Autumn -
a narrative

This narrative is written by a member of the Creative Writing Team, unchanged by teachers.

She placed her gloved hand in his, and he led them into the wood. The crunching of prevalent shriveled leaves beneath their feet pervaded the air, muffling all other sounds in the forest save the song of the thrush, whose shrill whistle echoed over the treetops; seeming to be the only other sentient entity occupying the forest with them. It was just him, and her, and the trees. She marveled at the height of some of them, towering like giants with long arms, which held clouds of leaves. Looking up at their many colors, it would appear a vibrant explosive mass of orange and red had been suddenly suspended and frozen in the sky. These colors dominated the forest, from the ones that lay on the ground in hills of yellow and red flame to the ones that were still held by the salient trees. Through only a gaze they seemed to transmit warmth to the eye of the beholder. It was his idea to venture here, though she had been repelled upon the first look of the wood, where the trees were bare and the way was rocky. Yet now she became elated by her surroundings. She discovered the beauty of the forest despite her initial feelings, much like how she discovered a love for him despite his appearance. From the outside both him and the forest seemed portentous, and unwelcoming, but upon further investigation a deeper concealed charm was unveiled. She basked in its placidity. The scent of the forest, an amalgamation of dirt, its fresh and earthy smell, oaken bark, the drying leaves, the relinquishing air, filled her with a feeling of serenity. She reckoned that there was no fragrance more pristine and wholesome, having not been contaminated by the noxious fumes of industry, and no sound more pleasant than those which can be heard here, being free of the disruptive cacophony of engines, crowds, and construction.

This was the type of walk, the type of excursion that incited romantic contemplations. Since entering not a word was uttered between them. Her heart fluttered in her chest with predictions of imminent gracious flirtations that are aroused in a place such as this. It was that characteristic about him that she found so alluring, his impressive suaveness and enchanting tongue held her from the moment they first spoke, which led her to refute perception him as stale and aloof. He had contrived something beyond this walk, she could sense it and was euphoric. The prolonged silence only made her increased her anticipation, and her ears, eyes, and skin were attentive to him, awaiting his actions or words. It seemed they were diverged from the rest of reality, time was insubstantial, there was no purpose or outer force beyond the confines of the company they shared with the trees and leaves that encompassed them. From above, a leaf was let go, gracefully gliding down like a bird before landing in a pile of gold and candy apple red leaves with a soft rustle like the turning of a page. A few more were blown from the other side of the path and crossed them. They shuffled through the piles, dissarying a few other leaves like the splash of water, before all was still and those new leaves lost in the pile, indistinguishable from the rest. In the pile they lay still and watched the two as they passed. The leaves would keep the presence of the two lovers a secret. More came down, here and there, like late peaceful rain drops at the end of a storm.

They strolled on deeper into the forest, its sublimity never fading. Then they came to a large oak tree with a thick, dark trunk and its hanging branches still retaining most of its leaves like curtains. She looked up at it, the sky was beginning to turn red as the day waned and the sun descended, its light peeking between the leaves. Leaves crinkled beneath his heavy feet as he walked up to the trunk, looking back with a glint in his eye,  but his lips were expressionless. Coyly, she joined him. The very moment the thought crossed her mind, he drew something from his back pocket. He extended an arm and stroked the bark, feeling all the crevices and rough protruding parts that were almost like scales. A smile crept across her face as she saw him open the knife. She was glad, and to her it seemed that by him carving their names inside a heart on the bark, not only would their love be perennial, but the memory of this enjoyable outing- the time they spent in this place, would be marked here forever. All those who ventured hereafter, if they by chance cast a glance here, would see the message left that signified their happiness, from this subtle branding they left behind to show that they were here. He had indeed had something planned, this was it, she thought. The tree was too magnificent, it’s colors too splendid for them to have come to it by happenstance, he had been here before and had intended this from the beginning, when he proposed the idea of having a walk in the woods. She was filled with exuberance.

by Luke, Grade 10