The Lifeblood of the Pai’ik Tree

In Fiction on August 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Another Friday, another photo prompt for Madison Woods’ Friday Fictioneers. This week I’ve written something of a fable (and a bit over 100 words, oops) so we’ll see how successful I was at capturing that sort of tone. As always, constructive criticism is very much welcome!

The Lifeblood of the Pai’ik Tree

It is a terrible crime to kill a Pai’ik tree, punishable by death, but Geet’s father had needed the medicine. So he took the axe in his leaf-smooth hands and swung it with his twig-thin arms and chipped and chopped at the ancient trunk until his palms bore seeping blisters and his muscles burned.

Then at last – crack – the old tree leaned away, sending flights of Sookyo fluttering to the sky as it crashed down, and Geet scooped the lifeblood, oozing and bubbling from the jagged stump, into his jar.

A single drop of Pai’ik blood will cure the most grievous hurt, but it cannot cure death – no more than it could heal the wound Geet suffered that day, for when he returned by dusk to his family’s cottage, his father had gone.

Now Geet walks the forests alone, ever running from the axemen, ever carrying his jar of life.


Unlike my earlier story, Ky’Awe, this week, the words I’ve used have no basis in reality, so I can’t provide an explanation other than they just sounded right (to me anyway). Click the blue guy up there for the other great stories this week, and leave your comments and links below!

  1. Excellent take on the prompt. Well done.

  2. Hi Brian,
    I’m always eager to see what you’ll do with the week’s photo. This week’s tragic fable has all the tone and atmosphere I could expect. It’s sad that neither father nor son survived.

  3. Really loved this! I didn’t manage to get a story done this week, the picture just stumped me. I love what you did with it.

  4. Well done! I like what you’ve done with the picture

  5. Poor Geet. Risking so much on efforts so futile. It’s sad that he’ll probably never see peace again.

  6. This would make a great fable for a children’s anthology. Great job, Brian.

  7. Wonderful imagery and imagination. This was a difficult prompt but you’ve shown how to deviate from a literal interpretation. Well done.

  8. Imaginative story. Well crafted. Tragic but intriguing, how Geet had to live on the run after arriving home too late to save his Father. Nice job!

  9. Heartbreaking, Brian. I feel like the boy did what he could and is now damned all ways. Just a mini-crit (it wouldn’t be me without one, right?!) “Geet’s father needed the medicine … he”. This makes it a little difficult to tell if it’s Geet or the father who is doing the cutting. It becomes clear later, so not a big issue, but for the sake of clarity, how about “Geet needed the medicine for his father.”
    A second tiny thing – if you put at that stage that the lifeblood could cure all ills, and then repeat it when you say “but not death”, the second bit would feel less like expoisiton and (even) more like a horrible truth.
    Just my 2p!
    I’m over here:

    • Correction: it wouldn’t be you with out a spot-on crit! I had completely missed the vague reading of those first two sentences. And you’re right about the second bit too – thanks for pointing that out! I’ll take your 2p any time (I think the exchange rate makes it much more valuable than 2 cents, anyway).

      • Thanks, Brian. Always easier to see these things from the outside than as the author – right? Way I hear it, you won’t be able to get 2c soon anyway as they are phasing out the coins, so I’ll stick with the 2p!

  10. love when story approaches mythology… nicely done

  11. ‘oozing and bubbling from the jagged stump’, that’s just lovely, and your repetition of ‘ever’ at the end adds a really tragic, hopeless note. I thought this was great!

  12. What a fantastically fresh take on the prompt! I love the tree references in the beginning. I too thought it was the father cutting at the beginning so it confused me a little when he came home and his father was gone. I really liked the ending as well. It fit the story perfectly.

    I’m here this week:

    • You two/three were definitely right about the beginning, I’m glad you liked the story overall though! Thanks for coming by to read – I’m off to read yours right now

  13. Unique take on the prompt. I liked it. Poor Geet. He tried so hard.
    I’m here:

  14. Yello Brian!

    Very cool story. Dark and sad though. But Mr Grayer is right, It would make an excellent story for a children’s anthology. Great job 🙂
    I am surprised about all the different excellent stories you writers have been coming up with! 🙂
    I did a poem this week. See:

  15. Nice, very original! 😀

  16. Loved the story, and I think elmowrites made some good crit points. It’s one of those tragic stories without a happy ending or even a sense of hope. If I had to guess what the interpretation of it meant (if you had a meaning in mind) it would be that sometimes the price to cheat death is too great and often cheats life instead. What’s a fable without a moral to the story?

  17. I feel for Geet, Well done.
    Mine can be found here at

  18. Tragic. Sounds like the beginning of bigger things. I liked your take–that disgusting stuff as a source of healing. A refreshing shift from our natural tendency to fear the visually repulsive.

  19. Very cleverly crafted – the way he has been tied to the forests and the Pai’ik tree through metaphors:

    “his leaf-smooth hands”, “twig-thin arms” and “his palms bore seeping blisters”.

    I also loved the third paragraph, beautiful.

  20. oh dear, heartbreaking. But life is often so huh? You sacrifice something to take something and then find it was all futile. Hate that feeling. Great story, It was a tough picture to have to look at though…

Comments, constructive criticism, destructive praise:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: