Tree Man

Logline

A scientist is on the verge of discovering the cure for demonized children when he encounters the Tree Man, who is sent to destroy Earth. The only way the scientist can stop him is by helping him.

Short Story

As far back as I can remember there has been this myth about the Tree Man. The Tree Man is essentially supposed to come to Earth to destroy it and take everything good because it is pure evil. The Tree Man is in fact a giant tree. No one knows where the Tree Man resides. They just know when its here death follows.

I work in a facility where evil exist. As a Scientist for demonized children, we lost hope on the world when everything went to shit. Our facility is massive. I’ve been here for twenty years and still get lost. When entering the lab, there’s a bridge with steel bars that runs across the room. Below it are other scientist working on a cure for the children. The office is enclosed by glass in a dome like structure. So at all hours of the day we get to see the beautiful city that we live in. The city is landscaped with hundreds of buildings and bridges towering and overlapping each other. The sun set is my favorite time of day. Everything turns to an orange hue. It’s just gorgeous. At night the stars shine so bright. And the best part I get to work with the woman I love. Well she doesn’t know I love her. She wouldn’t. She’s my pupil. She thinks I’m being nice. She is the most kindest, smartest, patient person I have ever met. If only I had the courage.

The children are housed in a different part of the facility. More like the basement, which are the one that are fully turned. The ones in transition are in the middle floors. These children are all under the age of ten. No one knows how they’re infected with this disease. As of now there is no cure. The children in transition are in an open space and are able to play open and freely. There are usually four to five monitors to keep track of their habits and such. I can recall one time I was overseeing the room; one of the girl’s began screaming then took off her underwear and uncontrollably defecated. This was very disturbing. But that’s when we knew that’s how it started.

Once the children become infected we transport them down to the basement. This sounds cruel but it’s because they can no longer stand light. They need darkness. That’s one place I do not go. I wouldn’t know where to start. God forgive me, but those children terrify me.

One night when I was leaving from the garage, out in the distance was a shadow. I drove towards it. I stepped out of my car. And a seven-year-old Asian girl stepped forward. Her hair was tied up in a ponytail with bangs to her eyes. She wore a t-shirt, shorts and shoes. Her eyes were completely black. She opened her mouth and a glob of drool fell from her chin to the floor. Her giant razor sharp fang teeth clattered together. Next thing I knew I was running from this child. I tried to get back in my car but she was too fast. Far in the distance was metal rod stairs that led to the storage room. I looked at the child then back at the stairs. I made a run for it.

The next day I’m in the lab on the bridge working alone. When suddenly I hear a voice. It’s a whisper sound of a man breathing heavy. I look around just to make sure. Along the glass is this tree with routes that go all the way into the next city. This tree has been in that same spot as far as I can remember. Moments later, I hear the whisper sound again. I step towards the glass. The sun is rising. It’s about 6am. I’m always the first one at work. I practically live there. The whole city looks still from where I’m standing. The whisper sound turns into a voice that says, “Cut my vines”. I look around the room again and still no one. Over here, says the voice. I look to my left and I could swear the top of the tree moves towards me. Inside the core of it is a face, which I’ve never seen before. I’m clearly losing my mind. Cut my vines. The mouth of the face moves and yes it’s real. The tree is talking to me. I instantly run out of the lab and into the hall.

About the halls, there are tons of individual rooms. The bad thing about these rooms is that they lock from the inside. And if they are locked it’s because someone is in it. And if someone is in it there’s no getting out of them. These are fear rooms. The meaning for them is for people to face their fears. And once they do the door unlocks. I have never entered one of these rooms, until now.

I enter the first door that I find open. It’s lined with red carpet and sofas along the wall. It’s lit very dark. There’s a black girl with wavy hair, white tank top and black booty shorts. There are also three black guys all wearing sweaters and baggy jeans. I sit on the sofa along the wall on the left side. The black girl comes at me she sits on my lap and drapes her head on the cushion to the left. Her ass is starring at me. The three guys stare at me as well. I look at the girl. The guys talk amongst themselves. The next thing I do is the unthinkable. I touch her butt. I continue to rub it. The three guys get up. They pick me up and take me to the back of the room. We barge into the rest rooms. It seems to be a communal bathroom. They throw me in one of the stalls. The door shuts. I wait a minute. I come out and everyone is gone. There is a guy cleaning the bathroom. I walk through the lounge room and the girl is gone too. I approach the door. I turn it slowly. It opens. I exit.

I’m not really sure what that was about. I don’t know what fear that was stating. I wasn’t really scared while it was happening. However, I was scared when I first saw the guys. Maybe it means I shouldn’t be so uptight. I should let loose like I was with the girl. I don’t know. I let work get the best of me. I need to interact with people. I need to tell my pupil how I feel.

I head back to the lab. I approach the window to see the tree. It looks up at me. It looks like a man. There’s a piece of glass over the face between two giant trunks. His face looks like the Batman villain Mr. Freeze. He can barely breathe. As he looks up at me my pupil enters the lab. I just stare at the Tree Man. What are you doing, she asks. Come here. I grab her arm and show her. Do you see his face? No, she says. Look right there. I point to the Tree Man’s face. That’s the Tree Man. Her mouth opens. How do you know, she says. Because he just talked to me. He wants me to cut his vines away from him. She gives me a bewildered look. I don’t know, I reply.

Your planet is killing me, the Tree Man says. What do you mean, I reply. I’m here for one specific reason. We know, I say. To destroy the Earth, my pupil states. The Tree Man looks at us for a long time. His facial expression doesn’t change. He quietly says I’m here to rid the evil from this world. I know the great potential it has. What’s happening now cannot be explained, but I know I need to do what I am here for before it’s too late. My vines grow rapidly on this planet and weight a lot more. They’re weighting me down so much so that I cannot move. That’s why I need to you know cut them. I see the passionate person you are. Please, I beg of you.

I look down for a second and think. Well, what are you waiting for, my pupil states. None of this makes sense, I say. Does anything worth doing make a whole lot of sense in the beginning, she says. We have to act and ask questions later, she continues. You heard him he’s here to help. You need to start helping too, she finishes. This is why I love this woman, I think to myself. I look at the Tree Man and tell him, Okay I’ll set you free. We lock eyes. I grab my tools and head for the door.

After I cut him loose, the Tree Man did just that. He freed Earth from evil. We always can’t assume the worst of people based on their looks. We as humans have to give them the benefit of the doubt. There are a lot of people and in this case, things out there with good intentions. There’s always a reason with reasonable people. Tree Man had a myth about him that was all wrong. The Tree Man came to Earth to save it and take everything evil because it is pure.

*NOTE: I do not own the rights to the above image. It is clearly a depiction representing the story.

© Clint Horvath 2018. All Rights Reserved.