The Season

Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. Her debut novel, The Rose Master, was published in 2014 and was called a “strong and satisfying effort” by Publishers Weekly.

The Season

The day was a sustained scream.

The field, draped in a tense sun, listened for its sister, who spread her wooden, spindled arms to encircle him. The rustle of her reddening mane knotted his horizontal breath.

Nothing she did could mask any of them. Not the crackling of her skin or the snapping of sacrificed limbs could keep them safe, and he could smell her thick, resinous despair. It was a warning as crimson as a startled robin’s breast.

The field heard the whisper of invasion before he felt it, and he closed his eyes. His sister’s anger trembled through him, the clench of her buried fists setting his earthen, grained heart racing.

There was no end to this.

No, there was, she had told him over and over there was, but he’d forgotten what his untrampled skin felt like.

The whisper drew closer.

He and his sister held their breaths and sent a puff of prayer to please…please. Please. But panic was fire and fire spread across feather and fur.

A heart slipped through his sister’s fingers, a beat against the air, just one, before the blow shattered it with a gray clap.

The field gasped as he watched the plunge from life and could do nothing to stop the fall. The softness of feathers against his skin, the wet of seeping warmth.

The whispers growing into a roar of orange and beetle-shell black that stabbed through his sister and right into him. Toward the shattered heart he cradled.

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