Trees With Roots in the Sky

She dreamed that she lay on a heavy wooden table in the middle of the redwood forest. A hoary raven perched on a rock and watched her with his shiny black eyes. She wanted to walk down to the creek she heard babbling away somewhere off to her side, but the raven held her in place. It spoke to her in a voice that sounded like an old truck with a busted clutch.

"Lie to me."

She wondered if she mis-heard the raven. She turned the words over in her head, looking for a meaning. Opened her mouth to ask what he meant, but he brought a sharp claw up to his beak and shushed her.

"Lie to me."

There was no mistaking the grating words. She fumbled with the parts of her brain that made sentences, trying to open the locks that held her speech captive. She felt the need to please the scorched bird. Searching for the perfect lie, her mouth felt thick with all the words she had ever loosed upon the world.

She lay on her back, looking over at the raven who danced on his rock like an old boat in a storm, shifting from one foot to the other in tight excitement. The black beads of his eyes held her like the hands of an angry father. Yet she did not fear the bird. She only wanted to satisfy him...to answer his call.

"Lie to me."

She closed her eyes and the world turned upside down. The open ground above her and a hard cold sky below her. She sucked in her breath slowly, stalling for just one more second. No words bubbled up from the fountains of her mind. She searched, but found only dead dreams and broken promises. She held the breath until her lungs began to burn. Her last breath. The raven would not ask again. She felt the hard sky pressing against her like a stone, and she knew the lie the hungry bird awaited. She let it fall in a whisper with her breath.

"I love you."

The End

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