Time with the cousins was always interesting, especially as I was the youngest and the only girl.

“If you don’t want us to think you’re lily-livered, you have to go over the gate and touch the tree,” said George.

“But, Grandpa said we mustn’t.” The sun had almost set, the shadows in the garden long.

“Chicken!” Jack laughed. “It’s not that scary.”

I pushed him and scrambled over the rusty gate, into the overgrown part of the garden and pelted towards the ancient tree. As I reached it my feet sank into the boggy ground which bubbled, emitting a foul stench. I fell forward, catching myself with my hands against the gnarled bark, which pulsed beneath my palms, like a heart pumped its sap through veins.

A shudder ran over my skin as the temperature plummeted, the air still and, somehow, expectant. I heard a creak above me. A burst of adrenaline urged me to run, but I stayed, rooted to the spot, hand still against the tree. I looked up to see a pair of legs, swaying in the non-existent breeze, and further to the purple, bloated face of a hanging man.

I shrieked, back-pedalling, and tripped over a root, landing heavily in the foul mud. Bramble snaked towards me, wrapped around my ankle and dragged me towards a dark, gaping maw amongst the roots. I screamed, squeezing my eyes shut as I flailed, not wanting to see.

A loud thud startled me back to my senses and Grandpa was there, wielding the axe he used for chopping firewood. He hacked at the bramble with one hand and pulled me to my feet with the other. We hobble-ran back to the gate to be met by the pale, terror-stricken faces of my cousins.

“It’s the Dule Tree,” said Grandpa, later, “Many men hung there over the years, the last of them a highwayman, Johnny Knox. He threatened death to any who approach. Over time, some have tried, most never came back.” He hugged me close. “You were very lucky, Clare,” he said, as I sobbed into his shoulder.

5 1 vote
Post Rating
11 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Emily O'Leary
Emily O'Leary(@emily-oleary)
2 years ago

And here I had always trusted trees! A chilling piece that gives you such a vivid visual as you read!

Alan Kemister
Alan Kemister(@alan-kemister)
2 years ago

Great story. Grandpa was being a little melodramatic feeding into the little girl’s fears by chopping away at the bramble, but it powers the ‘scary’ ending. Had to look up dule tree, that was a new expression for me. One tiny point. Hanged is usually the past tense when it… Read more »

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
2 years ago

Hi Carrie, it’s amazing reading all the stories, so many different surprise endings, and styles to enjoy. I loved the picture of the tree you chose. When I saw it I thought what a spooky tree, it fitted your story beautifully. I enjoyed this story, and like Alan I too… Read more »

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
2 years ago

You have educated several people with this story, Carrie. Here’s yet another one of your readers who had to google “dule tree”. Interesting! With the grandfather’s explanation, we also get an historical background to what it was like when the dule trees were being used for that specific purpose. I… Read more »

musing mind
musing mind(@musing-mind)
2 years ago

Enjoyed reading your story and learnt something. Didn’t know anything about Dule trees, before I read your story.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Honestly, I learned from it. I didn’t know about the Dule tree until I read your story, which teaches me about it. This story is very scary, yet very amazing. I am happy to read a story like this that amazed me at the end. I also love your style… Read more »

Recent Comments







Voice.club hosts SubClubs and Voice Apps

Voice.club hosts SubClubs and Voice Apps

Featuring -

When you SignIn with Google, your support helps Voice.club continue our family-friendly mission.

11
0
Selected Authors may submit comments (5 Credits)x
()
x
Scroll to Top

Sharing a Post

Why do my friends need to SignIn to read the post I shared?

Actually, this is a voting security feature. During public voting, only club members can read posts submitted for that contest. Since anyone reading the story is able to vote (click the Like button), we reserve these capabilities to members who SignIn. Before we implemented this security feature, people were voting multiple times and making the public voting process unfair and out of balance. To fix this, our staff finally decided to allow only members who SignIn to read the stories. Membership is free and easy, and ensures our club is safe, secure, and family-friendly!