Pulling Down Roots

The Jaguar rolled down the country roads, flowing down them with the elegance a swan. With his hands at ten and two Terrence smiled at the control and mastery the car gave him. ‘Close your eyes, darling’ he said to Sylvia, who was sitting in the passenger seat watching the road ahead and hoping the twisting roads would straighten out.

She rolled her eyes, then reluctantly closed them, safe in the knowledge that he only ever played this game at the very end of a journey. The Jaguar slowed and Terrence gently turned the car left at the giant hoarding that proudly read Built by KP Construction.

The gravel under the tyres crunched and the car came to a stop. ‘You can open them now’, he beamed as he watched and waited for her reaction. She’d seen the plans and the photos, had opened the credit card bills – he’d been careless, but as she opened her eyes her jaw dropped, and her eyes opened wide, ‘Sweety, it’s magnificent!’.

They got out of the car and he hurried round to her side, looping his arm in his. The white marble pillars and Edwardian windows stood proudly amongst the dishevelled front garden. Sylvia looked around at the building works that had clearly just finished, and Terrence’s heart began to sink.

He took her by the hand and began leading her to the front door, ‘I built it all for you’ he declared, as he dug into his trouser pocket for the key. As he guided her forward, she looked around again at the decimated front garden and noticed the sign of the company that had helped.

The interior was all clean lines, stainless steel, and glass, all style, but no home, she thought. As he whisked her from room to room with an excitement she hadn’t seen for years, all she could think of was what had he done to the rear garden. Finally, as the tour of the house finished, he led her to the huge French doors that led out to the back.

Completely incongruent to the house, the back was full of old growth oaks casting the back of the house into shade. Sylvia frowned as she looked up at the sky to find the sun, but the trees were too dense. ‘They’ll have to go, immediately’, Terrence nodded his ascent.

Terrence spent the next hour on his phone, shouting and cajoling until he finally assented to the terms that he’d been presented with. ‘They’ll be here tomorrow’ he sighed.

The next day they came with chain saws and ropes, scaling the trees and dismembering the branches. The trees groaned and creaked in defiance. Ropes slipped, chain saws caught and after the first day two people ended up in hospital.

As the sunlight faded, they stood in front of the remaining trees, sharing a bottle of wine. Silently Sylvia sipped as she imagined the rows of flowers she was going to plant. Terrence walked up to the piled-up logs and admired the technology that could lay waste to nature so efficiently.

They slept fretfully that night, as the sound of the wind whispered through the trees and into their nightmares. The sky was still dark when Sylvia woke and sat bolt upright. ‘Did you hear that?’, she whispered, as she pushed and prodded Terrence.

A thud hit the window, then another and another. Sylvia pushed Terrence out of bed and he cautiously tiptoed over to the window. A black shape thudded against the glass causing him to reel back in surprise. He opened the window wide and peered down at the ground, to see a scattering of birds on the ground, unmoving. He could hear the wind rustling through the bushes and the weeds, but as he gazed up at the trees, not a single leaf stirred.

‘Well’ came the voice of Sylvia from behind him. ‘It’s nothing, just some birds that must not have seen the glass or something’, Terrence replied as he shut the window.

He climbed back into bed, but soon two, three, four more thuds rattled against the windowpane. They lay there trying to ignore the macabre scene that was playing out just feet away when a log came smashing through the window. Sylvia screamed and covered her face with her hands, as Terrence ducked under the duvet.

As the log rolled to a stop, they ran from the bedroom and down the stairs as they reached the bottom, they saw movement through the French doors. Great gashes were, hewn from the earth as the trees lifted their roots, and marched towards the house. Their branches swung wildly as they moved causing them to spin like a whirling dervish. Sylvia and Terrence ran screaming from the house as a branch caved in the roof – their Jaguar a twisted hunk as the trees surrounded them.

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