I lived my last few days, rotting away on the inside, with a red “X” across my chest, like an aged target waiting to be struck down. When the saws finally bit into me, like wolves sinking their teeth into a rabbit, I realized that nobody would really hear me fall, despite the number of onlookers who surrounded us. They were all too busy seeing the decent of this massive tree, that they forgot to see me for what I was: me.
I wish I could have been angry; that I could have been mad at them, but they barely knew me. Most of the aged adults were fresh out of their mothers’ wombs when the rot first set in, and the younger one were but a far away twinkle, like a star in the night sky. I suppose I was more mad at their fathers’, and their fathers’ fathers’, and all the generations before them, back to when they had first set foot in my kingdom, bearing fire and chains from across the sea. Then I was but a small, thin sapling, budding with the first full-grown leaves spring had brought me.
I was one of the lucky ones then. My small size meant I was unfit for their housing requirements, and so when they cut down my brothers and sisters, they left me for the future. By the time that future came, enough houses had been built around me that I had become a meeting ground for town festivals. They strung banners across me, and the innocent children ran about at play.
With the space they had given me, my roots were able to grow far and deep, and I grew bigger than any of the other trees in the area. I was so large, it took two dozen children to make a connected circle around me. With time, the pain of my executed family faded, and I found love for the children around me. I was saddened when they grew older, and acted with the same malice as their parents.
When the buildings first started going up, the first talks of cutting me down started, to “clear the skyline for future horizons” as one man had put it. I was lucky then, that the last generation of children to line up around me were still alive. They came again as adults, without the glistening smiles, but with the same love in their hearts, to protect me.
But as more decades passed by, the air became filled with gases. The roar of trains, and cars, and buses made the children cough, and stay inside their homes. The poison in the air sunk into my bones, and the rot set in. Nearly one hundred years went by before it began to show, but the day came when one of my massive arms couldn’t take the weight anymore. It shattered, and the massive limb—a tree in its own right by many accounts—came crashing down. It killed thirty people, which to me seemed like a fair trade for all the lives they had taken from me.
From the hole it had left crept a black ooze, and as it rained down from the hundreds of feet above, the people turned their heads skyward with disdain. A day later, the “X” had appeared. This massive, bloody tattoo across my body, and within a few days the machines arrived. They sputtered for hours, tearing into me, dying, being repaired, and tearing in once again, until finally I felt the whole world sway, and came crashing down.
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