I’d never considered the importance of the woods before it happened. I knew my people found it relevant, but I took it for granted, a place where I’d swing from branches and thank The Green for our home. 

Once The Ironmen arrived, I could only grab my priest’s robes and gardening tools. I never looked back and retreated with the other congregation members.

We hid among thickets of grass and fields of dirt, but the Ironmen still came. We had to dig with a trowel and hide in underground hovels while they walked past us. They’d spoken to us days before about their machines, but we couldn’t agree to harm The Green. But they took it anyway, I understood, cowering underground.

When I returned to where the woods had been, I thought I’d gone mad from lack of sustenance; we’d eaten nothing but three handfuls of bitter berries all this time. I insisted that we were all wrong,  that the woods lay further along. 

The grey ground I stood on couldn’t have been where I’d been raised, not until I understood the reason for its colour. Short piles of grey I’d never seen before surrounded me, no taller than anthills. The wind blew, and flakes of these hills drifted across the air. These flakes brushed my face. The smell followed: smoke. Burning. Ashes. 

Nothing remained of the trees we’d grown up with except the ashes. The Ironmen had reduced them to circles in the ground, flat and even enough to walk on. The church we built with our bare hands no longer stood, an empty patch of scorched earth taking its place. 

My knees buckled and I wept. Around me, this patch of nothing that had once been our home blended into the surrounding landscape, the industrialised perfection of the Ironmen. The whirring of their machines continued in the distance, miles away but deafening to my soul. 

The congregation joined me and we held one another in memoriam of our home. We were all that remained of this place – homeless, no more than ashes, blowing in the wind.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 month ago

Welcome to Voice.club, Conrad. This is a heart-rending story. I feel so sorry for the villagers and for the loss of the trees. Beautifully crafted.

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
1 month ago

Conrad, welcome to Voice.Club. You have written a deeply moving and shattering tale of destruction. So sad and soul destroying. You ended on such a bitter note in, “no more than ashes, blowing in the wind.”

1 month ago

…and it’s still going on today. Deforestation seems such a crime against nature. Well written Conrad

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
1 month ago

So sad and so apt! I loved the concept of the Green you introduce in your story…
Maybe we should all take heed…

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

Hello, Conrad. Welcome to voice club.

I feel so sad while reading your story. Deforestation and destruction really do nothing good to the world. Let’s hold together to stop it and take back the forest. Keep on writing.

Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
1 month ago

Wow! A beautiful and touching story. I feel for their loss. Welcome to Voice.club.

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