To Take Away

He had seen the boys through the threshold. He watched them pluck and shake the tree. The leaves came down in a blizzard of green and red. The fruit mashed underfoot, picked up and lobbed at the hedge. They gleefully rent the flesh with their fingers. They didn’t even care to taste.

Julian was heartbroken. He wouldn’t dare chase them away. They were rude and powerful boys. Their parents noble people and rich.

The pears weren’t even that good. Still, he needed them for the winter. Some spiced and preserved, some made into a tolerable brandy. He could feel the warmth of that pear brandy; and yet he knew that this winter, when he comes in from the cold, there will be no warming drink. The juices were gone now, seeping into the earth instead, a drink for the dark shadows that dwell deep underfoot.

Julian could watch no more. He knelt, and cried.

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