When It Leaves

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?

Excerpt ~

Heeding their father’s warning the two got up, put on their coats and bolted for the door. The sound of the slamming old, white, wooden screen door boomed through the house as they headed for the yard. Both boys jumped off the deck of the large back porch to the ground, rather than waste their time taking the stairs. K.C. landed on his feet and took off running in the direction of the swing set, laughing and kicking at the leaves that covered the ground as he went.
Steven’s landing wasn’t quite as smooth. He had lost his footing, twisting his ankle slightly and ended up rolling a few feet. He sat on the ground, waiting for the aching in his left ankle to subside.
“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.

By Bernie on April 24, 2014
When It Leaves is a strange little book that I enjoyed. The ending leaves the reader wanting more. Hopefully there's more to the story.

5 stars ~ i’ll b back
By Edward D. Morgan "tweed" on December 3, 2013
a strange way to leave here and even harder to come back know who your people r that lives around u

4 stars ~ When it leaves.
By Lisa on November 27, 2013
This was a really great story. I can't wait to read more about this story and find out the meaning of the leaves, and maybe where K.C. has gone to. Yep, I'd recommend this story.

3 stars ~ Great Story!
By Sarah Lee "Sarah Lee" on March 17, 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this read. The characters are interesting, the story progresses well and draws the reader in with an edge of intrigue that's rare in stories for young people.

I admire the author's talent and imagination. I read it on my Kindle, which uses .mobi format. There were a few minor grammatical and punctuation errors, which could have been caused by the conversion from text to .mobi. The story is good enough to overcome any and all electronic snafus. I will definitely be reading more stories by Savannah Rayne and highly recommend this e-book.

By ferri on September 16, 2012
I'll never look at a pile of leaves the same again. Especially if the wind starts blowing.
This was a fun read, it keeps your interest, wondering what happened to the little boy. (I really don't want to give anything away!) My only complaint is that it could use some editing. :)

4 stars ~ When It Leaves
By Jackie G Williams on September 15, 2012
This book is a very enjoyable read. No boring bits, it entices us to turn the page. The storyline is good, and characters believable. It's about twin boys that are separated in very strange circumstances. Well worth a read.

By Lovinit on September 14, 2012
I will be looking for more from this author! This was a unique and quite different. The author puts you into the story and every parents nightmare! It was scary on many different levels. Great evening read!

By T. Sickles on April 22, 2012
Autumn is an eerie time of the year, with the year winding down, Halloween, falling leaves... who would have the thought that the last could be the most sinister? A pair of twins go outside to play in the leaves, and only one comes back!

This story follows Steven as he tries to go on with his life after losing his twin brother. Many years later, he still lives in the same house with his mother. They have been joined by Steven's wife and young daughter. Like all young children, Steven's daughter Skye wants to go out and play in the falling leaves. But, Steven knows what happened really to his long lost brother, and does not want the same fate to befall his daughter. When Skye wanders outside one night in search of a toy, history begins to repeat itself, and Steven is in danger of losing his daughter, too.

This was an eerie, well-written short story, and is highly recommended!

5 stars ~ Great story!
By avidbookreader on March 2, 2012
This is one of those stories that once you start, you can't put it down until your finished. A unique tale that will have you wanting more from this talented author. Seemingly innocently playing in the autumn leaves, Stephen and K.C. experience a spine tingling event that changes all of their lives forever. I can say you won't catch me playing in the leaves ever again!

5 stars ~ Give Me More!
By Collette on February 20, 2012
I read this book & it left me wanting more from this author. I am an avid reader and truly loved this short story. Please consider me your fan, & keep them coming PLEASE!When It Leaves (~.~) Collette

By Lyn Croft "Lyn Croft" on January 24, 2012
This book hooked me right from the beginning, and I couldn't put it down till I finished. Excellent read, and highly recommended. Fast paced, and griping. You'll never look at the leaves of autumn the same way again. Heck, you'll never catch me playing in a leaf pile again!
Lyn Croft

By Jennifer Gunn "J. Gunn" on January 15, 2012
Who would have thought the fall season would become so dangerous? Stephen and his brother KC never thought so either. But Stephen grows up despising fall and for good reason. How did he lose his twin and how does this tale end, go read it and find out, you won't be disappointed.

J. Gunn, Author

Mel Chesley’s Thoughts ~ Sept. 11th, 2012:
Just a note, this is obviously a short story. Now that's out of the way, this was a good story! I'm a sucker for a good scare, and this was the perfect short story with the change in the air and knowing Halloween isn't far off.

The twin boys are typical. One is more dominant than the other and the taunting reminds me of my kids when they were that little. While not giving too much away, this story centers on something that takes one of the twins when they're five years old. Fast forward to twenty years later and you've got the remaining twin married, living in the same house and having nightmares every time the leaves begin to turn colors. He has a three year old daughter and when the anniversary of his twins' disappearance comes around, the dreams get worse. The elemental being (that's the only way I can describe what took the one twin) has become the twin and in order to free him, he demands that his brother sacrifice his own daughter.

On the creepy scale, this didn't give me nightmares or make me skirt blowing leaves, but in all fairness, it did creep me out. Like I said, it's an awesome story and one I would highly recommend now that Halloween is on the horizon. Strong writing, good flow, good characters developed quickly but not lingered on for a short story... I give it:

5 skull and crossbones.

Yay! I'm so happy to find good, well written books deserving of such reviews! Well done!

Lorrie Reyes-Desotell:  Started reading this on my Ipad. Couldn't put it down its a very good story :-)

KimmyJo Cody:  I read this and I'm not a reader and I loved it wish it had more story to it!! But still enjoyed it

Michelle Behnke Baumgarten:  I read it right away this morning and I didnt put it down till I finished it! I want more!!

Sandy Otto-Page wrote: "I just finished reading this. I really enjoyed it. Hope to read more like this soon. Very good read."

Mary Kuehl: Read the book…didn’t want it to end! Loved it & can’t wait for another!! Love the “keep you on the edge of your seat” type of stories! Great job!

Mar 02, 2012
DeAnna Felthauser rated it 5.0 out of 5 stars
This is one of those stories that once you start, you can't put it down until your finished. A unique tale that will have you wanting more from this talented author. Seemingly innocently playing in the autumn leaves, Stephen and K.C. experience a spine tingling event that changes all of their lives forever. I can say you won't catch me playing in the leaves ever again!

One out-standing read!!!, February 13, 2012     5.0 out of 5 stars
By Robin Renee Ray "Time to tell the world about... (Eunice, New Mexico)
This review is from: When It Leaves (Kindle Edition)
Savannah Rayne 'leaves' the lights on for what some would think, a charming little tale. One of children playing in the Fall of nature watching the foliage tumbling down after. What could be so chilling indeed, with two little boys frolicking around the backyard trees. Ms. Rayne will have you asking as you venture through this amazing creation of twist and turns, what is coming around the corner? But this is without a doubt one read you will not figure it out!!!

Absolutely wonderful read to add to your collection. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Rayne has in store for us, she is a very talented novelist.

Robin Renee Ray