A Walk to Blue-Jay Tree

February 17, 2012
“Mitzi! Mitzi! Come and see what goods I have to sell,” Julian yelled wearing a devilish grin.
It was custom in the town of Evelet that on the 6th day of August, all the men over the ages of 15 assembled makeshift shops with thatch roofs, displaying their finest wares they had made that year. Then the women, dressed in pearls and velvet gowns, would come browse all the merchandise. Buying a scarf or jewelry from any vendor was a sign of affection for that apprentice.
Fireworks filled the air with radiant color. The fiddlers were playing so loud, Julian was barely audible.
“Just a second, Julian.” I hollered back.
I was wearing an indigo gown with creamy white pearls. It was my mother’s and the only fine clothing I had. I didn’t know much about my mom. I had been taken in at a foster home at a young age. I can’t remember ever not being with Mrs. Kimberly. Mrs. Kimberly was a stout woman who firmly believed in children’s discipline. She wouldn’t hesitate to give me a good slap if I forgot to hang up the wash. It wasn’t all that bad, though. Mrs. Kimberly could be kind, and besides, she was the only mother I knew.
I skirted through the crowds and met Julian at his vendor. He was a blacksmith and yet with his big hands he could create delicate, ornate carvings. I scanned all the jewelry and a simple chain necklace with a blue jay hanging on it caught my attention.
“That’s beautiful,” I murmured.
“Here, let me help you put it on."

“Shouldn’t I pay for it first???”
“Consider it a gift.”
“Julian, I couldn’t.”
“You can and you will. Please lift your hair up.”
I lifted my hair up and when I felt Julian's hands on my neck, a tingle went down my spine. The bell tower chimed 11:00.
“I better get home, Julian. Mrs. Kimberly is expecting me.”
I never made it home that night. When I was walking, a man in the crowds grabbed me. Kicking and thrashing I tried to escape. The man’s strength was too much for me. Deciding it was useless; I relaxed my muscles and began to call the man all sorts of names (many of which I am ashamed to have said). I demanded to know why he had seized me and tied me up.
“You are perfect for my experiment,” he snarled. “James, take her to the Diamond and perform A5 and A7 on her. “
“What are you speaking in? Is this some sort of code?” I blubbered.
The next morning, I woke up with patches of my skin missing. My head was throbbing. I put my hand to it, and I heard a clang. There was something metal on my head. I tried prying it off, but it wouldn’t budge.
“What’s happening to me?” I yelled in misery.
Over the next few months, I had no contact with the outside world. Food was slipped under the door. The only time I ever saw another human being was when James would come in. I never knew what he was doing because he would drug me. After 2 months of being there, I started to become immune to the drugs. I remembered bits and pieces of James’s more and more frequent visits. He injected me with some sort of medicine and he often seemed frustrated with the results.
One day when he walked in, he stood there and smiled for the longest time, and then he quickly started taking every test imaginable. He didn’t even drug me.
“Allen. It worked!”
“What worked?” I yelled over James.
“You better not be messing with me, James,” Allen warned.
Allen walked in and started examining me. I couldn’t take it any longer.
“WHAT IS GOING ON?” I screamed.
“I guess it wouldn’t hurt to tell the girl, now that it’s over with,” James commented.
“Fine.” Allen agreed. “Through performing several skin analyses and injecting you with various growth drugs we have been able to alter your body to accomplish unthinkable accomplishments that no other human can. You are one lucky girl. You no longer have to rely on food. We have modified your body, in order to have it work as though it is a plant. You absorb the nutrients in the sun and your body sustains itself with the food it makes. The problem is if you stay in one spot for too long, you’ll start to sprout roots.”
Speechless, I stood there like an awkward schoolgirl.
“Leave me alone,” I sobbed.
They both left the room, my sobs echoing down the hall. I turned to try and leave the room, even though I knew the door was locked, when I felt my leg harden. I cried out in pain. Allen and James ran to the room asking me what happened.
“My leg, I can’t feel it.”
“Allen, this wasn’t supposed to happen…”
“It can be fixed.” Allen skeptically stated.
Over the next couple weeks, James and Allen vigorously tried to figure out what was going on. They tried to make it seem as if this was all part of their plan, but I knew they were as clueless as I was and that wasn’t the most reassuring thought. Finally through guilt or just loss of interest they decided to tell me what was happening to me.
“A side effect of the plant altering is that in order for your body to survive, it adapted by producing bark. In less than 3 weeks, your entire body will be consumed in bark and you will, in essence become a tree. We are still going to keep you here, for scientific purposes.”
That night I knew, would be the last night I had to escape. I mustered all my strength and picked the lock with my now spindly, stick like finger. It worked! I slipped out the back door, free at last. The alarm started sounding, but I knew that if I forged through the forest they would never be able to see me. Eventually, I reached Evelet. By then, the transformation was almost complete. I took one last look at my beloved hometown and at once, I became a tree.
10 years later
Julian was taking a walk in Town Square with his family, when suddenly he didn’t know where his son was; he was climbing a tree.
“Dad! I found something in the tree.”
He brought down a chain necklace with a blue jay on it.
“Do you know whose it is, Dad?”

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