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A Walk in the Park

The Maple

By Dennis HumphreysPublished 2 years ago 32 min read
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A Walk in the Park

by: Dennis R. Humphreys

Intelligence is measured differently by different people in different environments. They overlook the basic premise of intelligence. That is communication through the ability of a subject to interface effectively to people of different backgrounds and even languages they can't speak. Without that ability a simple thing like warning someone to get out of the way of a speeding train could prove disastrous.

* * *

There is a planet far, far away but not too far away, where the lifeforms inhabiting the planet, were unaware of the biological entities that lived on earth. They were highly intelligent and far more advanced than us, not through a falsely configured evolutionary process but they began more advanced. Their evolutionary process did not waste time and energy in corporeal change but mental evolution. They required no food to live because they had no body, unless they wanted one to experience such things as hot and cold or hate and love. The energy they needed was for the thought process which in some cases could be intensive. They were able to synthesize what they needed from any existing energy that surrounded them. They're only reason for existence, since they were eternal, except while in biological form, was to learn, and every moment of every 'day' was spent doing this.

Apex was one such entity on the planet. Any of his kind could go anywhere they wanted: to other planets, other universes; and other dimensions, if they wished, but many had become complacent. It was such a time that Apex decided to go to earth where a primitive entity existed in corporeal form, called humanity. He wanted to study them and learn about their ways. The best way to this would be to take on one of their innumerable life forms to go unnoticed. He decided before going he would not take on one of their human forms since he wasn't totally comfortable with the way they acted and lived. He thought he might be discovered or branded an oddity trying to ineffectively act as they did. Apex did not want to be discovered. He would take on another life form there where he could observe and not be noticed.

When he decided it was an easy matter to begin his journey. There were no fuel requirements because there were no ships involved. All he did was attach his particles to photons, abundant in the space around him and mentally direct them to earth. Traveling at the speed of light then he arrived ten earth years later which by his standards, was a blink of an eye. When he arrived it was at night in an open space near a city where earth people lived. When he disconnected himself from the photons he arrived with, he still glowed with some of the residual light. He appeared as a large snake that glowed in the dark. Afraid of discovery and the ensuing fear it might cause, Apex quickly had to make the decision what form he would take to begin his observations. Close by was a stand of silver maple trees, not large or old, but they were beautiful when Apex looked at them. There was nothing like these on his planet. He noticed their roots and decided they were stationary life forms which would be good for him. He also sensed a great number of humans came here on a regular basis so it was the perfect form and the perfect place to learn.

Apex reconfigured his particles into a tree threading his roots, like the others, deep into the ground. It felt magnificent. Not only was there a great feeling of comfort but there was a texture and smell he experienced he never had before. There was a coolness in the air he felt against his surface and there were sounds in the distance, some strange and some were people talking to each other, some kindly and some not so kindly. All he had to do was wait now to observe and learn when people passed. He understood at night many life forms rejuvenated themselves by sleeping so his chances of learning much until daylight was slim. In corporeal form his senses were not as great, so he could not experience things too distant. Pain was the one thing most of his kind were so sensitive to that they avoided corporeal forms of any kind. It was the one state they could actually perish in. It took almost an hour for Apex to become a tree among the others and it would take that long to go back to his original state. Pain was the one thing that could slow the conversion process down critically by redirecting the thought process through distraction with the intense displeasure.

Morning came and Apex had chosen a park in the city to become a tree. The warmth of the sun hitting his surface after a night time of experiencing the cool, dampness of the moonlit night was very comforting and exhilarating. Before long big people and smaller people began appearing. Some were running with things in their ears. Others were on some two wheeled vehicles, while others had things to look at and poke at with their fingers. The small humans ran around and threw things, laughing and screaming, but not in a bad way. Several of the small people ran around him laughing and running their hands over him which made him elated. They even made some noises he wasn't expecting. Then, unexpectedly, a couple of the small people, he ascertained what they called boys, climbed him and took a seat in his branches. He never felt anything like this before. They emitted some kind of joy that he experienced with them in a way he never felt anything before like it. He was glad he chose this life form to observe and learn.

Apex spent a few glorious days like this learning about humans. Then one night it rained. They had something like this at home but he had never experienced the 'feel' of it. It splashed down in his leaves and dripped to the lower branches and leaves. It was refreshing, especially after a few hours of it sinking into the ground. He suddenly felt a rush as thee water began making its way up his roots and into his trunk. The invigoration was overwhelming. All night it rained and when the night passed there were clouds all around, thick, so it was difficult to see far, and the buildings where the humans stayed were merely understated silhouettes against the gray background. Humans failed to come to the park that day and Apex suddenly found himself alone there. But then he realized he wasn't alone. He heard voices and he sensed little humans that were close.

“Alex, don't wonder off. Mom will get ticked at me if I lose you like the last time,” the fourteen year old told his younger, autistic brother.

“I made it home OK. I know my way home,” Alex told his older brother, Wayne.

“I know, I'm just saying...” Wayne replied as they came close to where Apex stood watching.

Alex was a ten year old, autistic boy whose intelligence level was off the charts. As with most of the people with his condition he was being over stimulated and he was unable to process the information quickly enough, causing reactions that were of extreme frustration on his part and perhaps as much so among others. It wasn't totally understood which made it worse.

He loved the park and he loved the trees but he didn't like going when there were many people there. This limited his time to go there to early mornings and on rainy days like today when few if any people were there. His order brother was normal but typically he had the responsibility of watching Alex because their mother was busy trying to run a Internet business out of their row home while their father worked as a dock worker for a furniture distribution company in town. Both Alex and Wayne were being home schooled as well, making it difficult for their mother doing two jobs at the same time but she didn't trust the school system and didn't feel they could provide enough for her boys.

Soon the boys were next to Apex. Apex watched Alex as he stared at his tree form. He ran his hands over his bark and looked closely at the surface of it. He smelled it and even licked the bark. It became abundantly apparent that the young boy sensed the difference in him from the other trees. Finally, Alex grabbed the tree and began climbing it and sat on the lowest limb.

“Don't be going up too far. I don't want to have to climb up after you to get you down. You're gonna be wet and filthy by the time you come down,” Wayne looked up at him and warned.

“I like this tree. I want to stay here,” Alex yelled down to his brother.

“Fine stay there. I'll be over there on the bench playing some games on my smartphone,” Wayne informed him as he walked across the wet grass to the bench.

Apex watched the older brother walk to the bench. He didn't know how but he could feel him walking to the bench. The realized that his connection to the ground also gave him a connection to the grass and its roots in the ground. They were signaling Wayne's actions to him through the ground. It was a communication network just like home. All lifeforms were intertwined and communicated with each other through such systems often utilizing microbes and bacteria to interface with each other. His problem was the communication wasn't t truly felt except through a corporeal body. There were both advantages and disadvantages to having one.

“My name is Alex. Do you have a name?” Apex heard the boy asking in his branches and realizing the question was directed at him. How did he know? The bigger question was, should he answer and communicate with the boy? “Can you talk?”

The boy waited for a response all the while rubbing his hand over the surface of the branch he sat on. In time, Apex relented. He saw no harm in talking with the boy. He felt he was safe and knew the boy was different then his brother and different than the others he had been watching for the last few days. The boy was friendly and was looking for a friend...someone to communicate with on his level. Apex decided to break the silence.

“My name is Apex,” he succinctly answered the boy's question without going further.

“I knew you could talk,” the boy answered excitedly.

“Well, I'm not really talking. I'm communicating with you through your mind. I can do this directly through my makeup or indirectly through my connection through microbial and bacterial life forms. All are very effective,” Apex told him and Alex seemed to understand.

“You aren't really a tree are you? Where are you from?” Alex asked him lying down as best he could on the branch.

“No, I'm a non-corporeal life form from a planet far from here according to your experience of distance. I took this form to learn about your planet and its people. I plan on staying here awhile to do that,” Apex explained.

“Alex...Apex. Out names are very close. Only one letter off. Maybe we're supposed to be friends. Would you be my friend?” Alex inquired.

“We're already friends unless you mean me harm and I don't think that's in your nature. But yes, we can be friends to answer your question.

Alex was pleased and happy. He patted the tree lovingly and they talked non-stop for a long time. Alex was getting sleepy lying uncomfortably on the branch talking. He was dozing off when he was startled by his brother's voice. Before he knew it he felt himself falling while his brother screamed his name. Alex hit the ground with a loud thump while an ensuing darkness came over him. There was pain as well but it dispelled when the darkness came.

Alex had fallen from the tree, broken his arm and a couple of ribs. Hitting his head on the ground, as he did so,, gave him a concussion that sent him into an unconscious state. He could hear Apex's voice as well yelling his name in a concerned manner. His older brother instinctively turned his little brother over which he shouldn't have done because of potential neck or spinal injury. When he did, his bother's arm was severally fractured with the bone protruding through the skin. A lady jogging by stopped and told Wayne to call an ambulance...he needed medical, attention. She took off her jacket and covered Alex with it to keep him warm until help arrived.

“I'll stay with you until someone comes. Do you need to call your parents?” the woman asked. Wayne had completely forgotten to do so.

“Alex...hang in there, you'll be OK. I'm your friend and even though I can't be with you physically, I'm with you and I won't abandon you,” Apex told him. Even in an unconscious state they were able to communicate...actually better than before when there were too many distractions. Apex kept Alex busy telling about where he was from and in this state was even able to show him images from his planet.

Apex was worried about his new friend so he went about the only way he knew to make him better. He activated communication with the bacteria in the ground and all the microbial life that surrounded him. They multiplied rapidly and began growing on Alex's skin surface under his clothes and unnoticeable under the jacket the jogger had placed over him.

An ambulance soon came and paramedics rushed to where Alex lay. Meanwhile Wayne got a call through to his mother and he explained what happened. She went ballistic but Wayne told her the paramedics were here and they were taking him to St. Luke's, just go there.

“What is this crap? How long as this boy been lying here?” the one paramedic asked peeling a spiderweb like substance off his brother's skin. “It looks like some kind of mold or something.”

Wayne thought it odd. He hadn't noticed it before but maybe his brother got into something up in the tree while he was there. He rode with him in the back of the ambulance getting to the hospital about the same time their mother did. She was upset but thankful the way her oldest son had handled things. The most natural thing for a boy of his age was to climb trees. She never wanted to make Alex different than anyone else. She wanted him to experience all the things boys his age experience. Climbing trees with the possible injuries associated with it was just one of those things.

She sat in the waiting area with her eldest for a nurse or doctor to come out and give her the status of her youngest. Alex had only been in the hospital once before two years ago to remove his appendix and she was concerned how he might react when he became conscious.

Soon the double doors next to the nurses station opened and Alex came running out to his mother ahead of the doctor. He wrapped his arms around her as she hugged him back not quite understanding what was going on since there was no cast on his arm. The doctor came over and spoke.

“I think your older son here over reacted which is understandable if this young man fell out of a tree the way he supposedly did. Your son is fine Mrs. Davidson. He doesn't even have any cuts or scratches on him for a boy his age, let alone a broken arm or ribs. I examined him and took x rays,” the doctor told her.

“But doctor, I saw the bone protruding out of his arm and a lady jogger who stopped to help saw it too,” Wayne reacted with an objectionable tone in his voice.

“Well I don 't know what you saw but I can only go by what I see. The worst thing I found on him was loads of mold or something like it growing on him. That was strange and inexplicable. I peeled what appeared to be a spider web coating off his body. I cleaned all that off. When was the last time he took a bath?” the doctor asked finding that to be more than strange.

Alex's mother stood up to talk then facing the doctor while Alex leaned against her between her legs in a protective way.

“He gets a bath every night, doctor,” she said a little indignantly to the older man in his sixties.

“I don't know but physically he's fine so I wouldn't worry. Take him home and give him a bath,” the doctor said making Mrs. Davidson a little angrier.

“Let's go home. I don't like that doctor. It's a good thing you didn't have to spend more time here,” she said ushering both boys out of the waiting room to the elevator. On the way down Wayne felt the need to speak.

“You know, mom, when the paramedics got there they peeled a bunch of spider web stuff off of Alex and asked me what the heck it was and I had no idea. I know it wasn't on him earlier so I figured it was something that got on him while he was in the tree. But they took it off of him at the time. I saw them,” Wayne told her.

“Like the bone sticking through his skin? You were just upset and not seeing right. Everything is fine so let's not worry about it. We'll have something to talk about at the dinner table tonight with your father,” she told them.

The next day came but it was clear and the sun was shinning. Alex wanted to go to the park.

“But Alex it's nice out and there will be a lot of people there. You normally don't want to go there when it's that busy,” Wayne objected to his brother while they were both putting down their pancakes for breakfast.

“But I want to go. I don 't care about those other people,” he said, shoving a mouthful of the sorghum flour pancakes his mom made fresh. She just glanced over at her older son surprised of his change of mind but pleasantly surprised. Wayne just shrugged his shoulders thinking it was weird and so out of character.

When they got there Alex immediately ran to the tree he was in yesterday.

“I'll be on the bench. If you climb that tree don't be falling asleep in it,” Wayne warned him as he ran to the tree.

“Hello, Alex. How are you doing?” the tree asked his friend.

“I'm fine. Thank you for making me better. The doctor, my mom...everyone was wondering how I suddenly got better. How did you do it?” the boy asked the tree.

“Remember I told you everything communicates with everything else at a microscopic level. Things like bacteria and microbes can also heal. I just communicated with them and expressed the desire to make you better and they did. It's something you may want to remember as you get older,” the tree told him. “Thank them for makling you better. I only facilitated the process.”

“What good will it do me, I'm autistic,” the boy replied.

“You act like that's a bad thing. Remember, I scanned you when you had your accident here yesterday. I heard the word yesterday and was able to learn more about your condition. You are the next step in human evolution. You absorb incredible amounts of information at one time that you're exposed to but supposedly you can't handle it. The problem is not in you but your society. The technology you humans embrace to communicate with at various levels block your ability to cognitively process the information you have to process, or your ability to communicate. You become agitated when you can't function the way you were born to do. As time goes on this problem not only will persist but will get much worse unless steps are taken to correct the problem. There are other frequencies that can be explored other than those your society is using so they don't interfere with you or others like you.

Alex felt better about himself when Apex explained what was happening. He sat on the ground with his back against the trunk of the tree moving dirt around with a stick.

“When I was on the ground waiting for the ambulance yesterday, you showed me your home. It's a beautiful place. Would I be able to go there sometime?” the boy asked his friend.

“Not without a ship because of your body. Then it would take too long to get there even traveling the speed of light. The strain of that speed on the human body would be too great. You would never survive. I would like to take you there though. I know you would like it even better in person,” Apex advised him. He liked this boy. He was sincere and honest not like what he had seen already among the humans. On his planet the boy would blossom into someone incredible because they did not have the disruptive technologies this world had for such a brain. The boy would be able to think clearly using all the information he was exposed to for whatever specific purpose he wanted to use it.

They spoke at length without Alex climbing the tree. Perhaps he was a little gun shy from the day before. Finally it was time to go. It was almost lunch time and his mother would be expecting them. His brother came over to get him otherwise Alex would not have initiated leaving.

“Who were you speaking to?” Wayne asked his brother.

“No one,” Alex replied.

“Were you talking to yourself?” his brother asked.

“Yeah, sort of,” Alex replied.

“OK...that's fine. I do too” the brother confided.

Elaine Davidson, Alex's mom and Wayne noticed a change in Alex as time went on. He fought with her less and seemed to go off less about everyday things like he normally did. He was communicating more with his brother too and making more eye contact with people when she took him with her food shopping like she did. The girl at the register, where they normally bought their groceries, was always fawning over Alex. He wouldn't typically look at her, between the autism and a shyness with girls he had, typical of boys his age. However, the last two weeks, he spoke with her briefly and even smiled at her. She noticed the change as well.

“Does your brother talk to anyone at the park when you take him there?” Mrs. Davison asked Wayne trying to determine what the reason for the change.

“He doesn't talk to anyone, mom. I've caught him talking to that one tree there quite a few times but he claims he's only talking to himself,” Wayne told her taking off his earphones long enough to answer her.

“He talks to the tree? Really...what does he say?” she asked him.

“More importantly, what does the tree say?” he responded, not being flippant.

“Excuse me?” she answered wondering what he meant.

“Mom, haven 't you noticed he's talking more lately and about things we've never talked to him about. Where's he getting this stuff? Some of it's a little complicated,” Wayne explained to her.

Of course he was around his brother more during the day especially since their park expedition was becoming a daily routine. The conversations he noticed his brother having were beyond just talking to himself. It was more like an imaginary friend but he had never had one before and at his age it was unlikely he would now. The conversations he heard you could imagine someone sitting there across from him sharing information.

She wasn't aware of that but she rarely went to the park with him so she decided she would offer to go with the boys to the park and spend some time there with them the next day. Perhaps she could catch some of this conversation.

The next morning as the boys ate breakfast, she announced she was going to take the morning off and take them to the park. Wayne knew why she was doing this but Alex was oblivious and received the news well. He enjoyed the company of his mother when he could. After breakfast they readied themselves to go the ten minute walk there and enjoy the beautiful morning they were having.

Once in the park, Alex took off running towards the tree he sat with every day.

“Is he always that excited to get to the same tree every day?” the mother asked her older son.

“Pretty much. Once he's there he stays there too,” he told her.

Wayne took his position on the bench as he always did to play the games he had downloaded on his smartphone. Their mother continued to walk watching her youngest as he sat cross-legged facing the tree. As she got closer, she could hear him speaking. She wasn't quite close enough to hear what hear what he was saying but he was definitely having a conversation. Suddenly he turned around, aware of her presence. He seemed embarrassed and turned completely around sitting with his back against the tree. His mother walked over to him and stood there a moment.

“May I sit down, Alex?” she asked him as her looked at the ground poking at it with part of a branch.

“Yes,” he replied still looking down.

“I heard you talking. Who were you talking to?” she asked him inquisitively.

“No one,” he told her.

“Well it certainly sounded like you were having a conversation,” she pointed out to him.

“I was talking to myself,” he told her shifting the weight on his buttocks a bit.

“This sounded more like a two way conversation. I talk to myself sometimes too but you can tell it's one sided. Have you gotten an imaginary friend? I understand if you found one,” she asked him.

“No. He's real,” Alex told her. She looked around halfway expecting to catch a glimpse of someone.

“I don't see anyone honey. Where is he?” she wanted to know.

“It's the tree. Only it's not really a tree. It's a lifeform from another planet that took the form of a tree,” he explained.

“Oh I see,” his mother said thinking he had more of an imagination than she knew about until now.

“Does he have a name?”

“His name's Apex. He normally leads a non corporeal existence but he wanted to come here to study us without being discovered. This is how he decided to do it,” the boy told her.

He was talking differently than how he normally talked. He rarely watched television, or u-tube or anything else. When he read it was normally about animals. It was confusing how he came up with such a story ion his own, but she decided there was no harm in it. His imagination was growing perhaps. Maybe this was something he was just going through. There wasn't a need to make a big deal about it so she gave him a kiss on the head and went back to the bench where her other son, sat leaving Alex to communicate with his friend.

“You know she doesn't believe I'm real. I'm just your imaginary friend,” the tree said to him after she had sat down on the bench.

“I know. That's fine. I hated to lie to her but I knew she wouldn't believe the truth,” he told Apex.

“That was very smart. You were honest without really divulging anything believable,” Apex told him.

“It's amazing how humans are...if you lie most people prefer believing the lie yet they turn their back on the truth. I've noticed that about your species.”

“I hope you stay here for a long time. I like talking to you,” the boy told the tree.

“I like talking to you as well. I plan on staying for a long time...a short time as far as I'm concerned but a very long time where humans are concerned,” Apex told him.

“I know I can't get better but is there a way I can control my autism?” Alex asked the tree.

“There might be a way to help but people would think you're crazy,” Apex answered the boy. “My directive is not to interfere unless I'm asked to with other species on my travels.”

“Who cares if I can act normal,” the boy told his advisor.

“What's normal , Alex? Everything is relative but if you want to avoid the interference of different frequencies that disrupt your processing of information you can create what they call a Faraday cage for yourself and place it over your head. You could hide it inside of a hat. It would block out any interference from technology you might encounter. Let me give you what it looks like. There, do you see what it is?” Apex asked him after transferring his mental image to him.

“I see. Yeah, I'll have to start wearing hats,” the boy replied laughing. It was rare to hear Alex laugh but it was a sound that felt good to Apex. He enjoyed hearing it.

The next few days they spent the day together. By the third day Alex had constructed a head covering out of some hamster cage wire he found in their garage out in the back of their home. Wayne had a hamster when he was younger and his father helped him construct a cage for the little beast. Quite a bit of the mesh wire was left on the roll. He made it and was able to fit it into a baseball cap he wore once in awhile. It was well hidden in the cap and unless someone removed it and looked inside they'd never know it was there. He immediately felt a difference wearing it. Things were clearer and while there was a lot of information he assimilated, he was able to not be confused and become angry. He seemed to sleep better too and in the mornings he felt rested. When he got up there were no confusing thoughts and he didn't have the feeling all the time that something wasn't finished.

Both Wayne and Alex's mother noticed an even greater difference in Alex as well. He was more calm but neither wanted to say anything thinking it might be a momentary thing that would pass. But several days went by and still the positive change was there. It was a distinctive difference.

“It's been several days wearing this cage thing in my hat. I think it's working. Mom is smiling a lot more and my brother is talking more to me. I don't feel weird all the time like I did before,” Alex told Apex the one day in the tree. After the first week of the accident Alex had taken to climbing up into the branches again. Apex made sure the boy stayed awake by calling to him when he noticed him dozing off.

Over the next several days they held many interesting conversations. They began talking about physics that Alex took a liking to, not having been exposed to it before. He learned many things from the tree, many of which were not common knowledge on earth. Apex told him to keep some of the things he learned close to his heart and not to share them with just anyone. It was information he might find helpful in the future when he was older.

The days turned into weeks and Alex was tutored by Apex on many different subjects but especially physics.

Then one afternoon, after Alex left the park, Apex watched several men coming towards him. They wore bright colored hard hats and they brought a truck with something they pulled behind it. They also carried things that Apex had no idea what they were. He sensed them all around him with a few going in among some of the other trees. Then there was a deafening noise, louder than anything he had heard so far on this planet. Suddenly there was excruciating pain, something he had never experienced. He had to change back to his self but that would take time he might not have and the pain slowed his ability to do that. He had to try, he had to but darkness descended at a time too early for the moon to appear.

* * *

Finally Mrs. Davidson had to ask about Apex. Questions had been rising in her mind more so for the last few days.

“Wayne, have you noticed a big difference in Alex the past few weeks?” she asked her oldest son as she took a seat on the edge of his bed while he was studying.

“I thought it was just me, but yeah. He's acting almost like a normal kid,” the older brother observed.

“Has ever said anything about this friend of his?” she asked him.

“What, the tree? No, and I don't ask. I hear him talking to that maple quite a bit and laughing. You'd swear there was something real there,” her oldest son told her.

“Alright, thanks,” she said leaving the room and heading towards where Alex was. He had started reading physics books, above all things. She took the boys to the library on a regular basis rather than just letting them get their information off the Internet. Alex insisted on getting physics books and he stayed glued to them from cover to cover until he got the next one.

“Hi honey,” she said to Alex as she leaned against his door jamb.

“Hi mom,” Alex responded continuing to read.

“Is everything OK?” she asked him,”you'd say something if it wasn't, right?”

“Sure,” Alex mumbled.

“Your friend, the alien tree in the park...did he get you interested in physics?” she asked him.

“Apex? Yeah. We talk about a lot of things but I got really interested in this subject,” he told her not taking his face from out of the book.

“Well, that's a good thing to have an interest in,” she told him as she started playing with his baseball cap lying on the night stand near the door. She turned it over and saw the wire mesh inside the hat so she had to ask.

“Did your friend tell you to do this?” she asked holding the hat towards her son.

“Yeah. It's a Faraday cage. He told me if I kept something like that on my head it would keep out interference that made me autistic. He said the autism wasn't my problem it was all the signals in the air that are being broadcast all the time. They confused my thinking,” he explained to her.

“Interesting. It seems to be working. These last few weeks, everyone's noticed a big difference= in you,” the mother told him putting the hat back down.

“Yeah, I've noticed it too,” he answered her.

“When do you wear it?” she was interested to know since he wasn't wearing it now.

“Outside and usually when I'm in here. I'll wear it too bed,” he replied matter-of-factually.

“Alex, do you think your friend would talk to me if you took me there and you asked him to?” she wanted to know. There was more she wanted to know. She wasn't so sure it was all in her child's imagination anymore,

“I don't know. He might,” Alex told her, avoiding any promises.

“Well, I'd like to go with you and Wayne tomorrow, perhaps speak with your friend. Is that alright?” she asked wanting to make sure she wasn't interfering with her son's time there.

“Sure mom. That's fine with me,” he told her looking up from his book a brief moment and smiling.

* * *

Alex came out to the breakfast table wearing his hat and sat down to his favorite meal...pancakes.

The boys' mother made them once a week for them with a few link sausages. The day was cloudy but there wasn't any rain. Mrs. Davidson looked forward to going to the park with her sons. She especially looked forward to talking with this Apex who seemed to be helping her son but to what purpose she wanted to know.

Alex was excited and as usual, was jumpy, but not like he used to be. There was a world of difference in him since 'knowing' this Apex whether he was real or not. As they got to the park Alex ran ahead while Wayne was busy with his nose in his phone. The quiet of the morning was broken by a horrendous scream that came from her son. Both the mother and Wayne looked at each in worry and took off in a fast run towards where her son was. They ran up the small rise past the Park Service sign and the men at work sign. There was also another sign Mrs. Davidson saw that sent fear into her being, 'tree removal today'.

She saw her son kneeling in front of one particular tree stump, rocking and crying, among several other stumps...but this one had been his friend.

Sci Fi
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