Saturday, 16 January 2010

An experiment without a title

We walk through the trees. There is no forest, just the dense cluster of trees around us and hints of muffled birdsong far away. These trees hate us for the noise we make - the cracking of their discarded branches underfoot and our heavy, awful breathing. They hate our breathing most of all - they loathe those sorts of things - our punctuated in-and-out natures. Breathing and eating are awful to them.
The trees make their dislike of us clear. They throw up roots to lasso our tired feet, and they flick at our poor, cold flesh with the fine ends of their branches. They throw down leaves ahead of us to disguise the way, and when we occasionally find a path, they tip themselves down onto it and make us clamber over their fallen trunks.
We are lost again, and when one of our party drops a tissue accidentally from his pocket, I quickly dash to pick it up. I hope that the trees will notice this and will leave us an easy path out of this forest. But all they see is the dropping of the tissue, and out of anger at our litterbugging they twist and pull at the earth until they have run a rocky stream straight across our path.
We walk through it and accept the wetness of our feet. I make faces that show the trees how very little we like having wet feet. Later, if necessary, I will remove my shoes and socks in order to display the painful pruning of my soles to them.
We walk through the trees. The others do not notice the ways in which the trees show that they hate us. The others are careless in their treatment of the trees - they climb and swing on branches to "keep the spirits up", and I begin to side with the trees.
I dawdle behind our group - let them get several feet ahead of me but never out of their sight, or else they would stop and wait for me. I keep a careful eye on the trees and try to make my steps as quiet as possible. I believe that it is possible that I can begin to breathe both in and out at the same time.
Suddenly a holly bush snags my top and stops me short. I take that as a sign, and as soon as I am free I run off sideways into the forest, leaving my friends to their fate. I run so quickly that I create a wave of movement amongst the dropped leaves on the forest floor. With a final push of energy, I create a wave that is big enough for me to ride upon it. The trees blur past, faster and faster, as the leaves and twigs rush through the forest and carry me far far away.
In the distance I can hear the screams of my friends. They call my name - wanting my help and protection against the trees, but I am no longer one of them. I am part of the forest - travelling through the trees, not around them. I am inside of every tree and leaf that there is and ever has been. I hate the people and their noise, and I join the other trees in crowding around them. We encircle the people - weaving our branches together to create a wall that traps their soft, weak bodies. They scratch at us and try to climb onto and over us, but they are not fast enough. We blind them with flurries of dropped leaves and flick at them with the fine ends of our branches. Finally we tip our heavy trunks over - ripping and tearing at the earth beneath us to do it. We land heavily on their hot sweating bodies and finally we silence them.
They cool beneath us for hours. When night falls, we straighten and leave them for the beetles. Later, the bacteria which will break down their bodies until the parts are small enough for us to suck up through our roots. We will grow taller and stronger from the nourishment they provide.


  1. I absolutely adore this, though the 'I' at the end is startling in its sudden metamorphasis and I don't know quite what to make of it. The idea feel wonderfully unique but absolutely intuitive, and the atmosphere of quiet against which the sound of the breaking twigs&branches at the beginning is perfect.xx

  2. Which 'I'? There is an 'I' from the third paragraph onwards, when does it jump out at you?

  3. Its as though it disappears in the 'we'. I probably felt it was noticeable just because its a short piece.x