Jack Oak

Jack whistled as he wandered along a winding dirt road. A bulging sack hung from his shoulders, bouncing against his back in time with his lively steps. The day was bright and clear, and the early-summer day was warm. He closed his eyes and smiled, basking as the sunlight shone on his face.

The road wound up around a steep hill. Jack followed it, watching as the surrounding countryside unfolded around him. Tall golden grass swayed in the breeze, stretching to the horizon like a vast ocean. There were no trees or rocks, only the grass that rustled like whispers on the wind.

At the top, the hill leveled into a plateau. The earth was hard and worn, packed down by generations of feet that had long since passed. A couple of tumbledown shacks remained, the only vestiges that had survived the encroachment of thorns and brush. Except for the well.

Jack walked to it and leaned over the crumbling stones to peer down into the dark depths. He whistled down into the darkness, and the sharp tune was cast back at him in a series of chirruping echoes. As the sound wavered around him, Jack thought he heard a girl laughing, and the indistinct murmur of many voices. He looked around, but all he saw was a few worn and dilapidated walls, and the barren weeds that threatened to overtake them.

He knelt to the ground as he shrugged the sack off of his shoulders. He untied the strings that laced the bag shut and, putting his hand into it, pulled out a fistful of acorns. Their hard, smooth surfaces gleamed in the light, like burnished copper or polished wood. An acorn tumbled from his hand and rolled into the weeds. Jack left it there, and threw the rest of the acorns down into the well.

He waited as he listened to the silence. Then, a moment later, a few faint plinks echoed from the darkness. He smiled, closed his bag and got to his feet. Jack looked down at the surrounding valley, imagining the hills transformed and mottled with shade. Maybe one day he would return.

One day.

 


18 Comments

  1. I wonder where the echoes of people came from. Such a lonely place, soon to start to grow.
    Tasha
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    • Sara C. Snider

      I figured I’d leave that open for interpretation. 😉

  2. This one has a Ray Bradbury feel to it.I Like the polished wood image.

  3. Hi Sara – fascinating idea for a story – or a fairy story .. love it .. the strong oak ready to grow into the tree that could live for a couple of hundred years providing homes to so many birds, insects, flora and fauna .. cheers Hilary

    • Sara C. Snider

      Thanks, Hilary. I enjoy thinking about what the transformed countryside might look like. 🙂

  4. Ah lovely Sara thank you. Truly you make images ..

  5. Great imagery. It’s interesting to imagine what some of our modern spaces once looked like without all the trees and plants that were cultivated by humans. Or, in some cases, what they looked like *with* the trees humans destroyed…but let’s go with the happier version.

    Nice post!

    • Sara C. Snider

      Thank you! I also like to imagine how certain places might have looked without humans there. Or (as in the story) when humans had once been there but aren’t any longer.

  6. I liked the echoes – sad, but meaningful – and Jack, a nonchalant character, spreading his acorns, taking him time 🙂
    Sophie
    Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles
    FB3X
    Wittegen Press

  7. Oooooh 🙂 Nice! I was curious about the bag. A boy named Jack carrying a large bag, according to folktales, can mean a whole bunch of different things… 😀

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

  8. Btw, I gave you a should out on my blog today! Happy Visiting Day 🙂

  9. Great story…
    I love the images it conjured! 😀

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