The Green Man
Led by Em, Abby and Ram headed sunwards. At first, the couple simply attempted to keep up with the long-legged blonde, but then Ram noticed the regularity of her step and began to improvise a four-beat cadence count on his applestick. Ram fell behind Em and Abbie fell behind him. The long shadow of their column pointed back to the meadow of the ruined tree. As they progressed, Em’s yellow gradually enriched the overarching green of the orchard while Abby’ red glowed in its apples. Ram’s music echoed among the branches like bird song. Each of the three began to feel a pulse, which became a beat. Ram shifted to a three-beat cadence. They now marched as a unit, the first beat continually falling upon an alternate foot. The beat now was like the throb of a single heart. At that moment, they heard a baritone voice: “Rest here, friends.” They halted and searched for its source. Suddenly, Emmy pointed straight ahead. “There!” As the other stared intently, the form of a tall, burly green man manifested among the green sea of trees. “Your names?” They all replied at but no one could seem to speak clearly: “Ab,” “Ra,” “Em.” “Abraham?” A basso profundo rumbled from the group: “Abraham!” A soprano echoed, “Abrail!” “A little gender confusion, I see.” The green man sized up the column. “I see you are halfway. In other word, “All the way here but not there. Do you want to continue?” In four-part harmony, they replied, “Yes.” “Good. Come here, Em.” He took her a step away to a stump, alongside of which leaned an applestick ax with an emerald blade, which he handed her. He knelt by the stump, laid his neck on its surface. “Way haul away, girl.” Em chopped off his head. Green blood hosed the stump, nearby trees, overhanging leaves, and Em. Then, the Green Man seized the fallen head by its hair and stood. He held the dripping head high like a lantern, and it spoke: “Unit, fall in!” They re-formed in a rank in front of him. He stepped to his right to stand by Em. “Right face!” All became a column. “Piper!” Ram blew into his applestick and bagpipe music came out. “Forward, harch.” The Green Man led them sunwards deeper into the orchard to the tune of “You Can’t Always Get What You Wa-ant…” Their feet formed a trail of bloody mud pointing back to the meadow of the ruined tree.