Second week into NaNoWriMo and it’s time for another teaser, happier than the last two… again pretty much unedited, oh, how you notice excess words when your inner editor is locked away!
The oak tree is Meg’s escape, somewhere to go when it all gets too much…
Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
The tree looked perfectly normal, but Meg was far from anything resembling normal. She got to her feet and stepped forward, hoping to feel something more, but nothing, not even a shimmer, nothing, until she placed both hands directly back on the trunk.
Once more her hands smarted and she was drawn closer. She rested her cheek against the coarse bark and closed her eyes.
Images flooded her mind, hundreds, all at once…and laughter, and tears, and grief and joy. Impressions swamped her consciousness and emotions filled every fibre of her, until she again withdrew. Then she clamped her hands back onto the tree and allowed the sensations to bathe her for as long as she could. She tried to sort the images, but they flashed too fast, and the sounds all merged into one big noise.
Then an image leaped out at her, a boy’s excited face, a young boy, no more than seven or eight, scrambling through its branches, whooping in glee as he climbed. She grinned and watched him climb through the twisting branches to the delight of onlookers below. He didn’t get very far, but his exhilaration thrust through her as he crawled from branch to branch, and then swung on the furthest reaching bough to leap back down to the ground and his eager friends.
The image fizzled and Meg let go of the tree. Infused with excitement and before she knew it she was standing on the bulging root launching herself up onto the lowest branch. She grabbed at twigs and stems and pulled herself up, straddling the bough. Then she reached up to the next fork and clambered onto the higher branch. She settled in a nook, and swung her legs enjoying the new perspective from just a few feet up.
It was a while later as the sun rose higher in the sky that Meg checked her watch. Way past ten o’clock and panic struck, she’d been gone far too long, lost in this world of hers.
She shuffled on the branch and grabbed a gnarl and stuck her hand in a tiny hole to lower to the branch below. She carefully let herself down and felt her feet touch the bough. She released her sore hand and balanced before letting go with the other. It was then she realised boots were not the best footwear for climbing damp trees.
Her sole slipped and her leg jack-knifed beneath her, her hand ripped away from the tree and she tumbled past the branch she was trying to reach. As she hit the ground pain cleaved her head and she plunged into darkness.