ambles around the warmly lit houses of the town. Gradually, cobwebs and pumpkins begin to appear on the house porches. As Halloween draws nearer, Autumn becomes colder, and darker, hinting at the ever lurking threat of bitter winter. Leaves surround Autumn forming a shield. His hair shifts, falling into an even deeper shade of black. His eyes become deeper. Simultaneously, wisps of black mist surround the now towering man’s figure, forming a black cloak that could extinguish candles if they so chose to place their fiery eyes upon its eclipse-like gloom.

Halloween arrives as the man’s last warmth dwindles from his fingertips, the wind now a constant whir upon the houses. A deep fog seeps out of the forest and envelops the already stormy streets. Purple and orange lights line railings. Carved faces emerge from recessed porches and shine brightly through dense fog patches, a last effort to resist the passing of Autumn.

Bitter winter approaches. And as a bone-chilling breeze fills the leafy lawns, the man begins to change again, his former jet-black hair appears almost gray now. Time is working against the man, it won’t be long before his hair is bombarded by a blizzard of white. Suddenly, a quickly moving white sheet with holes for eyes bumps the boy.

“Ooooooo!” the sheet screams with glee as it rounds the corner hastily to its first house of the night. A witch cackles by soon after. The man’s eyes fall upon Count Dracula across the street. The man flattens his cloak and does a quick check of his hair for spiders, then follows the next group of monsters to the house.

“Trick or treat!” the group yells, but Autumn remains silent. Standing awkwardly, he attempts his best smile and holds out his hands, not in asking, but in giving. The others drop the candy in their buckets and rush by without even a glance at the man, who seems very out of place considering his age. A woman, in her thirties, gazes into Autumn’s auburn eyes. What she sees is more peculiar than the man’s elderly presence on this celebration designed for youth. The fog seeps closer as she sees her first Halloween, her little pink princess costume, her candy, and the month-long stomachache that she unwillingly received after her bucket was empty. A wistful smile falls upon the woman’s face as she closes the door on fading Autumn.

The trees sway in greeting as Autumn approaches the next house. The man stops in shock, afraid to be caught on what he assumes is the property of an alarmingly large spider; nonetheless, he steps forward. Upon the porch, the boy encounters a makeshift Grim Reaper and an Angel. The strange pair is unhappily accepting candy instead of treats over their usual harvest of souls from the father at the door. This leaves Autumn standing there, hands open. With the light glowing behind him, the father in the door feels cold, the fire goes out, and the house grows dark. He sees his breath in puffs, coming out as though his spirit is escaping him. He feels frozen, the cold of winter washes over him as he gazes at Autumn. The father shuts and locks the door. Autumn walks on. His hair now lightly salted with white.

The next few houses are similar. As the trick-or-treaters walk away, the elderly man is alone on the porch. He offers his hands and then the door shuts. Autumn is losing hope. The night grows colder and darker. The moon offers no rescue as it hides behind the clouds.

White crushes the defenses of Autumn’s former hair color, his head now a shroud of white as he approaches the last house. A path of maple trees leads up to the porch where he can feel the warmth emanating through the thick brick walls. The porch is empty, the sidewalks bare. Lights are beginning to flicker off within. The Jack O’ Lanterns offer their last glows, their smiling faces now drooping in deep sadness. The ancient man hobbles to the door, and with his remaining strength, he knocks feebly against the smooth wood, twice. At first, no one answers. Autumn begins to turn, his knees failing him. The door creaks open. A little girl still half-dressed in her spotted cow costume peeps into the gloom. The man reaches out his gnarled hands and looks up from his humbled position into the auburn eyes of the girl. The girl sees a single leaf, more golden and orange than any she has ever gazed upon. She reaches out and accepts the leaf, grasping it near to her heart. She carefully shuts the door and brings the leaf inside. She crawls into her bed, the leaf still clutched in her tiny hands. Soon after, the new autumn fades out and falls fast asleep. Her eyes only to lift when the first leaf falls upon the auburn eyes of Autumn. Cozy in her blanket the girl sleeps, while at her window ice creeps, as frost becomes.

Join the Discussion

This article has 53 comments. Post your own now!

Suphcrophanosis said...
Aug. 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Do away with the extended tree metaphor.


Other than that pretty good.

Seasonal Admirer said...
Jun. 12, 2011 at 9:37 pm
If there's one word I can call this masterpiece... it's beautiful. Each adjective sparks an image and your story is so grown up! Now I'm going to love Autumn and accept his leaf while he watches me with hazel eyes... see how you're story makes me think so much??
darkangel09 said...
Feb. 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm
That was truly amazing! I love how you wrote it.
Blue4 said...
Aug. 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Wonderful, fantastic, I especially loved the ending, it seemed to explain the whole story.

By the way, can somebody read some of my stories, rate, and critisize? I'd appreciate it.

Shannon K. said...
Jun. 3, 2010 at 7:48 pm
This is amazing. Keep writing  
itsdariannnn said...
May 25, 2010 at 9:19 am
the wording was very mature. and u didnt give  too many facts away, it was full of mystery and i want more now
gregjj said...
Mar. 17, 2010 at 1:52 am
beautifully and metaphorically brilliant
Alisha62293 replied...
Mar. 29, 2010 at 11:21 am
this was awesome! your choice of words was...amazing =D
dannyboy said...
Feb. 5, 2010 at 11:08 am
nice wording
SilverLuna said...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 6:39 pm
Loved this. Wonderful!
kelly said...
Dec. 27, 2009 at 10:51 pm
yes! fantastic
christadelphian428 said...
Dec. 18, 2009 at 8:00 am
Nice story . .. and awesome description!! Check out my story "The Travellers' Story" if you've got a chance!
Jwill said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 1:42 pm
This was a great story that you have. It was very descriptive, and it was as though I was walking down that street living that moment. Good job on this story.
mcgreevy said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 9:33 am
once again thank you everyone.
salls said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 9:32 am
this story is fantastically written, bravo.
lover23546 said...
Dec. 10, 2009 at 2:54 pm
quality work
WriterA.M. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 9, 2009 at 8:56 pm
Wow, I thought I was good at using metaphors. Keep up the imagination!
grace said...
Dec. 8, 2009 at 10:28 pm
Kadin, your imagery is stunning. Everything from your title to the last is a picture that evolves with your words. Amazing.
a.m.y said...
Dec. 8, 2009 at 10:26 pm
I love this story! You can tell you spent a lot of time on it Wherever did you dream this up??
mitch said...
Dec. 8, 2009 at 10:02 pm
Fantastic, well written, loved it.
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