AN ENDING TO BEGIN THE STORY
Oren Appleton was walking back to his house on Oak Hill after his customary Saturday visit to downtown Littleton. Since the death of his wife, the walk into town offered him the chance to talk with real people after toiling away on his house projects all week. With his hands full of supplies from Sawyer's Hardware, he walked up Oak Ridge Road, the only paved road that led up to his house – which sat dead center atop Oak Hill.
It was a warm summer evening and the sun was setting. He stepped to the beat of a show tune he was whistling. A very quiet whistle, slightly off-tune and off-beat, accompanied Oren's – it came from the leather satchel hanging over his shoulder. This duet made Oren smile.
He was so focused on the tune and his whistling partner that he didn't hear the engine of the vehicle approaching. It approached quickly and accelerated as it got closer to Oren. It was the crunching sound of the gravel directly behind him that made Oren turn. It was the last thing he would see and hear, as his body flew through the air and onto the ground. The force of the impact threw his body off the road and into a gully 15 feet away. Life had instantly left Oren. Without hesitation, the vehicle shifted into reverse and drifted back down the road and out of sight.
After ten minutes, the leather satchel next to Oren rustled with some movement, and the leather roping that had been cinched at the top of the satchel started to unravel from the inside. Very slowly, a small creature pulled its body out of the bag, stood, and slowly looked around to see what had happened. The creature was about the size of a common salt shaker you would find in a diner, and resembled a mushroom, but with a slightly thicker stem. Just like a mushroom, it seemed to wear a maroon and white mushroom cap on top of its head. Its arms and legs fit so snugly into the stem, that if it was standing upright and perfectly still in the woods you wouldn't know it from a garden-variety mushroom. Its small black eyes and a hardly-discernible mouth gave it a childlike and friendly expression. The skin had turned a bluish tint from the accident but gradually faded back to its normal off-white color as it shook off the impact to its body.
With a slight limp, it stepped away from the sawdust-filled satchel and toward Oren's face. It knew instantly there was no life left in Oren, and it slumped with sadness before it started off into the woods with what sounded like a sniffle.
Five minutes had passed and the creature came back from the woods to Oren's body, dragging a large clump of pink and white clover flowers behind. It slowly plucked the flowers off the stems, and arranged them in a circle all around Oren's head while whistling the rest of the show tune that he and Oren had started together. When the supply of clovers ran out, it stood silently for a moment and then walked off into the dark woods of Oak Hill. The forest was oddly silent and still.