The Killing Tree


Adult Short Story
Completed (1,980)        

 Excerpt:               

It hangs from the strongest branch. A blue and black tattered thing. Yet, the taut rope holds steadfast. They go after it with a baseball bat. Loud thuds carry across the meadow. Small animals long ago scurried into the brush. Only the people surrounding the tree stand witness.

And the fire. It too has a feast. Deadwood. It devours what the people offer and gives them warmth and light in return. Smoke curls up from the flames and drifts toward the thick branch and the rope and the tattered thing.

All ten people take turns clobbering it. They grip the baseball bat, grit their teeth. Whack! Over and over as if they are furious. As if they are the forgotten ones. They hit it until it the insides splatter everywhere. They cackle, then swarm the ground like savages. Some reap the spoils right there as they grunt and shove one another.

It makes us thirsty

It makes us hungry. Most of all, it angers us.

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