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The Trees Swallow People

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A man walking his dog witnesses a woman's disappearance, vanishing into a small woodland of trees. Little does he know that this is the beginning of a strange series of events leading to madness, cults, deaths, and a mystery surrounding his unwilling connection to the trees.

Horror / Mystery
Conor Matthews
Age Rating:


In a public park there are trees that have never harmed anyone, lining the path from the entrance, shaping the jogs and evening strolls people take, in places parted enough for desires lines to form. But then there are the other trees.

The trees are separated from the rest of the park by an old wall, slapped together in the last century by apprentice masons; a ring of jagged grey the path through the park goes around. There is no reason to ever be in this paddock of seemingly innocuous trees.

During a nightly walk with my dog, Diva, as she happily panted, I aimlessly turned to the patch of heavy woodland behind the old wall, glancing inattentively to the moonlit highlights on the bare branches and the few clinging leaves, following the contrasted shadows to the depths of the trunks, landing upon a face.

It took a second to realise what I was looking at. Wanting to be sure, I planted my eyes upon the shapes of soft light and etched shadows. It was the staring eyes that confirmed my surprise as they blinked back at me. Realising it was indeed a person, I submitted to the glare and turned my gaze away, hoping the man would assume I meant no offence.

As we walked, Diva oblivious to the scene, I slowly recalled what I had seen, as though still checking with myself. They appeared to be in their thirties, going by the young puff of brown hair and plump yet worn face. His hands were placed on the wall; a build taller than it but on the shorter side, maybe five-six. Was it a white hoody he was wearing? A fleece? A jacket?

I was doing laps with Diva around a football pitch next to the trees. I decided, as I tuned a corner around goal posts, I’d take a look back. From the slow movement of his head, I saw that he was following my progress across the width of the pitch. I looked away again, this time feeling the tension. There was a story weeks ago of a sex offender sleeping rough in the area. What are the chances, I thought, I had just stumbled upon the very man the rumours were about? Was I to be a tabloid headline?

As I rounded the next set of goal posts, I was parallel with the trees, which span the entire length of the field, easily a couple dozen yards. If I continued on my usual route, I’d be passing the trees and the face once again in two more turns. I turned my head, half expecting a reason to cut my walk short tonight and run home. Instead, the man was gone. I strained to make sure I was looking at the same spot as before. The night was too clear to be mistaken. I scanned the pitch, thinking perhaps he hopped over the wall. I watched the path circling the enclosed woodland. Still, nothing. I continued my walk, coming across only one more oddity that night.

After some time, I decided we were done for the night and made our way across the field and back to the path to the entrance. I gave a farewell glance to the trees, a kaleidoscope of shattered shapes amongst branches and twigs, splitting the moonlight, before returning my view ahead of me in time to see her.

A woman was stepping onto the pitch. She wasn’t a jogger and was by herself, yet I paid her little attention at first, since there was a distance between our trajectories. I continued on before I recalled the story about the sex offender. I stopped and looked behind me, debating if I should continue my laps a little longer to ensure I was nearby should she call for help. I spotted the woman already hoisting herself over the wall before vanishing behind it.

I stared, bemused yet unsure of what just happened. Her stride as she passed me suggested she was going somewhere. Who would be in a hurry to jump over a wall? I imagined if you went through the woodland you’d come out the other side. But why not take the path? It was dark, the ground would be littered and uneven. I watch the wall for a few minutes, wondering if she would reappear. Was she meeting the man? Could this be a sexual thing; exhibitionism? It would explain the man, peeking out, expecting someone and watching me, hoping I’d leave. Or maybe hoping I’d stay.

At the time I left, believing I was intruding. It’s childishly simple, looking back on it now. From that night on, the trees proved themselves to be anything but simple.

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Further Recommendations

Ambre: J'adore l'intrigue, les personnages. Il y a aussi pas mal de suspense et j'ai vraiment hâte de connaître la fin. C'est simple je dévore cette histoire. Bravo a l'auteur j'adore votre travail.

Mommagoingcrazy: When will we get an update? I really like this book.

Stephanie: Eine sehr gute gestaltwandlergeschichte, ich liebe solche Geschichten

Viola.: Tolles Buch 👍😄

ivory: I am enjoying my time reading the story. Thank you author for this wonderful creation.

Annelin Viste: Sweet love story 🥰

Sarah Grace: The story is amazing and I can’t wait to read more, the spelling could use a little work but It’s not that big of an issue. I’ve really enjoyed each of the characters and how the plot has developed and I’m excited for more to come out.

Hallie Cox: Liked the plot needs better proof readers

Michelle Lopshire: Great story line if you are into werewolf novels.

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user-D73EPSVCoa: It is okay.

scarbrough71: Sweet short story that covered some heavy topics with grace 💜💜

Daisy: Enjoying the story so far

Andrew: Me encanta lo sobrenatural

Deleted User: This story is beautifully written and I can’t wait for the updatekeep up the good work ❤️😊

suzell: I'm enjoying this story. Has many curve balls that keeps you connected.

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