The sycamore tree rose tall and proud from the soft, velvety grass. Its bark holds ancient secrets, its roots are more powerful than an average tree, its leaves pure and bright. The sycamore tree reaches for the heavens. The tree is the savior of many, a hero to countless lives.
A young girl looked out the window from her room, gazing at the tree in her backyard. Her eyes narrowed in concentration, squinting at the sycamore. She heard the stories, yet she refused to believe them. She was about to open her bedroom door, her fingers grazing the doorknob, when she heard a soft melody, calming and welcoming. She swayed on the spot, entranced. Her mind cleared, focusing on the music. In a daze, she went downstairs and went outside. The sycamore tree loomed over her, yet she couldn’t walk towards it. The music grew louder, and all thoughts left her mind. She stared at the tree, the wind trying to push her towards it. Her knees buckled under her, not wanting to hold the weight of a person. She sunk to the grass, staring at the sycamore with glazed eyes. A familiar soft voice ran into her ear.
“Come, darling. Come to the tree. Come see what you must see,” it purred gently into her ear.
She obeyed. She got up and walked towards the tree. It towered over her, beckoning her to come closer. Her face was inches from the trunk when she saw something engraved on the bark. It was a hastily carved heart, and in it was a little circle bulging from the bark, like a button. Hesitantly, her index finger met the bulge in the bark. Instantly, golden light cut into the wood, making a rectangle, like a door. When the outline was complete, a golden doorknob appeared. The girl was reluctant. She didn’t know what this was. Instantly, music filled her ear and the familiar voice whispered in the wind.
“Open the door,” it said.
She obeyed quickly, grasped the doorknob with her fingers, and opened the door. Instantly, wark golden light flooded her, filling her with happiness.
“Go in,” the voice said.
She did, walking into the sycamore tree. Immediately, she fell, and blue light surrounded her. She had no thoughts, for the music was still playing. She looked down and saw a white ground below her. Before she hit it, she evaporated, turning into mist. She was flying along a corridor when she saw a door. She was going to open it, but her fingers were vapor. Instead, she floated through it and dropped into a familiar road. She was back home, but it looked different. The houses looked newer, the paint fresh, summer in the air. People were wearing different styles of clothes. She walked to the side of her house, and she saw the same sycamore tree she just walked into. But that didn’t make sense.
Suddenly, she heard voices coming from the backyard, rough voices. She went to the backyard and saw three guys cornering a teenage boy against the sycamore tree. The boy looked scared, terror etching across his face.
“Come on. Tell us where we find it!” one of the guys roared.
“I... I can’t!” the boy said, on the verge of tears.
One of the men grabbed a fistful of his shirt and pulled the boy closer to him.
“Tell us, and we’ll leave you unharmed. Tell us where the money is!” the man yelled, baring his teeth like a rabid dog.
Suddenly, the same soothing song the girl heard earlier filled the air. The three men didn’t show any sign of hearing it, but the boy did, his eyes widening in shock. A voice spoke to the boy, a different voice than what the girl knew.
“Save yourself. Lean against the tree, don’t think of anything. You shall be saved,” it said urgently.
The boy looked terrified but did as he was told. He leaned against the tree, and suddenly vanished into it.
The girl didn’t see what happened next, as the sense evaporated. She was again walking through the tunnel, a door in front of her. She floated through the door and dropped in the same place as before. She heard voices in the back. She walked around and saw this time a girl and boy, both around 19 years old. The girl was talking in a detest voice.
“How can we leave? It’s so dangerous to live here now, but we have nowhere else to go,” she said, crying softly.
The boy put his arm around her, “It’s going to be fine. We’ll find somewhere else,” he said softly.
Suddenly, the same song walked across the wind. This time, a man spoke to them.
“If it is a home you desire, go the tree that stands the tallest,” it said in a broad voice.
“Dad?” the girl gasped. She sank to the ground. “Dad?” she said, her voice small and fragile.
The scene evaporated. Again and again, she dropped to her house, saw different people needing help, and the tree saved them. Again and again, she noticed the voice that spoke to the people as someone the person loved and lost. Her grandmother perished of old age, and she realized it was grandma that spoke to her before. As the scenes came and vanished, the girl was lost in a trance. She was visiting the past and gradually go to the present. All these people who lived in her house were her relatives and disappeared into the sycamore tree. Suddenly, she flew backward and sprawled across the grass. She looked around, and she was back home. She got up and looked at the tree in newfound wonder.
60 YEARS LATER
The woman was packing her bag, her old fingers clumsily holding the zipper. She got the bag and slowly went downstairs, her knees wobbling. She opened the sliding glass door and walked outside. She saw the familiar sycamore tree, a thin smile on her lips. It was windy, her thin gray hair flying into her face. When she was next to the tree, she saw the familiar heart with a button. The music was singing, but she wasn’t entranced, as she had something to do.
“Please. I need refuge from my home. A hurricane is coming,” she pleaded silently.
She heard the soft voice, the voice of her grandmother.
“Lean into the tree, my dear,” her grandmother crooned softly.
She obeyed, leaning into the tree, and the tree hugged her, and she fell through the bark into a new world.