Leave links to your stories in the comments and I will post mine below the picture once it's finished!
Go forth and write :)
|Invisibility cape, child, tree|
Lori sat in class, thinking not about photosynthesis, but about The Hanging Tree. Spindly, vast, Nevergreen, it stood resolute in the middle of the woods outside her village, no other plant life around it for metres.
Deemed “unclimbable” – even by the older kids – rumour had it a boy once reached the top, but before he could holler down in celebration, he slipped and fell. He died when one of the sharp branches snagged the neck of his t-shirt. Now it was common for friends to dare each other to try to climb the tree at night. If a kid was brave enough to try, they would return to school the next day, quiet and jumpy. Whispers of ghosts and stories of silvery steps to the top of the tree would bubble from their quivering lips. The tree had become folklore. Legend.
Lori put her hand up. “Miss, does the hanging tree do photosynthesis and stuff? Coz, um, it doesn’t have leaves...”
Her teacher sighed. “That tree has been dead for a long time, Lori, so, no, it doesn’t function in the way of a living plant. And, please, don’t call it that.”
“Yes. Ever since I can remember.”
“How come it’s still standing then?”
“Enough Lori, do your worksheet please.”
Lori begrudgingly picked up her pencil. When the bell rang for the end of class she threw her worksheet into the marking tray and stomped out of the doorway.
“Don’t forget your science projects are due next week!” The teacher called after her students.
Out in the playground, Lori huddled with her friends.
“What made you think about The Hanging Tree?” asked her best friend, Meg.
“I dare you!” Meg’s eyes were narrowing mischievously.
“Fine, I’m going tonight anyway. I don’t think it’s dead and I need still a science project.”
The night was breezy and cold, and Lori layered up with jumpers and tights, grabbing a woollen blanket from the back of her cupboard to use as a cape; a disguise, if she should need it.
“Mum!” Lori yelled into the living room, “I’m going next door to revise with Joe!”
She slipped out the front door into the evening air before her mother could reply.
Trudging through the forest in the dark was interesting. Lori expected bats, owls and spiders but there was curiously little going on apart from the rustling of a breeze. She found the tree within minutes and approached its bare bark.
Her hand upon the trunk was cool and clammy, and she gasped as – No... – She could swear she felt it sigh. All of a sudden she was surrounded by the murmur of voices. Two carried clear above the rest.
“Danny! Danny where are you?”
“Mum? Mum, I’m here – is that you? Help me! I’m stuck!”
“Danny I can’t find you. Come home Danny!”
The tree was shaking. Lori was fixed to the spot, her hand still resting on the bark. A misty vision appeared next to her. It was a boy, his head lolling onto his shoulder.
Lori was terrified. She needed to get away. She threw the blanket over herself for protection and suddenly felt light. Looking down , she almost fell over in shock – She couldn’t see herself! Torn between fear of the ghosts and fear of her predicament, Lori ran. She ran until she reached her front gate and tore the material from around herself. She was visible again. Breathless, confused and shaken, Lori couldn’t help but think as she stared at the blanket – I guess I found my science project, just not the one I expected!