There was an empty field, wild with unkept weeds. In the midst of this boondocks stood an aged masterpiece thriving on its own.

It swayed and bent amidst the elements, moving with the raging winds that were thrusting with force. The hail followed, raining down like tiny weapons with a surprising hit.

We ran hard to the embrace of the large welcoming trunk. It was rippled with groves, as wrinkles grace the face, bringing solace as our backs lay against its support. The towering branches, thick and full of leaves, provided shelter from the impending storm.

The tree, untouched by human hands, lost its peaceful presence. There was a discomfort now, a foreign pressure. The roots beneath the surface began to emanate. Something was amiss.

We laughed, stomping the ground with our hands and feet. We found a place of safety in what felt like wasteland. Throwing a bag down, we reach inside, grabbing a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of vodka.

Time passes on and the storm escalates. We don’t notice, except for the few speedy pellets that sniper through. The bottle almost finished and the pack half down. Butts scattered around the grass.

Our voices get louder and so does the rowdiness. We fling and turn, hitting the bark, tearing pieces from its core. We carve our initials as proud signatures of our presence.

Now the tree can only feel fear.

The rolling thunder subsides leaving it secure to venture. We smash the empty bottle which flickers shards of glass in our wake. We throw unfinished cigarettes behind us.

One catches the bag.

A spark.

Ignition hits and a fire is born. It sets ablaze, finding a way to creep up the newly exposed cracks.

The wind rustles and spreads it faster.

We hear a sound and turn around. The tree, now lit in scarlet reds, screams in terror as the flames reach higher.

With the reflection mirrored in our eyes — we just stand there and watch.