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Short story: Graveyard of Leaves. By Dilara Iletmis

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Short story: Graveyard of Leaves. By Dilara Iletmis

Before the beginning of the end, I was casual and free.

In the evenings, I rubbed book pages between my fingers: a gratuitous therapy, papers thinned with the desire to be calmed. I blankly gazed out of the window at the tumbling leaves that plummeted to the piling ground, one on top of the other like a chestnut throw. Cardamon and cinnamon permeated my room, creating a palpable autumnal ambience. My chin rested on my knees and my breathing stilled. My hands clutched a scolding mug causing my skin to itch and tingle. The warmth was reassuring in my bleak room. Pictures were frozen to the walls, smiles shimmering in the dark like swirls of breath on an early morning.

From where I am now, the world seems encased in an ever-changing cloth, each season a newly-blended colour. Autumn is my favourite time of year, but since my murder I feel confined there. I am  forever trapped in that eternal world of falling leaves and waxy pumpkins.

My first day of college consisted primarily of new people, new subjects, and new rules. Each room had the same damp smell of sweat and stale glue sticks. Each window was a framed snapshot to gaze through. The thrill of independence made me feel so alive, I walked each street with brazen confidence.

It is sweet looking back, I believed I had matured. Flickering candles lit up my schoolwork as I hunched over my desk. The scribbled notes were a dark canyon of words in the dim light. Often, I woke up shivering.

I can still see the trees stretching up to the stars, all dressed in black. The only witnesses.

My final party was stained and ruined by 2:21am on November the 1st 2015. The night began with loud songs and continuing introductions. It was tradition that Delia Stevens hosted the annual half term party, each year grander than the previous. Her brick house bounced with commotion and energy as I entered. People clustered in each room, gossiping in excited tones. Youthful spirit burned through the whole house like a wildfire of passion.

The heat became too intense, so I stumbled through some double doors onto the patio. I vaguely remember slipping in a sticky spilt drink. My lungs ceased up, so I trailed into the gloom and explored the woods. Somewhere in my clouded mind I must have hesitated to stagger into the woods, alone, in the early hours of the morning.

Tired, I crouched amongst the damp leaves. My cheek rested against a mossy trunk, the earthy smell stayed in my nostrils until the end.

The damp leaves rustled.

My soul shattered in that moment. I now lie on the earthy floor as the beautiful sun rises, an orange hue reflected in the glitter on my eyelids. This is my new home. My dreams and hopes of the future disappear like the rotting leaves blanketed by the freshly fallen ones.

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