Page 54

The Mother of the Wood by Colin Timothy Gagnon

Insomnia Press

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hind me and clenched my fist on the scruff of her neck, scrambled up the stairs and locked her in a bedroom. Downstairs, the dogs were scratching at the door. The roots shot through and began feeling their way up the stairs, as more crawled out of the room where I’d thrown Layla. I shut myself in the master bedroom, and sat on the bed until the searching roots forced their way in. I heard a tap at the window and looked up. An owl was beating its wings against the screen, and it, too, had the eyes of a goat. The roots found me, and began to twist around my arms and legs. I grabbed for the sewing kit beside the bed, and cut as many of the roots as I could with the scissors, but there were too many of them. “Stop,” said the woman’s voice inside my head, “come to me, join my children.” I opened the window and lunged with the scissors at the owl, but I was too tightly wrapped to catch it. It flew in, perched on a chair, and began to change. Feathers fell to the floor. Bones and beak cracked. The thing contorted and shriveled and burned, and then the old woman stood before me. She began to speak, but I charged for the window, and flung myself out. The

roots dragged against the window frame, and suspended me above the front porch. I squirmed and bit and tore until I dropped to the roof of the porch, and shimmied down to the ground. The yard was alive. The grass was swaying like millions of tiny tentacles, the trees were moving as if in a strong wind. I sprinted across the yard to my car as roots sprouted from all directions and tried to drag me down, but I managed to get in and get it started. I stepped on the gas and felt the roots snapping as the car lurched forward. I turned in a wide arc until I was pointed at the road. Ahead of me, a healthy black walnut tree lifted itself and attempted stiffly to walk, but came crashing to the ground, bringing power lines with it. I watched as a piece of broken, black cable hissed and popped and convulsed in the driveway under its own electrical fury like an angry snake. Dangerous, but I could avoid the sparking end if I drove across the yard. A drainage ditch yawned wide and deep between the yard and the road, but I could clear it if I crossed at the northwest corner of the property. I stomped on the gas, aimed my car, drove across the garden, over the downed power lines, and into the

Insomnia Press #2: Happy Birthday, Lovecraft!  

Dedicated to the late, great H.P. Lovecraft

Insomnia Press #2: Happy Birthday, Lovecraft!  

Dedicated to the late, great H.P. Lovecraft

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