The Run Run Tree

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"What's your name?" She asked the little girl.

"I'm not supposed to talk to you. "The little girl said softly.

"Surely you can tell me your name."

The little girl thought for a moment.

"Lydia." She said.

"Lydia, that's such a pretty name."

Lydia rewarded the comment with a snaggle-toothed grin.

"What's your name?" Lydia asked.

"Simone."

"Simone." Lydia tested the name a few times in her mouth before deciding she liked it.

"Where are going Lydia?" Simone asked.

"To the Run Run Tree."

"What's the Run Run Tree?"

Lydia's lips tightened. She didn't answer.

They walked on until the flat field abruptly ended delivering them to the mouth of the woods.

Simone looked over her shoulder. She could see the farmer in the distance with the shotgun.

"We have to go in...there." Lydia pointed to the woods.

"Why?" Simone asked. "What's in there?"

"The Run Run Tree." Lydia said, with a hint of irritation before tugging Simone forward.

Simone's heart raced. "Lydia what is the Run Run Tree?"

"That." Lydia pointed to the tiny tree in front of them. Its white branches where gnarled and grew slightly downward. It was an odd tree that, despite the cold weather, grew vibrant scarlet leaves.

"Come on," Lydia said, squeezing Simone's hand. A light mist had rolled in gathering around them. Simone reached out and touched one of the tree's leaves and quickly jerked her hand away. The leaf had a PULSE.

Lydia looked at her solemnly. Simone's attention turned to the wooden cross sticking out of the ground a few yards from the tree. The name ASHLEY was scrawled across it with the dates, 1995-2016. A ring of flowers lay at the feet of the cross.

"I put the flowers there." Lydia said proudly.

Simone remembered Lydia's mother saying she looked like Ashley.

"Lydia who is Ashley?" Simone asked, licking her lips.

"My sister," Lydia said softly. "She found the Run Run Tree."

Terror shot through Simone.

"Lydia why did Ashley call it the Run Run Tree?"

"Because that's what she said when she saw the tree."

"What? What did she say?"

Lydia's attention turned to a dark figure coming out of the mist.

"I have to go now." Lydia said, as the Run Run Tree began to tremble.

"Lydia, wait...don't go." Simone begged. But the girl was swallowed by the mist. The tree shook violently now as the figure came closer.

Simone caught the movement out of the corner of her eye. There, standing at Ashely's grave was a ghostly Girl who looked very much like her. The girl pointed at Simone as the figure came closer.

The ghost's jaw stretched open and she screamed. "Run! Run!"

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