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Spirit of the Beanstalk

Mark Farley | Michael Ilkiw

I raise my leaves to the sky. And stretch.

My stalk surges from the earth: a rod lengthening towards the clouds. My roots are claws, scrabbling through the dirt, reaching for new purchase.

I burst through the clouds and I am in another world. I am bigger than I have ever been. My leaves are football stadiums; my pods are spaceships; my beans are Zeppelins. My stalk is a gateway to another world.

A boy climbs my stalk. I see him return with stolen treasures. He is discovered. And chased.

An axe bites deep and I fall. The giant falls with me. Together we land and the impact splits our sides. His blood spills into the soil, mingling with my sap. His skull bursts open, as do my pods. My beans and his brains are scattered through the land.

There is cheering. And celebration. And joy.

Together we lie, the giant and I, while the sun sets upon our devastation.

Moonlight bathes us in cooling rays. The air gives us moisture and I feel the dew on my leaves.

My stalk is rotting but my roots still have contact with the earth. I can sense my beans burrowing into the blood-spattered soil. They dig deep, take hold, and by sunrise have put up a shoot.

They raise their leaves to the sky. And stretch.

About Mark Farley

Mark Farley is a web developer in Swindon, UK. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Saturday Night Reader, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, and

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