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Dec 29

Susan Shiney

Flash Fiction : As I Lay Bare - A Young Tree Accepts Winter



Lush green leaves sprout and spread on my twigs.

¨My leaves are growing Momma, they're growing!" I say shaking for her attention.

¨I see it my little one, I see it," she says as she looks toward the sun breathing in the rays, her branches stretching back to life.

"When will the birds come to play with us? When, when, when?" I wobble around splaying myself out to capture each ray I can.

¨Any day now, if you listen you can hear the faint flapping of their wings in the distance.¨

I try to stop sucking in the water from my roots to hear better, but it is too hard. "I can't hear anything."

¨One day you will, you will,¨ Momma says.


I've got leaves for days, everywhere you look leaves of every shape and size. Two bird nests, two. One with finches and one with swallows. They tickle my branch pits and scratch my trunk for me. The squirrels keep me clean by rolling nuts over my bark. The beehive coats me in sweetness and the bees have sing offs with the birds. They want me to judge who is best, but I am way too smart to get involved.

¨I'm so full Momma, I can't eat any more sun."

¨Enjoy it my little one, enjoy it," she says as a woodpecker exfoliates her trunk.


My leaves are shifting. They used to be green and now they are red, orange, and brownish. Thick to thin. I don't know how I feel about all of this change. The birds, squirrels, and bees are all rushing around, I just want to chill like we are in the summer.

¨Keep pushing my little one," Momma says as her leaves tumble down.

"I like my leaves. Why do I have to push them off?" I've never seen my branches without leaves, I already feel so thin and scrawny, I'm going to be a skeleton. "I'm cold, Momma. What is going on with the sun? I don't like this. How am I going to eat?"

¨We're going to take some time off in the winter and rest. We won't be eating. We need to prepare for it."

"It is so much work, though," and then I whisper, "Everyone will see our branches, see everything. It's so embarrassing."

¨Our bodies are beautiful there is nothing to be ashamed of, it is a part of our cycle. We work hard in the fall to rest when there is less sun. I'm getting tired, do you feel it?"

My voice cracks, "No, I'm not tired, I'm not. I just want to play with my friends. When will everyone come back? Why can't we go with them? Why can't we go fly away? It's not fair!¨ I force the leaves off me and swish and turn. A spattering of reds and yellows form a cloud around me.


As I lay bare, the fog hums lullabies. Momma was right, I am exhausted. Maybe it is a good idea to sleep for a couple of months. It turns out no one is staring at me, everyone forgets about leafless trees. I'm sort of invisible now and that is okay. I don't always need to perform, I guess.

"Momma, are you sleeping already? Momma?¨

The fog surrounding her parts a bit. So, I can see her more clearly. "Go to sleep little one, we will wake again, in the spring."

My branches get a bit more sore and stiff, my roots are dry and achy. I whisper, "I love the spring."

"We all do, but we have to rest in order to enjoy it to its fullest. Time for sleep," she says as her voice trails off.

The fog nuzzles into my trunk and creates a pillow. "But, I'm not tir...¨

If you are interested in some of my other flash fiction and short stories, you can check these out. I write one each month on my blog:

Taytum in the Trees

Story Synopsis: What if your co-worker spent their lunch climbing trees? A small office comes to terms with what Taytum does each day.

Kombucha Keyboardist

Story Synopsis: A detective comes to a town and realizes all the children are missing on Halloween. Follow her as she uses her powers to touch objects and see what transpired.

Paisley and her Plethora of Peppermints

Story Synopsis: Paisley McKaley was so sweet. So sweet in fact, little peppermint candies fell from her at random moments through out the day. When the pandemic hits, she needs to reflect on what being sweet really means.

A Tale of Two Magical Masks

Story Snyopsis: Amy Remy made two masks, one for each of her grandchildren. They were infused with protective magic, but the outlook of each wearer was very different.

So, I'm a Gothic Cathedral that Moved to California

Story Synopsis: Written from the perspective of a Gothic Cathedral that has decided to force her city's historical society to let her move to the place of her dreams.

Graffiti from the Sea

Story Synopsis: Written from the perspective of the sea, she talks about her artistic expressions during the tides.

A Telecommuting Tale: How Cynthia Transformed into her Desk

Story Synopsis: A surrealist piece of flash fiction about working from home during the pandemic.

The Royal Palate

Story Synopsis: A goofy short story about a prince that collects youtubers in his palace.

Sailboat Swans

Story Synopsis: Caredwyn is at the beach with her mother processing her new life after divorce. She finds her elixir in the sea.

Pheromone Folly: When Magazine Cologne Man Asks You Out

Story Synopsis: Mimi VanHopkins is distracted by her magazine on her way to take a bubble bath and is met with a very real dilemma.

Weavering's Path of Whispering Pleas

Story Synopsis: The path near Karney’s Creek has a wild bee swarm and everyone knows Kalista Green is the best bee wrangler in town. However, something strange is going on with these bees.

Jellyfish Graveyard

Story Synopsis: It was metal head grandma's 150th birthday and she damn well was going to build a jellyfish graveyard in her apartment if she wanted to.

An Origin Myth of Magical Mist or Whatever

Story Synopsis: A young woman goes on her first camping trip and is greeted by an unexpected visitor.

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