Last time, our hero, his boy, and an imp walked into a tree stump. Today, we’ll find out if they can escape the tree.
The imp clawed the interior of the tree. Its long nails scraping deep gouges in the bark. It stopped and sank to the ground. “Hopeless.”
Ben ran his hand along the tree’s trunk. “It feels like bark?”
“So?” The imp scrawled a doodle onto the floor with a finger.
“This tree’s inside out.” Ben rapt his knuckles against the tree trunk.
The cockatrice screeched.
Ben ducked. “What was that–?”
A branch swung through the air above Ben’s head.
“A Whomping Willow?”
The cockatrice nipped Ben’s ear.
“Ow!” He clamped his hand against the earlobe to stop the bleeding.
“I’m with Kujo.” The imp grinned up at Ben. “That’s copyrighted.”
“Well, excuse me for using a pop culture reference.” Ben rolled his eyes.
“Doesn’t help our predicament.” The imp’s shoulder’s slumped.
“How do we leave?” Ben held his hand against the wall of tree trunk and wandered away from the imp.
“We don’t.” The imp rested its chin in its hands. “We wait until the Traveling Tree finishes us off.”
“Um…” Ben paused.
“Trees eat, too, you know.”
“Sunlight.” Ben turned and walked back toward the imp.
“Your regular, garden variety trees, sure.” The imp shrugged. “Magic trees need to consume a different sort of energy to thrive.”
“Magical?” Ben raised an eyebrow.
The imp nodded.
Ben frowned. He crouched beside a tree root. “Does this siphon magic from the witch’s grove?”
The imp leapt to its feet. “Of course.” It snapped its fingers. “Hurry.” He raced back the way they had come.
Or, at least, the way Ben thought they had come. He couldn’t tell. The entire interior looked the same to him. A left turn or a right turn, both were alike.
The imp balanced along a thick root as it ran. “Here.” It stopped. Bending down, the imp slashed the root.
The entire interior groaned and shook.
“I hope you have a plan.” Ben fought to keep his balance.
“Nope.” The imp grinned over its shoulder at Ben.
The cockatrice warbled.
Ben shrugged. “I suppose it’s no worse than waiting for the tree to eat us.”
The root split open. Inside, a stream of dazzlingly white light sparkled.
Ben shielded his eyes.
The imp dipped its hand into the watery substance. Holding a handful, the imp walked back to the tree wall, cupping the wet hand to its chest.
“Back again?” Ben hung his head. “I should’ve worn my step counter.”
The imp smeared the liquid magic on the wall with its palm. Flicking its fingers, the imp sprinkled water against the bark. “Suck on that.”
A thin, vertical line appeared in the bark.
The imp pumped its fist into the air. “Yes!” Grabbing Ben’s hand, the imp dragged him through the narrow opening.
So, what do you think will happen? What do you want to happen? Was it too short? Too long? Too unfunny?
Yep, that’s right. I’m soliciting comments and suggestions. I may even use them. No matter how wacky, zany, nerdy, or weird. No matter how serious, fanciful, or sci-fi. It’s a choose your own adventure. You choose what happens next.