Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

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

0
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

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.

dragonswilleise: I loved this book, it was nearly impossible to put down from start to finish. It was fast passed without being overwhelming and slowed down where needed. Overall this was an amazing novel that I will definitely recommend to others.

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.

ga1984: I really enjoyed it! Characters were deep and plot was pretty complex. A bit on the violent side but it doesnt detract from the story. Very dark but situations make sense. Ends kinda abruptly and later chapters will need some editing work. I'm assuming there's more in the works?

Usagi Kita: This story is emotional from beginning to end. You get to watch the characters struggle and grow, maturing in different ways so that they come to be the people they are meant to be. Inea is insanely adorable, and his antics made me laugh more than once, and Kaedon is perfect for him in so many wa...

Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...

Elizabeth Robbins: 4.5 starsAs far as apocalypse stories go, this one took a new direction. I'm glad someone finally addressed the need for a vampire apocalypse! This is sort of a multi-genre festival of delights. With hints of forced societies, vamps, hunters, romance, apocalypse, government conspiracy, and thrill...

summerstone: Seriously this is one of the best books I've ever read. The plot is intriguing, I love the narrative style. Its very descriptive and unique, with minimal cliches. It makes for a great read and the sequels are amazing. Totally worth reading. ^^ That's me trying to be professional. But in all hones...

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...

More Recommendations

Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...

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 ...

MegaRogueLegend666: I love this story so much. It's impossible to describe my excitement with each new chapter in words. The author has such a good writing style, very good descriptions of the fighting and character descriptions/emotions. the plot is also amazing! This fanfic could be a side anime show or novel ......

FinnTH: I hope there is a sequel to The Knowing Ones because these characters are very distinct. The imagery of the forest and Adriana's connection to the woods is powerful.

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

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!
Spectra

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."