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From new story “Fall”:

In the silence Judith gazed ahead at the passing orange blur. There was something unsettling about Fall, watching a countryside that had once been verdant, so full of life, begin to wither. It was as if the spirit of the woods was dying – or fleeing, sensing the advance of a malign icy force lurking over the northern horizon. A presence that seemed to scare away the sun, robbing the day of its light, lengthening the shadows. You could already feel its chill breath blowing, sapping your energy, encouraging you to hide away inside. Was it any wonder there were myths of frost giants and ice dragons? For our ancestors the encroachment of winter must have felt like a malevolent invasion, like the world around them was fighting for its continued existence.

We’re all leaves, thought Judith. We start as buds, bursting with potential, growing into soft, lush verdant leaves during the seemingly endless springtime of our youth. Still to come, the long glorious Summer of our adulthood, as we soak up the sun’s rays and all life has to offer. And yet, Fall was a reminder of the fate that faced us all, slowly stiffening with the passage of time, feeling the warmth of the sun dimming. The caped vampires, the white-sheet ghosts and the yellow-eyed wolves were mere cartoons, distractions. The true horror of Halloween was that you, and everything you held dear, all you’d ever love and strive for, everything would ultimately shrivel and fall. It was inescapable, certain, unchangeable; eventually, we would all share the fate of the leaves…

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