June 28, 2017 by Patrick Starks
The day was hot and muggy. The man stood in front of what appeared to be over a hundred lumberjacks. He tried to explain to them what he saw, what he discovered, but little did anyone care to hear his words. He’d hoped his best friend Jeff would get an idea of what he was talking about, that he’d understand. But not a word was given, not even the slightest bit of movement—it was as if everyone was frozen in time. The man pleaded for understanding. A few of the men he spoke to walked away, frustrated and annoyed. Life was hard enough already, and being that no one needed lumber for the summer—they weren’t making much of a profit in their line of work either. If they sold anything, it was to teenagers and young adults who just wanted to party and have bonfires. The man’s antics however were not over. He felt that he could sway them, only if they knew the truth—knew his truth.
The man then left the town he stayed storming into the darkest part of the forest. He saw the tree he talked to. It was still awkward for him to speak to such, but he knew what was at risk, what all would be lost. “Tell me again Tree. Why do you stop us? I mean … there are millions of you.” The man said, but the tree remained mute. The man grew thwart. He was tired of life, tired of everyone giving him shit about what he could and couldn’t do. “Why man so angry all time?” The tree said. The man reflected on its question. “Why man have to hurt tree? This Tree home. Why you try take?” The man became silent just as the ones before him, he couldn’t come up with a conclusion but found something close. “Because… because we all need to live, we all need shelter—we need you as our shelter.” The tree looked at the man with grim expression, reason for why he felt differently.
A shuffling sound then appeared from behind the man. “What… What the hell is that thing?” The man was caught off guard. He never thought out of all the people he knew, that his friend Jeff would be smart enough to follow his tracks. “I believe the real question is, what the hell are you doing here? How did you even find me?” The man said. Jeff smiled, he had always been smarter than what people assumed, for this he always took advantage of their ignorance. “Well… I followed ya boot marks. You’re such a heavy walker, a blind man could find ya.” The man had smug frown upon his face, he obviously could care less—for talking at least. “But my god, you weren’t missing around dthough, that dam thang real.”
The man didn’t want to get into any discussion about the topic—a discussion with one who didn’t believe him from the get go. “What tree?” The man asked. Jeff then had a sinister smile, as if he knew or felt the man was trying to hide a treasure from him, one that he very much wanted—needed. “Come on! Don’t give me that bullshit! That be dat dam tree you were talking about earlier.” The man did not want to dance around the topic any longer for he was getting a headache listening to Jeff’s childish rants, or grammar. “Okay… Fine, it was the tree. But it isn’t meant to be captured, we are to leave it alone. This it told me.” The man said.
“Get da hell out of here! I ain’t leaving nothing alone. That tree, dat thang is my golden ticket out this bitch.” The man remained calm, within in himself. He knew Jeff’s greed would soon plummet him into reality.
The man had learned that the trees were there to protect the world, to protect the people. He was told by the trees of the forest that without them life would not go on, that the planet would not survive. The trees were the givers of life. They did not only bring oxygen to the people but to other species of the world as well—animals, mammals, plants, and even the gods skies were dependent upon them—for their survival, their functionality.
“I’m just a lumberjack, I’m just a man. This seems like the task of a demi god, someone of leadership qualities. Why out of all people does this tree trust me.” The man questioned himself. He did not feel he was worthy of such responsibility. He felt that since it was the trees job to protect, why protect them. As the man became astounded by the thought he remembered something his grandmother told him long ago.
“People must realize that the ones that protect, that give us strength and purpose are not immortal, for that it is they that need protection the most—that need us.”
The man’s grandmother was always known to be the intelligent one, some even believed her to be their leader. Although, the man having such a big shoe to fill became quite discouraged of the consideration of him even being such.
“Hello! Hello! Hey knucklehead! You bet not be playing dumb, I’m getting dat tree with or without ya.” The man was then withdrawn from his reminisce. He became aggravated with Jeff—he had done nothing but bring tension within the forest instead of understanding. “Why Jeff? Why do this? It’s summer time! Even if you could sell a dam thing, you know you wouldn’t get much for it.” Jeff smiled, this time in a more clown-like way. “Oh, I’m sorry. Did ya think I was gonna sell that shit to the kids? Ha don’t make me laugh.”
“Okay asshole… then who you gonna sell it to then, hmm…”
“I don’t believe that’s any of ya dam business. But if ya must know… that monstrosity you got, going to the government. I can see it now… I’ll get a badge of honor, possibly even get a chance to be beside the president himself.”
“You’re a fucking joke, the only thing you’re getting from them is a boot, thank you and come again—something like that, asshole.”
Jeff didn’t say a word after that. He proceeded through the dark abyss of the enchanted forest where most dared to go. However, he had a great reasoning for his determination. “Your funeral.” The man said, as he watched Jeff submerged to the black. For a while he heard nothing, he wondered, somewhat worried but said nothing. Shortly after a few minutes went by he heard a scream. This scream was not of a female, but sadly of a male. The man had never heard such a scream. It was dreadful. Goosebumps formed from the his toes all the way up the roots of his hair. The man had never been so petrified in his life, although what he had witnessed already was something worth being petrified about. He then remembered his friend Jeff, recognized that the scream came from the very direction that Jeff headed. The man persisted forward as he was to embark on a new mystery, a new clue.