Excerpt from “To Mend a Broken Limb”

Distraught over the latest lack of human assistance, I paused in a park on my way home to give my roots a reprieve from scraping across the harsh concrete of the human cityscape. Sinking them deep into the pliable earth, I tried in vain to commune once more with my brethren — to share my dolor for their plight, kept in false shapes as they were by the regular abuses of the dreaded ‘tree surgeons’; to partake in nebulous memory of belonging, of the forest. Their silence did nothing more than magnify my misery. Standing in the park, crudely torn branches vitiating as bacteria took up residence in my wounds, I gave into despair and wept. For quite some time — perhaps a day, maybe two — I wallowed in my own suffering. It was morning again when I felt a gentle hand lay tentatively on the bark of my lower trunk.

“Are you alright?” a quiet voice asked. I gazed down at a young girl, albeit likely of an age considered full-grown amongst her kind. She was garbed entirely in black and seemed to have covered herself in protective spines, like a cactus. In the three years since my release from captivity, I had never seen a human so adorned, and she was the first to inquire after my state of well-being.

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