Tree of Penance


Forsaken, my flesh soaked in sin, I took a worn path that led me away from the world. I felt poisonous, no good to anyone. I deserted the world, as I felt it’d done to me. Reassuring myself that this was all a dream, I climbed over brush and pulled both thorn and weed from my being. The pain felt all too real, but I maintained the illusion. This had to be a dream. This could not be my life. This had to be a painful nightmare, something to shock me back to a lush reality full of happiness and bliss. The trees and brush cleared and I saw only grass for miles. I walked along the earth, with the wind to guide me, whispering over the empty field. Black clouds warned of impending doom.

Lo, I saw a tree standing alone in the distance. I came to it and saw ‘Tree of penance’ carved crooked through the bark. I rub my hand against the carving, rough lines etched into the wood; they illuminated crimson with my touch. The tree came apart before my eyes, suspended before me, extending its being to encompass my pain. The tree wrapped itself around me, covering my massive form to squeeze me inside. This is my penance. I look out unto the world, belonging to this tree, my only sanctuary. The world would be protected from me.

From this point, I became master of the universe. I saw everything and was within everything; for what I saw, the world knew that I was watching over them. They felt my touch within their lives. We were one, for this moment in time. I felt at peace with the cosmos and the world that made me this evil creature.

All that could ruin it was the divine fates. They ruin everything. A girl came creeping into this world, with a little red hood and a picnic basket, on her way to grandma’s house, no doubt. I had the memory, a thought that this could only be a dream. She came and knock on the tree and I refuse to answer. She entered anyway. I ran as fast as I could within the tree. Its bounds were unfathomable. Its dark recesses expanded beyond sight, beyond reason. She came, whispering her mantra that echoed within the dark world. “What big eyes… what big teeth?” I cried out for her to leave. I demanded it. The world let it be shown. This was my sin.

Splayed innards. Flesh and form sawed off from self. This is my sin. Another bloody demonstration of my purpose. Tree of penance could no longer protect me. It was time to move on.

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