They met by the hellibores, just inside the cemetery gates. They were strangers, meeting because of a tweet one had sent and the other had read. They might have lived in the same town, the same street, but neither knew.
It was almost midnight when they met and misty, they nodded at one another, recognising a fellow conspirator.
They stood and talked, for minutes, exchanged notes, compared ideas. They were both in agreement. There was no doubts, they confirmed the transaction.
Yes that’s a meat feast pizza, two doughnuts and a bottle of cola.
The man got on his moped and drove off into the darkness.
He Lodge keeper took his order inside. Pizzas here, he said to his wife..
That tree doesn’t look right? She said. It’s growing in a funny way. The left side could almost be a cage.
He looked across to where she was pointing, it did look strange. But then these were old trees. There almost seemed to be a pattern to it.
They sat on a bench in the graveyard and watched the sunset over the victorian houses beyond. The tree seemed to slump slightly as the sky darkened, but they didn’t notice as they were in deep conversation.
The top of the tree gradually brushed the ground and slid sideways towards them. The cage of twigs and branches shaking gently although there was no breeze. The boughs crept forward, the front twigs lifting up like fingers on a huge hand. Then, Drop! The branches encircled its victims, squeezing them. There were twigs piercing their veins. No chance of escape. They were plant food!
She walked by the old building in the twilight, the boarded windows stared blindly at her. She just needed to get past the front of the house and she would be into the no man’s land. Then one hundred yards, and she would be out of the shattered city. How had she managed to get this far safely? The invasion had attacked the cities a week ago. She had evaded them by moving in the dusk and dark.
Silently she stepped forward, quietly she looked round the corner. She was facing an alien guard. It wasn’t looking her way! Bending low, she sidled slowly across the glass strewn ground. Now to make a run for it……
I was passing an antique shop one day when I saw the face of a woman looking back at me from an old cracked and crazed mirror. It’s bronze frame was chipped and pitted with age. The face looked like an old master painting, like a Jacobean lady, with a powdered wig and pale face.
I didn’t know how it was happening but I was drawn inside and paid far too much for it. Minutes later I was walking down the road with a brown paper package under my arm.
She sat looking into the hand mirror, she was going to put her mascara on, but her face was distorted. She suddenly realised it looked like a playing card, one side flipped over. What the hell was going on….. She felt her face, it seemed normal? She tried to touch the glass of the mirror… Her finger seemed to penetrate its surface. A feeling like rubber or elastic… Push, her finger disappeared into its surface. She pulled her hand away…
She thought for a second, then leaned forward and put her eye near the glass, she felt a pulling sensation, then – POP! She was in another world?
He couldn’t get at the food, the branches were tangled and in his way. Even his long and slender neck was not suple enough, and the twigs seemed to move and prevent him gaining access to the grain a walker had scattered on the path.
If only he had swum a few yards, he could have stepped out of the water to reach the food he needed, but for some reason he would not. Maybe it was the dogs that were walked along the path? Something had frightened it and made it wary. So it was that it stared at the food but never reached it. Thankfully another walker strolled along later and threw duck food into the lake. Finally sated the Swan swam away to its bed in the reeds….
What’s in the box? She asked. I couldn’t say he replied. It just arrived in the post.
They sat and drank coffee.
Open it? She said. No wait till Chrismas he replied.
That was three days ago. Now it was Christmas morning. Let’s open it now, she said? After lunch, he said.
Each time they put it off, the tiny Christmas elf in the box got weaker, hungrier, angrier. It had been posted to bestow three wishes. Now it had decided the wishes granted would be its own. It would start by attacking whoever opened the box.
Looking out the window she saw a strange metallic structure had risen overnight. Where once there had been fields beyond the treeline now the metal was greeting the dawn. It must be 50 meters high, would it be filled in like a building or was this superstructure it? What was it?
Slowly as she watched the metal started to glow. First white hot, then blue hot. She saw the structure growing, upwards, sideways, forwards, and backwards. The light settled and she saw it had grown like a crystal, now it had reached the trees….. She waited… Would it expand again?
It looked like a massive nest or a basket. Clearly woven, held together with branches not twigs. Something horrendous lived there. Something that could think, could weave, could create a threat in the vision of tangled trees.
She tried to dispelling her fears, to get freedom back. But as she looked on, two huge spikes shot up into the air and the massive bulk of a head loomed into the sky. She knew she had lost when the gold green eyes sparkled as they opened. The beast was awake!
There’s definitely something odd about this watch, she said to her friend. I ordered it over the Internet and it arrived today. I needed a new one and this was cheap and cheerful……. She couldn’t explain what was making her uneasy. Is it keeping time? Her friend said, and she replied, yes, it seems to be fine.
She went home after her shift and changed into her pajamas. Put the watch on the bedside cabinet… Tick tock… Tick tock.. Tick tock … She woke in the middle of the night and realised what she had subconsciously been hearing all day…
Tick-tock, the watch was saying the words, not actually ticking or tocking !