Picture - #12F
Disclaimers: story mine, characters nearly.
Many years ago, in a moment before time existed, in a place where this time had no hold and no structure, and life lived in a shape of seasons, she breathed. Her name was Autumn, and as the season, she was beautiful. Gold ... red ... orange ... and a blaze of captured sunrays poured from her pores, and memories of summer danced in her eyes. Golden beams glistened from her fingertips, and the world was at peace when she smiled.
Like her name, she knew her purpose in life. Spring had long past, and summer was nothing more than wistfulness. Nevertheless, Autumn continued along the path she had to walk. Leaves fluttered around her as she passed along her journey, and Autumn gloried in the raging colours shimmering to the ground.
Solitary footsteps - each and every one. Empty footfalls cushioned by the leaves she admired so much. As each step moved her forward, she was acutely aware of the life she was leaving behind. Once again, images of summer flitted through her mind, and, unbeknownst to her, she shook her head as if to dispel that period of her life.
Looking upwards, Autumn drank in the sky. Cobalt stripes exuded a comfort to her soul, and without thought, she lifted her hand to her face. A lone tear had escaped the sunrays and rested, glistening, on her index finger. Eyes widened, before she leaned closer to examine the wetness perched in anticipation. A distorted reflection greeted her; blue eyes surrounded by dark lashes; the black of her fringe tumbling over and attempting to conceal the revelation she could see waiting for acknowledgement.
‘No. Not now.’
And she continued to walk.
If time were a concept at that moment, then she walked for years. But time meant nothing to her, as life was made from seasons. She was still Autumn, and the sky still blazed blue. Clouds scurried and slowed as they pleased, and birds trilled songs of farewell. Winter was ahead, and Autumn felt the chill of it seep inside unbidden. Rich tones and hues rested on the hill’s apex, as the sun began to bid adieu to the whims of a beautiful season that promised nothing more than eventual starkness.
But ... there was something not quite right ... something not quite in fitting with the time of year ... something that blossomed and bloomed in a time when nature was withdrawing into her cocoon of bleakness. An oak tree. A deciduous oak whose leaves were intact ... whose leaves were emerald and fecund and billowing as if they had been captured by a warm breeze.
Autumn stopped, her gaze fixated by the sight. A hint of scent she knew so well caused her nostrils to flare for the need for more. It was life. It was growth. It was green and full and light. It was the fragrance of seasons past. Not the immaturity of Spring, but Summer in all her brilliance. Inhaling deeply, she changed her direction.
Nearing the oak, she noticed the flowers flourishing; noticed the thick green grass bulging with the nectar of the sun’s nurturing. ‘This isn’t right. The grass should be dying, should be wilting by now.’ Turning, she noted the dull lifeless meadows she had previously been walking before returning her gaze onto the thickness of foliage surrounding her. Flowers poked their heads from beneath the density, their faces turned blissfully towards the light. Scurrying animals broke through the gaps in the hedges and pranced towards playtime. ‘Why aren’t they looking for shelter?’ she thought. ‘There is no time for play.’
Life should be nearing the end, nearing the moment when winter sunk her claws into the landscape and tore at the ground before freezing it to iron. This fruitfulness wasn’t how it should be. Frost, snow and rain would replace the eager sunshine, and any light would be stark or insipid. Death was the natural cycle, wasn’t it? So, why this change?
Pushing back the leaves of the bushes, she approached the oak. Carpeted ground muffled her footsteps, as she tentatively moved forward in to what appeared to be a clearing. The tree stood alone, majestic, and sturdy. Branches dangled, heavy with summer’s offering. Through a chink in the overflowing growth of the tree, she spotted something white ... something slender ... something silken. A shoe. And in this shoe was a foot ... attached to the foot was a lean calf ... followed by a knee ... then the hem of a dress.
Stepping back, she inhaled once again. Within that single mouthful of air, memories flooded her mind. Memories of her own summer ... her own youth. The lightness, the joy, the feeling of this time lasting forever – all of them came tumbling down making her intensely aware of life’s passing. However, standing there, her hand gripping the branch, she felt only the warmth of what seemed to be a previous life.
Once more Autumn moved through the branches. Lying on the ground, a young woman slept. Long blonde hair fanned, creating a halo of light inside the shaded place. A sigh escaped from deep inside her, a sigh Autumn didn’t know was there. The sleeper’s face was pure – thick lashes guarded closed eyes; a small nose semi-flared with each inhalation; soft red lips glistened waiting to be kissed; and a plump bosom rose and fell rhythmically.
A thick ache welled inside the older woman’s chest. ‘One kiss. Just one ... then I can leave this summer behind.’
Leaning forward, Autumn stopped, her mouth hovering over the sleeping woman’s. It felt wrong, somehow, to steal a kiss from this innocence before her. But she couldn’t move – it felt as if she belonged with this season.
Eyelids budded open to reveal emerald eyes – eyes that seemed to already know her.
‘It’s you,’ the woman whispered.
‘Yes. It’s me.’
And as their lips met, Autumn relived her summer, whilst the world sighed with contentment.
Story by: FINGERSMITH
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