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The neighborhood kids, always, avoid that tree. Our town first noticed the tree back in the 1950's. It was in the middle of a dense forest back then, it is all cleared now.  It is over thirty feet tall, with a trunk that is very wide at the base and gradually tapers towards the top. There are no branches less than eight feet off of the ground, so it is difficult to climb. None of that was weird about the tree. The weird part was the womb.

About four feet above the base, the trunk widens and has a huge swollen lump. In that lump is a hole, perhaps two feet high, a foot wide and a foot deep. When the tree was first discovered back in 1952, it had what was believed to be the corpse of a dead baby in the hole. The coroner came to the tree to examine it, and the mystery deepened. It was solid wood, but not carved like a sculpture. The woodgrain followed every bulge and turn of its shape like it grew that way. They tried to remove it from the hole, but it would not budge.

Some weeks later, the body of Alisha Jefferson, a black five year old girl, was found lying at the base of the tree. The body had no wounds, no cuts, no punctures, but it was drained dry. Not a drop of blood in it. And to top it off, the wooden baby was larger. It just about filled the tree knot womb.

In two months it happened again. This time it was Terrance Washington, a black seven year old boy. Again, found with no blood, and no wounds. Again, the wooden baby was larger. It was no longer in the fetal position. It had the appearance of a toddler, standing up in the womb, arms at its sides. We could now see it was a girl.

Some members of the town wanted the tree chopped down, or burnt down. Others were more cautious- this was obviously something supernatural, and who knows what the consequences might be if they messed with it. Besides, so far it was only a danger to black kids.

Two months later, it was Shamus OMalley. An Irish boy, age of eighteen. no blood. He was seated next to the tree, resting his back against it. The tree nymph, as some were calling it now, appeared fully grown. The womb was huge, and extended down so the nymph's feet were on the ground.

Now that the victim was an Irish boy, and the Irish were practically white, it was time to act. Three strong men tried to cut the tree down with axes. None of their blows made even the slightest dent in the bark, or the girl. Next the mayor himself poured kerosene on it and tossed a match. It blazed for a while as the kerosene burned off. The tree was undamaged. They wrapped a chain around the trunk, and used the fire truck to try and pull it out of the ground. The truck suffered two thousand dollars worth of damage. The tree remained pristine.

The mayor wanted someone to sit and watch it all night, but there were no volunteers. He ordered two firemen and two of the sheriffs deputies to remain there, watching it.

In the morning, all four men were dead. No sign of any fighting, no defensive gestures. The womb had collapsed to the size of a ripe melon, and the girl was gone. No footsteps, nothing.

There were no more deaths after that, and no more babies, until this past weekend. Today the tree sits in its own vacant lot in-between the new Wawa and the old Piggly Wiggly, surrounded by a barbed wire fence. It is exactly sixty five years since the tree was first discovered. This tree baby it holds now is a boy.

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