WritingPoetryHumor WritingInspirational WritingCreative WritingPersonal EssaysBooksPlays & ScriptsMemoirs & BiographiesNewspapers & MagazinesSerializations

The Dead Tree

Updated on April 23, 2017

Some fear death.

I never did. It was a solemn death at an old age, surrounded by loving family just as everyone dreams it would be. At this age, most don't fear death regardless, but I never did anyway. Perhaps that is why I made it that far in life.

From experience, I can say that the white light people often see is merely the hospital lights through the white sheet that had been spread across my body. Everything was disillusioned though, as if I was staring through a crystal ball.

It wasn't until I reached the funeral home that I got relief from the rush and panic of the hospital. The pastor gave a silent prayer of peace that began to ring through my ears.

My funeral came next. the mortician prepared my body as he would for any other. I felt him tear away the golden watch that was still around my wrist. It made me internally cringe; I was hoping that my son would be able to take it and hand it down to his son when he was old enough to take good care of it. This didn't matter anymore; it wasn't like I could yell at this man from the dead.

I could hear the tears of my family when the open casket was placed for all to see. It was touching to me that so many seemed to care. I could feel myself become stiff, wishing I could get up and walk around a bit to loosen up. That was my main concern throughout the service.

Once everyone was gone, I gave an internal sigh. I already knew that if I was this hyper-aware of events happening around me, the rest would be a nightmare. My family had decided with me before my death to cremate me, then place my ashes in a container with the seed of a tree before burying me along rolling fields. It was a new burial process that was supposed to help the environment. I didn't mind because when the tree grew it would be a creative way to remember me forever.

What I didn't expect is how much the process would hurt me.

Have you ever burnt yourself? It was quite a shock, wasn't it? Well imagine that feeling all over your body, with angry flames lapping at your inner parts. I could not even move or struggle away. All I could do is feel the fire engulf me. At first I wondered if I was still alive, but if I was I knew I would be long gone from this horror.

At last, the fire diminished itself once there was nothing left of me to burn. The sweet relief of silence was only for a moment, but cherished.

Then I was brushed into the urn. Small barely noticeable parts of me left behind, doomed to never join me but the majority reached the destination. It was a bit packed, and frankly I was surprised I had any consciousness left at all.

Seeds were scattered throughout me, and then there was nothing left but darkness. The lid had been secured, and I knew I would soon be buried.

Have you ever felt something growing inside you?

I can now claim with confidence that it does not feel great.

Roots dug through what was left of me, separating my particles.

Whenever rain soaked through the ground to reach me, the tree would drink it as if life depended on the droplets.

It felt as if a vampire had imprisoned me, consuming every last piece until there was no soul left behind.

Thank goodness I knew the plans for my burial, or else I would've been stuck in constant turmoil and fright. That didn't mean I had any comfort in my mind, for fear seemed to be the only emotion I could feel anymore.

Forever encased in darkness, you can imagine my relief when I realized that there was less of me. My ashes were becoming consumed, and all sense of feeling was beginning to vanish.

In my remaining days, I imagined the tree growing above. Could my family see it yet? How much had they grown? I hoped that they didn't miss me too much.

Only when a few crumbs of me remained did the fear return. For all I had gone through so far, what was next? I could not imagine, and a part of me didn't want to know.

All I could do was wonder as the last piece of ash vanished...

Wind brushed through my branches. I could feel it, as well as the warm sunlight that was keeping me well-fed with light.

I was a tiny sapling with no memory of how I was created, yet the more that I grew the more that I realized these strange creatures often visited me.

They were horrible, placing soon to rot corpses of flowers by my roots. Every day I had to watch the precious plants wilt away, not knowing the meaning behind this ritual.

Often, the creatures that were able to move their two roots had precious water seeping out of them. It is as if I am important to them, but if that is the case then why present these innocent flowers ripped from their roots in their prime to me?

I fear I will never understand.

© 2017 Alexis Chantel


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • TheAlexisChantel profile image

      Alexis Chantel 2 months ago

      I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 months ago from Queensland Australia

      What a wonderful story. Very different and a pleasure to read.