LA per 6
Me and My Fear of Trees:
The Root of All Evil
There was a soft breeze blowing against the trees and the warm sun was scorching the back of my neck. If I had known what would happen only an hour from now… I would’ve stayed home.
It was a super sunny day. There were animals rustling in the bushes and dew dropping delicately from the fragile, green leaves.
I was at Cooper’s house.
We were exploring deep into the forest as we would often do in search of entertainment. Previous times in the woods we took a sled down a Cliff like the size of a semi (!!!), set a Christmas Tree ablaze… With our homemade blowtorch. (Obviously) One time we even just rode our bikes down into the swampy creek far below the street above us.
In these situations, I tended to be the follower, Cooper would be the leader. He’d be reckless and I’d be smart. He’d do Zombies and Nerf Guns and I’d build ziplines and forts.
Climbing through torn down trees and pushing through thorn bushes and scrambling over boulders, we passed the cliff and began to head to our fort.
The fort was like a McDonalds playplace to us. With all of its boulders to leap from and the thousands of trees to climb, we never didn’t go in and not have a good time… Until this time.
Our fort’s where we would brainstorm new fun and dangerous activities, each one topping the last. We’d escape here in our zombie invasions and other times we’d just climb its many trees and talk.
This time, while looking around, we saw it. The creepiest, scariest, “funnest” looking tree ever. It looked like a tree from “A Nightmare Before Christmas”! It was dark and mangled, appearing to have been some kind of sacred place of death. Seeing the demonic tree reminded me of another time in the woods though…
We were telling scary stories.
“It was a dark, dark night,” I remembered Cooper saying to me.
“Isn’t it: ‘A dark and stormy night’?” I reply.
“Yeah, but it wasn’t stormy,” He said, with me sighing in response. “Just let me continue. ‘K?”
“Just tell it already!”
He finally continued: “A father and a son were cutting down firewood to bring back to their camp. The son was cutting branches and the father was sawing logs. The son walked over to lay his sticks besides his father’s collected logs when the tree, being cut from his father… SNAP! The son was buried alive beneath the tree.”
(It scared me okay!?)
Thinking about this memory, I began to, mesmerized, walk towards the tree. As I got closer, I noticed disturbing fungi growing on the tree and the reek of death emitting from it.
Cooper caught up to me. We both, wide-eyed, looked at each other and then down at the ditch below the tree.
Daringly, we hopped down into the ditch.
The light below the tree was dimmed. The only noise I could hear was our heavy breaths. We, again, looked at eachother. Why does Cooper always drag me into these things!?
As if Cooper could read my thoughts and annoy me as much as possible he said, “Cooool…” under his breath.
Cooper wasn’t looking at me though. He was looking behind me. I turned around…
A gravestone. A FRICKIN GRAVESTONE!!! I’ll do zombies, ziplines, cliffs, fire, whatever. Just NOT GRAVESTONES! It was complete with a cross peeking of its top, dark green moss creeping around its sides and the sudden realization we were now — completely lost…
“Cool, it’s like that story I made that one time,” Cooper told me.
Could the story be true? It couldn’t be. Cooper made it up! Right? (I wanna go home…)
Panicking, I looked around, taking in our surroundings.
There was a house. Actually a shed. The shed had boarded-up doors and shattered window and vines and moss growing over it. It was a ghost house. The only thing that reassured me right now was…
…A shiver ran down my spine, my heart was constantly pumping: Thum, thum. Thum, thum. There was a lodge stuck in my throat and yet the only one I noticed was the feeling of Sheer TERROR!
Bang! A loud sound came from the shed. A million thoughts pounded my brain… Bang! I felt as if someone was watching me… No. Someone was watching me.
I look over at Cooper. I realize that not only I, but he too was frozen in fright. All the color was drained from our faces…
I snapped back into focus. I stepped back from the shed.
“Cooper,” I whispered to my side.
I looked over at him. Really? Cooper was already up the ditch and gaining yards by the second. (Thanks for nothing!)
I froze again. Not only did I hear the leaves rustling below Cooper’s feet, but I also heard, loud raspy breaths from the shed.
“Screw this…” I murmured to myself.
And with that, I was scrambling back up the ditch and away from the tree………………………
To this day, Cooper and I still tell and even show others the tree. (Sometimes with a bit of… Hyperbole, Cooper) I still remember this as the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m pretty sure Cooper still remembers it too, but we both tell two different versions of what happened.
“I waited for you to finish, but that’s not what happened!”
“What happened then?”
“There was a man with a shotgun… I swear!”
“Cooper, shut up. There was NO frikin man with a frikin shotgun.”
“That’s what I remember…”