It’s devastating to know the time of your death already.

Yes, they’re going to kill us now! No, we can’t run.

We’ve cherished scores of decades here, entwining our hands together, I and my companion. It’s been a satiating journey, long yet untiring and too happening to be boring. I don’t regret my time here.

And him? I don’t know. Whenever I ask him, he just sighs and then keeps mum in a typical old fellow style. But, of course, he is much older than me; or so he says.

We’ve seen communities rise and fall, and then thrive again. An alibi for their fun and frolic. We’ve watched kids play around us and grow, giggling and bubbling in joy. Their smiles content our hearts and make this community an idyllic paradise.

Several children have eternalised their emotions, love, and stories at this very place. We’ve lived their dreams silently, seen them fulfilled, shattered, or ripped. Embraced their deeds—good or otherwise. Yet, our loyalty never fades through their thick and thin. 

Our fondness for this community has grown like serried vines, as days went by.

But kids don’t visit us now. My longing for them has escalated to the zenith with time. He doesn’t say a word, but I know he misses them terribly.

Our kinship will cease today.

It all started with that treehouse, the one they built many years back. Perched over the thicket of our branches, our foliage kissing its roof with every gush of a breeze, the treehouse became indispensable for kids.

Their rampant prancing twisted our arms, and ropes corroded our bark. Nevertheless, we never showed an iota of discomfort whenever those little brats swung across our branches or charred us for fun.

When humans punctured us with nails, cold metallic sears tore us in splinters. Yet, we outstayed each jostle, every haul, and all scuffles.

Then, one day, the rotting started. Termites seized the treehouse. Slowly, its walls and windows crumbled into ashes, pulverising into atoms and flakes. The ladder creaked in pain, and the platform cried for mercy.

Poor treehouse, eventually its fate turned dark! And so did ours.

“Oh, dear! It’s time now,” my old companion says.

I sigh. Deep down, he has prepared himself for the mutilation. I couldn’t; my young heart isn’t ready yet.

Their chainsaws lick his crust and pierce deeper with ear-splitting noise. “Argh, you can bear this,” he comforts me. For long, he shakes as if a quake is swallowing him. “Argh…” And then he crashes, right next to me. No one hears his last agonising howl.

Remnants of the treehouse also crumble into dust.

Only if we were humans, we could selfishly manipulate others. We’re meagre creatures, a pair of Banyan trees.

“Argh… no… the blade hurts.” A metallic thrust slashes in my heart and ruptures my veins. “No… wait, no…”

I only see black around me. A whack hits me hard, and then nothing. Just a void. A black hollow.
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