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Short Stories - Tova and the Tree

Short Stories - Tova and the Tree

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Published by Brandon M. Dennis

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Published by: Brandon M. Dennis on Oct 05, 2010
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10/05/2010

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Brandon M. Dennis Tova and the Tree 2006-2007
1 Tova and the TreeBrandon M. Dennis There was once a girl named Tova who lived in a small village near a grand,snow-covered mountain. She enjoyed playing in the woods around her houseand was more often outside than inside. She was playing with a small ball oneday when she threw it high up into the air. The wind caught it and blew ittowards the trees. She chased after the ball and it fell on top of one particularly gnarled and twisted tree. Tova stopped in her tracks and stared at the massiveplant. It was dark and covered with knots. The stubs of ancient branches thathad long since been snapped off stuck out of the trunk. Not a green thing grewfrom the tree, and its roots poked out of the earth, reaching their bent armsout in all different directions. As she stared at the trunk, she could barely discern what she thought to be a face, staring right back at her. She shook herhead. No, it could not be a face. It was probably just knots and branch stubsarranged in such a way that it looked like a face. Probably.She crept towards the twisted tree quietly, sometimes glancing at theface she thought she saw. But the tree didn’t move and the sky was still light,so she climbed up the trunk to the very top of that stubby tree to look for herball. When she reached the top she gasped. The trunk of the tree was hollow,and went far into the earth, so far that she couldn’t see the bottom.“Hello!” she shouted down the trunk, and her voice echoed a dozentimes,
“Hello! Hello! Hello!...” 
She whistled lowly and then went up and down inpitch, and the sound reverberated throughout the hollow tree.
 
Brandon M. Dennis Tova and the Tree 2006-2007
2 Tova laughed and looked around for her ball. It sat on the edge of thetree, caught by a small branch. It dangled precariously over the hollow, and Tova reached out slowly to grasp it. The ball was just out of reach and shestrained her body to grab it. She touched it with the tip of her fingers, but all atonce the ball fell, down into the depths of the trunk.“No!” cried Tova, lunging for the ball, and as she leaned forward her legsslipped. She slid head first into the dark, murky depths of the tree, screamingas she fell.As she tumbled head over heels the light from the sky faded from view,and Tova was engulfed in total darkness. Fuzzy things, stringy things andsquishy things brushed by her face as she fell, and soon she could feel thewalls of the tree narrowing in on her. Long leafy things, perhaps flexiblebranches or stiff leaves, reached out to grasp her, and her falling slowed untilshe stopped in mid air, caught by whatever it was that was holding her. Shestruggled fiercely in the dark until suddenly she was freed, and she fell a shortways before rolling onto the soft ground. She felt something in her hair and she jumped to her feet, brushing her hair wildly, batting at the air around her. Atlast she calmed down and looked at her surroundings.It was pitch black and her eyes had not yet adjusted to the darkness.She tried to walk around but kept on bumping into leafy, fuzzy things and soshe decided to wait until her eyes adjusted to the dark. At last she thought shesaw a light out of the corner of her eye, faint though it was. It was a green lightand was very close to the ground, and she crept towards it in the darkness.
 
Brandon M. Dennis Tova and the Tree 2006-2007
3 The light was round and small, and, not knowing what else to do, Tova reachedout and touched it. The thing was squishy and moist, and Tova recoiled in disgust almostinstantly. But just as she did the object sighed, and the green light grewbrighter. It was a large mushroom, and it pulled itself inside out, glowing afaint green color. She saw many other mushrooms around it and she lightly touched each one on the umbrella, and as she did they too turned inside out,emitting a dim, green light. Tova stood up and glanced about her in the faint light. She looked up thehole through which she had fallen. She could not see an end, but stringy vinesand thick spider webs crisscrossed back and forth across the opening. Tovashuddered with the thought that a spider might be somewhere in her hair, andshe ruffled her head vigorously one last time, just to make sure.“Oh, my ball,” said Tova sadly, realizing that the ball was probably caught in a spider web somewhere. But just then she saw it lying on theground near her feet, and she cried out happily. She bent over to pick it up,and as she did she noticed a large, gaping black hole in the side of the trunkthat went on deeper into the earth. Tova pocketed the ball and pondered whatshe should do next.“Well,” she said, “I can’t climb back up. Looks like this is my only way out!” With that, Tova bent down, picked one of the mushrooms and held it upas a lantern. She took one big breath and then stepped into the darkness.

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