The Tree

9 Nov



“If this tree could talk, it´d have a lot of tales to tell” Bill said as his drew the last drag of his cigarette and threw it on the ground.

“You better hope to hell this tree never gets to talking, Bill. A lot of people’s lives would be wrecked” Samuel said.

“Sure would” Bill agreed.

As the two men starting walking towards the barn with a stringer of freshly gutted trout, a strong smell of rain filled the air and gusts started blowing in.

“It´s gunna storm, Bill” Samuel said.

“Yup” Bill said.

Later that night as Bill tossed around in bed, his wife Janice sat by the window watching the lighting. The strikes were getting increasingly closer to the house and Janice became uncomfortable. She even thought of waking Bill but she thought better of it. It would be wiser to wake a hibernating bear in spring.

Her gaze was pulled to the tree where Bill and Samuel were cleaning their catch earlier that day. A flash of lightening momentarily blinded her but when her vision came to she saw a man hanging from the tree by a rope around his neck. She screamed.

“What the f…..” Bill started to say.

Janice cut in “There is a man hanging in the tree. He´s there, I see him”

Bill jumped to the window to take a look. “There ain´t nobody near that tree! You been drinking Pap´s moonshine?”

To her surprise, there was nothing there. “My eyes must be playing tricks on me” she said even though  she did not believe her own words.

“Yeah, get some sleep. There´s lots of work to do tomorrow” Bill said.

A few months went by and not a day passed that Janice did not think of the man she saw hanging from the tree. She would try to push the image out of her head but it would force its way back in. She found herself pulled to the tree numerous times per day. There were times when she would seem to wake up from a groggy day dream and there she was, under the tree. She would not even remember how she got there in the first place.

Her obsession with the tree grew to the point where she was not sleeping. She would sit in the wooden chair and stare at the tree all night long and go through the day exhausted and taking cat naps whenever she could. Bill noticed drastic changes in Janice and grew worried. He was not worried with her well being. He was worried she would start snooping around and start uncovering a dark past.

Janice slowly unraveled to the point that she was drinking heavily again. Bill saw this as an opportunity. He could use her drinking as a motive to get rid of her. Janice started taking to cutting her arms and that´s when Bill pounced. He had her committed. He exaggerated the situation and told the doctors that Janice was threatening to kill herself on a daily basis. That was enough to get her committed.

Due to bad behavior, Janice found herself mostly in solitary confinement at the hospital. She spent most of her days either staring out the window and mumbling incoherently about some tree or sleeping deeply under the influence of strong medicines.

Bill took a chainsaw to the tree. He started to feel guilty for having Janice locked up. He focused his guilt onto the tree and freed himself of both the guilt and the tree in one afternoon.

A few years went by and not once did Bill visit Janice. He got word that she passed away in the hospital. His girlfriend of a few months had moved in. She had tried to plant a rose garden on the spot where the tree had once casted it´s shadow. Nothing would ever take. It was as if it was a dead zone.


14 Responses to “The Tree”

  1. Bruce Goodman November 9, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    Cruel, callous, wonderful, spooky. It would take a novel to unwrap all of that. Fantastic!

    • Ryan November 9, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

      Thank you Bruce. I call this story, writing for writing’s sake. It was more of a drill than an attempt at art but thank you as always for reading and for the kind words.

  2. Eric Tonningsen November 9, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    Well crafted and told, Ryan. Solid piece.

    • Ryan November 9, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

      Thank you Eric! As I told our mutual friend, Bruce Goodman, this was more of what I call “drill writing”, writing for writing´s sake with no expectation, but it came out ok. Thanks as always for taking the time and for your kind words.

      • Eric Tonningsen November 9, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

        This reader believes you drill well.

  3. subhmohanty November 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Drill writing? There is so much hidden in this story, you should try and expand in parts.. I loved it !

    • Ryan November 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

      Thanks man! What I find interesting, I did not feel great about this piece upon posting it yet I have gotten pretty good feedback. The posts that I believe will set the world on fire barely move the needle! Go figure….Thanks for taking the time my friend!

  4. jannatwrites November 12, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    This was an intriguing story that left me with many questions (more than a short story could possibly answer, though!) First off, what on earth did Bill do that he tried so desperately to hide? It’s obvious that his heart is black, and killing the tree (and essentially, his wife) won’t do anything to fix that! If only the tree would’ve talked…

    • Ryan November 12, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      To be completely honest, not even I know what Bill did. I thought it would be reveled in the story but it just did not go there. I guess we´ll never know. He is definitely a terrible person. I love how you made the connection that in killing the tree, he killed his wife. I wrote the story and did not make that connection! Thanks for that. I really appreciate you taking the time to read my little story and furthermore commenting on it. Also, I appreciate the kinds words. Intriguing to me is a compliment of the highest order!

  5. Vesper November 17, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    A very interesting story, even though you say it’s just a “drill”… 🙂 Full of possibilities if you ever care enough about it to delve back into its dark world.

    • Ryan November 17, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

      Thank you for taking the time out to read it. I agree, it is full of possibilities but I don´t believe that what I have done here is so original as to deserve diving in any deeper. I appreciate you kind words!!!!

  6. lorriebowden November 24, 2014 at 12:46 am #

    Yes Ryan. This felt so creepy to me 🙂 a good creepy…I agree with the other comments…it has many possibilities. ..but I also love how you left a lot for us to decide!! Keep up the drill writing 🙂 ❤

    • Ryan November 24, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      Creepy is an adjective I like to hear! 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time and for you kind words. Have a great week.

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