Zero, I said I forgive you. I meant it at the time. Now I am going to seriously need to fucking reconsider that. That thing, that tree, it…
It still hurts.
I’m alive. Obviously. After all I’m typing. Or who knows, maybe I’m dead and this is a bloody pit stop before I get spun off the wheel for my next turn. But if I am dead, I hardly find it fair that I am this damn sore.
It was real. The Bleeding Tree is real. And it is just as terrible as Zero said. Don’t worry, I’m not about to start trying to help him carve people open for their bones, but I think I have a better idea now of why he’s so desperate. And before he says a bloody word, no murder is still not the right way.
I know I’m stalling. I don’t want to think about that thing. But since I’ve been gone for…how long have I been gone for? Anyway since I’ve been gone, I want you guys to know it wasn’t on purpose or without a reason.
The fog parted in front of me and I was able to start seeing a little bit. I couldn’t actually see the ground, but whatever was under my feet, was like walking on eggshells. Crackled and smashed with every step I took.
I tried to step backwards without turning around, keeping my eyes on where the fog had parted. It felt like a solid wall. I turned to try and look at it. It still looked like just fog, but it was all rock solid. And then it started pushing me forward into the open area.
As I was pushed forward, I started stumbling and tripping over tree roots. And the noise. There was this droning noise, piercing through my ears, making a bubble of pressure form in my head. And the longer I heard the droning, the stronger the pressure grew, trapped in my ears, behind my eyes, it felt like my head was going to explode.
It appeared so suddenly. Literally in between one footstep and the next. There were bodies in the tree. So many bodies, every branch held a body, stabbed right through the stomachs and chests.
It had eyes. That fucking tree had eyes. And the eyes had blood pouring out of them. I looked into those eyes and I was lost.
I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I vaguely remember my legs giving out, my knees hitting the tree roots as i stared at it blankly, completely unable to look away. My vision dimmed, everything but the tree started to fade away, to black out. Nothing else mattered, there was nothing but the tree. Its eyes were a world of color and noise, almost like the one time in high school I was talked into doing acid. I felt as if I was pulled inside of it, lights flashing past me as I traveled to the center of the universe my speed picked up, as I was hurtled further, deeper into the color, the light, and the sounds…
And my hand was burning.
I blinked and I could see again. Somehow during my own personal Disney Acid Sequence, I had fallen down to my knees and squeezed the bottle of pepper spray I was holding. Got it all over my hand. And motherfuck did it burn, but it was exactly what I needed to snap me out of that thing’s hold.
I could still hear that droning pushing me, trying to hold me, control me. It was so strong it was almost physical. I tried to get up from my knees, but instead fell down on my ass. And it was still there, trying to make me look again.
So I did what any woman about to die would do it. I spit in its eyes.
Well metaphorically speaking. What I actually did was pitch the bottle of pepper spray into the bastard’s eye socket.
I didn’t think it had any effect at first. No movement, no sounds, and I was ready to kiss my ass goodbye. But then the droning stopped. It was such a bloody relief that at first that it took me a few seconds to realize that I was not alone with my new friend.
What I hadn’t been able to see while the tree and I were playing peek a boo, was that it was covered in those monster leeches. Hundreds of them crawling on it, they were…fuck they were eating the blood that came out of it.
The ground started to shake and the trees branches swayed, waving the bodies around like they were party favors. As if they shared one brain all the leeches turned at the same moment. They stared at me. And then they swarmed at me.
Before I left the house I had grabbed an old shoulder bag of mine and filled it up with as much salt as it could hold. I had it swung across my chest and shoulder so that I would have easy access to it without having to carry a saltshaker around. I reached into the bag and started flinging handfuls of salt at those things. I grabbed Gram’s hedge clippers out of my belt and any leeches that made it past the salt I was flinging everywhere I stabbed in whatever area of their bodies happened to be closest to me.
The fog behind me was still completely solid. I wasn’t being allowed to go backwards and if I stayed where I was the leeches were eventually going to win just from sheer numbers. The tree just sat there, waiting for me to go down. I tried my best not to look at its eyes again, to keep focused on the nasties that were trying to take chunks out of my legs, but as I did my best to keep the tree from hypnotizing me again, I came to one not very happy conclusion.
I was going to have to run towards the tree.
I was starting to run low on salt and the leeches were starting to wear me down. A few of them managed to swipe their claws at my arms and it wasn’t going to be too much longer until they were in biting range. I let myself take one quick glance past the tree and turned myself in the direction I needed to go.
And I closed my eyes and ran like I haven’t run since high school gym.
I may have kept my figure pretty well since then, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am too damn old to be running like that.
Even with my eyes closed, I knew the moment that I was within touching distance of it. I could feel how the air got thicker with moisture from the blood, smell the iron. But I didn’t dare open my eyes, I just kept running. I could hear the leeches behind me, their claws skittering on the ground, the little slurping sounds they made.
I think I ran like that for about two minutes before I let myself open my eyes. The tree was gone. Some of the leeches were still following me, but only five or six, much more manageable. I stopped and dealt with them, and realized that I had arrived in some kind of a clearing.
It’s what looks like the remains of a campsite. Guess it’s safe to assume that I’m not the first person to get stuck in this place. There’s a tent and shreds of cloth. Blue jeans and what used to be a blanket. I was too tired to care. I crawled inside the tent and passed out. Just woke up a little while ago. I don’t even know how long I slept for. I’m clawed up, brain fucked, and have no idea if the tree or the leeches are still gunning for me.
But I’m alive.