Okay, well, yeah, I dig nature. I particularly dig strange trees. One of my fondest fascinations. They are art of a different sort, natural, nature wielding as a sculptor, shaping, breaking down and reconstructing. Trees in general, and strange trees in particular, are a natural wonder we should not ignore.
This one was originally called, “Shadows and Tall Trees,” after the U2 song. But it was changed recently as I love the more direct title, as well as have many story ideas that relate to this subject, even a faux anthology idea, that I may eventually work out. (Isn’t that the way it is for all writers, though? Juggling this idea and that one and a novel or three, plus the short fiction and, hey, I need a story for that anthology asap.)
Photographer Terrence Blank and his part-time girlfriend, Mandy (it’s explained in the story), are out in the forest when she’s stricken with her time of the month. As she wanders off to deal with it--improvising as she must, it's also in the story, hehe--he has the time to clicks off a couple a couple more rolls with these thoughts in his head:
I continued to take pictures, really fascinated by the luminescent quality of the bone white trees as the late afternoon sun glimmered off of them. An ambience of otherworldliness permeated my perceptions. It even registered in my ears, a buzzing, hypnotic drone, the hum of nature, of thousands of small sounds gathered as mass, as something of substance, yet still tiny and indistinct: the undercurrent of life; of dirt, foliage and sky; of insects and animals unseen; of slowly evolving shadows and that something more that defines silence that is not silent, its tongue is simply of a language no human can understand.
Later that evening, he awakens from dreams that might be something more than dreams. And voices. Here’s a sample from that sequence. Yes, a double shot of samples today.
“So, bad dream or what?”
“Yeah, I guess. Not sure, but I heard voices, weird voices. Like…like if trees could talk, this would have been what they sounded like.”
“That’s freaky, especially since you were talking in your sleep.”
I raised an eyebrow in her direction. She continued.
“Yeah. I could hear you from the sofa—you woke me up. I thought you must have been on the phone or something because I could only hear part of what you were saying. Nothing really clear, but you were talking. It was odd. That’s when I got up and came to your door. Curiosity, you know; wondering who you were talking to at this ungodly hour.”
I shook my head, completely lost, disorientated. Had I been dreaming, talking in my sleep, the words landing light as mist on my eardrums? That would explain why I actually thought I heard the voices, but I still could remember none of the dream.
That’s when I realized I could smell the blood of her in ways that defied average perceptions or sensations. I shook my head again.
Hmmm, what is up? What’s going on? The revelations in this one, ohhhh, they are shocking once the forest reveals its heart to Terrence.
Next, we meet Peg Saunders, a young woman with a depth of perception that costs her so much…
A strange tree, of course. Lovely, too!