The Tree Hugger

by T.J. McIntyre

He walked through the woods, his new boots already scuffed and battered by the sheer, unrelenting length of his weekend hike. After suffering a week in the fluorescence of the office, he inevitably made this seven mile trek to break away from the mundane, to gather the sun's rays and soak in their warmth, to dive into the earth and taste the dirt. This was not the first time; he hoped it would not be the last. He felt himself slip out of his skin and clothing, to become ether, and leave the weakness of his flesh through the strength of his spirit. Falling into the great oak, he erupted through the bark and stretched his limbs, shaking acorns free, spreading his unique gospel. Having completed his mission, he felt heavy returning to his flesh, knowing that tomorrow he would have to return to the office where his chlorophyll soul thirsted for the natural in the unnatural world.

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T.J. McIntyre is an author of speculative and literary fiction from Alabaster, Alabama. An insurance agent by day, he spends his free time trying to capture imaginary worlds and daydreams in nets of words. His work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in such publications as The Swallow's Tail, 55 Words, and Escape Velocity. In addition to being a being a published author, Mr. McIntyre is currently collecting stories and editing the upcoming title, Southern Fried Weirdness 2007: An Annual Anthology of Southern Speculative Fiction. More information about him, his writings, and the anthology can be found at Southern Fried Weirdness.