Akiko was an autumn child. It was always the same for her when autumn finally came around. Every afternoon when the sky was ruby-tinged and the breeze blew just the right way; she’d settle herself under a canopy of copper leaves with a warm, comforting mug of apple cider. She’d inhale the silvery scent of hawthorn blossoms, abundant with plump, poisonous berries. She’d yearn to pick them from their snug little boughs at the mere thought of their juicy redness dying her tongue scarlet just as autumn enveloped the apple orchards in crimson fruit. Her almost unnaturally auburn hair would blend with the woods as they donned a cloak of chestnut and terracotta. Her rosebud lips would stain the periwinkle sea cochineal. She would meticulously rake every last leaf on the ground into a neat heap only to jump into her perfect pile. Scattered leaves floated to the ground in a vermillion ballet, as she’d sing a mellifluous tune for them…
Her voice cracked as she softly spoke the last word. The creases in her forehead eased out as she saw the tranquil expression on her daughter’s face. It was time.
Akiko’s coffin slid into the oven. Eighty minutes later, on a ceramic platform lay her bones. With a pair of chopsticks, her mother daintily picked them up and placed them in a delicately painted urn. Lastly, she carefully laid a charred autumn leaf inside.
For Akiko was an autumn child and always would be.
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