This is my entry for the weekly prompt: EXHAUST
Cool air lingered in my nostrils as I breathed in the minty-grassy atmosphere. It was that time of the year again. The time when our branches and twigs flourished with a bounty of silver and gold leaves — leaves that are desired by humans in Greed Town.
Carbon dioxide filled my shiny chlorophyll, together with some amount of sunlight I trapped during the glory of the morning king. We, the tree people, only had green leaves when we were several months up to ten years old. During that time, we gather as many nutrients as we could from the soil and the environment because when we grow up to become adult trees and when our leaves turned Aurum and Argentum, we could no longer feed from nature. That was when the saddest part of our existence would happen.
I sighed at the thought of growing old. Once youth became a thing of the past, when we had served our purpose, and our energy exhausted, we would…
A boy’s ecstatic voice rang through the crevices of my trunk, which served as my ears.
“There’s a cute tree with green leaves here! Why is it like that? Isn’t it supposed to have silver and gold leaves like the others?” he asked his mother, whose eyes turned dollar signs while gazing at the enormous tree in front of me. She was fixated on the sight of the shimmering leaves of my father and didn’t pay attention to her son’s question.
The kid scoffed at being ignored, so he walked to me and smiled.
“Hello, my name is Yvo. What’s yours?”
“I’m ah… tree.”
The boy giggled. “I can see that.”
Yvo spent his time playing with me, swaying my branches, and tickling my leaves. Meanwhile, his mom was busy plucking some leaves from my father. She was so busy that she didn’t even check on her son. She brought with her two baskets, which were almost full in about fifteen minutes.
“What do you do with the leaves you collect?” I asked Yvo.
He shrugged. “How would I know what adults do with those? I’m just a kid like you.”
I smiled at him, thinking that he made a fair point.
“Yvo! Let’s go! I’ve collected enough leaves to buy a new car and some new gadgets. Oh! I can't wait to travel abroad, too.”
Yvo abruptly stood and shook out some dirt off his pants. “That’s my cue. We must go. Goodbye tree.”
I waved my thin stem at him and saw them walk away.
I was happy because, for the first time in my two years of being a young tree, I had a conversation with a human.
“What are you smiling at?” my father asked. I could see from the furrows on his forehead that he wasn’t happy. “Do you think that child will not grow up like his mother? Apples don’t fall far from the tree, no pun intended. Humans may look innocent as a child, but once they become adults and have their eyes opened to needs and wants, they would exhaust all resources, even nature. They won’t mind if the forests become bald, as long as they can get what they want. We’re in Greed Town, remember? Look.”
My eyes followed the direction my father’s branch was pointing to, and no sooner than Yvo and his mother had left, several more people came strutting toward the other adult trees around us. Their eyes reflected the shimmering colors of wealth and luxury as they gazed at the bountiful trees. They carried with them huge sacks and bags on wheel borrows.
In a blink, they were already breaking twigs off the other trees, which were silently crying their pleas. Some residents even used hatchets to cut branches with the most leaves. Their avaricious laughter percolated in the melancholic hum of the wind.
“See what I mean?”
I looked away from the horrific sight. Poignant sobs of other younger trees, like me, echoed, hitting my heart—since tree people also have hearts, unknown to humans, of course.
“What will happen if the adult trees are gone?”
“I don’t know yet, but I heard from trees my age that when all the leaves of tree people wither or even fall, they turn into fumes because they would give off all the carbon dioxide they’ve consumed throughout their existence.”
I couldn’t find words to respond to what he said and close my eyes and ignore the turmoil and tumult around us.
“If only I could do something about our miserable situation, I won’t turn a blind eye— ahh!”
I opened my eyes when my father’s scream added to the already chaotic noises. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a throng swarming towards him, snapping every leaf and branch they could get their hands on.
The greedy people were yelling at each other, pushing, and afraid of running out of their share.
My extremities wobbled as if they weren’t made of hard bark. I could no longer see my father’s face, because of the people fighting over him, but I could hear his last words:
“Don’t let others steal your life from you. It’s your fundamental right.”
His voice trailed off as it had gone with the wind. Greyish smoke painted the once lush and vibrant forest because of the fallen trees. Their remains puffed like exhaust from factories, giving off greenhouse gases.
I froze as I watched the last leaf from my father’s tree fall. As it descended gradually to the ground like a sheet of paper blown by the melancholic wind, my tears streamed down my rough-bark cheeks. The salty liquid flowed like an endless stream when the realization hit me hard. ‘He won’t come back.’
Just the thought of not seeing him anymore tore my heart to smithereens as I choked on the bitterness of the situation. ‘Why do we, the tree people, have to suffer the consequences of human greed?’
The rewards earned on this comment will go directly to the people( @agmoore ) sharing the post on Twitter as long as they are registered with @poshtoken. Sign up at https://hiveposh.com.
I read stories throughout the day, throughout the week. Often the stories are excellent, well-crafted. Rarely, however, do I read a story that moves me as yours did. I felt the axes as they fell upon the trees. I felt the sorrow of the young tree, and the grim realization of its future.
I don't know how this idea occurred to you, but an idea is one thing. Realizing what you imagine before you write--that's something else.
This is a story for our time, and for every time.
It is perfect.
Thank you so much for appreciating my story. I didn't expect that this will have such an emotional impact on readers.
Thank you for the gift as well admin @agmoore
😊😎🤙 Good to see one from u! makes my day better..
Thanks a lot! ^_^
I don't think I've ever read a more moving story. The consequences of our greed on nature is a sad tale indeed😢
We, at some point, are responsible for what's happening to our nature now. It's sad but true.
Beautiful. Touching. Well written!
Such vivid descriptions I could see the young tree's pain and feel the father's melancholy.
Thanks for the inspiring message in this moving story. Keep writing! !LUV 🙂
@kemmyb(1/3) gave you LUV. tools | wallet | discord | community | <>< daily
HiveBuzz.me NFT for Peace
@kemmyb thank you for noticing my story. I'll try my best to write more stories like this.
What a beautifully worded piece, a lot in this to love, but this was my favourite line: "Their avaricious laughter percolated in the melancholic hum of the wind."
I love seeing language used so deliciously; I don't give out my 100% upvote lightly to people I don't know, but I feel like I need to hit that button in this case.
@lordtimoty thank you so much for loving my piece. It's an honor to be a recipient of your 100% upvote.
Definitely the most touching piece I've seen in a while. The thought process and the ability to to weave through such a beauty is excellent to say the least
Thank you for appreciating my story; comments like these mean a lot.
My pleasure boss
Haha, the word "boss" sounds too much for me.
You are a boss sir
I'm actually a "ma'am" 😄
Oops me bad.. Still doesn't change your boss status "ma'am"
This is highly creative of you @idlemind.You have so winged your words that you not only get my attention but my affection. Kudos!
Thank you. I'm glad that my story affected my reader's emotions. It makes me feel like I'm an influential writer. Thank you again
I found your story very important, highlighting how man cuts down plants to make money, without taking into account the damage it causes to the environment and humanity. I congratulate you for winning, with this story, the second prize in last week's contest.
Thank you so much. I didn't expect to win. It's my first time. Thank you for the compliment as well.
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I never thought that most of my story's lines would impact readers. Thank for taking the time to read my piece.
It was my pleasure. 😊