Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The wind carried a nice breeze of warm air across the courtyard. I remember it was the first day in awhile that I didn't need a jacket. People of all types walked up and down the streets, the pavement dense with the sound of sneakers sneaking and high heels clicking. Brown leaves crashed landed onto the ground and were swept up instantly by the wind. The sun warmed my face.

I sat at the bench, with bad posture and my hair blowing in the wind. I sipped on a bottle of cheap iced tea and glanced around at a set of trees that sat anchored in the ground in front of me. They sat bare and scrawny, but tall as their arms reached out to the sky, leafless and asleep.

The branches bounced up and down with the wind that carried them. Not paying much attention, I fiddled with my phone a bit. Towards the back, walked a group of workers (from the way they were dressed I assumed landscapers). Some donned in faded blue jeans, some in dirty khakis. Each wore a bright red shirt with matching company logos.

They carried various, gardening tools with them. Saws and sheers and pruners and scythes. I glanced over and made eye contact with one of them. The worker gave me a strange look back and I looked away, awkwardly.

I lost myself for a second and closed my eyes as I heard the clanking of one of the metal pruning tools. Then instantly I was shook by an abnormal piercing shriek, followed by the unmistakable, blood-curdling screech of a man. The sound painted the air with agony.

My head shot up and I saw the worker being flailed around in the air, his body gripped by the branches of the bare brown tree. The man screamed and another shriek followed as he was thrown and shaken and juggled in the air. His limbs flipped and flopped like a rag doll.

I tried to move but my limbs turned to ice. Couldn't run,couldn't yell, I could barely think. More screams filled the air as the other workers ran panicked, some toward the tree and the smart ones ran away from it.

Some of the workers screamed and yelled, carrying their tools and swung them drunkenly. One of the shorter workers, mustached and face full of rage bran-dashed a set of stainless steel sheers.

More metal clanked, and then came a snap. His neck twisted completely around as the slender branches of the tree tapped on his neck playfully. The only sound made after his neck snapping was the sound of the sheers falling onto the paved concrete.

In a blur, the ground was covered with neatly landscaped stones and lime green grass, splashed with blotches of crimson. I stood there, my knees wobbly and feet sinking into the sidewalk.

A gust of wind grabbed a hold of the notebook in my hand and 7 or 8 pieces of paper went dancing into the air.

The thumping in my chest blocked out all the sound around me, that was until I heard that shriek again.