Fall Flash Fiction
by Riley Pierringer
The sun glares through the tall colorful trees and into my boring room. Although the window is small, narrowing my caramel eyes I can still see the wind knock the autumn leaves off the tree branches and carry them to the ground. “There must be a billion leaves out there,” I think to myself as I comb through my long messy black hair. In my most vivid imagination, I can picture little kids with runny noses and bright puffy coats running around outside through the leave piles, while mothers flock in a big group, keeping an eye on their children and discussing next week’s bake sale.
I hadn’t been outside in months and could feel myself yearning to jump out the window into the nippy air. My physical therapist used to take me outside to do stretches and get fresh air. But she stopped coming after my condition worsened and the doctor insisted that she wouldn’t be helping. I used to beg my nurse Mia to take me outside, but she refused in fear that she might get fired. Mia was nice, but I hated her and that mundane doctor for not letting me do anything.
Fall was my favorite season, and I couldn’t believe that I was going to miss it all because of one stupid accident. My stupid accident that cost me everything! Most of my family, my social life, my grades, my boyfriend, everything! But not all at once. During the first few months of my hospitalization I had cards, balloons, chocolates, and people coming in from left to right. However, that all slowly debilitated after a while. Everyone moved on with their lives and forgot all about poor, weak Izzie Moran.
I can still remember the accident. It’s burned in my brain, forever stuck there no matter how hard I try to get it out.
I didn’t want to go, but my boyfriend Gavin insisted because “it was a tradition in our town of Grayson”. The tradition was that on any couple’s 10 month anniversary, they needed to go out to the North Woods on the back lot of Grayson High School and etch there names into the tallest tree in the way back of the woods at midnight. It was a long standing, dumb tradition that even my own parents took part in. But after days of pulling my arm and promising me all the roses in the world, I agreed.
It was April 6th, 2014, and the woods were somber and dim, without a trace of any light except for the moon. Gavin and I used an old bumpy pathway that the city had paved for hikers years before. We both had flashlights, but mine went out about halfway to the tree so Gavin offered me to use his. I loved how selfless he was even if he was only handing me a cheap Walmart flashlight. After quite a while of trudging through the dark night, we made it to the tree. It was full of marks and the names of lovebirds that had participated in the tradition prior. He had brought his swiss army knife that I had bought him for his birthday only a few weeks ago and carefully he took it out and started to carve away at the rotted bark. His tan hands worked nimbly, but he had to keep brushing his blonde hair out of his eyes. Everything was actually going okay until it started to rain which made me get mad at myself for not checking the weather forecast. After all “April showers, bring may flowers”.
Gavin finished carving just as I was about to scream at him to hurry up. Neither of us could find the path we had taken because mud covered the ground. Luckily, I found the marks of our now scratched up path, but hadn’t noticed the large loose branch hanging over our heads about to fall as we ran. The branch snapped just at the crack of lightning in the distance and Gavin’s foot got caught underneath which left me to hurriedly pull him out. He made a witty comment that got me to smile, but I reminded myself that this was a serious situation. Just as the rain got worse we made it to the road, but couldn’t see Gavin’s car anywhere because of how dark out it was. So we walked. Worst decision we ever made.
As we stumbled down the road, soaking wet and regretting our decision to abide by the stupid tradition, Gavin said he noticed something. Two faint lights in the distance. “I think I see headlights! Maybe it’s a car! We can ask for help, Izzie.” he exclaimed and did a little dance in celebration. But the dance didn’t last for long. Before I knew it the car smashed into both of us faster than I could blink.
I don’t remember what happened after that or if the car driver was okay. However, my mom told me that the paramedics found both Gavin and I lying unconscious on the road with serious injuries. Which I believe because here I am, in a hospital with two legs that may never work again and an itchy IV stuck in my arm. If only I hadn’t agreed maybe he would be here in a bed next to me today. If you haven’t figured it out yet already, Gavin died, sight on seen, during the crash from severe head trauma; he also had a broken foot from the tree branch.
Now I sit in the hospital only imaging when I will be able to step outside and smell that familiar earthy smell. At least I know that no one can take fall away from me. Fall is mine. It can’t be hit by a car or hurt in other way. It will always be there waiting for the day when I can meet it’s lovely sights again.
I hope you enjoyed this Flash Fiction story by one of the eighth graders at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Port Washington, WI! Keep checking back each Friday for more stories by more awesome students!