The Old One

From a collection of 100-word stories & wonders

An ancient bristlecone pine under a starry sky awakens a dying man’s longing for immortality. Photo by Gregg Boydston, via U.S. Forest Service.

Bristlecone love copy

Dusk on the mountain. Frightened and dying, Schulman sat hunched beside the gnarled tree, gazing out. Las Vegas shimmered in the distance. He wished the bristlecone pine could speak. He’d ask what it was like to be immortal… Chest pain, sudden, stabbing. Slowly easing. Heart, lungs starved on this diet of cold, thin air. Uncaring, Vegas twinkled with merry mayfly intensity. Vanity! Surely the old one would lament its longevity, the endless procession of barren seasons; even stars must lose their luster after five millennia. Schulman’s harsh laugh caught midway. Another wave of pain. He desperately clutched the indifferent trunk.

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