I wrote this intending it to be part of a stream of flash fiction stories relating to life long after a global apocalypse bringing together the differing experiences of survivors and the biological changes that came about as a result of radiation, mutation, and breakdown of civilisation.
They said not to go near Tropelands, “stay away,” they said. “If the sickness doesn't get you the Digito will.” the Elders warned. They taught us the history of the Great World before the time of the Aclipse when sapiens could travel the lands in machines that flew and raced along the ground.
Now, here he was, he had ignored them believing their words to be Eldertales, not worthy of worry. His sickness had grown over the last three lightings and he had no strength left to crawl, his body bled . He had wounds on his body, yet nobody had attacked him.
Finally ,he sought sanctuary in the groups of Trien surrounding Tropeland. He knew these might be the dreaded Digito, he had never seen anything like them. Their bodies were mottled green and brown and pulsed as if alive. Growing into the ground as deep. They provided him with coolness from the Sonday, it was pleasant. 'the Moonight would come soon and then his time would pass', he thought.
The Elders had warned him the Digito suck the blood of sapiens and leave only dried husks, but he could not see how they would do this, their branches were many sapien lengths above him. He leaned against one of the trunks. It was not uncomfortable, it felt warm and seemed to soften where his shoulders ached against the sickness.
His feederpacks long gone and his wota finished, he knew he would not see his Sapibe again. They would dance and sing his loss at the next great Firefeed and his name would be entered into the Elders wordings that they sang to each other and passed on to new Elders. He lay back and slept.
Awaking, something was touching his face. He opened his eyes, it was dark yet there was light coming from all around him. The Digito were glowing. That which had awoken him was hanging in front of him, a branch laden with fruit.
Delirious from no wota and the perfume coming from the fruit smelt good. He contemplated his situation, he was dying he knew, but not how long except, not long. Deciding the fruit could do him no worse than his suffering already he picked one.
It was ruby red, mouth sized and there were lots of them on the branch. Eating one the blood of the fruit made him feel refreshed. He ate more, he could not remember how many he swallowed before he finally drifted back off to sleep quietened by the fruits sedative.
As he slept the branches drooped around him, as they did so the roots grew out of the ground until finally he was surrounded by branch and root intertwined.
He slept on.
The branches were large, but they sprouted small tendrils, the roots also unraveled until they too had small tips. When enough were ready the combined force of root and branch drilled into the sapien body. Some forced their way into his head.
Once there they multiplied their tiny tendrils. Smaller and smaller they became until finally there was no more room in his head and the matter that once was the mind of the sapien was no more and instead a gnarled ball of tiny root and branch replaced it.
The tendrils that had held his body speared in a million places suddenly became active and began to suck and consume his body and the fluids of him.
His body that was, became nothing and it continued to diminish until there was else, but a husk.
The skin now dried like a snikkens skin that shed every year and translucent so the bones could be seen through the skin as the tendrils now completely consumed the very flesh itself. The bones were cracked, first by a single tendril, then by others until they broke open and the marrow sucked down the tendrils and up into the tree.
The nutrients that were once the Sapien flowed through roots and branches from tree to tree until all of a sudden there was no more trees and just a clearing where grass and other plants grew.
Here the last tree in the line gave up one single branch and driving it into the ground a good distance from itself, forced it to grow roots and branches using the nutrients collected from the sapien.
When it had grown sufficiently, many years had passed. It amassed all the tendrils that had formed in the sapiens brain and planted them deep in the core of the new trunk.
In time the matter that was the consciousness of the sapien settled and integrated into the new tree and then one day it stirred.
A new Sonday began. The sapien that was, awoke and felt the heat from the day on him. It felt strange as if he was spread across a wide surface. He flexed his body and felt the response across a large area, he could hear rustling noises each time he moved. He opened his eyes, but didn't initially understand what he saw.
He could see in every direction at the same time, when he looked up his sight was unaffected by the sonlight and he saw clearly as birds flew in and settled on him. He watched them from a dozen places as they picked at the ruby red fruit, taking the ripest and leaving the remaining ones for another visit.
He felt the fruit being pulled from his limbs, each time it happened a tingle of excitement ran down his whole body. His view changed as he concentrated on searching for himself, finally discovering a dried husk of sapien near where he stood. He knew now it was himself as he was.
He called out. “Hello!, where am I, what has happened to me.”
The response in his mind came from a thousand voices in concert.
“We are Digitos and we have saved you. You are Digito, you are welcome among us”