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Short Story
The Old Oak Tree
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Writer The Yobanashi Girouette
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
139 Reads

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The Old Oak Tree
A - A - A
Why do trees have such longevity?
The Yobanashi Girouette
Oct 7, 2017
5 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!ZXNYkZx2P4Fknmitnl4Mposted on PENANA

In the forests of Snake Lake, Tacoma, stood an old oak tree.  Scarred by human and natural elements alike, it nevertheless stood proud and strong, as if daring nature to do its worst.copyright protection46PENANAT2e7FtWFyW

And the tree watched, and waited.copyright protection46PENANAExUswfr3hh

Its branches shook, the dry amber and red leaves rustling and shaking as if in the wind.  Yet it wasn’t the wind. copyright protection46PENANA8WBvjUYHf3

The tree breathed.  One slow intake, than one slow outtake, almost unnoticeable.  Yet the tree breathed.copyright protection46PENANAt96IgLbdrJ

The leaves at the base of the oak tree swirled around it, leaping and soaring like brightly-dressed dancers, tumbling in the wind.  Yet it wasn’t the wind.copyright protection46PENANA96g4zMj1QB

The tree moved.  Slowly, ever so slowly, its great roots and tendrils slithering through the soil like so many giant worms, inching the tree over.  Inch by inch, day by day, it made its way towards its destination: the hiking path.copyright protection46PENANAiYyUuROty4

Winter fast approached, and snow would soon cover the whole forest, forcing the old tree to sleep, but it had one last objective to do before consenting to the cold embrace of the changing seasons.  A week later, frost covering the ground like a fine silk blanket, found the old oak tree planted by the side of the path as if it had always stood there.  Looking to all the world like a wood sentinel guarding a road.  The tree settled its roots and took another long breath.copyright protection46PENANAx2dDKtpVGQ

And the tree watched, and waited.copyright protection46PENANAFQXWVwJexA

The spot at which it now stood lay directly at a sharp corner in the path, on a gradual slope.  Slowly, slowly, the tree leaned itself over the path, and inch by inch stretched one of its old gnarled branches over the path, then inching it a little lower, a little lower, inch by inch. copyright protection46PENANAPQynK3fzwO

And the tree watched, and waited.copyright protection46PENANAD3QQHBk6x0

Soon a sound could be heard, coming down the slope and approaching the corner, the whizzing and rattling sound of a bike speeding down the forest path.  A barely visible shiver coursed through the tree.  This was the moment it had been planning for the past eleven years.  The biker sped around the corner at top speed, his hair rippling in the wind. copyright protection46PENANAXcRV9MsS1Z

He never even had a chance to scream.copyright protection46PENANAsQQ1eA5uaB

An earsplitting crack resonated through the forest, echoing among the trees.  The old oak tree shuddered, the end of its old dry arm broken off completely.  However, it had achieved its goal.  The biker lay on the ground, the red of blood blending in with the shades of autumn.  Then, ever so slowly, a crack seemed to appear on the oak tree, running from its base to its top.  Slowly, slowly, the crack widened into a gaping cavern of wood.  Then, the old oak tree bent down, its roots picking the corpse off the ground like so many pallbearers, as the tree opened wide its oaken maw to receive him.  The body in place, the crack slowly sealed up, until both it and the biker vanished as if they had never existed.  Then the tree leaned back, away from the path, and withdrew its branches. copyright protection46PENANAiNF9EmLYti

And the tree watched, and waited.copyright protection46PENANAZrvQmFDOyE

Not long after, a jogger appeared from the opposite direction as the biker.  She noticed the bike on the ground, but jogged around it.  She passed the spot where the biker had lain not long before, but the swirling leaves had hidden the blood, so she jogged onward, unaware. copyright protection46PENANAO1vE3Kf8eq

The old oak tree seemed to let out a sigh, the last of its autumn leaves rustling.  Then, once more, the tree began to move.  Inch by inch, hour by hour, until when the first snow began to fall, the tree was already far from the path.  Even as the tree began to fall asleep for the winter, it had already begun to dream of its next murder, eleven years hence.copyright protection46PENANAKxdpHSMsQg

Why did the tree hunt down men?  Did some vendetta against mankind drive it onward?  The tree itself could not remember.  Ever since it had grown large enough, it had hunted.  It knew no other way of life.  For centuries, the tree had plotted and hunted, killed and ate, and outlived what an oak tree of its species should have lived.  The tree itself had traveled across Washington, an inch at a time, feasting as it moved, the reason gone, the bloodlust remaining. copyright protection46PENANALQHhH4XkTv

As the tree fell asleep, it dreamed a dream. copyright protection46PENANAZHwvmzfCIu

The hatred in the air was practically tangible.  Gunshots and war-whoops rang out, piercing the still night air.  A group of settlers was trying vainly to hold off a Puyallup tribe hunting party, and in the middle of it all, grew a tiny oak sapling.  Barely aware of its surroundings, it sat in the center of the melee, ignorant of the slaughter around it.  Then, amidst all the other sounds and emotions raging across the battlefield, one thought stronger than all the rest managed to permeate into the tree.  The desire to kill. copyright protection46PENANA2s2gSK8EdZ

The battle was over before it began, but not one settler managed to escape with their lives.  In the midst of the carnage stood the little oak sapling, now no longer seeming so green and full of new life, but rather already touched with the grayness of age.  Drinking deep with its roots, the tree had its first taste of blood.copyright protection46PENANAVYPDgwIdRB

Although the oak tree could not know it, as it slept a harsh winter settled in.  Many trees around the old oak tree fell to the winter storms, but even subconsciously the oak tree refused to fall, as if still unwilling to die. copyright protection46PENANAJQjgmFPBix

The long winter passed, and spring finally came, bringing with it Public Workers to take care of the fallen trees.  In the midst of all the carnage, bent over, half uprooted and supporting itself with is branches, stood the old oak tree still clinging on for dear life.copyright protection46PENANA6k09BSTJx6

“A pity we were told to remove all the trees here, this old tree put up a good fight” said one of the men, patting it.  “I hear they’re turning this spot into an open park.”copyright protection46PENANAJs5z6l6OzX

As the old oak tree saw the man approach with a chainsaw, it shook and swayed vainly, trying to escape, but half uprooted as it was, it lacked the strength to escape.  It could only shake weakly as it felt its long overdue death approaching.  After taking the life of countless men, it seemed almost fitting that the tree should die at the hands of man.copyright protection46PENANApjOIzaopMG

The tree severed, the man put down his chainsaw.  “How old do you reckon this big fellah is?” he said, moving toward the trunk.  “I wonder how many rings…”copyright protection46PENANAXT1X2CPVmn

As the man bent down to look, a scream escaped his lips. copyright protection46PENANA15P6FVsLK1

Staring back at him from amidst the wooden trunk of the tree lay a human skull.copyright protection46PENANAJ9kySUJgjv

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