This story came about as a writing challenge in the Dreamtime Tale Fantasy Books group on fb.
THE STORY: WEIRD FRUIT
“Geryer hands off me!”
I stared in flabbergastation. The voice was shrill and angry, emerging from a mouth filled with yellowed teeth and four vorpal incisors. Those, more than the voice, persuaded me to withdraw my hands.
“Erm, I’m dead sorry,” I said. I looked left and right to see if the orchard was as deserted as it had been when I had snuck in to appropriate an apple to keep me company on my way home from the pub. It would have been somewhat embarrassing, I realised, to be seen talking to an apple.
It was appetizingly red and had resembled an ordinary apple until I had tried to pluck it and it had opened that mouth. There were no eyes, nor was there a nose or even lips. Just teeth and a long tongue. Tonsils as well, for it opened so wide that I could peer straight in.
I scratched my head. I wasn’t drunk, I was sure. Slightly tipsy at most but surely I was hallucinating.
“Why meeeeeee?” The apple wailed.
“The rest look unripe, some are shrivelled,” I answered with a shrug. It was true, this apple was the only one on this particular tree which looked edible and to enhance that contrast it looked scrumptious and juicy to boot.
“My brothers! My sisters!” The apple whined, then it snarled and barked. “AND WHOSE FAULT IS THAT?”
“I dunno.” I looked around me again. I was still alone. Chatting to an apple. It seemed rude to just leave after I had just…well, more or less tried to murder it. At the very least an apology was due. “Look, I am sorry.”
“Where were you on the Twelfth Night? Huh? Where were you?”
I swear I could feel tiny drops of the apples spittle on my face as it hissed those words.
“Twelfth Night?” I was getting a little bit impatient with the apple. It was talking nonsense. To my surprise it began to sing.
Wassail! wassail! all over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing bowl, we’ll drink unto thee.
I took a step backwards, frowning at the verbal antics of the apple.
“YOU WERE MEANT TO BRING GIFTS,” the apple cried in loud frustration. I flinched, that was a disappointment I understood.
“I didn’t know,” I stammered.
“Toast soaked in cider for the robins,” the fruit continued, now in a sulky tone. “The pretty red breasted robins who would chit and chatter as they kept us company.”
“I will…I can bring some tomorrow. I am sorry I wasn’t here on Twelfth Night.”
"Oh but you were,” the apple crooned softly.
“I was?” I shook my head and decided it might be a good time to leave. To go home and wake up the next day; hopefully without any memory of this bizarre conversation.
“Stumbling home from the pub, drunk as a lord,” the apple confirmed.
“That’s a possibility,” I agreed.
“On Twelfth Night,” the apple spoke quietly now. It was a lot nicer when it did that, I nearly began to like the fruit. “And our hearts lifted and our souls rejoiced and our silent cheers filled the air.”
“Really?” I smiled. I did not usually have that effect on other…beings which spoke a language I understood.
“After all those years,” the apple said and then uttered a few sobs. “We thought that after all those years people had remembered and someone was coming to bring us gifts and sing to us again.”
I felt a mix of guilt and anger. How was I supposed to know?
“THEN YOU PISSED ON US!”
I took a step backwards at the utter fury the little fruit directed my way.
“I said I am sorry,” I tried to sound firm. It was time to take control of the situation. I was genuinly sorry but the accusations kept on piling up and I was sure I was no monster. I didn't deserve this treatment from anybody. Certainly not an apple.
“It’s a wonder that I turned out alright!” The fury changed into a lament. “It’s a wonder that I am red and juicy and healthy…”
I wasn’t quite sure about that health, truth be told. The rapidity of mood changes wasn’t an indication of a healthy mind. Then again, I had nothing to compare this apple with. All the others had been quite mute. Perhaps they were all like this
“…when all my siblings have shrunk and shrivelled; slain before they ever even had a chance!” The apple’s tone rose to outrage.
“I must be on my way now.” I wanted to roll my eyes at it but had caused it enough misery already without being too obvious in my desire not to take this fruit too serious. It clearly had issues.
“You’re going nowhere,” the apple sneered.
I swallowed a few choice retorts, consistent in my desire to cause it no more offense.
“Goodbye apple,” I said and turned.
The apple chuckled.
The trees all around me shook softly and then began to walk.
The apple chortled and then cackled as branches creaked and twigs curled as the trees reached out for me.