Silent Trees by Demanding Urge is an archived story recovered from the now deleted [[[Sticky-Site]].
Susan loved visiting her grandmother, whose property backed onto a forest preserve. It was ancient old growth timber, primal and untouched, guarded by wardens jealously. But as far as Susan was concerned, it was simply her forest. The green canopy of branches closed overhead. It was like an emerald cathedral all her own into which she fled. The trees towered above, bark covered pillars crowned in green leafy splendor, enfolding in a welcoming humus scent, sighing, calling up childhood memories in the wind rustled branches, and the sway of boughs hearkening back to the uncomplicated days of play and dream.
Stooping, she picked a stick up and shadow fenced an imaginary opponent in a dance of whimsy. Perhaps she could add the routine to her floor exercise in the upcoming competition. Susan was exactly four feet nine inches tall and deceptively fast and strong. A trained gymnast and nurse, the young woman, or girl as she preferred, was fresh from school and working in Pediatrics. Her brown eyes and auburn hair were linked by a matching scattering of freckles and the skies were always blue wherever she went, ripples of sunshine radiated from her smile. Her figure was lush and rested upon solid muscle. There were fireplugs with less strength, and the many years of piano left her hands with a grip like claws. An upturned nose and saucy attitude lent a strong resemblance to the young Shirley Temple both in looks and attitude.
Deep in the core of the hoary heart of the forest Susan spied along the riverbank an old hollow log, tipped up on one end by its own fallen bulk. As in her childhood she swung up on a broken root and did the old slide through on her way to the river. Forcefully pumping her strong legs down the opening, Susan suddenly was wedged to a quick hard stop, abrading her hips and shoulders. Constrictive hard wood seemed to hem her arms to her sides, her lower legs projected uselessly out the bottom of the hollow log. Rotted wood dust choked her nearly, as she sneezed, her head slammed against the interior of the log.
Angrily she thrashed to the limited extent she could. There was much decomposed wood in the log; if it could be dislodged she could get free of the wooden cylinder of death. Her shouts were muffled inside the log. It was up to her, miles into the thick forest alone. The awkward angle of her jammed in position was smushing her large breasts and hips cruelly, and a big knot was bruising her thigh. It felt like she was one of the poor little kids who fall down abandoned well heads into the shaft and require extensive excavation by expert rescue teams. It was hard to believe she could be trapped the same way by her most favorite toy in the forest. It was as though the hollow log slide was angry at her neglect of him, her faithful if silent companion during the traumatic years of her childhood.
Again Susan wiggled and struggled, sweat darkening the white blouse as it dripped from her face…there was not much air circulation. She tried coiling and uncoiling her powerful thighs and tried in vain to move an arm. It was hopeless, she thought. The hollow log had a fit like a straight-jacket. Susan began with every once of might in her body to hurl herself from side to side inside the constraints of the tubular deathtrap. There was a slight creak, and that was it. She was stuck but good. Then something stung her foot, and again, once more. Ants!
"OH my God, help me! Help! Help! Help Me! Help Me!”
The ants were roused by all the shaking near their nest in the ground under the hollow log, the hours of tight confinement sent a steady supply of tasty, human meat scented sweat onto the ground. Scout ants had duly noted it and brought samples to the nest. It was suppertime in bugville.
They swarmed onto her feet and legs, biting and stinging their dinner into submission. Susan exploded into cursing and frantic rocking and the log creaked as she threw herself against the confining wood shell. Slowly the log creaked and splintered. The stings and bites were agonizing, as though she stood in a campfire. Now her thighs were subject to the attentions of the marauding insects. Flailing her legs, she tried to kill them against the interior walls within the limited movement allowed her. The hollow log shifted inches down suddenly, and she was tumbling toward the river.
Nettles and thorns tore at her tender feet. The world was a spinning, tumbling circle of light that exploded into a daylight kaleidoscope as the log smashed onto a large rock and part of the top half broke off, leaving Susan still jammed breast deep with her arms pinned to her sides. The log spun on end and fell a few feet over the projecting bank to stab her feet and calves into clay bank. Like a highly improbable dart, she was stuck tight. Susan could not move her feet or lower legs. It was like cement. The clay also held the hollow log upright. Now Susan knew what it felt like to be planted. It was ridiculous; the chances of this happening were astronomical, defying logic. But stuck can be stronger than logic.
The familiar ordinary natural noises became unnaturally loud; running water and moving branches, blue jays cawed, a bright green kingfisher flashed over the water and hovered for a fish to eat. The river flowed past, uncaring, just as it had when she played along its banks as a child, except now she could hardly believe that now she was doomed in an inescapable deathtrap, well actually two, if she could pull her mired legs free of the clay it would just be the traitor hollow log, betrayer of her childhood and now her enemy.
Mosquitoes and biting midges landed on her ample chest and graceful neck, they swarmed her face, getting breathed in, and coughing and screaming, Susan could do little to keep the insect tormentors from resettling on her like a vampire cloud. They would doubtless drain quarts of blood and weaken her into shock, already cramps were flashing all over her body. The bugs flew in her ears and eyes. Her every exertion was absorbed by the hollow log overcoat and the vise-like clay. The broken ends of the log penetrated into the clay bank and acted like sunken piers, and along with her cramped immobile feet anchored the whole affair.
She could not tip the log over this time. Coughing up bugs and writhing as much as possible against the sweat-soaked interior, Susan fought off delirium from exposure. Stuck since early in the morning, thirsty and exhausted, bruised, scratched up and drained of blood by swarms of bugs, the poor girl remembered why she never swam in the river- it was full of leeches, they were all over her feet and ankles, the nice big veins called them to supper more surely than Pavlov's dog ever was. No wonder she was so weak. She knew that now there was truly no escape. At least the leeches did not hurt until they were pulled off, and stuck in the clay permanently as she was, they were going to have a field day. In the evening she was much weaker from the constant steady drain of her helpless body fluids, too many buggies had feasted on her body. Susan passed out.
Years later, a warden happened by, taking a look around this remote nook of the forest and came upon a bleached skeleton inside a hollow log, upright on the shore, seeming planted there. The warden wondered what tale the bones would tell him if they could talk, he had seen human remains before, but not stuck inside an upright hollow log. It seemed deliberate. It was just too damn weird . "What has happened here?" he asked out loud. There was no answer from the silent trees...