Finding the Yew


It had been two days since I last saw civilisation. I was surrounded by trees, tall giants crowding around me closing me in. I was without water, except a little which I had taking from the only spring I had found yesterday.

And they told me the forest was safe. They told me it would relax me. That I should be alone with my thoughts and see nature. They told me.


The forest began to darken and the air was chill. I knew I had to make a fire. This, I told myself should be quite simple. So I gathered wood and placed them in a misshapen teepee. Patting my pocket, I searched for the lighter I always kept on me for my cigars, but I found it was gone from my torn clothing.

I tried to recall facts I had long since forgotten about survival. Up from the murk came the friction theory. So I slumped against a tree behind me, slid down to a sitting position and took up the sticks. What had I done to deserve the fate this desolate place held for me? As I rubbed the sticks, I looked around me for the first time. Across from the place I was working, was a small glade of green grass. I walked over to it and I saw the sky for the first time in hours.


The sun warmed my youthful face as I lay on the grass on the hill. Soon I would be called in for dinner, but I would soak up every ray of sunshine that I could. The smell of my mother’s cooking wafted up from the house below.

The sun had dropped into a cloud bank and I sat outside for a few minutes longer. Then I shivered and ran down to the house.


I shook myself. My past should stay behind me, where it belonged. I once again tried the sticks, but it was to no avail, and, to make matters worse, it had begun to rain. I gave up, and began trudging on, with rain dripping from the leaves above down into the back of my collar and down the front of my shirt, which by now was as torn and ragged as any brigand’s. I curled up in a relatively dry area and fell asleep.


I awoke with a start. The dreams had been almost as painful as my back was now. But I had to move. Civilisation was my only hope.

My thirst was now worse than ever. After the rain of last night, there was plenty of water lying around, but it was stagnant and muddy. It had never occurred to me to leave my bottle out to catch the rain. But it was too late, and I had to do with what I had.

I had collected some berries which I had once seen in the supermarket, probably a blackberry, and had eaten some nuts, but hunger still gnawed at me. Still, I had had something to sustain me.

I staggered along, ignoring the signs my body threw at me. The forest smelt fresh after the rain. Suddenly I stopped in my tracks. Ahead of me stood a small buck. It lifted its head, and, sensing my clumsiness, fled.

Her tracks look like a smaller imprint of an unshod horse hoof. This I had not learned from my life in the city.


They had sold Chestnut. Of everything they could have done, they had sold my horse. She had been my birthday present for my fifth birthday, and she had been just a colt. We had grown up together.

They said I couldn’t keep where I was going. They were sending me to a big grey boarding school that was surrounded by grey flats and grey factories, in a grey city. I would appreciate the education later, they said. I could come and visit every holiday. But I didn’t believe them. They had sold Chestnut. I would never believe them again.


I looked up from the ground. I had never heard from them again, never gone back to the farm. But I had forgotten my past; I did not need it coming up now. Behind where the buck had stood was a long clearing, no, a path! My heart leaped. The forest no longer seemed the dark place it had been. But as I half-ran with renewed energy I realised that it was fast becoming overgrown and indiscernible from the undergrowth. My gait soon slowed back to my previous slow stumble. But my brief flame of hope was not entirely extinguished, or, if it was, I was not as desolate as I had formerly been. I now was able to think of something other than putting one foot ahead of the other. I thought back to the few days leading up to this mishap.


A phone call had come in from China. Our suppliers were being shut down, courtesy of Social Welfares. Bastards! They knew it was all a game, and they were purposely causing this for him. Even after the large over-payment he had just given them to prevent just this happening. They obviously had cards they weren’t playing, and I had consequently lost this round. But the game was not yet over.

I sighed and looked over at the paperwork on my desk. And there was a meeting tonight, with the employees’ counsel and trade unions supporting some of the staff. This was not what I needed right now. And then there was the matter about a weekend off my colleagues had been pestering me about. They seemed to think I need to ‘get in touch with my inner self.’ As if I could be away from work for a weekend. But something inside me seemed to want to go. I successfully buried all traces of that and began to sift through the piles of paper.


Now here I was. My legs had finally given up, and I knew there was no going on. I had run myself beyond the point of exhaustion, beyond thirst, beyond hunger, but I was beyond caring. I crawled to a tree, an ancient yew, one that had stood since the dawn of time. He stood tall and wise, sheltering me from the world outside. My eyes closed, and I became fully aware of my surroundings. Somewhere a bird chirped. I knew I was ready.

And then I heard it, the distant roar of a highway, the National Road that passed by the edge of the wood. I pulled myself up along the tree and began to stagger in the direction of the noise. Each time I fell, I picked myself up again. I didn’t think. I focused my entire being on going towards the steadily increasing noise.

After an indeterminable length of time, I stood by the roadside, my chance of survival, but also the return to the noise, a return to the world of hidden meanings and intrigue and chaos.

Perhaps it was better under the yew.


2009, age 14


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Short Story
writing Sylvia
No, I don't have a tag line, and I'm not going to spend hours thinking of one. I don't expect anyone to actually pay any attention to me. I'm just here to keep track of my own work.
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This was done at the begining of the year before i was sur if my teacher had a sense of humour or not, so I had o make it general. I'm not sure if he realised it was all done with heavy irony.