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A man finds solace in the shadows of a great tree.
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
They call me Tree Man. While they point their little
fingers and laugh, they call me Tree Man. As the
stones fly at me from below and they search the ground
for more, they call me Tree Man. All day they look up
at me, eyes squinting from the illuminating glow which
surrounds me. They call me Tree Man. The tree is tall
and strong, its mighty arms branching out into the sky,
protecting me. My eyes, they burn of the deep green
which colors the leaves that give shade to the unwelcome
The glow recedes until they can no longer distinguish me
from the leafy canopy. I like this. It isn�t long before
they leave me of their torments and return to their warm
homes. �Goodbye Tree Man�, they say. I like the darkness
that hides my face. I like how the shadows make me a
part of the great tree. The glow is gone. It is cold as
the wind rushes through my hair, rustling the leaves, but
I do not shiver. A tree does not shiver. Sometimes a
bird will land on my leg or shoulder, but I do not move.
A tree does not move. In the night, I am the tree.
There is no Tree Man. In the night, there is just Tree.
Something hit me hard in the back, and I woke up. My
eyes open but squeeze together as the blazing sun
overwhelms my vision. The glow has returned. The
children, they see me. I look down at them, far below
me, and watch as another stone is let loose in my
direction. It misses, but I know it will not be the
last. Already they are pointing and laughing; always
laughing. I don�t care though. Night will come, and
while they toil away in the dim glow of their homes, I
will be at peace. I will be the tree.
It whistles through the air, and I turn my head to
receive a sharp stone in the cheek. I can feel my skin
break, a weakness in the glow of daylight. Come nighttime,
my skin would be hard, bark, but not now. Wetness slowly
expands over my face, dripping rhythmically onto the branch
of which I am standing, painting it red. With my hand I
touch my face and it too turns red. Down below, they are
edging away from the tree as the blood falls like singular
raindrops from the sky. They curse at me, waving fingers
and shouting angry words. One boy, off to the side, takes
out a small knife. I watch him. He has brown hair, and
dark eyes. His face looks angry and he steps forward.
It is the glow. It makes them crazy. Never does it happen
in the dark, the shadows, where it is forever peaceful.
His steps are slow and deliberate, his eyes locked on mine.
I watch him, unsure and yet sure all at once. His mouth
twists into a smirk. He raises the knife and presses it
into the tree.
I can feel it growing inside me, the heat overtaking my
senses. I feel the pain, not in my cheek, but in my soul.
I am the tree. The stone, now red, lies at my feet. I
take it. He is still there, below, violating us. A young
demon he is, and so I take aim and release. I hear the
whistle, but he does not, so intent on his destruction.
I watch it hit him. It makes a loud noise. I can see the
blood as he falls. They stop cursing, and all is silent
as they look at their fallen comrade and then up at me.
Shock and terror mask their faces when they see the glow
that surrounds and suffuses me. The boy�s eyes are closed,
but he makes strange noises. Still watching me, they
pull his limp form away from us, but I do not care. His
knife, it is on the ground, half covered in leaves. The
tree will heal. We will heal. I can feel the glow
shrinking. The shadows have begun to change me once more.
Down below they see this, and once again they are frightened.
They run away, carrying their friend, the demon. They called
me Tree Man, but today they finally understood; I am the tree.
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"I've been experimenting with getting into the head of some strange characters myself, this is a nice way of working that kind of thing into a short story, I like it." -- Iain Spittles.
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© 2005 Robert Davis
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