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The Cold Bite of Autumn (pt. 1)

July 1, 2009

Dead wheels and lifeless bodies lay curled around an old oak tree.Crisp October air bit at Cheryl’s throat as she staggered down the country road. The Milky Way shot silent stares at her as the heels of her shoes clicked erratically down the asphalt. Puffs of breath hung behind her like tiny clouds, slowly dissipating into oblivion.One moment they’d been laughing, whooping it up at Ted’s expense.

In a blink of her eye, grim visages of death accused her of murder. All three men splayed around the car like discarded marionettes, lifelines cut by callous disregard for good sense. Why death skipped over her screamed of mystery or fate’s cruel sentence.

Shock permeated her senses as she placed one foot in front of the other. Each step took patience and care as something felt broken. Maybe her ankle, maybe her leg, the pain when she placed her left foot to the road played pinball throughout her body. Dull light from a rickety front porch competed with the heavens for attention.

Cheryl focused her eyes as much as possible on that lonely bulb. If she ever wanted to pray, this moment begged for it, but she managed only a low, guttural keening. Perhaps fate desired that she live. After all, she tried her best to kill them all, including herself. Yet, she crawled from the wreckage and struck out for life. If an afterlife awaited her, surely these three men would seek her out, if for no other reason than to find out – why?


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