Forest Treehouse

Submitted into Contest #50 in response to: Write a story about a summer afternoon spent in a treehouse.... view prompt

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General

Lovely afternoon in the woods. Small animals are gathering around.

„Let`s play some game“, one shrieky voice among many wants to be heard. There is a debate - what kind of game, asking for definition of game by another lonely voice; chasing, fighting or hide and seek, to which they are very custom, especially when wolves or wolverine visit their patch of forest. Black bird chirping involves her in the conversation:

“I know, we should arrange our own tree house and play within as humans do!”

All eyes turn up towards her, with a lot of murmur. Elderly are against such crazy endeavour as one gray squirrel observes – “Actually it is just a house, look around”, but the youth, as anywhere on the planet, is ecstatic. Already they are all over the place searching for a tree house or we should better say a house. After an exhausting and futile search, they are back, tired and happy like any juveniles around the world. For them, running and hiding around, picking some flowers was worth it, despite not finishing their task, most of them have forgotten about it.

Back to square one, the crowd is restless, ready to abandon provisional plan, playing as humans do. One last attempt to persuade them has failed as everyone is going off in different directions.

“I know the ideal tree for your tree house”, from the top of the highest branch of the highest tree, an eloquent, distinctive and rough voice stops the group of small forest inhabitants. First intention is to run, but something in that voice makes them curious. They all look high up to see their Nemesis, bald eagle, with many gray feathers but all very still.

“Don’t be afraid, I am very old these days, I feed on carcasses, you are too quick for me.”

“That is grouse”, single small bird replies looking around, ready to sparse in a second to stay alive.

“What do you mean, where is it?” – Another brave soul in the form of hedgehog wonders.

With his smiling eyes he explains of some dubious tree growing as it was planted by Odyssey’s for his bedchamber and his lovely wife Penelope. The house needs some wooden walls on two opposite sides to be completed as the eagle can bring them with his mighty strength for everyone to enjoy in it.

“What’s the catch? What is it to you?” – One older member chased many times by eagles, hawks, owls and similar predators steps in, ready to sparse in a second to stay alive.

“Just give me your body after your demise. My beacon is old, I can’t penetrate your skin, only corpses in decay are good for me these days”.

“What is demise?” – Small prairie dog lifts up his head ready to sparse in a second to the nearest hole.

“You don’t want to know”, many voices reply.

“I am not thinking of death and what happens after. Do that matter I am not thinking at all, my brain is too small. I go with my instincts. If you want my body, it is yours. I agree. Let’s go to the spot”, one antiphilosophical hare sums up the opinion of the entire forest.

Following mighty wings of the eagle, they all are very satisfied with their house, tree house as everybody considers it. As promised the eagle has brought missing parts and every one brings in some little thing, a branch or two, many different flowers, snacks in the form of nuts or caterpillars. With the eagle watching over them, the tree house is too small for him and the rest of the gang at the same time, they engage in many games, trying to copy humans. Few birds have flown away to seek and spy two-legged creatures and give additional data for some silly entertainment. Obviously, not accustomed to living in a house, even if it is their own tree house, they got bored very soon. Eagle steps in with his proposition of story-telling. They all agree and start talking in numerous voices not wondering what are they speaking of and if anybody listens.

“Order, order”, one chirping sound silences others. It has to explain, especially to babies, of proper conduct in houses such as this one.

“I am a kid, I could do whatever I want”, the sound is here, but not the person who produced it, so small a snail or some bug.

“You have to obey”. However cries are heard from one corner:

“Booo, I want to get old this minute, I don’t want to be a baby anymore.”

Experienced animals wait for their little roommate to spend its amount of tears and focus their attention once again to the problem at hands.

“We should elect the speaker, but who could it be? Who has the most experience and can tell many interesting stories?” - Badger looks around, but not up, for an answer.

The eagle on the branch, just out of the window, patiently waits. His tactics are obvious, eventually they would look up and see him in his glory, or what is left of it.  His patience is giving up on him, as treehouseholders actually regard this quiz as proper game and very funny, too. At least new and like any novelty it is so entertaining and hilarious. He tries to cough, moving his beacon in the position that he saw humans put their mouth, but without any success – the eagle’s DNA aren’t equipped for that. At that moment, he wishes he is a horn. One of many animals with long ears points its pride and joy upwards to the eagle, who was ready to leave the tree house, the gang and the prospect of some dinner in the future.

“Tell us a story, real life one, please”, many voices speak and all eyes, many muzzles and some ears, are on him.

“What can I tell you, I am only a bird”, modesty at first is the right thing for greater attention later.

All over the tree house with the Sun spreading its golden rays through the window and many cracks, many different voices, unlikely chorus, demand, plead and expect a story or two.

“Very well”, with eyes sparkling, ”I will give you what you want” – Screams that have never been heard in the forest follow his compliance.

“I was young and proud eagle in those days”, he starts his story with all heads looking up at the bald eagle, symbol of America, all in gold and surround with it, as the rays from the Sun shine both him and leaves around him, “there was war and I was enjoying it, with so many bodies around, feasting on best parts of any”. Few murmurs break his story as young animals were asking around about the war, with elderly explaining promptly. “It was a fight between blue and gray uniforms, bloody and savage. That time I tasted eyeballs for the first time, and I enjoyed them. They were like caviar and even better, because it was for free”, several more interruptions.  “As my father explained it to me, there was a struggle who will rule over the Negroes, very poor, ill-dressed and ill-educated people. Those days, there was popular opinion that they can’t be left on their own for the sake of themselves or their masters. Their purpose in that world, as is for many of you, is to provide for the white men. Other father’s friends, which travelled to the west, added that the red men were endangered species like many of you, with your forest shrinking daily, as the white men conquered their lands and slaughtered their necessity – huge bison herds”, broil among treehouseholders stops his story for several minutes.

“I have never understood what the fuss was about as black or white, in gray or blue uniforms, they were all the same, at least, their guts are. I have stumbled on many corpses in the battlefields, black persons lynched on some tree, destroying the proper intent of flora for its eternity and many bodies, both black and white (with good fabric still on) tossed in the swamps.” Not reading Shakespeare, not reading at all, but as one with the nature, perfectly understanding how the same veins, guts, ligaments and muscles make part of any and every living creatures, both animals and humans of any colour on the surface.

Slowly but surely, small forest animals start leaving the tree house as it seems more like doomed horror place. The bald eagle didn’t notice any of it, too involved in his story which continued long into the night: “I wish for another war, these days one must fly off to Mexico, which is easy, there is no wall yet. Local massacre in everlasting drug war is good substitute if you have desire for human caviar or liver pâte.” His small brain couldn’t comprehend fighting for power inside one democratic country, oppression towards slightly different folks and environmental destructions as way of life and progress. His basic instincts, for food and shelter, prompted him, at the end of his road, to speak of things he doesn’t understand and wonders of, with innocence of his species. 

July 16, 2020 23:54

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