the aliens invaded from underground.
they were us all along, which,i guess, counts for something?
the symptoms were the last thing you’d notice. weeds. really big weeds. but who looks at weeds?the riot and tangle looked no different even to planty types for a good while, though more vigorous than usual. blame global warming, all that c02 is good for something.
after a couple years, though; them that was paying attention noticed these faster weeds weren’t an artifact of the aging gardener slowing, or some rampant whathaveyou in the climate. whole fields of different forms started to show the same root, grass and vine and moss were eruptions along the same woody mass, lying just under the soil.
just here and there, at first. there was no connection, at first between the carbonaceous protrusions, scattered over the globe. for a year more or sometimes years, they were just local oddities. known to a wanderer or two in isolated spots. when they started getting talked about on the internet, it was just too implausible and strange. plants were, what? teaming up? forming communist colonies? the were suddenly defying all clades and clans and becoming unified, like a dream of a hippie love fest in one root?
well, yeah, no, maybe, kinda. no one had a better idea or explanation, and they were right there, to touch and taste and poke, and more and more regularly spotted and recognized, and unavoidably accepted. still small but rising mounds of wooden root mass, covered in a diffusion of plants, but with all stalks and stems leading directly, bizarrely into the central rising trunk.
some got cut down, for science, or because they were in the way of progress, or sometimes out of simple fear of invasive species. sometimes they’d re-emerge, more often they’d shoot sideways underground, a hundred feet, or a thousand, and then come up in a dozen spots, or a hundred. almost universally, they’d simply exhaust and outgrow their attackers, growing fast, and tall.
and fast. and tall. they were measured to grow faster every year, five feet in a year, then ten the next, and twenty the year after. they’d grow right up to cement sidewalks, and roads, and buildings, and then slowly through them, pushing over poured stone with slow force measured in newtons per day, over weeks and months and years.
on a mountainside, they’d grow giant mats of woody planking covering hilsides. beneath their photosynthesizing mats of greenery, grasses and herbs perviously understood to be different species, were now growing in sprawling unified homunculi.
humans were simply outgrown. the powers that be could form no real response whatsoever to the bizareeness of the woody mounds, the fbi had no arborist corps. local libertarian anti-arboreal-aberation corps simply couldn’t get traction. the things grew too damn fast. they were everywhere, and not doing anything exactly. you could, with a little effort and denial, just go about your business. so people did.
so we lived, cohabitating with our new guest, who didn’t talk much. there was nothing said. explanations ran dry. the quasi-trees grew taller, like strange vertical meadows of herbs and miscellaneous flora. species now completely impossible to classify or quantify, since they were all evidently the same entity, growing at bizarre and unbelieveable speeds, upwards.
but still, it takes a long time to go up. after ten years, there were mounds that rivaled sky scrapers, but only just. and we fought back, in our way, carving into the giant woody stalagmites. the housing bubble crashed, but there were houses everywhere, almost ready-made for anyone with time and a chisel.
it was a time of great plenty for the hungry. vines tumbled down the strange wooden mountains, and the experimental found it all edible; starchy, sweet nodules and tubers, plain hardy fruit and crisp leaves. many people walked away from the cities, from debts and families, from everything, in those days, into the freshly generous wild.
for a while, the world seemed a New Eden, the carbon-sequestering sequoyah-like forests-protuberances were like a gift from the divine, a panacea for the problems of civilization. for a while. until the mounds started to move together, swaying and reaching together towards some unseen point in the sky…