Jim liked Autumn. The leaves had turned, painting rainbows of khaki and auburn, amber and russet, jade and … obsidian across the treetops with an ice cold brush. In the mornings, before anyone else had got up, there was a thin layer of frost coating everything, like a sugar dusting.

And the sky. It was so delightfully unpredictable: sometimes bright blue, sometimes charcoal grey, sometimes a bleak, misty white. Always beautiful.

Jim liked colours; had realised that the shades of the world meant more to him than the things they coloured that birthday when Sam had shared a huge tin of candy. He had let his brother eat the chocolate. But he’d taken the wrappers – all those brightly coloured, metallic wrappers, and laid them out onto the floor like a crinkly patchwork rug.

Sam had laughed at him; mouth dark and swollen from the sugar, but his dad had given him an unusually affectionate kiss on the forehead, had told him that ‘you have a rare quality in this world, Jimmy. You understand beauty’.

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