Wednesday, 25 October 2017


Reader Violet shares a cool short story with an unexpected autumnal twist...

The summer holidays were but a distant memory for Tallie as September drew to a close and the crisp autumn air rolled in; the emerald leaves on the trees turned to russet and gradually fell to the ground. Walking home from school, Tallie didn't join in with her classmates' chatter as they kicked through the crunchy leaves, their laughter already visible in the air.

'Hey!' A cheery voice broke her reverie. Startled, Tallie glanced up and met the eyes of one of her classmates. 'I love your hair, it's super cute. I've been wanting to dye my hair bright red too, but my mam won't let me, she says it's pushing the rules too much. It suits you, though!'

'Oh... uh... thanks!' Tallie replied.

'No probs,' the girl replied before squealing as one of her friends crept up behind her and shoved a handful of dead leaves down the back of her shirt. The girls ran off, laughing and throwing handfuls of leaves. Tallie reached down to pick up a leaf, running her fingers over its stark skeleton. With no connection to roots, the leaf would grow fragile and crumble. It would almost certainly be gone by tomorrow, not that anyone would notice as the trees shed more and more. Tallie clapped a hand over her mouth to stop the sobs threatening to rise up. As soon as she got home, Tallie slumped to the floor and buried her face in her hands as the sobs broke free at last. With a concerned expression, Tallie's mother stepped out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron.

'Oh, sweetie,' she sighed, pushing the crimson fringe from Tallie's face and tucking a strand of her own red hair behind one ear. 'I know how you feel - I know you'd give anything to be like the others. Crying won't change it - believe me, I cried my fair share of tears over this when I was thirteen. It's not fair and it never will be - I know that as well as you do. It's no use wishing things were different. Might as well make the most of this until... well, until it happens.'

The 'it' in question happened every year. Tallie and her mother started out blonde and as spring turned to summer, their hair darkened. As autumn approached, their hair turned various shades or red and brown, from strawberry blonde to deep chocolate brunette, echoing the shades of the fallen leaves that lay strewn across the ground. Then came winter, and the hair that drawn compliments just months earlier would be gone, their heads as bare as tree branches. Tallie could wear hats, bandanas, anything to hide it, but it was obvious to everyone what she was hiding, and the cruel kids would pull her hat off and chuck it around the playground, smirking.

She heard the whispers. 'Sick,' they said. 'Cancer.' The teachers guessed at alopecia or trichotillomania and pulled her aside to ask if she was struggling with schoolwork, if everything was OK at home. Tallie knew she couldn't tell them that her hair changed with the seasons. Life had always been this way for Tallie but that didn't make it any easier - she wanted to blend in and be like the others, trying out new hairstyles, but her hair never got a chance to grow past her jaw before winter reclaimed it. That's how it had always been, and how it always would be... but Tallie was trying something different this year.

After a year of scrimping and saving, they had saved enough to buy a wig - a proper custom made wig, glossy and brunette and chin-length, It wasn't as long as she would have liked, but it was realistic and long enough for decorative braids or a ponytail. Both, maybe! Wiping her eyes, Tallie dredged up a smile. Every year brought the same loss - not just her hair, her identity too - but maybe this year would be different.

Cathy says:
I love this clever, twisty story... it's original and cool! Would YOU like to see more fiction on DREAMCATCHER? Just COMMENT BELOW to have your say!


  1. Personally, I think it's so cool to have hair colours for every season. I don't know how this Tallie girl could be taunted for something like that!😒 Great story actually and loved the picture.😃

    #sweetreats xx

  2. Wow! That's such an amazing story, imagine your hair actually changing with the seasons... Love, love, love the story. Keep writing, I want to hear more!



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