Eucalyptus punk, a forest carnival

An interesting attempt at using a couple of writing prompts in duality, from two different writers’ blogs.

The first a Free Write Friday prompt from Kellie Elmore, a word bank of, blanket – falsetto – cumbersome – cinema – coins.

The second, a flash fiction prompt from Chuck Wendig over at Terribleminds, to come up with your own something-punk.

Unsure if I’ve done well with either of the prompts as a experimental combination, as one is a case of raw writing (for Kellie’s), and the other a polished piece of flash fiction (for Chuck’s), which is not polished. But it will be interesting to hear what you think as a reader, for my available time to write is often limited by the day job. Happy reading.

Tree and sky

Eucalyptus punk, a forest carnival

Over the last thousand years, much’s been shared, experienced, and discussed about the plethora eucalyptus invading every corner of the globe like a virus, its many species breaking apart society, with its degrading the civilisations of urban culture, over farmed agricultural wastelands, the pepper potted empty gas, and great chasms of now deserted vacant mines. Exploitation ground to a standstill, to the extent of where people began living beneath the eucalyptus, disheartened by life, all convenience dissipated, like rain on desert sands, but not even they existed anymore, deserts, for they too succumbed to the plague, the all encompassing blanket of these trees.

In time, a small few banded together, a hopeful company of once strangers, and once more the ancient tradition of the travelling carnival became reborn, though amongst these few, a small clan of gangly people kept to themselves, for they knew the secrets of the eucalyptus, and the grand power they possessed in all their forms. For they could harness the secret of electricity from within the life-force of the eucalyptus trees. With their knowledge kept to themselves, the gangly clan of people travelled the globe entertaining, and enlightening the many peoples’ of scattered communities to history, their ancestors’ pasts, with the only remaining mobile cinema in existence, a kaleidoscope of light, sounds, music, and moving pictures, art.

As time passed, the clan of gangly people continued to travel the globe, earning small amounts of coins to trade for food from more abundant communities to share with less fortunate communities, whom had faced new forms of natural disasters, and some old one too, for the eucalyptus trees did not change those problem in living with a changed world. Until one day, the clan, and the carnival entered a new community, one that was much darker in greeting them, and less friendly towards the carnival folk. The days passed, and many of the small community eventually welcomed the entertainment, and relaxed. But a small few where plotting, scheming.

Finally it came time for the carnival to move on to the next community, and so in the light of the early hours all but the gangly clan set off towards the next community, passing quietly beneath the eucalyptus forests. For the people of the cinema always travel a few hours behind the main group in order to keep their secrets to power of natural electricity from others, for this knowledge, they only passed from one generation to the next within the clan. In an instant, once the other players within the carnival vanished from sight, the gangly clan found themselves surrounded, some of the clan attempted to escape, but they were cut off, and punished severely for trying.

Over the next few days, the entirety of the clan were subject to torture, and murder for their secrets, while a number of children managed to escape with the help of the elders within the clan. The clans bodies were left to rot beneath the eucalyptus forest, as this new and abhorrent community picked up and moved ten miles from the scene of theft and murder taking the travelling cinema, and the clans knowledge with them. In the following weeks the new possessors of the cinema turned it into a fixed location, and as more people became aware in other communities, they began to flock to the new location now known as The Vast. The people of The Vast began to collect more and more coin, all the while continuing to expand until cinemas covered six square miles of the forest. The Vast had become a cumbersome complex of stone, earth, and straw buildings, laneways, and never ending halls, passages to dark rooms with moving pictures show in all. People from other communities had become like zombies, addicted to the flickering light, some never left the dark rooms, except with assistance when they started to decay.

Soon the people of The Vast, decided they wanted to screen an epic three-day movie event, where the last film that would be shown in all cinemas at once, a musical so grand, that every community within the greater basin of their part of the eucalyptus forest would come to watch. By now, The Vast covers 40 square miles, with people flocking from many far flung communities outside of the basin to the three-day festival. The three days pass with much celebration by the people of The Vast, the final film is under way, as the opening sequence of the musical breaks into a long climbing falsetto by the male lead actor. The ground, the straw covered earth beneath the peoples’ feet in The Vast begins to shake, while outside the eucalyptus trees in and around the community, they short circuit, exploding with tremendous forces. Spreading like a wildfire, The Vast, with it’s metropolis of cinemas is brought crashing to the earth, as forest root systems rip open like veins wrenched from the ground, while above the exploding waves trunks, and canopies lay waste to all on the surface. When all finally ceases, the devastation can be seen for miles, but not a sound fills the air, not a whisper, but the wind, passing through the forest still surrounding the remains of The Vast.

It still remains to be asked, why did the gangly clan continually keep moving, following the carnival with their cinema, and not remain in one place. Did they reveal all their secrets to the people whom became The Vast…

Trees black and white

30 responses to “Eucalyptus punk, a forest carnival

    • It’s probably the strangest bit of fiction I’ve explored yet, and I’m sure my head truncated the story is some places in the rush to find where it would land. Thanks Talicha. At the time of the first thought to experiment, I was thinking of combining two writing challenges/prompts with a photo one, but did not get that far, the writing ones were plenty run with for this week.

      • well you did a great job, you can always add a photo from a challenge that you think fits this later and make it into whatever you want it to be 🙂

  1. Pingback: #FWF Free Write Friday #27: Word Bank | catnipoflife·

  2. Extremely imaginative. Eucalyptus is invasive where I live, and I’ve often seen it as a sort of beautiful, towering monster. This is also reminiscent of David Mitchell’s writing to me. A familiar otherworld.

    • Here some 700 species are native, not all are towering monsters. Many places around the world took to planting Blue Gums (these grow to around 50-60 metres), and few other species, for what ever reasons. I’ve not read David Mitchell. Thank you for reading my small bit of make believe.

  3. What a creative and interesting read. How strange that eucalyptus trees are a problem elsewhere in the world. Here in Australia they are indigenous to the land and form a vital part of healthy eco systems.

    • Eucalyptus Trees can become a problem in other countries as they can form dry woodland forests, and adapt rather fast to grow, and spread quickly. At one stage many thousands of years ago Australia was covered in a lot more rainforest, but as they receded due to climate and other conditions, the dry woodland forests of Eucalyptus flourished. So many different trees play vital part in the health ecosystems here in Australia, but so many dry woodland forests are heavily depleted (as have been tropical, and sub tropical rainforests too), that there are also many unhealthy systems about too.

  4. The blue gums are planted here in California to serve as windbreaks for agriculture. I grew up with them and they smell lovely and are beautiful. After I become I ranger part of my job was to learn invasive and native. Sad when I discovered (before I became a ranger) about the eucalyptus. We rarely destroy it here (too large), but there were times when my boss would take on some of the smaller trees before things got out of hand. Always made me a little sad.

    • Here over the years, many have been logged, ring-barked, poisoned, or chain pulled on a mass scale in the pursuit of developing grasslands for grazing, or dry dirt agriculture. But here there are still many mountain ranges, rivers/watercourses still well covered with trees, as well as national parks and forest reserves.

      You still a ranger?

    • It’s always better to be outside, plus, I just don’t get the time to pursue prompts separately. So I wanted to try something a little different. Thanks, Christy!

  5. Amazing! The way you approach these prompts is refreshing and eventful. I’m always eager to embrace the direction of each one. The clan portrayal, the secrets held, murder, and the formation of The Vast is gripping–like I was watching a movie.

    • My head gets carried away sometimes, it all happened way too fast. I think it could of done with some sections of conversation to build up a few layers between visual and and the different voices to explore. Thanks Uzoma!

    • Thanks Dorothy 🙂 It’s not the cleanest piece of writing, but it does work maybe as a frame for something later down the track. Cheers!

  6. This is phenomenal dear friend!!!!! Succinctly put, I enjoyed this piece, the juxtaposition of the prompts, I’m lost for words!!!! Good job again!

    • It needs a good tidy up and edit though, with some more work to go into it. I was surprised while taking the loose approach when writing, with how quickly the story expanded.. Thanks Sandra! Thanks for sharing you words! 🙂

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