At first, the leaves shift cherry red, orange and yellow until thinning to a crisp brown. Heavy curtains of leaves folded over fences, until drying into fragile threads of branches under the skies cooling shade of blue.
Old Man walks through a dimming alleyway, hands tucked behind him and spine leaning at a sixty-degree angle. His limbs shudder when Autumn wind curves over his bare head and shakes the bare branches. It takes time to return home these days, his slow pace setting him back precious minutes. He gives the saddle shoes he’s wearing a wintry smile, stiffly moving his head to admire them. They’re the shoes he bought with his first adult job as a young man. A bit scuffed here and there but otherwise he may have bought them just yesterday. He envies all the young people who do not have enough of a past to look behind. When you’re this old, the past and its memories keep you pushed up, like a hard book end. He’s resigned to his beard, it is already turning into sharp, twisted brambles. Careful to not let it swing and pierce his papery skin. The warts on his fingers bloom the stems of branches, buds not yet ready to grow off of them. His movements become stiffer and laborious.
Girl hastens passed an old man down an alleyway. Her shadow extends outwards before her as the sun sinks into the towns silhouette. She looks over her shoulder and no one is there. The alley turns into a black hole, the claws of the branches reaching over in an arch to block the fleeting light. Her skin prickles from the little ivory bones the size of pins shooting up from her flesh. Its easy to forget how much dusk eats the day this time every year. Grubby feathers sprout from the bones and gives her a delicious coat under her khaki jacket. Her shadow disappears with the light, her voice a pebble trapped in a tin can. The exit to the alley and its artificial light finally comes into sight. She quickens her pace.
Woman stalks around the neighbourhood under the white moon. On the prowl for the ashes at this late hour. A sleepless bird hurdles out of the alley, her wolfish hand swats at it and misses it by a feather. When she breathes she can see her moth breath expand as a small cloud and sucks it up to breath it out again. She’ll find a quiet corner within the estate to lick her wounds and endure the coming months.
There is a dry, deadness to the landscape and the air, all in preparation for the darkness of Winter.