Autumn Tale

Robert Alexander Wray

JESS

Through my window, I see such beautiful fall weather…All the leaves wandering to the ground, burning with color; such heart-melting beauty, the way the wind kisses them away and lays them atop a blossoming sea of gold. Such beauty, such bliss, and this little body stopped. I see it in the distance, lying on the road. I’m not sure what I see is real or some bright deceit of the sun. It seems impossible, with all this beauty around, death should be lingering here. I don’t want to start my day by staring at a dead body, so I…I check the mail. Thank God, no bills. Nothing. Just that…silent body, strange and frozen…Maybe it’s only a large shirt that’s been ripped. I decide to go and look. The wind picks up as I do so, sending a series of yellowing flakes my way. As I move closer, I spot a nearby newspaper torn from this morning. I lift it up, whereupon a striped snake that had been resting underneath slithers off. This is not good. I freeze in panic, letting the paper fall where it lay. My eyes fix on the front page, the bold print: “Attacked…Struck…War.” I wonder if the entertainment section might offer relief…No…I walk onwards…Yes, it IS a body: White, tinged with red, its face turned to mine. I realize it’s still alive. Its child-eyes stare at me. I’m scared, sunk with what to do. I step over it and go past. I stop. I look back. Its face has turned in my direction, glaring. Its eyes seem to say, ‘If you want to find me again, I’m the one eating carrots.’ After that, I decide to sit in a café the rest of the day, and wait for winter.

Robert Alexander Wray is a graduate of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, has won awards, and his plays have been done in New York, regionally and abroad. Other works include: Bullet for Unaccompanied Heart, Ocean View Odyssey and Melancholy Echo. He's based near Charlottesville, Virginia where he writes to his heart's content and is endlessly entertained by his crazy cat Sylvo.

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