Not Rooted

November 4, 2016
I lean against the tree and smile. Aiden runs up and laughs, sitting down on the ground that surrounded the oak. I sit down next to him and exhale. He reaches his hand for mine and I feel the world slow down. It feels like I'm floating in the air, but it doesn't last long. He pulls his hand away and stands up. He reaches to pull me up and my trance has ended.

“I should get you back home.” he says. I groan but I know he's right.

“Fine, same time tomorrow?” I ask hopefully. He agrees then walks me home. I get back and I know my night is going to be dull. I have a ton of homework to work on and then I should get some sleep so I won't be exhausted for tests the next day.

After a long night of homework, I collapse in my bed and make a cocoon of blankets. With the help of warmth and comfort, I drift off to sleep.

The day seems like forever. I find myself constantly checking the time, as if there would be a significant change in each minute. With the final bell minutes away, I tap my pencil and slowly start to pack up. I finally had zipped the last zipper on my backpack when I heard the final bell. Ring! I practically leap out if my seat and go to meet Aiden at the park.

I'm on my way when I see him walking just on the other side of the street. I call him over and he smiles. We both start running. I was racing to get to the tree and I feel my heart pounding. My feet hit the ground in a similar manner. Thump! Thump! Thump! I glance in his direction and he stops abruptly. I stop running. I hear why he stopped. I can hear the faint sound of terrified screams around the corner. He crosses the street and grabs my hand, but this time I don't feel time stop. The screams continue.

“Sadie...Do you want to go back?” he asks me. I know that would be best, but I can't control my curiosity.

“ No. Let's just see what it is.” I say hesitantly. We walk forward and people sprint past us forming into a blur as they run in the opposite direction . We begin to see what they were running away from and I gasp. The creatures were popping out from the ground. They have red eyes and almost resemble the trees. They look to be about three feet tall, but what they lack in size, they make up for in loud, frightening screeching. The ground is covered in claw marks from their long, sharp leaf-like claws. My eyes go wide as I feel Aiden slowly backing away. I grip his hand and run in the direction of the creatures. To my surprise, he continued to run with me. I ran past the creatures and straight to an abandoned tool shed. Normally this shed would be something to fear, with its peeling paint and unstable panels. In addition, the stories of the ghost who used to own the shed are terrifying. On the inside I find that whoever abandoned it had left some tools that might come in handy. I barricade the door with empty crates before telling Aiden to grab some supplies. Aiden arms himself with an old chainsaw and nail gun. I find a rusty axe and I grab it to find it to be a lot heavier than I thought. Too stubborn to take something else, I hold it in my hands and shudder at the thought of using it. “I don’t have a choice” I think to myself. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a small packet. I kneel down and see a packet of seeds of what looks to me like a maple tree. I rub the dust off the packet and shrug. Aiden taps my shoulder and I automatically shove the seeds in my pocket.

“Should we leave here? It seems as if this shed will collapse any minute now.” Aiden says.

“ As if out there is any better.” I say. Nevertheless, he has a point. There is no way to survive this if we are crushed by the shed.

I begin to move the crates slowly. The screeching is still as loud as a siren and my ears are ringing. The last crate is moved and I take a deep breath before opening the creaky door. The roots turn and stampede towards us. I heaved the axe back and when I went to move it forward, I accidentally let go. It flew and hit three creatures during its descent. I was surprised to see that when it hit the creatures, there was no blood. In its place was what looked to be mud. I saw Aiden shooting multiple nails with the nail gun as I began to back up. I watched several creatures crumple to the floor and turn to mud until I realized the nail gun was out of nails. Aiden tried to start the chainsaw, but it seemed as if it was too old and was not going to start. We both backed up and realized we were out of options. With about a dozen left, there was no way around them. The root creatures were surrounding us. I covered my ears as to not hear the unbearable screeching. I felt the shed shake behind my back and I knew it was collapsing. I grabbed Aiden’s hand and leaped forward.

Again, time was slowed, this time in fear. My feet were centimeters away from the roots’ heads. I landed and heard a crunch. I felt time resume. What sounded like bark breaking was coming from underneath our feet. We had stepped on some of the creatures in the back of the huddle. I saw the creatures turn and I fell back. I knew I was a goner. I crawled away and heard a crash.

The shed had killed all but one creature. I found my axe and quickly ended the creature's life. I knew we were safe. I knew I had saved the lives of many people, but I also knew I felt guilty. I wiped my hands on my dirt-covered jeans and felt the seeds in my pocket. I took them out and buried them under the mud of the last roots body. I fell back and Aiden did too. He took my hand again and I felt like I was floating.

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