March 26, 1940


Cross neither forgives nor forgets.

Like any old town, a multitude of sins are hidden among the people and the buildings.

When these sins become known, they are punished swiftly and mercilessly. There is a rough justice served to the offender, and the town lacks any concept of moderation.

Extenuating circumstances are often considered, as is the old argument that someone, ‘needed killing.’

Over the years, the citizens of Cross have taken steps to ensure that a man or woman whose horrendous crime has been discovered, or who simply needs killing, does not escape their fate.

Along High Street, which looks down upon the Cross River, a series of Gallows Trees were planted, and it was from their sprawling branches that justice was often served.

Those citizens or strangers who committed heinous acts were brought to High Street, where the trees waited.

The Bloods and the Coffins had bred the trees, and over the decades they had cared for them.

And when a Blood or a Coffin put the noose around the condemned individual’s neck, the Gallows Trees knew their task.

The tree would lift its branches to the sky, the rope becoming taut until finally the condemned swung freely, feet dangling inches above the ground.

Only one Gallows Tree remains on High Street, and people are warned to stay away as it has gotten nostalgic over the years.

The last time the tree reenacted its youth was March 26, 1940, when it caught Anselm Gagnon and killed him, having hanged him by his tie.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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