• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 04
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The Book of Realisations

The sun came up over the horizon. Obediently, she turned towards it. Her breathing goggles wouldn’t get hot until midday, at which point she'd look for shade. The air was poison to her; not to the tree that had implanted itself in her breathing tube. It sucked down the poison greedily, like a spoiled child, and it excreted oxygen. That’s all she could breathe here: plant farts. In exchange, she kept herself fed and watered. She gave the plant nutrients through the medium of her blood. Its roots embedded themselves into the skin around her ear, and then crept inside her ear canal. The image of the spoiled child came back to her, except now the child wore a black cape and had long piercing fangs. The day the tree’s roots penetrated her eardrum was the most painful of her life. During the day she could feel them gently wriggling. At night they still moved, even though the plant was meant to be dormant at that time. Maybe the tree wasn’t aware it was doing it, the way people thrashed around in bed as their brains lived out a nightmare. Does the tree have a subconscious mind? And how much longer would it be before its roots groped their way to her subconsciousness?

Already the goggles were becoming uncomfortable in the morning sun. The tree spewed out more oxygen.
When it finally mined too deep inside her head, when its roots broke through the wall and into her psyche, what would it think? What would it feel? She hoped – oh how did she hope! – that it would feel EVERYTHING. The horror of having arms, legs, feet, hands, hair, teeth, a tongue, genitals, a burst eardrum, hunger, thirst, anger, pain, arousal, despair, loneliness. That hope is what kept her from just ripping off her breathing goggles and killing them both right now. The shock of it all would give the tree the most comprehensive mental breakdown ever experienced by a sentient creature. In its brief conscious paroxysm, before they both died together, she wanted the tree to feel, to know, to


The Book of Realisations

understand, exactly how much she hated it.

She turned towards the sun, took a deep reviving breath, and waited.