They say never go to where the trees meet in that forest. Where their branches and roots clasp to one another like some silent, waiting web.
If you go there, they say, you don’t return. The trees are hungry, they say. They consume. Those that venture, not believing, disappear.
The oldest woman in our town even says she saw this once, the greedy roots clasping the poor foolish brave one, dragging them down so swiftly it was but a blink of an eye, an instant, of fear and knowledge, then nothing. The trees again content, still and satiated.
I’ve gone close many times, on the edge of twilight, lurking just out of their reach. I’ve thought about grabbing an animal – something wild, and throwing it into their circle and seeing what happens. It could be a thing, I reason and not just an old town myth. You never see any animals in there, after all, so maybe they know.
It’s tempting, but it also seems cruel. I’m not a cruel person, not really, and I love my pet dog Trish, and I’d hate to see her consumed. So who am I to grab some other living thing and give it to them?
But still, I wait and watch. Maybe one day an animal will be foolish and try the pathway over the roots, and I will see. So I sit, far enough for safety, and wait.
One day maybe, I’ll see it’s all rubbish, and the wild thing goes past uncaptured and free. Or one day maybe I’ll see it’s all true. That’s what I really yearn for, if I’m honest, to see something that extraordinary. And if so, if that day ever comes, I’ll see them for what they are, those trees. I’ll see them consume.
Helen M Valentina (c ) 2019