Beyond the Elder Tree


It had seemed like a great idea at first: Timmy and one of his fellow scouts doing a wildlife survey on the small Channel Island of Mere. Two nights away camping with no adult supervision - Awesome!

Timmy had read up on the uninhabited island prior to the crossing. Mere was made up of rugged heathland and undisturbed woodland. With over forty native species of trees and shrubs Mere was a private wildlife haven for dozens of species of birds, red squirrels and a host of insects. Timmy loved conservation work and this was going to be a great weekend. That was until Lucas Jones volunteered for the second of the two places.

Lucas was one of those kids that no one really liked, yet he always seemed to be there, imposing himself whichever group he managed to sneak up on. What made things worse was the Lucas was a couple of years older than Timmy - nearly seventeen, and with age came authority.

The older scout had begun delegating jobs as soon as they’d disembarked from the ferry and he was already getting on Timmy’s nerves. Forced to carry the heavy equipment, Timmy trudged up the narrow dusty path that led from the grey shingle beach up through the yellow wind-swept grassland that covered the windy hillside.

They soon reached the trampled field where they intended to set up camp. The track had led them over the peak of the cliff and down through a thicket of trees: Hazel, ash and hawthorn, Timmy identified but Lucas wasn’t interested. He was staring at something on the other side of the patch of open ground. Timmy followed his gaze and he too stopped dead in his tracks. Neither of them said anything for several seconds as they stared in curious fascination at the abnormally twisted rotting tree before them.

Timmy didn’t like it. There was something darkly unnatural, almost morbid about the tree and its threatening stance. He could almost feel numerous unseen eyes glaring out at him from every knot, whorl and hollow from its exposed roots upwards. Its cracked bark and leafless boughs told of its corruption. Timmy was filled with a sudden dread as he became aware of a vengeful presence radiating from the decomposing trunk.





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