The night was dark. Lightning and thunder shook the village. The little family were sitting in the hut, scared as always when the thunder gods attacked the earth. People said they brought someone with them when they left, and maybe it would be their turn this time. The little child cried. He could feel his parents’ fear.
A knock on the door. Another one. Then a third.
Who’s there? Asked Simil. No-one answered. Silence. He got on his feet, picked up his new bronce axe. Moved closer to the door.
Simil, darling. Don’t… Said his young wife. He tried again. Who’s… The door splintered to pieces. His body was ripped open. His young wife screamed. The child didn’t even breath. The shadow creature who entered was no god. It was too dark. Too evil. They both knew they were next.
Hey! It’s great! Said Hans. He stuck his head out of a hole in the tree far up the trunk. Nils looked up at him. He didn’t want to follow.
It’s too high, he said. I’ll wait here.
The tree was huge. The trunk was at least two meters wide, and God knows how tall it could be. It had to be the biggest tree in the forest. Despite Hans’ illusion Nils didn’t feel good about it. Come down, Hans, he said. Let’s go home? It’s getting dark.
Get up here! Said Hans. It’s not dangerous. The whole tree was hollow, and he had climbed up inside of the trunk. Chicken! The word cut Nils in the soul. He didn’t want to be chicken. He swallowed and entered the tree. Climbed up on the inside. He didn’t like it. He didn’t like it at all. What if there was rats or something. Or snakes! But he kept going up. The view is amazing, man! He heard Hans further up. He got to the opening and looked out. It was true, the view was amazing. He could see all the way into town. The streetlights were on. Underneath him the ancient cairns looked like small piles of grit. He couldn’t see Hans.
Up here it’s even cooler! He was sitting on a branch further up.
I’m not going up there, man, said Nils. He looked down. It had to be twenty meters. Minimum, probably the double.
Whatever, said Hans. Chicken. This time it didn’t work. A lightning flash came from nowhere, followed by a loud rumble, just over them. Fuck, man, I’m going down! Rain started pouring. We shouldn’t be up here when it’s lightning. He started climbing downwards.
Yeah yeah, he heard Hans saying further up. You’re probably right. But the tree’s awesome!
A couple of meters down Nils met solid ground. The tree was… Closed? It couldn’t be. Was there another way? But no. There was no other way. Hans, the trunk’s closed! Hans was straight over him now. Closed? Yeah, right! He laughed and jumped down. He looked around the room. You’re right, it’s closed! What the hell..?
Another thunder outside. They looked up. The sky had darkened, they could hardly see. This just doesn’t make any sense, said Hans. He started climbing up again.
The storm had gotten closer. It was straight above them. I think it’s better to stay here, said Nils with a shaking voice. In a lightning flash they saw a being in the opening. A contour of a dark figure. Nils screamed. Hans stared. It was dark again. Dark as in a tomb.
What was that?
Another lightning. A face. Just beside them. A horrible, evil face. A crazy grin. Hans were lifted up from the ground. Nils saw the scene in flashes of lightning. Hans where hanging in the air. Darkness. A clawed hand cut through his belly. Pitch dark again. The sound of Hans’ dead body thrown into the wall.
Screaming Nils climbed up towards the opening above. He heard the creature behind him. Grousing. Laughing. Spitting. Touching his legs. Teasing him. He leaped out of the hole and fell. To the sound of evil laughter he broke his neck and died twenty meters below.