Danny’s Story

35. in which danny makes a profound discovery


Danny slipped into stealth mode. The world wavered, and Danny had the peculiar feeling of being disembodied as her Suited body disappeared from view. Only a faint trembling of the air – like heat waves – betrayed her presence when she moved.

She climbed up into the tree behind which she’d been hiding. There she perched, unmoving.

She ran an analysis on the energy signatures emanating from those lifeforms that showed yellow on the bioscan – those that the Suit’s computer could neither categorize as plants or animals. The edges of her vision blurred with an array of tiny, rapidly-changing numbers. After only several seconds, the numbers came to a halt, and the computer spat its results back to her. All of the alien lifeforms shared a similar energy signature, in the same manner that all plant life shared a similar energy, or all animals.

Next, Danny increased her sensors’ sensitivity to this energy and banished all other lifeforms from her scan. Her world came alive with yellow light. Every tree glowed solid with it. Each branch sparkled with the quick movements of tiny yellow forms – sprites, fairies, forest spirits. And the goliath tree at the center of the forest – it pulsed with yellow. Danny’s suspicions were confirmed in her mind. This was the forest’s heart.

Danny’s gaze followed the line of the Heart’s trunk downward. The unmistakable form of a huge, serpentine dragon coiled among its roots. Her gaze hesitated on it for only a moment.

The roots. Her attention focused in on these. The yellow lines of the Heart’s roots curled underneath it, spreading outward and downward. Intently, she followed the line of one set of roots. She found that they connected seamlessly with the roots of a neighboring tree. Gaze flicking back and forth, Danny quickly ascertained that all of the Heart’s roots connected with those of the trees around it. Indeed, all of the roots of all of the trees that she could see connected underground, like an impossibly complicated mesh of Celtic knotwork.

A flush of adrenaline shivered through Danny as she was rocked with a sudden realization. Quickly, she ordered her computer to isolate the Heart’s individual life signature, and dropped everything except it from the bioscan.

The ambient glow of spirits went dark, but the entire forest remained lit.

Every tree in the forest was one, single entity. The Heart was the forest.

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Christie “Iamba” Bailey