Setting: A wooden porch. Young girl stands in the doorway, one hand on the doorknob, the other resting lightly on the windowpane. Half-in, half-outside, she stares both vaguely and intently at a cluster of sunbeams, with her hair hiding her face and her mouth slightly open.

"Someday, I will be like the Autumn. I know this. Chilled, strange to even my own self, and dying. I fear not Death, for He has been a comfort to me in many a lonesome hour, nor do I fear All That Comes After. Visions of eternal torment do not bother me in the least. Much of the time, I even long for it. Well, in truth, what I crave is Oblivion-but you already know this. No, sweet wind, what frightens me....is the Autumn. Despite all it's inevitability-sometimes, I wake up and feel as if I can know the future, and I am certain that I shall see an age of the aged, crumpled and cold and aching and alone-and, the knowledge that this shall come about puts a strange cloak about my heart. It is not Mortality that is mine enemy-it is Degeneration."

She stares at the individual sunbeams, a tarnished gold incarnation of light, and sees only herself. She shivers, whispers a sort of reverse-prayer into the breeze.

"Go away, darker shade of light. Never show yourself to the world."

But the only change is the slight echo of her words after she has shut the door to the world.

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