As a kid, I spent summers in the Philippines. My mom would bring me there for summers. I had two cousins living with me at my aunt's house. One was Carmen who was 14, and Lydia who was my age, 12.
Every night we would go to our aunt and she'd tell us a story. She told us about a tree that was near her school. She said it was near the bridge with a small swing. She said that there was once a woman named Shermaine who lived near the tree and had two boyfriends.
One was named Mario and the other was Luciano. Every other day, she'd spend her time with Luciano, and then the other days with Mario. One day Mario found out about Shermaine cheating and told Luciano. They both confronted Shermaine and forced her to choose one man. She said she couldn't choose, so they hung her in the tree and cut her body halfway down.
Every single day now, even in broad daylight you can hear moaning and crying. Our aunt told us that one of her friends had attempted to cut the tree down because he was annoyed by the noise. The tree backfired the ax he held, and sliced most of his hand. Luckily all he needed was stitches.
One day Lydia and I were walking around the school and saw the tree, near the bridge and it had a tiny swing. I was scared but Lydia laughed.
"Hey, dare me to go on the swing?" she said mischieviously.
"No, Lydia, we shouldn't...you know Shermaine?"
"Shermaine?" she laughed. "Mama only told us that to scare us, Silly."
She ran to the tree and began to climb it. She looked at me and laughed.
"Where's SHERMAINE now, stupid?"
I stared in horror as I watched my cousin get pushed off by nothing and receive cuts all over her body. She landed on her knees and screamed in pain.
"Lydia!" I screamed.
I grabbed her. I saw her knee was gushing blood. Her lip was split in half, as if something had sliced her.
"We need to take you to Auntie, right now!"
Lydia stared at me, "No! Don't tell Mama, she'll kill me!"
"What about a doctor?"
Lydia stared at her knee and tears of pain ran down.
"Ok, fine, hurry."
I carried her on my back and we walked to the doctor where he cleaned her wounds and replaced them with bandages and used a small cast.
"Lydia, what happened?" he asked?
"I-I fell." she said.
"You seemed like you've been beaten up, tell me the truth," he seemed to know.
"Lydia went up the Crying Tree." I said.
"Oh my God, Lydia." he grabbed her shoulders.
"Never, ever go on that tree again! Understand me? I won't tell your mama, PROMISE!"
Tears quickly ran down, "I promise."
"Marie," he looked at me. "Thank you for bringing Lydia here, take her home and tell her to cover up so her mama doesn't see. This one's on me," he smiled and stuck his hand out.
I took it and noticed a large scar on his hand, I knew he was the one who had attempted to cut the tree down.
As Lydia and I walked home, I felt the breeze but saw no tree move.