Last month I wrote a flash fiction about tree stalkers, and I heard from one of my readers that she would like to know more about this story. So for Tuesday, I wrote a new part to the story – enjoy!
Deborah was a tree stalker.
She came from a long line of tree stalkers. Ever since the apple blossom blight of ’19 she and her family had been prowling the byways and backroads to find them, the trees that tried to get away. The trees that had gone rogue.
To get apples you need apple blossoms. To get apple blossoms you need trees. And, since the development of sentient trees – something farmers thought would make their jobs easier, not harder – trees had made themselves scarce.
Who could blame them?
Part 2 – Apple Trees on the Run
These trees were not ordinary. Trees do not move ordinarily. But these trees, genetically modified, were on the move. Climate change had made already somewhat-unpredictable weather much more volatile. The thought behind the experiment was that giving trees movement would make them like cattle or sheep, so that they could herded into shelter to escape extreme weather events. But it turned out trees that could move were more like wild horses or antelopes. They did not herd well. And they definitely did not like to stay put. Trees were surprisingly lithe – you’d never expect that, but they were – especially the lighter willows and beeches, but also orchard trees, whose genetic roots were in the wild steppes of Asia. No one anticipated moving trees would go rogue.
Apple trees. Apple trees should have stayed put, Deborah thought. Apple trees wouldn’t run. Apple trees were cozy. Their squat forms, their plump clutches of ripe fruit, would hold them back. They wouldn’t run off like the others. But then she wouldn’t have been called in to track them if they had stayed where they belonged, in the farmer’s orchard, placidly soaking up water and sunlight and calmly maturing their fruit.
How do you use reader feedback? Do you ever write a new post in response to your readers’ comments? What is the best suggestion you’ve had from a reader?