We’re only a couple of short weeks away from the release of The Broken Tree, so it’s time for #teasertuesday!
From The Broken Tree Copyright 2019 by Kellie Butler. All rights reserved.
As they approached the old blackened oak, both Chester and Minstrel stopped abruptly.
“What’s going on?” Henry nudged Chester, but he wouldn’t budge.
Lydie shook her head. “I don’t know. They won’t go near that tree.”
Remnants of the tree lay broken like the remains of a skeleton long forgotten. It’s bare branches reminded Lydie of arms and fingers. Underneath, the ground had withered despite that the surrounding heath was covered in purple flowering heather. Even a few passing birds seemed disturbed by the old tree and refused to take refuge from their flight in its branches.
“They certainly don’t like it.” Henry said.
“I’ve heard about this. There’s something about this tree that no living thing will go near. Don’t you remember me telling you about it before we married?”
“Vaguely, now that the you mention it.”
An overwhelming sense of sadness seemed to emit from the tree. “I’m going to investigate.” Lydie hopped off her horse.
“Lydie don’t,” Henry called but it was too late. “All right, I’m going too.” He dismounted and followed her.
Lydie walked slowly towards the old oak allowing Henry to catch up with her. “I just want to see what’s making the horses so upset.”
“It looks rather sinister to me.”
“An inanimate object, Henry? I’m surprised at you.”
“I’ve heard of a tree like this back in New England. There’s one in Pennsylvania or Delaware called the Witch’s Tree. According to legend, a witch’s soul will take up residence in a dead tree, hence why living things won’t go near it.”
Lydie shook her head. “I would have thought a man of science like you wouldn’t believe old tales. It sounds something out of the film.”
“Yes, but I’m not liking this tree one bit. Look at its trunk.” Henry gestured to the split trunk.
“It appears as if it was struck by lightning.”
“I think you are right. Look at that burn mark. “Henry traced his gaze upwards towards the canopy. “It must be several hundred years old from how massive it is. Look at those limbs down on the ground.”
“They look like fingers coming out to grab you.”
“Lydie, you and your imagination.”
“It’s so silent around here, Henry. Listen.” The haunting sound of the wind rolled across w the deserted heath. She bent down to touch the black bark of the tree.
“Don’t, Lydie. Don’t touch it,” Henry said.
“What is it going to do? Grab me?”
“No, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Henry glanced back at the horses, who pawed at the ground. “Look, the horses are getting antsy. We need to get going.”
“Yes, I think you’re right. That bark is just so odd. Do you see how it appears burnt from the inside out? I can’t describe the markings.”
“Lydie, let’s go, okay? Come on, I’ll help you mount.”