Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bleeding Trees


I received the following account from an acquaintance of the eyewitness. I was told that it occurred in 1999, but that's about all that is known about this story:

I remember it all with an odd clarity, each day and new event that centered around those few months. I was only 12 years old during the 3 or so months that this happened, and while most things of my childhood are somewhat obscured by time or poorly remembered, every step of the way through these events are as if they happened yesterday.

My small town in Pennsylvania is tight knit. It's surrounded almost entirely by miles of sprawling woods, and is miles away from any decently sized or connected city. Anything you would want was there, food, drink, lumber, schooling, a hospital, everything. Technology, like phones and computers were simply imported from other places. It was an upper scale area, so everyone was at least somewhat above the middle class.

I think it was in July that the small local lumber company, that went miles out into the woods to cut down trees in a large lot, stopped their operations for the first time in ages. It was an incredibly normal and accepted thing to happen in the area, to hear the distant buzzing and cutting of the the lot at around 5:00PM every day. And while they did run out of wood to cut in the lot, they either imported more wood or cut it from different areas. They saved time and money by keeping all the equipment there, and cutting wood in the same spot.

But on that day, it didn't come. Instead, the locally known lumbermen came together in droves into the town square, much to the curiosity of the locals. They stammered into the company's headquarters, barely talking, white as ghosts.

We found out the next day, from the announcement of neighbors, that lumber operations were to be stopped. No one was allowed to cut or damage trees at any point, under punishment of extremely heavy fines or prison time.

The whole town was immediately bathed in hushed curiosity. While everyone was afraid to break the new rule, it was definitely uncommon for the town's government to impose such harsh rules. We were quiet and lacked any major crime, so it was not strange for town police to be extremely lenient.

I remember about a week later, it was found out what was happening to the trees. A group of people gathered in the square, calling out for answers about the trees. The mayor stayed in his office, in seclusion, refusing to answer. So to retaliate, the fed up group led them and a group of onlookers to the forest line.

Police came too, but decided not to punish anyone. They were people too, and had no idea what was happening either, kept in the dark by the mayor. In fact, according to the present police chief, the mayor had not been seen in days. The crowd, now riled up by these announcements, were ready to figure out why.

The leader of the group, a man named Martin, was a local government member who had also been left in the dark by the mayor had an axe with him. As the crowd looked in on hushed silence, he drove the axe into the wood again and again. I remember the reaction of the crowd, the universal gasping and murmuring. Dropping his axe in disbelief, as on the third strike, crimson blood began draining from the tree's wound.

The axe's head was red with blood, dripping onto the leaves that it sat upon. The blood didn't stop coming, draining gallons of the red liquid into the dirt that surrounded the tree. What blood didn't sink into the ground and become absorbed into the dirt coagulated as a crust that coated the earth.

Martin was confused as the crowd, slowly backing away from the gash. The crowd cleared over the next hour, while me and a friend remained to look around. We were led away one by one by our parents, taken home. Soon, the only remaining blood was on the ground, and the tree was empty.

The next day, another crowd had gathered in the square. The wives and children of all the lumber crew, along with Martin's wife, were sitting on a row of benches, either crying or staring off into space. People questioned them, and only a few minutes later is was discovered that every single one of the mining crew and Martin had disappeared over night. Some had gone on drives, some had gone to sleep next to their wives, and some had left glasses of milk and ibuprofen on the counter along with their kicked off slippers.

I was admittedly scared, as were the other kids. School was closed, as almost 30 different children in my school of only a few hundred had just lost parents. Some of my friends were among the people who had lost fathers, including my neighbor. I remember my mother baking a cake and a pie for his mother, and not seeing him for longer than a week.

An investigation of the lumber yard by the local police yielded nothing, except for the fact that a large flatbed truck was missing. The flatbed truck was an industrial machine, weighing tens of tons, used to hold large amounts of logs under large slings of metal that stood above the bed of it. This was met with skepticism of everyone, as the truck would have to be driven out of the lot, and be driven through the town square into the company's equipment yard, and no one had seen or heard it.

Nobody dared to touch or harm a tree, only a few local children had the guts to dare each other to throw rocks at the trees. The town had an eerie mist of uneasiness hanging over almost everything, the town square deserted, houses packed full of their residents and locked, even in the warm fall weather.

Nothing happened for a few weeks. The mayor still did nothing, not appearing in public, making no rules, nothing. The public suspected that he had disappeared along with Martin and the lumber crew, but it was unconfirmed. Tensions boiled over among the town folk, leading to a militia of police and residents breaking into the mayor's home, only to find it empty.

The police had, however, found a journal among his possessions, the final entry detailing the day of the lumber crew's return from the lot. He wrote of not believing that any cut trees were bleeding, and to test it out himself, took his rifle and shot at a smaller tree, breaking a hole in it, causing it to splash blood onto him from the impact. He said he was hiding out until he got his clothes dry cleaned, and was going to make a speech to the locals.

After the police told everyone this, the town went into a panic. People started discussing leaving town. A particularly religious family, the Koenigs, packed what they could into their station wagon, departing out through the main road.

It wasn't until 3 days later that the first event that would plunge the town into full on fear happened. At 2 in the morning, a loud, metal scraping and smashing noise emanated over the town square. People from all over town rushed to see what it was, as it sounded like a bomb going off.

I watched in amazement, with my family and the townsfolk, as the large flatbed truck hung suspended from a large, bare tree in the exact center of the square. The tree was usually covered in pines, and decorated around Christmas, but it looked oddly dead and barren.

People started screaming as their eyes adjusted to the scene. Dozens of figures hung out of the bed of the truck, suspended by their necks with what looked like metal wire. The metal spikes that usually held in the lumber were gnarled and bent, seemingly crushed. People started to notice what looked like 2 moving figures in the front of the truck, too obscured by the tint to identify. The knobs of the doors jiggled for only a minute or two, before white fire burnt through the windows, breaking them.

The entire city broke into frenzied shouting as the truck burst into flames, all the windows bursting out, raining glass onto onlookers. The truck burnt like kindling, despite being mostly made of metal. The hanging bodies lit one by one, gently swinging in the wind as the fire scorched their bodies, licked up in the blaze until nothing remained but the hanging wire.

The women who were married to the lumber workers collapsed or stood deadpan, in total disbelief. I didn't know what to think, I was only terrified by the massive hulking machine somehow being supported by this rotten tree.

Soon the tree lit, the smell of burning blood and flesh immediately meeting our noses. People pulled their shirts up or held them as the commotion deepened, people screaming or in total disbelief of what they were seeing. Blood started to drip out of the tree bark all along its shaft, crackling and festering out from it.

Soon, the tree cracked, and collapsed, gushing blood from the major breaks. The crowd dispersed and shouted louder as the tree broke almost in half, the truck breaking into a free fall. It slammed into the square, destroying most benches and pavement around it. The sound deafened me for a moment, falling down as the rioting mob of people almost trampled me. I stood up, my ears ringing, as the flaming truck slowly lost the blaze that enveloped it.

The bodies were gone, and only a few bones remained in the cabin of the truck. The smell of soot and burning blood hung in the air for the next few weeks. The town grieved, and families started to consider leaving. Soon, the families that were going to leave, stopped.

This entire event was extremely traumatic for me, and I need to recoup all of my memories and make sure they're clear before I do part two. I'll write it soon. Thank you for reading.

NOTE: Apparently, the 2nd part was never written or just never received. It sounds like a fictional tale written in a student's creative writing class. I'm sure an event of this magnitude would have gotten out to the public...but you never know. Anyway, I thought some of you would enjoy it. Lon

Doctor Sleep: A Novel

Horror: Stories From The Crypt: Inside The Worlds Most Haunted Castles, Cemeteries & Crypts (True Horror Stories, Haunted Places, Creepy Stories, Scary Short Stories, Haunted Asylums) (Volume 1)

The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural

Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Death and Dementia

Ask the Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World

Lon's Suggested Reading List - Books & Films / DVDs

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