Thursday photo prompt: Beyond #writephoto

Title: Reclamation

Type: Flash Fiction
Genre: Horror / Supernatural

Swish, swish, swish…

He wakes up with a start, his helmet askew. The trees sway gently to the breeze and in the distant, he can hear birds chirping. Something has woken him up. What is he doing, sleeping in the middle of the forest anyway? More importantly, who is he?

His eyelids grow heavy; sleep threatens to claim him before he can claim any answers.

Swish, swish, swish…

He rises and stumbles like a drunken buffalo, grabbing whatever near him for support. Logic dictates that he must be a construction worker; he is wearing a vest and a safety helmet. And observation indicates he is a lumberjack; chainsaws and tree stumps are also around him.

He also notices, in a disinterested and dry manner, saplings are growing from the stumps, with some weird limbs curling protectively around it.

Swish, swish, swish…

He continues to lumber among the trees. He swears a tree shrinks from him when he leans against it for support. Is that normal? He takes another couple of steps and his helmet is suddenly yanked from his head.

“Hey…” he protests weakly as he looks around owlishly.

Shh, shh, shh…

Weariness and delusion occupy the same space in his head. On the tree to his right, his helmet twirls on a branch at least one metre higher than he can reach with his hands. Before he is able to consider the situation, something sharp scratches through his vest, scratches through his clothes. He suspects he is bleeding but he is too tired to check. The branches are now poking and prodding him to the left, away from the helmet.

“But…” he protests weakly again. But why is he so bothered? Is it not natural for things to get caught on branches?

Shh, shh, shh…

He continues shuffling his way. Where is he going? Ah, looking for a tree stump. A recently cleared tree stump will be the best. He would not want to hurt the saplings growing on the other stumps. Trees are important, are they not? He would look for a cleared tree stump and rest, curling on it like a baby. The tree would protect him.

There! he finally finds one.

Sleep, sleep, sleep…

True to his words, he lumbers toward the stump and curls on it. He is a good boy, listening to Mother’s words. Mother knows everything best. He would sleep. Who cares about such a mundane job like logging? Why would anyone even think about cutting trees down? Trees are important to people. Trees are important to Mother.

He sleeps and bleeds on the tree stump.

Sleep, sleep, sleep…

If he sees his fellow lumberjacks, each sleeping on a tree stump in various state of decomposition, he will have left the forest screaming. But Mother knows everything best. Mother knows how to move man around without arousing suspicion. And Mother wants her trees to grow strong and healthy; her garden is dying because of the parasites consuming her trees.

And this logging site is the best place for her to start reclaiming.

Sleep, sleep, sleep…

(512 words)

I will admit, while this photo is great material for melancholic poetry, it is time for me to stay away from that path. At least for a while. So I had to brainstorm a bit.

While I would not say I am an environmental activist, I am a nature lover and I would not stand for harming the environment in a thoughtless manner. Naturally, I understand the need for logging but at the same time, I just feel sad that it is happening at an alarming rate and everyone seems to care more about money. And the trees are just defenceless against such attacks.

But I started thinking, must trees be passive during deforestation? I’m in somewhat of a Stephen King reading spree and when I decided to breathe some life into trees, I also decided it to be a horror/supernatural story.

Of course, when left to my own devices, this is how verbose I can get. But the setting also seems important too and for that, I need words. I certainly hope the horror element comes through.

If you are interested, the prompt is linked below.

Prompt: Thursday photo prompt: Beyond #writephoto


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