Roy broke into six different ATMs. He didn’t need the money because his aunt had left him with enough to get by on but he couldn’t help himself. He was angry that she was gone and he was angry that his hair was still long. The funeral took priority.
It was in the cold quiet that Roy finally saw his resemblance to his aunt. The tumors under her blanched paper skin were her burls. Her house and her trinkets were her roots and leaves. And even though Roy hated his tangled mane, it was the same color and length of his aunt’s before she was diagnosed.
Roy inherited it all. He left it all. He left all the money (not the money from the ATMs) and the house to shelter homeless queer saplings. He grew sixty feet and carried his aunt, small wooden bird, across the dying waters of the bay. He carried her to the Redwoods.
Roy was among true giants. The sequoias looked at him with their seed cone eyes. One of the smaller trees, a dawn redwood, looked at Roy and saw the long hair, the cupped hands, and the wads of cash stuffed into his socks. The tree hiked up its roots and skirted off. Dawn redwoods are notoriously empathetic.
In the wake of the tree’s root ball was a craterous home. Roy was crying but kept his tears inside, away from the trees. He tied a length of hair into a large knot and chewed off the longer end of the strand. He wrapped his aunt in the lock. He cradled her onto the moist soil. He planted every bill he had stolen from the six ATMs around her.
There is a question of what to say at a funeral in the presence of Redwoods. But when one of their own falls and no one is around to hear it, none make a sound.
Alex Vigue is a gay Washington State writer with a degree in creative writing from Western Washington University. He is a lover of fabulist fiction but sometimes poetry takes over his fingers and demands itself to be written. He also likes frogs, jellyfish, and the TV show River Monsters. Alex has been published in Phantom Drift, Jeopardy’s 50th anniversary issue, and Emerge Literary Journal among others. He is the fiction editor for Dirty Chai Lit Magazine and you can find him on twitter @Kingwithnoname