When Ro woke the room was full of leaves. They curled up in shoes, covered the armchair, a cushion of russet and orange, and oddly, lay in a perfect line of symmetry on the rug. It was as if she had been sleeping in the forest.
The window was wide open, coming loose from the latch overnight. The sill was no longer visible, a collage worthy of the greatest naturalist artists.
The peach tree had scattered treasure on the lawn. Lorikeets had pecked away the fruit, leaving the stones exposed, chipped. The smell rose like burnt sugar.
Branches had fallen from the Brush Box, split and jagged like human bones. Ants picnicked on the sap, running back and forth like children collecting cupcakes from a party table.
The photo of Billy was gone. The one she’d torn to pieces before she’d fallen asleep covered in her own tears. She regretted it now, it was the only photo she had. She might want to look at it again one day when she was old.
She hadn’t even heard the wind last night, but it had played a part in her dreams, declaring itself soft as a spell, floating harp strings in her mind, then louder, cutting shadows in two.
She saw a corner of the photo on the path below the window and ran outside gathering pieces as she went. It wasn’t long until Billy was reformed. His head, his eyes, his beautiful mouth. One shoulder, then another. His legs, the shoes Ro had given him for Christmas.
Ro searched the entire length of the garden but she couldn’t find the final piece of the photograph – the crucial piece, the piece where his heart lay. She rearranged the bits scattered by the wind on the kitchen table. Billy smiled at her in that way he had, but the smile didn’t ring true with a space where his heart should have been.
The wind billowed across the plains; relentless, marauding. Glasses rattled on the dish rack. The newpaper on the night stand rustled. Ro gathered the pieces of Billy she had left and put them safely in an envelope in the drawer where she kept the stamps and spare pens. A veiled light clothed the garden. The wind was wild when the sky was empty of colour. Its power was vicious, luscious, sibilant. There was no telling what could be lost.
* Inspired by the Search Engine Stories prompt – Wild Is The Wind.