Under The Apple Tree

 

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(Under the Apple Tree) By Kyler

I murdered my friend and buried him under the apple tree on top of the hill. I picked a couple of them off of a branch and put them in a bag and brought them home to my family. That night we had apple cobbler for desert. I sleep with a smile on my face and someone else’s wife in my arms.

 

I took everything from him. You would be surprised what a loving wife and warm home inspires you to achieve. Some days after work, I drive past the apple tree and put on the brake. I will get out of the car and walk up the hill and stand under the tree.

I will place my left ear to the earth and whisper. “If you can you hear me down there, continue to rot.”

One afternoon, I decide to visit my friend again. When I get to the top of the hill, however, there is another person there. Leaning against the tree with an apple in his left hand. My friend takes a bite of the apple and spits out pieces of brown dirt from his lips, like chewing tobacco. His face and clothes are covered in the grimy chocolate brown soot of the earth and his smile is a musty yellow. …..

 

 

My heart skips a beat or two. “Hell is hot, but Life can be just as cold,” He says. I stutter, dropping to my knees. “Oh, I was worried! This is a miracle that you are alive!”

My friend places a dirty hand on my shoulder. Shaking his head. “ The most important lesson is forgiveness. Whatever happened between you and I is in the past.”

 

My world seems to rotate a little bit slower in this moment. “You-are the single greatest man I have ever—met.” I choke, holding him tight. He looks away. “I had to ask you for a favor. But you were work all day, so I didn’t want to bother you.”

 

I nod my head. “Anything—my friend, I am here now, tell me.” My friend whispers. “ I hoped that you wouldn’t mind, but I stopped by the house today. Just to say…hello.”

I step back, shifting both of my eyes from left to right. “Oh-“ I stutter, biting my lip.

He looks up, grinning slightly. “I didn’t think that you would mind. There’s nothing wrong with another man talking to his wife, ….is there?”

 

I bite my lip, trotting two more steps back. Fumbling for the keys in my pocket. “Of course-not,” I half laugh.

 

 

 

 

He licks his lips. “Good….” I begin to back peddle. Already halfway down the hill, running back towards the car.

 

His voice echoes like a creature in a cave. “Where are you going, my friend.” He laughs, erupting from the pit of his belly.

 

I turn the keys in the ignition, pulling out onto the road again. “You better hurry.” My dead friend shouts from atop the hill, continuing in his roaring laugh.

 

By now, my imagination had taken ahold of me. I keep asking myself a simple question. What is a dead man capable of?

 

 

 

 

Did he touch her with his rotten fingers? Or, did he take her hand and give her a tour of the underworld. None of it matters, like a flower that tries to grow in the snow.

 

In my heart, I know that there is nothing that I could do. He had her now.

 

It takes me ten minutes to get home, with my foot pressed on the gas pedal.

 

“Oh, my darling let me know that you are here.” I scream, going from one room to the other. Flipping over our bed, pushing cabinets onto their side. A man stuck in a delusion he helped create.

 

In the kitchen there is a trail of dirt. I follow it out into the backyard. In the middle of the backyard is a shovel stuck into the ground and a high mound of soil next to a hand dug crater. A half dug tomb.

 

My heart sinks to the pit of my stomach. My minds racing back and forth like a madman. All I know to do is to scream. If I could reach into my mouth and pull out my lungs I would in that moment.

 

I take the shovel and begin to dig. Fast. Scooping up bucket fills of soil and twisted root. Plunging my dagger into the hole. Until my knuckles begin to bleed and my back is slick with sweat.

 

The slower I dig, the less time she has. “Reach for heaven, my darling. Come back to me.” I grit, burrowing my way deeper into hell.

 

After a couple of hours, I collapse next to the hole. Breathing hard through my nostrils.

 

 

 

I look up, taking in the fading afternoon sun through a pair of squinting eyeballs. In a little while, the moon will have had taken its place. Plunging me into nightfall. Then, she will be lost.

 

“You cannot dig a different hole by digging the same one but deeper, my friend.” A familiar voice echoes.

 

He is standing in the doorway. My friend lifts up his left leg and gives it a shake. Dirt spills out of the side of his pants leg.

 

I push myself up onto my two feet; wobbling back and forth on my toes. “Where is she, you bastar—d.” I huff. Clutching my chest.

 

He grins. “You thought that I would bury her underneath the home that I paid for. If only she were that fortunate.”

 

I lunge, using the remaining strength in my torso to wrap my arms around him. He pushes me off, grabbing the shovel from my hands. He flips it over, thrusting the end with the handle into my stomach.

I let out a large gasp, rocking over onto my left side. Gasping and wheezing.

 

 

He kneels over, moving his head down towards my ear. His tongue is cool and sharp.

 

“ I took her with me. We have a nice little plot together, under the apple tree. You would find her bones buried there, next to mine. If you want my life and home so desperately, you can have it. You can take it to the grave. “ I shake my head back and forth; wiggling on the ground.

 

He brings the shovel down one more time, connecting with my knee. The rest is a dizzying haze of stars and stripes. When I open both of my eyes again I’m looking up into the night sky.

 

He is up there and I am down here, in the pit I had dug. Shoveling heaps of dirt onto my shoulders and chest and face.

 

My dead friend sees me open my eyes. He stops, midway through, tilting the shovel so that the dirt pours across my face.

 

“If you can hear me down here; continue to rot.”

(THE END)

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing Lasts Forever

 

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He pretended too kill people for a living. That was the way he saw it. The finger that pulls the trigger too deliver the bullet, is the murderer. Alistair Noble liked to call it a conditioned reflex. If you paid him enough money, he was not responsible for what happened.

Alistair carried the rifle in a violin case. He carried the violin case everywhere he went. On paper he was an instructor, and taught at an all-boys college. The school tended to change depending on his location.

Alistair was one of the best killers in the world. He knew that he couldn’t prove it, but he and the department both knew it. Technically, Mr. Noble didn’t exist. There were two people who knew who Alistair Noble was. One of them slept in his bed, and the other slept across the hall. In a racecar bed.

Alistair was a loving husband and father. The two of them reminded him that he was human. That he was able to care about something other than the job.

If you get to know a killer, you’ll find out what makes them tick. Underneath the flesh and blood, there is a beating heart.

 

That all sounds great on paper, doesn’t it.

 

It was a great lie. It was a life, which many in his profession envied. Of course, Alistair knew the truth that nothing ever lasts forever.

 

 

 

Eventually, you’’ll get caught. The end to the lie, comes in a dollar amount. Alistair knew in his head, it was just about how much they were willing to offer. Anyone would budge.

One morning, Alistair goes downstairs for breakfast. On the kitchen counter, is a duffel bag full of money. Attached to the bag, is a note. “Time to get back to business,” it reads. He didn’t have to think twice on who the targets were. Both were upstairs, sleeping in their rooms.

 

 

Instead, he picks up the bag, opens the front door, shakes his head and leaves the bag on the front-step.

The following morning, Alistair comes down for breakfast, again. There are two duffel bags on the counter. He taps his foot nervously, picks up the two bags, opens the front door, closes it, then walks upstairs and makes love to his wife.

On the third morning, there are four duffel bags. Alistair screams, tossing a pot of coffee onto the ground. It shatters, everywhere. He makes two trips, tossing the bags onto the front lawn. He goes back upstairs, pinning his wife on her stomach. Fucking her until she screams. “I love you, I love you” Alistair yells over and over.

 

That night, he does not sleep well at all. Tossing and turning. His wife sits up, looking him up and down. “Is everything all right, baby” She asks, running a hand across his chest.

“Yes, of course, go back to sleep darling. “ Alistair kisses her forehead. With one hand underneath the pillow, holding a gun with a finger on the trigger. Pointed towards her. He lets go of the gun.

“You know how much I love you, and the life we have together.” Alistair pleads. She kisses him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Just one more fuck, like the other day” She whispers, grinding her hips into his.

Afterword, he rolls over, exhausted. Forgetting about what he had to do. He was going to sleep great. In the morning, I’ll be able to do it, he says to himself. He knew what his limits were. One last fuck, for one last bag. Just one last bag….

 

The cold barrel of a gun pressed to your forehead, is something a killer never forgets. Alistair immediately goes for the gun, already knowing it isn’t there. Sunlight floods the room. He had over slept.

 

Six duffel bags of cash are stacked on the bed. His wife wraps her finger around the trigger. Arms steady and confident. Just like he had taught her. Grinning. “Just one last bullet, huh, sweetheart.” She pulls the trigger.

The Madness

 

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We were on the run. Our entire world is succumbing into madness. There were four of us in the car and one of us was a going to be a murderer. Two of us were here for support. The other was going to be shot in the back of the head. He just didn’t know it yet.

In the glove box, is a small pistol, and in the back of the car were a shovel and some rope. We had promised ourselves that our friend would receive a proper burial.

A girl, a fiery redhead named Candy, sits in the passenger seat next to me, looking down in her lap. Hands clasped together, in prayer. Waiting for our hell to freeze over.

Peter and Jonas sit behind us. Jonas watches our friend Peter, as he succumbs into the madness. Peter sits in his seat, with his face pressed up against the window. His eyes roll into the back of his head. Every so often he will exhale a quiet steam of warm air through his nostrils, like a washroom dryer. Nobody is home.

I bite my lip, keeping both of my sweaty hands steady on the wheel, and my eyes on the road ahead. Trying not to think about Peter, or what he was turning into. Or, what we were going to do with him. Or, what we were running away from.

 

Behind us, far past the horizon, a gigantic smoke screen continues to build further up, blanketing the sky. Apocalyptic. A plague had descended upon the human race. We do not need to look back to know the worlds cities are burning. People are rioting. Succumbing to the madness.

“Which one of us do you think will go next,” Candy sobs, closing both of her eyes. The car is quiet. Peter begins to moan, dribbling long midnight silver spindles of drool. Like a child.

 

In a moment of absolute panic, I pull the car over on the road, reaching for the gun. It was stupid to rescue Peter, I tell myself. Looking back at him. There’s nothing we could do at this point. It would be better off for him, and for us. “No, we can’t!” Candy screams, but I push her back. Jonas looks at me and then at the gun, pulling our friend out of the car, while Peter just hangs from his arms, like a ragdoll.

I press the gun to Peter’s temple. My whole arm is shaking. Jonas wrestles Candy to the dirt, kicking and screaming. “Do it for fucks sake, we’ll catch it before long!” He blurts, red in the face. “I’m sorry, Peter.” I grunt. He just looks up at me, smiling, dumbfounded. Peter sits down on the edge of the grass, and lies down on his side, with his head resting on both hands. Closes both of his eyes. Ready for death….

 

I lower the gun. Just looking at my friend. Caught in the space between time. For a long moment. “What are you doing, shoot him.” Jonas gulps, his chest beating. “Do you remember when you were happy,” I turn around. “What?” Jonas stutters, starting to walk over to me. “When you didn’t have a care in the world. When there was nothing to run from.” I raise the gun up. Jonas stops. “Do not come any closer,” I grit, pointing the pistol at him. Jonas reaches out his hand. “Give me the gun, you sound….” I finish his thought for him. –“Mad, well then I ought to be. I’m tired of running.”

 

Two things happen next. Jonas goes for my gun. The gun goes off. He falls, collapsing onto the dirt. Gasping for breath, as the bloody hole in his chest vomits all over the ground. Candy shrieks, pivoting on her heel. I fling the gun around, and pull the trigger again. The bullet sends her face forward, into the earth.

Thank god, it is quiet again. The murder weapon is hot, so I drop it and kick it away. I look down. Peter is sound asleep, with a thumb in his mouth. I smile, and lie down next to him.

We lie next to each other for a good minute, until I am able to close my eyes. Rest. Be in peace. I like it here.

(The end)

The Bombs

 

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Jon Forrester never left his room. Which was common for a writer. The only times were for a smoke, or too lie up on the roof and watch the planes fly by.

The planes were headed somewhere important. Off too burn a couple of traitors, no doubt.Anybody with two functioning eyeballs could see the bombs hanging off the belly of the machines. End of the world shit.

Anybody with a brain knew that the taste of sulfur and gas in the air, wasn’t natural. Nor was the way the skyline would light up like an orange balloon, and then change back to blue, as quickly as it had come.

Jon goes back inside too finish the story, after he has finished the cigarette. Another plane flies by, buzzing the tall pine trees. Shaking the house. The metal tin pots and pans that hang on the wall inside the kitchen shake back and forth. Jon sits down at his desk, biting the eraser part of the pencil with his teeth. Time seems to tick by like the gentle touch of a lover, slowly and delicately. On the wall is a calendar, with a date circled. That was when the book was due.

This time, the whole world shakes. Including his chair, the desk, and the floorboards. Bits of sawdust fall onto his shoulders. “Fuck me,” He yells, standing up. Raises a fist in the air.

Across the street, the neighbors dog begins too bark, loud, like a tornado siren. Jumping up and down on its hindquarters. Obviously challenging the incoming fighter jet.

Jon opens the window, and begins too bark, just like the dog. Snarling and shaking his head. The dog turns around, wagging its tail. “You don’t even realize who you’re barking at, you stupid mutt.” Jon yells, ducking his head back inside. He takes a deep breath, blowing hot exhaust out each nostril.

Jon closes both of his eyes. Holding the pencil over the paper. Think dammit. Think. The house rattles, again. On fucking cue, the dog begins too celebrate, even louder. Jon breaks the pencil in half, storming out of the room, and out the front door of the house.

 

The dog pulls on its leash, which is around a silver pole stuck into the ground. “Fuck you!” Jon leans over, yelling into the dogs face. The dog runs away, towards another part of its yard, continuing its bark.

“It’s gone, you mu–,” Jon looks up, into the sky. His mouth drops. His heart beginning to beat faster and faster. The plane that had just passed by turns around, and starts too fly back this way. Circling in the air. Life moves in slow motion.

Jon backs up, step by step. Waving both of his hands at the dog. “Shut up, shut up!.” He screams. Starting too run backwards. Right as the plane passes overhead, something falls out beneath its steel belly. Dropping fast, towards the earth.

Jon sprints across the street, pumping both of his arms like a windmill. The muscles in his neck straining. His background noise is a mixture of barking, and the wind shooting past his ears. The bomb falls through too the earth, landing right on top off the dog. Driving the mutts carcass ten foot into the dirt. A messy mixture of strewn up bits and fur. Then, the bomb goes off.

Further down the road, Jon is knocked off his feet, skidding alongside the pavement. The blast is deafening, like standing next too the speakers at a rock show, and the air is immediately a microwave. He loses consciousness.

Jon slowly opens both eyes, pushing off a couple of wooden boards and other miscellaneous items off his back. What looked like to be bits of a house. Both of his arms, legs, and face is covered in black soot. A couple of people are on the road, wobbling around, dazed and confused.

 

Jon dusts himself off, sighing heavily. Not saying a word. The blast had been big enough to leave a wide steaming crater that used to be the neighbor’s home. Sizzling like a well cooked steak. He turns around, walking through the rubble that used too be his home.

He finds his chair, digging through a pile of rubble. Sitting back. The world is at an empty peace. Jon lifts his head, watching a bonfire of smoke regurgitate itself into the stratosphere. Quiet. Finally. A tiny grin begins to forms at the corner of his mouth. Time to look for that damn pencil.

Mind of Mine

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My names Kyler and I am a storyteller. All I ever want to be known for, is for being a great one. I think most people have that it common. The central idea, that we have something to offer the world. I am here to tell you a story, and drink your wine. So here goes:

A couple of years ago, I came out of a self-induced coma. I had been putting myself to sleep, with heavy sedatives that life can throw at you. Not drugs or alcohol, but with my own narcotic. Self-defeat. I was ignoring everyone who told me I could do better. I had pushed away my own personal beliefs and desires for myself.

 

Writing is like life. It is easier said than done. I was sick and tired of telling people who I wanted to be. When actually, I was not a writer. Not one bit. In less than a year, I had written one short story. 1. Can you believe that. I was ashamed to call myself a writer, let alone pick up a book and read one by another. I was never going to be great, let alone satisfy myself.

 

Until, I began to write everyday. EVERYDAY. Developing a habit, is like working out. At first, your body aches and you want to quit. But after a while, I NEEDED a pen.

It was apart of me, just as I am apart of it.

 

 

There is no secret with success. I believe that now. There is no Illuminati confirmation, or secret club. The secret with success is simple. Hard work and determination. Anyone else telling you different, is either lethargic, or caught up in their own bitterness about life. I highly doubt they are successful.

There is no other way. Well, there goes another rambling post. I hope some of you took something away from this post. Take care, keep writing, and pick up a book every once in a while.

-Kyler

Daughters

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(Artwork by @fuckwerewolves)

My daughter lives upstairs, in a small bedroom with a great view of the morning sunrise. Sometimes, I sleep downstairs, on the couch. I am divorced, seven years, so it is just my daughter and I. I am happy to have her around, to keep me company. We barely ever talk about her future.

My parents live down the street, in a large three-bedroom house. Katherine and Joe are their names. Both of them are retired, and barely speak to me anymore. Not since my sister decided to move away. She left us. It broke my father’s heart. As a child, my father would take my sister and I camping. We would set up our campfire, and my father would terrify us with horrific stories. When I grew taller and had children of my own, I decided to continue the tradition.

I roll over onto my stomach, fumbling around for the flashlight. I put on my boots and unzip my tent flap, stepping outside. The midnight wind licks my ears and the moon is round. The boots that I am wearing are my fathers, given to me on my thirteenth birthday. “One day, you’ll be in my shoes, and you’ll have a family to raise,” He would lay a hand on my shoulder. “If you have a daughter, remember that you are the first man in her life. Show her how to love,” Father smiles.

My daughter is asleep in the other tent; on her side. I lay down next too her, breathing through my nose. She stirs, in her sleep. I close both eyes. Forty years ago, I open both eyes, peeping my head out of my tent.

The tent next to mine rocks back and forth. From the outside, I see what looks like the shadowy figure of a hideous spider with many legs, crawling across the ceiling. My heart is pounding. The spider beast sounds like my sister. Screaming. A part of the tent flap is down, giving me a peak into the monsters cave. My father is on top of my sister. A mesh of pale flesh, and fast breathe. He talks to me later. Remembering his words, I give him a hug.

My daughter turns around, facing me. The night is silent. “I love you, you know that,” I whisper, slipping a hand on top off her breast. She nods. “Yes father,” She says, a tear rolling down her cheek.   –Kyler

The Dragon

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(Artwork by @Fuckwerewolves)

 

 

 

It’s dark outside, and pissing rain. The house is just as dark, and everybody is sound asleep. Unaware, that somebody is in the house. I tiptoe across the hall, and up the staircase, a hand on the barrister. Thunder cracks, outside.

Most nightmares start this exact way. Right before the masked boogeyman arrives, with a knife in his hand.

Mine are different. For me, there is no boogeyman; there is only a dragon. I am the knight in shining armor, arriving on horseback. Ready to vanquish the dragon.

The dragon, a two cylinder, gas guzzling, metal death trap that snorts fire and burns rubber. The driver of the dragon sits behind thick dark tinted windows.

When I close both of my eyes, too go to sleep at night, I’m eleven years old again. It’s a clear blue summer afternoon. I’m playing out on the gravel driveway in front of my home, with a friend. My friend shoots the basketball, sticking his tongue out, just like Michael Jordan. The ball bounces off the backboard, rolling off the driveway and into the street.

 

The Dragon comes around the corner, stopping just in time. As the basketball rolls on under it’s belly. Swallowing it whole. The car sits still on the road, only humming a soft beat through the engine. I look over at my friend. Both of us can see the orange basketball, jammed underneath.

We walk over to the car. The drivers’ side window rolls down, and the palest man I had ever seen in my life, stick his head out. Ghostly. His eyes are beat red. Like he were allergic to the outside air. There is a frown, across his face. “Did one of you boys, throw a ball at my car?”

“No—sir,” My friend stammers. Explaining the story. He points underneath the car. “Is that–…so,” Pale man, says. -“Well, let me move–,” -My friend interrupts-“Wait! You’ll crush the ball, mister…” He points, underneath the car. Pale man stares at both of us, uninterested. We hear the dragon, shift back into first.

 

“Wait! I-c-an, get the ball, its right there,” My friend looks over at me, desperate. I look up and down the empty street. We are alone. “It’s just a ball,” I whisper, grabbing his arm. “Lets go, back inside. He doesn’t care.” The engine continues to hum. “Get your ball, kid. I got the car in park,” Pale man starts to the roll the window up. My friend drops to his knees, crawling beside the car. “Hold up, I got it.” He murmurs. Sliding an arm, underneath the car. The window stops. “,” Pale man snaps, sitting back in his seat. I bite my lip. “Well, go on…I guess,” I tell my friend. My friend nods his head. Getting on his stomach, going underneath the car to reach for the ball. “Erre-we goooo!” My friend shouts, scooping the ball with his fingertips. Pale man whispers to himself, grinning mischievously. I only catch the last part, just as he rolls the window up, disappearing behind a dark screen. A soft subtle, “Bye, bye birdie.” Click. The car, shifts into first. “No!” I shout, reaching down to grab my friends leg, sticking out. “Got it!” my friend snickers, at the same time. The cars shoots foreword, jumping over my friend, the human speed bump. A gush of blood splatters over my face and chest, like a burst water balloon. The dragon roars, taking off around the corner, and out of the neighborhood.

Screaming, I stumble across the road, too a neighbors house. Banging on the front door. This part is more or less a blur. A glitch in time. Everything seems to work in slow motion. My ears are ringing. In the nightmare, somebody usually answers their door, looks down at me, and joins me in my terrified efforts. A half blind, bloody boy, pulling on their pants leg.

It’s the same dream, like every other night. Nothing much has changed over the past twenty years. I always wake up though, in reality. The real nightmare.

.

Upstairs in the bedroom I had tied up the dragon, and his wife. Both of them struggle with their binds, and the duct tape around their mouth. I rip the duct tape off of the old mans mouth, showing him the knife. “If you scream, I’ll kill her in front of you,” I whisper. I put the knife, under the dragons throat. Looking into his terrified eyes. “You look different, but then, after twenty years, so do most. You got a spray tan, and you put on a few pounds, but I know it’s you,” I grit my teeth, pushing the blade under his Adams apple. “Your eyes are still the same color, I could never forget them. Not in my wildest dreams, or nightmares. Because, you are my nightmare.” The old man mumbles, looking over at his wife. I hold his head still.

“That wasn’t the first time, no, there were three other instances. When you first met me, you had done it once before. But, the last one, eventually brought me here, too you. You got sloppy. There was someone, who got a description, as you were driving away. ” I hoist the old man up, pushing him out the bedroom door. His wife screams, flopping around on the floor. He turns around, “Everything’s going to be alright, Marla!” I push him foreword. “Downstairs, we are going for a little drive.”

Downstairs. The garage. I tell him to get the keys. There are two cars, parked in the garage, and both under thick tarps. Using the same hand, I peel the tarp off of the closest car. Throwing it onto the ground. My heart, pounding inside my chest. Needing to come out. Recognizing the other monster. I lean over, and kiss the hood of the car. “The hunt is over.” I run my hand alongside the back of the car. “You change the license plate after each murder, and you give it a different color,” I look at him. “But, this is the one. I know who you are; you wouldn’t use another car. This was your child.”

 

The old man just stares at me, a perplexed look on his face, which slowly turns to a tight grin. In the shallow light, I can see him now. In his full form. Somehow, the tan is gone. He stands before me, with a pale completion, and big dark round orbs for both eyes. That could see through walls. He runs a hand alongside the car. “Whatever you’re going to do with me, don’t hurt her,” He whispers. I open the passenger side door. “Get in.”

When he turns around to get in, I get behind him, bringing the knife up under his throat. Blood spills all over the passenger seat. He reaches for the opening in his throat, gargling. I push him onto the seat, and close the door. I come around the drivers’ side door, and get in. He’s already dead; by the time I put the key in the ignition. “Bye, bye, birdie,” I whisper, as the garage door opens up, letting the heavy rain spill inside. To mix in with the blood, washing it away like the incoming tide.

I pull the dragon out onto the city street with the dead man in the passenger seat, on a destination set for nowhere. Too a place hotter than hell, or perhaps, until I’d long forgotten the memory of that warm summer afternoon. So long ago.

However long that takes.

 

–Kyler