381 - Do Not Shoot My Trees


Alan's friend Don was generous enough to let the two of you stay at his camp for the weekend.  You and Alan look over the contents of the kitchen, amply stocked with pots, pans, spices and gadgets but severely lacking food. No problem, though: you plan on killing your dinner.

On the glass window on the edge of the kitchen is a scrap of notebook paper with "DO NOT SHOOT MY TREES" written in black lettering.

"Why doesn't he want anyone to shoot the trees?" you ask Alan.

Alan's eyes roll back into his skull as he turns to face you. "The old oaks still wear the scars of the Winter War," he says in a distant, echoing voice nothing like his own. "They still remember what we were taught to never let happen again."

"Are you okay, man?" you ask, shaking with fear.

"Heed the sign, transgressor," not-Alan says. He takes a step toward you and you take an equal step back. "We suffer your presence to honor the treaty. We will not suffer your violence."

"Stop kidding around, dude," you stutter, "this isn't funny."

"Bark will be paid for with skin, sap with blood. You will not be warned again."

Alan's eyes return to normal. He sees you staring at him, mouth agape. "What's wrong?" he asks.

You shake your head for a moment and take a deep breath. "There any other rules around here?" you ask.

"Yeah," he chuckles, "only burn dead wood. Don's weird about these fucking trees, man."