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The Guardians

The Lemurians and the Forest

By Stephanie HoogstadPublished 12 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - April 2024
The Guardians
Photo by Landon Parenteau on Unsplash

“Where are they?”

“They swore to protect us!”

“Who even saw them last?”

Wind carried the chatter from tree to tree as the Great Everlasting Council gathered to discuss the latest round of forest fires. Even some of the local wildlife had dropped in to listen to the grand pines converse.

“Settle, everyone, settle,” the leader of the Council, simply known as Papa Pine, tried to calm the crowd. “The ones from inside the mountain swore that they would stop mankind’s destruction—”

“But look at what has happened!” a younger pine bristled. “Just this past week, two fire have spread. The northern quadrant was utterly destroyed—”

“And an entire generation was lost in the southwest,” interjected an older councilmember.

The branches on all the trees sagged as they remembered their brethren, lost to the ashes of time.

Papa Pine was the first to regain its composure.

“We have lost many fine trees and animals over the past few months,” it began. “It is the same way this time of year, every year. However, that does not mean that we should abandon our guardians.”

A huff of wind knocked down the needles of one of the younger pines.

“Guardians?” it said. “What kind of guardians have they been? We cover up their illicit activities from the above-ground humans, and still more and more of us die.”

“These ones from inside the mountain, these Lemurians, they are no better than the humans that they claim to protect us from,” another asserted.

Papa Pine’s needles rustled, and its branches turned back and forth as it followed the madness of the younger trees’ conversation.

“Please, please!” Papa Pine pleaded. “You were not there the day the deal was made. I was. The Lemurians must have a plan to prevent greater destruction.”

“I don’t see one,” said the younger pine, “and until I do, I’m not going to wait around to get burned. I say, we uproot.”

A chorus of “Yeah!” echoed through the clearing.

“No!” Papa Pine shouted. “Humans will surely notice an uprooting!”

“Forget the humans! They did this to us. And forget the Lemurians!”

“Yeah!” shouted the other pines. “Uproot! Uproot!”

A rumble shook the earth. The ears on the animals pulled back flat on their heads, and the mammals shot off into the thick of the forest. Birds flew off into the afternoon sky as the rumbling grew louder and louder.

One by one, all the pines encircling the clearing except for Papa Pine ripped their roots out of the ground. Clumps of dirt and worms clung to them, but the trees did not seem to take notice. They merely shook out their freed limbs and set them atop the lush grass, feeling the sun directly on their roots for the first time ever.

“Where to now?” asked a younger pine.

“North, where we can find more of our kind,” another younger pine suggested.

“No! South, where the palm trees have been transplanted,” an elder pine declared. “May the humans know that they can never tell us where we can be or how we can live.”

The other pines shouted in agreement, shaking their branches until needles littered the forest floor.

As the pines were about to take their first unsteady steps towards freedom, six hooded figures, each ten feet tall with flaming torches, stood before them.

“No, please,” Papa Pine begged, “they are but saplings. They know not what they do.”

A hooded figure stared straight at Papa Pine.

“Oh yes, they do.”

The six figures placed their torches on the uprooted trees. Screams erupted from the pines. They had nowhere to run, and everything they touched went up in flames as well. Soon, the fire spread to the entire clearing.

Papa Pine watched as its entire world burned around it, it the sole survivor.


About the Creator

Stephanie Hoogstad

With a BA in English and MSc in Creative Writing, writing is my life. I have edited and ghost written for years with some published stories and poems of my own.

Learn more about me:

Support my writing: Patreon

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  3. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (22)

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  • Esala Gunathilake5 days ago

    A brilliant top story. Great!

  • Cathy holmes10 days ago

    Oh, that is horrifying. They should have listened. Great story. Congrats on the TS.

  • Novel Allen10 days ago

    We are burning away our own lives. The time will come when we regret, but for now we carry on. Congrats TS.

  • ROCK 10 days ago

    So well told, captivating and sad; congratulations on your top story!

  • Anna 11 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!

  • Anna 11 days ago

    Noooo! I hope at least Papa Pine stayed alive...

  • Caroline Jane11 days ago

    Poor Papa! 😭 Thou shalt stay in lane little ones! Nicely done. ❤️

  • Asim Khan11 days ago


  • real Jema11 days ago

    Thanks for the article

  • Asad Message11 days ago

    happy to see you infront

  • Don't they know you should never trust a Lemurian to lead you? They'll lead you right off the edge of a cliff. And now Papa Pine is left all alone. How much sap will he weep tonight?

  • Andrea Corwin 11 days ago

    Congrats on TS!!

  • Andrea Corwin 11 days ago

    NOOOOOOOOO I wanted a happy ending, 🫣

  • Donna Fox (HKB)11 days ago

    OMG.... that was not the ending I expected!!! Like I'm not sure what I expected but that was't it!! This was such an enchanting story (pun intended) and I love what you did here! Great work Stephanie!!

  • D.K. Shepard11 days ago

    Very well crafted tale! The conversation between the trees was incredibly engaging to read! Great work, Stephanie!

  • Ameer Bibi12 days ago

    Congratulations 🎉🎉 for top story Your pursuit of excellence sets a high standard for everyone. Keep aiming for the stars

  • Ryan Naraine12 days ago

    Wonderful story

  • River Joy12 days ago

    Really nicely done, tragic in the end, but beautiful.

  • Great story! Very much enjoyed!

  • Christy Munson12 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Lindsay Sfara12 days ago

    Wow, that was chilling at the end. Poor Papa Pine. I really enjoyed how you personified the trees, and described their expression of emotion. I truly enjoy your storytelling, Stephanie!

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