Winning entry for April 2016 No Dialogue Contest Prompt - Spring. 647 words
|Sunshine warmed Sebastian’s back as he sat on the trunk of a fallen tree, staring thoughtfully at the slow flowing stream that gently licked at his toes. Song birds twitter-tweeted above him from the boughs of gnarly trees whilst tiny insects buzzed here and there, and all around was the constant shrill of cicadas.
Spring’s magic had once again usurped winter’s frigid rage and soon the new born lambs would fill the rolling rural landscape with the sound of bleating. It was a time of year that Sebastian had always looked forward to but this year he had been ticking off the calendar with increasing discontent, for this year would see the demise of his beloved domain.
The stately trees he had once climbed and had shaded him for most of his life were earmarked to be cut down and no one seemed to be able to give him a compelling reason why. They had not, as far as he knew, harmed anyone or could be considered a hindrance to any housing or even land development, in fact few people ever came into contact with them. Yet some bureaucracy had decided in their wisdom that the trees should go. It seemed somethings never changed. If it moved someone would shoot it, if it grew someone else would cut it down, and if open space should happen to exist then it would surely be developed. No one would leave these things well alone.
Sebastian absently picked up a discarded branch and tossed it in the river. He was briefly overcome with the urge to start pelting it with stones as he had done as child when his imagination would transform such sticks into battleships and stones into ammunition, but he reminded himself of a quotation from the bible; “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things…”
Besides he did not like pelting the stream. Over the years it had become like a special friend to him, quietly lulling him whenever he sat by its edge contemplating, listening to his lament at times of sorrow, cooling him in summer afternoons, soothing his tired muscles after hard toil, and always welcoming his company.
Few if any of the locals ever ventured near his well secluded sanctuary affording him in his teenage years the perfect secret rendezvous for promiscuous girls with the propensity for skinny dipping. It was where he first made love to the woman he had now been married to for almost fifteen years. She had told him that she was a seventeen year old virgin and he’d been naive enough to believe it. She had lied on both counts.
He felt a great sadness that his special sanctuary from all the stresses and overwhelming commitments of the world would soon be hewed out of existence forever. Excavating equipment and bureaucratic officials with hardhats and maps had already started to arrive and by the end of the week the first crew of lumberjacks would be ready to start the desecration; but he did not hold any real malice towards them. That was what they were paid to do and without money they would not be able to survive.
Sebastian looked down at his submerged toes for a few seconds then back at the flowing stream. The hypnotic mummer and intermittent splashing lulled him into a trance. Its constant flow was like time itself; forever passing him by with no hint of where it has come from or what eventual destiny it seeks.
His heavy eyelids gradually closed and he fell asleep with the stream still licking at his toes. Song birds continued twitter-tweeting above him from the boughs of gnarly trees whilst tiny insects buzzed here and there, and all around was the constant shrill of cicadas.