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The Black Oak

Day 1

I woke to find myself in a tree. My first reaction was that this was a prank, that someone had decided to tie me naked as some sort of revenge for something I had done. I had even briefly searched the recesses of my mind for some sort of deed that I had done to deserve this. It was only after I tried to shake myself free, and the subsequent pain afterwards, that made me realise…

I wasn’t bound to the tree. I was in the tree.

I turned to see my hands gone, the smooth black bark of the massive oak seeming to blend my flesh and sinew into itself. A quick turn of my head revealed my feet in the same position. Every attempt I made to remove my limbs was met with indescribably pain, as if my very nerves were getting ripped out, and despite that I made no progress. I sagged there, my arms stuck behind my back due to their position and my legs stuck inside the trunk close to the roots. I looked upwards and saw something. What appeared to be a bluejay was sitting on one of the branches, looking at me. Every so often it fluttered its wings, as if to take flight, only to remain on the branch. I tried to contort my naked body to try and get a better look, but judging from the pain in my hands and feet I knew that to be a futile effort. I looked around once more, trying to spot anyone I knew, but it seemed that the tree was surrounded in a massive, pitch black lake. With nothing to do, I kept track of the time by the sun and tried to enjoy the meager weather. I didn’t usually have the time to spend outdoors, so it was a nice change of pace.

Day 2

I didn’t remember falling asleep. All I remembered was waking up to the sensation, or lack thereof, of my arms. I turned my head, and I saw that my forearms and calves were now in the tree. Needless to say, that was terrifying. I felt my heart leap. Surely this was a joke, right? There’s no way. I tried removing myself, but the same nerve-tearing pain erupted, only this time even worse. I frantically tried to find something, anything, but the crushing emptiness of my surroundings hit me like a bag of bricks.

My reverie was only broken as I realized there was something else. A faint tweeting was going off above me. I looked and saw the bluejay from before.

It’s wings were stuck in the branch. Not on, in, and it’s attempts to remove them were met no doubt with pain. I stared in horror at the bluejay’s attempts to remove itself, and quickly realized that whatever this wasn’t a prank. I wanted out. I fight through the pain as I tried to remove my limbs to no avail. Tears stained my eyes as I fought, for once realizing how crushingly close to death I was. I didn’t want to die.

Day 3

The bluejay is dead. It tired itself out last night before the sun set. The moment it closed its eyes, the wood melted around it, leaving no trace it was ever there. I’m scared. The cursed wood swallowed my arms and thighs, but for some reason it tilted me. Maybe it wants to relish my suffering. It wants me to be aware of what it’s doing, to realize the futility of my remaining moments as it consumes me like that bird. I’m scared. I don’t wanna die. Please, someone save me.

Day 4

I saw someone today. They were across the lake when I spotted them. I called to them, trying to get their attention. It seemed to work, as they waved to me. It was futile, though, as the moment they touched the black water they sunk completely in. My waist is gone, my chest, neck, and head the only parts holding me from oblivion. Will death be painless? I can’t feel anything in the tree. Not even Phantom Limb, which is what I’ve heard was supposed to happen. I don’t know. I cried today. It was the first time I’d cried that hard. I didn’t want to die, I still don’t, but I’m starting to see it as something more of a release than a fear.

Day 5

There was a new person with me on the tree. Her name was Brianna. She was just like me, with her arms and feet stuck in the bark. I couldn’t feel them, but granted, I couldn’t feel anything below my neck anyway. We talked. We shared stories. For the first time in that tree I was happy. Maybe Brianna would be happy when she died too. Not right now, though. It didn’t take her long to realize she couldn’t escape. I cried again, knowing that it wasn’t long for me. She knew my state, she could still see it. I was a goner, and I think, talking about it with her, it finally hit me full force.

I am going to die.

Day 6

I can’t move my head anymore. Only my face is out of the wood. It claimed the rest. I could still hear Brianna, screaming about her missing arms and legs, the development of the futility of what was happening hitting her. I shushed her, told her it would be okay knowing full well it wouldn’t. Tears fell from my eyes as I told her it will be okay. I couldn’t see her. I couldn’t look at her. But I knew she knew that I was still there. And that I would be gone tomorrow. We talked about many things, useless things, and when I heard her fall asleep, I stayed awake. I wanted to see the wood cover my face. I wanted to feel my death.

Day 7


Day 8

I’m scared. I don’t wanna die. I woke up and found my arms and legs completely in the wood. The tree had me at a tilt, but I don’t want to think about it for much longer. Isabel was gone, too. Her voice wasn’t there. She said she didn’t have much time, but it still hurt to behold the absence of her presence. I tried turning, ripping myself free, but it only hurt to do so. I’m scared. What should I do? I don’t want it to end like this! I had so much I wanted to do! I don’t want to die!

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Te (talk) 13:01, 4 November 2021 (UTC)

First off, I think the plot of the story is very cool. The slow absorption into the tree, with it's victim helpless, is very unnerving. I'm curious as to what properties (if the same as the tree) the lake itself had, as you mention: "...the moment they touched the black water they sunk completely in.".

It definitely needs proofreading and editing. There's quite a few grammatical and syntax errors that left me scratching my head. I found it a bit peculiar that it took over a day, and fully lost limbs to realize it wasn't a prank. Maybe that realization could have come a bit earlier?

My biggest gripe would be that there's a glaring continuity error. Brianna ended up in the tree with the main character (MC). We don't know why or how, which is all good considering the MC was asleep or unconscious at the time. My complaint is: Who the hell is Isabel? Once the MC is fully sucked into the tree, was he/she so disoriented that they forgot her name? Is there some other girl we didn't know about stuck in the tree too? Or is Isabel actually Brianna, and it was just a slip up? As long as there's an answer / solution, it's no big deal, but as it is, that confused the hell out of me.

To cap it all off, I really like the bones you've got here. It's freaky, it's original, and it's engrossing. I really look forward to seeing the final polished product.