Tuesday, April 1, 2014


As Carson watched the sun slip below the horizon he could feel the last of his frustration go with it. The day had been long and unproductive and its ending was a welcomed relief.
Being only little more than a hired hand, he had little room for making his own decisions. With this in mind, he once again gave the giant oak a once over. He had been given the task of felling the daunting deciduous, and despite his best efforts it had vexed him completely.
Chain saws, axes, and even an old-fashioned two-man saw had been halted in their attempts to topple the towering tree. He had one final card to play, but had to wait for the cover of night to do so.
Carson had come up with the idea in the middle of the afternoon and had just finished up preparations a few minutes ago.
Near the base, at about waist level on a person, he had managed to drill four holes at about waist level. He had wanted to make at least six, but had run out of drill bits. Into each hole he placed a quarter stick of dynamite. He had remembered the farmer using them to help with stump removal and thought he might be able to do the same.
He tied all four fuses together with some electrical tape. Looking around to make  sure there were no prying eyes, Carson smiled at his own ingenuity. He pulled out his Zippo, lit the longest fuse, then jogged back a few dozen paces. The fuses crackled and sparkled in the deepening dusk ,then one of them appeared to go out.
The next instant a deafening bang made his ears ring and filled the area around the tree with smoke.
Carson stood motionless for a moment, waiting for the smoke to clear, but it never did.
He could feel his own jaw go slack as he watched the smoke swirl and coalesce into recognizable shapes. He blinked repeatedly and rubbed his eyes, but still the mysterious moments continued.
The smoke took the shape of people who seemed to be fighting with other people. Some of them had hand axes while others had rifles. Then the smoke semi-dispersed only to reform into new shapes.
These were again human shapes, but only two of them. They approached each other hesitantly at first, then embraced. Then once again the shapes faded only to reform into the form of large cattle standing around grazing.
This cycle continued several times. Each time the form was different, and none lasted more than mere seconds.
Finally, the smoke formed into a solitary figure. The figure reached down, and seemed to use a chainsaw on the tree. It put that down, and then seemed to swing at the tree with an axe.
A cold understanding crept up Carson’s spine as this scene unfolded, a foreshadowing of events he didn’t want confirmed.
The figure then crouched down and seemed to be doing something at about waist-level to the trunk of the tree. A quick glimmer came and went, followed by the figure jogging backwards.
Backwards, to the place where Carson now stood.
He looked down to see his own body lying on the ground, a large circular bruise on his own forehead.
He went to scream but nothing came out. He tried again and again but still only silence persisted. He dropped to the ground and started crying, no sound accompanying his tears as they fell.
Then he felt a throbbing in his chest. Then again.
Carson looked up to see himself, his body, now surrounded by EMT’s and the other farm residents. His chest throbbed once more and his world went dark.
“Carson . . .” came a faint voice.
“Carson!” shouted the farmer.
With a gasp Carson went to sit upright but was stopped by those hovering over him. Through blurry eyes he saw half a dozen people leaning over him.
“Easy now, son,” came the farmer’s familiar tone.
“Sorry . . . boss,” was all he could manage.
“Well, just thank your stars things turned out this well ya big galoot. If that first quarter stick hadn’t knocked out the other three, you and I might not be here for me to yell at.”
Carson, neck now immobilized, only whimpered in agreement.

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