Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Isle of Roots (Luminous Creatures Summer of Super Short Stories)

Image Credit: Anthropomorphic Roots by Mike DelGaudio Flickr CC 2.0 (via Luminous Creatures)

The Isle of Roots

Few walk the Isle of Roots; its twisted, misted shores.  Little lives amidst this creeping fear, the writhing souls wailing underfoot.  A calcified collection, preserved in partial dessication, of self-sought deaths from whom answers may be sought by those brave enough to ask - though they speak only when they choose, to guide the way.  Wandering spirits return seldom when they cross the island’s bounds.  Truth takes chances in the speaking.  It has ever been the case.

The tree itself lies amidst a heart of knotted roots for those who swim tear salt tides to it, casting themselves towards the child-like keening reaching from the boughs into the ocean.  Those who reach its sanctuary place their offering before it, adding to the pile heaped about the thick trunk.  There they wait, a body of bark surrounding them, bones beginning to dry, animation engineered by their questions.  They do not know and cannot guess which items warranted success.  They do not ask.  They will not waste their singular opportunity, should it be offered.  

Once whittled to a skeletal sylph, the ghost takes residence in the brittle embrace of the prone and prostrate, lying within reach of their goal.  Pilgrim, now, she is.  Poor, those dismissed as unworthy to proffer themselves properly.  Still, they hold her close in their clutches whilst they may; scant communion with opportunity.  They number many.  There are others to be added.

Time turns before the undulations begin underfoot and she stirs, stretching arms wide.  Such is the island’s speech.  Branches hold fast to her ankles and grip at her wrists as her fingers touch the ground, hesitant, to raise her from it.  Silent amidst the now still limbs, surrounded by the entombed, she nods; an affirmation.  The answers are many, though the question was but one.  She caresses the uneven surface, which releases its hold on her hands, freeing her feet to stand.

Within an indeterminate period, a once wandering spirit returns to the island’s bounds, laying herself in offering on its twisted, misted shores, bones breaking into bark with the touch of the tear salt tides.

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