Autumn Forest

Trees, grass, a babbling brook, falling leaves. A forest colored red and yellow under a grey sky. Rain is falling; all animals hide.

Over a red umbrella, raindrops drum a song of Autumn. Drip, drip, drip, drip. Ceaseless monotony.

Under a red umbrella, a boy of 9. He wears a tweed jacket the color of steel, matching pants, a scarf of deepest navy blue (neatly tied around his neck); black shoes set firmly on muddy ground.

Small clouds swirl and die on his mouth while eyes of emerald green pierce the horizon.

A tiny smile on his face; eyes open, fascinated by the rain.

A red robin darts by; a blur of feathers and motion. Emerald eyes trace its path with curiosity.

Death comes unexpected. Out of nowhere fangs of rotting yellow snatch the blur. A shriek, then nothing. 

Eyes go wide as they meet a killer’s own. Shiver, shudder, tremble, shake. A step back, then another and another and another. Running.

A little boy runs: death chases.

The umbrella falls, raindrops blind his sight. Splash, splash, splash. Mud slows him down, he is going to die.

Thunder erupts in front of him and a yelp of pain answers, he stops dead in his tracks. The rifle stands firm, pointing beyond him. A man, a hunter, holds it unmoving: his father. 

Slowly the boy turns, sees the creature: a mess of black fur, yellow fangs and eyes of emerald green. Hunger, anger and fear stare at him, then at the hunter. A red trail trickles down its hind leg. It bares its fangs; growling, wanting.

The man’s eyes, a deep shade of grey, speak plainly: You shan’t take this child of mine. 

Slowly, the beast retreats, one step at a time -child and man do not move-. Its eyes still hungry, still angry, yet knowing better. Soon it turns and limps away.

The boy, soaked, turns back to his father. He approaches his son, rifle held on two hands, a stern expression marks his face. The hunter stops a few feet from his son, looking down at him. Slowly, the boy hangs his head ashamed, the falling rain hides his tears.

Unexpectedly, he feels a hand atop of his head, gently caressing it for a brief instant. When he looks up he sees his father, rifle on his shoulder, slowly making his way back to their home. The boy catches up to him. 

Autumn rain keeps on falling.

The End

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