[ at peace ]

by trooper macniven

Billie Jean watched Danny as he stood on the top of the hill. She knew this was a peaceful place for him. The crisp mountain air smelled of the pines surrounding this simple clearing, and held a promise of snow to come. There were the simple, herbal smells of dried grasses and earth.

The wind whispered through the forest, cottonwoods and pines shaking slightly. Bright yellow and red leaves floated slightly to the ground. Their breath formed little clouds on the air, dispelled, and destroyed by the chilly breeze. The light was dim; the clouds above were dark grey and looming. There would be snow by morning. A leaf blew past him, tickled his cheek. It floated to her, and she caught it. The roughness of the leaf felt so strange when compared to the waist-high dried grass brushing her fingertips.

She could still taste the sandwiches they had eaten for lunch. A lingering flavor of ham and well-aged cheddar didn't mix well with the spicy, sharp scent of the forest.

She heard the crunch of his hiking boots on the leaves and grasses as he trekked over to her. The crackle of dried leaves seemed so loud in this quiet safe haven, so out of place.

Far above them, an eagle soard, letting out a piercing cry. It was more of a shriek.

Danny watched the brown and white bird for a moment.

"Goodbye, Dad," he whispered.

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