When It Leaves is very special to me. The twins in the story—Steven and KC—are named after my son, Steven and his best friend since grade school, KC. KC is just like a son to me, and spent a great deal of time at my home. While growing up the boys were typical in getting into trouble, being mischievous, and making me laugh. Great memories I can assure you! LOL
In the story the street that Steven lives on “Trellis Lane” is the real name of the road we lived on, and where Steven lives, yet today.
I did write the story just as Steven was approaching his 25th birthday…just like the character in the story. And his birthday is this month, October 26th.
The rest comes from my imagination! Many readers have commented that the story seems short on some details. That’s intentional on my part. There is a prequel titled Whispering Breezes, that gives an in depth look at Angie Leiberman’s life and the secret it holds. I’m hoping to release it soon.
Then there is also a sequel, Howling Winds of Autumn, that will tie up all those loose ends and readers who have been wondering about who is standing on the porch at the end of When It Leaves, will finally have their answer! I’m planning on releasing Howling Winds of Autumn in 2014 : )
So if you’re looking for a creepy Autumn story, I would suggest When It Leaves… but be warned, you may never look at playing in the leaves the same way ever again.
Playing in the leaves is something all children do; twins Steven and K.C are no different. One autumn evening the five year olds ask to go out and play until dinner is ready. What happens that night will haunt Steven for the next twenty years. Nightmares return every autumn to remind him of what happened, and what he saw. Now, on the night of Steven’s twenty-fifth birthday, his thoughts are on the brother he lost so long ago. While crossing the yard, the nightmare becomes a reality…with his young daughter caught in a frightening struggle. Can he stop history from repeating itself?
“Come on baby, get up,” K.C. laughed, as he reached the slide of the swing set. He climbed the seven, green metal steps of the ladder, stopping when he reached the top of the slide. He stood on the small platform, with his arms straight out like airplane wings. “Look at me Steve—watch this!” Without hesitation, K.C. went under the safety rails, leaning forward on the opposite side before jumping and landing in the leaf pile down below.
“I’ll show you who’s a baby,” Steven yelled as he got up, the crunchy, autumn debris clinging to his rust-colored wool jacket. He ran towards K.C. and once he reached him, dive-bombed on top of him. The two young boys wrestled, rolling around amongst the leaves, laughing. K.C. pulled out of Steven’s grasp and tried to get up to run away, but was stopped when Steven reached out and grabbed his right foot, sending him sprawling to the ground once more.
“Who’s a baby?” Steven laughed, teasing his sibling.
“Not me,” K.C. said as he scooped up an arm full of leaves, then threw them at his brother. The leaves swirled around Steven as they caught the breeze, before they slowly floated back to the ground. The boys continued their horse-play, taking turns tackling each other and throwing leaves.
“You look like a leaf monster,” K.C. chuckled, when he saw that the leaves were now sticking in Steven’s hair, in addition to his wool jacket.
“I’m a monster,” Steven said in a low pitched voice, trying to sound scary. He stretched his arms out in front of him, walking stiff-legged attempting to imitate a Frankenstein type walk.
“Oh no…help me, help me,” K.C. squealed in a high pitch tone, feigning sounds of a girl. “The baby is after me.” He couldn’t hold back his boisterous laughter as Steven kept coming at him, walking all stiff like. He walked backwards so he could enjoy his brother’s leafy rendition of Frankenstein, calling out the occasional taunt. Without notice Steven broke into a run and in a few short steps, caught up to K.C. then jumped at him and tackled him to the ground once more. They took turns throwing more leaves at each other, along with a push here and a shove there. Their laughter echoed in the silence of the rapidly approaching darkness of the night.
“I know,” K.C. stated as he got up, “let’s go around to the side of the house where it’s darker. We can hide from mom and then when she comes looking for us we can scare her.”
“I don’t like that idea, mom will be mad.”
“You’re such a baby. Baby, baby, baby,” K.C. taunted his brother yet again.
“I am not!” Steven yelled. “I just…”
“You’re a big fat wa-wa baby,” K.C. said as he started running to the side of the house. He was hoping he could get to the darkened side of their home and hide, then jump out and scare his brother. Looking back, he was glad when he didn’t see Steven following him yet. Acting quickly, K.C. ran to the medium sized pine tree and stood at an angle where he wouldn’t be seen. He figured its fullness would help camouflage him completely even though it was getting darker and harder to see. He wondered if Steven had decided to follow him and would show up soon, he was sure their mom would be calling them in for supper any minute. Now he merely had to wait.
Just as he was about to give up his hiding place, K.C. saw Steven come around the corner of the house. A devilish grin broke across his rosy, cheeks. Like a predator waits silently for its prey, K.C. stood poised, ready to pounce on Steven as he came closer to the pine tree. Barely able to contain his snickering, he watched anxiously as his victim took just three more steps in his direction and….
“Rarrrr,” K.C. yelled as he jumped out from his hiding place. Steven let out a scream and fell backwards. Exactly the reaction K.C. was hoping for.
“I’m telling mom!”
“No you’re not, baby. Come on let’s play some more before we have to go in and eat.”
“I don’t wanna—I hate you,” Steven replied, his eyes damp with un-shed tears.
“Baby, baby, run to momma then,” K.C. teased. “Hey wanna bury me in the leaves? It’ll be fun, like we did to dad with the sand at the beach.” K.C. hoped if he changed the subject, Steven wouldn’t go in and tell on him. He flashed his biggest grin, hoping it would help persuade his brother.
“I don’t think so.”
“You can bury me first. Look…” He laid down on the ground and started pulling leaves onto himself. “Come on ba—I mean Steve. I need your help.”
Steven hesitated, not fully trusting his brother. He was getting cold and really wanted to go inside the house and warm up. But as he watched his twin scooping the leaves and covering himself, he thought it would be fun to bury his brother and get back at him. Mom would surely be mad, but it was K.C.’s idea after all.
He crawled over to where K.C. was and started to help him. The leaves were thick on the side of the house because of the mature Oaks and Maples that had been there for at least a hundred years.
“I’m gonna lay back, you can do the rest of me okay?” K.C. instructed.
“Then what?” asked Steven.
“Then go get mom and tell her you can’t find me.”
“That’s mean and mom won’t like it.”
“I will jump out and scare her when she comes closer…she’ll think it’s funny.”
“I don’t know…”
“Look baby, just do it or I’ll tell mom you’re the one who ran over her flowers with your bike,” K.C. threatened. “Now hurry up and make me disappear before mom calls us in.”
“I wish you really would disappear,” Steven mumbled, as he reluctantly started to finish covering his brother with the autumn foliage. He scouted around the ground scooping up whatever leaves he could find. He looked down inspecting his work and saw that he could still see K.C.’s gold jacket. As if reading his mind K.C. said, “And make sure I’m all covered up. I don’t want nothing showing.”
“K.C. I’m cold. I wanna go in.”
“You’re almost done…just get some more to cover up my chest and face and then you can go get mom. Make sure you don’t see me, cover me up good, so I disappear.”
Steven did as he was instructed, gathering up several more large armfuls of leaves, throwing them on top of the still form of his sibling. All he wanted was to make K.C. vanish underneath them so he could go inside and warm up. It was really dark now and he didn’t like being out at night. The eerie sounds and blackness had always spooked him. Looking around he spied quite a few leaves about ten steps away. As he started towards them, he hoped there would be enough to finish the job of concealing K.C.’s entire body.
Halfway to his destination, the wind began to increase. The gust created a strange buzzing sound. Leaves began to swirl about the ground, adding to the vibrant noise.
“K.C., I wanna go,” Steven turned towards K.C. to try to convince his brother to stop with the idea of being buried, when he saw something that made him stop talking mid-sentence and halt his footsteps. Where K.C. was lying on the ground, the leaves began to swirl in a large spiral. They lifted into the air, picking up in speed and quantity. The buzzing noise became louder; the high pitch was starting to hurt Steven’s ears. He watched spellbound as the vegetation lifted higher and higher, forming what looked like a tornado made of leaves to the five year old. The dead, autumn foliage that was covering K.C. seemed to come to life at the base of the leafy twister. The swirling mass was spinning so fast, just watching it was making him dizzy. Steven wanted to run but was frozen with fear, unable to move or scream for help.
Then he saw something that would give him nightmares for years to come. The leaves that had been covering K.C. were sucked up into the rapidly spinning leafy tornado, until the ground below was bare. Steven’s eyes were wide with terror. He opened his mouth and screamed but the buzzing was so loud, his voice seemed silent in the night. He stood there releasing scream after scream, watching the tornadic leaves spin faster and faster. His heart was racing, his head was spinning, and he was starting to feel sick to his stomach. Yet, Steven was oblivious to what his body was trying to tell him—to warn him. His focus was on one thing and one thing only, the ground below the twister was empty. K.C. was gone…vanished…disappeared.
The honking of the horn coming from Mrs. Leiberman’s vehicle, snapped Steven back to the present. He smiled and waved as he walked behind the blue Ford Focus and crossed the black-topped driveway. He continued the short distance to his home, then crossed the front yard and walked up the steps of the large white porch. He took a few steps to his right and stood there staring at the large pine tree, lost in thought. He liked Angie Leiberman; she had been a good friend to his mom for many years. He remembered all too well the events that brought the women closer together…
The night K.C. disappeared Angie Leiberman’s home was one of the first places his father had checked. The Leiberman’s had three children, and his dad had hoped K.C. had snuck over there to play with them as he’d done in the past. When a search of the neighborhood didn’t produce K.C., his mom had called the police. He recalled Mrs. Leiberman being at their home, trying to calm his hysterical mother, while the police questioned him about what had happened. He remembered how his father had been angry at him, yelling at him to stop lying, every time Steven told the middle-aged officer that K.C. had disappeared in the leaves. For two hours they questioned him and his answer was always the same. None of the adults seemed to believe him or the details of the events that had happened right before his mother came outside looking for them.
Funny, he couldn’t remember what he’d eaten for dinner two nights ago, but Steven could recall each intricate detail of that night twenty years ago, as if it had just happened yesterday. For weeks officers had combed the area and questioned neighbors. Posters had been hung, and he remembered seeing the front page of the local paper lying on the pine coffee table in the living room. The headline read, ‘FIVE YEAR OLD BOY ABDUCTED’, and just below it was a 5x7 color photo of K.C. smiling. An article, which lacked details, was printed next to the picture.
As weeks turned into months, and months turned into years, K.C.’s file eventually joined the unsolved others and became a ‘cold’ case. No clues or evidence of foul play were ever found. It seemed as though K.C. had simply disappeared. But there was nothing ordinary about what had happened.
©Copyright Savannah Rayne
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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You are never too old to
play in the Leaves