The Autumn Child



When the brown leaves crunch and the cold breeze howls, that is the time that imps and spectres are present.

Indeed, on this night of frolic, one small figure alighted upon the foliage dusted walk. This was a special child, embarking on a special night and it approached a brightly lit house with an air of youthful exuberance. It pulled its dark cloak around its lithe body and proceeded up the walkway, shadow lit by amber warmth and neighborhood beacons overhead.

The child paused on the doorstep. The bell rang, despite the notable lack of its physical contact with the device. Promptly, a pleasant elderly woman emerged, grinning and hoisting a orange plastic bucket heaped with confectionery delights. The air swirled from within the warm house, beckoning with the scent of nutmeg and spice and the child shuddered with glee.

The small, dark cloak flung open promptly issuing a gamut of sticky bile, running with foul greenish whitish mess. The concoction flopped onto the porch, pouring forth from within the cloak with a wet splat. Amidst the grime stirred tiny homunculi forms, minuscule bones stretching forth, orange gourds writhing, formless faces from worlds away stretching forth and disappearing with a pop. The concoction swiftly shifted to an orange hue and God help us all, it smelled pleasant. The scent of the grime mixed with the old woman’s cooking to form a misama of scents that recall youths spent on newspaper surrounded by yellowish muck and seeds, sightless eyes carved on gourds while cartoon children wait patiently in pumpkin patches on the television screen close by. The old woman gifted a smile as warm as her hearth.

She recalled hayrides, piles of leaves, warm cider, crisp air and crackling fires while unfortunate heroines run from masked killers (don’t watch or you’ll get nightmares, although she never did). The old woman breathed deep and smiled wider as Autumn Incarnate swept into her home and transported her to times long gone but never forgotten.

Then, the child emerged from the Autumn Waste. A fleshless entity that gasped forth from below with pure round, black eyes and opened a fledgling mouth that unfurled as old stitches popped and strained against their fleshy confines upon this new, wet birth. The little one dripped goo and titled its wet, slick head expectantly. A vestigial sac of translucency extended from the child’s arm and the woman smiled once more. She placed a single, wrapped package of candy corn into sac and the child swiftly reached in, retrieving its prize.

The Autumn Child swallowed it whole with a primordial mouth and grinned in gratitude. The muck was swiftly sucked back into its cloak, an eldritch vacuum of air that swirled with intent. Nary a drop was left and the Autumn Child quickly covered itself up before returning down the walk, affording one last cherubic glimpse at its benefactor. It took with it the spirit of the season yet the old woman felt no sadness. A tear welled in her blue eyes as the memories of years past swept over her once more. She was grateful for the Autumn Child and she closed her door, sweeping the vestiges of the warm aroma into her hearth.

The dark cloaked child continued down the walk, humming gaily to itself, the voice of the time of year when the air grows crisp and the line between two worlds is at its more gloriously narrow.

Halloween was the Autumn Child’s reckoning and as it passed a group of enthusiastic costumed children, it smiled within its cloak at the thought of another fruitful year.

There were tricks to be played, treats to be gathered.

But on this night of mischief and frolic and guise, one stood out more  that the other, clutching the spirit tightly within fabric woven just right for unraveling.

Seams to split, thresholds to cross, veils to break and memories to behold.


On this, the reckoning of Autumn’s magic

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