I’m in desperate need of some honest feedback for this piece. So feel free to tell me what you think (even if you didn’t finish reading it). Constructive criticism is always welcome!
We were walking around the deserted park for an hour about now.
“I thought it could be almost empty, but I didn’t think it would be empty.”
“It’s not.” She quietly answered.
“Except us, of course.”
“I know,” her voice growing fainter with every word, “Still it’s not.” She pointed her hand towards the far left corner of the park. A banyan tree stood majestically against some colorful focus lights. It was covered from all the side by the wide roots hanging from it’s branches. The banyan trees have roots, which form at the beaches and fall to the ground gradually and make itself sturdy with the nutrients from the soil. Looking at those hanging roots always brings back my childhood curiosity and the thirst for knowledge. Before I sprung back to reality, she have led me to the tree and wrapped her hand around a branch and Swung herself slowly.
“So you invited someone to meet you here?” my voice hid my concerns well.
She dramatically ignored my question and started speaking slowly, “They had kept this tree surrounded in barricades until a month ago. When they opened it up, the public argued against it heavily. Police thought it’s a waste of resources and poof went the hurdles,” the blow of air from her mouth smelled a faint Vanilla. She continued without giving me an opportunity to ask about the ice cream, “Ever since they opened it up, people leave the park with the sunlight.”
“Right, Because the tree is haunted!”
She cut off my spooky sound and continued, “Few years ago, A guy named Larry, used to come to this park everyday, around evening and sit right here near this root, the first root of this banyan and read books. Every regular here knew him and have shared a conversation with him, one day or another. One day, A young woman and her son who visited the park talked to Larry for a really long time. It was odd because Larry only did small talks, nothing made him close his book for hours. Except that little boy. When it was around 8 in the night, only few people were left in the park and they all see Larry was still talking to that little boy, who was probably around 10. To their surprise, his mother wasn’t there. Some say Larry didn’t even go to his home that day. Next few days, he was absent to the park.” I stared at her with a growing discomfort as she drew a solid breath and continued, “ The incident was nothing different or interesting enough for the people around here to remember until that the same thing happened three months later, then they all pieced together the previous occurrence from their shared memories. Some say it was the same woman, but some swear it’s a different one. There are even accounts saying it was a man who was cross dressing. Either way, at the end of that night, Larry was seen talking to a boy, throughout the night according to a maintenance person. By this time, everyone was doubting Larry of some criminal act and some model citizens even informed the police. Police dismissed it, well, they are right to do it. It seemed like a damned conspiracy theory then. When people tried to ask Larry about these incidents, he avoided it deliberately. There was no way to enquire the kids or their parents because apparently no one had seen them in this area except that day. Soon, parents around the park stopped sending their kids to the park and it was only filled with old people for the most of the time. Quite interesting enough, that strange occurrence happened again and again, until one night, an old man from maintenance stayed behind to see what’s happening. Next day he was found sleeping on the park bench we were sitting a while ago. When they woke him up in the morning to ask what happened, he was terrified and trembling from head to toe. He couldn’t speak and when they sent him to hospital, they found out that he became dumb, for a reason that doctors didn’t know of. Since that day, nobody saw Larry. Until a year and half ago, someone found his body hanging from this very same branch,” she pointed her hand up directly above us, “ holding a small golf ball in his mouth.” She slowly sat near the root with her back to it and looked up at me. I sat as a discomforting silence surrounded us. I struggled to keep my appearance cool and composed. “So why did they closed the tree?” I asked.
“That’s the most interesting part,” She announced excitedly, “Since they removed the body, every time a kid came near this tree, they would come sit, right here,” She tapped the floor near her, “ and sing the song ‘My favorite things’. Some of them haven’t even heard that song according to their parents. Some adults did the same too. It creeped both parents and police enough, so they surrounded it with barricades and such,” She smiled at me before continuing, ”imagine how it would be for a parent if their kid just sat here and sang the song like
‘Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things.’”
she glanced over me and stopped singing. I sang the last few lines with her, it was one of my favorite.
“So why did you tell me all this?”
“I read them online while searching about this park. I thought you would be interested to hear it,” her voice calm, unlike my mind.
I nodded in approval, “but you didn’t have to make me sit here.”
“I didn’t, you did on your own.” her voice trailed off to a different subject, “I wonder what Mr. Leo saw.”
“the old man who went dumb.”
“Allright!” I shouted before standing up and pushing her up through our intertwined hands, “We are going home, where there’s no haunted trees.”
I stared at the board which said ‘Millennium Park’ for a minute while the freshly started engine wirred under my hands. I stared at her sleeping peacefully next to my seat. I could hear a voice so loud in my mind, it was mine and it shouted ‘I’m never coming back here!’
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Original Picture from Unsplash.