Tag Archives: trees

Rope Trick Part II

bu091h6another story along the same lines as https://aviewfromacarpark.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/rope-trick/ but shorter.

The tree-dwellers noticed him arrive, and observed the newcomer with suspicious eyes from their leafy abodes, high in the temperate, ochre canopy of the old forest. They saw him before he had arrived, also, treading a determined, if not somewhat stumbling path away from the cities to the west. He wore synthetic fibres to keep out the north-easterly winds that were kicking about the forest floor, throwing leaves and deciduous debris up against the knotted yews that creaked and kissed each other’s fingertips above. The stranger carried a bag with him. He had the ability to make fire; he heated water above a tiny contained furnace, and drank not from his hands, but from delicate, white cups he hooked around a belt on his waist. The tree-dwellers saw him construct a rudimentary shelter on the forest floor, hacking away at the young yews to bend and tie a frame on which he rested the saplings, and leaves, and a shiny blue skein of another man-made material which whipped and curled around his flustered face as he tried to hammer it into the soft, peaty soil. The stranger spoke into a box he held in his right hand.
“Day one,” he said. “Today, I have escaped the trappings of material life to live in the forests, alone, where no other man lives or walks. I shall become one with the soil, and learn to listen to the whispering voice of the roots that tangle beneath my feet. I shall escape my life, here, beneath the dancing of a million, sun-soaked leaves. I am of the same blood of the great European woodsmen, my ancestors, who needed not automobile or telephone, who knew nothing of social networking websites, wrap-around sunglasses or revolving doors.”

The people of the boughs far above his head gathered closely to watch, with mournful eyes, what they had seen in silence many times before. Within forty-eight hours, the stranger had laid a path of cut flint through the trees towards the river bank that lay frothing with soaps and detergents. He had made eighteen different tools with which to kill, and the tools lay bloodied around the entrance to the hut that had sunk into the soil, tilted and stilted from several attempts to maintain some straight lines. Carcasses of four different animals crawled with blowfly, as only the flank meat had been removed while the rest was left for the air to weep on. The remains of many fires spluttered and spread around the forest floor, catching onto the ravaged young trees that had been trampled and thrashed around the site. The tree-dwellers watched the stranger sit, place his head in his bloodied hands, and then stand up to walk back the way he had came, a north-easterly breeze spinning ashes around his freezing legs.

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Tell It To The Trees

Bored at work and inspired by TheBeardedLady’s short stories. Will probably heavily edit this post soon, as I haven’t been paying close attention whilst writing this. Just a quickie today…but TWO posts for the price of ONE! Benjiva

The boy was struggling. It was three weeks into the month of September, and already his boredom was becoming desperate and puzzled. After the incident with the cough medicine and the smoked glass the boy’s parents had grown increasingly paranoid; they began drilling tiny holes into his bedroom door and pretending that they weren’t spying on him at night. They had started walking him into his classroom and watching him sit at his old, scratched desk for several minutes to make sure he wasn’t going to run away, dig a tunnel or ingest more bottles. They began feeding him food out of plastic wrappers, and touching him with latex fingers.

The boy lay in bed each night, feeling the dull lamps outside blanket him with an unshakeable ennui. Every so often, the single shard of light entering his room from behind the pin-pricked door would blink off, with the watery eye of his father or mother pressed against the peeling white painted wood, trying to find more causes for worry, for anguish, for conversation. The boy stayed lying down, still, following his breath through his body, tracing each tiny volume of oxygen passing through capillary and membrane before changing, and being released. The boy felt himself changing, felt the addiction to stillness growing in his chest.

A few minutes before the sun rose above the endless rectangular red-roofed houses, before it had the chance to turn the luxurious deep colours of night-time to the muted greys and sad, gravel-pink of dawn, the boy walked out of his house. Wearing only an extra-large white shirt which dragged around his calfs and caught on wing mirrors and topiary, he silently marched out of the carparks and began to climb the hill, atop of which sat the trees.

It took several muddied hours to scale the grassy knoll that rose, forgotten and dejected above the town, a sleeping woman’s kneecap breaking through the crust of tarmac and protecting her quiet, swaying children, tall and heavy with leaves, away from the exhausts and anti-bacterial handwash and plastic bags and petty deaths. The boy stood at the base of the tallest tree, turned around to face the town below him, and quickly, methodically, hammered a wooden stake through each of his feet, securing them solidly in the earth. Breathing out slowly and purposefully, he traced his breathing down through his lungs, his solar plexus. His breath continued to descend through his body, past his stomach and hips and thighs, into his toes, where it escaped and burst out in thousand million tiny fungal strands, each one anchoring itself into the rich, dark soil and drinking in microscopic quantities of proteins and water. The boys arms lifted into the air and started to harden, his skin thickening and cracking, his fingers elongating and entwining above his head. Each hair on the boys head had grown impossible long, knotted and swollen, they unravelled to reveal wet leaves, seeds which would become fruit. He grew quickly, with the moan and creak of the trees around. His parents had not even emerged from their plastic bedsheets.

The boy raised his face to the sky, to the sun which now flooded the hilltop, slatted and sharp through the boughs and branches. With a burning grin, a streak of joy carved in bark, he forced his way up; a sharp intake of breath burst him hard through the canopy to a flurry of panicking starlings, and he spread his green arms wide to catch the light on a thousand laughing leaves.