Writing Group: Short Story: XVI


Happy New Year to all and welcome to 2023, may it treat us well. This was the final prompt for 2022.

Inspiration: Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and other Victorian error Christmas ghost stories.
Prompt: Write a ghost story with a moral.

The response to this were great in our writing group. The writer that won this last week actually wrote poetry and it was beautiful. Mine is a ridiculous story that I had fun writing.

All Hail the Demon Tree

Beware the decoration! All I wanted was to create a unique holiday display for the town hall. Take heed, all who listen.

My idea was a simple one. A single tree in the middle of the atrium surrounded by other, smaller trees lit and decorated in a contrasting color. The smaller trees decorated with holly branches and topped with top hats rather than stars or angels. Unique and beautiful.

What happened occurred by chance, each smaller tree was moved and repositioned in just the right way. I didn’t notice the sigils as impressions in the fabric of the carpet. When the final tree had found its perfect spot and the dust had settled a light began to glow – not from the bulbs on the branches – but from the carpet held sigils. The ring of trees flared bright, blinding white.

My horror at the situation grew as the branches of the trees seemed to sway, the creaking and rustling an almost song. A red light, scarlet and bloody began to grow from below the central tree along with growing, dark laughter.

The crimson light flared bright. A voice spoke in my mind, “foolish mortal! I have returned from the fires of hell. I will rule this earth and you will worship me!” A fire like glow seemed to infuse every limb and needle. Not knowing what to do or what to think, in terror I ran, ran out the front door to spy the tools the landscapers had left. They unknowingly saved us all.

Stealing a pair of gloves and a rope I revved up the machine. The roar of the motor was loud in the night and drowned out the demonic laughter of the demon tree. Wrapping the rope around the tree’s middle I drug it outside. The laughter died as I fed the tree to the woodchopper. The summoner trees were chipped too and the floor vacuumed for good measure.

I learned that day that aa single tree is all that is needed to decorate any hall.

The tree above is one we spotted looking at Christmas lights this year. It was the inspiration for this story. It’s very pretty and different. I hope you enjoyed this ridiculous tale.

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