Just an idea that popped up after watching a video talking about The Birch.


The livid shouts multiply, thundering, thundering to heights I never would've imagined were possible. They furiously persist to thump and brutalize the wood surrounding me.

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Each sound of impact zoning in on my eardrums, shaking the life out of them, deadening them.

My heart rate ups. I can't hear anymore; my ears feel like they were bleeding profusely, as if the thumps have crushed all three ossicles and tore out my already defective cochlea. But the pounding of that one organ is consuming all of my mind.

I can't breathe. I can't think.

I can't hear above the frenzied storm of my heart.

Then, a particularly heavy shove of the bole behind me knocks my head against the bark in front of me, jerking me back to the reality, the severity of what is happening.

The people are rallying.

I lean my head away from the bark, leaving some sweat behind. That is how much moisture that is spewing through my pores.

Some of the townspeople are smarter and start ripping some of the branches and boles off.

Each hand that wrapped around wood, each finger that dug deep into the fibrous material sends chills down my spine, swarms of invisible, ice-cold ants crawling under my skin.

Each sickening snap slaps me, each cruel crack crushes crucial chunk of my soul as the broken bits of branches and boles brush my skin as they tumble to the dirt.

Each cry reverberates through the wood, the vibrations shoving me this way and that way, amping up the adrenaline spiraling out of control in my veins.

Each stream of light shoots fear straight to my soul.

They are breaking through, closing in.

Fudge.

Tears burn in my eyes.

Fudge.

The breaths whipping in and out of me are getting shallower and fewer.

Fudge.

I am making these weird-as-heck noises right now.

They were going to kill me.

The sobs pour, practically vomit out of me. If I cared about how ugly I sound at the moment, I would've been horrified. However, I currently don't give a rat's behind.

They were going to torture me. Rip me limb from limb as they spit, shriek at me, and severely mutilate my body.

It's okay.

The soft, motherly whisper wisps through the blood-scented air as the skies and people wreak havoc on the bloody trees and broken bodies barricading me in.

It's okay, Anne Anne.

The closer branches seem to hug me, the smaller ones brushing against the hair on top of my head, comforting me in the only way they can, the only way I'll accept, the outer ones cocooning, as if to protect me, shield me from the crazed, panicked screams outside of this nest, this makeshift shelter. From the terrified people who want to butcher me for bringing her here. Since they were too scared of her, they pointed fingers at me for the death of their loved ones.

The ugly crying got more revolting. I feel like I was already dying. My insides are committing suicide. There is so much pain.

Guilt.

Shame. Self-shame.

Pain. Red-hot, crippling pain. Pain everywhere. Searing throughout me. Expanding, bulging, exploding in every limb, in every vein, in every cell. Yet there is none of my blood on me. Guilt like no other had catapulted into me and stabbed its caustic claws in, burning its fiery nails deep into my flesh, parasites seeping into my bones, my marrow, eating up all of the sanity left in me. The self-shame screeched at me from all sides, cursing me, damning me, crashing into all of my senses, destroying my coherency, ripping out broken, jumbled apologies out of me.

I-I didn't mean to!

let them die.

I'm sorry! I-I didn't know!

I — I didn't realize my indignation —

my hatred

built up to that point! I'm sorry! I swear I didn't want — I didn't want them to die.

They no hurt you.

The dense warmth, warmth I've never known before them, and the gentle conviction, the sheer conviction in that voice calms me. Stills me. Relieves me.

Saves me.

The affection-stuffed comfort of the trees brings the sweet, sweet sense of safety and security back. It is almost as if I was physically cocooned by fluffy, tangible clouds. The encompassing sensation is so soft, so soothing that it sways me closer to slumber. I never wanted out of this sweet security.

Those caring, feather-light hands had swooped in, pulled me back from the edge I had tittered off of.

The sobbing stops. The pounding of my heart stills. The sweat dries. The adrenaline dies.

I no longer hear the screaming. The hatred spewed at me. The thuds and thumps. I don't feel them anymore.

Not because I can't.

But because,

It's okay...

It's okay.

They won't hurt me.

They will protect me.

I smile softly.

Free.

More free and happy than I've ever been in this unwelcoming town.


Hopefully, this isn't a repeat of the short film. Now off to watch it. Or hw. Depends on which desire is stronger.