At first I denied it, telling myself autumn was coming early. Leaves can begin to turn in July. It had been a dry spring.

But there were the birds. In the three weeks since coming here we hadn’t seen a single bird.

I took up the satchel of food I’d scavenged from the deserted  grocery. It was not promising. The cans of hash and beans were all long gone now. All I’d been able to find was aspic, cranberry sauce and a keyless tin of deviled ham.

I looked at the innocent sky as I climbed the splintered wooden staircase.


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