Previously, this story was behind a password for people who had donated in support of urgent causes. I have now reposted it for all to read. If you are able, please continue to do anything you can to protect trans kids. Links for suggested donations can be found at the bottom.
This story is nearly ten years old now, and I stopped trying to find a home for it after a few false starts over five years ago. The root of this story feels like a fever dream: someone named Ben emailed me to tell me that his friend Lachlan had been hit by a cab in Brisbane, and would I consider writing him into a short story to him. It was such an oddly forward request that I said yes without much consideration. Months later, when I completed it, I sent him a draft and wished Lachlan well on his recovery. He never responded, and that was the last I heard of it.
The Fields of Ur
On the morning of the incident, Lachie woke to the gentle trills of impossible birds, nestled in his bed in the boughs of the world tree of Ur. The cool breeze licked his face and ruffled his shaggy hair as he stretched, arching his back and feeling each joint pop with pleasurable release. He sat up and the branches and broad leaves of the world tree unfurled, revealing a glorious vista of the fields of Ur.
The world tree stood on the peak of the tallest mountain of Ur, a mountain still without a name. The craggy peak, modeled on the fearsome heights of the old Alps, but in miniature, rose only a few thousand feet above the plains below. The world tree was half again as tall, a wooden spire of red and green, perpetually wreathed in clouds, and Lachie slept most nights nestled in a bed of felt-textured leaves.