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The Tree

By ginger_lizard All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Horror

The Tree

The tree was the centerpiece of the graveyard, and several generations of groundskeepers had learned to give it a wide berth. Its branches writhed and curled, extending like shadowy hands over the dry grass. Insects did not crawl on it. Birds did not nest in it. And because it was an ominous, dead thing that bore no leaves, no one dared get close enough to find out what kind of tree it was. It was something to be avoided.

The writer had decided to stay the night in the tiny town, on his way to a job offer in New York from the westernmost parts of Ohio. The town’s only motel just happened to be right next to the graveyard, and after dropping off his things, he decided to take a walk.

As he strolled between the tombstones, the tree constantly loomed in the corner of his vision. It beckoned, and he responded. Something about the century-old carvings in the trunk, the initials and hearts with arrows and messages corroded by time made him want to know more about the hands that had put them there. He chided himself for leaving his journal in his room; his memory was awful, and there were stories immortalized in this tree waiting to be transcribed.

A glint of light at the base of the trunk caught his attention. A plain knife with a stag horn handle jutted up from the parched ground. He knelt and picked it up, relishing the foreign coldness of it in his hand. His eyes flitted back to the initials in the tree. No one is around, the devil on his shoulder whispered.

The writer stepped forward, resting one leg on an exposed root, and jammed the tip of the knife into the bark. After a few calculated strokes, “JM” had joined the series of initials, the fresh etchings standing out amidst their faded counterparts. Satisfied, the writer tossed the knife back on the ground. The sun had set, and he was chilly. He walked back to the motel, not noticing the thick, black sap that had begun to ooze from his marks.

Back in his room, the writer pulled a leather-bound journal from his suitcase and wrote down as many initials as he could recall. He created names for each of them. For some, he even wrote their histories, their desires, and their fears. When he felt his eyelids drooping, he called his wife and told her he’d reach the city tomorrow, that he loved her and would see her at the end of the week. After he hung up, he donned a T-shirt and shorts and went to bed.

His skeleton was found the next morning by the maid. Her scream had brought the other guests out of their rooms in bathrobes and pajamas. He’d fallen asleep in the fetal position, and his bones would forever resemble an overgrown child’s.

The graveyard groundskeeper had been clearing weeds around a mausoleum when he heard the scream. He straightened, old joints creaking, and looked in the direction of the motel.

“Stupid bastard,” he muttered, and carried an armful of dandelions to his wheelbarrow.

Behind him, on the topmost branch of the twisted tree, a single green leaf fluttered in the wind.


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Megan King: This book is absolutely amazing, it kept me on my toes through the entire book. I hope there is a second book. I would 10 out of 10 recommend this for anyone who loves fantasy, action or romance because it is full of all three 💕

maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...

genlynne2379: I read the other review of this book and I must say that I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not believe the author put the apostrophes in the names just to be unique, but because the characters are supposedly of a different race than humans. They are Anmah. They should have different names a...

JWalker: I loved this story from start to finish! It flows at a really nice pace and the story world feels so real. The fight sequences are a treat especially when Isanfyre is training to become a warrior. I found the names really cool and thankfully easy to pronounce. Personally I have always struggled w...

NRF: I love this story, it has a little bit of everything in it, mystery, adventure, murder, innocence, love and a surprise twist that will leave you hungry for more! Great read! NRF

daneliacapote116: This was one of my favorites! When you start reading you want to continue I can't wait for the rest of the novel!! The characters where awesome! Everything was great. I encourage you to read this novel, your going to love it it and want to read it more and more !!

Jade Niday: This book has a really great plot. The author really makes you feel connected to the main character. There are twist around every corner you never see coming.. Great read for sure and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Krupa Kataria: the detailing is really awesome ....the characters, ur plots jst too Awsm ,m waiting for the further chapters please do complete it ...like m really craving for those ones ...great job with words too ..please complete the further parts ...

Olivia N J Hamel: I want this book. I love it so much. It is so enjoyable to read and to have a copy of this always, I would be very happy, to always be able to come back and look at it again.

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ynez2005: I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOO MUCH!!!!Though you really need to make another book,more Princesses!!! Whoooo!!!Girl Power!!!Mabey it could even be Devona's BFF???That would make it even better!!!Plus can you pleeease make Akki come back,together with Thea and Authur amd the whole family is back!Other th...

Kevin Brand: My overall rating: 4.8/5 starsLoved. Every. Second. Everytime I came back to continue reading I got this overwhelming feeling of getting hooked on the first sentence... Over and over and again!The only things that were missing for me include more descriptions on what happens when Reuben touches s...

littlebunnypoopoos: Omg this was so amazing! The ending was a little bad and predictable. But otherwise, I need a second book or I'll die :D The character development was excellent and the whole romance, action, and suspense was superb

Marijana1: The melancholy present throughout this story has the power to influence and etch into the minds of the readers, to stay there and refuse to leave even after they have finished reading the story. This is a deep, powerful story, making the readers wonder about everything – about love, about their e...

Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.

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