The Trees Won’t Let Me Leave

📅 Published on February 21, 2022

“The Trees Won’t Let Me Leave”

Written by Corpse Child
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 7.00/10. From 3 votes.
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“Let’s go hiking!” she said.

“It’ll be fun, babe!” she said.

Yeah…yeah, it’s definitely real fuckin’ fun right now… I’m sorry, I gotta…gotta stay calm, right?

Okay… okay, let me start again.  It was around 10:00 this morning when Selena woke me up with a thing of doughnuts from the coffee shop she frequents while out on her early bird exercise runs. “Wakey-wakey, sleepyhead,” she cooed in the most adorable voice possible.  Now, if there’s one thing that nearly a year and a half of dating this chick had taught me, it’s that if she’s being all cutesy like this, it’s because she’s got day plans in mind; day plans that I really wasn’t prepared for.

That’s always been a thing with me; I hate being blindsided like this.  I’ve always told her to come to me well in advance for plans; at least a day’s notice, you know?  But does she listen?  HELL NO!  And now look what’s happened; we’re royally fucked now!

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry, just…just give me a second…okay.

So anyway, she’s being all cute, talking about “Let’s go out for a hike.”  Of course, I wanted to tell her no, that it was too damn early for all that, and I already wasn’t even feeling good.  Plus, she knows I can’t stand the woods.  Ever since I had a close call with a black bear last year, plus all the stories I grew up hearing about creatures and spirits in the woods, I’ve been more than happy to just stay as far away from wooded areas.

But then again, given how much she loved binging “Ghost Adventures” with me and how many books she was always reading on the paranormal, maybe I should’ve seen this kinda thing coming.  Especially when I asked her where she had in mind, and she then told me that this little day trip was through the nature trail of Harrowford Grove.

Of course!  Of fuckin’ course, THAT’S where she wanted to go!  Harrowford, where three teenagers, who probably had this exact same idea as she did, went missing last year.  She said, “It’s so BEAUTIFUL this time of year!” Yeah, well, I hope you’re happy with it, sweetheart.  I hope you’re happy now because we’ll never get out!

Breathe…I’m okay…I’m okay…

So, yeah, okay, like three kids disappeared last August here in Harrowford Grove.  Supposedly, authorities combed the place for hours but found no trace of them.  It made the evening news that night and a few nights after for about another two weeks or so before tapering off, declaring the trail cold and giving up the searches.

As you could probably expect, the rumor mills were working double overtime with stories cropping up all across Facebook and the tabloids talking about “Trio Abducted by Aliens in the Woods” or “Cryptid Sighting in Harrowford Grove Connected to Teens’ Disappearance” or even “Ghostly Activity Sighted in Harrowford Grove after Mysterious Disappearance.”

Well, I can say one thing; it might not be ghosts, cryptids, whatever, but something is definitely wrong with this place.

Like I said, I was not happy about this.  “Oh come on, please?” she begged.  “We haven’t done anything big together in over a month!  We always just sit at the house and watch TV.”

“Well, at least the TV is in the air conditioning and is less likely to cause us to go missing.  Plus, I’m still coming out of this cold, and you wanna drag me out into the grove, with all the fresh blooming flowers?  Look, can we do this another time?”

She sighed and rolled her eyes before throwing the bag of doughnuts in my face and storming out of the bedroom.  Groaning, I looked inside and saw that she’d picked me up some of the chocolate-covered doughnut holes, my favorites.  Now I felt like a real jackass.

I hate to say it, but she was right.  We really hadn’t done anything special together in a while, always just opting to binge some creepy documentary on TV, or a movie or something.  I guess I never really thought about asking what she ever wanted to do.  After thinking about it, I decided to do the (questionably) right thing and throw her a bone.

She squealed and hugged me tight like I’d told her she was getting a malibu for Christmas, and two minutes later, we were in the car headed for Harrowford.  From our house to Harrowford was about an hour and a half drive, and that was IF traffic didn’t clog us up.  In the end, we ended up here at the front gate at around 11:45 a.m. and got made our way in.

Admittedly, she wasn’t kidding when she said that it’d be beautiful, at least during the day.  Just standing at the gate, I saw stretches of tall pines with bright green leaves surrounded by patches of daisies and little marigolds leading far into the grove.

Well…maybe everything would be all right.  Just a nice little stroll through the grove with my girl.  Y-yeah, yeah, this would be nice after all, right?

Somewhere, deep down in that lizard part of my brain, though, I still didn’t entirely feel right about this; scenery notwithstanding.  I couldn’t tell you why — as I said, everything looked just fine.  I told myself I was just being paranoid, looking for an excuse to call the whole thing off, and that I needed to grow a pair and be a man.  This was for Selena, to make her happy.

Again sweetheart, wherever you are out here…I hope you’re happy now… We walked through, and she pulled her phone out, immediately gawking at all the “beautiful scenes” she’d just caught.  I, on the other hand, just kept looking around idly.  Like I said, the place really was pretty.  It reminded me a little of the walks through the park I used to take with my grandmother.

The first real thing I noticed out of place, though, was that I couldn’t hear a single sound from either side of the trail.  I mean, sure, we were the only people there, but there should’ve been some kinda sound or something, right?  Maybe some squirrels running around or some birds chirping, something.

Nope.  Nothing.  Not a single fuckin’ sound!  In fact, I don’t even think I could hear the wind rustling in the leaves of the trees.  But I just shook my head and kept going, telling myself everything was fine.

We carried on like this for about an hour, everything dead silent.  Eventually, we found a clearing in the trail, a large dirt circle with small rocks lined up around it.  Selena, of course, had to take a million pictures of it, and I, for one, needed someplace to rest my legs anyway, so we made our way over to it.

That was when I saw something else that seemed “off.”  Around the circle were a bunch of trees, which would’ve been completely normal — except that these didn’t look like regular trees.  At all.  For starters, where the other trees were long and tall like regular pine trees, THESE looked all wonky in shape, seeming to twist at odd angles.

Okay, sure, I know some newer budding trees will do that to try and compete for sunlight, especially when the area is as densely packed as this was.  But this didn’t look like that was the case.  These were contorted in ways that made it look almost like something out of a weird-ass sci-fi movie.  Selena didn’t seem to notice, though.  Or if she did, she didn’t seem to be bothered like I was.

So, anyway, we stopped here and she begged me to take a selfie with her in the circle.  I oblige, still being wary of the surrounding area.  We get all set up in the circle to take the picture with the trees in the background when suddenly, I start to hear something from behind us.  I don’t know how to really describe it other than maybe what it’d be like if a humpback whale was crying.

“Cheese,” she squealed excitedly.  I almost didn’t even hear it, though, lost in a trance.

What the hell was that?

I was snapped back when I felt Selena slug me in the shoulder.  “What the hell, babe?  You weren’t even looking!”

“Oh, uh…sorry.”  I then heard it again.  This time from both my right and left simultaneously.

“Do…do you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“That.  That sound.”

I pointed all around us as the sounds kept coming from the trees.  She looked all around, listening. “Yeah…yeah, actually I do hear it now.  It sounds like someone’s hurt.  Maybe we should see if we can help them.”

She began toward the trees in front of us when I put my hand on her shoulder, stopping her.  “Whoa, there,” I said with an uneasy chuckle, glancing again at those weird trees surrounding us.  “W-why don’t we just stay here and call for help?  Maybe someone from the ranger station can get someone out here for them.”

She looked at me like I’d just asked her to dance naked here in the woods.  “Why?  They might die by then.  Plus, there’s no signal here anyway, stupid.”

Shit, I thought, looking at her phone.  Sure enough, she was right; only a single bar.  “Well, what about us?  What if this person was attacked by something or someone out there?  Whatever it is might still be close.  Better just them than us, too.”  I looked to the trees again when I heard the deep wailing noise sound again, this time from all four directions.

She shook herself free and made her way into the trees, declaring that she was going with or without me.  Now I was, once again, standing there alone, looking like a jackass.  What was I supposed to do now?  I knew I couldn’t just let her go by herself.  “Hold up; I’m coming.”

Goddamn it, why couldn’t you listen to me?  Why couldn’t we have just stayed home? Sorry…I-I’m losing it here…I’m fucking losing it…

just breathe…just breathe…

So we walked into the woods, and immediately I noticed how dark it had become.  I mean, it was only just past noon.  It was still broad daylight back at the circle.  Yet here, not so much as a faint shimmer of sunlight touched the ground.  Everything was still as silent as before, too, except for that wailing noise.

It was louder now, like whatever was making it was all around us.  Still, though, I couldn’t see any animal or person.  Only the fucking deformed trees!

The more I looked at them, the more I noticed how…how human-shaped they looked.  I know how weird that sounds, but what else could it be?  They looked like they had two sets of bases spread that were separated, joining together to form the trunk and the tree itself.  Their branches also seemed to hang lower to the ground with small twigs curled inward, almost like fingers.  I even found myself imagining that any second now, they’d come to life somehow and snatch the both of us up.

Despite this, I just shake my head and keep walking.  I did my damnedest to just keep my eyes forward and not lose sight of Selena.  We must’ve walked for another two hours, not seeing anything or anyone who was making that noise.  The further we walked, somehow, the darker it became.  Soon, I couldn’t even see my hands in front of my face, much less Selena.

“Selena?  Where are you?” No response.  I put my hands out and stumbled around in every direction, trying to feel around for her.  Panic started creeping up on me when all I could feel was the bark of trees.

“I’m right here,” I heard from my left.  Snapping my head in the direction of her voice, I saw the bright beam of her phone flashlight waving around as a signal.

Oh, thank God!  I thought, rushing over to her.  “Hey, listen, there’s nobody here; let’s just get the hell out of here.  Please?”  That’s when another round of wailing came from the trees.  This time, however, there was more than just one.  They all seemed to cry out simultaneously, coming from every direction. She waved her flashlight around, still only seeing trees.  “Come on,” I said, taking her hand, “let’s just go back to the circle.”

“Wait,” she said, jerking her hand away.  I looked back to her, about to question what the hell the holdup was when I saw her walk up to one of the trees.  “What’s this?”

“Huh?  What’s what?”

I quickly walked up over to her holding the light up to the tree in front of us.  She pointed to a bunch of weird lumps that were spread all around the tree leading to the top.  “Those…what are they?”

“I-I…I don’t know…look, can we please just-” My tongue froze in my mouth when I looked closer at the lump.  Looking closer, I saw that they weren’t lumps — they were faces!

Human fucking faces!  All of them looked like they were screaming, too!  I grabbed Selena’s hand again, almost painfully tight this time.  “Come on.  We’re getting the fuck outta here!”

Just then, a deafening wail sounded from behind us, stopping me dead.  From how loud it sounded, it was as if whatever it was was right on top of us.  I then began booking it in the direction I thought I remembered us coming in through, dragging Selena behind me.

I was stopped, though, when Selena braked abruptly, jerking me back to keep from face planting into a tree.  “Where are we going?!”

“I just told you; we’re getting out of…wait, what the?”  I spun around frantically.  “What the fuck, where is it?”

“Where’s what?” she asked, her voice now slowly becoming panicked like mine.

“Where’s the clearing?  It was here.”

“What’re you talking about?  The clearing’s this way.”  She pointed her light off to the right.

“No, I remember it being right here.”  She insisted that it was the other direction, though.  Another wail erupted, this time from the one I almost slammed into.  More from directly behind us joined in, creating a cacophony of deep-pitched screams.  That’s when I also noticed the way they seemed to actually get closer each time.

I turned out to be right when I used the phone light to look back where we were.  Sure enough, in the maybe two minutes we had our backs to them, the trees had somehow moved in closer.

That’s when I really started panicking.  What the hell are these things?!  What do they want?!  I snapped out of this, though, when I felt something touch my right shoulder.  I damn near jumped out of my skin and felt whatever it was starting to dig into my shoulder.  I cried out in pain when I felt what felt like jagged shards of glass dig further and further into my shoulder.

Soon, my entire right arm went completely numb.  Using the light, I saw that one of the tree’s little twigs was now sunk deep into my arm, burrowing deeper and deeper.

“What’s wrong?” Selena cried, running over to me.

“I can’t feel my arm!”

“What?”  She ran up to me and screamed.  “Oh my god, what is that?!” Another sharp pain shot through me.  This time, it was from my lower back.  Slowly, I felt something crawling from my arm and down my back.

“Babe, you’re gonna have to cut me loose!”


“My Bowie knife, around my waist; I need you to cut me free!  Hurry!” I let out another cry of pain as she knelt down and took out my knife from my belt.  I watched through the light of her flashlight as she frantically tried to cut the roots digging into my shoulder.  When she did this, however, a bright red stream started spurting from the severed roots.  Some of it caught her arm, and I heard a sharp sizzling noise, followed by her shrieking and retracting in pain, causing her to drop the phone.  I saw her backpedaling before stopping and crying out in pain herself.

“Selena!” I shouted, now able to move again.  I started running towards her when I stopped, seeing that she, too, now had roots digging into her shoulders.  They were in both of her shoulders, and I could see them worming their way through the lengths of her arms.  Using my only good arm, I started trying to cut her loose.

“I-I can’t feel my arms!”

“Hang on, I’ll get you outta-”

“Oh my God, your arm!”

I stopped and looked at my right arm.  My eyes almost shot from my sockets when I saw that it was now grey, splitting open and starting to rot away.  Before I could even scream, however, I watched Selena get forced to her knees with the roots now impaling her lower back.  I tried again to hack away viciously at the roots when I saw them starting to protrude from her back.

She started coughing and wheezing before then regurgitating a cluster of roots that’d slithered up and out from her throat.  I froze up.  I-I didn’t know what to do!  Even if I could’ve cut through all those roots, I knew she was already as good as gone by then, seeing what’s happened to my arm.  I just watched as more of the roots tore all through her body, ripping out from her until she was essentially a hollowed-out husk with roots coming out of her.

I heard another wail come from directly in front of me, and I started sprinting.  I just ran deeper and deeper, not having a clue of where I was going or even in what direction I was running.  All I could see with Selena’s phone was more trees.  The further I went, the more clustered together I noticed them to be.  They were boxing me in!

I was forced to a halt when I felt something stabbing my left foot, causing me to fall face-first into the dirt.  Instantly, my foot went numb just like my arm, and I felt the tingling of the roots squirming through my leg.  I immediately hacked at them with my knife until a gush of the red corrosive discharge ate through the blade.  Sure enough, though, I was at least able to cut them loose.

But here I am now, lost deep in the heart of the woods with no knife and not even able to walk anymore, much less run.  I’ve tried using the little service I can get to try calling for help, but there’s no answer.  I couldn’t even get an operator.  Not that it’d do any good.  Face it; I’m fucked here.  Royally fucked!

God, why couldn’t we have stayed home?  Why did you wanna come here, huh, Selena?  Why did it have to be here?!

I can’t take it anymore!  I can hear them getting closer.  I’m leaving this as my last words; the trees won’t let me leave!

The trees won’t let anyone leave…

Rating: 7.00/10. From 3 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Corpse Child
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Corpse Child

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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