12 comments

Fantasy Horror Suspense

Come, child, have a seat. Surely you have a few minutes to sit with an old woman before heading off trying to find the place where you long to go. I also got lost in these woods many times over the years. In fact, I’m very grateful that you took the wrong turn at the main road and traveled down to this neck of the woods. It’s been too long since someone has. 


Now, don’t worry, love, old age isn’t contagious, and I don’t bite. What’s that? Oh, yes, my tea is an interesting color indeed. Funny you should ask because I was just about to tell you about how I came to have this extraordinary tea. I see that you are fighting the urge to roll your eyes, and I appreciate it, dear. To you, I’m just another old, wrinkly woman ready to share memories that carry no meaning anymore. But you see, young one, you don’t realize this yet, but this remarkable tea will influence your life, too. So now, get comfortable, and give an old woman a few minutes of your valuable time. 


When I was 18 years old, my father invited me on a road trip. We enjoyed doing that, you see. Hopping in the car and seeing where the open road takes us. You could still do that in those days. Back then, the open road was welcoming and strangers were friends. How the times have changed. You can't simply take any turn and trust any stranger nowadays. We drove for what felt like days before the car broke down close to what seemed to be some forest. The night seemed darker here, more invasive, alive even. 


We were both adventurous spirits, so we didn’t care. Instead, we got out of the car and started exploring our surroundings. It wasn’t until we walked deep into the forest that my father lost his nerve. He begged me to turn back, which was unlike him. I refused because it was as if the forest had summoned me. So I had to venture deeper. But, being a good father, he refused to leave my side. 


We walked for hours until I came across something so phenomenal that I knew it changed my life forever the second I laid eyes on it. In the middle of the forest stood a tree. Now, child, don’t you go thinking this was just an ordinary tree. No, honey, there was something extraordinary about this tree. My father was exhausted by this time, but upon seeing the tree, he had regained his energy and continued to beg me to leave this bizarre forest. Even though I saw his lips moving, I couldn’t hear a word. It was only the tree and me. Nothing else mattered. I reached up to touch its leaves, and I heard my father screaming in the shadows. I took only one leaf, now, I swear, child, and I ain’t no liar. 


I wrapped it in my handkerchief and placed it carefully in my pocket. When we got home, I showed my mother and brother, who seemed confused by my strange treasure and my father’s erratic behavior. I made tea from the leaf, and, of course, since it was only a single leaf, there wasn’t much tea to be gained from it. Regardless, I brewed a cup of tea, and I had the same reaction you had when I saw the color of the liquid. There is nothing quite like it. That was until I had my first sip of the warm tea. After that, I felt more alive than ever before. My father went to bed early that night complaining of a stomach ache. 


Now, I’ve told you before, sweet child, that I don’t twist the truth, and so, on my father’s grave, the following day, the bowl that I had used to brew the tea the night before was full of the spectacular tree’s leaves. It was so full, in fact, that it was overflowing. Even though I could make no sense of how it came to be, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and it brought tears to my eyes. After that, I continued to drink the unique tea daily, and I felt stronger, more beautiful, and smarter than ever before. Yes, the tea gives, indeed it does. But, it also takes. Father was the first to pay. His body was so consumed with cancer by the end that the tea was the only thing that could give me comfort on the nights that he screamed for hours. 


Momma went not long after. Old age took her, you see; funny thing, dying of old age at 38 years young. The doctors said they hadn’t ever seen anything like it. By the end, her fingers were riddled with warts, and her skin looked like it belonged to some swamp reptile, not my mother. We found her early one morning, stone cold. Her eyes were rolled back in her head, and her lips had shivered up into small little crisps. It’s a good thing I had my tea to keep me sane through those days. 


The worst of the lot was my brother, Johnny. Not long after Momma died, he complained of a headache. A headache that would grow to consume his entire being. He couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, and by the end of it, he hardly left his bed at all. It was by his own choosing that he ended his suffering. I still remember my cup of tea giving me comfort like a warm blanket on a brisk morning when I heard the shot echo through the dull house. 


And now, it’s you and me, child. No, there is no need to panic. It’s much too late for that. You see, our fates have already been intertwined. While listening to my story, you noticed it, didn’t you, sweet child? I’ve been regaining my youth with every sip of this astonishing liquid. And remarkably so, I can see your life slipping away by the second. The throbbing in your hands that you felt the minute you looked at my tea wasn’t your imagination, no, dear. It’s the beginning of your demise. Doctors will feel frustrated by their lack to explain why your bones won’t stop crumbling. There will be nothing they can do to prevent your rib cage from collapsing and puncturing your lungs. I am sorry because it will be painful, but don’t worry about me. I’ll have my tea to give me all the comfort I need. 


January 14, 2022 00:17

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

12 comments

21:56 Jan 19, 2022

Hello Louise, I like the idea of your story and the unusual attempt to weave family tragedies into the discourse between the old woman and a younger person whose gender is unstated. However, the manners in which their fate is intertwined should have been given a more major role. It would also have been more coherent if the link between the "leaf", the father's death, mother's demise and brother's apparent - implied - suicide was also more clearly established. The numerous terms of endearment used by the old woman for her guest/partner in ...

Reply

Louise Muller
01:18 Jan 20, 2022

Thank you for your feedback.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Alice Stannard
21:49 Jan 19, 2022

What a surprise ending! I liked the one sided dialogue technique that you used. Very interesting, and quite affective. Good job!

Reply

Louise Muller
01:17 Jan 20, 2022

Thank you so much, Alice.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Jo T
09:34 Jan 19, 2022

Great story, I loved it :-)

Reply

Louise Muller
11:17 Jan 19, 2022

Thank you so much! 😊

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Pixeltoast ㅤ
19:13 Jan 18, 2022

I love how dark this story is. Keep It Up! : ]

Reply

Louise Muller
23:54 Jan 18, 2022

Thanks a lot. I'm so happy you enjoyed it.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Christo Muller
09:36 Jan 14, 2022

Bizarre sinister story -loved it

Reply

Louise Muller
11:39 Jan 14, 2022

Thank you so much.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Japie Kruger
05:00 Jan 14, 2022

Nice! I liked how subtly you brought about the ending. Don't see it coming until it hits you!

Reply

Louise Muller
11:39 Jan 14, 2022

Thank you very much.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply