This is one of my favorites by this author!
Witches in the Trees
“So how would you like to die, pretty boy?” the young dark man in the black mask asked me.
My body lay strapped to a tree trunk in the Pine Level, Alabama woods off of Troy Highway. My girlfriend lay lifeless, bloody, and violated on a tree trunk to the right of me. The monster raped her before viciously cutting her throat. I shed every last tear I had over her death. I was trying frantically to keep at bay the tears of being faced with my own death.
What was my own death destined to look like? I thought. The dark man’s question hit me again just like a sniper’s bullet.
“So how would you like to die? Don’t make me ask you again,” he said in a thunderous voice.
I quivered and responded, “H-hey, d-don’t d-do th-this.” I finally found my voice again. “All I was doing was flashing you so that you would turn on your headlights. What did we do wrong?”
The man slowly unveiled his mask, revealing both a cruel, masculine face, and a slash of a nasty grin. He looked to be the age of thirty. He placed his right hand over his shirtless body in the same format as a soldier does while pledging allegiance to the flag. He said, “My name is Leroy Groom and I pledge my allegiance and trust to the Bloods, my eternal gang. I will dispose of this traitor so that I may be counted worthy of your family and its heritage. May this second murder complete the initiation process. In you’re hands I commit my spirit.” A pulsating horror rushed through me, setting off an uncontrollable sensation of flailing limbs and the jerking of my head.
Leroy held up the cake knife, stained with my girlfriend’s blood, and walked up to me with his lantern blaring in my eyes and leaves rustling. I was a dead fish. The rope was wrapped so tight around me, resulting in a struggle for me to breathe properly. He stopped before me and grinned. With the knife in preparation for murder, he asked what would eventually become the final question of his life on earth. “So, would you like to take it in the throat or the gut?” He painted his face with the brightness of the lantern, exposing a set of gold teeth. “Yeaaahhh, you're wanting to take it in the throat like you’re better half here,” he said in a cold and cruel laugh. He pressed the blade of the knife against my Adam’s apple and held it there. He rubbed the bloody blade against the rough hairs on my neck, forcing my Adam’s apple to roll downward and back up in response to the terror I felt at the moment.
As I waited for him to carve a hole into my throat, a low moan wafted through the air. I could hear the gentle movements of tree branches swaying. The odd thing was the fact that there wasn't a breath of wind in the air. Where I stood, the air was still and somewhat humid. I couldn't feel any brush of wind on my body. The moan increased and resembled a cry of suffering. Leroy still stared into my eyes with the blade pinned to my neck. Was he oblivious to the behavior in the air? I asked myself. The forest moaned louder, "Ooooooohhh, urrrrrrrrrghhh!" My attention turned from the black eyes of Leroy to a giant black shadow slowly descending down close behind the killer. "Oooohhh, uhhhhhhh!" the forest moaned. Leroy placed the mask back onto his face and turned his right hand over in preparation to carve, like a father readying himself to carve the family turkey.
Before he could succeed in my murder the forest came alive without any warning, and an immense tree reached down and seized the killer. Screams pierced the silence of the Pine Level woods, and then the corpse of Groom fell from the night sky and onto the ground, directly in the epicenter of the lantern’s brightness. His entire body frame had been pulled completely off! I stared down into the light and noticed his bloody skeleton before me. His bloodied bones were hanging from gummy, caked up guts that made my stomach churn. I shrieked in hysteria, and was immediately silenced when the witch tree that I was pinned to came to life and threw me to the ground. All I could hear was the thunderous breaking of branches as the tree which held me captive, fled away in the darkness. This gave me just enough time to apprehend the dying lantern and search for the way out of the forest.
The next day two corpses were found by hunters. Both had been stripped clean of their bodies, courtesy of the witches in the trees!
(c) 2007 by Brandon Hooks