[Rainy day flashfic] In the trees, part of the trees

Menacing Forest by Adam Varga

Weaved in the whorls of our bark is a pattern. Poe’s purloined papers were placed in plain sight, but we lack even that meager pretense — these knots and knobs, these dents and depressions; these grave imperfections delicately nurtured over hundreds of years scream out for attention. Their presence is not subtle. Journals and treatises have been written about them until the shelves creak and groan with their back-breaking bulk.

And still, scientists and experts — the accumulated brains of all six vast continents — have failed to divine their true purpose. They think that they signify, yes, but in ways quite oblique to their actual meaning. They claim that these whorls and wandering runnels carved into our skin are markers of age, or accidents of nature, incidental inscriptions arising from chance and the privations of seasons.

Competing theories (equally wrong but pleasingly metaphysical) contend our whorls are the markers of trauma visited upon our corporeal forms in previous lives long since passed. Yet others proclaim them to be earthly finger-prints of celestial beings, as if such care to toy with man’s mundane mind!

Reality is much simpler than this; rarely does it require us to jump through such hoops. After all, humanity’s woes are largely self-imposed. In fine X-Files fashion, the truth has always been out there, but they just didn’t know.

So. Through the woods come tripping lightly our two spooks: Mulder and Scully. They’ve heard of paranormal activity in the region and have come to investigate. But what’s this? The forest is empty; nay, deserted! ¬†The extraterrestrial dowsing doodad is registering blips at a furious pace: bleep, bleep, bloop. It hasn’t been this active since the case of the centipede-thing in the night, down in the basement of Rocko’s gutted bar. They know something is afoot — but what, they know not.

Hands dropping to sidearms, they scurry onwards, deeper into the thicket, not noticing the ominous and intricate swirls of the close-packed ranks of trunk and trunk and tree. Until it is too late and they have stumbled past the point of no return.

Only then do they see our runnels run red with blood-laden sap hoarded over careful centuries. We weren’t alive until our first victim wandered here and carved their name crudely into a branch-brother’s bark, and then we grew conscious all at once. We replicated its name — quite incomprehensible to illiterate earthborn organics — throughout the entire forest in masochistic tattoos, and it has given us power beyond what our new mind could imagine.

Mulder and Scully scream both in unison as our prehensile organoccult shoots lace slowly shut around them.

Image credit Adam-Varga on DeviantArt


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