Made Of...

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cover image: Pixabay.com.

Made Of...

Come on, get moving. I want this whole place cleared today.”

The men moved off towards the huge machines, throwing a few muttered curses in their boss’s direction. The locals were starting to gather in spite of the early hour.

The crew had heard the warnings, the tales that bad things would happen if they continued with the clearing. Folklore, old wives tales... nothing but a load of cracked in the head superstitions. It wasn’t as if they were clearing the forest either. Their job was to flatten the saplings that had sprung up outside its boundaries. Seeds that had been left from the time when the forest had covered the area still took root occasionally. Especially during the last six months.

The engines roared into life and the machines began to dig, to scrape, to flatten. The men were oblivious to the mournful looks on the faces of those watching. Even if they had noticed, they would have laughed at the stupidity of what had to be a bunch of tree huggers.

The noise of the engines drowned out the ripping, the wrenching, the screams of the saplings as they were torn from the earth, to be left crushed beneath the tracks of those metal monsters. The forest seemed to look on, frozen in horror at the mass slaughter that was so callously being committed. In spite of the wind, not one single branch moved.

The men remained inside the cabs when there was a pause for lunch. The crowd of onlookers had swelled substantially; better to stay out of their reach than to risk having to engage with them. That could only work out one way, and that was badly. The local press would have loved that.

As the hours of daylight passed by the area began to resemble a battlefield where one side had been decimated and left for dead, while the other roared and belched out its victory. By the time the work day was over nothing was left but a few patches of squashed and scraggly grass.

The machines had to be left until the following when day, when trucks with huge trailers would turn up to take them away. The men climbed from the cabs and made their way to their own cars. To get there they had to walk past the locals, many of whom had stood watching all day.

men and women who stood between himself and his car. All but one of them stood aside, their eyes fixed on the ground. The exception was a woman that looked slightly older than the rest.

You’ll pay for this outrage. They’ll see that you do,” she hissed.

Hank fought the urge to reply. Obviously she was crazy and he really wanted to tell her so but decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.

As he pulled away he was sure she said: “Watch out for the moss!” Yep, definitely crazy.

Instead of heading for home, Hank drove into town and parked up outside a bar and restaurant. Once he’d eaten he’d make use of the bar. There was no point in him rushing for home because all that was waiting for him was an empty house, since his wife Julie had left, taking the kids with her.

Hank stayed in the bar until closing time, downing too many pints to make driving safe. Not to worry; he had a blanket in the car, and would sleep it off in the car park. Thinking it wisest to move his vehicle, Hank waited until it was almost empty then steered the vehicle towards a secluded spot. Within minutes he was asleep.

Lurching suddenly awake, Hank banged his knees on the steering wheel. There was a strange smell in the car, kind of organic, damp, reminding him of compost. Must be from his boots, he decided, bits of plant that he had brought back from the site in the deep tread.

Still half asleep, Hank lifted his hands up to wipe at his eyes. His hands brushed against the steering wheel and it felt odd, almost furry. He quickly moved it, tried to see. The light inside the car was dim so he reached up to the roof to switch on the map light.

Moss! The green stuff covered not only the steering wheel, but the entire passenger seat as well. He looked down and was disgusted to see the rich green growth covered his legs too. It made no sense. Moss might spread fast, but this was ridiculous. Maybe, Hank thought, he was still asleep.

There was a sound from the back seat. It was a bit like a raspy cough, like his grandfather had sounded before the cancer finally took him. Slowly Hank let his eyes drift up towards the mirror. It looked like there was someone sitting there. A huge dark figure, and it was from this that the smell came from.

Hey,” Hank finally found his voice. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Get outta here before I call the cops on you.”

The figure didn’t make a move towards the door. Instead, it leaned forward towards the driving seat. The face looked as though it was entirely covered in moss, and if the thing had eyes Hank couldn’t see them. It had a mouth though, for it opened into some kind of hideous grin. That coughing sound again, only it wasn’t a cough but a laugh.

Hank reached for the door handle but found himself suddenly held tightly in place by some kind of creeping vines, and from them moss began to spring. Before he had a chance to shout out, a vine wrapped its way around his neck, cutting off his air supply. Thrashing and fighting, Hank was disgusted to find his mouth filling with the stuff. And not just his mouth, for his nose, ears and eyes were all becoming crammed full of moss.

As the moss spread over his tongue, Hank gagged, convulsed, fought to fill his lungs with air but instead inhaled more of the mossy particles.

No one saw the man of moss climb from the vehicle and then just... dissipate. By the time Hank’s vehicle was discovered all traces of the moss had vanished. All but a slight lingering smell of compost, of damp, of decay.

The moss man had exacted retribution for the slaughter of innocent saplings.

 


Submitted: March 26, 2021

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Donald Harry Roberts

love this one Hully. I'll never look at moss the same again...

Fri, March 26th, 2021 5:49pm

Author
Reply

Haha! Well, there's a lot of it around here. Thanks, DH!

Sun, March 28th, 2021 6:47am

Mike S.

Nature's revenge; excellent tale, Hull

Fri, March 26th, 2021 6:12pm

Author
Reply

Yeah, I've got to say I like the idea of it getting the better of man sometimes. Thanks for giving this a read, Mike.

Sun, March 28th, 2021 6:46am

Ezra Enzo

This is really cool, a huge improvement in creativity to be honest. It's fun, it's creative, it makes sense, it also gives mystery, and overall keep the entire event subtle in a short story. Incredible work Hull, keep it up. - E.E

Fri, March 26th, 2021 6:16pm

Author
Reply

Thanks so much for giving it a read.

Sun, March 28th, 2021 6:44am

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