‘Images’ by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to write a story involving a tree of (any type of) significance that has either fallen or was cut down.

This story (albeit a week late) comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Cathy’s first novel, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama, is available from her locally or on Amazon.


MISTER WOLFE, the sequel, coming soon!


“Images” by Cathy MacKenzie

“You can’t let him cut down that tree, Mom.”

“Oh, sweetie, it’s just a tree.” My mother peered down at me. “What’s wrong?”

“The tree. I want that tree.” I stomped my feet. “It’s mine.”

Mom flailed her arms. “Stop it right now. For one thing, it’s not your tree. Mother Nature owns trees, not us.”

“Is so my tree. Dad told me so.”

I ignored the tears welling in her eyes and prayed they wouldn’t cascade down her cheeks. I might not be able to ignore them then.

Mom didn’t say anything. Had she given up on me—in disgust? Or could she not be bothered? I tried her patience many times.

When she continued to act as though I wasn’t there, I returned to my room, where I fell to the bed. Life was hard for kids. I desperately wanted to be an adult so I could do what I wanted and not take orders from anyone.

Then again…

I got up from the bed and looked out the window. The tree was in plain sight, at the edge of our property. It wasn’t that big to be causing so much trouble, but it was healthy with an abundance of leaves that fell in the fall, especially when the wind blew. When Dad planted it the day I was born, it was about as tall as him. Apparently, I sat beside him, snug in my infant’s chair, while he dug the hole.

And now, crabby old Mr. Aaron Drummond was raising a stink because leaves were falling onto his driveway. What a crock.

“It’s too close to my property line,” he’d bellowed, pointing to our house. “Look at your yard. It didn’t need to be anywhere near my property.”

“I realize that,” Mom had replied. “My husband thought the line extended another three feet.”

“That ain’t my problem. Move it, or I call the city hot line. Or I cut it down myself.”

“We have no choice,” Mom had mumbled as we walked away, leaving Mr. Drummond cursing under his breath. “Your father definitely planted it too close to the property line.”

“Can’t we move it?” I had asked.

“Birch trees don’t like to be disturbed. It’ll die if we disturb it.”

“So you’re gonna just let it die without giving it a chance?”

“Sweetie, it’s just a tree. We’ll plant another, okay?”

“Mom, I don’t want another. I want this one.”

Mom had ignored me then, too.

I closed my curtains and went back to bed. My father’s face flashed in front of me.

The next morning, I woke to unusual sounds in the front yard. I raced to the window and spread the curtains. There was cranky Mr. Drummond, axe in hand, hacking at the tree. Mom’s words that birches don’t like to be disturbed rattled through my head. Too late. Those sores wouldn’t heal.

Neither would mine—or Dad’s. He had been killed by a felled tree while out in the woods cutting firewood. Mom found him late that evening after he didn’t return for dinner. I was four. I vaguely remember him. Mom said I must have blocked him from my mind because I should remember him more than I do. Maybe so.

But even though my father comes to me in dreams, the only face I see is the smiling one in the frame on my dresser. And now, the tree that Dad planted will appear in my dreams, too.


The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

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