That lone tree, it always stood there, as far back as I can remember. Just atop the plain grass that covered the small hill like a blanket, it stood like a silent sentinel. Its brown oaken features were worn and weathered, but good-natured; its long curving arms were strong and reliable and its shock of green hair was dotted with crispy apples. My favourite fruit. I always played around it, whether it was swinging from its branches, or scaling its wooden length to snatch an apple or two, or just simply reading under its cool dappled shade. The tree was like an old friend, if I fell off, its branches would catch me. It would always be there.
It was a moonless night, chilly and unwelcoming. There was news going around the city about a mass murderer and we were advised to keep our doors locked. My parents were out of town, which meant that I was home alone. I was not sure when I fell asleep on the couch but the moment I awoke from my slumber is engraved deeply in my mind. When my eyes opened, still hazy from sleep, I hardly registered the glinting knife edging near me. It was then my mind shocked me into action. I leapt from my couch; I could hardly make out the killer’s face obscured in shadows. I did not think as I ran. I ran to the only safe haven I knew, my only refuge. I was out in the frigid night air that chilled me to the bone. I shivered violently but it was not from the cold. I was climbing the silent hill before I knew it and scaling familiar branches. Even in the dark I knew where to step and grab from memory.
I was safely atop the highest branch in the tree. My pursuer soon came looking for me, confused and agitated. I was safe, no one could reach me here, the danger had passed. But it was at that moment that fate decided to turn the tables. The branches that I relied and trusted so much gave away underneath my weight. They betrayed me. As I fell towards certain death the last image of my friend was etched upon my eyes. Its wooden trunk no longer soft and weathered, it was shadowed and deepened into a malevolent grimace. The long branches twisted and sinister, the green leaves limp and eerie as they swayed on a windless night. If it was not for that lone tree, I would be alive.