Leaves trembled against the window, tip-tapped a message to someone somewhere. Not to her; no – she was the enemy. She would cut up their leaves and chop off their branches and cook them or burn them or shape them into something different from the original purpose of living things.
The dreams always left her sweaty and cold. How could trees be sentient, with the ability to have thoughts, with vengeance part of their arsenal?
All Em did was turn wood – well, correctly speaking, it was timber – into artistic and useful products to send home.
But the dreams! They came and roared in sounds of giants being felled; they whispered like saplings being bent too far; they shimmered like dapples on dark grasses. And they wanted her to know something.
That something was too much for Em. Trees were not sentient. Not. Never had been, never would be. Alive, yes; sentient, thinking beings – NO!
Even on Earth, the trees and flora had been studied to the nth, but no evidence anywhere had ever produced one iota of anything that could be considered a ‘thought’ or ‘feeling’ – never!
She closed her eyes, shoved the ends of the pillow against her head to block out the sounds of cracking green timber torn apart in a tempestuous storm. Didn’t work – the sounds were in her head and the visions were behind her eyes. She opened her eyes and let the pillow slide off the small pallet that passed for a bed in this distant galactic post.
If she’d had any opportunity to leave before the next supply ship, she would; but she didn’t, and if she didn’t keep up her output to meet the quota, she’d be denied passage.
The work must go on, the trees must be felled and killed and shaped and polished – until they became useful artifacts to take back to the barren and unforested Earth.
A sudden vision of the larger seeds – yes! She could inscribe the seeds with soppy messages, or religious messages, or artistic lamp stands, or … it would get the seeds there! She would ensure the survival of at least one seed – maybe more!
How could she focus her energies on the seeds and what could she make of them? Things like jewellery? Yes, that would work? What about handles? Yes. And Buttons? Yeeessssss. And covers for small things that she could turn into little miniature pictures. The little things, and then, when they got to the right environment – as in, chucked out to make way for the new trends – they could become all they were meant to be – and, if everything went as it should – Earth would get real trees again.
Copyright Shannon Hunter 2017.