The Autumn Crop

Here, at ground level, the swaying fields of harvest appeared infinite, a pattern of earth and grass and seed replicating itself until it blanketed the world. Flecks of blue sky were caught in the harvest’s high heads, like daubed paint, designed to catch the eye. Deek had watched the shifting canopy (blue, gold, green, brown, gold again) when he arrived, first in fear of detection, and then as if mesmerized by the ceaseless variations.

His left cheek was pressed into the soil; he could feel it crumble against his eyelashes, moist and loose. Curled as he was against the ground, he felt the pulsing thrum of the threshers before he heard their cries. They were approaching, their delicate eardrums attuned to the beat of the human heart, and their long plumage fanning the earth underfoot for the tell-tale quiver of living flesh. It was pure conceit to believe that he was the only one pulled to the harvest, and for an instant he felt a mad wish to run back to his parents as the others were consumed.

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