I suppose many of you find trees to be beautiful, stunning, and a plethora of other adjectives that are all appropriate in their time and place. Usually.

Yes, trees are beautiful. They are majestic.

They are also hideously sinister.

In the cemetery across from the house I grew up in, the trees were tall and strong. Elms and oaks, maples and firs. They had been planted a hundred years before when the cemetery was first created, and for a century, the trees had feasted upon the dead.

Imagine that.

Trees feasting on the dead.

Closing my eyes, I can hear the roots moving, searching out the small cracks in the cement sarcophagi and widening them. They push in, break through the coffins, and burrow deep into the decomposing flesh of those who have passed before us.

This is what they did, and you cannot convince me otherwise. I can see them even now as I write this from the relative safety of my office: sitting at my desk, the sun having set long ago, and that terror I felt as a six-year-old boy creeping up in me.

And I wonder, when the living walk through a cemetery, do the trees size them up, deciding if they’re worth the effort to kill?

In these stories, you’ll find the answer to that question, and many more that I’ve asked myself over the years.

Other volumes in the series:

Short Horror Stories Volume 15 is now available on Amazon.

See you in the shadows,

Ron Ripley