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The Tree.

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  03:09:37  13 February 2007
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ThxTrxx
(Novice)
 
On forum: 02/13/2007
Messages: 2
The Tree.

- This was actually an idea morphed from the old Stalker site which used to be more of a writing contest site. Anyways, If that person still visits this site, I'd like to credit you with the idea However, this is completely written by me, with absolutely nothing plagiarized. How do the contest entries work by the way? Is this the place to put them? Anyways.


The Tree.

He walked into the village, gazing up at the aged buildings hunched over the narrow cobblestone avenue. The worn stones, splotched with moist patches of the darkest green, were wet from the light drizzle blanketing the small village. He hadn't seen any living human for months now, simply walking across the blackened skin of the earth, collecting the last remaining bits of humanity across the globe. An emaciated dog limped across his vision, its body nothing more than pale, hairless skin stretched across his broken bones. Dangling from the corner of his frothing muzzle, a small mouse, wriggling fruitlessly against the jaws of its captor. The dog, perhaps once fed from a ceramic bowl with his name printed on the side, rolled his red-veined eyes upon this stranger. It's tired eyes briefly eyed him, before he continued his strenuous limp across the street, circling once and settling down on a somewhat dry piece of cardboard. At the very end of the avenue he saw a low, rusted metal fence, and beyond it on a slight rise, a tree. It had not a spot of life on its branches, nor on the small hill it had matured upon. Its leafless branches swayed softly in the breeze, scratching at the sky above it. His vision blurred as the drizzle penetrated his visage and dampened his clothes. He shrugged his cloak higher on his shoulders and threw on his hood, his eyes already barely perceptible behind his wet bangs, and continued on down the street, gazing at the Gothic structures bordering the damp avenue. A little further on he spotted a small, cracked sign, signaling an inn.

The stranger was greeted by a thin faced old woman at the door of the inn. Her eyes were sunk deep into her skull, her wrinkled eyelids draped down so that little of her eyes showed. The old womans dirty, gray hair clung to her white flesh. She waved him in with her gnarled fingers, tipped with long, scratched fingernails. She did not smile, or rather, did not seem capable of. Their feet creaked up the wooden stairs, the handrail wobbling in his hands as he stepped over badly splintered steps. The old woman's scent wafted into his nostrils, filling his head with a nauseating odor of vomit and rotting flesh. He was shown into a small room, barely large enough for a bed and a small writing desk. The woman left, shutting the door, and he placed his pack on the floor at the foot of his bed. The visitor to this strange town sat down on the musky bed, hearing the squeal of the rusted metal bolts holding it together. On the pillow was a brown, rust colored stain. Blood. He picked it up by its corner and flung it on the writing desk, its legs swaying at the impact. Finally resting his head in the palms of his upturned hands, he glanced out the rain-blurred window. Framed by the window was the tree. Its branches still swaying in the breeze. Still lifeless. The soiled, white curtains hung limply besides the window, whereupon he leaned towards them and pulled them closed. Yet still it was visible through the thin material. The Tree.

He woke that morning to the sight of the gray sky, not yet permitting the sun's rays to shine upon that village. Fully ready to exit the eerie village and its inn, he was ready by early morning to depart. He shouldered his pack and set down the steps, stumbling and almost falling on the final splintered step. The man glanced into the small parlor surrounding the door, looking for any sign of the old woman. Nothing. Just the dusty furniture placed around a cramped fireplace. The traveler stepped out of the inn onto the still damp avenue. He hurried down the road, pulling his cloak tight across his thin body, his gaze on the stones passing underneath his feet for fear of slipping. A short backwards glance towards the inn, and he saw the dog next to its stone steps. It was laying on its side, blood oozing from its mouth and eyes, it's front paws dangling off the curb into the small stream of water and waste in the gutter. The dogs eyes were still wide open, gazing, it seemed, directly at him. But no longer was there a panicked look in its eyes, only the realization of a life without suffering, without eating soggy, diseased mice, without settling itself every night on the same wet piece of cardboard. He tore his gaze from the creature, and quickened his pace down the slippery avenue. He past house after house, briefly looking from the corner of his eye for sudden movements. For anyone really. The friction on his leather boot suddenly gave way on the wet stone, making him stumble violently backwards, throwing his hood and already wet bangs from his eyes. The Tree.

The low iron gate creaked softly on its old hinges. His gaze followed the small pebble path to the tree. The bodies swayed in the breeze. They hung lifeless from that tree, suspended by frayed ropes, and long since rendered useless electrical cords. The villagers. His eyes betrayed his mind that was urging him to turn and run. His eyeballs placed themselves on each body. Men. Women. Children. Their worn shoes hung limply from their ankles. The cord holding the old inn-keeper dug deep into her flesh yellow from the moisture. Each one with the same taught, thin faces, eyes sunken deep into their skulls. Open.
The Tree.
  00:03:32  19 February 2007
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ThxTrxx
(Novice)
 
On forum: 02/13/2007
Messages: 2
No comments? Please?!
  02:11:40  21 February 2007
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Ian_C
The man lacking a plan
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 08/02/2003
Messages: 273

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No comments? Please?!
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I like it, very bleak and quite compelling. I think it's the story of what happens after 'The Zone' stretches out and envelops the Ukraine ( the world? ), but that's just what I'm getting from it. There's a lot of detail which will put some people off, I would say try and break that up a bit but it feels so integral to the mood of the story that doing so would probably be a mistake.

A few technical points I have, one of which is a very well-known problem amongst writers, I've suffered it numerous times - repetition of the same word in a sentence.

"It's tired eyes briefly eyed him"

"fingers, tipped with long, scratched fingernails"

Easy to fix really, I won't patronize by telling or advising you how.

Also, there seem to be some missing words, these stuck out particularly, suggested additions in bold:


"She did not smile, or rather, did not seem capable of it"

"It's front paws dangling off the curb and into the small stream of water and waste in the gutter"

Also just one mistaken word I noticed:

"He past house after house", which needs to be "He passed house after house"

Nice work though, not your first is it?
 
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