05 Jul The Orchard
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"The Orchard"Written by
Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
You’re in a strange room. You don’t remember how you got there, but you know that you don’t necessarily need to be there. As such, you decide it would be a good idea to leave. You turn around, and find yourself in an enclosed garden with a single row of orange trees on the left, and a single row of apple trees on the right. Behind you, a door covered with locks. Since you have no keys, you head down the only direction available to you.
You walk down the small dirt path, looking forward into the nothingness that awaits you at the end of the path. The fruit becomes more luscious with each step you take. You sniff the air, taking note of the lovely smells as they seem to call out to you. Although it is beckoning you to come forward and
sample some of this beautiful harvest, you feel as though you should know better than to take anything from these trees and decide against it.
You consider turning back, and as you walk towards the end of the path, the fruit starts to return to its previously pleasant shape, color and smell. It’s as though no time has passed from when you were at the beginning of the path and this point, which puzzles you for some reason. As you continue walking down, you notice that your hands are turning into shrinking husks and that it’s getting harder to breathe through your nose. You decide to return to the start, where you “entered”, and your hands start returning to normal.
The fruit starts shriveling up as you walk past each tree. Each apple turning from their once beautiful, luscious, full redness into a dry, desecrated gray. Each orange losing its peel as it shrinks to the point
where the juices are squeezed out of the center, leaving a husk with dried, rotten fruit lying on the inside.
Suddenly, one of the apple trees loses its bounty instantly. All the fruit withers into a deep black, nearly purple shadow of its former glory. The apples fall with a thud onto the ground, and it gets sucked into the soil, leaving no holes or marks to show where they had gone. The oranges go next,
the juice no longer seeping out slowly. They squash into themselves, releasing a violent spray of what looks like clear oil into the air.
You head back towards the beginning of the path with earnest now, not bothering to look back at the trees. You don’t have to. You can hear the life squeezing out of them, hitting the ground with a thud and drawing back into the soil hard and fast. The damage done to your body is reversing quickly, and you notice several improvements appearing as well. Your fat is slipping off, defects in your skin fall away like stone being chiseled away at by a sculptor, and you start breathing in more deeply; as though you could never get enough. You run faster towards the locked door.
While your improvements take effect, you slowly notice that the apples are all but gone, and the oranges have all disappeared. As the last one goes into the ground, the first of the orange trees dives into the ground. You stop at this, and the trees seem to call out your name. They scream bloody
murder, echoing in your head. Your legs return to motion, slightly wobbling with each threat slung directly at you. The voices shrink with the trees, but for some reason they continue coming on faster as though they were multiplying their ranks each second.
You finally reach the door. As you pry the locks open with your newfound superhuman strength, you turn to see a giant, rotted log careening down the path right at you. Hurriedly, you attempt to rip off another lock, fumbling with the smaller ones. You can hear the thudding of the log as it calls for
your head, hitting the ground hard and lifting into the sky each time as it bounces towards you. The final lock comes off as the log is forming a great shadow over your body, tumbling down.
You exit the orchard, and the log comes down with a crash. As you run from that place, you look back to see the splintered mess that now prohibits entry or exit from that depleted garden of death. You start running towards the brightest light you can see… and fall face first into a furnace, pitchforks raised and ready to escort you into your final resting place for all eternity. The small, hideous fiends rake at your body, rending the flesh off every piece of your body until it resembles the desecrated log.
As a final act of anger, the imps defecate upon your charred corpse, filling it with seething hatred and a burning desire for revenge. Taking your now completely destroyed body, they return to the orchard, and you can feel yourself being buried in a vacant spot. You remember seeing many of these, and as the final patch of dirt is placed, the demons light the ground with unholy flames. Right on the spot, your body grows into a hideous tree, along with the others that you had destroyed in order to escape your unholy prison. After all the trees were regrown, you sprout apples on your many arms.
As you see the demons leave, locking the door, you see your next victim fall from the burning sky into the orchard…
This pasta was credited to one “Joreal Conners” in the submission email.