Forest Floor Funeral

I sat in the roots a long time, listening to the gurgles and whirs, clicks and hums from the eldritch machinery that’s kept us all alive for a million years. Rootmen moved here and there, working, ignoring me.

It was cold down here. I was glad for the down-filled anorak my father had given me before I’d begun my descent.

Down here the sun didn’t shine, blocked by layers and layers of greedy leaves. One of the rootmen had given me a pair of amp goggles, and by enhanced starlight I watched them work. They’d grown, or perhaps evolved, hand-like feet, dense fur, and large eyes.

Six of them marched past me, carrying something wrapped in a white sheet. Something told me I didn’t want to know what it was, but I got up from where I sat and followed them.

They fetched up at one of the machines. One of them opened a door in its side. Another whispered prayers in their language, so near mine. Then they loaded the corpse into the machine and closed the door.

I stared down at the stars between the roots, underfoot.

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