In the forest behind the other tree with the hole in it, the one with the hole in the ground behind it, the hole where the hairy things live, the hole in the other tree with the hole in it is a door to the village where the hungry things live. The hungry things that keep the hairy things down in the hole in the ground behind the other tree with the hole in it. The hole that is the door to the village where the hungry things live. The home of the flying things.
These flying things. These hungrier than hairy things. They are born of dreams of bad children and live off nightmares of good children. In this village there is no ground and everything must fly or fall into the hole in the ground behind the other tree with the hole in it, where the hairy things live. And become hairy things themselves. In this groundless village of hungry things that are flying things, that feed off nightmares of good things called good children, in this village with no ground, the clouds are a deep red. The sun is black. Black as the burnt out shell of lasting despair. A sun of midnight screams of iridescent terror.
And these flying things. They have eyes that twinkle silently like stars in the night sky, as stars would, over idyllic scenery or bloodstained battlefield.
These twinkling starry eyes light up when bad things called bad children sink into uneasy sleep, burdened by pain and sorrow of things yet to happen. These starry eyes light the path. On their nocturnal journey into frequent fears formed from fantastic fountains of festering foul figments of furiously fidgeting feet. Kicking away sweat soaked covers and cold sheets, in futile attempts at a fugitive lifestyle on foot, trying to escape and evade flying things, that are hungry things. Hungrier than the hairy things in the hole in the ground behind the other tree with the hole in it. The other tree with the hole in it, that’s actually a door into a darkness called Village of The Flying Things With No Ground In It.
Branches like elongated twisted skeleton bones. Branches from which good things hang. Like good children. And feed the villagers with nightmares. It is to this tree the boy first spoke. The boy who speaks only when spoken to. This tree spoke to the boy of old things. Stories of a time before time. And of things to happen. A tomorrow before crime. And this tree was one of many in a forest full of trees. And the boy, when spoken to by this tree, was in the Forest of Speaking Trees. This boy was alone. Alone in a place he should not be. Speaking Tree to the Speaking Tree. And the boy was free.
Free of the village beyond the Forest of Speaking Trees. The village on the other side of the hills at the edge of the Speaking Trees forest. Free from his people who lived in that village. They told stories of what happened to children who wander off into the forest of Speaking Trees. Stories of things of which they know nothing about. Half-truths, cautionary myths, flamboyant spook stories. The story goes, children who enter into the Speaking Tree forest disappear. Bedtime stories. Children didn’t wander into the Speaking Trees forest. They were dragged there. And left behind. Not left for dead. Left for the dead. The village near the forest of Speaking Trees was filled with superstitious people. People who believed in witches, demons, and animals who speak with the voices of the Devil. People who brought children to the Speaking Trees forest. Children unlike other children. Children who were born early. Born late. Children who didn’t speak a lot. Who spoke too much. Looked wrong. Who looked too right. Children who didn’t fall sick, or were too sick too often. Children who were not scared of anything and scared of everything, who saw things, heard things, felt things, smelt things and thought things nobody else in the village, thought, smelt, felt, heard, saw or even wanted to. Cursed children. Punishments from the gods. Seeds of darkness. Meant to be returned to the abyss that spewed them forth as a trial for the righteous.
Children were taken to the Forest of the Speaking Trees to appease these gods who liked to test the village of the righteous people. And in this forest, the boy, who spoke when only spoken to, sought refuge among the Speaking Trees. Hiding from the village’s deeds, the day the village’s seeds decided the village needs to feed the dead with the blood of the living damned. On the day the boy, who spoke only when spoken to, was to be dragged into the Speaking Trees forest, the boy RAN into the Forest of the Speaking Trees. And hid from the people of the village at the edge of the forest.
“Where do you run to?”, asked a Speaking Tree. The boy climbed the tree into its branches. The icy breeze of the forest made the bones hanging from the branches rattle. Brushing against the boys arms and legs as they carried him high up into the tree. His eyes frantic. Terrified heart racing, jumping from his throat. Sweat drenched skin electric, the sparks jumping from boy to tree. Tree to boy. Tree to tree.
“Please hide me, tree. Please hide me.”
The branches of the Speaking Tree swayed in the breeze, bones swinging, hairy ribs singing with the play of the winds between them. Black birds sitting inside them. Nesting. Eggs falling among the fallen below. Rolling into the groaning hole.
“Tree. Please hide me.” Hairy hands clutching the branch, fingernails scratching dry wood. Dead bark. Whimpering at the sound of fiery raging dogs in the distance. Black birds with red eyes staring curiously. Glinting morbidly.
“Trees don’t speak!”, spoke the Speaking Tree.
“You would do well to remember, next time you speak to me. Trees don’t speak, don’t speak to me.”, said the Speaking Tree to the Boy Who Only Spoke When Spoken To. Who shook as the branches shook, and fell from the tree in exhaustion. Shivered in the icy breeze as he plummeted into blackness. Trembled in nightmares, as red roaring hounds came pouring from the hole in the Speaking Tree, on their heels frenzied villagers. All hungry. All the Hungry. All the Growing Hungry. Screeches echoed in the night sky, high above the Speaking Trees Forest. There is a tree next to a hole in the ground. And in this hole a sleeping boy hid among dry bones and coarse hair. Slipping from nightmare to nightmare.