Careful. The trees will offer you comfort…
The woods always seem friendly during the day. The gentle rustle of the leaves and the sun peeking through like a halo as you walk. Nothing is more beautiful than the fresh scent as it fills your nose and the buzz of the insects as they dart about your head.
You don’t feel alone when you’re among the trees.
Press your back into the bark and sink into the roots. Press your ear to the tree and hear it breathing in… and out… in… and out.
They have you then. Arms cradling when no one else will. You don’t mind the dirt or the ants because you feel different.
You aren’t alone now.
When night falls, you feel the tug. Don’t you feel it? A gentle nudge, a pull, a whisper. That calls you from your sleep and out the door. You don’t know how you got there, amongst the trees, or why the rustle sounds different now. The bird song is silent, the insect buzz quiet.
You walk through the woods, the wind whistling as the trees sway. There’s a whisper in your ear, drawing you deeper. Stumbling over roots, branches scratching your skin, you find yourself back at one particular tree.
Do you remember me?
The words are a groan in your ear. A groan that makes your ears throb, bringing you to your knees. You pant, desperate to catch your breath as a chill creeps along your skin. You press your head to the roots, unable to keep it up.
You aren’t alone. You’ve been claimed by the trees.
Roots circle your wrists, your ankles. Up your thighs and around your chest until you’re flat. You’re pulled forward into the trees embrace.
Do you remember? When you promised…
The roots tighten, digging into your skin, deeper and deeper until your blood flows freely. You promised to return and give back to the trees for their comfort. You thought you would water and mulch, but the trees? The trees only take payment in flesh and blood.
You can hear it. It’s buzzing in your head, its voice. You can feel it. The bark splits and you meld with it, your skin splitting too. You taste it. Dirt is a thick layer on your tongue. You see it. The heavy drip of your blood as it falls to the ground. You watch as it soaks into the grass, the roots growing in response.
You fade into the tree, blending with it. It’s found you, embraced you, and brought you in. As you sink deeper, yourself but not really, no one can hear your screams. No one will ever hear your screams again.
You’re not alone now and you’ll never be alone again. You’re not alone when you’re among the trees.