The leaf shivered in the wind, knocked about by his siblings who fell to the ground round the trunk or to the rambling river. Voices approached from town, resonating with the sounds of churning pedals and tyres on gravel.

A boy and a girl, they stopped in a gust stronger than the last, the one that showered the space between them and the trees on the opposite bank—a cascade of yellows and reds.

As the leaves died down with the wind, the girl nominated the next to fall and the boy followed suit—it was a familiar game. Could they witness a moment of detachment?

The boy exclaimed he did, and though the girl refused to concede, they returned feet to pedals. The leaf was released and fell, floating alongside them, first by air, then by water, shivering as it shadowed them until they rode out of sight.


(This was my entry for the 2014 BNZ Short Short Story competition.)

Antony Millen is a Canadian living and writing in New Zealand and the author of Redeeming Brother Murrihy: The River to Hiruharama and Te Kauhanga: A Tale of Space(s)

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Smashwords Cover

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