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by Ives
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Other · #2272242
A tale of transformation, a story of a sapling that is also a monster and a blessing.


Ivy Elle Nowosad

~Inspired by Jeff Vandermeer's "The World is Full of Monsters"

Here is the little story that sprouted from my head, a creature made of weeds and wildflowers, of words buzzing to light. In the sun, it felt right, to sprout this green upper meadow, haloed in spring buds and honeybees. It was fertile ground for a sapling that sprang up so fast from the crown of my head, it buzzed the bees.

As the story grew, the sapling grew, and stirred a restless need in me to wander. I walked out of our neighborhood, through an abandoned pasture, following a stream into the dark wood. Among the trees, my story would know its kin and feel happy. By the end of the stroll, it grew so big I could no longer enter my house, branches painfully catching at the threshold. For days, I wandered through rain and wind, and when the sapling grew too heavy, and I could no longer walk, we stretched out in the grass together and watched the sunset.

After a restless night of deliberation, I decided to have the tall-tale sapling that flourished from the crown of my head assessed by an esoteric pruner. Rose was her name, and she came recommended by a little bird that nested in the branches above.

Rose arrived with the butterflies. She waved hello with her esoteric sheers and never once spoke a word. Golden skinned and silver-haired, the only rosy thing about her was her silent mouth, sometimes budding a smile. Her long braids of hair were alive. Delicate, they moved and stretched and seemed independent of Rose herself. Like antennae, sensing the environment, they communicated with the secretive mites, the underworld of the small.

After Rose inspected my sapling, she motioned for me to sit on the ground and removed a long florescent worm from her hair. The air tingled. With a flash of sheers, she sliced the worm in two, and shoved one oozing half-worm into each of my ears. The worms squished and swelled, leaking their cool dreams into my brain.

As Rose positioned a ladder and sundry tools and implements, preparing the area for her work, my brain flooded with red and gold, the spent umber of falling leaves. I could still see the pruner, but she moved through freezing rain and hail. Icicles formed and fell, dread noise of the saw, limbs dropping. The faint screams drowned by buzzing white noise, then a nothing, like distant trees falling in snow, all quiet, all covered in brightness. As in a dream, days passed in minutes, months in only hours. Or was it the other way around, day-long minutes, month-long hours?


I wake with a jolt to deafening bird song. Rose offering a steaming cup, and inside the cup, a pond, a deep lake. As the water spreads before me, I wonder if it will swallow me, but it does not. Rose, or the clear grasp of her feelers, steady me.

The waters hold, and in the lake, I see my reflection. The sapling lifts new budding branches high, chartreuse of spring fusing with the forest's green. Dark chunks cover the ground, to be broken down by mycelium, what had been cut away will sink into the clay bank to eventually feed the tree, me.

Once a body, its aches and scars and never ending need to feed, expel, have sex, all that is gone. Now its blood feeds the soil. A deeper force sends the old nerves and veins into my roots, my heart forming powerful branches, homes for a whole new story of shy, large-eyed creatures to flourish. The severed head, with its old familiar face, is so perfectly blended into the canopy that it vanishes, reappearing only to multiply its eyes in every leaf.

All eyes, I watch Rose float by in a fur-lined canoe, slicing through my reflection into the blue beyond. She waves goodbye. My bows sway gently, gently cradling the smallest creatures, little storytellers. I grow and grow on the banks of the lake, recording their stories in radiating rings and storing them in my trunk for future sap.

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