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Sunday, 17 May 2015

The Soul Tree, A Short Story by Romeo Kennedy


Inspired by a picture drawn by Susan Omand, The Soul Tree is a wonderful and dark short story...


My companion Isn't very talkative these days.

Miserable bastard.
I long to pass the time with polite conversation, even small talk would suffice. At present, I would even settle for a quick chat about the weather with a passing squirrel. Although nothing much comes this way anymore.
The days, weeks, and months roll by like they have always done. The seasons roll on as they always do. I stand watching, waiting. Sometimes I forget what I’am waiting for.
Food. I’am hungry. So hungry that my memory fleets.

Hark, the mist approaches. The mist is not known for conversation but I need to speak, lest I forget how.
Good morning mist. How fare thee?’
The mist grunts and rolls about me.
‘What news?’ I ask. The mist but grunts and it’s path taken is now unseen. For this is not the mist, this is fog.
‘Good morning fog. What news?’
‘Tis afternoon laddy and I’ll have none of your cheek. Mist, my eye.’
I quickly apologize for my slight against the thickening fog.
The fog grunts and fills the empty space around me. The fog halts and stares right at me.
‘Each day we do this and each day you call me the mist. Each day you ask me what the news is, and each day I tell you I have none. Tomorrow we shall have the same conversation again.’
I startle at the snapping fog’s reply. ‘I’m hungry.’ I state.
‘Yes, I know you are.’ Said the fog.
After that, the fog said no more.
I sighed, and was quite hurt by the fog’s abruptness.
The remains of the thickening fog lingered right up to the setting sun.
The sun, yes, the sun would be good at conversation, we would be able to chase the darkness of the wood together and spend the day conversing about everything that there is to talk about and no one, not even the grumpy fog could stop us from talking. Alas, the sun is much too far away.
‘I’m hungry.’
My companion turned to look at me and shrugged before turning his back to me.
‘Bastard.’

I hear a crunching sound. Footsteps.
The sound gets closer and closer. Conversation.
The crunching turns to the sound of boots on mud. News.
I see a shape through the thickening fog.
A human stands next to the path, a bag in their hand. Food.
‘Good morning!’ I shout not wanting the individual to turn and walk away.
‘I say! Good morning.’
The human turned and stared through the fog, squinting their eyes.
I wave.
The individual approaches and I speak again, the wind snatching my voice from me.
‘Hello?’ says the human, placing the bag down on the floor.
Food.
‘Who is there?’ Says they.
‘What do we have here?’ Says I.
The human adult looks at me and shakes their head, ‘You can’t be talking to me?’
‘I am.’ I reply, ‘What news?’
‘News?’
‘Tell me about your day.’
The human approached and the fog hung thick about them like a cape.
‘I ...I just came for a walk.’
‘Ooooooh! How splendid. Tell me, what is your name?’ I said thrilled at the prospect of an actual conversation.
‘My n-name? ... My name is ...’
‘Hungry.’
‘Pardon?’
‘Food. I need to eat.’ I say.
The human looked into their plastic bag and rifled through the contents.
‘There is nothing in their for me.’ I continued.
‘But you said you were hungry, I have food in here.’
With creaking twisting movements I reach out and grab the human. The human screamed.
‘Let me go! What are you doing?’
‘HUNGRY!’
I pull the human toward my open jaws and swallow them with one gulp. Their screams echoed inside me as I slowly digest them. I Feel their flesh bubble and boil. The bones clatter together like an ancient instrument.
‘Your soul is magnificent.’ I say.

The next day, the first blossom appeared.


Romeo Kennedy is a blogger at 
http://sleeplessmusingsofawellgroomedmoustachedman.wordpress.com an aspiring SFF Writer and Folklore enthusiast, specializing in Cornish Folklore and Mythology. He tweets at @RomeoRites

Image Courtesy of Susan Omand, follow her on Twitter @OmandOriginal

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