It slithered, unfaltering through every branch of the family tree;
intangible, unseen, and lethal.
Early one stormy morning, it slithered along the forest floor, until it came upon the great tree.
It wrapped itself tightly around the trunk of family business, unnoticed in the midst of the torrential storm that blew through the forest
Slowly, intractably it began to weave it's serpentine body along every branch and twig
until the tree, once beautiful and vibrant, green and lush, the envy of the surrounding forest,
stood alone; the leaves hanging brown and limp on the branches, the bark faded and peeling,
even the sap, the lifeblood of the entire organism, had turned thick and black
Over the years the forest had receded from the once great tree, the other trees looking for healthier company.
Yet, the largest leaf on the infested, dying tree still looked around declaring
"Look how beautiful we are. We are the tallest, healthiest, strongest tree in the forest." Then all the other leaves would smile and wave their agreement in the wind, pretending not to notice how their dried, brown flesh no longer made a sound.
Occasionally a leaf could take no more and would fall to the ground, making a soft crashing sound as it fell to the dead forest floor.
The oldest leaf would angrily climb down the tree, reprimand the dying leaf for making a fuss, and then drag it back to it's rightful branch, using super glue and twine to hold it in place
The leaf stayed in place, though completely disconnected from the twig that once fed it.
All the other leaves refused to notice, after all one did not speak of such things
The silence squeezed tighter still, and the unspoken heartache, the secrets long buried, covered the tree in a sludge so thick that it would drip off the branches to the decimated forest floor
and the tree, already suffocating, could not breathe a sound.
The tree slowly petrified, turning living flesh into soulless rock.
The deafening sound of silence had won and the leaves wept bitter tears, that none could see or hear.