Much of the story is of the life of a forest warden, Damien Ryan, & of his chase of an apparently evil ghost that has escaped.
Ghost is "Sylvanus Roscoe, of the genus Sylvani" - a kind of "nature spirit" & "an Elemental". Roscoe was trapped trapped under water in the stem of an ancient oak tree for a century; the tree stem was buried by a dam, & is now exposed after dam was emptied for repairs - giving Roscoe the chance to escape.
Last third is where we learn the Roscoe's end of the story - how his people were hunted & kidnapped to satisfy a megalomaniac's quest for scientific knowledge, & how the maniac was helped by ancestors of the Damien.
I got a feeling the author was either talking about the fate of animals that end up in labs, or of American Indians killed when Europeans were occupying Americas. This part is essentially about the empathy Damien feels for the wronged, but no one now living was responsible & since nothing can be done about it, it's best to leave buried what was buried till now.
Fact sheet.First published: "Subterranean" magazine, Fall 2007.
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Note: Why is this post so short?