Copyright 2001 by S.R. Sudekum
Chapter VII - Sunset
And so went the days. The humans would leave each morning, and Chris stood tall as ever, in this strange new empty forest. His water would run dry on occasion, and he would try to ignore the creeping thirst, because he soon learned that the Vozzas, one or another, would soon be by to give him more. Each time he went without, his stump would dry just a little more, and each day it seemed more difficult to draw up the water he needed. Each day also, more and more things were placed beneath him by the humans. Objects of varying shape and size, brightly colored, and oftentimes the young ones would sit beneath his boughs and play with the objects, shaking them, peering at them, rearranging them. As the objects became more numerous, more often did Chris find himself thirsting. It was harder for them to water him with all the things now in the way. He found himself resenting that bright clutter.
His pains had at last faded, or perhaps he was just unable to feel them any longer. The weight on his branches was no longer comforting, or uncomfortable, it was so he could no longer remember what it felt to not be laden down. The light would come, and fade away to darkness, again and again and again. The days melded into one continuous flux, the mind-numbing sameness dragged him down and down. He dozed, sometimes slipping into a lack of consciousness that lasted for days.
Chris vaguely was aware of a period of great noise and brightness, of much human activity around him, and he thought the things placed beneath him were being removed. Too much brightness, too much noise and light and sound. Or did it not happen at all? He couldn't be sure. What he was sure of was that he felt different. Something had changed, and not for the better. His needles were dropping. Not one or two, but veritable showers tinkling to the ground beneath him, sometimes all it took was a faint brushing of his boughs, sometimes they fell on their own. Coherent thought was hard to come by. Any feeling, good or bad, pain or pleasure, became impossible to discern.
Chapter VIII - Nightfall
The heavy blackness faded to a grey, and briefly a loud sound, lightness, then dark, then nothing.
To be continued...