299 Words

Inspired by the Very Short Novels blog (which I posted about a couple of days ago) and a very interesting interview with author Alan Weisman on KUOW, I wrote the following piece, of exactly 299 words. I tried to make it like a very short novel, but, like most of my attempts at fiction, it ended up sounding more like a poem, I think.

Would anyone else like to try?

No One

A tree fell in the woods, but there was no one there to hear it. There was no one anywhere to hear anything. If there had been someone, they would have thought that the world was very quiet. At least that’s what city people like me would have thought. But it wasn’t really quiet at all. The tree fell with a tremendous crash and birds went squawking and screeching away, heard only by each other, and by all the other creatures who scattered, chattering, rustling the underbrush, the soft bed of needles. The wind that pushed the tree over swept through the forest with a rush and hiss, then calmed again. The sun shone on the undersides of the branches and a sweet pine smell drifted up, and no one felt the warmth of the sun, and no one smelled the pine. No one saw the limbs bounce and lash at the trunk of the tree, then settle to a gentle swaying, or the sparkle of the sun on its glistening cones. A magpie alighted on the tree’s trunk and looked around. No one saw its sharply delineated black and white plumes, its sparkling eyes. No one heard the brush of silk as it folded and unfolded its wings. A red plastic grocery bag that had been tangled in the limbs of the tree for forty years freed itself and drifted gracefully upward on the wind. We were all gone, but the grocery bags remained, in untended garbage dumps, wrapped around fallen power lines, along streets green with weeds. They drifted from the city to the forest, wafted from tree to tree, spots of strange color in the green, blue, and brown, stirring with a crisp rustle that no one heard. The magpie flew away, and life went on.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

~ by lolarusa on July 23, 2007.

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