Creative Classic Short Story Contest Third Place: The Winter War

Posted by Jimmy Waters on 4/11/17 9:30 AM

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Jimmy's short story is the third place winner in the Creative Classic contest hosted by PHC's student newspaper The Herald.

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“Every December, they come. Although we are guilty of no offense, they continue to cut down and dishonor our brothers and sisters. Now is the time to rise up against these savage invaders! Now is the time to end this senseless slaughter!” 

A chorus of assent arose from those who heard the tall, hoary pine who spoke. The pines, the firs, and the spruces had listened with rapt eagerness at his words, which touched them all to the sap. They had all suffered greatly, and they had each lived in constant dread of the destruction that inevitably occurred each winter. Indeed, the trees had, every December, experienced the gluttonous cruelty of the race known as humans. It was they who, with their shining blades, ruthlessly cut them down and hauled them off in triumph. The speaker continued:

“As you well know, our nemesis comes in three forms. The first is called the father, and it is he who is the chief executioner. The second is what we believe to be called the honey. These eagerly and despicably record our destruction with a horrible black, flashing cube. The third form, the most terrible of all, is the child. Those of this form sing, laugh, and dance as we are brought to our ends. It is they who sway the former forms as to who shall live and who shall die. Must we allow our nemesis to persist in these terrible designs? No, say I!”

Spectacular cheers arose from the listeners.

“Let us unite to a common defense!” they cried. “Tell us, Harnedles, what to do to stop the humans!”

The ancient raised one of his many fingers, motioning for silence.

“We must defend ourselves in any way we are able. Pines, prepare your cones and make ready to hurl them toward the invaders. Firs, sharpen your needles and prepare to unleash a whirlwind of tiny blades. Spruces, release your sap and gather it into adhesive projectiles. I know that such action is, for our kinds, unprecedented, but our very survival depends upon success!”

With exclamations of hope, the three clans set to work.

That night, the first snow fell.

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(Both pictures courtesy of Pixabay user donwhite84)

The next morning, old Mr. Barnard, whom the trees called “the keeper,” hung up a piece of carved wood that served to summon the coming destruction. For the next thirty days, only the coming of night could give respite to the trees within the compound.

The first humans entered as the sun reached its zenith. Through the little gate they came, eager for the acquisition of a Christmas tree. The trees saw that this group was a family of humans. All three forms – father, honey, and child – had come, the last cheerfully riding on a crimson sled.

“Steady, friends,” said Harnedles, his voice not betraying the slightest quiver. “Remember to wait for my command. Today shall and must be the day of salvation!”

The trees whispered their approval.

Avoiding several promising specimens at the urging of the child, the humans made their way to a beautiful fir tree. The trees themselves gasped, for the one the family admired was Emasapia, a young fir only a few years old. The little one shuddered at the touch of the cheering and dancing children and looked toward her powerless mother in terror.

The father brought forth the saw. The trees knew that they must act quickly, for it was a self-cutting blade that whirred and buzzed. It was, in fact, a chainsaw.

“Now!” roared Harnedles.

Instantly, the air was alive with flying needles, pinecones, and balls of oozing sap. The trees concentrated their aim upon the electric saw, and their well-placed throws quickly knocked it out of the hands of the startled father. Countless needles whizzed through the air, stinging the humans and causing them to cry out in alarm. The honey shrieked as oozing sap stuck to her long fur dress, dropping the flashing black cube as she did so. After looking in vain for the perpetrator of this unexpected attack, the family fled from the compound, warning all they met that the place was despicable and should be avoided.

The trees themselves were satisfied with their work. The day had been carried, Emasapia had been saved, and the first of many invaders had been vanquished. They knew that they might still falter in the struggle, but determination, the wise leadership of Harnedles, and a newly sprung courage had laid the foundation for a brighter future. The war for independence had begun.

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Jimmy Waters is a senior at Patrick Henry college. He loves writing short fiction stories, and has done so since he was five, Oh, and because everyone enjoys random facts, he will tell you that his favorite things include not dying, racquetball, the words "bumblebee" and "scintillating," blue M&M's, the country of Togo, pumpkin patches, musical theater, lemonade stands, whoever that guy was who invented air conditioning, Russian propaganda, and the Dreamworks movie The Road to El Dorado. His dislikes include adverbs, bumblebees, all forms of rice, the word "apricot," right-handed scissors, and people who think he can't be a king because he wears glasses.

 

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Courtesy of PHC's The Herald.

 

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