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L'arbre

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This tree was, by far, the tallest one in the forest. It was unusually straight and dark, as if all the light had fled from it. In the tree’s vast shadow, a girl was slumped against the trunk. Her long black hair fell over her face, enshrouding her. She had been sitting motionless for several minutes, or hours, or days—it was impossible to tell in the endless night of the dark forest. Her face was turned upwards towards the black sky and the luminescent moon. Among the tangled roots, she seemed to be part of the tree itself.
A twig snapped, and she sat up abruptly, her hair flying away from her face. Her eyes opened wide; they were almost as dark as her hair and the forest around her. She was completely alert, watching every inch of the woods.
“I know you’re here, Michael,” she said, calmly, but still very wary. Her eyes darted around the woods, looking for signs of movement.
A man stepped out of the shadows. He was very tall, with hair as dark as hers that fell over his eyes. He grinned. “You found me,” he said.
“What do you want?” she asked, standing up stiffly.
He stepped closer to her. “Hello, sister.”
“Don’t call me that. I’m not your sister.”
“But we’re as close as brother and sister, right, Shaye?”
“What do you want?” she repeated irritably.
“It’s not what I want,” he said, still smiling. “It’s what you want.”
He held out his hand towards her. There was a large gash along the middle of his palm, and blood was dripping down his arm.
She gasped. “Oh my God, what happened?”
“That’s not important. But you need it, don’t you?”
Her gaze was still transfixed on his hand. She looked both disgusted and full of admiration. “You didn’t do this to yourself, did you?”
“Just drink, Shaye. I know you need it. You probably haven’t had anything to drink in days.”
She hesitated for a moment, before grabbing his hand and holding it to her lips. She drank the blood from his hand greedily. When she finally let it fall, it was extremely pale, but the cut was completely healed.
He inspected his hand and shook it a little bit. “That’s refreshing, eh, sister?”
She turned away. “Stop it, Michael.”
He looked her over with approval. “You’re looking better already. But you probably need some more, don’t you?” He pulled a knife out of his coat and held it to his arm, ready to cut the skin.
“No!” she yelled, horrified. “I’m not some kind of vampire.”
“Of course not, sister,” he said, smirking. “How could I be so insensitive? You just drink blood. Nothing at all like a vampire.”
“Stop being sarcastic. It’s not like that. And stop calling me sister!”
“My, my, someone’s grumpy today. Now,” he said, taking another step closer to her, “just what were you doing in the forest?”
She lowered her eyes. “I needed to go away for awhile.”
He frowned. “Shaye, you know that’s a bad idea. Too many times I’ve found you collapsed on the ground somewhere after you ran away because of one of your tantrums. I’m always the one they send searching for you, and here I had to do it again.”
“I did not collapse this time! I was perfectly fine. I didn’t even need…your blood.”
“Then why did you drink it up so eagerly?”
She paused before changing the subject. “You like coming to find me, don’t you? Every time I run away, it makes you feel so brave and heroic to bring me back. But I don’t need you! I can find my own way home!” With that, she walked defiantly past him, out of the tree’s shadow.
She only got a few feet before she fell down, unconscious.
He didn’t say a word, but walked over to her body and picked her up. He carried her silently away from the tree and out of the woods, a wry smile on his face.





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