OAK III: Red Flowers & Bone

Cut to the bone.

The Earth around The Oak was tangled with slender vines tipped with jagged red flowers. The buds pushed themselves up several inches above the soil, opening slowly with tendrils of sap glistening and dripping down the vines. The sap’s bioluminescence glowed a soft orange in the dark, their stamens poking upward from the centre of each bloom, swirling gently.

Cut down rather than across.

The sap released a pheromone that billowed into the air. Tiny carmine spores floated from the blooms, creating a heady dust designed to lure and intoxicate. A low hum reverberated from deep within The Earth, a vibration that sent a shiver through the area, casting the spores further afield. They drifted, some settling on leaves and moss, glowing faintly in the dark.

A guttural rumble tore the mossy soil apart around The Oak, the green folding back on itself and convulsing as if it were birthing something.

And birth something it did.

Cut to the bone.

Its fingers or what were supposed to look like fingers thrust upward from the ground, thrashing and hacking its way out as the blooms around it rose higher, releasing more spores and spitting sap. Its body was made entirely of nature, but this was not the type of nature that was kind. It was everything terrible nature could create.

When it finally broke free from The Oak, it stood at over ten feet tall and oozed the same sap and wafted the same spores as the flowers around it. It yanked its head forward, the blooms ripping out from inside the soil as they unfurled and gathered around its head in the mass of vines where its hair would be. Those red flowers floated and swirled around its head in a cloud of hazy poison. A low hum drifted around as a warning signal, but nobody would be clever enough to realise.

When it moved, sap trickled from its body leaving clumps of corrosive venom on the ground, yet it didn’t seem to eat away at it.

The creature opened its mouth and roared, the howl sending a shockwave that produced even more spores, the air around it now thick with them.

Cut down rather than across.

It buried its roots in the ground in front of The Oak, gorging on tiny crawling life from the Earth, but it wasn’t enough. It needed more.

Cut down rather than across.

It heard those words spoken with anger, spoken with the intent to hurt and cause pain, and it followed them slowly, unfurling its roots from the ground, creeping across it, the spores and vines drifting in slow fluid movements. The forest reached out for it, branches creaking and twisting to touch the red blooms, leaves uncurling, mosses pulsing against the ground as if the Earth’s heartbeat were heavier than usual.

This was not an it. This was a SHE. The embodiment of The Divine Feminine in her rawest form; RAGE.

She could hear the words cutting through the air, vicious and malignant. She recognised those words and remembered what she was before the shame hit, before she had given herself to the Earth via The Oak, she remembered;

Cut to the bone. Cut down rather then across otherwise it won’t work, cut down..

He was asleep. She saw through the gaps in the forest, over the gentle ripple of the water from the pond in the night, and around the landscape until she was stood over him. Her mouth fell open slowly in a quiet hiss, her jaw distended and cavernous. The vines and red blooms around her head shifted in one snake like movement, poised above his face, creeping closer. The glow from the flowers cast soft light over the shadows of his face, but revealed more than surface skin. Those words; the poison he released and couldn’t take back pulsated and coiled under his flesh like parasitic worms. She could see them moving and growing. His face was puffy and engorged, and every few seconds a blackened worm would flick from his lips and across his cheek, only to find its way back inside by slithering up his nose.

Cut to the bone.

The poisonous whispers were right there in front of her.

She lowered her head inches from his face, every bloom on her vines as close to his skin as could be without touching it, spores wafting and filling the room, that low hum that nobody would have taken as a warning sending ripples through the air.

She wanted him to see her before she took him. His eyes were forced open and he could see the vision of rage he’d help create, just as she coiled her vines around his throat and neck, across his gaping mouth as a strangled gurgling bubbled out. His eyes looked into what used to be hers, but they were glowing rings of blazing anger, and nothing like the ones he used to see. The soft bark of her once smooth skin unfolded so fresh vines could uncoil and pin him where he was. They stabbed through him like hot bolts, gleaming with corrosive sap that hissed and frothed though his flesh. The vines around his throat coiled tighter, slowly and deliberately so she could hear every crack, every break, and every pop as the life drained from him. The facial cavity that was once her mouth was so distended that it was wider than his head, and she was siphoning him into her core. He tried to struggle and writhe beneath her, but he was too weak as she tore the life from him. The place where her heart used to be glowed a bright red that flowed through every part of her right to the ends of each flower. Her belly grew rapidly as she consumed him.

A final crack from the thickest vines ended him, as it broke his neck. She paused over him, looking over the burned out husk of what he was. Her mouth shrank back into place, her vines recoiled and settled themselves softly. He was now as he had once left her, hollow, and empty, and cleft. The worm like words oozed and crawled out from inside what was left of him, because they always survive. She watched them trickle away into the dark, where they belonged.

The newly fed blooms on her vines puffed out a generous cloud of spores over his corpse, and settled over him, devouring the remains slowly. There would be nothing but red dust in the morning.

She withdrew back into heavy shadow, and crept back to The Oak. She was entirely satiated, her body swollen and pregnant with the life she had claimed as hers. The Earth around The Oak opened up to her, peeling itself back with a welcoming warmth with which she could merge. She sank down into it, its vines twisting and entwined with hers, a protective web crawling over her heavy belly. The Earth closed itself around her, and  drifted into a deep torpor, as they both fed on what she had taken.

Her red flowers slowly poked up out of the Earth, and swirled with their jagged petals in the night. Only when they began to fade would she rip through the Earth and feed again.

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OAK II

Overwhelming sadness

Those coiled whispers softly woven

Promises unending

Torn away

Savaged

Slipped away as dust to the weeds.

OAK

She was broken with shame in a way that was irreparable.

Wandering into the woodlands over the moors near home, she found a gigantic Oak tree set deep in the Earth, surrounded by thick moss that hadn’t felt human touch for a long time. The air was thick and heavy with the scent of it, and her bare feet sank and left imprints in the soft green. She clawed her way through, ripping huge clomps away, upsetting the life underneath; worms and beetles flew as she clawed deeper, her fingernails filled with dirt that felt strangely warm for such a cold place. She didn’t want to feel anything anymore.

The Earth grew warmer and seemed to pull itself apart to let her in, almost as if it knew she felt such profound loss that it didn’t want to make this harder. She found a root that uncoiled slightly, and put her hand through it, feeling it tighten around her wrist but not so it hurt. The Earth opened a little more, sinking and rising softly as it breathed. She closed her eyes and slowly one by one, heavier roots reached out and coiled around her arms, around her body and finally around her thighs. She didn’t have to dig anymore, the Oak pulled her down into the warm soil, and closed around her like she was back in the womb.

The Earth above her settled again, worms and beetles as they were, the moss unbroken and untrodden.

Her eyes were the first to go. Tiny shoots from the roots that coiled around her wound themselves through her flesh. Her hair twisted into the ground, and held her head in place as the Oak took her. Two sharp branches shot through her eyes, piercing them until they found their way through her ears. Blood trickled from the jellied mess that used to be her eyes, and she screamed soundlessly as her mouth filled with soil.

Hundreds of barbarous shoots bore through her skin and into her bones, her entire body burning with pain. It had changed much in the last week, she was paler then usual, her frame felt weaker, merely something for her skin to hang from which felt heavy and oversized. She had been reduced to a barely breathing husk. The shoots settled into her body and left intricate twine on the surface of her skin.

The roots pulled huge armfuls of mossy Earth to pack her deeply into the ground, and wrapped themselves around her like a Mother would for a sick child.

The Oak drank her slowly, draining the life from her organs, the blood from her veins and the life from her skin. It took her heart next, gnarled and ruined as it was, hollowing it out before filling its shell with a viscous sap. One by one, it changed the configuration of her organs into a myriad of vines, moss, and worts, her skin replaced with a canvas of soft bark that would release spores as she ripened. Her hair twisted and coiled into hundreds of thin vines tipped with tiny red flowers that would burn to the touch.

The verdant moss and Oak grew slowly richer as they fed on her; she stayed buried there down in the warm Earth, nourishing it until she was dead to the world.

Whatever surfaced later wouldn’t come for a very long time.