The Tree (Flash Fiction - The Return) by Anne Terrys

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The Tree


Anne Terrys

The bark of the tree made crevasses for the ants and other insects. The branches were a haven for the birds. Singing could always be heard. The boy watched the tree, his face emotionless. For hours he sat and stared. His world enclosed in silence. His parents did not understand him.

He sat staring at the tree. It was as if he were a part of it. Each day he rooted to his spot, and each evening he was carried inside. Summer tanned him a rich brown almost indistinguishable from the tree. Leaves and twigs would fall on his motionless form. His hair was a tangle. Birds would settle near him. The inhabitants of the tree grew to expect the boy. They grew less and less afraid until they accepted his presence just as they accepted the tree.

The boy's parents took him to doctor after doctor. The boy returned to his tree. The father loved his son. He bribed and threatened the boy to get him to speak. The boy remained silent. In a fit of anger the father cut down the tree. The boy did not cry, his face betrayed no emotion. The father was frightened and ran from his son.

The boy walked to the stump. Former inhabitants of the tree looked to the boy as his face wrinkled up in anguish forming deep crevasses. He stretched out his arms trying to embrace all the life that the tree had held. His toes dug into the soil. The birds, squirrels, ants and all of the others returned to the branches.