Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

Free copy left
You can read our best books
ginger_lizard would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

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. 

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, ginger_lizard
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

mrh: I love this story soooo much! This is such an incredible twist on Harry Potter's story. I have loved every word of it. I hope you will write more soon! I want to know what happens next sooo bad! Please write more!

Barbara Ponder: This book is aimed at teenagers, however the style and content caught my attention and it is a long time since I was a teenager. Intriguing and enlightening novel I hope there will be a sequel soon.

Toria Danielle: I must congratulate Erin Swan on completing such a beautiful work. The Rising Sun is well rounded and leaves nothing to be wanted. ALL of the characters and their development are beautifully written. The plot is extremely well thought out. Creating a whole different type of universe is difficult ...

Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...

Alice Liu: Whoa! I've been wondering how would the Maurauders react to Harry's life and here we go! YOU ARE THE BEST! All the characters are consistent with their personalities shown in the book! I love how you compare Lily with Molly and it's definitely true for her being a mother! I wish Peter comes have ...

Warchief: The biggest problem with the Harry Potter series is that it's all from his point of view. So we never really get to see or understand events from other peoples perspective. I think that they would be more than a few people that want to know what happened at Hogwarts during that last year.As far a...

Lacey Schmidt: The Trouble with Super is that you can't stop reading it. Mr. Barrett's characters are all to easy to relate to even if you don't have a super quirk of your own, and their plight is both heart-rendingly funny and heart-warmingly sad at the same time. It's a bit like Office Space meets the Matri...

More Recommendations

Elizabeth Miller: Fabulous book! I loved how it was unpredictable and not the stereotypical vampire book! The characters and plot was very well thought out. I couldn't put it down. I can' wait for the next one!

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.

Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."