The last dying days of summer, fall coming on fast. A cold night, the first of the season, a change from the usual bland Maryland climate. Cold, thought the boy; his mind felt numb. The trees he could see through his bedroom window were tall charcoal sticks, shivering, afraid of the wind or only trying to stand against it. Every tree was alone out there. The animals were alone, each in its hole, in its thin fur, and anything that got hit on the road tonight would die alone. Before morning, he thought, its blood would freeze in the cracks of the asphalt.