Bad Management. (A Short Story)

There was a boy who lived by the dark forest.  His name was Abebe and he had discovered a way through the  forest to the ring of free trees.  Once there, on tip toe,  he stretched out his hands and the free trees bent down slowly slowly so he could pick their fruit.   When he brought the fruit to the village a crowd  surrounded him “oh what wonderful fruits you have”,  they said, and Abebe shared what he had and gave the rest to his family.  “I need help. Will anyone  come with me?” he asked.   The villagers looked  out at the dark forest and without a word  shook their heads and stepped back.

To Abebe the forest was not dark. The trees were  guardians pointing the way to the ring of free trees.  One day,  when he was about to leave,   a shopkeeper shouted from the window of her fruitshop  “I shall help you…” she said.  Abebe was delighted and offered the shopkeeper, Mrs Floyd,  a percentage… “thankyou” Abebe  said “thankyou so much” and they both trundled out into the forest.

“First look for the roots of the beech tree” he said enthusiastically. Mrs Floyd  followed.  The deeper into the forest they went the more  Mrs Floyd  started to grumble and stall and complain.  It hadn’t dawned on Abebe that though Mrs Floyd  owned  the best fruit shop in town she had lost touch with the act, the nature-systems,  of finding fruit.  “And then I follow the turned branch”  he said excitedly, nervously. She argued with him each time he suggested a direction and determined that she knew the way all along. Soon he was following her. “are..are you sure” he asked sensing her mistake. “don’t question me” she replied fighting her way through the brambles.

The deeper into the forest they travelled the darker her expression and the stranger her actions. She stopped to consider a different direction.  There were matters on her mind.  Her clothes were torn and Abebe had cuts and scratches on his arms.  “What’s wrong?”  asked Abebe  but Mrs Floyd did not respond for what seemed an age. “You” she said “with your fruits! Who do you think you are!?” And Abebe  realised he was alone in the forest in the gloom  with a very very dark woman.  Her shadow engulfed him.

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