Title: The Trees Are Dying
Author: Ed Surma
Genre: Metaphysical and Visionary Fiction
“We must have breakdown before we have breakthrough.”
Celtic mythology. Apocalyptic prophecy. Pending destruction. Hope for redemption. The end of the Earth. The chance to save it. The saga of the characters whose lives collide in The Trees Are Dying.
Human and Faery confront without and within in their quest to overcome the despair that infects worlds both physical and metaphysical. Whether a company of sidhe, a millennial techie, a Rubenesque Wiccan or frustrated accountant, all are haunted by the events unfolding in their hearts and in their land, as all are baffled by the cockamamie solution presented them.
Will the prophecies come true?
Is the answer as simple as it sounds?
The Trees Are Dying. A Novel for Our Times.
As if someone had thrown a cosmic switch, conversation ceased. One hundred forty-four pairs of human eyes turned toward the depthless black upon the hillside. A shimmer, a fold in the darkness, barely perceptible, then another. Eyes widened, a gasp snuck out here and there as the ominous sounds and imperceptible sensations within The Cave continued. Twitches, shivers overtook the humans as some form took hold within the formlessness. A heave of iciness roiled across the ledge. Human huddled with human in an intimacy birthed in occult suspense. Theirs were the first human eyes that gazed upon The Cave; theirs were the first human eyes that gazed upon The Oracle. Forgotten were The Twelve; forgotten were The Bright Ones. Now 144 human bodies tasted the uncensored power of The Underworld. They were not alone. The emanating power fluttered the chests of The Bright Ones, an impact so deep, so awesome that glowing bodies dimmed and sturdy bodies swayed. The magnificent Beings responded, a wave of energy coursing through the air like an avalanche, pouring forward toward the summoned upon the ledge, pouring through The Twelve with such force that not even they could maintain composure. He of Black swallowed, hard. She of White quivered, as did both He and She of Brown. He of Red placed hand to stomach; She of Red placed hand to mouth. Anticipation and power reached a crescendo. The generous calming hands of The Bright Ones came to rest upon each of The Twelve’s shoulders. Each small body rose as if lifted from the land. The humans positioned themselves for ultimate attention upon the that which rose from the abyss, bolstered by the benign energies of The Immortals. Pregnant twilight covered the land. And now all, regardless of position, felt the peering eyes of The Oracle upon them, peering through atmosphere and rock, piercing heart, mind, and soul. Sounds of uncertainty, fear grew from the human assemblage. A shared cringe overtook The Twelve. Even The Bright Ones wavered, feeling the dread power of The Underworld emanating from The Cave below.
Human eyes looked upon the foreboding apparition, dread pouring upon them like a tsunami of invisible hornets. Gone were the sounds of confusion and dismay; neither speech nor exclamation found escape from mortal awareness. The couple attained even tighter contact; their friends shimmied closer in ineffective defense against the power that stared at them. The two opalescent eyes shook every thought, every movement from their consciousness, demanding such attention as to allow no turning away. Nor could eyes be closed. Friend packed with friend; not even the radiance of The Bright Ones could now be felt. The consuming presence from The Underworld demanded all, received all. The faintest hopes arose in the assembled— hopes for question answered, for direction set forth—yet the overwhelming presence allowed none to voice such hopes as barely a thought could manifest. A quiver passed through all present. Whatever hopes emerged, whatever knowledge desired, now was when it would come forth.
The Oracle spoke:
“Where sea kisses seeming solid shore, Which one rocks the highest? Lamentations rise above the tremors, Through fire and ruin heads bow to Death.”
The icy words broke the paralytic spell, piercing the assembled like steel through flesh, ripping pleasant expectation and simplistic hope from all present. Mortals scratched heads or rubbed chins in bewilderment. Inquisitive looks, hushed questions passed between those populating the ledge, now set free of entrancement. The Bright Ones stirred, maintaining their stoic empowerment yet unable to suppress their own signals of bafflement and apprehension. The Twelve simply winced, ducking their heads, averting their eyes. Dread quiet sat upon The Hill as all wondered what would come forth next. He of Brown, She Beyond Color, He of Red passed the slightest whisper between them at the aloof, ominous words. No acknowledgement of the those present, and no demand of respect from any present, The Oracle simply spewed forth a proclamation incomprehensible. To most. Yet below and above, an inkling of understanding blossomed, here in one human, there in one of The Ascended, tiny seeds sprouting in the darkness of The Oracle’s obscurity. The couple broke their grip; she looked to her lover, seeking what she knew not. His eyes remained fixed upon The Cave. He felt his lover’s hand upon his shoulder, acknowledged her gesture, turning toward her with a glance that brought a gasp. The beginnings of dread unfolded in her. He knew. He understood the obscure lines. He wrapped his fingers about her hand, gave a squeeze of support. She leaned against him, seeking comfort, assurance, realizing that like her, most present had no idea about what had been spoken. Yet some did, here and there among the gathered, and he was one of those who grasped within the proclamation something dark and terrible. She wished to ask him as she perceived the feelings from above, from The Twelve, from The Bright Ones, and shivered. The urge came upon her to turn away, to run from what had begun as a festival and now seemed to be a funeral. Yet she could not turn away, none could break the vice grip that The Oracle maintained on those assembled.
The Oracle spoke:
“Small, yet great its grasp, Unseen makes much undone. Flesh no match for whispers in the wind, No matter which direction, Oblivion.”
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What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?
Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse. The tension within the main character provided a view of adulthood that both frightened and intrigued my teenage mind. I found it so hard to stop reading as I saw Harry Haller confront both the absurdities of his society and his self-loathing isolation. The absurdities of Haller’s life opposed to the realism of Hesse’s writing made an impact that I carry forward, unconsciously, in my own writing. Something about Steppenwold connected with my soul.
What makes your featured book a binge-worthy read?
The Trees Are Dying slices through today’s illusions to confront the environmental, social, and personal degradation that afflicts both the common person and the realities beyond the physical. Seven prophecies point to a bleak future as both Human and Faery try to make sense of the destructive course followed so gladly by the modern world. Yet, this book is not a tale of deterministic annihilation; throughout the gloom a simple message of hope arises.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US account to win.
Runs August 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on September 1.
Ed Surma connects with Nature and the spirits of Earth in Northern Virginia where he currently resides. A forty-year veteran of the high-tech industry, he has now retired from corporate life to pursue his writing and diverse other interests. He crafts Native American-style drums, leading drum circles and drum-making workshops. He studies Celtic and Nordic mythology and spirituality, practicing shamanism, Reiki, and sound meditation. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University (BA, Creative Writing), he has also lived in Austin, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona. He is a member of the National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society.
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