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Beneath The Pear Tree

by Mariam Naeem 9 months ago in fiction · updated 8 months ago
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A Creepy Chronicle

Beneath The Pear Tree
Photo by Johann Siemens on Unsplash

Amy was an outdoors kind of girl. She would find herself wandering around the town from sunrise to sunset during the holidays and in a small place like that, it was the best thing to do since there was very little to keep her occupied. Her mother and father were always busy working, her mother a novelist always glued to her laptop in her study, her father the local doctor.

There was one particular area of the town she never really ventured towards and that was the end of a street called Pear Street. The reason it was called so is because when it had been founded, the street was named so because an old pear tree stood at the edge of the field beyond it. It was visible from every home on Pear Street. An old, gnarled looking tree that still bore fruit every year without fail.

Amy was feeling particularly bored one afternoon and found herself walking in the field towards the pear tree, watching its foreboding shape growing closer. The trunk of the tree looked dark and menacing. She had no idea why she chose to walk this way. Most of the time she avoided it. But the leaves on the pear tree were bright and inviting, the complete opposite of the trunk of the tree, the sun dazzling in the soft blue sky and the occasional twitter of the birds nearby following her as she walked. The grass in the field was long, reaching up to tickle her knees as she waded through, feeling like an explorer in the jungle.

A cat darted past her quickly and Amy jumped in fright at the sight of the orange tabby. She’d just survived a tiger attack there. Amy grinned to herself as she continued walking towards the pear tree. She just wanted a closer look at the tree. It had been there since the beginning. The town itself was founded about two hundred and sixty years ago. The pear tree was fully mature back then so Amy could only wonder at how old it really was.

Amy reached the tree and looked up into the branches, seeing the fruit already looking ripe. She could see a few bees buzzing by, the occasional sparrow lurking in the branches, and smell the earthy scent of the earth as she leaned closer to the tree to touch the trunk. No sooner had she touched the trunk of the tree had the earth below her feet given way, cascading down into a deep chasm. Amy had been too surprised to scream. She landed hard a few feet within the hole and found herself landing on a pile of earth atop concrete. She whimpered a little as she felt a shooting pain in her left ankle. It didn’t look broken. Amy had heard horror stories of how with a broken ankle you could see the bone sticking out of the skin. Her ankle just looked as though it was swelling a little and a large purplish bruise was already developing. Maybe twisted or sprained. Amy thanked her father mentally for teaching her about broken bones when she first started venturing out to play.

She sat herself up on the mound of earth and looked at the concrete underneath. It looked like a passageway of sorts. Right underneath the pear tree. Amy wondered how long it had been there. Was she the first to discover it? Amy’s sense of adventure grew again and the pain in her ankle was all but forgotten as she took her backpack off her shoulders and reached into it, pulling out a small torch. The only reason Amy kept a torch in there was because the last time she had been playing out, one of the neighbourhood boys had taken the liberty of locking her in old Mr Finnigan’s tool shed and left her there in the dark for a couple of hours. She was never playing with Adam again.

Amy clicked the little button on the side to make sure it was working and smiled when the bright beam of light emanated from it. Okay, time to get up, she thought to herself.

She put the backpack on again and looked at the filthy, dirt stained wall next to her. It was made of solid stone. Amy could see it beneath the layers of dirt. She reached out and used it as support while she heaved herself up, taking care to avoid putting weight on her injured ankle. Success. Amy felt satisfied that she could walk relatively well enough if she avoided putting pressure onto her ankle. She would use the wall as a support while she walked.

Amy looked down into the darkness of the passageway, which seemed to swallow the little beam of light. She took a deep breath before making her way down the passage. The walls grew smoother and less compacted with years of dirt, fading away to reveal an entranceway a little further down. There was a glow coming from the chamber just past the entranceway. It looked like light was speckling the walls and bouncing around.

As Amy made her way into the room she gasped. The large chamber had two pools of water on either side, from which light emanated and was shot up towards the ceiling, bouncing around in a dazzling display that left her almost breathless. It was so beautiful. She leaned forward and peeked into the water on the left hand side. At the bottom were large chunks of a clear crystal dotted about, as well as what looked like rose quartz and amethyst. Because they were in the water, they were helping to bounce the light around in beautiful colours. Amy couldn’t see exactly what the source of light itself was and that made her even more curious.

Amy dropped down to her knees and crawled towards the edge of the pool to peer further in. She could see something at the bottom, what looked like the source of light. It was large and luminescent white. But it was moving. An animal of some sort? The fact that it was moving was causing its light to hit off the crystals, causing it to bounce around and light up the cavern. She looked up at the walls, entranced by the colours and the way the light moved. As the light shifted again, she looked back down into the water.

The moving creature had disappeared, which had been the cause of the light shift. Amy’s eyes widened in surprise as she heard a splash behind her, coming from the second pool. She drew back suddenly as she spotted large white rubbery suckers on a long tentacle descending down lazily into the water. Amy heard a low rumbling sound coming from beneath the water as the cavern had started to shake with the noise.

Hauling herself back up to her feet, Amy thought it a good idea to get out of there. She had turned back towards the dark passageway to see a couple of tentacles blocking her way, rippling slowly towards her. She started backing away slowly, further up the small pathway between the two pools, towards the wall of the cave.

Amy’s breathing grew shallower as the rumbling and shaking grew louder, the tentacles being joined by a third and fourth, all reaching out as though to embrace her. She shone her torch on one of the tentacles and was surprised when she heard an instant sizzling sound, watching as the flesh grew charred and blackened. A wail of pain came up from beneath the water and the tentacles retracted, giving Amy her chance to hobble bravely past them, making sure to avoid touching them by accident.

Quick, rapid breaths as she made her way down the passageway gave way to a scream as she felt something wrap tightly around her ankle and pull. Her eyes widened as she hit the ground and felt herself being dragged, her hands reaching out for something, anything to help her. One of her hands managed to hold onto a small, jagged rock and she gripped it tightly, turning onto her back, too late as the pool of water enveloped her as she went under.

Amy held her breath for what seemed like hours as all sound disappeared, all time seemed to fade away. Her focus lay on escaping the tight grip of the tentacle as she wriggled her foot about and tried hitting it with her hand. Then she remembered the rock in her hand and stabbed the tentacle. Her lungs exploded and she inhaled water in surprise as the tentacle loosened its grip, a dark purple ooze dripping slowly out of it.

She used her arms to propel herself upwards and out of the water, chest heaving as she coughed out the water she had inhaled, the back of her throat burning. Crawling towards the passageway, she picked up the stray torch that she had let go of in her haste to leave and pulled it close to her before standing up and making her way towards the exit. Once reaching the hole she had fallen into, she looked up and stared at a sky in which daylight was fading fast. How long had she been down here?

The rumbling had stopped. All was still down below and Amy turned back to look down the passageway, her eyes darting about to look at the darkness, anticipating more of those grotesque tentacles. Nothing. She couldn’t have imagined it. She wasn’t going to spend time wondering if it was real or not. She had a problem to solve. She had to get out. With an ankle that was badly damaged. Looking up, she saw a large tree root from the pear tree that was reaching down into the hole. Well, that was lucky. She would just have to use it to try and pull herself up. She stuck the torch into her pocket and tried reaching for the branch, swiping at air.

Panic made her heart flutter as she tried to jump a little, her fingertips brushing against the branch. Third time lucky? Amy took a deep breath as she squatted slightly, preparing herself to jump when the rumbling suddenly started again.

“Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Please. I gotta get out!”

She jumped as high and as hard as she could, her hand successfully grabbing the branch, leaving her hanging an inch in the air. She began to pull herself up. Her hands ended up scratched and bleeding, her arms felt wrung out, but she had managed to painstakingly make her way to the top. Tears were flowing freely as she grabbed a handful of grass and tugged herself out of the hole, collapsing onto the ground and breathing deeply with the exertion of the escape.

“I’m out. I’ve done it.” Amy spoke to herself to try and motivate her body to get up.

She could still hear the faint rumbling and tears streamed again when she realised the fate she had managed to avoid. She looked up at the pear tree while she stood, making a mental note never to walk that way again. Turning to walk away, she failed to see the tentacle creeping up behind her in the dusk, reaching out slowly to grab her ankle again. A loud rumble ensued as Amy stopped walking, horror awash all over her features as she spotted the tentacle. She glanced behind it and saw the pear tree toppling forward, towards the chasm, hitting the tentacle and stopping its pursuit of her.

Amy watched as the pear tree and the tentacle disappeared down the hole, the earth closing up leaving a large mound of dirt and a heavy cloud of dirt and dust swirling in the air. Once the air had cleared, everything looked calm. Amy breathed. She started walking away, never looking back once. Nobody would believe her, so her best option was not to talk about it. Ever.

fiction

About the author

Mariam Naeem

Writer - Short Stories, Poetry

Instagram: instagram.com/mariam.naeem256

Twitter: Twitter.com/MariamNAuthor

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