autumn winds

When the first leaves change color, call the herds in from the fields. Stable your horses, corral your cattle, bring dogs and cats and goats and stray children inside. When the valley is striped with fire and golden drifts spread across the fields, the dragons come.

The first time Vivian heard them, she was standing on hot concrete, surrounded by gleaming steel and glass, and she had no warning. They came from the north, a dappled cloud layer blowing faster than the wind, singing as they shut out the sky.

She stood gaping up, everything forgotten in the sudden wonder. They flew in tight formation, wings almost interlocking, the way each fit in head to haunch a layered pattern blocking the sun for miles. The wind sang across the ridged forebones of their wings and through the thin hollow horns on their narrow heads, a shrieking wild thrum, and the dragons sang back and forth across that foundation, fluted high voices weaving a haunted melody that ordered come come fly now now now.

And then they were past, a receding tide melting into the horizon, leaving only a sharp spicy scent lingering on the wind, and Vivian started out of her reverie and wonder back to life, towards her gate, only to find it closed to boarding. She had missed her flight.

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