The Demon Tree

The tree wants me dead.

The tree is a malicious menace. The tree is a dark demon. The tree is an evil entity. The tree is after me. The tree wants me dead. I don’t even know why but the tree wants my soul.

I never had these thoughts sober. I don’t like using the word “sober” here because “sober” is usually used in regards to alcohol usage/abuse. I think words like “fucked up” are more appropriate here. I don’t even remember what I was on at the time and does it really matter? With the drugs pulling apart reality, removing the facade that is always over the actual reality, I could see beyond. And the tree was a demon. It was such a simple and obvious realization that I’m surprised it took my body being loaded with chemicals to actually notice it.

Sober, as much as the word didn’t apply to the concoction within, the tree never bothered me. It was only a minor irritant in my life, nothing threatening to my very being. When it would storm or was windy I was always terrified of the bastard falling over onto the house. Somehow smashing and killing me as I was on the toilet or walking up the stairs. You know, dying one of the mundane deaths that I’m perpetually terrified of. People are killed by buses — I know they’re dead and don’t actually care about how they died — but in the moments before they die, I always wondered if they’re able to think, “Is this really how I go? A bus? Really?!” A fleeting moment of disbelief that their life is over due to such a silly chance occurrence. It has to be demeaning in a way. Or fitting. A perfectly mundane, hilarious, and chance encounter marking the end of a life filled with the mundane, hilarious, and chance encounters. Glorious deaths are only fitting for glorious lives, and to be honest there are none outside of books/film/video games.

Sometimes the tree (when it was windy, the tree couldn’t do much on its own so relied on the wind to assist in tormenting me) would shed its pine needles all over my car. It’s not that I’m one of those people that were obsessed with my vehicle, but a stray pine needle or two sticking out from the crevice between the hood and car’s body would incessantly bother me until I removed it. Sometimes they would get caught under the wiper blades and instead of a perfectly wiped window, I’d have tiny streaks due to the needles that were wedged under the blades. Stuff like that. Not threatening by any means, but still something to slightly ruin your day.

And the sap, let’s not forget the sap. The tree itself was about thirty feet from where I parked my car, but somehow sap would still find its way to my vehicle. Sap on the windows which was smeared any time I rolled the window down/up or used my wipers. And tree sap is something unique that is almost impossible to remove once it finds its way somewhere. You need to make a dedicated effort to remove pine sap from a vehicle and if this happened in the winter it was going to stay there for a long time hardening. I would also walk through the yard and have sap stuck to my foot. Once again nothing to really ruin your day, but still an annoyance.

In my drug-fueled state I seen the tree for what it was: a demon. A menace that did all of these things on purpose. It had only been gently toying with me in regular day-to-day life and I had never caught onto him until that day. It was in the evening, well after sunset where the sun lights up the upper level clouds against the darkened but still star-free sky. The clouds took on an ethereal light against the dark navy of the sky above it. And the tree? It looked not as a thing but an absence of something against the clouds. A spidery, tall, and looming presence that was black and only black. A shape that you could see only because it blocked out material things behind it. It wasn’t so much a thing or an object as a void. A huge, looming, void presiding over the porch.

I wasn’t sure if it hated me alone or people in general. Trees are generally terrifying to me, at least when I think about them for too long. Trees are so old and plants in general have been around on this planet millions (if not billions) of years before animals, let alone us shitty humans. Ever present and ever looming. Forests of them covered the planet silently for millions of years before any conscious human ever was around to think about them.

And what did us humans do once we showed up? We figured out how to fuck the planet up in ever more efficient and dangerous ways with every technical advancement we developed. Agriculture. Smelting. Metallurgy. The industrial revolution. Trains. Coal. Oil. Fossil fuels. Cars. Airplanes. Burn down the forests because we need to eat beef. We need farms. In the blink of an eye (geologically speaking) a holocaust of trees had occurred, and you can’t help but understand why this tree wanted me dead.

As the drugs ripped apart and rearranged the overlying world and universe I was able to see thing I didn’t normally see. The trees roots went deep, down hundreds of feet just like any other tree, but where the roots ended? A big black mass of void, evil, and malice. The roots entwined and fed off the darkness drawing it up into the trunk and distributing it to the rest of its limbs. The other trees weren’t like this even if they had some deep and underlying fear of humans; they were innocent trees that simply grew and enjoyed their lives, but this one was different. The rest of the trees even seemed to be slightly leaning away from this large demon I was staring at. As if even they wanted to get away from him even fixed to the ground as they were.

As for where the darkness below me came? I have no idea. I didn’t want to think about it very much, especially in my state.

The tree reached for me as a tree would try, but it was still bound by physical laws. I could see a dim reddish light glowing at the core of the tree, it was his anger for me. The branches hung listlessly and swung towards me when wind gave it a reason to do so. The branches nearest to the ground sort of bowing down and upwards like a beckoning finger.

The tree wanted me dead. Maybe it wanted everyone dead, I didn’t know for sure. But the joke was on the tree: most of the time I wanted myself dead as well but wasn’t courageous enough to go through with the task of bowing out of life. But I looked into the heart of the tree, the glowing red heart of hatred that it had, and I held my glass up to him.

“I tell you what, old sport. If I ever do decide to exit this awful realm, well, you can help me.”

The tree swayed slightly even though no obvious wind was about.

“If I ever decide to bow out, maybe I’ll use a noose, I’ll toss it right over your branch.” I pointed to one of his low-hanging and thicker limbs. “Right there. Would that make you happy?”

It swayed again.

“But I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll hang around for as long as possible. Hell, I might even chop you down. Burn you. Maybe take up paper making for a hobby? You know, do what my ancestors have done for centuries. I bet you would make good charcoal to grill with.”

It leered at me in a way that only a tree could do.

“Don’t be too upset, I’m only joking. I bet we will be best friends in the end, after everything has been said and done.”

The tree nodded in eager agreement.

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