A single beam of light made it through the thick canopy to strike the forest floor. It was a sign of the end of summer that enough leaves had released their grip on branches to let the light through. A figure moving amongst the trees stepped to avoid the spot on the ground, though it smiled as it did so.
Another figure joined the first. “You would laugh at my end, sister?”
“Don’t be so dramatic. It is merely the passage of time. It happens every year.”
“And every year you seem happy about it.”
“Well, why shouldn’t I be? My time is upon us. Don’t you rejoice at the beginning of your season?”
“It is never enough.”
“Careful, brother. You’re beginning to sound like a human. They, too, jealously guard their time, and envy those they think have more.”
“I do not care. You can delay the change. If you have any affection for me, you will.”
She considered the suggestion. “For how long would you have me delay?”
“A month. Six weeks at the most.”
“Six weeks! You would have me give up half my season? And for what? Merely because you are not satisfied with your allotted time?”
“So you will not grant my request.”
“I should say not. Other things depend on the turning of the wheel. More important than your petty desire for more.”
“You hurt me, dear sister.”
Only then did Autumn perceive the danger. Summer had never called her ‘dear’ in the whole history of the world. By the time she had thought the unthinkable, Summer had taken hold of her and cast her into a deep pit hidden nearby.
“You will release me this instant or you will regret it!” Anger punctuated every syllable.
“I think not. Perhaps, if it were a week or two later, but you are not yet in your full. I, however, still retain most of my strength.”
“Our sisters will never let this stand.”
“Oh dear Autumn,” this time he made no attempt to conceal the sneer, “they will never know. They will simply marvel at your generosity. Or scowl at your negligence. They will not discover you.”
She had no response for his dismissal of the danger the others represented.
“Now enjoy the warmth down there. It will be with us for some time.”