Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What the Tree Saw

What the Tree Saw   

(Winner- 2013 NCW short fiction contest) To be published this Fall in a collection of short stories.                                  

          Now it’s common knowledge that a town of a certain size will have a witch, if only for the purpose of eating disobedient children and thereby keeping the population at manageable levels. My grandma said that mothers of naughty boys and girls offered up more prayers on behalf of their offspring than mothers of obedient kids. To keep down the praying, witches started eating up the troublemakers who were giving their mothers extra reason for heavenly correspondence.
         “Didn’t their Mamas pray even more when their kids were et up?” I’d ask. Sometimes I’d get as much as a huff out of her, but mostly her answer’d be that their mothers forgot about them quicker than a girl my age would care to dwell on.
          I believed her, because my grandma was one of those witches.
          She lived at the edge of town—the edge of town that seemed to be downhill or at least downstream for where the wind would pile up the worst looking dead leaves—in a large grey house that backed up to the only creek in the county. That house had stood through the war. Rumor had it that a Yankee general had tried to burn it, but it wouldn’t light. He tried again and half an oak tree fell on him and his horse and smashed him dead for his effort. The part of the story that most people left out, cause it made the house and the town a whole lot less special, was that this general was burning houses in the middle of a near monsoon. It was too wet to burn a can of gas. The storm and some wind knocked that branch down on his head. Nothing more than bad luck.
            It was at the base of that very tree that my friends and I congregated today. The weeds grew high in the yards around us so we were free from the watchful eyes of adults. We’d been hunting toads all morning along the banks of the drainage ditch that ran behind the house, and once again, the sun had gotten high without us even sighting a single one. We slumped in the shade. There were five of us: me; Ray; the Treemont brothers, Finn and Buck; and my little brother, William. I was the newest to the gang and Will didn’t even count he was so little, so we were getting the least amounts of shade, but not complaining.
Thank you for reading! I've taken down the rest of the story because toward year's end it will be published in an anthology.  Send me a note if you'd like to be emailed about how to get a copy. I'll keep putting up new stories. Thanks again!

Everything on this site is copyrighted. Do not reproduce for financial gain and do not repost without giving credit to author.

No comments: