They Call Him…
by Josh Vogt
“They say it’s the last.”
John grimaced at the caretaker’s words.
“They’re right,” he said. “I’ve checked.”
He understood the caretaker’s confused stare. Most people visited the tree in curiosity or reverence. No one embraced it as an old friend, like John had.
“Checked?” the caretaker echoed.
John nodded. “Across the world.”
“That’s a lot of ground to cover.”
“I get around.”
The caretaker pointed at the bundle sagging over John’s hip.
“Lugging that with you?”
John patted the sack. “’Course. Might say it’s a part of me.”
“Whatcha got in there, anyways?”
John unzipped the pouch and allowed a glimpse.
“Sand?” the caretaker asked.
“Do you ever miss them?” he asked.
“Forests. Jungles. Orchards.” John sighed. “They used to be everywhere.”
The caretaker shrugged. “We need the space, don’t we?”
A bell sounded in the distance. The caretaker turned to go.
“That’s my shift, Mr. Chapman. Don’t dawdle, else the tour will leave without you.”
John waited until he was alone, debating all the while. Older than the mountains and some of the seas, it had taken him ages to complete his first masterpiece. Was it worth starting over?
He took off his shoes and tested the dirt between his toes. Good soil, at least. That offered some hope.
Opening the pouch again, he drew a handful and flicked the seeds in a golden spray, grey eyes marking where each landed. Then he leaned against the trunk and listened to the sap murmur his name.