Autumn 1

Autumn – Written for the “Fall” challenge

Autumn.  A gentle breeze swept over the mountain, stirring leaves, red, orange and gold, releasing them from their Summer confinement.  They skittered over the edge of the cliff, guiding Hannibal Heyes’ gaze, free-falling to the town of White Ridge, far below.

Footsteps fell, steadily, softly, on the path behind him.  Kid Curry spoke.  “You sure?”

From this distance, Heyes could make out the steeple of the church, the corral outside the livery, the courthouse.  The bank.  The scene seemed peaceful, serene, with colors painting the landscape in vivid hues.  White Ridge seemed friendly, inviting.  Innocent.

Innocent?  Filled with memories, both sweet and bittersweet, but far from innocent.

Heyes once more took in the panoramic view, spreading both arms wide, then closed his eyes, imagining — An eagle, soaring over the cliff’s edge, away from White Ridge.  Had she felt that way when she took the fall?  Or was there panic, and the fear of certain death?

“Heyes, if you wanna do this,” the Philosopher reasoned, “you know I’m with you, but…” Curry bit his lip, choosing his words carefully, “robbin’ her daddy’s bank ain’t gonna bring Autumn back.”

Autumn.  The girl was more lovely than the Indian Summer day for which she had been named.  Auburn hair, russet eyes, cream-colored skin, with a sprinkling of freckles, though she had bristled when he called them such.

His partner knew the tale, what little Heyes had chosen to share.  Confiding in the Kid had been like confessing to a priest, only safer.  A priest might have felt obliged to confer with his Almighty Boss.  Kid Curry yielded to no such compulsion.  Heyes’ story, once told, would remain Curry’s carefully guarded secret.

For the first time, Heyes regarded his friend.  “Would you?” he wondered, turning again to look upon the town of White Ridge.

The sad smile played at Curry’s lips.  “What I’d do don’t matter.”

On a ledge some forty feet below, lay splintered pieces of the rig.  Her rig.  The last remnants of  Autumn’s flight from White Ridge, her escape from an overbearing father, to a new beginning.  To freedom, Springtime, and the arms of a man to whom she would gladly promise herself, for better or worse.

Her flight had ended, tragically, here.  In the long cold Winter, of Death.

Decision made, Heyes nodded gratefully to his trusted confidant.  From his vest pocket, he removed a lace handkerchief and held it aloft.  The breeze tugged it from his fingertips, sending it floating, over the edge of the cliff.  Free.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

October 2011

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