Friday, October 30, 2009


Find Part I here and Part II here.

A bright light and instantaneous crash like the sound of two semis colliding jerks me out of my nightmares. I sit up, gasping. It had seemed so real.

The only light in the room comes from my alarm clock and the still-burning candle. The alarm clock reads 12:47, and the candle is burned about halfway down.

The rumbling thunder and flashing lightning hasn't died down. The wind beats the rain against the sides and windows of my house, and I peer at the backyard, looking for the familiar shadow of my tree to anchor me in the real world during the flashes.

I blink. One instant, the tree is there, and the next, it's not. I rub my eyes. Another lightning flash, and the tree is back.

I throw the covers off me and search for my slippers with my feet. I can't get back to sleep, not when what awaits me is worse than the storm outside. I keep seeing her eyes, iron gray, and her finger, pointing up at me.

"You didn't like that lady anyway," I mutter to myself as I pick up the candle and plod back down the hallway.

My tea is cold, so I heat up a new mug, setting the candle down on the table. I want to be bathed by light, but a quick flick of the switch on the wall tells me the power's gone out in the short time it's taken me to walk down the hallway.

"Great." I throw my spoon into the sink. It clatters off the side and tumbles bowl-first into the jaws of the garbage disposal. I make a mental note to retrieve it before I go back to bed.

I sit back down at the typewriter, my eyes scanning what I've already written. Not bad. I wonder more about what the gypsy lady said, and my anger starts to rise again. There's a story in my head that's starting to form. Forget what she said.

Another thought worms its way in. Am I being the stupid main character in some horror story? Nah, I can't imagine anyone reading about this. My life is so dull, after all. The carnival earlier is probably the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me.

I shake my head and press my fingers to the keys. The story forces its way out.

"The girl was running. In her sleep, she ran, but then she fell, and awoke into a real nightmare. The creature, the creature she had dreamt up, had come for her. It was leaning over her, twisted above her. It reached down with a gnarled branch and gently wiped a tear off her face. Could it be? A compassionate monster?

"But her relief was short-lived. The creature lifted the single tear up into the beams of the moonlight and studied it. She could swear a smile twisted into the bark of its trunk. But there was no mercy there. Only—satisfaction. Satisfaction for what, she wasn't sure, and would never find out.

"In a gesture she found both strange and poetic, the creature wiped the tear off onto a nearby blade of grass, leaving it to sparkle like a jewel beside her. Then it turned its attention back to her, and that was when the horror began.

"The creature reached for her, its long arms scratching across her face. A maw opened in its trunk; a black hole that looked to swallow her. No teeth, but her body wouldn't fit in there whole.

"Her question was answered as the creature picked her up and held her aloft, head and arms in one branch-hand, feet and legs in the other. It was going to rip into pieces, tear limb from limb. If only she'd watered it more—"

Another loud crack jolts me up from the typewriter. This time, I'm sure the tree isn't in the backyard. The wind is howling and the rain is pounding, but I wrap the blanket around my shoulders and get up.

I open the back door, peering out into the storm. There's a giant muddy hole where my tree used to be. I step out, still holding on to the door frame. It can't be, how can a tree—

Something hard seizes me by the waist. The blanket falls away from me as I'm yanked off my back porch and around the corner of the house, then dumped unceremoniously onto the lawn there.

I peer up at the monster above me. It's my tree, but it's . . . sinister, not familiar. It's twisted and wicked, the very epitome of an evil tree. The very nightmare I had just finished writing onto the page. Its roots hold it up like legs, its branches twisted together into arms, just like I imagined.

I feel a tear well up in my eyes as the horror thrums through me. It should mix with the rain and melt away, but it stays there as a branchy hand reaches down and grabs it, studying it and wiping it off onto a blade of grass.

I'm frozen, unable to move, to save myself. Not that I feel like I could outrun the branches of the tree. I just can't believe it's real. The gypsy lady was right.

Oh no. I wrote her death, I—

I look up at the tree. The maw in its trunk is hanging open now, the branches waving as if in a hurricane. I see something glittering in its mouth—a beaded gold necklace.

Something's wrong, though. Instead of picking me up, the tree straightens, and reaches for itself. My mouth drops open as instead of ripping me apart, it starts to rip off its own branches. Its own limbs.

It's moving faster and faster now. Branches and twigs are dropping around me like they fly from a wood chipper. I scuttle backwards, slipping on the wet grass, but making it far enough away that I can watch the rest. It doesn't take long before there's nothing left but two scraggly branches that reach down to rip the roots off and then peel the bark off the trunk. At last, the right limb and the left limb cross to each other and pull each other off at the same time, and the left over mangled trunk falls to the grass, narrowly missing me.

I hear a moaning from inside the trunk of the tree, and a few seconds later, out crawls the gypsy lady, clutching her head.

I sit up and rush over to her. "Are you alright?"

I help her to her feet, waiting for her answer, but she glowers at me and then she slaps me, her hand connecting with a smack and then sliding off my slick wet face. She stalks off towards the front of my house, muttering under her breath. I only catch, "Stupid girl," before she's gone.

What the heck happened? I meander inside, my brain unable to focus until I close the door behind me. Out of habit, I hit the light switch and am relieved when the warm bath of electric light floods over me.

The typewriter. I rush to the typewriter and pull out the page, scanning the section I had written that had just played out in the backyard.

A typo? Seriously?

Happy Halloween, Alliterati! AHAHAHAHAhahahahahahahaha!

ahem* Mad Libs words coming later today in a separate post.


  1. A typo! Still laughing. I'll stop back by for mad libs.

  2. Excellent short story L.T.! I loved it. Are you going to submit it...somewhere?

  3. Susan: I should have the words up within a half hour.

    Deb: Nah, this was just something I wrote especially for my Alliterati :)

  4. Love the story! Trees coming to life are always fun- reminds me of Lord of the Rings. And didn't the Neverending Story have trees that came to life too?

  5. Stephanie: Not sure, I've never read the Neverending story book, only seen the movie. It's on my list (and my bookshelf) though. And yes, I had thought of the Ents while writing this, but my tree is evil :)

  6. I had to scroll back up to see what the typo was ... but that was hysterical.

    Very nice.

  7. Matt: Yeah, I kinda figured it would one of "those" stories. But I'm glad you all liked it :)