I first heard it carried to me on the tree’s whispers. A sigh of exasperation, confusion, disbelief, and joy. My ears perked at the strange sound, and I breathed deeply for another clue of what it could be that had the trees so deeply gossiping.
I snaked down the hill on my normal commute, enjoying the lighter than usual traffic, and silently observed the humidity changing as the sun rose around me, still unable to reach me in the valley.
I rolled down my windows to enjoy the last vestiges of the cool morning air when I first heard the trees mention my name. Startled, I almost considered slowing to a stop where the trees seemed the most dense. I trudged on to my destination, an office park at the top of a big hill, overlooking a grand swath of greenspace. I figured if they had something to say they could reach me on my usual break.
The garage was almost empty as I pulled in. Not unusual, but since I was a few minutes later than normal I figured it must be a holiday of some sort. My company doesn’t observe any religious traditions, so it’s like them to be completely deadened to the world around them when it comes to celebration.
Bitterly agonizing on my lack of freedom, I marched up the stairs and swiped my card, hazily bustling to my seat to make a cup of coffee.
The motion sensors alerted the lights to my presence, and as the lights flickered on above, a sense of dread washed over me.
I peered around the office. Sure enough, not a soul was around. The place felt suspiciously warm – as if the building itself was buzzing in the absence. I kept getting the feeling that it was all trying to tell me something – but needed to start from the facts.
- No one on the roads. Did I not see anyone on my morning commute? Nothing came to mind.
- Then the trees… what was that about?
- No one was in the garage, and no one was at the office.
I checked my phone, then scanned my environment for any signs that someone else had recently been there. The electricity was still working, and it was a Tuesday. No major holidays were in sight. I searched the Internet just to be sure.
All the major news sites had stopped updating around 6:57 am – right around the time I heard the trees on my morning drive. Panicked, I texted my boyfriend, my friends, and anyone who I thought might respond. Most people were asleep this early, so I braced myself for the few hours that would pass before I would learn if I was indeed, alone. Time passed.
Stay Tuned for Part 2!
Photo Credits: Above the Forest by Kostiantyn-Dvornik
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