by Steve Carr
The air is thick with the scent of pine. Rays of purple, blood red, and golden yellow are fanned out across the twilight sky. Kyle walks among the trees holding a bouquet of wilting lilies. Lost, he searches for signs of the path he wandered away from. As the sun sets, owls hoot from their perches and hawks screech as they circle about in the oncoming night sky.
At a fallen pine tree, he sits on a branch and tries to remember his direction. He puts the flowers to his nose. They have lost their scent. He watches the sparrows, juncos, and blackbirds as they fight the cold wind on the way to their nests. The cry of a loon from a nearby lake reverberates through the forest. It gives him a sense of direction. The lake is near his destination.
Night sets in fast. The black sky is suddenly splattered with clusters of stars. The coos of mourning doves fills the air. He walks on, sensing he is now on the right track. When he reaches a clearing among a grove of sycamore trees, he stops and gazes at the small group of cemetery headstones surrounded by a black fence.
He passes through the fence and finds his grave. He lays the lilies on the mound above his coffin. As he slowly disappears into the earth, he knows that now that his last wish was granted to wander the Earth one final time, he would not return.
He hears the birds weep.
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