The Tree of Death
"As life deserted the majestic ancient tree, she grinned at her window, rejoicing in its demise. Her nemesis was no more."
By Delphine Gauthier-Georgakopoulos
•   •   •
Daphne hated that tree. She scowled at it as it stood so tall and proud next to her front door, in a small plot of greenery beautifying the pedestrian street.
Every autumn, the leaves fell, turning the pavement to rotting slush. She had fallen once on the steps in front of her house and that tree was to blame. It was personal. He was trying to get her. 
In the morning, when she opened her windows, she glared at it and the tree hollow glared back. There were eyes shining through the darkness of the hole. Nobody believed her, but she knew, she just knew. 
She went to the plot and trimmed, cut, pulled, until it was clean, clean and safe. But He remained, mocking her. 
The early spring brought burgeons, soon turning into leaves. At night, when the South wind blew, she heard the ghostly melody of folioles, a sinister presage. In the obscurity, Daphne slapped her pillows, kicked her blankets, unable to rest. She brought her hands to her ears, switched on the TV, but the tune haunted her. Her arms reached up to the sky, she screamed, grabbed a knife and ran outside. 
As the first birds heralded the fading darkness, she cut around the trunk. Round and round, she slashed until the tree cried sap. Round and round, she sniggered, her face a mask of hysteria.
From that day forward, every day, hidden by the dawn’s shadow, she fed poison to the tree, poured death into the soil. Waiting. 
The leaves fell, the branches dried like seasons out of tune; late Spring turning to Autumn. As life deserted the majestic ancient tree, she grinned at her window, rejoicing in its demise. 
Her nemesis was no more.
•   •   •
When an unseasonable blizzard appeared, the silent whiteness engulfed all life. The unnatural silence gave her the shivers. Lifeless branches snapped and fell under the weight of the snow. Crack. Whoosh. Boom.
Jumping in fright at every thud, at every thump, she could not sleep, nor could she eat. She paced like a trapped animal in a cage of its own making.
The last morning, an ominous, thunderous crash brought her fear to its climax; she shook like a leaf. Slow, creepy, intense sounds, like bones breaking. One by one. Then her house shook.
The tree had fallen on the roof.
Open-mouthed, she watched tears of sap falling from the branches, falling alongside the snow, falling on her.
It tasted flowery on her lips, as pleasant as rose water. The sweet nectar inebriated her senses; she let go of her fears with a sigh, and beamed at the pleasant feeling settling inside her stomach, as if there was a new life forming in her insides.
The tender warmth soon gave way to a burning sensation before turning into intense pain. Something was growing in her entrails. 
The soft snow dampened her screams.
•   •   •
When they found Daphne, roots came out of her belly. Burgeons appeared on her fingertips and twigs grew out of her lips. A single sapling emerged in the snow next to her white, terrified, lifeless face.
•   •   •
Delphine Gauthier-Georgakopoulos is a Breton writer, teacher, mother, nature and music lover, foodie, dreamer. She loves butter, needs coffee, hates easy opening packaging, and likes to create stories in her head. She lives in Athens, Greece.
Twitter & Facebook at @DelGeo14

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