The Hedgewood Tree (SWC)
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    The Hero You Never Needed Neonsands's Avatar
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    Default The Hedgewood Tree (SWC)

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    The Hedgewood Tree


    Today, was a day like any other in the Monterey County Police Station. Severeal teenagers lining the bench meant for suspects wanted for questioning, operator women quickly writing down emergency information and dispatching officers, and the smooth smell of dark coffee coating the room. The only peculiar aspect, was the middle-aged woman who had beenin the office since the start of the morning. She was disheveled and she was beginning to lose all hope because of her current conversation with the officer in charge of the building.

    "Soooo... Miss Cornerstone-" tried the confused police officer. He was baffled by every word that came out of this woman's mouth.

    "Corningstone," corrected the beautiful blonde woman in front of his desk. It became obvious that she was growing impatient with the man.

    "Sorry, Miss Corningstone. What were you here for again?" asked the officer still confused as ever.

    "I'd like to be taken into custody," repeated Miss Corningstone. She didn't even bat an eye at the statement.

    "Wha... On what grounds?" responded the officer, finally understanding what she was saying, but still not quite understanding why.

    "Well, you see. You probably know the case involving my husband."

    "Your husband? Sorry, I can't say I do."

    "Ahhh yes, Corningstone is my maiden name. You may know him by the name of Charles Herring."

    "He was your husband! The poor soul... I mean, I'm sorry to hear about your loss, ma'am."

    "No need for the formalities, officer. Now, about my request?"

    "If this is about getting protection, I can assure you-"

    "No no no. I'm here because I think I killed him."

    ---

    Dear Doctor Javon Pate,

    Thank you for everything. I know we only really ever talked about you, but it meant the world to me. For once, something in my life was done to help somebody else. I'm going to plead guilty soon, and you'll probably hear of my death soon after, but just know that I died at peace with myself and in your debt. Hopefully this makes us even. A little memoir so Harding can't take all the credit.

    Life in the country was something I never quite grew accustomed to. Small towns, acres of farmland, and long stretches of nothing. The exact opposite of my old life in the hustle and bustle of the city. Yeah, I could probably find some connection between my laziness and living in the country.

    Now, you may be wondering why I moved away from the excitement of the city. Trust me, if I had any say in the matter, it never would have happened. That, however, wasn't the case. My mother and my father were both outdoorsmen by trade. My father, the most skilled carpenter this side of the Mississippi. My mother, a country musician whose fame rose from her songs about connecting with nature. I suppose you can only keep people like that in a city for so long before they experience a severe yearning for the outdoors.

    Sure, with their incomes, we had an extremely nice house, but there only was so much a kid could do without any friends nearby to hang out with. Not that it mattered; everyone was already caught up in the underage drinking craze of the time. I might have been too, had my parents not forsaken anything to do with alcohol.

    You see, we owned acres of land; it was something like one hundred and twenty four acres. I have no idea why we needed all of that space. Maybe my parents had planned to start a major business with it, or something. Anyways, seeing how everything to do with our house fit in about four acres, that left me with one hundred and twenty acres to explore. And explore it I did. I essentially took it upon myself to map out the entire area and record my findings.

    So, the very first day I went out to explore, I got lost. Not like the usual lost where you know a general direction of which way to go, this was extremely lost, as in I was lost in the middle of unexplored land with no sense of direction. Normally, in a scenario like this, I would just use the sun to find my way back; however, this was impossible now because of the dense interlocking treetops. Mom and Dad just had to buy a forest, didn't they?

    ---

    A tall man in a doctor's robe purposefully walked down the hallways of his practice. He exuded confidence with each glance at the paper work in his left hand, and every sip of the coffe in his right. By now, he knew this building inside out and didn't even have to look where he was going. He knew people would move out of the way when they saw it was him. As he turned the final corner, he drained his coffee cup, dropped the empty cup into a nearby trash can, and changed his walk into a calm saunter over to the head nurse's desk where he knew his gorgeous head nurse had his paperwork ready.

    "Doctor Harding, here is your list of patients for the day," informed the head nurse sitting behind the desk. She didn't miss the opportunity to flash Harding a brilliant smile.

    "Thank you, Jessica. Anything of note?" returned Harding, in a superior tone that made it sound like he actually worked.

    "Yes, today is the first day for Miss Corningstone."

    There was an audible gulp from the doctor, and then silence.

    "Doctor?"

    "Oh yes! Sorry, I must have spaced out. When was her appointment?"

    "I believe she is scheduled for five o'clock."

    "Hmmm... I believe I already promised to talk to Mrs. Johnson about her job application then. Are there any other openings in my schedule?"

    "Let me check. No sorry, there aren't, doctor."

    "Well, we can't leave such a woman without treatment. Get an intern to temporarily take my place."

    "Great idea, doctor. Do you have any preference?"

    "That new one had some spunk. What was his name?"

    "Our newest intern is... Johnathan Reed."

    "No, not him! He has potential!" responded Harding, desperately trying to think of the useless intern he was thinking of.

    "Excuse me, doctor?"

    "Uhhh... Nothing. Who was that one... Giovanni?"

    "Oh! You mean Javon?"

    "Yes! Him!"

    "But... Are you sure, doctor?"

    "Yes, quite. There will be nothing else for today, Jessica."

    "Understood, Doctor."

    ---

    That first day, I stumbled upon something incredible. It was a giant winding tree. One that stretched up far above the treetops, weaving its branches in and out of view all around the forest. If every tree was a citizen of a kingdom, this one was obviously the king. And not only was it large, but tons of extremely appetizing apples laying at its base, ripened and ready for eating. After examining the tree a little longer, I noticed a small entry way beneath its roots. I imagined this was an adventure for another day, so I left it be and looked around the tree some more.

    After checking out every nook and cranny of the tree, I grew content with my new discovery and finally decided it would be better to continue my search for home. The odd thing was, no matter which direction I went, I always ended up right back at the tree. I guess looking back now, it might have been something more than just me being lost.

    After a little while, I began to get hungry. Normally I would have just waited until I found my way back, however there was just something so tempting about those apples everytime I passed. Their scent was intoxicating, and their bright colors always drew my eyes.

    Eventually, I gave in. I tried one. It was the most delicious thing I've ever eaten, to this day.. Each piece melted in my mouth, and my stomach greedily accepted every bite. I figured another apple wouldn't hurt, so I tossed the core of the first and picked up a new one. After that next bite, I realized I was hooked. I couldn't help myself anymore. I must have eaten three dozen by the time I collapsed against the tree. Those apples were something amazing.

    The best part of the apples, though, wasn't their taste; it was their after effects. Lying against the tree became my favorite thing to do. My body soon grew numb, and my fear transformed into a euphoria of sorts. The most magical part, above all else, were the impossible things that started happening around me. The tree I lied against suddenly began to grow and sprout millions of leaves. The leaves were a brilliant green and they cascaded down around me. My memory of what happened next is still fuzzy, but I remember the green leaves gently falling over me and slipping into a deep sleep.

    ---

    Jessica quick checked her makeup in the bathroom mirror before heading out into the first floor offices. She knew she would have to pull out all the stops to convince Javon to help her out. She marched past several empty offices, eventually coming upon the one she was looking for. It was a small office with nothing more than an old wooden desk and three leftover office chairs. The only thing special about the room was the nameplate on the door. It read: Javon Pate: Psychiatric Intern

    "Excuse me, Javon," said Jessica, being careful to use her cute and innocent tone.

    "Listen, Reed, I've already told you I want nothing to do with- Oh! Mrs. Chestnut! What can I d-do for you?" stuttered Javon. He had been so used to that arrogant meathead intern that kept coming around to ask for bets on the weekend games, his reply just seemed to slip out.

    Jessica chuckled.

    "Please, Javon, call me Jessica."

    "Okay... Jessica."

    "Relax, Javon."

    Javon straightened himself up.

    "Yeah."

    "The good doctor has a favor to ask of you."

    "Oh yeah? Sounds interesting."

    "Good to hear, he needs you to cover a psych meeting he can't make."

    "Oh cool. Who for?"

    "Oh, some new patient named Miss Corningstone. Anyways, it is at-"

    "Wait! Oh no no, you are not putting me in charge of that psychopath. I've seen the news stories about how she killed her husband. What if I touch on something she doesn't want to talk about? Am I the next slab of entrails to show up on the news? Hell no! Go tell that doctor to grow a pair and-"

    "Javon! You know I wouldn't wish this upon anybody, but Doctor Harding specifically asked for you. He knows this is a challenge, he must want you to prove yourself. Please just do this."

    "I really don't care what he wants. You know he thinks I'm trash. He just wants to use me to get all of the bad stuff out of her, so he can take over at the end and get credit for it. I'm just a throwaway intern to him!"

    "Come on, Javon! Do it for me. If I come back and tell him you won't do it, he'll pick out another intern, except the next one will be a weakling who can't say no. I'll just look bad, and lose a lot of the control I have around here."

    "You know, I would do anything for you, but this isn't just anything. This is telling me to go sacrifice my mental wellbeing and let somebody else reap the rewards. That isn't something I can just do."

    "Alright, I'll make you a deal. I'll convince him to only take credit for being the senior psychologist. As well, after everything is said and done, I'll take you out on a date and cleanse you of any bad."

    "You can assure me he won't take any more credit than senior psychologist?"

    "Of course."

    "And you can assure me you will do everything you can to raise my spirits?"

    "That one might be a little iffy."

    "Well, then your deal is a little iffy," explained Javon, with a smile spread across his face. He had the upperhand and he knew it.

    "Fine fine. I'll do everything I can."

    "Good. I guess we have a deal."

    Javon watched his favorite nurse walk away, admiring her every step.

    ---

    When I finally came to, I was in my bed. To this day, I've never figured out how I got there. sg I can only assume he brought me home. If so, it seems really weird that he never brought it up or mentioned it.

    I remember turning over, and suddenly being invaded by the memories of that tree and its fruit. The sudden lack of its effects made me cringe and slowly drift into an endless grogginess. My body felt terrible, but worst of all, it constantly felt like I was lacking something.

    I think it was about an hour before I finally got up and tried moving. I was pretty stiff, but at that point I felt like I just needed to walk around. So walk I did. It was my first time really getting a chance to explore our new house. It was needlessly large and still rather empty. I remember walking past a bunch of rooms that had little to no furniture. There was a box here and a table there, but no rooms of any value. That was until I reached the kitchen.

    The kitchen was the only room I really remember vividly. Probably because so many things happened to me there. The first of many events took place upon my entrance into the room. My mother and father calmly walked around preparing a meal. I remember the dilectable scent consisting of finely cut and seasoned steak, a mix of assorted home grown vegetables, and snowlike clumps of rice.

    I could tell both of them noticed I was in the room, mostly by the tense shift in the air. I still remember the cold glare my parents gave me. It was the same one they had used for years and it was as bad as any punishment; it always sent chills down my spine while forcefully triggering emotions I didn't even know I had. It was that glare that I blame for my whole ordeal.

    So after coming against that glare, I guess I just finally gave in and apologized to my parents. I had no idea what I did wrong, but it never hurt to apologize when I could tell they wanted to hear it. They accepted the apology by giving me a short life lesson. I didn't really pay attention, but I remember it having to do with remorse and pie; they were a really weird couple. It did have good meaning behind, but I guess it was just wasted on me. I tried listening, but I couldn't get those sweet apples out of my head.

    Soon, I grew impatient and finally cut them off and explained to them that I didn't remember what I had done. I remember them telling me what I had done, and how it must have been an accident. I was horrified. Was I really capable of something like that?

    ---

    Javon finished filling out his daily paperwork as his assigned patient walked into his office. He put one last finishing touch on his papers before putting then down and looking up at the crazed killer he had heard about.

    "Hello, Doctor," greeted the pretty blonde woman who took a seat in Javon's office.

    "Good evening, Miss Corningstone. How are you today?" replied Javon, politely.

    "Excuse me, Doctor, but can we skip the formalities? I understand I was supposed to be meeting with the famous Doctor Harding. May I ask where he is?"

    "Uhhh... Doctor Harding couldn't make it today. He had prior engagements. He asked me to take his place in helping you through these tough times."

    Javon was now starting to get nervous. This woman didn't beat around the bush. She knew what she wanted, and she knew how to get it.

    "Cut the bullshit. He is afraid of me, and so are you. You, however, are being forced into this... Or rather, you are being coaxed into this. There is something driving you to succeed. Maybe fame, or fortune, maybe even a woman," Javon averted his eyes, "Ohhhh, so that is it; a woman lead you into this. I'm right aren't I?"

    "Well..." Javon looked towards the door.

    "Oh, so it is like that? Let me give you some advice Mister..."

    "Doctor. Doctor Pate."

    "Let me give you some advice Doctor Pate. This woman who coaxed you into this won't ever be interested in you. She is just using you to get closer to Doctor Harding."

    "That isn't true at all! We are going on a date after this, and it will be wonderful."

    "Let me guess. She invited you to a 'hidden gem' of an Italian restaurant that most people don't know about, but they make a mean Stromboli and their angel hair pasta is to die for. Does that sound about right?"

    "Yeah, but... How did you know that?"

    "Most controlling women have at least a small amount of Italian blood in them. And it is widely known that all Italians always crave their native food when they go out. On top of that, this girl probably wants to go to an Italian restaurant with you, mostly because Doctor Harding prefers oriental gourmet and she never gets a chance to go out for her fix. As well, I can safely guess it is a hidden gem, mostly because that is the easiest place to not be seen. When you go, she'll probably ask for a seat away from the front window, and more towards a booth in the back. You'll get the idea that it is a nice and secluded date, while she doesn't have to be seen with you. The good thing for you, however, is that she knows what secluded places are the best. That means you'll probably get a good meal, even if you have to pay for hers too. Oh yeah, she'll probably buy the most expensive things without asking, and will drive home by herself. Ahhh yes, the average woman con artist."

    "..."

    "What? You don't believe me?"

    "No, that isn't it. You are just really sad to believe that every single girl fits into your harsh little fantasy stereotype."

    "Ha! A stereotype? Let me tell you something, bud. Nothing is a stereotype if it happens one hundred percent of the time. And I promise you, your date will go exactly like this."

    "Excuse me, Miss Corningstone, I'd like to get started. You're merely wasting our valuable time by going on about this."

    "Son, I am twice your age. I know not to waste valuable things, however this time we have here is nothing close. You may have more guts than your pathetic boss, but that doesn't mean you have my respect. You have your own problems to deal with, and until those are handled, you aren't going to be analyzing me in the slightest."

    "Well, if you prefer to take the stubborn route, I'm willing to wait. We can stop here and pick up where we left off tomorrow. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date to go get ready for."

    As Javon got his things together and left the room, he was followed by a trail of laughter. The most mocking laughter he had ever heard.

    ---

    I remember the horrific feeling that followed. I couldn't help but wonder if I was really capable of mutilating a small innocent creature like that? To this day, I still wonder about the squirrel's family and how they must have felt. I know scientists try and explain that animals don't feel the same remorse we do, but that is a load of horse shit. Losing someone dear to you hurts just the same, no matter who it is. I finally realized that after these many long years of loneliness.

    The scariest part of this ordeal was the fact that I had no recollection of the events that had been explained to me. No recollection of the horrible things I had done to an innocent animal. No recollection of brutally dismembering it with my own bare hands. Just the thought still overcomes me with an extremely grotesque feeling. I still have no idea how it had happened. I didn't find out about those two until the next day, so there was no way they could have coaxed me into doing it back then.

    Obviously enough, I was plagued with all sorts of emotions. Mainly fear, but there were hints of confusion, anger, and remorse in there. I was afraid of what I had done, and what I could have done. However, I was even more confused as to why I couldn't remember the events. I contemplated the theories of suppression and having multiple personalities, but none of the symptoms matched up; I was still as confused as ever.

    My head was a mess. It was clouded with ideas and fears, all surfacing at once. I needed an escape; I needed those apples. I remember leaving the house and venturing into the forest, but nothing about my trip through it; all I know is that I ended up back at the tree. I do remember the events that came afterward, though. Those are still crystal clear.

    I remember taking a bite into the apple, and suddenly everything went away. My pain, worries, stress, and confusion all fluttered away like the leaves that fell from the majestic tree above me. I slumped down against the tree, and fell back into my favorite spot. It was blissful being able to forget about everything and just watch the leaves fall. I remember the happiness I felt just staring at the trees around me, knowing that I could stay like this forever. That was, until I heard their voices.

    The little snickers they let out probably would have made me question their motives, but I was too relaxed to notice them as they approached. I heard their voices, one from behind each shoulder. They whispered weird things into my ears; scary things I didn't want to hear. I tried to move away, but I couldn't. My legs decided they didn't want to budge, so I had to sit there and listen to these eccentric thoughts as the rattled off one after the other. At first, the things they said sort of soothed me. They said things about standing up for me against my parents, and telling them that they had mistakenly accused me of the murder of the squirrel. And, you know what? I started to believe them. Who were my parents to tell me I had done something I didn't remember doing? I knew I didn't do it, so they must have just been trying to cover up for their own misgivings (or so they lead me to believe). I took their bait with every word.

    I was hooked. Anything they told me, I believed full-heartedly. Their words soon became coated with malice, and their ideas grew darker and more violent. Soon, instead of just standing up for myself, they were telling me to beat my parents if they questioned me. Looking back on it with hindsight, I definitely should have stopped it there; however, I didn't have that luxury back then. It escalated even further. They were both whispering plans to make my parents "disappear". They told me about how great it would be without them. I still don't know why I was listening to these two voices I didn't know. I just knew that their voices were tempting and I wanted what they wanted.

    I was prepared to go along with their plans, until a stroke of fortune came my way. The two voices finally reached a point where they disagreed. It was a simultaneous reaction when they realized they had opposing views. They both hopped*out in front of where I was slouched, and I finally got a good look at them. The fact that I started to get confused over this, even in my nirvana-esque state just goes to further how weird my situation was. The two voices belonged to mushrooms. Yes, I know it seems crazy, but they were definitely mushrooms.

    The one who had been on my right was the smaller of the two. He was a peculiar little creature who's cap had an intricate design. The top of the cap was colored in an odd format. There was a line down the center that split it into two sides, and a circle at the center of that line; both the circle and the portion below the line were colored a pure and simple white, while the portion above the line was colored a light red of sorts. Below the cap was a small stub of a body, accompanied with tiny little arms and a pink mouth with two eyes next to it.

    The one on my left was slightly larger, but definitely less alluring. It was more simple and stuck to a two-tone color scheme; the top part of its body was colored a light peach color with scattered green polka dots, while its bottom was a plain matching green that covered its entirety. It used two small round feet to move around, but lacked any sort of arms. One extra thing I do remember, is that it never seemed to change facial expressions; it always had a frown on its face.

    Both creatures bickered, letting out small traces of pollen as they shook back and forth in fury. I remember the pollen reaching me, and my vision slowly fading to black. The last thing I heard them arguing about was whether to have me kill my parents or to have me experiment and torture them. At that point, I definitely did realize I didn't want to listen to them.

    ---

    Javon looked around his office uncomfortably. It was times like this when he wished he owned a ficus. Something to stare at or water during awkward silences.

    "So, how was your date?" asked Miss Corningstone through a great big grin.

    Javon let out an audible sigh.

    "It went exactly as you said, down to the ridiculous bill," returned Javon, defeated.

    "I'd hate to say I told you so, but... I most certainly did tell you so."

    "Yeah, yeah. Anyways, are you feeling up to doing this whole evaluation thing today?"

    "Hmmm... No."

    Javon was quickly growing sick of this game, and it became apparent in his voice.

    "Ma'am, I am here to decide if you are criminally insane or not. Not to babysit. We can either do this now, or I can just end your appeal now by giving a false report. Wouldn't it be fun to get the death penalty?"

    "I don't have anything to lose anymore, so your threats won't work."

    "Well, then we can just transfer you until we don't have anywhere for you to go. By that point, I'll just let the boredom take hold and you won't last long."

    "Oh! I had no plan to waste your time. I just wanted to get to know you a little more before I gave you all of my secret info."

    "Well then, what would you like to start with?"

    "First, I would like to know what you see in this girl."

    "Well..."

    ---

    I remember the darkness fading, and light finally shining through. I was in my kitchen, but something was wrong. My mother was on the floor by my feet, and I stood over her knife in hand.
    Last edited by Neonsands; 20th August 2011 at 02:10 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Hedgewood Tree (SWC)

    I'm going to claim this as my own, if I like what you have you get a prize.
    League of Legends SN: ATF Crysis



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