Only Stella knew why the branches of Witches Tree wound painfully in and out. Only she had seen the feuding families agree on their quick, dark deed: to stop the naïve union of the young lovers, one from each tribe.
Silent unless called upon by Gaia, Stella had watched the lovers be slaughtered and their hearts buried. Apart. Trees sprung from the hearts in gnarled twists, reaching -forever reaching- to meet.
Decades later, Stella still heard speculations; the witches cursed the forest, witches were the forest, or some children ate a magic mushroom and turned to wood -which was also because of witches.
Her leaves sighed in the wind as she saw the unmet loneliness, even now, of lovers long ago. Sometimes people, she knew, were worse than witches.
© Chel Owens
In response to CalmKate’s prompt, “Bent.”