Short Story 2018 Longlist Giftsy Dorcas E.

Hidden From Human View

Once upon a time long, long ago no one knows how long ago, but some very long time ago, there was a tree. The tree had many branches, some as old as the tree, others as tender as a new born. The tree stood hidden from human view, but right under the open sky. It was the abode for birds, for some permanent and others a shelter to stop by. But the tree treated everyone the same way with an open arm.

Once a tiny bird that was all scared came to rest on the tree. The tree noted that something was amiss about the bird. It was silently watching the new visitor. The bird chose a corner spot, in a branch somewhere hidden from others gaze. Green leaves surrounded the bird’s hub on every side. It sat without making any noise.

As time passed, it became evening. The sun was descending to its haven. All the other habitants on the tree, flew back to make themselves comfortable for the night. The little bird from its hiding watched, hoping no one would notice its presence. As it grew dark slowly all the birds began to sleep. But this little bird, the tree noticed, did not sleep. It was still… almost motionless. After the thick blanket of the dark night encapsulated the tree, it couldn’t control the course of its drooping eyes, it fell into a deep sleep.

Suddenly, a gentle touch awoke the tree. The tree slightly swayed as he woke up. He tried to see what had woken him. At first he couldn’t make out what it was, as darkness had not missed to cover even a spot around him and the only noise was that of a rogue wolf howling at a distance. He sensed some activity as bats flapped and flew past him.

Then the tree looked further ahead. There before it stood an image so beautiful and divine. A fairy radiating light, was delightfully dancing. It was mesmerizing sight indeed… With hands swaying gracefully… The tree was in a trance. Slowly the fairy light grew brighter and brighter. She was getting closer. The atmosphere around was getting warmer.

It was then that the tree noticed that the birds were all awake watching the spectacle. But, suddenly they all began frantic and began to flutter their wings and took flight high up into the starless sky. As the tree watched, in a blink of an eye all the birds had left making him feel light. Little by little, but then, he could feel stinging pain in his branches. As he looked, he felt the pain was becoming unbearable. Parts of the tree were turning black and dismembering away. The tree didn’t know what to do. He looked up at the sky but there was nothing…

Just when he felt like it was the end, the tree heard a beautiful voice singing. He thought it was the fairy light tending to his wounds. When he looked for the owner, however, it saw the tiny bird still sitting on the same branch, but now with its eyes closed singing his heart out. He had not abandoned the tree. The voice was soothing… As music filled the air it eased the pain of the tree. The bird did not stop singing even when the flames of the fairy light became a forest fire brutalising his body. As the tree kept watching the bird, it suddenly felt drops of water kissing its wounds. The tree slowly realised that the open sky was unable to hold itself after listening to the bird’s heart wrenching song. So, it tricked down some water drops at first which proceeded to become a heavy down pour of grace abounding. The tree was saved.

The tiny bird sang its way to eternal sleep as the tree with some branches stood hidden from human view, but right under the open sky and from there on he always told the story of the tiny bird that laid down its life for the tree.

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