It seemed like such a good idea at the time.
My friend Daphne was heavy into earth magicks, you know? Which I mostly just thought meant that she didn’t go to church, wore lots of crystals and things, and spent lots of time in the woods. At least that’s what I thought it meant. Until I went out there one day, and saw her praying flowers out of the ground.
No, really. Hand to God. Uh, Goddess. Whatever. I know you don’t believe me. I wouldn’t have either. But there it was. She was kneeling, holding a crystal, muttering something, and a flower was pushing its way out of the ground, right next to about twenty others that were still growing.
Lots of people would have started freaking out, I guess. For me, it was the find of the century.
Ed and I were getting married in a few months, you know? And he was like, on this big sustainability kick. Don’t take more from the earth, and all that crap. He even had me recycling. So I was watching Daphne, and I got this amazing idea. What if you could grow a house?! No metal, no petroleum, so no pollution and no raping Mother Earth. Lots of trees, so plenty of oxygen.
I know, genius, right? I thought so too. Then.
So I talked it over with Daphne, and she agreed to help us out. Ed and I bought this vacant lot, threw together some sketches, talked ‘em over with Daphne, refined the blueprints, bought the supplies. And then Daphne went out to the lot one day, and we planted the seeds, and she started saying prayers. She came back every day. And by the time we were ready to move in, our house was fully grown. It was amazing.
There were just a few things we maybe should have thought of first.
Like, for example, that our house wouldn’t stop growing. Our living room is about ten square feet smaller than it used to be. And Daphne can’t pray the trees to stop, you know?
We also should have put some thought into the tree-walls. There wasn’t a fight over it. Ed and I both wanted deciduous. The colors would be so beautiful in the fall, you know? Well, they were. And then the leaves fell off, and not only did we have a lot of cleanup, we didn’t have a roof anymore. Rain we’d thought about — the branches were so tightly woven that nothing could get through except for natural water supply. But we’d been so worried about what shape to have Daphne pray the branches into that we’d forgotten tight branches are no good at keeping out water without leaves. They can’t keep out snow either, for that matter. And we live in friggin’ Michigan!
So we started to plant a whole bunch of pine trees, see if we could salvage the house while we stayed with my mom? And then we found out the next creepy thing.
The house was alive.
No, I know it was living, I mean alive. You know? Like, conscious. Like, aware. And the first time we tried to tear down a tree, like, so unbelievably pissed. We had a lot of shattered furniture to replace until Daphne calmed the house down. And we had to replace it with synthetic stuff. The house decided it wasn’t cool with the aged cedar table, no matter how perfect it looked.
Then there were our animal friends. Yeah. Let’s just say they don’t treat me like Snow White. They’d always been living there, and we’d never minded. Then winter came, and they moved indoors with us. The war was on.
They didn’t like us keeping the lights on after sunset. So they chattered at us to stop. We ignored them. The birds dive-bombed the lights, the squirrels chewed through the cables, and the rabbits dug under our electric poles until they fell so low we couldn’t reach ‘em. So now we’re a daylight-only house, at least if we wanna keep the birds from crapping on the HDTV. I miss Conan.
Our neighbors don’t really like the house, either. You know how much moisture it takes to keep those trees alive? Yeah, well, if you saw our lawn you would. It’s like the Salt Flats out there. The Neighborhood Beautification Committee gave Ed a letter of notice that they were very displeased. We can’t find it. We think the house took it. It’s probably compost somewhere.
At least our bed was nice and cozy. For a while. Daphne prayed a huge hollow into the trunk of a tree, and then we planted some earth and covered it in grass and soft moss. Amazing sleep. But the house won’t let us go up there anymore. It doesn’t like us stepping on the stairs. So we’re using the guest bedroom, and it hands us down anything we need.
All of this would be bad enough. But y’know, the other day, when I walked into the bathroom…
No, never mind. It sounds crazy.
Yeah, like everything else doesn’t? You’re right, I guess.
Okay, so there’s this new weird tree in the downstairs bathroom, right? We’ve never seen it before. Nobody has. The people at the university didn’t know what it was, and Daphne swears up and down she had nothing to do with it.
But it’s got these two huge pods, so low they touch the ground now. The smaller one is about my size. And there’s something in each one.
And they look really, really ripe…
Let me know what you think of the story. If you like it, please feel free to forward the link to your friends! If it wasn’t to your taste, better luck tomorrow — a new piece of short fiction goes up every day.