Chapter 4

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The Tree's bark is rougher than a maple tree's, but I've felt the sides of it so many times, I don't even think about it anymore. When I felt it today, it had a weird texture to it. Maybe somebody carved something in it! I jump up and say, "Connor! We need to go back to the Tree right now! I think we might be able to save it!" "Really?! Okay, hold on," he says, getting one last lick of the spile. "Let's go!" I yell.

We race back to the Tree and get there in 5 minutes. I find the piece of bark I was rubbing before. It's part of the root and partially underground. Sure enough, there seemed to be a little poem carved in it. "Oh my God," Connor says, his eyes bright with excitement. "Do you remember that time when we were really little and we found that?" he says. "I know! Now we can finally read it to see what it says! I can't believe we didn't think of this before," I say.

The words have obviously been carved a long time ago and it's barely legible. But we can sort of make out what it says.

The beginning of our name,

signals the end of the reign.

But the first to paint our leaves with white

will lead on into the night.

We sit there, confused. Well, I'm glad we found this. But I have no idea what it means. "Let's think this out," I say, grabbing a nice long stick from the ground. I write 'Camilla' in the dirt with the stick and circle the 'C'. "I don't get it. How does the letter 'C' end the Tree's power?" Connor asks.

"So basically, the Tree's powers ended because of something to do with Camilla's name. And we have to paint the leaves white to retrieve its power," I say.

"Well, let's see. What date did Camilla die on?" Connor asks.

"December 21, 2012," I reply.

He writes '12/21/12' in the dirt. "I see a pattern, but it has nothing to do with her name," he says. Hmm, I wonder if the date had anything to do with it. Everyone said the world was going to end that day. Well, part of MY world ended that day...

Suddenly, my phone vibrated. I take it out and see a text from my dad asking where I was. I texted him back saying that I was with Connor and that I'd b home in 10 minutes.

"Hey, I have to go now. Try to figure it out tonight. I'll do the same. See you tomorrow?" I say.

"Later. I'll call you if I think of anything," he says.

I walk home and my dad opens the door. He says that he got home early today and is there anything I would like to explain? I tell him the same thing I told Mom, and ask if I can eat my dinner in my room. He sighs, nods and I go to get it out of the microwave.

I turn on my laptop and find a sticky note. I write the poem on it, and stick it up on the wall. I start researching to see if I can find any documents on the Tree. I don't find anything, the sites have no relevance to the Tree at all. I lean back in my chair and look up at the sticky note. 'The beginning of our name...'

Well it says the beginning of OUR name, so maybe it means the name that they all share: Winters. But 'W' has nothing do with anything. I don't get how a name can end something, so it has to have something to do with the date. I sigh and google '12/21/12'. There's a bunch of crap about the end of the world, but nothing about the Tree.

I start to get frustrated, but then something catches my eye. One of the sites say that 12/21 is the beginning of winter. Oh my god...'The beginning of our name signals the end of the reign' Camilla Winters...12/21....it's all starting to make sense. I quickly dial Connor's number. Ring...ring...ring.....'The person you have reached is not available at this time. Please leave a message after the tone: BEEP' "Connor! Guess what?! I think I know what the first line of the poem means! Call me back ASAP," I yell.

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