A Place with the Trees
by Morgan K. Tanner
I remember the tyres screeching, the engine roaring and a large
flash of light, followed by darkness. Although the memory is hazy, the
feel of the cold, wet tarmac against my cheek has stayed with me ever
since. For a long time afterwards if I closed my eyes all I could see
were the headlights and the front grill of the van heading towards me.
I had no time to think, I was knocked from my bike before I knew what
was happening. As I lay unconscious I could still hear the screams of
concern and fear from passers-by. Unable to move, unable to think.
When I awoke in the hospital, despite all the pain medication I was
doused up with, the deep aching in my legs was absolute agony. This
lasted for weeks. When I was eventually discharged I spent months bed
bound and powerless to do anything for myself. How grateful I was that
I had Jane to do everything for me, that girl is golden. My broken legs
were pinned back into place, with a metal cage preventing any movement
at all. How your pride is smashed when you are incapacitated like that
and rely on loved ones to wash you, clothe you, entertain you and of
course clean up and remove your excrement from the bag, it is almost
But that's how it was, and in a strange way I am almost glad that I
had to go through it all, for now the relationship I have with Jane
could not be any stronger. We have been through the bad times and now
we look forward to the good ones. After over a year we finally got the
compensation payment we had been waiting for, allowing us to buy this
beautiful country cottage in this quaint little village and move on
with our lives. It was Jane who had suggested moving out to the country
away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but I knew that her chief
motivation was to get me somewhere quiet, so I could ride that bike
again one day, without the increased risk of another accident.
We had finished stage one of tidying the boxes away; the mountain of
them piled throughout the downstairs of the cottage never seemed to get
any smaller. Betty was getting restless so Jane suggested that I take
her out for a walk.
"If you're sure babe, we won't be long."
"That's OK Tom, you go and have an explore of the place, it's a
lovely day out there, I'll just finish off putting the crockery and
glasses away in our new fancy kitchen." As Jane looked at me with her
warm brown eyes that smiled at me along with her lips, I silently
thanked whoever had blessed me with such an adorable wife and picked up
the lead from the kitchen counter.
"Come on then Betty, let's go and see what all the fuss is about
then eh?" She danced around at my ankles, yapping with excitement as
she saw the lead in my hand. "I've heard the woods are really
"Well this village is renowned for them hun, I'm sure you and Betty
will have a great time in there. Just no running around and climbing
trees OK?" She chuckled as she said this, seeing me reach for my
"Yeah OK then, no running, not today anyway." I laughed and attached
Betty's lead to her collar then made my way to the front door.
I walked down the garden path, through the flower-decorated archway
and met the main road, not that there were many cars passing. In fact
the place seemed pretty quiet, almost too quiet for a sunny Friday
afternoon. To the right were fields for as far as I could see. The
houses and the village green were down the road to the left, behind
which, almost appearing to be faraway in the distance loomed the tops
of hundreds of oak trees. I paused as I reached the pavement to take it
all in and thought that I could hear something behind me, like heavy
breathing in my ear. I froze and for a moment and could not find the
courage to turn and look. As I turned my head I felt an icy chill down
the back of my neck and for a brief moment I was reminded of that van
careering towards me all those months ago, but there was nothing to
see, just the saplings dotted along the road gently swaying in the
breeze, the vision of the van disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.
I collected myself and began a slow walk down towards the village green
with Betty leading my clicking stick and me.
The road curved round to the left on a small incline past beautiful
houses and idyllic lush greenery. There was a claustrophobic look about
them, shrubs and bushes stood tall and proud, although it looked as
though they would open up a little further ahead and the vast beauty of
this place would become apparent. I knew that this village was a very
sought-after area so was surprised at the amount of For Sale signs that
were erected in the gardens we walked past. I thought back to how lucky
we had been to find somewhere here. At the foot of the hill lay a group
of shops that all seemed to be shut, but obviously not permanently due
to the evident regular upkeep of the frontages. As we reached the end
of the road I saw the local pub on the opposite corner and thought to
myself that we would be spending some time in there shortly!
We turned right at the end and as we did so the sight of those
famous woods hit me, and for a second took my breath away. They oozed
strangeness, and as I stared at them I thought to myself that the woods
seemed somewhat out of place, almost as though they had been added
after the village rather than grown before it. There was a line of old
cobbled stones leading up to a church, which had certainly seen better
days, and behind that the giant trees swayed gently in the breeze. As
we approached the church grounds there was a gate in the fence, the
other side of which ran a small path into the imposing woodland. I
clicked the latch, opened it and stepped through. As I shut the gate
behind me I bent down and unclipped Betty's lead from her collar,
expecting her to bound up the path into the dense rows of oak, but the
normally full-of-energy Betty didn't want to go any further; she just
sat on the ground and started to whimper.
"Come on, girl, what's the matter? You normally love running around,
especially in the mud." I turned and walked away from her along the
path towards the trees, expecting to hear her come rushing up behind
me, but after a few steps I turned again and saw her in exactly the
same place, not even the offer of a doggy chew would entice her to
follow me. She started to paw at the gate and her whimpering turned
into crying. I decided that maybe that was enough for one day; my legs
were starting to ache so going home seemed not to be such a bad idea.
As I trudged back towards her I felt something behind me pulling my
gaze and almost forcing me to turn around. I reluctantly obliged and
that was when I saw the trees looking at me. My eyes were fixated and I
halted, staring into the blackness of the woods, where it seemed that
nothing lived bar the giant monolithic towers of bark. A dense fog
emanated from the ground and blocked my senses, yet I heard the
nothingness speak to me. I felt my fingers claw and a chill shoot right
through my body as I tried to turn and run away, but something was
Betty yelped and I twitched my head and gasped. The church bells
were chiming and the sun suddenly brightened the air from behind a dark
cloud, and as I walked to put her lead back on I heard a voice from the
other side of the fence.
"Hi there neighbour, I see you're on a walk in the woods, fine day
for it wouldn't you say? I'm Brian Michaelson, I live a few doors down
from you, welcome to the village. It's Tom isn't it?"
"Err, yeah that's right, Tomas White. How did you know that?"
"Oh Tom, everyone knows everyone here, a real tight-knit community
this one, I'm sure you'll fit in just fine." We shook hands over the
fence; Michaelson's handshake had been a little softer than I had
expected it to be, judging by the size of him.
"Well it doesn't look like we will be going on a walk in the woods
after all. Betty here seems scared of the place. It's really strange, I
don't think I've ever known her to be scared of anything before, she's
a bit like me in that respect." Michaelson seemed to find this rather
funny and chuckled.
"Oh I'm sure that it's all just new to her and she needs a bit of
time to get used to her new home. These woods are a pleasure to behold
and we all here enjoy them, they really are the centrepiece of this
community and a part of us all. Betty will grow to love them too, as of
course you certainly will." This last syllable seemed to be held longer
than seemed necessary, and this new neighbour stared somewhat
menacingly at me while I tried to shield the glare of the sun from my
eyes with my hand. Betty barked for the first time since passing
through the gate, and it was directed at Michaelson. "Well I'd better
leave you to your walk, wherever it may take you. I'm sure we will run
into one another quite often, everyone does here you see? Good day."
Betty barked at him again as he turned and walked away.
"Come on then girl let's get you home to mommy." I led her back onto
the main path where Betty became more like her normal self once again.
I tried to recollect what I saw in those woods, but the thoughts made
my brain hurt, like it was unable to process them, and the thought was
dismissed by my conscience, but unfortunately those woods would never
let me forget. A couple of cars drove past us on our walk back home and
both vehicles hooted their horns and shouted to me, but the strange
thing was that they shouted exactly the same thing- 'Hello Tom, welcome
to the village, I hope you and Jane will be very happy here.' I
couldn't wait to get home.
"Well I've just had a rather interesting visitor." The kettle was
boiling as I was removing my boots, Jane was telling me about another
neighbour she had just met. "Mrs Caulfield she said her name was, she
lives," Jane shrugged, "I don't know, over there somewhere," and she
waved a hand vaguely in the direction of the woods. "She came round not
long after you had left, I hate to admit it but she woke me up from a
little snooze I was having on the sofa."
"Well I'm sure you're entitled to relax for a while darling, the
amount you've done here today, and not just today, for everything
you've done for me. I'm so lucky to have you."
"Oh Tom, don't be silly, I love you." And she gave me that warm
smile once again. "But it was quite strange when she came round, I
thought it was probably because I'd just woken up but as I was making
my way to answer the door, her silhouette through the glass looked
rather odd. I could have sworn that I would be opening the door to a
tall muscular man, but instead as I pulled it open there was this
small, frail-looking old lady." I frowned in thought. "And when she
introduced herself there was something, I don't know, something off
with her. OK she was being friendly and asking how the move went and
everything, but I got a real unnerving feeling talking to her."
"How do you mean babe?" My mind flashed back to my own encounter with one of the locals.
"Well she seemed to want to know everything about us. Not in the usual I'm glad to have met you and would like to know more about you
kind of way, it was like she was really trying to remember everything I
said. It sounds a bit silly really I suppose, there was just something
really strange about her."
"It doesn't sound silly, what did you say?"
"Not much really, in fact I was a little flustered. I didn't really
tell her much about us, not about your accident anyway, I just said we
had decided to start anew in this lovely place and hoped to start a
family one day."
"Oh well, maybe that's the way they are round here- rather nosey." I
then told Jane about Michaelson and how he had said to me that we would
enjoy the woods, and how everyone here loved them, and as I recounted
my meeting I began to realise how odd the exchange had been.
"Yes, Mrs. Caulfield knew our names before I told her, and she also
said that everyone knows everything about everyone here too. She was
quite keen to talk about the woods as well, said that they were what
this community was built around. Maybe we have just met the two
weirdoes of the village then, hopefully everybody else will be quite
normal when we finally meet them."
"Hopefully." I limped into the lounge and sat on the sofa, my legs needed a rest.
Later that evening when we were feet-up on the sofas, Jane suggested going out for a drink at the local pub I'd told her about.
"If you're OK with the walking that is?"
"Yeah I think I can just about make it for a drink" I said with a
smile, "as long as you don't mind a slow pace to get there, today has
really taken it out of me."
"Tom it's OK, really, if it's too much we can just stay in tonight."
* * *
As the old wooden door swung on its creaky hinges the bustling
atmosphere inside The Old Oak turned to silence. There were numerous
tables of small groups and four elderly gentlemen sat up at the bar.
All of their eyes were fixated on Jane and me. I smiled politely and
made my way to the bar, while Jane found the one remaining empty table
and sat down, acknowledging the two men sat next to her. As I
approached it seemed as though the initial wonder from the other
patrons had vanished, and they all began their conversations once more.
The barman was a tall and rather rotund man of around 40 years, with an
unkempt greying beard protruding from his face and not a single hair on
the top of his head.
"Well, well, well, we didn't think it would be long until you two
showed your faces in here. I'm Edward and welcome to the village, and
of course The Old Oak."
"Thank you Edward, I'm Tom and that is my wife Jane." I signalled to
her and she waved from the table in front of the blazing warm fire.
"Nice place you've got here, could I have a bottle of lager and a glass
of white wine please?" Edward caught my eye for longer than seemed
appropriate before appearing to force a smile onto his weathered lips,
hiding behind the masses of beard. He hadn't even looked over at Jane.
"Yes you may, Tom," he said slowly as he turned to the small fridge
behind him. As he took out the bottle of wine he said rather casually,
"Betty not with you tonight then? Too scared of the woods is she?"
"Excuse me? How did you kn--"
"Oh word travels quickly around here Tom, Mr Jacobs was in here
earlier telling us all how he'd met you while you were walking your
dog, and how she seemed a bit, how can I say, wary of our woods." His
name was not Jacobs it was Michaelson, but my tiredness preventing me
from correcting him on this.
"Yeah, I suppose you could say that, there was something a bit odd
about her before, I've never seen her like that." Another smile seemed
to be forced onto Edward's face as he placed the drinks in front of me.
As I heard the glass touch down on the wooden bar there was a flash of
light and I was transported back into those woods once more. I saw the
dark trunks descend into blackness and thought that I heard the sound
of a vehicle speeding towards me.
"You're not day-dreaming again are you Tom?" I came to as Edward
spoke, and he stared at me, as if he was trying to read what was in my
head, trying to decipher this vision. "It's a dangerous thing to dream
here, you never know what you might see, believe me, we have all seen
some things when we dream. The woods, was it?"
"No, I'm just tired, it's been a long and hectic day for us that's
all. Thanks for the drinks." I handed over a note and told Edward to
keep the change before heading over to Jane and sitting down closely
next to her.
"What was that all about then hun?"
"Nothing, don't worry about it. Look let's just finish these and get
back home to bed, I think I'm more tired than I realise." As I gulped
back my bottle I saw that Edward had not taken his eyes off me since I
sat down, and that all the others in there were subtly watching us too.
Jane looked at me with disappointed agreement.
Even with my stick and my paining limbs we were walking with a fast cadence, I just wanted to get home and sleep.
"So what did he say to you then Tom?" Jane's voice sounded
concerned, but I couldn't look at her to see what her eyes said, I just
stared at the ground and every time my stick hit the path the noise
shot through my head like a thunderbolt. My memory of earlier in the
woods had been awoken in there, and Edward, he knew.
"Just, something about those woods, not to go there or something, I
don't know. Let's worry about all this in the morning." As we continued
to walk I felt Jane's pace slow and was aware of her looking over to
where the giant trees lived. She stopped suddenly, I felt her grip on
my hand tighten, then she continued on.
"Sorry hun, I think I need some sleep too." I knew that Jane would
say that she was just tired, but I also knew that she had seen
something in there.
* * *
I was woke by a wet tongue gliding down my cheek, and I knew from
the smell that it was not Jane's. Betty was in a better mood and up for
another walk by the way she was jumping around the bedroom. I heard her
but didn't see, I was staring up at the ceiling, the pattern in the
artex resembled tiny branches and twigs, and appeared to move. Or was I
"Tom, Tom!" I heard Jane's voice getting louder which awoke me from
my thoughts. "Did you not hear me, shall we both take her out today?"
As I turned my head towards her Jane reached out and stroked my hair.
"Sorry babe, I was miles away." But I wasn't miles away, in my mind
I was there once more, between the towers with the branches encircling
me like an herbaceous ribcage contracting slowly and tightly. "Do you
mind if I give it a miss for a while, I think I'm still pretty tired
after all that exertion yesterday." By that I meant mental exertion, I
had dreamt all night of those trees that spoke to me, unable to
comprehend what they were saying. My head started to hurt again, trees cannot speak Tom!!
"Are you OK Tom? What's wrong, you have been acting strangely ever
since you spoke to that barman last night. Please, talk to me."
"Jane, I love you." Her sympathetic look turned a little fearful.
"I love you too hun, you're beginning to worry me now. Are you
thinking about the crash, I understand you know? Such a traumatic time
for you, I'm just so glad you are still here at all." Jane always knew
the right thing to say to put me at ease, but this time it wasn't
"I know you may think I sound crazy, but there's something in those woods. I've... seen it."
"What do you mean, is this because Betty was scared to go in? Oh
Tom," she took my hand in hers and squeezed gently, "come on, you're
just still tired from all the moving and the, how can I say,
interesting characters around here."
"No, it's not that," I snatched my hand back from her, more aggressively than I had meant. "Have you noticed how interesting
they actually are though? Every person I have met here has known who we
are. That barman, Edward seemed to know a lot about what had happened
yesterday, surely Michaelson, or Jacobs, or whatever his name was
wouldn't have told him every single detail about our meeting?"
"Well maybe there really is nothing more interesting to do around
here, you know, sleepy village with a new couple moving in, I'm sure we
are one of the youngest here, it's all a bit new and exciting for them
I suppose." I looked her in the eye and felt her anguish at the way I
was behaving, but I couldn't help it, every time I had closed my eyes I
had seen the woods, and each time I seemed to be deeper into them with
the exit seeming to disappear slowly and harrowingly.
"Have you seen anything yourself, last night on the way home?"
"Well, kind of. Tom, we were both very tired yesterday, you know how it is, the mind plays tricks sometimes."
"There's something not right about this place and I think it's got
something to do with those woods. Have you noticed how weird and
out-of-place they look? Most woodland looks like it has been there for
hundreds of years and people have settled and built around them, but
these seem, I don't know, like they have been transported here or
Betty had been very patient during our conversation but now she had
had enough and really wanted to go out. She bounded onto the bed and
for a brief moment I forgot about my worries and shared a smile with
"Listen hun, I'll take Betty out, see how she gets on there with me,
I'm sure she'll be fine. You stay here and get some rest, we can maybe
go out for a walk the three of us after lunch?" She leant over and
kissed me on the forehead. "We won't be long." As she got up to leave I
rolled over and covered my face with the duvet. I heard her getting
washed and dressed, and Betty playfully scampering around the house
before I drifted off to sleep.
I dreamt, but what I saw in my slumber could not really be described
as dreams. I seemed to be engulfed in a void where fear was my only
conscious thought, and this dream-like state seemed to have gone on for
hours when I was awoken suddenly by the panic-filled shouting of my
* * *
The door swung open hitting the wall with its handle as she burst into the room.
"Tom, Tom, wake up. It's, it's.... Betty, she's gone!" Part of my
mind was still in that indescribable vacant dream as I comprehended her
"What do you mean, what happened?"
"I don't know exactly... one minute she was there... with me, the
next..." her breathing was erratic and her words were forced out and
uncontrolled. "I was there on that path that leads to the woods with
her, her lead off and I turned round for just a second and... she was
"Well did she run off or something? It's not like her."
"I don't know Tom, I couldn't see her, I couldn't hear her, I just don't know."
"Come on, let's go and look for her again, she can't have got very
far." I could tell that Jane was upset so decided not to continue with
the questions. I got out of bed and put on some clothes. I smiled
nervously at her, knowing full well we would have to go into those
woods once more, my heart was throbbing in my chest at the thought.
The wind was up as we closed the front door and I began to hobble
down the path. I'd taken a couple of painkillers before leaving as I
was still a bit achy from yesterday and the wind seemed to tickle my
pain receptors as they slowly began to work. Jane wasn't in the mood
for talking, she was preoccupied with Betty and where she had gone, as
was I of course, but at the forefront of my thinking was the fact that
we were about to enter those woods once again. This made me momentarily
lose my balance and I needed Jane to grab my arm to stop me from
tumbling to the floor.
"Tom are you sure you're OK?
"Yeah I'm OK, just a bit painful today that's all. The tablets will
kick in soon, anyway we need to find Betty." Jane leant over and kissed
me on the cheek.
"You will be completely mended soon hun, and no more need for a
stupid walking stick, we can go running in those woods together, me,
you and Betty." As she spoke I had the mental image of what she
described, and at that moment I wished more than anything else to never
be able to walk without a stick, or even walk at all. The thought of
never being able to enter those woods again was disconcertingly
Our walk had been slow, and not one of us had spoken for well over
five minutes. On a few occasions I had nearly stumbled, only to be
caught by Jane and helped to balance, each time she had kissed me on
the forehead. Across the road a large lady, perhaps in her fifties
opened her front door and shouted over to us.
"Morning Tom, morning Jane. I hope that you both find little Betty
soon. Good day to you both." And with that she slid back inside and
closed the door, the latch clunking loudly. We looked at each other and
Jane appeared frightened. The gaze only lasted a few seconds and we
As we reached the gate in the fence the sun had disappeared behind a
dark cloud and the wind had picked up even more. Jane pushed it open
and we entered the outskirts of the woods. A tall man in a business
suit called over from the other side of the fence.
"Good luck finding her, I'm sure she will be fine." He waved as he
continued walking along the road. Our eyes met once again, but we had
more urgency this time and covered our fear well.
"Betty. Where are you girl? Jane I think I may have to rest a
minute, can we just stop?" I sat down on the ground and felt such a
relief as the weight was taken from my legs. I almost relaxed, but as I
started to I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. There was a
scratching sound, I looked towards it and saw Betty at the base of a
tree with its roots above ground that were circling menacingly around
its giant trunk. She looked up at us, and immediately turned and ran
off into the shadows. Jane shouted after her and began running.
"Jane! Wait!" She slowed her pace but didn't stop as she turned to look at me.
"I'll be back Tom, I can see her." And she turned back and started to sprint, off into the shadows.
"No, stop! Jane!" But my cries were muffled by the denseness of the
woods. I stared up to the sky, but saw no clouds, no sun, only leaves
and branches. The blackness hit me once more and opened my eyes to see
myself standing in a clearing, a circle of giant trees around me all
had someone standing in front of them, around twenty or thirty.
Michaelson stood before me, smiling.
"Wake up Tom, I think your wife is calling you."
As the vision blurred into nothingness and the darkness around me
subsided, I felt myself thrown back to the cold wet ground, and for the
first time since it happened remembered the moment of impact as the van
smashed into my bike. As I opened my eyes I saw Jane striving towards
me with Betty in her arms.
"You see Tom, I told you that I could see her. She must have been in
here the whole time. You feeling better now? Good. I need a drink.
Let's pop into The Old Oak again and see how everyone is."
"What? Jane, no I don't want to go in there, I want to get out of
here and go home. I need to go to bed." I had tried to keep the fear
from my voice, but my words quivered in the stillness of the air. Jane
must have sensed my apprehension but didn't show it. Instead she just
stared at me, like she hadn't understood what I had said at all. I
struggled to my feet and without looking at her, outstretched my hand
to Jane, but she was already walking away, back to the gate. It took me
a while to finally get to my feet and once I did I started my slow
amble behind her.
"Jane hold on, wait for me." She didn't turn to me, only stopped and
started to fuss Betty, stroking her under the chin. I was concentrating
solely on getting to that gate, even though behind me I felt and heard
the whispers of the trees, it took all my mental strength not to turn
I made it to the gate where Jane and Betty were waiting for me,
talking to an elderly man in a tweed jacket. They were laughing
together and obviously talking about Betty and how she had been found.
As I approached them the man looked at me and smiled.
"Hey there Tom, glad to see everything is back to how it should be."
"Sorry, do I know you?" My tone was sharp with him, but this didn't seem to change his demeanour in any way.
"No, no you don't, not yet at least. We all know everyone here though my boy."
"Tom don't be so rude, Mr Jacobs here was just telling us how he lost his dog here a few years back."
"That's right, Mildred her name was, went running off when my back
was turned one evening. Me and my late wife were out all night looking
for her, but she came back eventually. You're not the first."
"Well I'm just pleased that she's back unharmed. Now, we were about to head home, Jane?"
"Oh Tom, not yet, Mr Jacobs here has invited us to The Old Oak for a
drink, we cannot refuse such generosity now can we?" Although she
smiled at me as she said this, the normal warmth from her features had
gone. I was tired and confused, but found it easier to simply agree
with her. I nodded as she opened the gate and was helped through by the
old man's outstretched hand. As I turned to shut the gate behind me I
dared to look up, just briefly at the trees. The blackness was as
always, but the distant whispers had changed to a deep laughing, almost
a chanting of some unknown dialect. It tried to hold my gaze, but I
fought the urge and turned to follow them towards the pub.
As I approached the door to The Old Oak Jane was tying Betty's lead to the railings outside and spoke without looking at me.
"I'll have the usual please Tom, just give me a minute to get Betty sorted and I'll see you in there."
"Jane, are you OK? You seem different." I couldn't really find any
more words, I was so dumbstruck and this apparent change in her since
she entered the woods and was shocked at her new attitude.
"Yeah, fine. Go and get the drinks in and say hello to everyone will
you?" Again she averted her eyes from mine. With confusion I staggered
towards the door and pushed firmly.
The pub seemed empty at first, and eerily quiet. As I made my way
forward I heard that strange chanting or laughing again, and then I saw
them. The people I had witnessed in my vision were all there, hiding
and peering at me from under the tables and behind the beams. Edward
was standing behind the bar with his arms outstretched beckoning me
"Ah Tom, so glad you could join us, it seems you have resisted well so far."
"Resisted? What do you mean, resisted?" The chanting was pounding in
my ears although no one seemed to be moving their lips. My heart began
to beat rapidly, my breathing quickened and I felt weak on my feet.
"Those of you who are blinded must be taught to see, and that is why
we brought you here. This place brings back memories of the accident
doesn't it, which of course provided you with the necessary funds to
move here. Now you shall be one with us. You are strong Tom, and refuse
to witness the real horrors out there, but by seeing them first hand
you shall become one of them."
The others in the room stepped forward with a harrowing precision
and began to laugh and point at me. I felt my legs start to shake and
as I looked down at the stick in my hand it was changed. No longer a
standard walking stick to aid patients after major injuries to their
legs, it now resembled a simple stick that a dog would fetch.
"What... are... is... help me!" My breathing was incessant and my
mind was spinning, I dropped the stick and fell to the ground. As I
stared up to the ceiling of old wooden beams Edward's face came into
"It was quite an effort to get you here, but we made it, as it was foretold. Your place is with the trees now."
And with that I blacked out. When I awoke I was aware that I was
standing in darkness. As my eyes adjusted I saw that I was in the woods
again. I couldn't turn my head and my eyes were drawn to a row of
people- men, women and children stood opposite me and staring. I turned
my eyes to the left and could make out Jane next to me, she was sobbing.
"It's OK Tom, I'm here with you." I tried to respond but my vocal
chords felt like they had vanished. I tried to run but there was no
movement in my legs. As I glanced down I saw that they were now a large
tree stump, devoid of any movement. I cried out but the noise was
stifled inside my throat and unable to escape. My mind could not
comprehend what had happened. In the row in front of me I saw
Michaelson, Edward, Jacobs, the old woman who had shouted from her
house not 2 hours ago, and the smart-suited businessman. All had
long-standing pained expressions on their faces. None of them spoke,
and neither did Jane again, and the fact that I couldn't even turn to
look at her killed me inside.
One morning a young man came walking through us with his seemingly
terrified dog. Someone called from the road and welcomed him to the
village. As he turned back from acknowledging them he seemed to look me
straight in the eye. I tried to scream at him to get out of here and
quick, but his face took on a pale and terrified look. He stumbled as
he tried to run away, but he eventually did. I knew then that I would
see him again, lined up with me and the rest of the previous residents,
© 2014 Morgan K. Tanner
Bio: Mr. Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in
the English countryside. The quiet surroundings make it an ideal place
to write, drum and hide the bodies. The sound of the typewriter is
perfect to drown out the hum of the torture equipment.
E-mail: Morgan K. Tanner
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