Contest entry for No Dialog Contest - 699 words
One hundred ninety-five years earlier, the giant’s parent-to-be gradually wedged its roots into a boulder. That boulder lay, unmoving, abandoned by a retreating glacier. Frozen water had moved it; melting ice had released it. Rain, ice and colonizing lichens continued to split tiny fissures into its surface. The future parent’s tiny rootlets clung tenaciously to those surface scars, gradually imbibing water from rainfalls and snowmelts. Slowly, patiently the rootlets expanded and cracked the rock’s surface, and continued to grow into those expanding cracks. Slowly, patiently the parent-to-be constantly sought out nutrition and sunlight. A strong silent type, it patiently watched and waited as other trees appeared to be more successful. They grew taller than the parent-to-be, limiting the sunlight filtering down to its lacy finery, which grew ever taller, yet never quite tall enough to tower over competitors. Those did not have the patience and longevity of the giant’s parent-to-be, however. Sooner or later, each would have an off year, a slightly less successful sequence of growing in girth and height. The giant’s parent-to-be remained, pushing ever upward, until conquering the crown wars. Now higher than the others, its own lofty needle-laden twigs drank in the unfiltered sunlight it had craved for so long. Others below, needing and accustomed to direct light, unable to make do in second place, did not survive. The parent-to-be, however, thrived. Eventually, the giant’s parent dropped numerous small cones, in which tiny winged seeds lay tightly curled. The gentle green giant now had a chance.
Some winged seeds were eaten; many others gradually scattered. A chipmunk ate two cones, then cached several in its underground burrow. A gray jay snatched a small cone and flew to a nearby branch to twist it open, revealing the seeds inside. The jay ate most of these, but a few fell back to the ground. Mice dined on the delicate morsels. The future giant, hardly larger than a raindrop, was overlooked, trampled upon, wedged beneath wet leaves, then scuffled by a squirrel’s digging paws into a crevice between another boulder and the ground. It waited. And waited. And eventually sent tiny rootlets of its own into the soil.
One hundred thirteen years later - cra-aa-ack. Crack! Snap! Whoosh – thump – crack – crackle. Silence. A gentle green giant fell in the woods - and there was no one there to hear it.
No one, that is, if you count people as the only beings. The giant’s fall most assuredly did make sounds, heard not by humans but by those more frequently in attendance, alighting on the giant’s outstretched arms, nesting in its hair, crawling up and down its torso, excavating cavities in which to raise nestlings, digging at its feet, and munching on gifts the giant left annually. Those creatures did not find its fall terribly unusual, nor particularly threatening, nor did they attempt to resuscitate the giant. So long as one leapt nimbly away, the giant’s fall only meant change, not immediate threat, and change was becoming even more of a constant lately. Those creatures who might have been paying attention would have noticed that a number of the giant’s cousins had been losing their healthy green lacy cloaks in recent years, trading them for more brittle grey wraps, as if in response to a fashion directive.
Tiny alien creatures were responsible for the wardrobe changes, and ultimately for the giant’s fall. They had swarmed to enjoy the green giant’s’ sustenance, sucking its lifeblood unconcernedly, taking the first helpings before the giant or its cousins had a chance to nourish themselves. Feeding on the giant with no particular malice, but with unrestrained gusto, its sustenance enabled them to go forth to other giants, and provided abundant meals to those of their own young who stayed. The aliens did not, however, leave enough for the giant itself, nor for the giant’s cousins. Each year new needles went forth to capture sunshine; each year an increasingly numerous nursery population sucked more sap than they left. The giant slowly starved.
Cra-aa-ack. Crack! Snap! Whoosh – thump – crack – crackle. Silence. A gentle green giant fell in the woods.