The Oak.


They angered the tree.

Automobiles were just coming round Cross at the time, and more than a few were driven by absolute lunatics as far as I was concerned. I don’t know how many chickens, sheep, cats, and dogs were killed by the young men and women behind the controls, but there were too many.

More than that, the drivers occasionally took it into their heads to veer off the narrow country roads and drive over property that wasn’t theirs.

I’d spoken to a few, but they paid me little heed. They were from Boston Town most of the time, though a few came up from other parts of New England.

One Friday evening, as I was walking home on North Road, I saw tire tracks cutting through the side of the road, and several young oaklings were dead. The saplings had been shattered and churned up, and the great oak which had watched over them was furious.

“What are these things, Blood?” she demanded.

“A nuisance,” I muttered and squatted down by the oaklings. There was no hope of resurrecting them. “I’ll put a stop to it.”

The tree grumbled but said nothing in reply.

Straightening up, I asked, “Will you let me handle it?”

“If you speak to them first, then by all means, you will handle it,” she remarked. “If I speak to them first, well, then I will handle it.”

It was fair, as far as I was concerned, and I went on my way.

I’d nearly reached my home when I heard a thunderous crash on the road. Hurrying back up the drive, I came to a sight I’d not expected.

The oak was gone, as were the occupants of the automobile she had dragged down into the ditch. Blood trails led deeper into the woods, and a faint moaning and whimpering reached my ears.

A dry snap followed, and someone screamed.

“Those were my children.” The oak’s voice drifted out from the depths of the forest. “And you broke them.”

Another snap and a scream punched the air.

“I’m going to break each of you,” the oak continued, “until there is nothing left to break.”

I turned my back to the wrecked automobile and made my way home.

The oak had her business to attend to, and I wanted something hot to drink.

The screams faded, but the snapping didn’t.

#trees #horrorstories

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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