The tree was old, twisted, grey thing in the middle of the forest. Its leaves had left it for good many years ago, so the branches laid bare, reaching skywards like jagged hands. The damn thing, honestly, probably wasn’t even alive anymore. The bark of the tree fell off in pieces, and where it hadn’t already come off, there was carvings. Countless carvings, letters all over the trunk. H.R, K.P, N.M.M, D.R, the list goes on. There didn’t seem barely a place for any more carvings.
The tree was terrifying against the midday sun, the shadow it cast was long and dark. I was only seven years old at the time, but I already knew this tree was a terrible thing.
Derek told me the thing was called the hating tree as we sat on a nearby stump. The tree was about a mile into the forest that surrounded our suburban neighborhood, in a clearing. There were four of us that summer day by the tree. There was myself, our friend Derek with messy sand blond hair and a missing tooth, Victor with his stark black hair and sharp eyes, and Harry, bald and portly. Harry clutched to his chest a power rangers action figure, his favorite toy that he owned. Harry and Victor stood by the tree and muttered about something between each other, occasionally Harry would get animated and Derek and I could hear Harry’s protests to Victor’s idea. Derek leaned back and drank his warm soda.