Just a little pumpkin, just one tiny ornamental splash of orange in an otherwise beige November. I mightn't even have noticed the loss, were it not for the envelope left in its place.
Inside, a wizened brown stumpish thing, could've been a finger, could've been a stem, and a note coarsely sketched in large, primitive letters: "Fill feeders or Pumpkin gets it."
"Of course I'll fill the bird feeders," I thought to myself, "right after I return from lunch."
I returned, but I will never return, not really. There is no going back after this.
The empty bird feeders hung clear and hollow in the still, unseasonably balmy grey day. They did not mock. They were completely silent.
Nothing could silence my screams. Nothing but exhaustion, and regret.