I love Fall. The trees changing and showing off their true colors, the cool air, the crunch of the leaves under my shoes on walks. I must admit that this year, while I am certainly ready to move forward and through the ick that has taken over 2020, I also feel a certain sadness for lost plans. And I am not really looking forward to wiping dog paws every time our pooches come in from play time. But, I'll take it to have a chance at some scary story time and walks in the colorful forest.
As with last year, I was struggling to come up with a story idea. And then, old ideas, focusing on just a couple Fall Frenzy images, and working outside in the cool air, stirred up a story where truth and fiction mix and mingle.
Secrets of the Woods
By Sarah Tobias, 196 words
Long before the strip mall, blacktop, and traffic, there was a farm with housing, work, and food for the poor. Today, what remains is a cemetery and a path into the woods.
Go slowly. Look closely. The woods share secrets when you step off the path.
There. A bright speck. Broken glass.
Pottery, shards, and jars rising up from the earth.
Something glistens at the periphery of your vision.
A branch snaps.
Search the woods.
Still and Silent. Large eyes watch you. Waiting.
Take a breath. It’s just a deer.
To your left again, shimmering and glittering at the edge of your vision.
Slowly. Turn your head.
A man. There but not quite there. Silver and gold pendants hang from tattered lapels, sleeves, and pockets.
Crackling leaves. The deer runs off.
Sunlight catches something at your feet. Pick it up, brush away the dirt, and feel the engraving.
Sheriff of Poor Farm
Cackling laughter. Ha! Ha! Ha! Hee, Hee Hee. Woo Hooooo!
Blue eyes twinkle and the man disappears.
Walk over to where he faded away. Brush away the leaves and dirt, feel the engraving.
Died October 3, 1896.