Short Story: Becoming

I am trying to write short stories. They may not be very good because they are fast and rarely edited. I would love feedback regardless – what do you like? What confuses you? Do you like the POV or should it have been different? To anyone who gives me feedback – THANK YOU.

The prickle of the pine cone made her shift, sliding the offending matter out from next to her, poking into her bare thigh. She looked up at the tree and slowly took a deep breath. She picked up the ice carefully in one hand and brought it hard across her other. The sharp tang of blood filled the air. The rivulet poured down her forearm.

She used the wounded hand to slice her other hand, blood now running down both wrists and pooling in front of her knees. She kept silent, placing both bleeding palms on the largest root she could find. The metallic scent of blood in the air faded, the blood around her knees began to vanish.

Closing her eyes, she fought a woozy sensation threatening to drive her into darkness. She felt a streak of panic, and opened her mouth. 

Breath in.

Moonlight cascaded across the clearing in a thousand beams of reflected solar energy. Warm energy without the heat of full sun.

Breathe out.

Warm earth around her legs, providing protection and life, The responsibility of a thousand small lives around her.

Breathe in.

A wind rustling gently through the clearing carries a million spores both desired and unwanted. The flowers among the leaves yearn for their match, the wholeness which produces new life.

Breathe out.

A deep reservoir of water bubbles up with a persistent patience only water and earth can truly understand, their millennium of gradual shifts and swirls a dance of time itself.


She slowly stretched, feeling the earliest stirrings of sunlight in the east from her highest branches. She drank deeply of her water and listened to the stirring of the earth. A slow, quiet song entwined her roots. She leaned out of her branches, curious about the strange shape beside her trunk. Something rested there, something which would be delicious if it could be buried to rot.

She paused as she felt it, a desire to reach out to explore it. She could, so she did, slowly shifting her branches until she could shift the corpse… not a corpse since the form still moved air just as she did.

A slow terror like fire built. A despair she had to wrestle to keep from cracking her own trunk. She used her branches and pulled the form close, cradling it. Afraid. 

She gasped as her eyes flew open. A cold dew covered her bare skin. Enclosed in bark and limbs, she couldn’t move. She couldn’t hurt the precious bark which scraped her bare skin. Every scrape filled with bark itself, slowly covering her. After several hours of trying to escape the grasp of the tree, she closed her eyes in despair.

The warmth of the sun illuminated her, filling her with everything she could possibly want or need. Why was she unhappy when deep roots and tall branches could provide everything she could need? She stretched her branches upwards to capture as much light as possible, dropping the useless form which could not love the light this much.

Once more she opened her eyes, and this tme she lay face-down in the mud, free of the branches, But every place the bark of the tree had touched her now had bark itself instead of skin.  She rose shakily to her feet and leaned on her tree, 

It was hard to remember her human existence in the rings and song of the tre, but with each blink between the two forms it became easier. When she finally fell into true sleep as twilights sank into night, she felt the warm rings shift around her form entirely, encapsulating her human body against harm while allowing her to stay awake to listen to the night song of the forest.

Most dryads lose their human form the day they become a tree. A few remain mobile for weeks or months after joining. The draw of the tree’s inner life and quiet serenity require a constant will from the dryad to remain independent enough to return to their body. A tree has no desire to ever move, humans do have a peace in staying still.


2 thoughts on “Short Story: Becoming”

    1. I mean a lot of my daydreams start with “what if a dragon showed up RIGHT NOW” – the why and what happens and who does what…. and you can replace dragon with trolls, aliens, or zombies and you have about 60% of my brain when I’m in public.


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