The fallen leaves screamed beneath the heavy soles. Oak tried to shuffle out of the path of destruction, but could not move fast enough. The boot came down on his midriff, and he felt his brittle skeleton crack and crumble. He cringed to stifle the pain, trying to block out the screeches of the other leaves who would be next to go underfoot.
Maple curled her tips in desperation, grasping at the tiny gusts of wind that coursed through the autumn air. The current created by a swinging boot was just enough to catch under her and flip her over, out of harm’s way. Maple felt the ground vibrate and the air split with the devilish squeals of laughter of the boot-monsters. Only when the pounding footfalls had passed, did Maple permit herself a tiny relieved laugh.
“Oak,” she called. “Oak, we made it.”
Flipping herself onto her back again, she looked around for her friend. A soft groan drew her eye to the dry brown leaf.
“Oak!” Maple twitched and shuffled her way over to him. Oak’s lower half was crushed. The next big wind gust would take him.
“Maple,” he groaned, looking over to her. They had been neighbours their whole lives. Ever since they budded last spring, he had watched her grown from green youth, to vibrant and purple in her maturity. But now winter was coming, and they had left their homes in the branches. No one told them about the dangers of the ground. “You have to get out of here,” he croaked.
“I’m not leaving you,” Maple said, stubborn as ever. She had been one of the last leaves to fall, refusing to go until Oak was ready to drop too.
“I’m done, Maple. Get out of here while you can. Before they come back.”
“Let them come.” She lay down beside him, and together they stared up at the patchy sky. Oak longed for days of endless blue, when he and Maple had been in the prime of their green.
“Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be a cloud?” she asked.
“Silly, vapid things,” Oak replied.
“Clouds don’t get stepped on.”
He glanced her way. “They also don’t have neighbours. I know which I’d pick.”
The vibrations returned. “They’re coming back,” Maple said.
“Go, now,” Oak insisted.
“No,” Maple said with a determined smile. “I’m not a cloud.”
She reached one star-shaped point towards him, and together they faced the oncoming boots.
FlashFictionMonth Day 3!
Prompts: camaraderie (n) – mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a cloud? – by Avatarded (Year 2012)
The fallen leaves screamed beneath their heavy soles. – by Mademise
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