A child chased a white butterfly one day in the patch garden, then over the protective fence and down the lonely road. His little legs, still dimpled with fat, kicked up dirt behind them and his round feet left round tracks, a trail to find his way home again. Only, the gray-brown cloud fell back to earth, destroying the little footprints.

Dodging and darting, they ran into the West, through meadow, then gentle slopes, and untouched glen. They bobbed through the trees, the butterfly and boy, and would have run over the last green hill, but there she turned back and fluttered just above his grasping fingers. There between the grassy slope and the gnarled grandmother trees, who stooped and reached out with wide arms, she fled from her pursuer with each frantic twist. The tiny hunter followed after and came closer to catching his prey with every lunge. Round and round they danced, darting and soaring as the sun shone high above.

Then, just as the leaves turned colors before they fell, the light changed to gold and red, casting the world in the same sunset hues. Only the butterfly remained pure, untainted white as she escaped from the eager hands once more. She winged upward, then descended back down within the child's reach. Always she came back to him, renewing his desire to chase after her whiteness despite his ragged breath and aching legs. With time, he would run himself dry, as the other children had.

She brushed past his dark curls and taunted him with her gleaming wings. The smaller hunter followed, transfixed, as she swung through the crimson sky. She flew into the light, and a tracery of shadows fell across her body, the illusion of tiny skulls scattered over her broad wings. The boy slowed, and she dropped down and flitted between his clumsy fingers, spurring him on. Only a trick of the light, the soulless eye sockets and skeleton grins disappeared from her pure white form.

At first his laughter had accompanied their merry chase, but now the exhaustion set into his bones, and he slowed, stumbling with every step. The sun disappeared over the hill, and the butterfly followed, slowly so the child might totter up as well. He stopped and stood atop the rise, staring. The grass turned to scrub to lifeless rock all at once, and the jagged obsidian stretched on forever, into the West. The sunset was molten and turned the world red, except for the butterfly, who shone stark white against the dark landscape.

The sun abandoned the boy, but the butterfly offered him her own light in the darkness as she swung lazily back towards him. With every slow beat, she grew and the faint pattern of shadows on her gleaming wings darkened, until she stretched across the sky and the skulls were almost as large as men's heads. Almost, just a little smaller. Hovering languidly, her wings created their own wind. The dark curls flew across the boy's face, and behind them his gray eyes were wide. High above, the butterfly descended to him one last time. The wings curled around both their bodies, but there was only one left on the hill when they unfurled.

The butterfly took to the sky. She flew into the Barrens, dripping red onto the ebon stone, but it was no matter. Soon, a mother's tears would wash it all away and make her bone white once more.

Before anyone who reads this asks: yes, my all my writing is like this. All my art too.