• Published 25th Aug 2013
  • 12,077 Views, 243 Comments

An Apple A Day - Esle Ynopemos

A collection of thirthy-minute short stories about the rootinest, tootinest farm-filly this side of the Everfree. There'll be a chapter a day for thirty days. I ain't no fancy arithmeticker, but that adds up to a whole month of good, health

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25: The Beast [Dark] [Comedy]

((Prompt: This great evil. Where’s it come from? How’d it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who’s doing this? Who’s killing us, robbing us of life and light? Mocking us with the sight of what we might have known?

Does our ruin benefit the earth? Does it help the grass to grow and the sun to shine?

Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed through this night?))

There is a beast that walks among us.

We cannot see her, but she sees us every day. She looks upon us with hungry, greedy eyes. Patient. Waiting. She stalks between us, a great predator, and we are her prey. Can she taste our fear? Does she see us shiver?

We cannot hear her, but she speaks to us every day. She whispers to us, tells us to grow till we are plump and juicy. She grins and tells us how sweet we taste, how good it smells when our flesh is roasted on a stove. If we could answer, what would we say? Would we beg her to leave us alone?

We think ourselves safe here, free of the dark forest that darkens the sky and chokes the life from us. We stand together in the sun and are given cool, fresh water, and life is kind to us. But the beast yet walks among us.

It is she who brings us that water. She who nurses our ill ones to health. She who cuts back the dark forest and guarantees our nourishment. She stood by us when we were small, grooming us, shaping us so we could grow tall and strong.

Surely these are the actions of a hero, not a beast. But a beast she is. All of the care she shows serves her designs for us. She weaves purposes for us we could never begin to understand.

But we understand that she is a beast.

Every year, when the chill of autumn begins to settle on the land, that is when she comes for us. Perhaps the cooler weather chills her heart, for the gentle caress of her hooves turn to brutal blows. She strikes us, one by one, with all the might of Tartarus behind her legs. But that is not all she does.

She takes our children away. She beats us, and wrenches them from our grasp. She makes off with carts piled high with our young. Where she takes them, and what she does with them, we never know, for none ever return to tell the tale.

The beast lives by the blood of our children. They are as fruit to her, sweet, succulent morsels and nothing more. We would weep if we could. We would wail in grief if we could. But we cannot. We can but stand in solemn silence as winter's frost takes us.

We do what we always do. We weather the assault. We pour sap over our wounds and live on, praying that autumn will never come. There is naught else we can do. We are but trees, and she is the beast. She is the master.

She is the apple-jack.