By Rachel H Grant
The trees wore their new colours with pride, gold, green, and red intertwined like a designer cloak.
Kitty’s red collar sparkled in the twilight. She loved playing in the autumn leaves, her tortoiseshell fur merging with their colours like a tapestry in motion. She jumped in to the pile of leaves, as they leapt with her: red, gold and yellow pieces of poetry falling all around.
Lauren smiled happily at the kitchen window, hands deep in soap bubbles, all the colours of autumn leaves caressing her.
Two years later, her hands were once more immersed in warm bubbles, as the tears streamed from her eyes, falling like leaves looking for a better tomorrow.
One month since Kitty had passed, her collar sitting lifeless on a shelf, red like a leaf saying goodbye to summer.
Leaves blew around the garden, as her thoughts were a whirlwind of grief. Soundless mieaws assailed her ears with their absence. Days passed like dominoes, falling down one by one like autumn leaves.
As Lauren swept leaves one Sunday afternoon, a sudden wind played with them like the paw of a mother cat. A flurry of dancing leaves rose in the air, a ballet of rustic colours. Pirouettes spun the leaves together, forming the shape of a cat in mid-air. Then they just hung there, unmoving.
Lauren stared, mouth open. The leaves stood still, the wind whispering around them conspiratorially. Then slowly the cat moved, flying over the garden wall, and spinning down the lane beyond, finally stopping at its end.
Lauren stumbled through the garden gate as the cat disintegrated, leaves sadly leaving their friends like autumn kissing farewell to summer. She wished to grab some of the leaves, to hold them and feel their feline magic, to squeeze them to her chest like holding Kitty’s paw one last time.
The leaves whistled in the wind as they dispersed. Beneath them lay a pile of leaves with something in the middle. A black bubble of autumn magic … a kitten, scared and cold, cuddling in the leaves as if they could protect her. A white paw flexed, nervously. The wind blew stronger. A haunting poem accosted Lauren’s ears: the silent cries of a lost cat.
She picked the kitten up. A deep purred vibrated against her hands. The kitten closed its eyes. It had found a home. The wind eased, as leaves played around her feet.
“Autumn, I will call you Autumn,” she whispered. The wind whistled in reply. Lauren did not look back as she returned to the house. Leaves flew in the air behind her, forming the shape of a cat once more. But there was no one to see.
Weeks passed. Autumn grew strong and happy, as the trees outside wore their bare branches with relaxed resignation, waiting for the winter sun to brighten them once more. In another world, leaves played together as if autumn would never end. If you listened very carefully at the foot of the trees, you could almost hear them, a feline purr of pleasure.