by Will Irons
The tree man lay on the ground in waves of dead leaves and twigs, shattered. They had his last limb detached with the axe after binding him on a tree. “Tim……ber!” they yelled. The village chief had enjoined his fourth amputation.
He refused to weep. God was the master of his life. That was the sanctification essential for holiness that commenced when he was four. Tree roots shaped his contours and his flesh was a concoction of human skin and tree bark – part of the package of divinity.
He peered through the canopy against the backdrop of the sky. He spotted a falcon’s silhouette. It soared before darting for him. Upon descending, the dark bird evolved into something larger. The tiny roots on his lashes blurred his vision, but he recognized what he was seeing.
The devil cushioned himself before the tree man. He was gorgeous with an air of equanimity. His smile prevailed. The tree man knew he would do anything for him if he could.
“Will yourself for their juices, my dear,” the devil uttered.
The tree man felt a surge of power within his cylindrical body. New roots burgeoned through every pore. They wriggled, multiplied and stretched, shoving him upwards. He was now perched aloft the forest.
As he maneuvered his roots like tentacles, he saw his village from a distance. He lowered his chin to look at the devil who nodded.
His new limbs stirred the path as he headed home. His thirst must be quenched.