(I wrote this in maybe 10 minutes? 20 minutes? I don't know. So it's not the best. It's the prologue to something bigger I'm working on. Cheers. I had to write a story inspired by a picture of a noose)
The tree stood tall and alone in the field.
As a child, Spike had experienced many encounters with this tree; it had grown to be one of his best friends. It never left, it always stayed rooted in the solid earth and waved at him as he crossed it's path each day. Perhaps he felt so connected to this tree because he related to it; his family had lived on the land for hundreds of generations now, too scared to move away. Through his life, his parents had convinced him that outside the barb wire that fenced in their property was a world full of sin and taboo that was no place for a God fearing young man such as himself.
Huh, 'man' Spike thought to himself as he once more clambered over the remnants of a wooden fence and set off on his short journey to the tree. I'm not a man. A thorn scratched at his legs like a claw and he instinctively pulled away, hissing a little at the slight pain. It was nothing he wasn't used to. In fact, this was nothing compared to some of the injuries he'd suffered whilst using farm equipment, but the slow trickle of crimson blood he saw running down his calf as he pulled up his trouser leg made him queasy. His fingers came away slick with blood and he reached up into a nearby tree for a leaf to wipe them on. Having left his bloody mark on the world for today, he carried on through the undergrowth towards the tree. His tree.
This day was a sunny one; warm and pleasant with a tinge of orange in the air. There was a slight breeze, but it was refreshing to Spike as he finally approached the field at the edge of his family's land. A small makeshift bench served as a waymark, and he gently brushed his finger tips over the now soft and rotting wood that certainly would not take his weight any more. More than ten years ago now was the last time he'd taken a seat on the bench; the day he and his grandfather built it. The day before his grandfather passed away. The memories were just too painful for him, and he lifted up his fingers letting them linger in the past for just a second before forcing himself back into the present.
Just ahead of him now was his only friend; mother natures greatest beauty. The mighty oak tree. It was here where only he and nature could talk, interact, play. Where him and nature could become one. No one else ever came here; not since his grandfather passed. They couldn't face the ugly truth of the death and simply acted as though he had never existed. Spike had acknowledged the truth all those years ago, and was now at peace with his grandfathers deeds.
Sometimes, he swore he could hear his grandfather's voice coming from the tree. A quiet whisper, from high up in the tree. Calling to Spike, asking him to join them up there. Them. Spike was never quiet sure who them was, and so never responded to the voices. Instead, he simply let himself fall asleep alone in nature's arms.
But today, there was someone else at the tree.
Even from afar Spike could see the body swinging from the branches, back and forth in a gentle rhythm. Long, blonde hair draped down and tangled in the warm wind, forming knots that would never be brushed free. Even from afar, Spike could see the noose.
It was a light coloured piece if rope, looped round perfectly to form a tight noose. It had a tight grip on the woman's neck, and as he grew closer to the tree he could see the purple bruises it had left on her skin. Permanent kisses from death that stained her beauty.
Mesmerised by the woman's overwhelming grace, Spike was unable to tear his eyes away from her. He just stood there, mouth gaping, eyes wide with wonder as she hung still now. It was no longer just him and nature, but him, nature and grace.
His trance was interrupted by a startling and sudden cry. It was small and weak, like an injured lamb. The noise the lambs on the farm made when they knew they were going to the slaughter. He glanced down, underneath the woman and laid his eyes upon a cradle. A Moses basket- that was what his mother had always called them.
A crow suddenly erupted into flight, launching itself from the branch above Spike's head. It disappeared off into the sky, and Spike watched it go. It was somewhat beautiful- almost as beautiful as the grace that hung from the very same branch.
Inside the Moses basket, covered by a thin blue blanket, were two small babies. One was almost the spitting image of the woman above them- pale skin, blonde hair, rosy red lips. Well, her lips had gone blue now, but Spike supposed they had once been as red as the very blood that ceased to flow through them now. The other child had skin as dark and rich as the very earth beneath their feet, with the most entrancing hazel eyes he'd ever seen. They glanced back up at him with a look of desperation Spike was used to seeing in the faces of starving calves and lambs.
They're yours now. The tree whispered to him in his grandfather's raspy voice, achieved by decades of chain smoking. Take care of them.
In a haze of emotion, Spike pulled the Moses basket away from the tree before pulling himself up into it as he'd done hundreds of times in his youth. The branch was sturdy, and he crawled along it, reaching his fingers towards the noose. As carefully as he could, reached down the the hanging woman and pulled her up onto the branch. She was heavy, and cold to the touch as he pulled the rope up over head. Unsure of how he was going to get down from the tree without falling due to her weight, and came to the conclusion he was just have to let her fall.
Her body hit the floor with a sickening thud, and Spike leapt from the branch to join her. The babies were crying again, but he ignored them and focused on her, brushing her tangled locks away from her face. He gently pushed up her eyelids to reveal eyes as blue as the sky above their heads, which made him smile. She was so beautiful.
Lifting her up and draping her body over his shoulder took a little more effort than he'd realised, and he hunched over in order to support the full weight of her. There was a special place for her in this world; somewhere she would be safe and protected by nature. And it was barely twenty feet away, through a sparse section of thorns that scratched at their skin as they ventured through them.
There, in a small clearing, stood an old well. It was crumbling, made of red brick that had been forgotten about for decades now. Forgotten by everyone else except Spike, who placed the woman down on the grassy ground and used his hands to push the heavy cover off of the top of the well. It was cold down there, and damp, but he figured she wouldn't mind. She was dead, after all.
She just about fit into the hole, and it took Spike a long while to bring himself to let go of her hands and watch her disappear down into the dark.
It would be there she lay for the foreseeable future, amongst the spiders and beetles and moss and mould. Amongst the beauty of nature.
“Goodbye, Grace,” Spike spoke softly, his voice a whisper like the voice in the trees. “I'll look after them for you. The babies.”
And with that, he shunted the cover back onto the well, turned around, and forced himself to leave.
The babies were still crying, underneath the great oak tree.
Spike knelt down beside them and stroked each of their cheeks. “Mama's gone now. But I'm here. Grandfather is here. Mother nature is here.”
He scooped up the Moses basket into his arms and took one last look at his grandfather, standing tall above them with his arms outstretched, shading them with his lush green leaves. Then he made his way back to the family home, his visit cut short by the arrival and departure of his one true love; Grace.