Tuesday, 1 September 2009

MULTIPLY Writer's Block Challenge #65: Graham and the Oak Tree

Graham was tired, he was so tired that he sat down in a chair to relax. He was feeling so weary that he had not taken the time to put his axe on the work bench. Its weight was pulling his arm down, towards the floor. He sighed and then took his last breath in this world. It went so quickly that he had no time for fright. Death came surprisingly, as if a slight breeze had blown through the room taking his life with it. The oak tree in the garden was still standing. Actually death should have come to this tree, not to Graham. It had grown so tall over the years that his house had become dark inside. The strong branches were starving the rooms of light and Graham had decided the time had come for a radical job. The tree must go.

He knew this would not be an easy job. Graham even had a strong feeling of guilt. He had grown up hearing the story of how the oak tree grew from an acorn, planted by his grandfather when he was a boy, so many years ago. It hurt to destroy something that had been left to him by his ancestor. It was with a heavy heart that he walked out into the garden, the axe in his hand. He looked at the tree and it seemed that the tree was wider and taller than usual as if to defy him. He raised the axe to strike and felt a sharp pain in his arm. A dark shadow seemed to pass before his eyes and he fell to the ground, dropping the axe as he went. “Pull yourself together man” he thought “it’s only a tree”. He picked up the axe, still feeling the pain, and stood again ready to make his first joust, but a strong wind came and the branches seemed to move towards him.

The same words passed through his mind again “it’s only a tree” but somehow it no longer convinced him. He felt unsure about the word “only”. When his grandfather planted his acorn, it might have only been an acorn, but it grew. He had watched the oak develop over the years, making more branches, spreading. It seemed it was even moving towards the house, but it was only a tree. The sun disappeared behind a large threatening black cloud and the tree was standing in an almost ethereal light. Graham felt his flesh creep, he was uncertain and his arm still hurt. He decided to leave the tree job today, perhaps tomorrow. Graham returned to his house. He was so tired that he sat down in a chair to relax, his axe still in his hand.

The oak tree rested. It had been a day full of threats and now it could relax. It had survived many storms, but had never been struck by lightning. Now it had even avoided death by Graham’s axe and Graham......

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