Molly Wallace 2022
The Red Oak Tree
My fingers stretched over the open flame as a curling rath consumed me. The first day of camp, all the kids were in the meeting hall waiting for their consuming hunger to be sated. I stacked the last of the kindling beside the fire as my sister's voice filled the background. She beckoned to me from the barn door, her expression suggesting I had done something wrong once more. Since I was seven, my sister has blamed me for every step that I did wrong, creating a barrier between me and her “morals” that make up her character. A lingering judgment followed me waiting for me to make a mistake. Anger filled the pupils in her eyes. It seemed like she was starting an argument before a word was spoken. I opened my mouth like I was gasping for the right words to nestle the argument that was erupting from me. A harsh knock to my body shocked me back into reality. A mop that seemed as old as time was leaning against my hand. A smile cracked on my sisters face as she walked away from the mess that she had just started.
A mass of red paint filled the barn, creating a ominous and vacant scene. Within the first brush stroke the mass spread to the corners of the room, creating the image of hell. As time passed, I limped out of the barn one hand on my back and another holding the remnants of the crime scene that I'd left behind me. I crept down the path back to the dormant fire waiting for someone to jump Infront of me. My suspicion grew once I entered the hall and saw empty seats lined along the walls. My whole life I'd felt like I was in a mouse trap, easy to get into problems and impossible to get out. This was like that, a perfect moment to frame me for a crime I hadn’t even committed. The supply room already was half open when I entered. Even with the shadows of light from the hall, the room was a black as night. I stumbled to the light switch, hoping I wasn’t going to dig myself a bigger grave. My fingers slid across the wall, feeling my way to the switch. I stopped when I felt a bulge and immediately knew it wasn’t the light switch, however in the moment, I didn’t stop to think about what it was. My hand glided over the light switch and firmly pressing it down. Red. Everything was red. My hand, the floor, the light switch, all red. My vision blurred as I searched the room almost like I was looking for a sign telling me the solution to all my answers. All I could make out was the shapes in the room. I was telling myself it was a prank until my sight fixed on the wall. The same place I was searching earlier. There nailed down was the limbs of one of the camp guides. A winded scream echoed from my body as I banged into the centre of the hall. An engine roared. My feet carried me out of the room to see the bus leaving the camp, full of scared and confused faces. I stopped. My feet were plastered onto the ground. I was alone, all alone. These were only thoughts I could concentrate on.
In that moment it felt like my whole past was appearing In front of my eyes. I was in the yard playing with my doll when my sister screamed. Reality came back to me, but my sister was still screaming. I could make out that she was screaming my name, Freya. The scream was aghast and originating from the oak tree. Stones scattered as I sprinted to her. All I wanted to do was to hug my sister, to tell her how much I loved her. A silent spear ripped through my heart. My sister was kneeling on the ground. I screamed her name, looking for a sign of life. She slowly turned her head up, looking at me like I was the last person she wanted to see. Then I heard it. I heard him. His glooming face reflected in mine. My sister's boyfriend. Someone I had trusted. My sister was now standing behind me like a lion embracing its prey yet protecting me. An arching pain arose from my spine as I fell to the ground. “RUN!” Her hair was waving in the wind as a knife pierced her body. In that moment I couldn’t feel pain. I was with my sister and that's all I needed.