The children return to school. A quiet, like a familiar blanket pulled snug, settles over the house.

Tick, tick. The second hand cycles the clock face. Sheila sets her Grisham novel down, reaches for her tea. She frowns at the cold cup.

A rustling of dry leaves beckons. The wooden deck groans.

“Hello?” Her voice squeaks. “Is someone there?”

She slides the screen open. Steps out on the deck. The autumn breeze gives her bare arms goosebumps.

Sheila walks softly, straining, listening to the breath of the woods.

A pair of apples wait there. Across Sheila’s face, a sultry smile flickers.

Picture is by Pimthida. (100 words)

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