Gossip’s Tree

It wasn’t the biggest or oldest tree in Hawthorne County; nor was it especially ugly or lovely. It grew green in the spring, scarlet in the fall, and in the winter, snow blanketed it along with the rest of the county, in crystalline perfection.

The thing about this tree was that every twilight, the birds of the county would gather there. You’d think with so many, it’d fall under the weight, but it held. Jays would circle it, giving their “all’s well” cries, punctuating the few silent spots between the chatter.

Sometimes people passing it swore they could hear words.

Mr. Smith set up a new scarecrow. 

The Anderson twins skipped school twice this month to go fishing. 

Bethany Peabody has been having guests after dark again.

Sometimes someone would get it in their head, if they climbed it before twilight, if they kept still, they might hear everything the birds said. This was nonsense of course, because most who tried only got white stains on their clothes to show for it. And the others, well, while it was a mostly unremarkable tree, some mornings the person was gone, but you’d find the trunk had interesting new gnarls.

Process note: This is a bit of flash fiction with a 200 word limit


  1. Guests after dark, eh? LOL! I liked the gnarls too.

  2. Gnarly! I loved the guests after dark again, too! Great visual for a nasty past time!

  3. This is yummy!!! I love the twist and gnarls, and the clear implications.

    Hm, I wonder if it burped every now and again. *giggles*

    1. I've stood under trees on fall days, and there was sometimes a special musk wafting about - though it may well could have been Kit conducting a business transaction. :D