The Last Day of Summer

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Copper fields push back the woods. The sun spills the last of its warmth as cattle drag their shadows across the ground. The treacle air is thick with heat.

She walks the lane. She knows the distance travelled and the distance to go. Her dress flutters. Her toes wince against the thorns.

She reaches the stream and stops. He stands, dark and faceless. He fastens a sack and looks up. The sack is thrusting, yelping with life. Her chest tightens to a fist. She sees his ruckled brow, his sharp line of mouth, the scaffold of his frame.

Instead of dashing ahead, time circles itself: a spinning top, waiting for either to move. Across the paddock, a murder of crows pull the night in behind them.

She sees in his eyes every part of him. And something inside her breaks.