A/N: Hello folks! This is my first Lorax fanfiction! Huzzah...I guess. In case some of you are confused this fanfic is based around the time the Once-ler was still cutting down the truffula trees and he rose to fame. So, he still hasn't cut all of them down yet as you will see in this fic. Also it's been a long time since I've written a fanfiction (much less one with an OC) so, sorry if my writing is a little rusty in places. One other thing, each chapter title is going to be a song title from my playlist and this chapter is named after a song from the Tangle soundtrack by Grace Potter. The happy go-lucky attitude that it has kind of contradicts with mood of this chapter...or it could be an intro song to all fun we're going to have...maybe? Kudos to those that can guess where I got the title of this fanfic from. Happy reading.
DISCLAIMER!: I DON'T OWN ANY OF THE LORAX CHARACTERS! ALL RIGHTS GO TO DR. SEUSS AND ILLUMINATION ENTERTAINMENT!
The Hanging Tree
Something That I Want
As the wind blew through the valley that was home of the truffula trees, it did not ruffle through the usual amount of fluffy pink, orange, red, and yellow tops. To any new viewer to witness the staggering loss of the colorful trees, the land would appear to be bare, dead and it contrasted horribly to the other remaining half that was full of life and bountiful beauty. However, the air surrounding the great forest loomed anxiously as if it were a prisoner waiting to be finished off by its executor.
And within the desilet wasteland loomed an ominous and wickedly twisted building. As it would be, this very place harbored the forest's executioner. Within a grand emerald office lounged the Once-ler in his ridiculously large chair behind his equally ridiculous, spacious, and porcelain white desk. He held a bland, critical expression on his young round face but, he somehow managed an expectant telt to his head as the man in front of him shook nervously in his seat. After a couple minutes of the sweaty-man squirming in his place, the Once-ler finally lost his patience and decided to be the one to cut-to-the-chase. "Mr. Carter-!"
"It's Clark, sir," the man wheezed.
"Whatever." Once-ler dismissed his employee's individuality with a wave of his hand. "You've rigorously requested a meeting with me and now that you have it, you won't address it. What could possibly have you in such a tizzy?"
Taking another deep breath and exhaling to calm his nerves, Mr. Clark finally spoke, "Mr. Once-ler, sir, you might want to have a look at this." He then took out a rolled up map and proceeded to reveal what it showed. "We've been doing some landscaping and research on this land, and we've come across something -um- interesting."
Becoming slightly more engrossed, the Thneed inventor quirked a questioning brow.
"Interesting? What would that be?"
"This," then Mr. Clark soon placed a house replica on a specific area on the map; a place deep within the truffula forest. In the next moment, he placed a few documents in front of the Once-ler.
"What are these?" Once-ler questioned.
"They are mostly tenants and other documents showing proof of ownership of this piece of land," The once-sweating man boxed in the tiny house with a red marker. "They own approximately an acre. And they are the only residents in the entire forest excluding our company."
"And this is what had you so strung up? Surely, this shouldn't be a problem," Once-ler stated as he briefly scanned the file in his hand. He lingered for a while on the owner's description, trying to get a sense of who he was dealing with. "This is merely a slight road bump. Once we wave money and a thneed in their face, I'm sure they'll be more than happy to hand over what is "theirs"."
"How soon do you want a notifier to be sent to inform your offer to the owner?"
"As soon as possible, naturally," then the Once-ler lend back in his chair and popped an unlit cigar in-between his teeth as he smirk confidently.
"Of course, sir," Mr. Clark said and after being told his presence was no longer required, he advanced toward the grand doors. Be as it may before the tireless worker could completely open the door, the Once-ler stopped him for just a moment.
"Oh and make sure you send someone that will get the job done and not cause any more problems for us. It's annoying enough to have the environmentalists breathing down our necks."
"Yes, of course, sir." And with that said, the man left the Once-ler to himself.
Chewing on the end of the cigar, Once-ler brushed the new documents to the side and went to work on other important matters involving his precious thneed products.
The smoke from his lit cigar performed a dangerous dance as it rose higher and higher above the Once-ler's head and his colossal red-velvet chair.
Since the smogulous smoke started spreading from the factory, the light of the sun became more and more dense. Still the sun attempted to shine warmly throughout the valley of truffulas and along the blissful peaceness chirped a set of newborn swommee-swan chicks. The humming-fish created their own little hymns as they went about through the streams, while the fuzzy masses of brown fur, the bar-ba-loots, ran amuck with various random activities.
There were only three peculiar things that stuck out around the usual thicket of multi-colored canopies; one of them being a lone gray pack-mule grazing near a pond. The always grouchy mule, or Melvin as he was once called by someone very dear, lifted his head while he thoroughly chewed the grass and peered lazily around his surroundings. However, the sight that had suddenly caught his eye nearly caused him to choke on his cud. A very expensive vehicle maneuvered around each tree trunk and carelessly left debris in the air and ugly tire-tracks on the ground.
Curious as to where this familiarly white vehicle was headed, Melvin raced after it. Eventually, the dust trail ended and the car stopped very short in front of a white picket-fence. Beyond it sat a quaint stone cottage. Cautiously, Melvin stayed hidden as one of the doors to the vehicle opened to reveal a finely dress man in a green suit that vaguely resembled another more successful man's emerald attire. The man had a very slimy look to his features and to anyone they would've probably compared him to a sewer rat with his long nose, beady eyes, and greasy slicked-back hair. He checked himself on the little side mirrors before he went on up to the gate and strolled right into the yard.
Despite the fact that he knocked rather loudly, he did not receive an answer. Becoming slightly perturbed, the man knocked several more times before he spoke.
"Hello, is this the Arbore residents," the rodent-like man hollered in a heavy southern accent. After several seconds, he proceeded to call for the cottage's owner. "Hello, is anyone present at the moment for me to speak with? Hello-!"
"Yes, What? What do you want?" A rather irritated feminine voice bellowed back. He looked about frantically as the source of the voice seemed to be located someplace else around the house.
Quickly, the man rounded the corner to find the yard to still be empty. "Uh-may I ask, miss, as to where you're located at?"
"I'm on the roof," Came her immediate reply.
And as he turned to peer up along the house, he found a ladder leaning against the wall and on top of the roof sat a dark silhouette of a young woman, for the gold glow of the sun was currently blocking her out of view.
"Ah-! That you are," He chuckled to himself as he tried to block out the harsh ray of sun from his eyes with his hand. "Miss, would it be too much to ask if you could please join me down here on the ground?"
Sighing haughtily, she requested in the next second, "Give me a minute, I'm almost finished with cementing my chimney."
Not very long after she stated this, a leg swung over the slope of the roof to join the other and very soon the young woman climbed down to her ladder. When she landed from jumping halfway down the ladder, she straighten upright to finally reveal who she was.
The ratty-man got slightly taken aback by the woman's dirty appearance with cement smeared along her face and her clothes, but most of all her indifference of how she looked confused him. However, he still somehow managed to grace a charming smile on his scumbag face and tried to have his voice drip with temptation and persuasion.
"Why, miss, you are lookin' mighty fine today in your -uh- men's attire," he complimented as he eyed the torn and dirt-stained overalls and the mud caked on her worn yellow hiking boots. "I come from a company that uses these truffula trees for our product called Thneed. Surely, you already know of it, of course." He stopped mid-chuckle when the woman's uncaring expression did not change. Slightly discouraged, he then asked, "Are you Miss Bethany Arbore?"
"Yes." Bethany said and her short answer left no room for any doubt of her identity. "But I mostly go by 'Beth'."
Exhaling heavily through his nose, the man proceeded, "I've been sent by Mr. Once-ler himself, to open up an offer to you involving your land."
"What would he want with it?"
"Why to use it, of course! Mr. Once-ler is very generous in his offer," the suspicious man then lifted up the suitcase that he was carrying and opened it to reveal stacks of money lined up together in every corner of the bag. "for if you agree you will receive 12,000 in cash and a free Thneed."
She stared very intently at what was held before her. Not very long after, she came to ask, "And what will become of my home?"
"That is nothin' for you to worry 'bout."
With that statement Bethany's face hardened into a fierce glare directed towards the Thneed company worker. "No."
"W-what?" Surprised, he stumbled a step back.
"No. I refuse to give up my land to be abused by a factory producing something completely useless."
"The Thneed is not useless! It can be used as a shirt, a sock, a glove, a ha-!" He didn't get to finish his obvious rehearsed defence and advertising, for the young woman interrupted him.
"I have no need for it nor do I want your money. Now get off my property!"
For a couple seconds, he stared in disbelief at Bethany Arbore and concluded she belonged in an insane asylum. Snapping the suitcase shut and briskly turning on his heel, the man left without a word and a concerned crease to his brow.
Once the large cloud of dust dissipated, Beth then spotted a curious grey head poking out from around a truffula tree. 'I wonder if the little guy knows that his other half isn't hidden.' Smiling despite herself, she waved encouragingly for the mule to come closer to her. Melvin only took several reluctant steps but soon he stubbornly stood within only ten feet of Beth's fence. Softly laughing just as a sly smirk graced upon her lips.
"I think I've got something that you might like."
Melvin's ears twitched in interest.
"Just hold on for just a second, I'll be right back." She disappeared around the house and within a couple minutes she reappeared with her hands behind her back. Walking casually past her fence, Beth revealed what she was hiding; a red fruit that fit perfectly in the palm of her hand. Then she crouched low to be on the same level as the mule and stuck out her hand holding the fruit.
"Come on," She cooed. "It's okay."
Anticipation kept the young woman on edge as the mule took a few steps forward. Like any project that she would accomplish, satisfaction coursed through her being as the mule delicately took the fruit from her hand. Once she was sure that the creature would not run off in fear, she petted through his course mane.
Smoothing the hair away from Melvin's eyes, Beth cupped the mule underneath his muzzle. "I wonder where you came from. Did someone just dump you out here?" When she said this, he couldn't help but to flatten his ears against his head. "What horrible person would do such a thing?"
After petting him a couple more times, Beth then straighten back up and turned half way around. The grey mule shifted anxiously and look between the girl and the white gate.
Still having a smug smirk on her face, she sought to sate Melvin's fears, "I have other yummy treats for you to eat if you'd like to come home with me."
At the sound of the promise, Melvin didn't even have to think twice as he trotted ahead of Beth.
"That's what I thought," She chuckled and followed after. Once inside her safe haven, she quietly shut her fence's door behind her.
A/N: Also I don't know much about land owning and I did research about it to the best of my ability. btw I have no idea what those red fruit are called. I tried looking it up but I got nothing. So, I'm just going to call them Truffula fruit like in the TV special of The Lorax.