The Hanging Tree


16 May

 The red, blue and white lights illuminate the sky with a vibrant glow against the charcoal night air. I am driving alone along the long dirt road that twists and turns through the woods. Dark green tall and thick trees spread their branches in a wild hover across the road. The branches are blocking the light of the moon from reaching the dirt path. The ambulance rumbles with the roar of the engine. The black air swallows me as I drive deeper and deeper into the thickening forest that surrounds me. My vision is little, except for the few feet in front of me where the lights of the ambulance gently caress the black, allowing my blind eyes to see. In the distance, I see a large object dangling over the centre of the road, gently swaying back and forth. There is an opening in the tall trees where the white light of the moon shines directly onto the road ahead. My eyes squint, trying to get a better look at what I am quickly approaching.

     My heart grows quicker and begins to pound hard against my chest. I feel the sweat on my palms and forehead form as a pit in my stomach begins to ache. My breath becomes shallow and I suddenly find it difficult to catch my breath.

     The ambulance comes to a screeching halt as my foot is finally able to stomp on the brake. The red, blue and white lights envelop a large tree that is draping over the centre of the road in front of me. My eyes follow the twisting tree branches that coil angrily through the air. There is brown rope tied tightly around the thickest part of one of the eerie branches, high up off the road. At the end of the long rope hangs a body of a naked man. His back was to me, and his body looked long, dirty and frail. His neck, where the rope was tied tightly around, held an unnatural outstretched twist. I hear the thick beats of my pounding heart against my chest wall. My pulse raced quicker. I realized I was holding my breath as my lungs begged and stung for more air. I could see his toes struggle to touch the surface of the road as he hovered just slightly out of reach from being able to stand. The body swayed gently with the wind. The silence of the woods grew colder.

     With a low creak of the branches, I watch as the body started to slowly spin, and turn around to face me. His dark eyes were open, piercing through me with a vengeful stare. The corner of his lips upturned into a smile that barred white teeth. Blood began dripping out of the corners of his mouth as his smile slowly faded into a frown.

     I sat quickly upright in my bed. Drenched in sweat, my heart raced and pounded hard in my chest. I turned to look at the alarm clock, 5:00am. It was time to get ready for work. 

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