August 2013

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” -Shakespeare

In exactly 500 words, what is happening here?

Michael Lejeune says:

I swung an axe at the thickest one. Last night, when they were here. It raked my chest with a branch and opened me up like I was made of butter. Wood is a stronger flesh. People don’t know; they don’t realize how fortunate we are that trees can’t move quick. They’re supposed to be still, and slow. They’re supposed to stay in one place.

They cornered me in the garage. The little ones wrapped tendrils around my ankles. The sawdust, that’s what stopped them. I hit the ground on my shoulder, just under the table saw, of all places. Ironic. Is that irony? How much wood have I cut on that table saw?

Did they know?

When the little ones got sawdust on them they recoiled like tape measures. Their roots retracted fast as whips. They slithered and stalked away, and I heard a strange sound as they went. It was like muffled squealing, buried under the sound of wood snapping. Sticks breaking again and again in a wrung, shrieking throat.

Branches scraped drywall, loosed chips of paint and snapped molding away. The two big ones—young oaks I think—scored deep gouges in the ceiling.

The clerk at the hardware store was casual enough, until I told him exactly how much sawdust I needed. His manager offered to save what their shop made in the coming weeks. I took what I could get and left, headed to the next store. There’s plenty of sawdust to be had if you know where to look.

And now my house is covered with it. Every square inch of floor. And I have buckets of it in every room.

I bought two new circular saws, and I’m keeping them plugged in and nearby.

My ex wife called me about ten minutes ago, to check on me. Said she was worried, after “what happened before”. I can’t believe she won’t even name it. Just like my sister, and Dr. Stamford. I told them a dozen times, the food in the cabinets came alive and tried to kill me. I don’t know why, and I don’t care. I was alone, and in danger, and if I hadn’t accidentally fallen against the open silverware drawer, I would never have found the one thing they were afraid of.

She didn’t even know about the other times. When the electrical appliances came at me with their power cords suddenly prehensile, all reaching for my throat. Or when the books flung themselves from the bookshelves and onto me, where they gyrated back and forth, slicing me with a hundred paper cuts.

I hung up on her. She didn’t believe me then, and she won’t now. The only person I can trust is myself. No one, and, it seems, nothing, is my friend anymore.

But I survived before, and I’ll survive now. I may not sleep for a week, and no one will believe the story later, but I’ll live, damn it.

I will see the end of this.


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