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Jennifer Lambe

 A boy walking through the forest notices a leaf, dangling out of his reach from a nearby maple tree.

He pauses in his race to get home, mesmerized by the intricately woven colours of red, orange, amber, yellow and hints of green in a swirl of autumn beauty

Carefully setting his feet on a nearby stone, he climbs and reaches for the leaf, trying to pluck it from its natural resting place, to rescue it from the unadoring winter blanket soon to arrive.

He stretched his body outwards, his chubby little fingers reaching for the prize he would bring home to his mother, to surprise her.

He reached, feeling his muscles elongate and elastic and leaned forward to snatch the leaf away from the clutches of the branch whose branches looked like his own fingers pulling the leaf away.

Lifting one foot from his standing on the loose rock he stretches out for the leaf just teasingly out of the way, as though the wind played a cruel joke.

"If only." ran through his mind. And he leaped; towards the prize he so determinedly sought. And as though guided by an invisible extra hand, he touched the leaf and took hold as he fell. Only a small piece of the leaf remained in his hand after recovering himself, wiping the dust from his overalls and brushes loose twigs from his hair.

And then. A mutant squirrel came down from its resting place near the treetop. It had been watching the little boy.

Sensing the little boy's sadness, it used its laser eyes to zap the loose twig still firmly holding the leaf in place and sent it floating down to the young boy

And then. As the boy reached up for the gently falling leaf, the mutant squirrel used its laser eyes to bore a hole through the little boys' skull, and sent his lifeless body crashing down.

The slightly green squirrel climbed down cautiously, and dipped his head inside the boy's front pocket, and rescued his own prize, the acorn.

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