Opening the door, Belle wonders where it has gone.
The brisk air and bare maple branches, stark against the sky, greet her. Dry leaves dash across the lawn as if in a frenzied ballet. The sun shines but its warmth, an illusion.
Next to the house, a solitary sunflower blooms though its stalk bends under the weight of one heavy blossom.
Shuddering, she pulls her shawl close and, with bird seed in hand, ventures out. She is certain now that it is truly gone. For now.
Resigned, Belle says hello to Fall.