Conservation of Care

Beautiful oak tree Michael Salazar flickr

Photo credit: Michael Salazar

Jarn shuffled toward the ruffians.  Strangers, must be, to not know about the grove.

They’d almost reached the center oak.

“There’s a tavern down the road.  Try there.”

The biggest man snorted.  “I like it here.”

“You should leave.”

Another mimed alarm.  “And if we don’t?”

The trees creaked, groaned, pulling the canopy’s shade closer, looming.

“I’m asking politely.”

They laughed — masking their fear, salvaging their pride — but they left.

Jarn stroked the rough-barked oak.  The grove would protect her, long after he died.  But until then, he’d help.

Whatever her form, whatever her powers, she was still his daughter.

Word count: 100.  Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers challenge.  Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting, and to Sandra Cook for providing the original photo prompt, below!  Click on the link to read the rules and submit your own story, or just read the other entries.


Photo © Sandra Crook

37 thoughts on “Conservation of Care

    • And you would be wise to run before they loom any closer! I was picturing that cliche’d scene where these young punks are up against the unarmed old man and say, “Oh yeah? You and what army?” And then this ring of huge trees starts reaching toward them from all directions… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s something every writer wants to hear, thank you! In theory, there will be more. Or rather, I have a draft of the whole story about how the situation got to this point; this is more of an epilogue. I have no idea what happens after this part. Yet. 🙂


  1. I almost wish the ruffians got “roughed up” a bit. I’m imagining coarse bark rubbing harshly against skin. Guys like that need the occasional reminder of their mortality. Cool concept, Joy. I really liked it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I can see that! But these trees aren’t much for roughing up. They seem to operate on the idea that the last trespasser’s quick death should be sufficient reminder to the next person about their mortality. 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Eric, glad you enjoyed it!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Love that. The way the love comes through, even as the trees themselves are threatening. Powerful allies and dangerous enemies. Intrigued to know how she became a tree, but hopefully I’ll find out one day 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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