Tangerine Trees by Chris Green
‘Hey Lewis,’ Carol calls out. ‘Come and look at this!’
‘What?’ Lewis calls back.
‘I’ve found something weird.’
Taking advantage of the Spring sunshine, the pair have driven out of town and are walking their salt and pepper Schnauzer, Bono through Wolverton Woods. Lewis has had a message on his phone and has hung back. He sees it is from their son, Matt. He figures this can wait until later. Matt is eighteen, old enough to look after himself. He has probably only messaged to say he’s back from wherever it was he has been for the past few days. Or perhaps he wants to borrow more money.
Lewis picks up his pace to catch up with Carol. He finds her staring at a curious brightly coloured mass glowing in the undergrowth. Is Lewis imagining it or is it giving off a low-pitched hum? Is it organic or not? Is it dangerous, he wonders? The thing seems to be changing shape. Lewis approaches it. As he gets closer, he feels dizzy and steps back. The normally unexcitable Bono starts to bark.
‘It’s fascinating, isn’t it?’ Carol says. ‘Do you think it’s extraterrestrial?’
‘It might have something to do with Obsidian Point’ Lewis says. This is a research establishment a few miles along the coast.
‘But what is it?’ Carol says. ‘Someone must know.’
‘You think so?’ Lewis says. He has become distracted by the prisms of light darting down the nearby stream.
‘What about your friend, Phil who writes those stories about the supernatural?’ Carol says. ‘He might know what it is.’
‘Phillip C Dark? I don’t think so. Phillip’s long gone.’
‘We’d better let someone know about it, don’t you think?’ Carol says.
‘But who?’ Lewis says, looking around him to see if there’s anyone about who might be interested.
‘I don’t know. The police? The army?’
‘Auntie Vi perhaps? Gerry and Mary? Ghostbusters?’
‘Now you’re being facetious,’ Carol says.
‘Let’s leave it for now,’ Lewis says. ‘And enjoy the rest of the walk. After all, it’s such a beautiful day.’
As they move on through the woods, everything seems to be echoing. Even the silence has an echo.
‘It’s as if the whole wood is breathing,’ Carol says. ‘Like it’s alive.’
‘It is alive,’ Lewis says. ‘It’s nature.’
‘Yet those yellow and green flowers look as if they are made of cellophane,’ Carol says.
‘Everything is so colourful this morning,’ Lewis says. ‘But at the same time blurry like a Monet painting.’
‘Look at those tangerine trees.’ Carol says.
‘The sky looks as if it’s melting,’ Lewis says.
‘Look at the rainbow pattern on the gravel path where the sun hits it,’ Carol says.
Carol’s phone vibrates. It is Matt.
‘Mum, did you and Dad take your vitamins this morning?’ Matt says.
‘Yes we did, son,’ Carol says. ‘But it’s kind of you to ask. Did you get back from Amsterdam in the night?’
‘About 3 a.m. The plane was late,’ Matt says. ‘I tried to be quiet and not wake you. Look! I used one of your old vitamin supplement packets to bring something back through Customs. I must have left the packet on the kitchen table when I got back and just now, I noticed that some of the uh …. contents were missing.’
‘Oh, were those yours, Matt?’ Carol says. ‘I assumed they were ours. I didn’t realise you were taking them too. Sorry about that. You can take some out of the packet in the drawer if you like. We’ve got plenty. Did you have a good time in Amsterdam? Did you see the tulips?’
‘I don’t think you understand what I’m trying to tell you, Mum.’
© Chris Green 2019: All rights reserved