“Sam and the Apple Tree Man”
by Stella Huerto
In the wild apple grove in the woods, Sam sometimes saw the young man. It started when Sam was fourteen and just realizing he was gay, and had continued every autumn for the ten years since. The stranger’s sly face peeked down at him between sun-dappled branches, or his tattered brown jacket and bare feet flashed by as he darted behind trunks. The man had always looked to be in his twenties, never changing in all the years. He only ever showed when Sam came alone, never when Sam’s sister or father were along.