Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Organic Gardening

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Flash fiction lightning streak image

This story is for Miranda Kate's weekly flash challenge. She posts an image as an inspirational prompt for writing a story. This is from Miranda's post:
This week's picture prompt was a photograph taken by someone called @hasmodia on instagram. In the link to their IG page, it takes you the shot of the whole tree. It's quite extraordinary as the image has not been altered and it is exactly as they found it.  

Here's a link to the prompt image. It's been a while since I've had time to do one of these, so when the story popped into my brain, I quickly wrote it down before I was distracted by other obligations. Horror, for sure.

Please note that anyone can join in with a story up to 750 words. Mine has 659 words (not including the title) for those who are counting.

Organic Gardening

K. R. Smith

"So, tell me. What do you think?"

"Oh, Joshua, this place is amazing! I've never seen trees like this. Some of them even look like they have faces. And this glade! The moss, the flowers—it's so lovely."

"You know, Miriam, somehow I knew you would like it here. I suppose being an artist you can appreciate the forms, the shapes, the colors."

"I could spend months just drawing and painting them."

"Well, let me spread the blanket out. We can have our lunch here and enjoy their beauty. I have some bread and cheese," Joshua said, holding up a basket. "And a small bottle of wine."

With the blanket unfurled and the basket opened, the couple sat together. Joshua opened the wine and poured some for them both.

"I do apologize. I only brought paper cups. I didn't want to risk breaking glasses on our little hike."

"I'm sure they'll do."

"Not quite as romantic, though."

"I probably shouldn't drink at all," she said, taking a sip. "You know how it makes me sleepy." Miriam looked up at the branches swaying in the breeze. "Has this land always been in your family?"

"As far back as I can trace. But this particular spot is special. I try to take care of it as best I can. I only share its beauty with those who can appreciate it—and are beautiful, too."

Joshua brushed a dangling lock of coppery hair away from Miriam's face, leaned over, and kissed her.

"Perhaps you're the one who's had too much wine. You're getting a bit bold, aren't you?"

Joshua grinned and replied, "Perhaps."

"It does makes me wonder if I'm the first girl you've brought to this glade."

Joshua sighed and said, "I suppose I should be truthful. There was one other. But that was years ago. She really didn't understand this place. I don't think she could see the forest for the trees, if you know what I mean."

"I suppose. Were you in love with her?"

"I thought so. But I was young—and foolish. There was so much I didn't understand then."

"About what?"

"Oh, everything. The world, her, this land—even myself."

"But now you're all grown up?"

"Well, I'm older," Joshua laughed. "Still a bit foolish. I guess that's why I kissed you."

Miriam took another sip then licked her lips. "I didn't mind."

"Would you like more?"

Miriam blushed.

"No, I meant the wine," Joshua said, holding up the bottle.

"Oh, my!" Miriam giggled. "I think I misunderstood. Which means I've probably had more than enough." She paused for a moment. "Wine, that is."

"I could use something to eat."

"Yes, I think that would be a good idea." Miriam looked up into the branches again. "They almost look alive. More so than just trees, I mean. The wind makes them appear to be moving, doesn't it?"

"It does," he replied while cutting slices of bread from the loaf. "Perhaps they're as excited to see you as I am."

"You have had too much to drink, flattering me like that! I have to admit, though—this wonderful place—I could stay here forever."

"And so you shall."

Miriam looked directly at Joshua. "Did you just ask me to—"

Her sentence was cut short by the blade in Joshua's hand that had found its mark across her slender neck. As Miriam's life oozed away, he took a bite of cheese. The leaves above them shook. He walked to a tree a short distance away where a shovel and an axe where hidden, having been leaned against the far side of its trunk. He returned to Miriam with both. As he raised the axe over her body, the branches waved to-and-fro, and more than the gentle breeze could muster.

"All right, just calm down. We're all hungry here. I know it's been a long time since you were properly fertilized, but there's still work to do."

© 2021 K. R. Smith All rights reserved