Electric Woods (Decline and Fall)

 

He thinks he fell asleep at 3:15 and awoke again at 3:45 following the horrible sounds in his dream. It’s always the same dream and never more than an hour of sleep.

                The dream feels like hours but the rest is mere minutes. He is his eight year old self on one of his childhood camping trips, but the family isn’t there. He’s alone in the woods, it’s midday and he’s holding a knife. He begins hacking at a tree, tearing the bark off and thrashing it’s solid flesh, eager to douse his hands in sap; that sweet, fragrant, sticky blood.

                The tree moans as it feels the ridges of the knife tearing through, but he can’t stop yet. Not until he’s covered in that sickly sweet… and the smell! He ravages through the pulp but it’s not enough that the tree is weeping for him. It must bleed, gush, pour!

                He lifts a log and beats the soft exposed flesh; sweet sap flies everywhere and lingers in the air. The tree is howling in pain and her surrounding family cries in hopelessness. The chorus mingles with the intoxicating scent and the boy falls to the ground as his victim withers and shrivels and dies before his eyes.

                The woods are wailing for their loss and the boy awakes, now a man, at 3:45am. He sits on the edge of the bed, takes out a cigarette and with trembling hands raises it to his lips. Spark. Adding more orange to the room, the street lights outside forever permeating the night-drawn curtains. His blood-shot eyes glare at the light stained curtains. His cigarette goes out. Spark. Getting dressed, he knows what he has to do. He will stop the wailing. From the garden shed he takes an old hatchet and goes into the street. He crosses the road to the wooden post connecting the telephone wires and with a resounding thud, sinks the hatchet deep into the wood. The action unfalteringly repeated. People have started to watch and shout at him from their windows and he knows it’s only a matter of time before someone’s dispatched to stop him again and take him away.

                The wooden post falls slowly, the remaining attached splinters groaning then snapping and a crash as the communications hit the ground. The smell of electric in the air.

                He swiftly crosses the road again through the screams of onlookers and stops before the generator that powers this half of the estate. A determined blow takes the lock off in one go. Pulling the door open wide, the screams get louder and frantic.

                He takes a slight step back then swings the hatchet into the core of the generator and a blast is heard in the streets that still have light.

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