The Heart of the Sacred Forest

A Redwall squirrel from here.

A masterpiece in miniature: while I was at ATYP’s playwrights camp at Bundanon in December, I somehow managed to churn out this slice of genius in between all the other hard work (that’s the Minties Project and my monologue about Justin Bieber, if anyone’s keeping score). This is a short play in the Young Adult Speculative Fiction genre. Since the recent passing of Brian Jacques, I feel a gap has opened up in the market for fantasy fiction about woodland animals dressed in clothes formed into pseudo-medieval religious societies – say hello to

The Heart of the Sacred Forest

Ae procession of well-dressed woodland animals dance into the space with trumpets, fanfare, cymbals, there is a martial atmosphere, etc

The procession circles several times around the LEAF which is at the centre of the space.

– O me, oh my! Summon the Squirrel Priestess! Summon the High Grandmaster of the Badgers!

Squirrel Priestess: Who calls upon us?

Grandmaster of Badgers: What is happening here? Why have you roused us from our slumber?

– Oh my Lord and Lady of the Sacred Leaf! It has come unto our ears that the Great Tree is dying! The Great Tree! Is dying!

Squirrel Priestess: What tosh!

Grandmaster of Badgers: How can you bring yourself to speak such lies? Never in a thousand generations has the Great Tree ever shown a sign of sickness!

In the centre of the space, the LEAF begins to crinkle and fade.

– Oh, calamity! It has come to be! It has come to be!

Squirrel Priestess: But… all our magic! Our charms, our prayers! How has this happened?

Grandmaster of Badgers: I’m going to kill myself. I tell you what, I’m going to do myself in here and now. You just watch me. I can’t handle this bullshit, I straight up don’t have the fucking stones for it.

– But Grandmaster of Badgers, if you take your own life, we will be powerless against the forces of creeping decay that threaten to overwhelm our bright woodland home!

Grandmaster of Badgers: I’m gonna ram a fucking switchblade through my breathing tube, you just fucking watch me. Watch this, fuckers.

Noisy suicide.

Wherever he is now, the odds are good that Brian Jacques would not be impressed.