When thinking like a writer, I delve into different personalities.
Today, working in the garage at home, rain falling more heavily as a flock of thunderstorms fly overhead, I think about the comic books of my youth, looking at my personal copy of IDRAWCOMICS, a sketchbook for visual arts, and I wonder about the characters in my thoughts…
No one alive in this century or the last remembers when the last seed fell, before the branches dried, petrified, frozen in place, wrapped around the base of the tree, a permanent embrace.
The seed knows.
It knows when it’s ready.
A crane fly pushed off from the side of an old house nearby, long ago abandoned, forgotten, a landlocked ship, empty except for spiders and echoes of tall sea tales told over and over again, rising and falling with ancient waves, undulating as ground swells during spring rains, shriveling back into the earth during autumn dry spells.
The fly landed on a small rock.
The seed felt the fly’s feet land a few millimeters away.
A tiny, imperceptible crack opened as the seedpod split apart.
Like a spider, the seed reached out and grabbed a fly leg, feeding immediately, sticky tendrils slowly enveloping the fly until it disappeared and reappeared as a seedling arm.
The seedling smelled fresh, wet earth and newly-sawn wood — its time had come.
Time to feed again, to grow into the shape of an animal’s domicile, attract larger prey.
Some things on Earth are older than the planet.
Travelers from another time, another dimension.
They adopt the shapes familiar to local fauna and flora, enhancing their energy collection methods for the moment when they decide to move on.
They have no names. They have no need for languages. Their means of communication are ancient, primordial, basic energy conversion more complex and meaningful than words.
Humans rarely encountered these ancient beings directly because the beings always looked like something familiar; therefore, human history was dotted with rational explanations for their sudden disappearances, stories about trolls and murder-suicides filling the heads of children and adults alike.
Having purchased a plot of land, one particular human, Mailzel Staonehearth, wanted to leave his mark, building an architectural masterpiece that would last generations.
For nearly 30 years, he watched the seasons come and go, nurturing this tree or that, pulling up or cutting down plants that did not seem to fit the pattern of randomness he sought.
He often wandered the wooded property alone, talking and singing to the trees, leaning against them to feel their energy, waiting for the right moment to find the place to build.
He had walked past a tree dozens of times without noticing it until one day he looked up and there before him was a mature beauty, gray bark shining bright on a wet winter morning.
“Here I shall make my mark!”
He stepped back several paces to admire the wonder before him, a deciduous giant whose trunk split into two smaller ones several meters from the base.
“You are more beautiful than I ever saw before!”
Startled by Mailzel’s exclamation, three crows chatting in upper branches took off.
Mailzel spent the next year walking around the tree, taking measurements, keeping track of the plants and animals which came and went under the great tree’s protective stance.
He consulted gardening guides, house construction books and the New Oracle in vogue called the Internet.
Finally, with enough knowledge and courage to power any demigod, Mailzel set a ladder against the tree, climbed to a point four meters from the ground and drilled the first hole into the tree after holding a moment of silent meditation, thanking the tree for giving itself as the cornerstone of a Mailzel’s masterpiece, the Treehouse of the Macabre.
As Mailzel worked on the treehouse, the seasons changed, late winter leading into early spring when wildflowers bloomed, birds sang and the forest awoke.
Mailzel liked the blooming trillium, one of his favourites, so as he worked on the treehouse, he avoided stepping on a patch of trillium growing next to the tree.
The seedling also knew about Mailzel’s preferences, its sensory network tied to pure sets of states of energy in motion, and moved amongst the trillium.
Every day that Mailzel worked, the seedling sat still.
On the days that Mailzel devoted himself to other projects, the seedling fed.
Millipedes, centipedes, snails, gnats, ants, whatever walked by or alighted unawares.
The more the seedling grew, the stronger its bond with Mailzel grew, a symbiotic relationship of a universal order, before the solar system was born, before the Milky Way Galaxy formed.
Mailzel fed his dream while the seedling fed its plan to leave Earth, even if it had to consume the whole planet, including Mailzel, correcting a mistake the seedling’s ancestor made in not consuming its host and thus not completing its mission.
Once a seedling had established a symbiotic relationship, it had to fully combine with its host to transform into its authentic form, devoid of dependencies upon planetary atmospheric conditions to survive.
The host was like a reverse relationship equation.
One rainy day, Mailzel set up equipment in a temporary workshop near the tree, drawing sketches for the treehouse, his thoughts adrift as rivulets flowed down wet weather creekbeds.
He leaned back in a chair and fell asleep.
The seedling grew into a vine and crept toward Mailzel like kudzu on steroids.
As Mailzel dreamt, the seedling slipped a tendril between a sock and Mailzel’s ankle, finding a new flesh wound where Mailzel had slipped on a rock and banged his knee.
The seedling worked its way into Mailzel’s bloodstream, letting itself dissolve into simulated blood cells as the rest of its body crawled inside.
The merger complete, the seedling woke up Mailzel and showed him updated plans for the treehouse and others like it, a network of feeding stations that the seedling would use to grow itself, hoping it could configure an energy grid that acted like an antenna with which the seedling could communicate with others like itself in the galaxy.
Not only was it time to leave this planet, if not eat it, it was time for the seedling’s siblings to consume this galaxy and move into the next universe.
All Mailzel knew was he was conceiving the best treehouse ever built. He never knew he was really constructing a portal to another universe.
But the seedling knew and that’s all that mattered.