Two Men and a Tree. Oh, and a dog.

Reads: 511  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 2  | Comments: 3

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Some trees are not quite all they seem.

Submitted: January 24, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 24, 2017

A A A

A A A


 

 

 

 

Two men and a tree. Oh, and a dog.

By J.E.Eckardt

 

There was a tree and it did what most trees tended to do, it stood there, proud, tall and probably very happy drinking what water it could find deep within the ground. Some would say that describes most trees that you see, but this one was different. For what made this particular tree stand out wasn’t that it looked special in any way, nor that it provided any special fruit or purpose.

No, what made this tree special was its location. It was positioned perfectly central in the middle of a giant flat field and no one knew why. Being the suspicious and superstitious folk they are the farmers owning the land never disturbed the tree of fear that maybe, just maybe, it was there for a reason.

On this occasion the tree would have been perfectly happy carrying on with its own business, focusing on drinking and preparing for the long winter, but today it had an audience. If the tree could, it would have told the onlookers that it was rude to stare and felt slightly self-conscious and like its ears were on fire. That is, if it had any ears. 

*

“I’m just curious Derek. Why is that tree in the middle of the field, I mean, doesn’t it get in the way when you’re ploughing?” pondered the Dog Walker standing at the metal gate that barred the way into the field.

“’Course it do.” Replied Derek the farmer resting his skinny arms on the same metal gate. “But I’d be damned if I’m the one to take the big bugger down.”

He had a very particular way of speaking old farmer Derek and people tended to avoid him due to his curt manner, short temper, and of course there was the smell. He wasn’t known as ‘smelly Derek’ for his nicely perfumed aroma, unless it was one where the key ingredient was cow manure. However, to the Dog Walker, Derek was a personable enough fellow when he walked the lanes and often stopped to chat with him. That is so long as you caught him on the right day.

“Why not? It’ll probably make good fire wood. Winter is coming after all.” The Dog Walker said matter-of-factly while at the same time watching his dog sniff a particular spot that it found interesting.

 “Oh’arr it would. Probably about a couple’a ton there too, but from where I’m lookin there’s a reason none of me fathers took that thing down.”

Derek the farmer paused eyeing the tree.  

“Six generations have had the opportunity, but they ain’t done it. So there’s somethin special ‘bout it”.

The Dog Walker frowned at this taking in the tree as well.

It was a rather large tree, about the size of a three story house. The trunk was wide and probably had a long history to tell. At its top many thick branches fanned out and were covered in a vibrant green canopy of leaves, which shaded the cows that now grazed at its base. The only really striking characteristic was that one of its branches had fallen off sometime over its lifespan leaving a gnarled stump behind.

“Perhaps” the Dog Walker pondered carefully “it hasn’t been moved because you all think that there’s something special about it.”

Derek the famer paused at this as if contemplating any truth behind the statement. His eyes narrowed and silently nodded to himself as if coming to a conclusion.

“No. That ain’t it. There is something about that tree. Besides, it’s a good listenin tree.” Derek stated flatly.

“A…listening tree?” enquired the Dog Walker forehead creasing in confusion.

“It’s hard to explain really, but when I’m chattin to meself around it I swear ol’green knows what I’m saying. It kinda sways and creeks like its noddin.”

“I ain’t mad!” the smelly farmer exclaimed catching the worried glance from the Dog Walker, and even swore the dog looked at him with a doubtful look with its big brown eyes.

“Course it could just be the wind and such, what with autumn fast approachin.” Derek the farmer hastily added.

Nodding his head in agreement the Dog Walker pointed at the gnarled stump on the tree.

“What happened to its branch there, did it fall off?” he enquired.

“No. That was me great-great-great pa’s work. I was told he was crazed and claimed the tree had hit him over the head with a branch one day when he tried pullin Ol’green out with his David Brown 990.”

Not knowing what a ‘David Brown 990’ was the Dog Walker simply did what most people do in such situations and sagely nodded.

“So in revenge me great ol’pa took a saw to that there branch. No one knows what happened, but when they found him later on he was a droolin mess. He was mutterin all sorts of stuff and the larck. Things like ‘that tree’s up to sumit’ and ‘I got its darned arm!’. Safe to say he was never the same.”

Now seeing why people tended to avoid the farmers that lived in the back lanes behind the village the Dog Walker decided to move things on.  

“Well if you ever do have the need to rid yourself of it I know of a very good tree surgeon. Removed one of my trees last month actually. I still have her contact number if you want?” said the Dog Walker.  

Feeling they had concluded their discussion about the whole affair the duo moved the conversation onto other topics and walked off down the lane.

The dog was about to follow, but stopped and glanced at the tree in the middle of the field. Was it closer than it had been before? thought the dog curiously. It was as if the tree had moved to try and overhear the conversation. However, being a dog, that was none of his business, and he was pretty sure that he could smell a rival’s scent nearby and sauntered off after his master. 

*

The tree swayed back to its resting position as the thing with an uncontrollable tail disappeared. What had those two creatures been discussing, were they planning its demise?

All it knew was that perhaps it must have over stayed its welcome to have encouraged such an audience. It would miss this spot with its plentiful water supply and open air for sun soaking, but worried that one of those creatures was eyeing it up for another one of its limbs. Hadn’t the lesson of the creature been enough to dissuade them?

Finally, the tree came to a decision.

*

Early the next morning in the hours of a red sky dawn the farmer Derek arrived at his field. He noticed all his cows crowding around the gate. No, they were distressed he thought as he watched them swish their tails from side to side and rake their hooves across the soft muddy ground.

“What’s the matter with you ladies then?” he said, trying to sooth them.

Then he froze and noticed it. The big bushy tree that had been there for six generations was gone. Where Ol’green had once stood proudly dominating the fields centre a deep hole now replaced it.

“Well, that is odd.” He said, eyes wide and shakingly scratching his balding white hair under his farmers cap.

*

If Derek the farmer had been paying closer attention in that moment to the top of Oozel Peak, crowned on the horizon by the light of the red dawn, he would have noticed a shuffling shape pass over the hilltop.

That shape belonged to a disgruntled bushy tree currently making its way across the landscape seeking a new home, somewhere preferably with plenty of water and sun, or more importantly, somewhere with no creatures eyeing it up greedily for more of its limbs. 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2019 J. E. Eckardt. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

More Fantasy Short Stories