Flash Fiction: Cedar of Lebanon

campsite-jwf

It was hot that summer, the sun leaching colour from the grass, her hair turning blond. The cedar survived the drought though, 100 feet tall and the trunk too large for her arms to meet around it. Still she liked to press her cheek up against the bark, feel it breathe.

One evening Alex built a bonfire, and she stood drinking with the others, trying to whoop as the sparks flew, pretending to laugh when the bird’s nest caught.

Perhaps it was the hangover, but she couldn’t raise herself, couldn’t get out of bed the next morning to see the blackened stump.

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This is a 100-word Friday Fictioneers short story inspired by the picture above (the colour of the grass started it off), this week supplied by Jan Wisoff-Fields. Click here to join in, and here to read other people’s.

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My second novel, Swimming Lessons is currently available as a give-away on Goodreads to UK readers. Click here to enter.

41 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: Cedar of Lebanon

  1. That’s heartbreaking for her and a lot going on here between the lines – that social pressure to go along with other people because they’ll think you weird if you disagree. The guilt she feels for standing by and watching them burn the tree down. Wonderfully told and constructed, Claire

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We’ve all been there in our different ways, haven’t we…. Pity the poor tree (and the bird’s nest) for being caught in this particular adolescent storm – assuming Alex & co are adolescents, of course. And, yes, ‘…feel it breathe’ is SUCH a lovely phrase.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh how I hate it when people goad you into doing something you shouldn’t do. I think the aftermath is a form of self-hate because you didn’t have the guts to say no and stand up to it.

    Nice writing as usual, Claire. Stunning! 🙂

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  4. Dear Claire,

    Cedar of Lebanon is one of the most moving stories you’ve ever published for your readers in FF. So much is spoken between the lines, from hope for the tree in spite of the loss of the nest, to her unwillingness to rise and see in the daylight the enormity of her crime. Your writing is a gift to us all. Thank you for giving.

    Yours,

    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nicely written, poignant tale. It has a resonance for me as I once asked some people why they had felled a perfectly healthy old oak. They said it was dead. I said, “How are all these branches on the ground full of leaf, then?” They became sheepish and shrugged, but the deed was done.

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  6. Claire, a wonderfully constructed and moving story.
    A few years ago, some students made a DVD opposing bullying and it raised the role of the bystander. Their message was not to be a bystander.
    Groups and crowds can do things which the participants would never do as individuals. Somehow, we need to keep our minds switched on and keep thinking for ourselves…no matter how old or young we are.
    I am also quite a tree lover and such reckless destruction makes me feel sick. We’ve lost a lot of trees along our beach in the last couple of years and each new casualty, breaks my heart. It’s awful seeing them uprooted on the sand looking like dead bodies!
    xx Rowena

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