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Friday, July 04, 2014

The Sentinel Tree (#FridayFlash)

This originally appeared on Google+ in one of +MJ Bush’s “tell me a story” prompts. I’m using a similar but different photo here to avoid copyright issues.

Image sources: Wikimedia Commons
Lis looked at the ancient tree, the sentinel of the gods, standing watch under the night sky. When her ancestors first came to this place, uncounted generations ago, it had stood on this hilltop. She shifted her burden, nestling in the crook of her arm, and began.

Climbing up to the hollow space one-handed was difficult, but not impossible. Lis teetered at the edge for a moment, then hopped down and crouched. The hollow was safe and inviting, and people often came here to meditate or leave offerings. Lis knelt and laid her infant son on the smooth floor. “O gods,” she whispered, tears streaming, “I am dispossessed of my home, through no sin of my own. Do with me what you will, for none are innocent, but do not allow this child to starve in a heartless world.”

As she stood, she heard a whisper: Take up your child.

“You reject him?” she sobbed. “You would have him starve?”

No, the whisper replied. Take him up, go south to the old road, then follow it west.

“But we'll starve before we go far!”

There are trees and vines whose fruit will sustain you. And streams of clean water. Follow the road, and you will find a welcome and a home.

Lis looked up the hollow at the sky. A star streaked across the Highway of the Gods, toward the west. Trust. Follow.

“I… I will.” Lis lifted her son and scrambled out. The way south was easy, all downhill. She could do this. More stars streaked to the west, perhaps preparing her new home.

Behind her, the tree returned to its long slumber.


  1. The gods with their own bouncer, "you're not coming in!" I enjoyed the wry humour in this

  2. Always try the mundane first -- it'll usually solve everything just fine. The tree is a good gatekeeper!

  3. Nice flash! It stands alone well but could also just be the beginning of something bigger!

  4. I love trees so the idea of them as sentinels definitely appeals!

  5. Such a lovely idea. I love how it feels like a peice of a complete world and culture.

  6. Not just a wise tree, but knowledgeable, too.

    Good one.


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