1)      Liana vines are rooted in the earth and use trees to climb towards the canopy.

Mum sews in her armchair, the embroidery hoop in one hand like a tambourine as she plays it with cotton, the needle’s tempo remaining steady when Dad gets home from the pub again. I notice the root sprouting next to me from the carpet, curling around Mum’s ankles.

2)      These tough vines grow best in temperate environments.

He sways, telling her she’s a piece of shit. She stays calm and carries on sewing as the root spirals up both her legs, then snakes across her lap and around the back of the chair, the wooden vine belting her in place.

3)      Lianas can form bridges between trees, allowing passage for small creatures.

Dad tells me I’m a piece of shit, too. The root forks from Mum, a section branching to me on the floor. I scramble on and use it to climb onto Mum’s lap, the seat of vegetation uncomfortably rigid.

4)      Forests without lianas grow 150% more fruit.

As he starts to tell her again about the other women he’s been with throughout their marriage, all better in bed than her, the vine helter skelters around her body, binding her to the chair, stilling her hands so that the needle cannot slip through the aida.

5)      Trees with lianas are twice as likely to die.

When he tells her he’d love to slap her and watch her cry, listen to her beg for him to stop, the vine twists around her neck and face. I try to rip it off, but it’s hard and unyielding. Turning to Dad, I scream and sob, pleading for him to leave her alone. He relishes my reaction.

‘Now, why can’t I get your mother to do that?’



Rebecca Klassen is co-editor of The Phare and lives in the Cotswolds. Her work has featured in Mslexia, Popshot, Shooter, Burningword, Literally Stories, and Ellipsis Zine. She has won the London Independent Story Prize, and was shortlisted for the Oxford Flash and the Laurie Lee Prize. Rebecca’s stories have been performed on BBC Radio.