Robin R. Peace and Kamika Cooper

Kamika Cooper
“Soul Survivor”
Digital Illustration
Inspiration piece

Sole Survivor
By Robin R. Peace
Response

Is it a victory if you’re the only one of your species left? I was of a proud race called the Ecorce. We were talking, thinking treelike humanoid creatures who inhabited planet Earth millions and millions of years ago, when Earth was ruled by dinosaurs. The Buisson ruled the plains and the Arbre ruled the mountains. We lived in harmony until that fateful day when the Buisson princess fell in love with an Arbre prince.

Crown Prince Jocovan of the Buisson said, “No daughter of mine is going to marry a Arbre! They are tall, skinny, and their leaves die off in the winter. Their only use is to bare fruit we cannot eat, but they are constantly getting eaten by the herbivore dinosaurs.”

“But Father!” Princess Kana of the Buisson said, “I love Willet and he loves me. He does not mind that I am short, fat and always green. He doesn’t mind that my fruit is poison to animals and to our people.”

“Do you know what freaks of nature your children would be? Look at Likio, the Ecorce’s historian. He is tall and fat, half of his leaves are always green and the other half dies during the winter. His fruit is poisonous to some animals and other animals can’t get enough of him. Fortunately, no one wants him for a mate. He can’t reproduce his ugliness. I will not love a freak for grandchild. I have arranged for you to marry Prince Hanri in the morning,” Jocovan said.

When the Buisson spread out in the plains, to prepare for their nightly hibernation, Kana fled to the mountains of the Arbre, to be with her love.

Crown Prince Miksu of the Arbre said to her, “You are welcome here, Kana. My son, Willet, is eager to be your husband. You’ll be married to Willet in the morning.”

Kana hugged Miksu and then ran into Willet’s embrace. Kana thought they would live forever as husband and wife.

When Jocovan awoke the next day to find his daughter missing, he decided to punish her and the Arbre without consulting his father, Pilio, the King of the Buissons. He waited until nightfall and then lit a fire in the mountains. Many Arbre died that night, including Willet. Enraged at the loss of his son, Miksu retaliated and loosed flaming arrows down into the plains, which killed many Buisson.

As they battled using fire, I, Likio hid amongst the non-humanoid trees and recorded everything. Soon the great race of the Ecorce was destroyed. I waited until the great fires on the plains and mountains burned themselves out. I then tilled the soil and broke off seedpods from both halves of my body and planted the Buisson half in the plains and the Arbre half on the mountains. I could do this without mating. A secret I had kept to myself. It was a long process, but I have nothing else to do with my time.

Once I completed my task, I went to the top of the mountains and wept bitterly. I did not know how long my children would take to germinate. He would have to teach the about the great kingdoms of the Ecorce and teach them that having mixed blood is nothing to be ashamed of.

A few months later, the saplings were about a foot tall. However, they had not begun to make sounds or try to move their bodies. I wondered how long it would take. The next day, the sky darkened as a huge meteor crash-landed into the Earth.

It killed off the dinosaurs. My saplings composition had changed. They turned into non-humanoid trees. When I tried to leave the mountain to see if I could replant with new Ecorces, I found I could no longer move or vocalize. I was a non-humanoid tree. Time passed and soon the humans subdued the Earth. They stopped by and picked my stems clean of its fruit. Winter came and half my leaves fell off.

I do not know how long I have been a non-humanoid tree. I was so old; I towered over the other trees on the mountain. Soon I felt that my body was dying, being eaten alive by caterpillars. All my leaves died and stopped growing. I was saddened but I was glad. I was ready to die. But I was so insignificant, the humans did not bother to cut me down to put me out of my misery.

One day, in the distant, I saw humans come with their axes and saws. I sigh to myself. They will pass me by. However, one of them stops and points to me.

“This will do. I can make a sturdy bedroom set with this one,” The man with the red cap says.

The hatless man nodded and they began to cut away my branches carelessly. The pain was more than I could handle. When they get to my base, I know I will expel my last breath of oxygen. After millions of years, I am finally going home to my people.
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One Comment

  1. Darice
    Posted March 10, 2016 at 9:01 pm | #

    This artwork is electrifying. I can feel another season afoot, one where the soul survivor, depicted so vibrantly, bears fruit and births a new nation of trees. I enjoyed the response and the way it drew us into another world.

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