Autumnal Shroud

By Emerson Kilmeade

The whisper of leaves falling to the forest floor, like the pitter-patter of feet. Footfalls fleet and frantic.

The forest is generous, the cushion of leaves muting sound of flight. The earth-pounding footfalls of those pursued.

The men with black hearts sought to use the solitude of the forest to their advantage, but the forest is not neutral. It takes an interest in events within it, picking sides and giving cover to those who deserve it.

Just as the leaves cover the foul deeds done. The bodies that litter the forest floor. Detritus of another kind. The decay of dealings between dishonest men, whose feelings change like the seasons.

Beauty above in the tree-line, rot and rankness below. Death shrouding death. No one shall sweep the leaves from here, consecrating the resting place of nature’s castoffs.

And in a few years, when death has leeched into the soil and revitalized the earth, a tree, rooted in past injustices, will stretch forth its limbs and exert its birthright over the creatures, four-legged and two, that gambol beneath it. Meting out justice in the only way it can: giving cover to those who have some legitimate grievance, and sending a furious wave of acorn-grenades down onto the heads of those whose hearts are black.