300-word story: A mother is shocked to find that her skin is turning into tree bark.
I remember it being a pleasant summer afternoon when all of the people in the world turned into trees. The baby had just fallen asleep following his feeding and I was standing over the cot, admiring those perfectly round cheeks. It was then that I spotted a small blotch on his neck.
Reaching down to stroke it, my hand paused in mid-air. There was a similar one on the back of my thumb, only much larger and rougher. As I stared in curiosity, I could swear it was growing, stretching outwards so slowly that it could have been a trick of the light. But no, it definitely was growing, as after a few minutes it had consumed a freckle that I'd had since childhood. I picked up my phone to call my husband, but it was too late.
As the cracked bark rapidly consumed my skin, I could feel the bones within me twisting into strange new shapes. My toes extended wildly, digging down into the carpet, through the floorboards and across the ceiling of the kitchen beneath us, creating a root system that now takes up the entire lower floor. All the while, even as strips of flesh transformed into thick foliage, I watched in horror as my sweet baby boy succumbed to the same process.
That was many years ago, back when I had eyes, ears, a mouth and the gift of movement. We may have lost many incredible ways of experiencing our surroundings, but in their place we gained a far more powerful sense of interconnectedness.
I'll always remain in this room, my roots thickening each day to support my escalating weight, and interwoven with them are those of my son. My little angel, still a mere sapling, forever protected in the shade of his doting mother.
Copyright © 2020 Rich Sutherland