The caramel-coated leaves scrambled down the broken sidewalks, like suburban tumbleweeds. On occasion, a low-flying zephyr would swoop down and snatch one up, carrying it back up into the sky until it was caught in the sinuous branches of one of the old, barren maples that stood nearby. The trees were nearly as old as the houses themselves, stucco and wood creations that hid behind crumbling facades of brick. The last dredges of a sunset lit up the browns and reds and yellows that plastered the hundred-year-old houses. They were the dying embers of the day, the twilit coals left over from a noonday bonfire.
On any other autumn evening as deliciously eerie as this, I would have climbed a tree with Sherie, and watched the last bits of sunshine sink back below the horizon. But I was alone.
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