Chainsaw Diary

by Emmie Christie

March 30

The chainsaws do not stop.

Perhaps they can’t. Maybe hell contracted them to torture me, otherwise I might enjoy an average purgatory week working from home with just the yappy dogs next door to superimpose irritation.

* * *

March 31

The workers chopped the tree down, yet the angry machines continue. I glare at them and slam the cookie tray down on the porch table. I pray the scent of chocolate chips wafts out to them, so they know the extent of my revenge. I eat seven in full view. Petty?

Yes.

* * *

April 1 (Day 3)

The neighbors across the street now want their tree cut down. The crew toils on like Sisyphus, buzzing, always buzzing. Do their hands grow numb? Do their ears give out? I am giving out. I am wearing down, a nail filed down too far by this sandpaper sound. The edge of my sanity scrapes down to the bleeding nail bed.

* * *

Day 4

I trek over to the house—which one? I don’t know; the chainsaws have infected most of the yards on the street—and the workers stop like crickets when I reach the yard, as if shy of my flyaway hair, my bloodshot eyes. “How much longer?” I ask, forcing the words from my introvert lips.

“Almost done,” they say. They do not meet my eyes. “Tomorrow, probably.”

* * *

Day 5

I now measure the days by the sound of the saw. I mutate into the woman in the yellow wallpaper, and I crawl along the ceiling to inspect the spiders. Even they have packed their webs and moved to another house, somewhere that doesn’t echo with the incessant—oh! It’s the exact color of fluorescence—you know, the startling light in the hotel bathroom after a night of not sleeping?

* * *

Day 21

The trees grow back every seven days, wherein a new chainsaw crew descends like a murdering of hope. A flock of crows wearing orange vests. How did I fall to hell without knowing?

Only I remember that they have cut these trees before, and that they will once again. 

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